Showing posts from September, 2015

Banned Books Week: Why it Matters

If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably noticed that I've been a bit excited about celebrating Banned Books Week. It is partially because it's the one week a year that's all about reading, which for a book nerd like me, is pretty exciting all on its own. It's also important, however, to spread awareness that censorship is still very present in today's society.  Books are still often challenged in schools and public libraries for a multitude of reasons. But what's the big deal? I mean, after all, you can still go to your local bookstore or the internet to buy said "banned book" with no consequences, right?
Reading has always been a passion for me. I was raised believing in the power and magic of the written word. Books, in all societies, across history, are an essential part of shaping culture. Because of their form, they have the ability to deeply tackle issues that would be otherwise inaccessible to the general public. Each art has it's s…

From the Archives: Book 19: "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman

"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman
Verdict: Read it, it's strange, but awesome.

The Princess Bride has always been one of my favorite movies. I, like many others, have every line memorized. So I decided I needed to read the book. The book is a strange experience; it really just kept me thinking that William Goldman is a genius and probably mad.

If you love the movie, you'll love the book. As Goldman wrote the screenplay for the movie, it is perhaps the most accurate adaptation I have ever seen, with direct dialogue from the book. What makes Goldman mad? The fact that he has created another author to give an added narrative element, S. Morgenstern. This alone is awesome, but his introductions are what give him the crazy element. In his introductions to the novel, he adds another layer mixing real events with fictional, changing his family structure and acting as though Morgenstern, Gilder and Florin are actual places. So you end up needing to read the introduction…

From the Archives: Book 18: "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

The Giver" by Lois Lowry
Verdict: A must-read for kids and adults

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry has always been known as a children's classic. I passed it up as a child, but was convinced to read it by my mother, now that I'm infinitely less picky in my choices. I'm so glad that I listened.
This novel takes the form of a dystopia, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. This dystopia, like most, gives off the air of being the perfect society: simple, happy, educated, clean, etc. People are assigned everything from jobs to families. This book follows one pre-teen who is given his job and finds out the truth. Instead of being assigned, he is selected to be the next Receiver. The Receiver holds all the memories for how things were before the perfect society existed. In other words he holds the truth of life with colors, feelings, and everything that comes with no regulated way of life.

This journey is amazing yet slightly depressing as you realize that in…

Book 137: "Grey" by E.L. James

Title: Grey (Fifty Shades #4)
Author: E.L. James
Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Read In:  Nook ePub
Genre: Romance, Fiction

Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest. I'm embarrassed that I read this book. So embarrassed that I considered not writing a review...but here I am. Did I expect this book to be awful? Yes. It fully lived up to that expectation. I read this out of curiosity, mostly, and a need to try and figure out why it has sold so many copies. Because as much wrath as it gets from differing communities, that doesn't change the fact that it sold over 1 million copies in four days, breaking records in the book industry. With no more ado, here we go...

To continue my honesty: Recently, when the new broke that E.L. James was destroyed by fans at her twitter Q&A (, I have to be honest that I thought people were over-reacting just a bit. I read th…

From the Archives: Book 17: "The Concubine's Daughter" by Pai Kit Fai

"The Concubine's Daughter" by Pai Kit Fai
Verdict: Not a fan
This book was a struggle for me to finish. It claims to be in the same vein as "Memoirs of a Geisha" on its cover which is completely false. The only thing they have in common is that they both take place in Asia. The book follows three generations (focusing on two) of women in China. The main problem I think this book had was that the author tried to cover too much. I appreciate the culture that went into the writing which made the story more interesting, but covering the life of two women from childhood through adulthood is too much for one book to handle effectively. The book ends up focusing on culture aspects over the characters, which I am never a fan of in this type of literature.
The first generation is represented through Pai Ling- a wealthy family's daughter who is sold as a concubine to a wealthy farmer. It follows her from her arrival at the farm through the birth of her daughter, Li Xia…

From the Archives: Book 16: "Beatrice and Virgil" by Yann Martel

"Beatrice and Virgil" by Yann Martel
Verdict: Like irony? Read it.
I really liked this book. I can't compare it to Martel's previous book, The Life of Pi,  as I have not read it; but after reading this, I definitely will. The book is really intricate, so the plot is hard to explain. It focuses on an author who is trying to write about the Holocaust in a new way and fails. He then meets a man who is doing what he couldn't with the storyline of Beatrice and Virgil, a donkey and an ape. This man is a taxidermist and asks for help from the main character. The majority of the book follows them working on pieces of the taxidermist's novel- who will not show them to anyone in their chronological order. The ending is disturbing and offers a classic, but still awesome, twist. 
I really loved this book, but it is not one you can just read- it requires active reading and thinking. A great book to pick apart if you are in the mood; if not, I wouldn't suggest this to yo…