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Evolution of the Reading Habit

The types of books I read have evolved from year to year, generally reflecting the period of life I’m in. I tend to go through phases where I read a certain type of story for a period of time, until I find my series or genre to obsess over. People who were born readers probably all go through this same thing. Children in grade school needing to read a certain amount of books in a week to score a certain amount of points to be graded on but who also loved to read, probably stuck with the same types of books or series for the sake of enjoying it.

In elementary school, I read the “Hank the Cowdog” books for several months every week until the school library ran out of new ones for me to read. I went through the same process with “The Series of Unfortunate Events”, “The Hardy Boys”, “Goosebumps” and many Meg Cabot books.

I remember the librarian of my sixth grade class telling me that I needed to stray further than my basic mystery novels (the name of these novels escape me), written by the same author, within the same series. Of course, I didn’t listen, what did she know anyway? I thought it was funny that a school librarian would even bother mentioning this to a young student when really they were lucky that any kid likes to read anyway; but as an adult and as a more exploratory reader, I get it.

When I was in high school, I discovered Ellen Hopkins’ “Crank” series novels, and still read them religiously when a new one is written. Also, of course, I discovered all of the Nicholas Sparks novels once “The Lucky One” starring Zac Efron came to theaters. Young Adult literature a long with Romance Novels seems like a common fit for the liking of a 16-year-old high school girl.

My Fiancé, who is not a reader, has yet to let me forget that I haven’t really lived the childhood bookish world since I haven’t read a single “Harry Potter” novel, nor have I seen all of the movies. They are on my booklist to get started this year. He may be right, but just this once. Although, I can’t help but think about how a large portion of the general public (readers and non-readers) said the same thing about the “The Hunger Games” series and the “Twilight” series. Do you think these series’, my fellow readers, were worth all the hype and the money they made? -This is a topic for a later post.

I’ve also read all of the books by John Green, and I always will as he continues to write more. His novels seem to get better and better! I still indulge in Young Adult literature from time to time, especially the John Green and Ellen Hopkins books. I tend to find a lot of interesting prospects in the Young Adult Literature section of Barnes and Noble.

Currently, I’m not stuck on any author or specific series. However, I have found a particular plot sequence that is really entertaining.

Books about deceitful husbands and wives that get their payback have peaked my interest for a few months now. I pick up any novel that I learn has a storyline like this. It’s the creativity in the character of the wife that engages my attention. The secret plans the wife has for her husband are conceived from his behavior, and the deception both he and the reader are given before she is ready to light her fires are imploding means from the writer.

I think it’s respectable to enjoy the character building techniques and the creativity in the secrets both the wife and the husband keep, and of course when the wife wins, it’s all the better.

To anyone who also reads books like these, do you ever get told it’s because you’re crazy like the women in the novels?

Do you think this is a feminist point-of-view or just the female in all of us?

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“Turtles All The Way Down” Book Review

 

Hello Readers,

I have met my new favorite book.

It’s crazy to say that since I have read hundreds, how could just one be my favorite? That’s what I thought until last night at 4am when I finished this one.

It’s Phenomenal.

John Green- Phenomenal.

It’s a story of a teenage girl, going through normal teenage girl things, and some not so normal. But what part of life is ever normal? And who is to say your life is more normal than mine, or that the grass may be greener on the other side? It never is, so it seems.

Dead family members, stress anxiety, irregular friendships, wondering what life really means- but mostly an adventure. The 2-dimensional view of this book is a few friends get together to find a missing person in order to receive the $100,000 reward. Of course, there is more to it than that, and lives become at stake for the teens who just want their father back.

From the first page of the novel:

“But I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”

“Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. […] You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.”

Already John Green has you hooked with his reversed personification. What’s more in this book is the close-up view of millennials.

I read somewhere recently where someone said, “The students of the present generation are the first to not take their cultural identity from books.” This book was clearly written for this generation of young adults, and basically is the most relate-able book I have ever encountered. As far as what I take my culture from, I don’t know. But John Green seems to get it.

Aza, the main character, suffers from anxiety, to say the least. Constantly feeling like she is trapped in her own body that will inevitably kill her one day, her mind spirals out of control with the notion that she something is hurting her that she can’t control, and she won’t ever know when the bacteria is killing her because her mind will be taken over by then, by the germ.

Aza says eventually, “Rather it hurts is kind of irrelevant.” Also, “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”

As I said, this is the part that is not so normal about her teenage life, but obviously, a frequent problem young adults deal with every day. Also, something that isn’t mentioned much, especially in a fiction novel such as this one. Thank you, once again, John Green.

The novel is quite humorous. I found myself laughing in many instances, especially at the narrator’s best friend Daisy. She is strong and a light to be around. Hilarious, and afraid of nothing. A little self-centered, but caring. A great counter-part for Aza, and a real reflection of a millennial.

In chapter 6, she receives a dick-pic as fan mail for her Star Wars fan-fic blog. She states:

“I mean, how am I supposed to react to a semi-erect penis as fan mail? Am I supposed to feel intrigued?”

Aza replies:

“He probably thinks it will end in marriage. You’ll meet IRL and fall in love and someday tell your kids that it all started with a picture of a disembodied penis.”

This is so 2018 because we all know dick pics hardly ever go over very well, especially as an introduction, and is always fun to talk about with your girlfriends at an Applebee’s with a coupon in hand. It would even be more cliche if we found out the perpetrator had taken the pic with a flip phone (haha).

Daisy also compares her new boyfriend’s looks to that of a “giant baby”. And later decides she doesn’t want a relationship with him, as they are difficult, but to instead be “friends with benefits”. Of course, a total 2018 reference as we live in the world of Tinder and such high divorce rates, it seems silly to even be in a traditional relationship anymore. Or so it seems.

When Davis comes in the picture, life hardly changes much for Aza, which we hoped it would. But again, does that happen in real life? Hardly is it ever convenient. Davis is the oldest son of our missing person. His father has become missing to escape a fraud and bribery investigation, leaving his two sons behind with the estate and it’s workers to take care of them. Aza and Davis knew each other as children, and Daisy convinces Aza to reach out to him in order to find the whereabouts of his father to collect the reward. At this point, I found myself thinking this was going to be a book of revelation and closure for the characters, as they may find a valuable lesson that is unclear at this point of time, but I was wrong.

In chapter 7, I made a note saying I thought this might end up being an interesting crime novel. At this point, the book is giving a lot of insight to the trouble Davis’s father is facing, and the peer-investigation between Daisy and Aza is intriguing. After chapter 19 I wrote in the margin, “For a while, I thought this was an adventure novel, not anymore.”

The novel moves forward with the relationship between Aza and Davis, and Aza and herself. She constantly is questioning the meaning of “me”, with her therapist and her peers, but mostly with Davis. Both Aza and Davis have a dead parent, and both constantly feel misunderstood by their remaining parents. It seems as though neither of them has a close relationship with anyone, even Aza and Daisy, who are best friends, seem to not really know much about each other, and the secrets they tell are on the surface.

Once it seems that Davis and Aza are dating (use the word dating loosely), they connect on a level that only the two of them can understand and seems like a once-in-a-lifetime event for the beloved characters. I understood in chapter 13 that John Green has his unstable characters fall in love to prove their presence. That they are relevant, even when they don’t think so.

In reference to Davis, John Green inserts many quotes from inspirational authors in this novel, along with some online-journaling of Davis’s. I thought about how creative this is, to write a story inside of a story, a story that is not the author’s, but also it is. John Green is able to write in words and sentences that flow so well that it seems like it comes easily to him. I couldn’t help but be envious at this point.

Daisy’s motive of the investigation was to earn the money so she could quit he minimum-wage job and live a prosperous life as a high school student. To Aza, although she was doing it for Daisy, she wanted to help Davis and Noah more, and later learned that that was more important than a large sum of money. Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more.

Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more. On page 260 I thought to myself that I know there are only 20 pages left but so much more than I want to know that it would definitely need to take up more than 20 pages. Heartbreaking and unsettling as it seems, it was incredible. John Green is a master of breaking my heart and putting it back together with scotch tape, which somehow I am okay with, although it is not the same as I felt before, I am okay with it. Bravo.

Read it.

 

 

 

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He is Quite a Character

I suppose I need to discuss Augustus Waters. I think most of you know who this person is by now.  He is the love story that all of us want to have. He’s not cheesy, but romantic. He’s dynamic, but simple. All of us fall in love with Augustus right along with Hazel Grace.

Blog 6

Photo Credit: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/d1/30/5e/d1305eaf202855574bfce94c4bf9edc7.jpg

The Fault in Our Stars is one of those stories that breaks your heart into a million pieces, but makes you feel like you have be reborn after you turn that last page. A person that doesn’t read wouldn’t understand what this means. It is truly spectacular how the writer can do this to us readers. One has to think that the author is a cancer patient himself, and perhaps he is Augustus in this book. However, he isn’t. John Green has never had cancer and isn’t our friendly character after all. So how could he find the inspiration to write about what we read before our eyes?

Well many years ago I worked as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital, and I think it got lodged in my head then. The kids I met were funny and bright and angry and dark and just as human as anybody else. And I really wanted to try to capture that, I guess, and I felt that the stories that I was reading sort of oversimplified and sometimes even dehumanized them. And I think generally we have a habit of imagining the very sick or the dying as being kind of fundamentally other. I guess I wanted to argue for their humanity, their complete humanity.

So that was the initial inspiration.

That took 12 years. I was very intimidated by it.” -John Green

Quote citation: (read the full interview)   http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/02/how-john-green-wrote-a-cancer-book-but-not-a-bullshit-cancer-book/273441/

Writer’s have a few talents that the average person do not, but the one that amazes me the most is the ability to view a situation (good or bad) and turn it into a piece of art. It is like taking a picture of an object and describing everything about it. A writer describes the situation and weaves his voice through the gaps.

If you are a parent and have read this I am sorry to say I do not know how to properly blog this book for you. First off I have to say that I would never recommend this book to my mother. I couldn’t put thoughts like that in her head, even though the book has one of the best stories I have read (not the best, I could never pick one single favorite story). I’m glad the writer didn’t emphasize too greatly on the parents’ pain in this book. I could never bare the thought of what these parents have to go through, and I think that’s one of the great things about this book that make it not like the others.

As Green says in his interview, he wanted to not oversimplify the characters in his book like he has witnessed in other stories that he has read. I think focusing on the parents after the death of Augustus would have oversimplified not his cancerous characters themselves but would have made it like any other book about this disease and its ability to destroy the worlds around it.

I have heard Hollywood wants to make a movie based on this book. I must say I really hope they don’t. I’m sure many can agree that Hollywood likes to take something great and completely kill it, but that is another post of its own. Please enjoy this great read before the movie comes out!

Until next time.