Monday, September 29, 2014

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

It is time again for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and The Bookish!  

This week's theme is: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read 

The reason why each of these book was difficult is different, but here we go! 

1. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway:  Being a huge fan of literature, I was one of the few kids who got excited when a new book was announced for English class at school. I had heard wonderful things about Hemingway, and here it was, the first of his books I was to read.  

And it will be the last! Reading this book was like chugging down some NyQuil just as I cracked it open.  There were times when I LITERALLY would start reading and wake up hours later, only to discover I hadn't even read a page.  I struggled through this snore-fest only to be disappointed at how lame it all turned out. I got nothing from this book but a few unexpected naps.

2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: Unlike The Old Man and The Sea, I LOVED this book!  But I struggled with the language. It was complicated and the book was long.  It took me over a year to read this.

3. Rabbit at Rest by John Updike: In an attempt to read through all the fiction Pulitzer Prize winners, I ran across this gem.....and hated it.  I thought it was gross and pointless. 

4. The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne: This book was rather boring, but more than that, the way it was written was weird.  It was like Hawthorne was trying way too hard.

5. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy: I love true crime books and even fictional books based on true crimes.  Its so fascinating!  I was thrilled when I picked up this book.  Sadly, it was a long book of muddling through a cop soap opera that had very little to do with the actual crime.

6. Stiff by Mary Roach: This is a fantastic book, but considering the topic, it made me a bit queasy from time to time.

7. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane: I read this one for book club and hated it.  It was confusing and boring. I hated that he didn't call the characters by names except for occasionally, which just got confusing.

8. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: This book made me mad because I thought the girl who died had some valid reasons to send the tapes and some very not-even-close-to-valid-borderline-mean reasons to send the tapes to different people, including the main character of the book and a girl who was raped. Thanks for spilling her secret.  Seriously, you don't do that. 

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I liked the book, but WOW was it filled with a ridiculous amount of language a sheer-utter evil.

10. Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich:  I have ranted about this book a lot but to sum it up: claims to be non-fiction, but really its more of a fictitious tale of a non-loveable (despite the author trying) douche-bag.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Making Up For Monday: Book Writing

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question: If you could or are writing a book, what would you want it to be about? 

As a "wanna be writer", I have quite I few projects I am either working on, or would like to work on someday.  Here they are: 

1. I want to write a book that plays out like a murder mystery dinner. 

2. I want to write a non-fiction book about what lower level employees are looking for in a boss and what kind of boss gets better results. 

3. I would like to write a memoirs at some point. 

4. I would like to write a book of nothing but stories of my family growing up so we could hand that down to my kids and so forth. 

5. I would like to write a book about Beauty and the Beast but from Gaston's perspective (like Wicked). 

What about you? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Banned Books Week!

It's banned book week so I decided to make a list of some of my all time favorite banned book!

Catch-22: This book was banned several times for language and because it had references to women as "whores". In Heller's defense, the women he called "whores" were hookers, so the shoe kind of fit. (Source)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: This book was banned for the use of the N-word and the controversy over whether or not it was racist or anti-racist. Jim and the word slavery were actually removed from a 1955 CBS representation of the book. How short was that representation?  How does that even work? (Source)

The Goosebumps Series: This was considered too frightening for young people and depicting occult or satanic themes. These books were a huge part of why I got into reading, so it baffles me. (Source)

The Great Gatsby: This was banned for language (hell and son-of-a-bitch) and sexual references in the book (the implied affair). However, if you were to take those things out, the book loses all meaning. (Source)

In Cold Blood: This was banned for language and graphic scenes. It's about real life murders, so.....yeah....awkward. What was he supposed to do, not talk about the murders? Silly people. Newspapers reported on the murders, so should they be banned?  (Source)

James and the Giant Peach: This lovely childhood story was banned for inappropriate language, encouraging disobedience to parents, references to drugs and alcohol, and because it contains "magical elements".  This book is so great for kids who grew up in rough environment or who have lost a parent. Are we just supposed to tell stories of well-behaved children with perfect parents?  Man, those would be BORING books! (Source)

A Light in the AtticThis book of fun filled children's poems was banned because of  the poem "How Not To Have To Dry The Dishes" which of course encourages messiness and disobedience and the poem "Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony" for describing the death of a girl after her parents refuse to buy her a pony. Obviously these should be banned.....NOT!  Come on people, have a sense of humor! (Source)

Of Mice and Men: This book was banned due to the promotion of euthanasia, racial slurs, being anti- business, and containing offensive language. Because we all know that THAT was the point of the story. Geez, did you even READ the book? George didn't kill Lennie because he believed he should be euthanized.  He killed him to save him from being tortured in a matter of minutes. It's like killing a wounded animal to save it from suffering. that sounds like euthanizing, but it wasn't the point.  (Source)

Lord of the Flies: This was banned because of the excessive violence and bad language. Well, its about war time and survival, so....yeah. (Source)

Slaughterhouse-Five: This was banned for the use profanity and because it depicts sex. Well, that isn't inaccurate, but again, you are missing the point of the book. Its about war and how it affects people.  It isn't going to be pretty. (Source)

To Kill a Mockingbird: This book was banned for racial slurs, profanity, and frank discussion of rape. Nevermind the fact that the book is teaching a young girl why all of these things are inappropriate. (Source)

And finally, one of the most commonly challeneged or banned books.....
The Harry Potter series: Apparently the novels contain occult or Satanic subtexts. As a Christian, I whole-heartedly disagree with this assessment. Stop taking everything so seriously! (Source)

So there you have it.  If you want to write a book that doesn't get banned, write about well-behaved children who have loving and kind parents, who love God, who never use their imaginations, and who never encounter anything negative ever.  Because that sounds like a GREAT book.  Not. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List

It's that time again! It's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's theme is:   Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List

Here we go!

1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: I have heard way too many good things about this book to keep putting off reading it!

2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: I really want to read by Gaiman and this comes highly recommended. 

3. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishigur: I read one book by Ishiguro and really enjoyed it so I figured I should read a second. 

4. American Tabloid by James Ellroy: I hated the Black Dahlia but want to give Ellroy another chance.

5. Looking for Alaska by John Green: I am trying to decide if I really like John Green's books, or if I just like John Green.

6.  Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga:  I have got to finish this series already!

7. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr:  My book club is reading this so I definitely will read it soon.

8. The Most Dangerous Animal by Gary Stewart: My husband got this for my birthday so I really want to tackle it now.

9. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan:  Another series to finish! I'm already on the waiting list at the library.

10. Gray Mountain by John Grisham: Also already on hold at the library. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Making Up For Monday: Book Chats

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question: Who is your favorite person to talk to about books? 

This is an easy one for me:  My Dad. 

Amazingly the only picture I could find of us was the day I moved out
My dad and I both listen to books on CD while working, so we both go through books rather quickly. We have pretty similar taste in books too and tend to follow each others' recommendations. He may not like some of my favorites and vice versa, but we always have lively conversation about the books, which I love. 

When I was first in college, I took an English class and we read Walden by Henry David Thoreau.  It was the first time I remember a teacher actually wanting us to write papers, in depth, on whether or not we agreed with the author. Not only was I the only one in the class who disagreed with Thoreau, but one of the few she said she had ever encountered.  When I realized my father also disagreed with Thoreau, I realized that he probably had the greatest influence on my literary taste. 

So what about you?  Do you have a preferred book chatting buddy? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remember Me? 3 Stars

Remember Me? by Sophia Kinsella

What would you do if you hit your head and woke up in a hospital three years later? You haven't been in a coma for three years; you just have selective amnesia. This happens to Lexi Smart is Sophia Kinsella's chick lit book, Remember Me? Not only can Lexi not remember the last three years of her life, but she seems to have hit it big.  She's has money, a hot hubby, and her teeth have been fixed.  She is much thinner as well. She feels like she woke up to her dream life, but soon begins to notice that things may not be as wonderful as they appear. As Lexi puts together the missing pieces of her life, she begins to see things she wishes she did not.

Another fun read from Kinsella!  Remember Me?, like most of Kinsellas books, would make a wonderful chick flick. Its a fun and entertaining book that keeps you wondering how Lexi will resolve her life. 

I will say that I became quite concerned that Kinsella was going to take this book in a direction that I wasn't sure I could stomach.  But she did a phenomenal job of taking the book a different direction.  Good job! 

Rating: PG-13

Recommended for those who enjoy: chick lit, humor, family drama, and sassy female protagonists.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's theme: Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

1. Michael Lewis:  I read and loved Moneyball.  My husband has read and loved The Big Short and highly recommends it, so I figure I should read it. 

 2. Kazuo Isiguro:  I thought Never Let Me Go was a moving and thought-provoking book. The Remains of the Day is another one I'd love to try out.

3. Alexandre Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite all time books.  I'd love to read Three Musketeers.

4. Neil Gaiman: I read the book he wrote with Terry Pratchett and would love to read more from him.  But where to start?  Any recommendations?

5. Erik Larson: After reading The Devil in the White City, I went out and bought Thunderstruck, but haven't read it yet.

6. Ned Vizzini: It's Kind of a Funny Story was a very interesting book on depression. I am wondering if his other books address the same topic.

7. Michael Shaara: I read The Killer Angels since it was a Pulitzer Prize winner and really enjoyed it.  He also wrote For Love of The Game and I would like to read that.

8. Kathryn Stockett: I enjoyed The Help, but I don't think she has written any other books.

9. Jennifer Egan: A Visit From the Goon Squad was entertaining and unique.  I would love to read some of her other work.

10. Barry Lyga: I need to read the rest of the I Hunt Killer series!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Making up For Monday: Killer Anticipation

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
What book that hasn't been released yet are you most anticipating?

I have such a long "to be read" list with hundreds of books that are already out, so I don't typically look for books that haven't been released yet. That being said, I have two that I can hardly wait for their release.

The first is The Blood of Olympus, the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series.  This is Rick Riordan's final book about the hero Percy Jackson. There was a rumor that Riordan claimed that not all of the seven would survive, but it looks like that may have been a hoax.  I can't find proof of either one, so I guess I will find out when I read the book.

The second book I am waiting for is the second in the Veronica Mars series, Mr. Kiss and Tell. Being a huge fan of the TV series, I went and saw the movie the week it came out and did a little happy dance when Logan appeared in full marine uniform (beautiful!). The announcement of the book series meant that my love for Veronica, Wallace, Mac and Logan could continue.

What book has you eager for it's arrival?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Robinson Crusoe: 3 Stars

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

This is the ultimate child rebellion book. Robinson's parents want him to grow up, get an education, and become a lawyer.  Robinson wants to travel the world. In the 17th century, defying your parents and society wasn't as common or as easy as it is today. But Robinson did it. He boarded a ship and left his home without getting his parent's blessing.  Little did he know that the adventure he looked for, he would get tenfold.

After one shipwreck, you would think that Robinson would decide against heading to sea, but instead he heads right back out on another ship, only to be captured by pirates and enslaved. After escaping slavery, Robinson is able to get land and live in Brazil.  But his taste for the sea has not been satisfied still. 

After years of living on his plantation, Robinson decides that it is time to set sail again, and this time, the result is far worse.  The ship wrecks and Robinson is stranded on a an island all alone.  Or at least he thinks he's alone. He eventually finds out that there others on the island as well, but not exactly the friendliest of people. They are cannibals.

Robinson ends up rescuing a man from the cannibals who doesn't speak English.  He names him Friday and thus begins one of the greatest bromances in all of literature. Robinson teaches Friday English and teaches him about Christianity.  They two grow close and end up saving more people from the cannibals. Eventually they escape the island and Robinson heads home, decades after he left.With his family long gone, Robinson moves back to his plantation in Brazil with his best friend.

This book was entertaining and funny.  I struggled quite a bit with how it was written. I felt like Defoe focused so much on the mundane details and not as much on the action a I would have liked. The reason for this had far more to do with the social practices of the time the book was written. The majority of these practices are dead, thus making the details of things (like the origins of the name Crusoe) very boring to read about. But, alas, this is one of the perils of reading literature that is hundreds of years old. 

At the end of the day, the story is very entertaining and engaging. 

Rating: PG

Recommended for those who enjoy: action, adventure, pirates, and classics.