Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Review of "The Wild Things' by Dave Eggers (Audio Book)

 "Loosely based on Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book Where the Wild Things Are, Dave Eggers's novel follows the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can't control.  His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, and his sister is becoming a teenager.  At the same time, he finds himself capable of startling acts of wildness: he wears a wolf suit and he bites his mom.  During a fight at home, Max flees and runs away into the woods.  He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown.  He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon becomes their king.  But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them."

I didn't really read Maurice Sendak when I was a kid (my grandma thought 'Where the Wild Things Are' was too scary for us when we were in daycare, which, for me, was between six months of age and eighth grade... yep.  That just happened).  I was more of an 'Arthur' person.

Any way, once I did get a chance to read the original children's book and saw the movie that was based on both the original and this book, but mostly this book, I was in love.  So when I went to the big library in my city, I did a silent squeal and a happy dance because I loved the movie so much and I really wanted to read the adapted book that the movie was based on.

Max was a lot more wild in this book than the original, but I think that's mainly because Dave Eggers had more time to develop this story further.  It really worked for this book.  Dave Eggers did a great job considering how limiting adapting a children's book for teens and adults can be.  He created a world that I cared about and I really cared about Max as the story carried on and he was dealing with the Wild Things.

It was a little difficult to listen as Max tried to rule over the Wild Things and have to deal with an assortment of really strong and immutable personalities.  One Wild Thing didn't like sailing, two of them hated each other with a passion (they each hated when Max went off with the other).

This is about a boy who struggles to make sense of and master the world at such a young age.  To me, this book says that it's impossible to control everything, especially when you're young and don't understand things as adults do.

Overall, this was a very well-written, imaginative completion of Maurice Sendak's original children's story.

I give 'The Wild Things':
Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Review of 'All These Things I've Done' by Gabrielle Zevin

"From the author of the critically acclaimed 'Elsewhere' comes this brilliant novel about an impossible romance, a family living outside the law, and the ties that forever bind us.

Chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is increasingly scarce, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty.  And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine-- going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant DA's son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend.  That is until someone in her inner circle ends up poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame.  Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight-- at school, in the news, and, most important, within her mafiya family.

Engrossing and suspenseful, 'All These Things I've Done' is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic."

I was really excited to read this because I'm such a big fan of Gabrielle Zevin and her writing.

I loved Scarlet and Win-- they were the most loyal characters in the book, willing to risk life and limb for Anya and her family.  Nana was also an enjoyable character, even though it was physically impossible for her to get up and do something for her grandkids.  As as much as I liked these characters, I think my absolute favorite character was Leo.  Because of a car accident he was in earlier (not in this book), Leo suffered brain damage and now he has a harder time grasping conceptualizing the world.  But compared with the other characters, I think he was more three-dimensional than anya, Gable, or any of the other characters I mentioned above.

There were a lot of subplots in this book.  There was the murder of the Balanchine crime boss (Leo Sr.), the staggering Balanchine chocolate empire, the crumbling world around them, and the relationships Anya has with the other characters.  At times, it felt like there were too many things going on and other times, one of more subplots felt too underdeveloped.  To put it generally, Anya would try and do something but the way that thing was done or the problem was resolved was anticlimactic.  It happens, I guess.

I like the concept of the story-- Crime family attempts to stay in control of a niche in the black market.  Essentially, a mafia family.  It's a really neat idea.  Unfortunately, I felt that this book fell short of its potential.  Don't get my wrong, it's still an engaging and interesting read, but compared to 'Elsewhere,' it wasn't as good.

I give 'All These Things I've Done':
Thanks for Reading!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goodbye, Blogosphere!

Alas, my kitty won't be able to come with me... perhaps next time, Quincy!

The time has finally come!  I am leaving for France!  I have a few scheduled posts to tide you over, but not all of the ones that I started.  So I'll have several posts where I share music with you and videos that I have made that I haven't already shared with you on this blog!

On another note, I plan to do daily vlogs while I am abroad.  Upon my return, I will gradually upload them and put them on my travel blog with a little something written to follow it.  I can't wait to share some (hopefully) amazing pictures, videos, and stories with you all upon my return (and I will try to to begin each blog spot with, "When I was in France...")

Au revoir!  A plus tard!  Bisous!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Movie Time! 'The Shawshank Redemption'

"Framed in the 1940s for the double murder of his wife and her lover, upstanding banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) begins a new life at the Shawshank prison, where he puts his accounting skills to work for an amoral warden (Bob Gunton).  During his long stretch in prison, Dufresne comes to be admired by the other inmates-- including an older prisoner named Red (Morgan Freeman)-- for his integrity and unquenchable sense of hope."

This is one of those movies that you could easily see several times.  Maybe it's the thought of getting a second chance in life or taking an interest in something that's yours that makes this movie so enticing.  Whatever it is that draws you in, it's the unbelievable amount of corruption that exists in Shawshank that keeps you interested and causes feelings of incredulous awe and shock.

What I found most interesting was how the prison functioned as a sort of city.  It's not at all like I imagined a prison could be like.

It was amazing to see the amount of effort put in to the play by the men who were forcibly confined there.  Andy's efforts in building one of the greatest prison libraries, putting his banking and number-crunching skills and knowledge to work (for benign and malevolent purposes).

What was startling was the corruption.  People died in this prison, and no necessarily from old age or because of the other inmates, but because of the brutality of the people in charge.  It was horrific and frightening.

This movie is just as uplifting as it is violent and corrupt, but that's only part of what makes it so good.  The characters are excellent too!  Each is so different.  Most claim to be innocent-- that they were framed or wrongfully convicted.  They aren't (all) bloodthirsty.  They're people trying to keep their minds busy in a place that initially didn't allow them to do anything but work, sleep, and read the bible.  Andy Dufresne is relatively quiet, yet outspoken when he needs to be, Red is crafty and honest... those are the two main inmates.  The warden is God-fearing, unforgiving, and under the surface, utterly psychotic.  The guards are sadistic.  There are two opposing sides and they are laid out quite well.

The ending was exciting and uplifting.  It's probably one of my favorites!

You will like this movie if you don't mind film violence, if you love the concept of triumph over evil, and if you like a clever movie.

Thanks for Reading!  There are still many reviews to come!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hey, It's the Middle of the Week and It's Almost Time to Go!

So, I leave for France in four days.

This week is really crazy-- crazy awesome, crazy cool, crazy busy.

There are so many things to do when you're traveling while still in school (and not studying abroad, though I haven't set out to do that just yet).  On top of the usual packing and making sure you have everything you're going to possibly need while you're gone, you need to go to each and every one of your teachers, tell them what's up, and ask for the assignments that you'll be missing while you're away and taking care of things that need to be taken care of.  For example, I retook a test today and I have one that's going to be administered while I'm gone, so I have to take it this Friday instead.  Tonight, I will be completing a statistics review and finish two 100 point AP biology packets.  Are you jealous?

Most of my other teachers have been very good about not giving assignments while I'm gone or helping me to figure out a way to get them done beforehand.  for example, my Holocaust teacher has me getting started on a book project (it's reading.  You guys know how much I hate that, right?  -sarcasm-) and taking pictures of anything related to the Holocaust.  Actually, he directed me a to place outside of Paris-- Drancy.  Who knew there used to be a concentration camp there?  I certainly didn't at the time.  For French (yep, I have assignments on a France trip from my French teacher) my assignment is to enjoy the culture!  For everyone that's going to go on the trip, we're supposed to take the pictures that we took and make a PowerPoint out of them.  I won't put that here, because I'll be detailing my trip day-by-day (after my return) on my Travel Blog.  I'll just link you guys to that if you're interested in knowing how everything went down.  Same with Washington D.C., though that won't be as big of an undertaking.

I'm basically all ready to leave.  I mock-packed my suitcase (though I haven't really unpacked it since the weekend... I call it "practice").  I put in all of my clothes, all of my toiletries, and all of the presents I'm bringing for my host family and for my friend Marie's family.  All of this in a suitcase that is less than 22" high.  My suitcase weighs 30 pounds and I'm able to lift it up over my head and run with it!  The only things I forgot to put in are another pair of shoes and some socks-- light stuff!

I've been talking to my three people in France a lot.  My host sister, mostly to get information on what I should bring, what I'll potentially be doing, attempting to get to know her a little bit better before I meet her in person, etc.  With my friend Clementine, we are trying to collaborate with my host family to see if I could possibly see her one afternoon while I'm only an hour away from where she lives.  Certainly, I'd love to spend more time together because we bonded very well two summers ago, but I will have to make another trip there later in life.  I'm already planning a second trip and I haven't even been there once!  With Marie and her family, we're trying to figure out where to pick me up, what we're doing on Friday and Saturday (I know I'm going to school on Friday and visiting Versailles on Saturday, which will be very exciting because it looks like such a beautiful place and my group doesn't get to go with me).

On top of that, I have a second trip to prepare for, but again, this won't be such a huge undertaking.  It's a five day trip and most of it is spent on the bus en route to either Washington D.C. or Minneapolis, depending on what day it is.  I'm planning on going to the Holocaust museum for sure, but if you've been there, what would you suggest that I visit?

Besides the two trips and taking care of everything at school, I have this blog to worry about.  I have a number of reviews that I must write and videos that I must edit, upload, and schedule in posts.  I also have friends that want to hang out before I leave and they won't see me for three weeks.  I'm teaching a friend of mine how to blog on Saturday!  As soon as he's created one, I will link his blog in another post!

Well, that's all for me.  I just wanted to update you and explain my absence and robotronic scheduled posts at 3:00pm almost every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Unfortunately, these things won't be put back to normal for three weeks and then there will (hopefully) be an explosion of posts, excitement, and rainbows!

I hope you are all having a lovely week and thank you very much for reading!


P.S. I almost forgot to mention that my One-Act play is going to be performed :D!!!!

A Review of 'The Laramie Project' by Moises Kaufman (Tectonic Theater Project)

"On October 7, 1998, a young gay man was discovered bound to a fence in the hills outside Laramie, Wyoming, savagely beaten and left to die in an act of brutality and hate that shocked the nation.  Matthew Shepard's death became a national symbol of intolerance, but for the people of Laramie the vent was deeply personal, and it is their voices we hear in this stunningly effective theater piece.

Moises Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over the course of a year and a half in the aftermath of the beating and conducted more than 200 interviews with people of town.  From these interviews as well as their own experiences, Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater members have constructed a deeply moving theatrical experience.  'The Laramie Project' chronicles the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder, using eight actors to embody more than sixty different people in their own words-- from rural ranchers to university professors.  The result is a complex portrayal that dispels the simplistic media stereotypes and explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable."

I really want to see this performed.  My friend Ezra and I have talked about this moment in history quite a bit.  The fact that people would actually harm or even kill someone over something like sexual identity makes both of us sick to our stomachs.

Before reading this play, I kind of knew what to expect.  I knew what had happened to Matthew Shepard, but I didn't know what happened at the various trials and hearings that followed.  I didn't realize that he didn't officially die while tied to that fence.  I didn't realize that Matt was in college (when Ezra and I were talking, I had a picture in my head of a boy maybe sixteen or seventeen).
I liked how this play shows all sorts of perspectives-- I'm not talking about over sixty characters played by a cast of eight people, but the general "For" and "Against" perspectives.  Though the "Against" perspective made me angry and drove me crazy the entire I was reading this, I think that it was really important to show.  It made Laramie, Wyoming a real place for those who weren't previously aware of the town.  

I love that this entire script is made up of bits and pieces of over 200 interviews.  It's like the town of Laramie is writing their own story, which I found and still find quite awesome.

If you like books about change, forgiveness, and hope, this is a book for you!

This script was difficult to read, so I can only imagine what this would be liked performed.  I give "The Laramie Project":
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Review of 'As I Lay Dying' by William Faulkner

"'As I Lay Dying' was a tour de force, William Faulkner claims: 'I simply imagined a group of people and subjected them to the simple universal natural catastrophes, which are flood and fire with a simple natural motive to give direction to their progress.'  This 1930 novel is anything but simple, however.  At its heart is the Bundren family's bizarre journey to bury Addie, their wife and mother.  Faulkner lets each family member-- including the dead Addie herself-- and others along the way tell this story.  As they talk, they reveal what Addie calls her own 'secret and selfish though'-- their private reasons for undertaking the perilous journey to bury her.  'As I Lay dying' is a dazzling display of Falkner's virtuosity with the English language as well as an extraordinary examination of the essential loneliness at the core of their Mississippi family.

Boy what a trip this book was.  When I say 'trip,' I mean 'piece of work.'  Earlier this year, I and three of my classmates in my Intro to Literature class last semester opted to teach this entire book in an hour or less.  This included plot summary, leitmotifs, symbols, themes...the whole nine yards.  We picked this book thinking that it was going to be a piece of cake.  We couldn't have been more wrong.

The plot itself isn't hard to figure out.  It's a family bringing their deceased wife and mother to Jefferson to be buried.  It's everything in between that just makes you stop for a moment and stare at the page.  At least, that's what I did.

What I found most interesting was the symbolism and themes rather than the story itself.  It was almost like a treasure hunt when I was looking for animals that represented Addie and following the toolbox that represented stability within an impoverished family.

I feel terrible "dissing" this really well-known writer, but this book just wasn't my cup of tea.  The plotlessness just kind of drove me nuts, the language was hard to get through because the accents of the family members were taken into account, and I was having trouble relating to some of the characters.  I will say that I admired how Dewey tried to take control of her life, even if things didn't turn out well for her.  She was one of the few female voices in the story.

I enjoyed taking part in teaching this book immensely-- it was a good discussion book, even if no one in my group particularly cared for it (we were cool with it, but no one was ga-ga over it) and most of the other elements of the book (symbols, themes, etc.) were impeccable and fun to decipher!

Overall, this book was a challenge.  I think I will try reading it again later, but for now, I give 'As I Lay Dying':
Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, March 17, 2012


Welcome to Friday!  On Fridays, I try my best to answer some questions posed to us by Ginger @ Greads and Parajunkee.  Let's get right to it!

Social Networking: Do you use Twitter or Facebook to promote your blog?  How has it benefited your book blogging experience?  If not, how do you promote your blog?  Share you twitter handle and/or Facebook link!

I do use Facebook to promote my blog!  I have a little box in the side bar to the right.  I'm not sure how much good it has done me though.  I have some followers on Facebook, but if my non-existent calculations are correct, they came through Blogger first as opposed to stumbling over my blog on Facebook.  If you have any tips or advice for making this work better, I'm all ears!  My Facebook link is: 

My hope was to have a lot of communication so that I could further improve my blog without having to create dozens of polls and questionnaires (though they are good fun!).  If you'd love to help with books suggestions, design tips, that kind of thing, I would be very appreciative!

Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you’ve read in the last month?

I haven't posted a review of it just yet, but the best book I've read this month is "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.  It was a beautiful and honest book.  I would give it to my future children as soon as they were old enough.

The worst book I've read this month would be, judging by the rating that I gave it upon review, would be "What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones.  There were just a lot of holes that I wish had been taken care of before the book was published and distributed.  Otherwise, this would have been an excellent book!

What are your answers to these questions?  If you'd like me to stop by for a visit, leave your web address below and I'll try my best to make a visit sometime this weekend!

Have a lovely week!


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Review of 'What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know' by Sonya Sones

"My name is Robin

This book is about me
It tells the story of what happens
when after almost 15 pathetic years of loserdom,
the girl of my dreams finally falls for me

That seems like it would be
a good thing, right?
Only it turns out to be
a lot more complicated than that.

Because I'm not gonna lie to you--
there are naked women involved.
Four of them, to be exact.
Though not in the way you might think

Don't get me wrong-- my girlfriend's amazing.
But the way things have been going lately,
I'm starting to believe that the only thing worse
than not getting what you want

is getting it."

Here's another story that is told through a series of poems.  The last book that I read, The Weight of the Sky, was like this and there's one not-so-good thing that I keep noticing-- the story typically starts in the middle of what's happens and we don't always get the proper context.  In this case, the story stars with Robin telling us that there really isn't anyone at his school who likes him, so when Sophie likes him back, it comes as a bit of a surprise to him.  What I failed to comprehend was why Robin Murphy is the one that is targeted when it could easily have been someone else.  Why is a Murphy such a bad thing?  Perhaps this was left out because of the perspective this story is written in, but I feel like a little back story would have helped.

The poetry style of this books makes it a relatively quick read.  So if you have a shortage of time, this would be a good book to read in a two or three hour sitting.

Something else that I didn't really like was how quickly Sophie and Robin fell in love-- there didn't seem to be any courtship at all!-- and I'm not even sure how much of their relationship can qualify as love as much as it does infatuation because there didn't seem to be much talking, just a lot of making out.  I feel like that's a slight towards high school couples.  I say it's a slight because this purely physical relationship doesn't reflect what I see in my school (that isn't to say that it doesn't happen at all, but they aren't a prominent part of my every day school).  The couples I see like to hold hands and keep good conversation.  It's not all about kissing or sex or whatever else makes up a physical relationship.

Another thing that was kind of confusing was when Robin would go to Harvard to sit in on an art class.  He made friends, but he lied about his age and so did another person in his circle of friends.  The whole scenario, while I think could have been a good handful of scenes, felt very incomplete and there was a bit of a disconnect between what was going on with Sophie and what was happening at Harvard.  It felt like a totally different book.

Let's move on to some good things.  I thought that the way some of the poems were formatted was quite clever.  Sonya Sones would create shapes out of words or offset words for emphasis.  My favorite is a poem that is two pages long, but on the second page, there's only one word: alone.  I was absolutely giddy when I saw that.  Admittedly, more giddy that anyone should have been.  I just thought it was so cool!

Generally, this was on okay book.  The characters weren't particularly exceptional and the story itself could have used some reworking as far as the plot and maybe even in the way this story is told.

I give 'What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know':
Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Life Updates

Taken February 21, 2012-- Louie was being super cute that day!  He was content to nap on my bed 
for several hours.  They may or may not have had something to do with the treats I was hiding from him...
Hello everyone!

I haven't done much of an impromptu post in quite some time, so I will write this one to update you on my goings-on (if you are interested).

First of all, I have a bazillion reviews that I have to finish writing.  Later I will type and schedule them.  So I've been working on those a lot-- filling up notebooks full of them and making sure I have the proper pictures to accompany the review when it comes time to typing and scheduling them.

I've also been working on a number of videos.  I've uploaded them to YouTube, but I will tell you why I haven't posted them on here.

In fifteen days, I will be on a plane headed to France!  I have my host family, a voltage adapter, and I just have to figure out what presents to bring: something for my host sister, something for the friend that I hosted two summers ago (unfortunately, I will probably not be able to see her because I'm not allowed to leave my host family for even a few hours, so I already need to plan a second trip to France-- I haven't even been there once!), and something else for my other friend whom I've hosted twice now.  I get to stay with her family for another two or three days!  While I'm there, I don't want my blogs to be abandoned, so I've been trying to write and edit everything so that I can schedule them over the roughly three weeks that I will be gone between both of my trips.  Eventually, you will see pictures and video.  I have three memory cards and I'm not afraid to use them!

In other non-blog related news, I have narrowed down my college choice to two and I just have to hear from the colleges about financial aid before I make my final decision.  Two and a half months until graduation!  I'm so ready for this!

I will leave the update at this.  What are you all up to this fine day?  I'm off to go shopping in this wonderful 54 degrees Fahrenheit weather (hopefully warmer!  I heard 60 or 70 this weekend... in Minneapolis).

Have a lovely weekend!


Friday, March 9, 2012


Hello and welcome to Friday!  For once, I'm doing this post on time!

Follow Friday and TGIF is brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads.

 Have you ever looked at a book's cover and thought, This is going to be horrible! but was instead pleasantly surprised?  Show us the cover and tell us about the book.

I wasn't sure about this book when I picked out this book, the synopsis sounded very intriguing but the cover only got me mildly interested.  While I was listening to it, I realized just how amazing it was and now I really think that everyone should read it sometime in their lives.  It's very relatable and it'll appeal to the young and the old.  It's about a girl that is bigger than the stereotypical girl.  she looks nothing like her parents, but she isn't adopted.  She is essentially alienated by her parents because she isn't the daughter they wanted her to be-- beautiful and trim.  She ends up being a successful English teacher, but her success is lost on her parents who tell her that she needs to grow up and get a "real job."  This book is about a woman who learns to love herself-- who she is and who she wants to be-- and to let others love her.  It's beautiful.

Promote and Author: Is there a particular author that you wish got more recognition?  Pick one author and tell  us why we should read their work.

Mr. David Levithan!  I think he's getting a little more attention now, but not the kind of attention that J.K. Rowling and Anne Rice get.  He writes brilliant work-- "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn and "Will Grayson, Will Grayson," co-written with John Green.  He also wrote "The Lover's Dictionary," which I have reviewed here.  He writes a lot of romantic literature, but not raunchy romantic literture.  It's beautiful and it's about teens of all different backgrounds.  He's just a lovely writer!

Feel free to leave a comment below with your web address and I will try my best to stop by and pay you a visit!  Have a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Review of 'The Weight of the Sky' by Lisa Ann Sandell

"Sarah, like every-college bound junior, deals with constant pressure from her teachers, friends, and parents.  And on top of that, there's the isolation of being a marching band geek and the only Jew in her class.  So when the change to spend the summer working on a kibbutz in Israel comes her way, Sarah jumps at the opportunity to escape her world.  No one in Israel know anything about her, and from the moment she arrives, Sarah joyfully starts shedding the weight of her past.

But living in Israel brings new and very real complications, and when the idyllic life Sarah creates for herself is shattered in an instant, she finds herself longing for the home she though she'd outgrown.

Lisa Ann Sandell's lyrical debut novel beautifully captures the experience of leaving behind a life that's too small, and the freedom that comes from starting over."

I love books that relate to travel!  Israel certainly wasn't one of the places that I expected to desire to visit.  One thing that I really liked about this book was that it gave a more positive view on a place that has always seemed so violent, no matter how much background knowledge you had.

As far as characters go, it didn't really feel like they had a purpose or a mission to them.  If they did, it never lasted very long.  Sarah had a mission to get to the kibbutz  She completed this in three or four chapters.  She was on a mission to be accepted by her peers.  That was two or three chapters later.  You could never tell what was on the mind of Nadav.  The girls, including Katie, were pretty flat from the beginning.

As far as other elements go, the romance felt very thrown in.  It was there, but the characters didn't seem to know what to do with it.  The boys would sometimes begin to talk about being in the army, but it never got much farther or more elaborate than, 'It was fun, but sometimes we had to fight.'  After that, they would cut themselves short.

The end was a little confusing to me.  Sarah figures out what she wants to do and where she wants to go after high school, but her mother refuses to accept this decision.  Ordinarily, this wouldn't have been so confusing, but Sarah never really explained her parents.  She mentions that her parents want her to go to an Ivy League school, but she never explained or delved into how adamant they were about this.  So when her mother blew a gasket at the end when she announced that she was going to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, it came as a complete surprise to me.

The poetry style of this book made it a quick read-- I was able to read 292 pages over the course of roughly three hours.  It was lovely to be able to take an afternoon and just read.  I can't imagine reading this book in anything but one sitting.  The setting sucks you in and never lets you go.  Sarah's narration is thoughtful and it really adds a lot to what readers are supposed to be envisioning.  It's not just a play-by-play.

Often, this book would touch on themes like religion and coming of age, but it was never enough information to make you think that certain parts fit it.  Had they been developed more, this would have been a very effective novel.

Overall, this book was good for those who long to travel, but falls short on more other accounts.

I give 'The Weight of the Sky':
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, March 5, 2012

A Review of 'Lucky' by Alice Sebold

"In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus.  What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit-- as she struggles for understanding ('After telling the hard facts to anyone, from lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes'); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction.  In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imports wisdom profoundly hard-won: 'You save yourself or you remain unsaved.'

This book was a difficult read.  The writing was lovely, the descriptions, while not entirely over-powering, are very vivid.  These qualities are great to have in any book, but it makes a true story about rape incredibly difficult to get through.  While reading the scene of the rape (which happens right away, like, within the first page or two), I had to put the book down and just stare and breathe.  Any book that provokes a reaction like that is worth reading, no matter how hard.  It was a lot to take in and at times, it became too much.

'Lucky' isn't a book that you can approach as I did.  You have to know what you're walking into.  It's a book about rape and Alice Sebold is imploring you to listen and listen carefully.  It's not a book that you just skip into a room to find and joyfully pick up because you're bored.  No.  It's necessary to be in the mindset and be a little mentally prepared for what you might come across.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating.  My point is, this isn't light reading even if the book itself is pretty average-sized.

I was surprised to learn that there aren't many rape cases that make it to court.  To me, it just seemed like something necessary to do if you told someone right away, but that's not the case.  The whole while Alice was in court I was rooting for her, but I was equally frustrated with some of the dumb questions she was asked.  It just seemed like justice was actively working against her and it made me sick to my stomach.

I thought it was a good idea that she included the part about her friend being raped a year or so after Alice.  It showed a contrast and a more typical treatment of rape cases.  I'm sad that there is little that could be done for her.

Alice Sebold spoke some about identity after rape and I thought that that was important to touch on too.  In my mind, that was one of the bigger things affected.

The ending was a little clouded to me.  Alice Sebold sank into almost desperate circumstances, but it seemed to end rather abruptly, which was a little disconcerting.

Overall, this was a decent, though very difficult, read.  I would not recommend it to readers as young as middle school until they are mature enough to handle the beginning part in particular.

I give 'Lucky':
Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday Memes

Welcome to Friday!  Let's get right to the questions.

TGIF and Friday Follow is brought to you by Ginger @ GReads and Parajunkee.

Book Moments: What has been your favorite moment (scene) in a book that you've read so far in 2012?  Please be kind and not include spoilers.

I think that my favorite moment in a book is from Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest:

"When it happens," he asks me, "what will get you through?"
"Friends who love me."
"And if your friends weren't there?"
"Music through headphones."
"And if the music stopped?"
"A sermon by Rabbi Wolpe."
"If there was no religion?"
"The mountains and the sky."
"If you leave California?"
"Numbered streets to keep me walking."
"If New York falls into the ocean?"
Your voice in my head.
--Page 193-194

For me, it's a very hopeful place in the book.  Emma is determined to get better and this just shows that she's not going to let anything stop her.  There will always be something for her to stick around for, however complex or simplistic.
What book would you love to see made into a movie or television show and do you have actors/actresses in mind to play the main characters?

I would love to see 'Elsewhere' and 'The Fault in Our Stars' made into a movie.  I think 'The Fault in Our Stars' as a prospective movie makes me more nervous than 'Elsewhere,' although those are two of my favorite books of all time so far.  I haven't really thought about who would play the main characters though.  Whenever I sit down and think about that, adequate just isn't good enough.  There's no one perfect out there. I'd be terrible at casting shows of any sort.

What are your answers to these questions?  Leave a comment with your web address below and I'll try my best to drop by for a visit this weekend!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Movie Time! 'Star Wars Episode1: The Phantom Menace'

"In this Star Wars prequel, jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) must protect Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) from the evil clutches of Darth Sidious and Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).  Along the way, they meet Anakikn Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a child who shows intimations of a great gift.  Terence Stamp and Samuel L. Jackson so-star amid spectacular CGI scenery in director George Lucas's sci-fi epic."

To be honest, before I started the movie, I wasn't expecting to see a very good movie.  But I pressed on because I've grown up with the original three Star Wars movies, not to mention that I have seen the two most recent prequels (not including any of the cartoon versions).  But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was a decent movie.  The light-saber fights were exciting (I love Darth Maul's two-handed light-saber.  It's pretty ingenious) and the Pod-Racing caused a bit of an adrenaline rush in me as I watched it.  I kept getting scared that little Anakin Skywalker was going to take a wrong turn and impale himself on a mountain on Tatooine.

Amidala's costumes were beautiful in a really strange and flashy way.  That's one thing that I've always loved about the Star Wars movies.  That and the hair of the women.  I wonder how much hairspray and/or false hair was involved in the most unique hairstyles.

I wish that there had been more action from Qui-Gon.  He seemed to act as the wise man until the end and then all of that just... stopped.  Qui-Gon was the Legolas of the Jedi.  He totally deserves a bigger part in the series.

Compared with the other Star Wars films, this isn't the greatest one, but it was still a great film to set up everything that comes afterwards and it will not disappoint.

Thanks for Reading!


P.S. Jake Lloyd is freaking adorable in this movie!  I want him to be my little brother.