Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fellow Book Worms!


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I used to think that there were tons of characters who were bookworms, but while making this list, I honestly could not come up with more than six. SO. We need more of this, obviously. Every reader can connect to a fellow bookworm.



My list:
Jo March // Little Women (I actually haven't read this yet. YET.)
Cath // Fangirl (I especially love this one because she's a more modern reader.)
Hermione // Harry Potter series (probably the fiercest bookworm of them all.)
Elizabeth Bennett // Pride & Prejudice (and as approved by Mr. Darcy.)
Leisel // The Book Thief (loves words more than any other character ever.)
Matilda // Matilda (because books are magical places.)



Honorable Mention: Rory Gilmore
(she's from the TV show Gilmore Girls, not a novel, but definitely deserves to be mentioned).

--Emily
currently listening to: Skinny Love by Bon Iver (cover by Birdy)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fangirl // Book Review

  
I decided on a whim to purchase Fangirl  by Rainbow Rowell on Kindle because I had never read one of her books before and it was only $5.

I absolutely loved it. I couldn't even put it down. I finished it in two days and afterwards got pulled into a reading slump. It was my favorite thing that I've read all year.

But it also really disappointed me.

Even though it's my favorite book that I've read this year, it's not the best book I read this year. I so wanted this to be a five-star read, but I would feel like a liar if I pretended that it was. The problems I had were few, but they were major.



Things I Loved
  • Setting & Concept
    The main character is a Freshman in college. In the 21st century! AND SHE WRITES FANFICTION. Why aren't there more books like this?


  • Characters
    Well, mainly just one character. I LOVED LEVI SO MUCH.


  • Modern-day references
    There were references to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and Twilight and Battlestar Galactica (didn't get that one, though) and I actually understood them! Yay!


  • It was really relatable
    Okay, I don't have a twin sister and I've never written fanfiction before, but other than that I felt like me and Cath could be the same person. I do have a sister and I am somewhat of a fangirl. *cough* Legend of Korra obsessed *cough*We both write stuff. We both have social anxiety (I completely understand stocking up on peanut butter and being afraid to go to the cafeteria. BEEN THERE.) English majors, leaving home for the first time. WE EVEN HAVE THE SAME BIRTHSTONE. It was freaky sometimes, how much I could relate to her. But I loved it.


Problems
  • No action/conflict
    There's a little bit of conflict here and there, but there is no upward climb. What was the climax of this book? I'm not even sure I know. I got halfway through and wondered where it was going, then I finally thought I figured it out when I realized I was at 90% and it was ending.


  • Everything got wrapped up too neatly
    There were hints of conflict here and there and I was waiting for them all to come together, but they never did. There was a problem, then it was magically solved, and that was that. Everything was a little bit too perfect.


  • Harry Potter references broke the 4th wall
    Okay, so Cath writes fanfiction based on a series about a magician named Simon Snow. The way it's described, it's obvious that Simon Snow is based on Harry Potter (fourth movie where everyone forgot to cut their hair? Yes. Definitely based on HP). But then, right in the middle of the book, a character throws out an actual Harry Potter reference. It almost made my brain explode. I just sat there staring at it, dumbfounded. How am I supposed to imagine a world in which both of these fandoms exist simultaneously? THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME. There is no way that they both could have been global phenomenons if they were released during the same time. It totally threw off the whole thing for me.


  • THAT ENDING?!
    I'm not going to give out any spoilers, but the ending was not clear at all. It was super disappointing. I had to reread the last two chapters to make sure I didn't miss something. There's a few subtle things there, but it's not executed very well and is more confusing than anything. I had to look it up online  to see what other people were saying. I went to my trusty website Shmoop and discovered that their synopsis over the ending is actually incorrect. People on Goodreads had a much better explanation. But even the ones that made sense were still disappointing. There was so much more potential there.


I had no idea what was in store for me going in, and I loved it from the start. But I really thought there would be more there, and it ultimately left me disappointed and slightly confused. And in a reading slump.


--Emily
currently listening to: Asami and Hiroshi/Korra Airbends (Legend of Korra Book One Soundtrack) by Jeremy Zuckerman 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Diversity!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT is all about books that celebrate diversity--whether by including different nationalities, disabilities, religions, sexual orientation, gender, etc. There's a noticeable lack of diversity in mainstream books, although it's starting to grow more. But apparently I haven't read a lot of diverse books! I need to work on that.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book is about two teenagers who fall in love. They also have cancer. But they're not portrayed as some poor, sickly kids who are defined by their illnesses.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters
I read this book my Freshman year of high school and absolutely loved it. It's about a transgender teenager. I've never read another book like it and I think it really helped define my views on the subject.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The main character is Indian! And he studies Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity! He's also stuck on a boat with a tiger, but that's less important.



Second Star to the Right by Deborah Hautzig
I haven't read too many books about eating disorders, but this one felt real. It helped me really understand the mentality of someone who suffers from bulimia.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book has a narrator who is depressed and has undergone some other problems (that I'm not going to talk about because of spoilers) and he also has a friend that is gay. It's emotionally intense and well-written and was adapted into a pretty great movie.

Crank (and pretty much all of Ellen Hopkins)
I know a lot of people are put off by Ellen Hopkins' books because they're written in verse, but I love it. The pages fly by and the verse really helps set the mood. You don't see a lot of YA books about drug addiction. You really only see drugs celebrated--you rarely see the consequences.



The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A book about the Holocaust--but it focuses on Germans. I was forced to read a lot of books about the Holocaust in middle school, and they were all about concentration camps. This is a nice change of pace. It shows a different part of the same story.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This book is set in the future, but not in America. Cinder is from New Beijing. Scarlet, the main character from the sequel, is French. I love that these characters are from different parts of the world.



Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
This is the only Levithan I've ever read. I read it around the time of Luna and I remember hiding the cover from my parents because I didn't want them to know I was reading about a gay couple. The world in this book is different, though--everyone is accepting of everyone else. It's wonderful and inspiring.

An Abundance of Katherines & Paper Towns by John Green
Both of these books feature side characters of various ethnic backgrounds that aren't shied away from, but I wish that it had been one of the main characters.

--Emily

Saturday, July 18, 2015

a letter to the man who gave me his name.

Deacon,

Today is our one-year wedding anniversary.

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I can't believe it's been that long since I walked down the aisle to meet you. It honestly flew by. Even so, so many things have happened this past year. I started graduate school; you picked up a third major. We moved into an apartment that was nice but infested with house centipedes, then into a house that isn't so nice and is infested with spiders.

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We've argued and fought and cried and laughed until our stomachs hurt and were goofy and cuddled and learned. That's what this year was most of all, I think. Us learning each other.

Because after five years of knowing you, I still feel like there's so much I have yet to learn. The quirks, the expressions, the routines, the rhythm. The way you walk so silently that you just appear into rooms and make me dance around in terror. The way your lips tighten when you're aggravated. The way you fawn over babies and puppies like you've never seen something more precious in your entire life. The way you laugh without making a sound.

There are so many little things like that, things that I love about you because they're you. 

Last month, we moved into our first house. It's not been as glorious as we have hoped--in fact, there's more problems with it than I could probably count, but I still feel at home here.

And it meant that we got to adopt Rex.

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We couldn't have asked for a better dog. It's only been three weeks, but he's already molded into our small little family completely. Whenever one of us leaves, he waits for us. When we get home, he's at the door to greet us. He loves belly rubs and runs through the park. And we love to make him happy.

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I think he brings out the best in us. It's such a blessing, to care for a creature that loves you so unconditionally. To say the word "Walk" and watch him cock his head and run to the door excitedly. To run with him so he can chase rabbits around the park. We teach him to stop before crossing the road like a little kid. He sleeps between us like a little kid. He's made our little family a little more complete.

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I wanted to thank you for standing by me this year. I wanted to thank you for always pushing me forward, to rise instead of stay stagnant. I don't always like it, but I'm a better person because you expect me to be. It's been a crazy, overfilled year, but I'm so glad that you've been here through everything.



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One year has not nearly been enough for me. It's only been a taste.
I need a hundred more.

Love you,
Emily

Thursday, July 16, 2015

burst

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I clipped the bud before it blossomed.
I couldn't stand to see the colors--
the brightness, the sickening candy sweetness,
the beautiful and sacred burst from scratch.

It never has grown back.
The stem has severed, the sugar gone sour,
the sacredness blurred and stained by fingers
too bold, too careless to fathom regret.



--Emily
currently listening to: You've Haunted Me All My Life by Death Cab for Cutie

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Last Books That Came Into My Possession


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So I forgot today was Tuesday. OOPS.

Normally I've been more on the ball with TTT posts but today it was kinda just thrown together. I haven't really been buying too many books lately, so most of these have been featured in other posts.



Emma by Jane Austen (local used book store)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (local book store)


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Avatar graphic novels (birthday gift)


The Martian by Andy Weir & Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (Barnes & Noble; birthday gift)


Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (audio)


I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg (ebook)


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Ernest Hemingway collection & Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy collection by Douglas Adams (Barnes & Noble)


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (audio)


We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling 
(from my sister)


Daisy Miller by Henry James, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Divergent series by Veronica Roth (ebooks)
~~~

Let me know what books you've received recently! Also, have you read any of these? I still need to get to Daisy Miller, Emma, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, the rest of the Divergent series, and a few others. 

Have a happy Tuesday!

--Emily