Thursday, August 30, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - August 30th

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks questions are: 
Do you find yourself thinking that the books you read would be good on film? Do you wish the things you watched on TV or in the movies were available as book? 
Some really can’t be converted, of course, but some definitely can (and it’s not always the ones you think will work). There’s something to be said for different forms of media, but a good story is universal … or is it??

My Answer:
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere was the last book (and the first to come to mind) which I heavily thought, "This needs to be a movie." I didn't want to let that book go. I didn't want it to end. So I was eager and hopeful to see it continue in one form or another. I also wanted to see how the world was played out. And I don't mean a mini-series! I want a full movie. I want a lot of money put into it. I want to feel like it's real. When I had read The Hunger Games I also wanted to see it as a film. For The Night Circus, however, I shy away from the concept. It's all a difference of visual opinion. People want different things in different forms or no form at all but the original. For some books, their movie versions work perfectly while other's the movie ends up being better than the book (Under the Tuscan Sun for example).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Night Circus

It was some time ago, early spring to be exact, that I first heard of The Night Circus from a co-worker. I looked it up and immediately marveled at the book cover. Still, it was put aside as my life became crazy with moving and job hunting. The book, however, would not be so easily forgotten and was quite persistent in catching my attention. Again and again it popped up until finally I broke down. Yes, I swore off buying books but my money was burning a hole in my pocket and I couldn't resist anymore.

I bought the book and began to read it as soon as possible. My first impression was the language. I was blown away by the beautiful, descriptive words. The circus is something magical and uneblievable yet it is so easy to picture thanks to the author's detailed writing style. Everything made me curious and eager to learn more. With that I found one negative attribute. I knew that this book was about a competition and it was obvious early on as to who would be competing. What I had issue with was that I wasn't entirely sure what was going on for the first chunk of the book. What is the circus? What do these people have to do with it? What is this challenge that keeps being brought up? I think it's safe to say that it begins a little slow. After that, however, the storyline picks up with quickening speed and I was pulled in.

Celia is a wonderful character; smart, quick witted, imaginative, polite and cautious of growing attached to people. Marco, her competitor, is also intelligent, if a little reserved, but equally likeable. It's typical to take a side when faced with a competition, even in literature, and yet I enjoyed both characters so much that I wanted them both to win. I couldn't pick just one side and I was desperate for them to have wonderful lives. Although the details of the competition and how a winner was determined were very vague to the players I had a feeling that I wouldn't like the outcome of this game.

There was also a slew of other characters who were artfully created which I loved or hated. The father figures of Celia and Marco interested me yet made me incredibly angry and protective of the the competitors. The commonly mentioned people associated with the circus I also enjoyed. Even the children, Poppit, Widget and Bailey I truly loved and wouldn't mind reading more about.

The interwoven stories of the characters from chapter to chapter is a lovely analogy of the competition itself. Again, the detail of the circus and different tents was breathaking. The ending of the book ahd me so focused that everything around me had all but vanished as if I were in my own illusion. I did not want this book to end and I ached for the characters and still do (I am writing this the day after I finished the book for it to be scheduled for publication in a few weeks).

Rumor has it that this is already being made into a movie and I'm not at all excited. A part of the illusion which this book creates is all in the head. You create your own circus and each person sees it differently. The characters have their own special qualities and the magic that is performed in one's mind may never been what the movie shows. The movie makes it specific, clear cut, and takes away part of the illusion reading the book can create. Granted, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games proved to me that books-turned-into-movies can be accurate and not making me into a complete grump but I am very much of the opinion that I need to see it to believe it. If the movie comes out, I will likely see it, but I won't be surprised if I dislike it and am annoyed that it fits nothing which I've seen in my minds eye. In fact, I would be surprised if I did like it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - August 28th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"Women are constantly being persuaded to want something unachievable, to look younger or thinner and above all to fit in because being different is too painful and embarrassing. I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned--and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody--that our hearts matter most."
Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Pemberley Chronicles

Years ago I found The Pemberley Chronicles at my Aunt's home. It's always a good place for me to discover books that I had not heard of before and now was no different. The book attracted me and seemed light and airy and a short while later I had a copy of my own. Then it gathered dust on my bookshelf for years because I never felt quite in the mood to read it. I was searching for a specific "vibe" before I read that book, a certain emotion or feeling, and towards the end of July that feeling hit me.

I wanted something that would remind me of spring and cooler weather as I grew impatient and tired of the high temperatures of the summer. Grabbing the book, I dove in, and right away I found it reminiscent of what this series was based on - Pride and Prejudice

Right away we take off from where Pride and Prejudice ended. Jane and Elizabeth are married and everything is rather perfect and lovely... it continues to be perfect and lovely for the next few hundred pages, in fact. Up until the end of the book the characters rarely have any sad moments in their lives and everything runs smoothly. Even when things begin to have a touch of danger it quickly is surpassed and things are set right again. 

The characters seem to grow up and change quickly and time passes almost too fast. The moment a single daughter is mentioned, shortly later there is a male character introduced and you know what will soon follow - a marriage that will leave everyone shocked but certainly not the reader. There was much joy and excitement when Elizabeth and Jane discovered they were pregnant but it was quickly forgotten after the children were born - not to be mentioned again until those children were of a marrying age. That bothered me a great deal because I was always curious to see how Elizabeth would handle motherhood. Granted, you see her handling it when her children are young adults but I wanted to see how she adjusted to being a mother and tending an infant or toddler. 

Many of the characters come and go quickly, some seeming to have a presence only to disappear until much later in the books, and that was at times confusing. There was also a severe neglect for many of the characters that made Pride and Prejudice: Mary Bennett was so vacant that for much of the book I was going, "There was another sister, right? I'm totally not making this up! But she hasn't even been mentioned!" Mrs. Bennett is only mentioned by fleeting annoyance which I found amusing but I feel it could have been much more powerful had she been seen more. The same goes for the other characters who were less favorable such as Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine. So for that, I found fault.

Aside from that, the description the author used for the area's land and homes was lovely. I received that cool air and sunshine that I had been craving. She also dealt with the political changes of England during the years following Pride and Prejudice's closure. Sometimes, the politics became too heavy for the book and I found myself lost. I'm not very much into politics and I can barely keep up with the politics of America let alone the politics of England from years ago. Still, I appreciate the research and attention to detail that this was given. The author truly tried to paint a clear picture for the readers of what the world was like during that time period.

Towards the end of the book it seemed to have suddenly taken off. Events good and bad were happening left and right, things were no longer perfect, and I found myself incredibly engrossed. By the close of the book I was glad I read it, despite that I had some complaints of things running too smoothly, and while it made me unsure about the future books in this series I may still try it. I have the next book, The Women of Pemberley, on my to-read list and while it may be another couple of years before I read it, I'll surely give it a try.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - August 21st

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"God, living people are irritating. "
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Monday, August 20, 2012

Musing Mondays - August 20th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

Have you ever reread a book and found that your opinion changed?
My Answer:
Most certainly. I have reread a lot of beloved children's and young adult books on this blog and typically my opinion, the second (or even third) time around is always greatly different than my original interpretation. Even books that I read in college (specifically, assigned reading) I try and give another go now that I am no longer in school. I despised any book given to me as an assignment and that prejudice was often uncalled for. Once I reread the book on my own, willingly, my opinion would be vastly different. I would be blown away from the book and enjoy it so much more. Aside from that, reading a book with added years of experience or just my point of view having changed from that of a teen to an adult gives me a certain insight I had never expected. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - August 16th

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks questions are: 
What was the most emotional read you have ever had?

My Answer:
It's rare that I'll cry over a book but many times, without tears, a book will weigh me down even after I've finished it. It will stick on me and I struggle resurfacing from what I had been so focused on. I'll miss it, yearn to be part of that world again, and not in the sense of rereading the book, no, I'll want the feelings I felt while reading it the first time. It's during these moments that I see the true magic of books. 
While I have enjoyed numerous books in my life and walked away feeling happy - although still wishing to read the book over again - the number of times that I have been left feeling nearly depressed over having finished the book are few. Two books currently stand out in my mind as having been emotional reads for me: ©2012 Erica R Hopper. Please quote or link back, do not repost as your own. 
Atonement and The Night Circus.
Now, understand, there are other books I could mention here but we'll go with these two. The summer I read Atonement was warm, my first summer after having graduated college, and I was battling the disappointment I felt for myself. I had a college degree and I was working as a janitor. Seriously. I felt like such a let down, such a disappointment, and those negative feelings filled my every day. I read Atonement as an escape but it became much more than that. I was emotionally involved and I remember reading it late into the night, the window of my room open, the sound of summer night bugs my accompanied soundtrack, and then setting the book down on my lap and staring at my wall while I cried. The book made me cry. There are very few books out there that can bring on such strong emotion. Now, four years later I still recall that moment as clear as a bell. I still remember how emotionally invested I was in the story and how, upon completing the book, I was unable to pick up another for a few days.
This brings me to The Night Circus. I only finished the book yesterday and I am struggling to pull myself from the story. I was so attached to the book - although I read half of it yesterday - that my heart literally ached as it was drawing to a close. I didn't want it to end and I had a very clear opinion of how it should end. I didn't really get my way and even while reading the book I felt that I wouldn't get the ending I desired but I insisted on being hopeful.*** I have other books to read, other books I'm eager to read in fact, and yet for the remainder of last night and through most of this morning I couldn't get myself to start any other book. I was stuck in the world of The Night Circus and I didn't want to leave just yet. That, to me, is another form of an emotional read. It hasn't taken the spot of Atonement for me but it's still very real to me in the present tense as I am still feeling the emotions of it.

*** a review of The Night Circus will be up in two weeks. Yes, I loved the book! Yes, you should read it! You can read what else I thought of it soon so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I've seen this book over and over again and heard nothing but good things about it. And yet, the book has been frequently challenged. Well, whatever to that, book challenges only make me want to read the books more and it's never stopped me before.

One evening I purchased the book on my Kindle then went to bed. Waiting for the bus, I pulled my Kindle out and began to read, by the next morning I had finished the book.

I sped through it, unable to put it down, and let me tell you - I don't read on the bus because I worry about motion sickness yet I continued reading straight to work. I never got motion sickness, I just enjoyed the book and was that engrossed in it.

Our main character, Junior, is a teenager living on the Spokane Reservation. An artist who likes to express his feelings through his drawings, both portraits and comics, he describes himself as having water on the brain and having very few friends.

He's honest about the negative attributes of different family members which consist of his parents, grandmother and sister but it's still obvious he adores and loves them all. He has a best friend who... well, he isn't the best of best friends but Junior loves him none the less. This teenage boy, just starting High School, is emotional and honest as he makes mistakes and moves along during the school year. He's strong although he sees himself as weak and that strength is truly seen when he makes a decision that seems completely unexpected and daring to those he grew up around on the reservations.

Junior decides he is going to "leave" the reservation. Really he decides to go to a school that isn't within the reservation property but he isn't leaving the reservation completely, no, he still lives at home, he only attends school off "the rez." But with the way everyone reacts you would think that he had moved across the country. This adds to the strength of Junior as a character while he faces ridicule from his neighbors and former friends, the only people who remain by his side seem to be his family.

But adjusting to a new school where he sticks out like a sore thumb and the obvious dislike everyone has for him on the rez aren't the only things that Junior has to face during this year long account of his life. There are other things, more serious things, but even when dealing with tough subjects Alexie handles it with a splash of humor to lighten the tone. Yet, despite that, you never feel that Junior doesn't care about something nor that he makes the event less important. It's still serious and it still may hurt. 

I'm not often one to display emotions when reading. I can absolutely love or hate a book but when reading my face remains blank as my mind is completely in the midst of everything. A handful of times I've cried from a book and even less have I openly laughed. This book, however, had me laughing. I was chuckling right along and when I finished the book I thought it was all too soon. I wanted to go back, I wanted to know more, I wanted to continue following Junior's life and find out what he achieved, if he and his best friend grew close again, what happened with his parents. I wanted all of that and I still do. 

This is a short but fabulous book. Funny, emotional, and entertaining it will grab hold of you and you'll be done before you know it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - August 14th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The sign upon the gates of Le Cirque des RĂªves tonight is a large one, hung with braided ribbon that wraps around the bars just above the lock. The letters are tall enough to be read from some ways off, though people still walk right up to it to read it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Handmaid's Tale

If you have been following (and reading) this blog for some time you'll know that I have a lot of "classics" which I need to read. I've heard of many of these books but I have never had the opportunity to sit down and read them. Well, I'm working on that. Bit by bit I'll read something new for me but old for many others. 

The Handmaid's Tale was one of these books. I bought a used copy several months ago from my favorite used bookstore and have been carrying it around with all intentions of reading it. According to my friends, it's a great book, but also frustrating and sad. I wanted to be prepared to read something like that and at times, when life is already frustrating or sad enough, it's best to read something lighter. 

I found the time to pick up the book recently and fell right in. This book is frustrating, it is sad, and it's also a little scary. Women's rights have often been a topic of political debate and have seemed to become a popular topic again within the past years. With rights given or taken away there are many people with opinions on the matter and this book, in a nutshell, highlights what frightens me the most about people (politicians and men) trying to take control of what I do with my own body. This book isn't simply about the removal of freedom for women but such a controlled government that men do not have much room to make their own mistakes without facing the possibility of trouble either. 

Offred (meaning, "Of Fred" to display the ownership Fred has for this woman) weaves in and out of memories of how things were Before and the way they are Now. She was much like any other woman, went to college, worked a job, fell in love, had a child, until a group attacked the United States, killing the President and Congress, and took over the government. They put strict rules into place, that women were not permitted to work and their only worth was broken down into a few categories: being a wife, being a cook, or having children. If a wife could not have a child this new government would assign a midwife (which is what Offred is) to have a ritual-like sexual intercourse with the husband and hopefully become pregnant. Go against any of the rules that have been set up and you likely will be killed. 

The grim life the people are living is obvious by the comments made by Offred. All the possible objects that could be used by the handmaids to kill themselves have been removed from the rooms and they are often times watched. To remind the people of the power that oversees them, those set to be hanged have their bodies placed on display on The Wall. The women go through grueling "training" where they are essentially led to understand that they must obey and remain silent. They're only cattle to be used for reproduction.

What a horrible world to live in. I can understand why people have always given me a warning when I've said this book was on my to-read list. Still, I was fascinated by the book and Atwood wrote it beautifully. The depressed state Offred lives in, her heart still very much broken but devoted to her child which was taken away from her, and the simplicity of the day to day functions broken by the rambling thoughts of the main character were artfully written. I tried to picture myself in the position of this character and it was painful to do. When a book can leave you emotionally exhausted, you know it was written well. So be warned, this can have the power to leave you blinking and feeling off when you read it. But still, don't let that stop you. It's worth the read and it certainly gives the reader an almost cautious look to the world around them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - August 7th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"There is nothing better than a chicken leg when you haven't eaten (approximately) eighteen-and-a-half hours. And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God."
The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Monday, August 6, 2012

Musing Mondays - August 6th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...
What attracts you to a book blog? What puts you off in a book blog? Do you share personal stuff on your book blog?

My Answer:
What attracts me to a book blog is the availability of book covers in posts and, of course, that it hits on topics of my interest. I'm not going to read a book blog about a slew of genres I have nothing to do with, no offense to the author, simply because those are not the books I am drawn to. If a book blog is too cluttered - a bunch of decals and stuff on both sides and flashing gifs or what have you - I am usually drawn away from the blog. It's too much clutter for me to dig through to get to the main point of it. And for myself, with sharing personal information, I try to limit that. This is my book blog and not a place for the details of my life. I do occassionally write about what I'm up to, especially if it's hindering my ability to update regularly, but I limit how often I do it or place a note of what's going on in my life during my monthly wrap up posts.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Hop - August 3rd

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
When a book goes “viral” (Hunger Games, Fifty Shades, Twilight), do you rush out to read it like everyone else, even if it’s not in your typical genre?

My Answer:
I feel as a book reviewer that I need to balance a thin line between reading for pleasure and reading for reviews. Or to break it down even more, reading a book because it is popular or reading it because I hear good reviews and it happens to be popular. I've typically always have been that person who, have I not been the first to discover something, shun it when it gains popularity because I do not want to be seen as "one of the sheep." This may be a very judgmental point of view but there you have it. And yet, if a book is popular you want to read it and review it because that is of people's interest - if traffic on your book blog is important to you. So I've found myself torn. Do I want to read Fifty Shades of Grey and subsequently want to rip my eyes out just so that I can get a review on my blog? Or do I want to ignore it? I feel that I have found a balance - I only read viral books which catch my interest. Lucky enough for me, I caught onto The Hunger Games and Twilight prior to their relatively big explosion but The Help I nearly dutifully ignored for ages before I finally decided to give it a try. And you know what? I loved it. Personally, and I do feel sometimes other readers do this as well, I think the fact that a book can gain an almost obsessive status for people turns myself (and others) off from it. We don't want people to think we're one of that group. We don't want people to judge what we read. But it really isn't about that. It's about enjoying your reading material. So whether or not a book is viral, pick what interests you, and maybe stay away from the viral books you know you'll dislike. At least this is a rule I am trying to learn to live by.

Delayed July Wrap Up

Oh my goodness, where is 2012 going? I can't believe it's already August and the month snuck up on me so much that I completely missed out on doing a wrap up post. So here we go, better late than never!

Books Reviewed:

Fahrenheit 451 was a mindblowingly great book that I don't understand how I missed reading while in High School or college. Well worth the purchase!
Intangible was a fun break from the more serious Fahrenheit 451 and Revolution. It's a quick read and you should check it out!
Revolution was a decently written book but just didn't fit with what I was looking for.
The Doorknob Society is Harry Potter meets Neverwhere and may even have a touch of steampunk. 

Other Posts:

July was insane for me and I was continuously busy. This kept me from reading and also from writing in here. To sum up all that was going I wrote a post which you can check out here.


With running around and playing a tourist, I decided to post some photos of my adventures and write a little about everything. This won't be updated very often, just when I have the time to talk about another new place I've visited, but there are a lot of places I've visited and many stories to share so please check out Abscond to Wander.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks questions are: 

Overall, what factor most influences your choice of your next read? 
What is it that makes you want to read a book by an author you have never read before?

My Answer:
When deciding what to read next it depends on what is going on at that moment in my life. Currently, I am not allowing myself to buy any new books because I have so many unread books laying around. With that, I'll look over the bookshelf and pick something that I "feel" like reading. I wanted something soft, lovely, and much like a dream recently so I decided to pick up The Pemberley Chronicles. However, if I have a book given to me for a review I will push aside my desire to read for pleasure and pick up the review book instead. Currently, I'm switching back and forth: one pleasure book followed by a banned book so that I may prepare for my Banned Books Week. It's all about my current priorities. Although, after getting my Banned Books Week events taken care of, I'm going to refuse reviews for a month and just read whatever I feel like reading.  
For books by author's I've never read before it all depends on three things: 1) if I have been suggested the book by friends whom I feel have the same tastes as me. 2) the book cover (I know, don't judge a book by its cover and all that) but the cover has to catch my eye! Otherwise I may overlook it in a store 3) what the blurb of the book says and how interesting the first page is. I always read the back of a book and if that catches my attention I'll turn to the first page. Entertaining? Makes me want to know more? Great. Then I'll consider buying it.