Trees of Reverie July Read-A-Thon Day Four

If you could share and recommend only ONE book/series that you’ve read so far in 2015, what would it be?

This prompt is always a tough one for me, because, I mean, I never just have ONE favorite, I have 500. And yes, I’m quoting John Green on that. If there we weren’t passionate about our books, we wouldn’t do this booklr thing, would we?

But, the one book that is outstanding in my mind at this moment, is Five Night Stand by Richard Alley. I JUST received it in the mail a few minutes ago, thanks to the lovely Karielle over at Books ala Mode, and I am so excited to add it to my collection.

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I read Five Night Stand back in May when it was an ARC, and it has been one of my favorites this year by far. Richard Alley writes music into fiction SO WELL. It’s just so beautiful. His characters, too, were amazing. You can read my write up here. Then go pick this one up. You need it in your life, I promise.

Movie Adaptation: The Maze Runner

We finally went to see The Maze Runner this afternoon. This is probably my favorite of the big dystopian action trilogies, so I was pumped when I found out they were making a movie out of it. It’s so much different than the others–violence is not the main component. It’s rough in the Glade, sure. But the guys work together as a team, not to save their own skin. And yes, Dashner did include some females, but romance really doesn’t take much of a role. The goals are teamwork and problem solving and thinking outside the box. All really good things to have in a series about a broken world.

The movie did not disappoint. The casting, first of all, was dead on. I’m not even talking about Dylan O’Brien. He made a great Thomas, yeah. But can we talk about Blake Cooper? A more perfect Chuck could not exist in this world. He was sweet and chubby, just like he was supposed to be. And he had the balls he needed to have to back up the rest of the crew. He was one of those best friends every guy needs. I loved him.

Will Pouter as Gally–Yep. If you’ve read the book before you watch this, you know exactly who he is as soon as the box opens. He’s the absolute hard ass he needs to be. Done. Those eyebrows are scary, man.

And Newt? Um. I feel really dirty about much I liked watching Sam from Love Actually run around with leather packs and spears. Who told him he was allowed to grow up and be this fantastic actor? Couldn’t he at least look a LITTLE different than he did as a kid? All jokes aside, Thomas Brodie-Sangster was a perfect fit for the role, and he did a great job.

The landscaping and set up was really interesting. The maze looked amazing–so complex and industrial. The grievers were so freaking scary, and they really nailed the sound effects to go with them. Everything was right on pointe with how I had imagined it, only better.

I had listened to the soundtrack before seeing the movie, so I already knew it was brilliant. It was hard not to be revved up about it though…James Dashner had been talking about it for weeks on Twitter. If you thought John Green was an author excited about his movie–you should follow Dashner. That guy doesn’t stop. He’s absolutely giddy about this series coming out, and for very good reasons.

Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week!

This is the week where we celebrate the most important thing for those of us who are addicted to the written word:  Freedom to write and express ideas, even if they are unpopular.

Here are the most challenged titles from 2013 (from bannedbooksweek.org):

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

In total there were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013!

I had to take a break from it because I needed to read A Man Called Ove for book club, but I’m in the middle of reading The Name of the Rose, and of course Harry Potter is constantly being reported because of the magic elements.  I’m also still trekking through Anna Karenina.

What banned books are you reading this week?

 

 

Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon: Questionnaire | Part 1

Home sick today, so I’m curled up with R on the couch while he watches the World Cup. Thought I’d take some time and answer these questions, since I can’t concentrate on much else.

  • 01. Where will you be sharing your bookish updates for the Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon? Here! Some of my other challenges on Instagram have also been tagged with the Trees hashtag, if it’s a book I’m reading for this, but for the most part, all of my posts will be on this blog, which also feeds into Tumblr.
  • 02. How did you start book blogging? What got you interested in starting, were there particular blogs that influenced or encouraged your decision? (If you don’t have a book blog, are you interested in starting one?) I was just exploring Tumblr, when I read The Happiness Project. I was seeing book blogs, and I wanted an outlet for book discussion, so I started this. I can’t believe how much feedback I’ve gotten, it’s been so much fun.
  • 03. What’s your ultimate book-inspired holiday? What would you do and would you take anyone with you? Has a particular book or author inspired this? Most of my vacations are more food related than book related, but I do always imagine Italy in an Under the Tuscan Sun sort of way, and France as Julia Child describes it. My vision of countries are very much influenced by the memoirs I’ve read.
  • 04. Which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party and why? Who do you think would get along and what would you talk about? First and foremost, Ernest Hemingway. I would LOVE to have a drink with him. Julia Child is another, because, obviously, she would do the cooking, and I think she would be hilarious. I’d love to hear about her travels as well…and Hemingway and Child might be interesting together actually. They both had pretty “live life to the fullest” perspectives. Jane Austen, because…obviously. George RR Martin so I can get inside his head. I want to know what the heck makes that man tick. John Green, because he’s just SUCH a nerd, and I’d like to have someone to geek out with.
  • 05. What were the last three books you recommended to someone and why did you choose these particular books to recommend? If your last recommendations were a large list shared all at once, then pick three books. The only book I really remember recommending (other than here on the blog) is the Kingkiller Chronicles. I’ve been telling everyone I meet to read that. Most people in real life ask me for book recommendations, then don’t ever take me seriously, because I have such an extensive list. I’m sure I’ve told people to read TFIOS too.
  • 06. Describe your perfect reading experience. Paperback, Hardback or eBook? Genre? Where are you reading? Alone or in company? Indoors or outside? Season? Weather? What time of day? Snacks? Give me a sunny, just warm day, in the shade. Preferably alone, but maybe somewhere I can watch people. A bottle of wine opened on the table, with some good cheese to munch on. A fantastic old book, well worn with that musty old smell.
  • 07. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. What are your thoughts on negative comments and reviews on books? Does it make a difference for you if they involve any constructive criticism or feedback? The interesting thing about the book blogging community is that we all get a different experience from the books we read. It’s like tasting wine. No one person is going to taste the same glass of wine the same. We all have a different perspective. It is ok to disagree. That said, I think sometimes, the disagreement turns into hate, and that’s not ok with me. There is a difference between conversation and persecution. We need to be careful in how we treat our fellow bloggers. I would much rather see this community as a place of friendship than a place of war.
  • 08. What would your ultimate dream book collection include? What would it look like and how would you arrange your books? I’ve always dreamed of having one of those really old school Victorian smoking jacket studies. You know what I’m talking about. Where the lord of the manor would retire in the evening to his brandy, amongst his wood paneled shelves with books rising to the ceiling. They were a thing of awe. At least in our imagination today. Ever since I saw the Beast’s library (which was white instead of brown), I have wanted a library like that. 
  • 09. What are your biggest book-related pet peeves? Why do these things bother you more than others? I am very contradictory when it comes to my books. I break my spines, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a well loved book. It needs to feel good in my hands. But, I will absolutely NEVER NEVER NEVER ruin the pages with ink. That is an abominable sin in my eyes. And I will never buy a used book that has been inked. (Which was really sad because I found a copy of The Great Gatsby the other day for $1…only to find someone had underlined over half the book…for SHAME!) I also use bookmarks instead of dogears.
  • 10. What are some of your favourite things about people who read books? These may be generalisations or relate to a specific person. I love how we all just geek out over the smallest details. I always thought it was just me, until I discovered this wonderful community online. Hermoine’s dress was BLUE not PINK. Arya has LINES in this scene, you idiots. We memorize not just quotes, but “insignificant” characters’ names, eye color, birthdays. We know who dies when and how and why. We know what author is going to be in what city and how to get in to see them. And we are obsessive about collecting not just books, but the specific copies of books in a series so everything matches on our shelves. And even though many of us are introverts, get us talking about the books we love, and we will not shut up.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I will confess that Indian culture is not one I know much about. I’m learning more, since I work with some wonderful people in Bangalore, but it is such a diverse and vibrant country.

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When I saw that the Nerdfighters were reading Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, I jumped on the bandwagon, hoping to learn more about Mumbai and the Muslim side of Indian culture. What I got was a massive awakening to a very impoverished side of things. This is not the colorful Bollywood India we imagine here in America. Boo is writing about the slums and corrupted politics, collecting garbage for money, and attempted suicide. There is no pretty picture here.

I would love to say I connected deeply with the people Boo writes about, and the problems they face, that I was deeply moved by this book. But I wasn’t. I wanted to be, honestly, but I felt very disconnected. I think it is because the writing was very journalistic and disjointed for me. Sometimes it felt like a narrative, sometimes it was magazineish…I just didn’t really care for the style and it never really hooked me.

I think that it is a very important subject matter, and there is some good stuff here that people need to be aware of. I just don’t think it was as well done as it could have been. At least for someone not already informed or intune to that part of the world. Bring me into the heart of it, draw me in. I need to feel it.

The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway is one of those authors that has SUCH a distinguishing sort of author’s voice. Of course, it doesn’t help that I didn’t start reading him until after I watched Midnight in Paris, where he is so well played by Corey Stoll. When I read A Farewell to Arms, I immediately heard Stoll’s rendition of Hemingway throughout the book, and I continued to hear it in Jake’s narration of The Sun Also Rises.

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I didn’t care for this book as well as Farewell. The story just didn’t click as much. I think for me, the characters were just annoying and trivial. Whiney and drunk, with no purpose. Though I suppose, that’s how Hemingway lived most of his life in Paris, so that makes sense. At least Farewell was about love and war.

Throughout this book, I couldn’t help but compare Brett to one of John Green’s little pixie dream girls. She was the only girl around, she was the center of attention all the time, EVERYONE was in love with her, of course. She was always drunk and depressed. Her only role in the book seemed to make the guys fight and fawn all over her. I wanted her to be so much more than that.

I know Hemingway was trying to make a metaphor with the bulls and steers and the unwanted Cohn. Maybe I just don’t understand bull-fighting in Spain enough, but it went over my head.

This one might take another reread or two before I fully comprehend it. I still love Hemingway’s voice, something about it just flows with me. But, this one had a lot more dialogue, and a lot less substance than Farewell, at least to me.

Favorite Author

What is my favorite author?

Is that a trick question?

I don’t have one.

Yes, I’m serious.

Source:  The Relentless Reader

I don’t have one. I have several. Austen, Hemingway, Wolfe. Michael Cunningham. Regina McBride. Ann Patchett. Wilde has now been added to the list. Countless authors who I’ve only read one of their books but I loved with a passion, and they are on my Goodreads list to read more and I just haven’t gotten back to them yet. John Green up there is probably on that list too now.

Why can’t I narrow it down to just one? Geez. They all have different qualities that I love. Every book is different and each means something to me at a different point in my life. And every time I reread them, I love them in different ways.

It would be like picking a favorite topping on my pizza, or a favorite beer.

And yes, I know some people like ONLY pepperoni, and ONLY Bud Lite. That is so totally not my style. Sometimes I want mushrooms and a Belgian. And sometimes I want hot peppers and a red ale. Or maybe a porter, or a triple or….dammit now I want a beer.

It’s almost the long weekend folks!

 

The Liebster Award

My new bloggy-type friend Allex tagged me in this thingy last week and, because I’m me, I COMPLETELY forgot about it! I probably induced some horrible “chain-mail” curse and I’m going to die a horrible death in 7 years or something. Does that still happen?

Aaaaaaanyway, The Liebster Award is a chance for bloggers to give a shout-out to their favorite internet people, and also get to know one another in the process. We spend so much time writing our blogs, it’s nice to hear that people are actually reading it! And for me–my favorite part of all of this is getting to know a few of you as more than just the gifs that we trade back and forth.

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The Official Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers.  (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

So, Thank you Allex for your nomination! I’m glad we are becoming blogger friends, and I hope it continues! And everyone reading this needs to go check out her stuff! She’s pretty awesome.

11 Facts About Myself:

1. I collect pigs. Stuffed Pigs, Ceramic Pigs, Piggy Banks, you name it. I even have a set of wooden three-legged salt & pepper shakers, salt pig, and guacamole bowl. I don’t know why they only have three legs…they fall over a lot.

2. I am an obsessive journaler. I write every thing down, from quotes of the books I’m reading, to random things people say at work. I keep a three ring binder per year, and my journal is more of a scrapbook than a diary.

3. I’m a really great cook, but I’m really lazy about it. It’s just so much effort.

4. My husband introduced me to baseball, and I am becoming a fanatic about it. Like seriously, he’s created a monster, and I can’t stop.

5. I absolutely do not understand politics. I have some things I believe in, but when it comes to public policy or financial stuff, I just can’t grasp it.

6. I have an enormous fear of math. A legitimate phobia. My brain completely freezes up and I cannot move or think. Also, heights.

7. Someday I want to travel to all the greatest food cultures in the world. I have a list of everything I want to eat and where.

8. I have a 16 year old cat named Smokey, Diva Kitty Queen of the Heavens.

9. I’m running out of things to say about myself.

10. I cried once after too much wine, when my sister told me they were making another Harry Potter movie.

11. I get really cranky if I can’t read at all in a day. I need a little bit of introvert time or I run out of juice.

 

Allex’s 11 Questions:

  1. Do you listen to music when reading, or do you prefer silence? Most of the time, I read in silence. Right now it is raining, which is lovely. If I have music on at all, it’s lyricless–classical or soundtracks.
  2. What book did you not like when you first read it, but liked the second time (or vice versa)? The Giver, which I’ve blogged about twice now, actually. I hated it in high school, but loved it when I reread it recently! 
  3. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation? It’s a TV show, but Game of Thrones. When I read the series, I kept thinking, “These characters NEED to be on a screen.” And I was right. Now that I’m watching it now, I feel like I need to go back and reread the books.
  4. What is your least favorite? Probably Divergent. At least recently. They just took too many liberties with it.
  5. Would you rather die unexpectedly and sudden, or from a long-term illness? GOOD QUESTION. Probably suddenly. The anticipation would drive me crazy, and I’m not sure I would be strong enough to handle the pain.
  6. Bang, marry, kill: Jane Austen, John Green, George RR Martin? Jane needed a good bang, John’s interesting enough for long term, and George needs a taste of his own medicine.
  7. Other than books, is there anything else that you geek out about? Oh god…everything? Sherlock, Hannibal, GOT. To name a few. Funny, those are all based on books. I’m completely addicted to Tumblr. My husband and I are also really interested in craft beer, and visit a lot of breweries.
  8. What high school book did you not really read, but say that you did? I don’t really claim to read anything I haven’t. I am working through the classics that I’ve never read though. My school didn’t focus on those.
  9. Which fictional character would you want to be best friends with and why? Probably Elizabeth Bennett or Jo from Little Women, that sort of person. One of those strong classic women who took no shit.
  10. Which childhood-actor-to-disaster-area was most tragic for you to watch? Meh. Not really my thing. 
  11. What are your thoughts about cheese? This is hilarious. Did you see my blog today? I actually posted a poem ABOUT CHEESE. It’s pretty much my favorite thing.

My Nominations:

1. Katherine from letyourvoicebenerd

2. Lauren from Bitten and Written

3. Monika from voirdansmoname

4. Michael from MoeJoe

5. Bethany from Writing Madness

 

My Questions:

1. What is your least favorite genre, and why?

2. What book have you reread the most? How many times?

3. Do you have a favorite reading spot?

4. Who is your favorite hero/heroine?

5. What reading challenges are you doing/have done this year?

6. What do you collect…besides books of course!

7. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

8. Has Tumblr/blogging affected your reading?

9. Best book you read last year

10. What are you reading now?

11. Would you rather be by a fireplace, or swimming pool?

 

 

Paper Towns

Speaking of John Green…

Paper Towns

I just finished Paper Towns. Like all of his books, this is yet another emotional roller coaster, with a bit of a road trip built in. At this point, after reading four of his books, I feel like I know what I’m getting when I pick up a JG YA novel.

1. A smallish group of high school friends

2. An emotional compromised situation

3. Some sort of match to light a fire in the situation

4. A big FUCK YOU ending

This one had a lot of similarities to Looking for Alaska, in that one of the main characters were 1) an off beat, moody teenage girl who no one really understands, and 2) an awkward, nerdy boy “hero” who is in love with said off beat moody teenage girl. Girl causes catastrophe at end of school year.

Similar themes, but different situations, and Paper Towns was not nearly as emotionally charged, in my opinion. I didn’t feel like throwing the book out the window nearly as much as I did at the end of LFA. Still a great book though!

Favorite Young Adult

It’s funny, when I was a Young Adult, I completely skipped over that whole section of the library. I thought I was “too good” for that little corner of our small town county library–and it really was just a corner back then. The children’s section was huge–almost as big as the rest of the library. The room was painted by a famous local muralist, all done up with trees and kids reading and going on adventures. It was beautiful, probably still is. There were shelves and shelves of kid’s books, reading areas, even chapter books–where I found my Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club, and of course, American Girl. But, there were just two corner shelves, tucked away, of Young Adult/Teen. Because back then, no one really wrote those kinds of books. There were two little chairs by the window, and that’s really it. It seems to me, in the last few years, that there has been an explosion in Young Adult writing. Between Dystopian, Fantasy, Vampires, and whatever classification John Green gets, that section is blowing up. Maybe it’s just getting more notoriety because the writing is better, or maybe teens really are reading more. I sure hope it’s the latter, and not that I’m just noticing the genre in my old age of 27. 3636 All that to say…right now my favorite Young Adult book/series, is actually an oldie. Lois Lowry’s The Giver. I read it back in high school as a mandatory classroom read, and as most of those, because we crept through it chapter by chapter, I hated it. Now that I am rereading the series, I am loving it. You can see my review of it and Gathering Blue here, and The Messenger. I have a lot of books in the queue right now, but hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on the fourth and final book The Son soon!