Friday, September 30, 2011

Good Quotes from Banned Books

So, what is there to say about Banned Books that hasn't already been said? This whole week has been filled with wonderful posts and lists and general blog-y goodness. In the spirit of the controversial book I'd like to add two cents to the argument, but not my two cents. I figure, who can speak better for these books then themselves? Here are some fantastic quotes from (in my opinion) amazing books that regularly make the banned/challenged list. I hope they make you think, or feel a little sad, or maybe even inspire you.

Catch-22 - Heller
What a lousy Earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused, or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, and rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? how many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to bodyguards, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were brooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere

Brave New World - Huxley
But I don't want comfort. I want God,  I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
Catcher in the Rye - Salinger
Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles, You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.
Slaughterhouse Five
It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? all there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet"
The Great Gatsby
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Now go read some banned books! Or any books, really.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Rereading is Love

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.
Top Ten Books I want to Reread 
Catch 22 - Heller - I recommended Catch 22 to a friend and she just finished reading it. In short she loved it and wanted more recs, but I realized this book, this lovely book that I see as my gateway into dystopian lit, satire and all things wonky in the world is fading from my memory. I can't let this happen. Catch 22 has been a favorite since high school and I absolutely must keep it fresh in my mind.

Everything is Illuminated - Foer - For some reason Everything is Illuminated doesn't get as much love as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but I love it just the same. While some books I reread like often (*cough* Extremely Loud *cough*) I've never reread everything is Illuminated. I remember setting quotes from it as my "away" status back in high school whenever I was feeling a little upset, or deep, or bored.

Franny & Zooey - Salinger - I talk a lot about Franny & Zooey. What can I say? I love the glass family. I really want to just get lost into Salinger's prose right now, and reading over Zooey's shoulder as he's taking a bath.

Falling Angels - Chevalier - When I younger I use to reread Girl With a Pearl Earring constantly. I read it so often I had to get another copy. Even though I was obsessed with the Vermeer story Falling Angels was always my favorite. My copy is frail, and falls open to my favorite passages.

Harry Potter Series - Rowling - We all know I'm obsessed with Harry Potter. I've already reread the books once this year but I'm still excited for the next time I'll reread them.

The Book Thief - Zusak - I first read The Book Thief two years ago and I don't think I've tore through a book that fast since. I absolutely loved it. Now it sits at the end of my YA shelf looking quite alone in the world. I don't want to let my books get to lonely.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames - Sedaris - Sometimes I just need a good laugh. Sadly I usually don't have any of Sedaris's books on me when this need occurs. Maybe I'll just carry around When You AR\ae Engulfed in Flames as a preemptive strike.

Requiem for a Dream - Selby - This, like Catch 22 made up a very weird but integral part of my high school reading experience.  I use to be able to see the huge differences between the book and the movie but now they're fading from memory. I do remember not being nearly as upset as my friends when I watched the movie, though. Disturbing books are great buffers.

The Other Boleyn Girl - Gregory - What can I say? I'm kind of in a heads will roll type of mood.

The Shadow of the Wind - I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. I haven't even gotten around to reading Angel Games because I don't think it will live up to it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

George R R Martin

For your sanity and mine I'm going to yank the synopsis from goodreads. It's better for both of us. I promise.
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective wall. To the south, the King's powers are failing, and his enemies are emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the King's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but also the kingdom itself. A heroic fantasy of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and evildoers who come together in a time of grim omens. The first volume in George Martin's series
There's a lot of hype around Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series right now, what with the HBO show and the release of Dances with Dragon's you've probably been hard pressed to avoid these books. Since you can find a galoption (I am making up numbers! yay creativity!) of reviews all over the interweb and I haven't even started a Clash of Kings yet I am just going to point out a few of my favorite things from A Game of Thrones.

The Stark's - They're your typical principled hero's and that is a very rare characteristic to have in this book. Eddard and his children all have distinct personalities, and most of them are POV characters. My favorite is a toss up between the bastard Jon Snow and Arya. Plus their motto's is "Winter is Coming" and for some reason I think that is really awesome.

Westero - Fantasy worlds are important. Well, they're important in fantasy novels. I don't think they're very important in non fiction or poetry.  Westero is perfectly dissected into parts that are recognizable and things that are fanciful. Plus there are large wolves and dragons. That's kind of awesome.

The Narration - A Game of Thrones is told from the perspective of eight different characters (plus one prologue). It's fascinating to get inside so many heads and hear so many different sides to the same situation. It's also a huge plus to have so much variety in a 800+ page book.

There's More to Look Forward To - While the series is still in progress, there are five of the seven books published and waiting patiently on my kindle. As soon as I finish The Night Circus I'm going to start A Clash of Kings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - The Only Blogger in the World

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.
Top Ten Books that Everyone But Yours Truly Have Read

Hunger Games- I actually started the first book. This was around when Mockingjay came out and you couldn't open up a web browser without seeing KATNISS AND BLAH BLAH FOREVER which didn't make me want to continue on in my reading. Admittedly the writing was much better than I had anticipated but I just couldn't get into it.

Huck Finn - One of my friends as well as several of my favorite bloggers absolutely love Huck Finn. I "had" to "read" it in high school (read as:  was suppose to and but instead found out that sparknotes was a thing. I'm not proud of this.)  I hated every second of every attempt to read it. I often think that I am older now, wiser, more tolerant of things that aren't completely up my ally and that I should really give Twain a chance. Then I high school me and how much she hated Huck Finn. How much did she hate it? More than Tuck Everlasting. And that's saying something.

Shiver - Fun fact! I don't know what Shiver and Linger and whatever the other one is are about. Something with Werewolves? Be completely silent if I'm write. Okay. Nothing. I'm assuming I'm right then. I really like the covers, and from what I remember of the reviews I've read they song like good books.

Water for Elephants - I actually want to read this one, only I've never gotten around to it. I picked up a copy years ago when it first started being a "it" book and then never got through the intro.

Freedom - Everyone remember last year when all anyone, including Oprah, could talk about was Franzen. Well I for one didn't like it. It didn't matter that Freedom sounded pretty good, and that I'd probably really like it. I just couldn't sit outside one of my classes and with the hardback looking all smug, again.

Wolf Hall - I have this. I am crazy excited to read it. I'm just hesitant with long historical fiction. Especially with protagonists I don't know inside and out. I have heard nothing but good things about it and yet it has still wound up on this list.

1984 - I like George Orwell a lot. He's a pretty great guy. I'm a big fan of Animal farm and I've seen a poorly executed stage version of 1984. Actually that may be what has stopped me from reading this blogger prerec.

Dickens - It's been months since I have ranted about my hate for Charles Dickens and his terribly dry prose. I've never actually finished anything by the man but that's not for want of trying. I got about halfway into A Christmas Carol, Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities before I got so angry that I wanted to start setting fire to things. Now would be a good time to mention that I do not condone burning books. I promise.

The Forgotten Garden - By all accounts this should be my new favorite book, but I have yet to take it off my shelf despite all the awesome blogger recommendations.

The Rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series - I read A Game of Thrones this summer and really really loved it, but it took me longer than I had anticipated to get through all of it and made the executive decision to wait to start A Clash of Kings. Only now I see a few tweets each day about characters dying and plot twists and I know I have to jump back in the crazy boat.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bookshelves - A Lesson in Organization

In a struggle to make the bedroom in my parents house feel more like my old apartment I decided it was time to organize my bookshelves. Now, I don't actually have enough space for all of my books, but I just couldn't deal with shelf after shelf of Bronte next to Veerland and The Princess Diary books jammed against The Shadows of the Wind. Life's been out of control and my state of mind was being reflected through the haphazard placement on my bookshelves.
Houston, we have a problem. 

So I'm in the process of organizing my abundance of books, and remembering that in terms spacial things I'm just terrible.I could never be an interior decorator, or an engineer.  My biggest accomplishment so far has been organizing books by genre and then alphabetizing. So far I have done classics, historical fiction and a very tiny YA shelf. My contemporary fiction sections is posing much more of an issue. This got me to thinking, is there a better way to organize my books? Is it simpler to Jane Austen and Dan Brown side by side? What about by spine color?  How are your shelves organized? I'm dying to know! Extra points if you include pictures!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Behind Every Girl is an Amazing Nail - Literary Series Edition

Seasons are changing, and while some people are thinking of school books and sweat shirts I'm thinking about colors. Not just any color's mind you, but the ones that come in small glass bottles with the little brushes on the lid. I'm talking about Nail Polish. Since my nails can only be so many colors at one time (and right now they are master plan) I've fallen back into the habit of dolling up everyone's favorite literary heroins.

Luna Lovegood
Oh Loony Luna, Your off the wall notions of mythical creature and forever cloud bound head is so endearing. While some might think you'd benefit from a few months in St. Mungo's we all know you're perfect just the way you are! Right down to you're Spark de Triomphe by OPI nails!

Nothing but glitter here! Here is the perfect blend of happy go lucky odd ball and mysterious night owl. The way the light hits each nail is bound to distract Luna during her next Potions lesson.

Katniss Everdeen
This distopian darling is a survivor through and through. With a fierce Independent streak and a mindset hell bent on protecting the ones she loves Katniss is every part the heroin girls everywhere want to be. Like every perfectly tuned warrior I think Katniss would want to be prepared for a cunning fight to the death even down to the tips of her fingers. That's why I chose Green Up Your Act by Nicole by OPI.

This no nonsense green is perfect for the ever fighting girl who still wants to look her best.

Samsa Stark
Pretty demure little Sansa! With your love of fashion and girly personality you're sure to make your your decked out from head to toe in nothing but the best. No unnecessary gloomy colors for you, that can be left for Ayra.  I'm sure you'd wear Buy Me a Cameo by Essie.

With this pretty in pink polish with a perfect ethereal shimmer you'll be able to keep your darling Prince wanting more.  

Hermione Granger
Between late nights studying in the common room and adventures with you're silly and incredibly attractive best friends there isn't much time for personal upkeep. But secretly you long for the Yule Ball and Slughorns Christmas parties just so you get the chance to pamper yourself. That's exactly why you'd keep a bottle of Marrow by Butter stashed in your nightstand.

This beautiful purple will compliment anything from a periwinkle dress to a darling party ensemble, and would even look good covered in ink splotches during History of Magic!

Anne Boleyn
You're the ultimate temptress. Who else could make the playboy king of England sit around like a little for years! You're witty, sneaky and ambitious, but you play as hard as you work. Just be careful you don't climb to high, the fall just might kill you. For writing all you're sneaky documents why don't you adorn your nails with Black Pearl by Chanel.

Perfect for business meetings,  formal parties and late night affairs your sure to intrigue with this shinning black. Plus you have the ultimate sugar daddy to pay for it!.

Let me know who'd you like to see in my next Literary Nail Polish post!

Hope you're all safe and dry!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Literary Hop

Can I share a secret with you guys? I'm really excited the Literary Hop is back. This month's question is about difficult writing, and is always present by the lovely ladies at The Blue Bookcase (hey girls, I don' t know if you watch How I Met Your Mother but your name always reminds me of the blue horn, Just so ya know).
Literary Blog Hop
Must all literary writing be difficult? Can you think of examples of literary writing that was not difficult?

One of the things I love most about the literary hop is how subjective the questions are. Oh, and the other awesome bloggers, you're great too. This question all depends on what you think of as difficult. For me Jane Austen and Shakespeare aren't difficult and Fitzgerald and Salinger are easy reads. It's a combination of writing style and and familiarity that make authors like this accessible to me. On the other hand Victor Hugo and Virginia Woolf make me want to cry big wet tears of boredom. I find their style dry and am not familiar enough with each writing era to make my experience any more enjoyable.

Fun fact: I have started The Hunchback of Notre Dame no less than 7 times. I never get past the first six pages. I have also been lurking at page 80 of Mrs. Dalloway for over a year with not intent to return to her stream of babbling pages.

I feel the same about the modern literary writers. I find Jonathan Safran Foer easy to poetic and easy to read,  but Zadie Smith is lost to me. In theory I should really enjoy both, but I just can't get into Smith's style. It grates on me, and leaves me stuck in the middle of her books forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying difficult is bad. I loved Les Miserable, even if it took me forever to read, and Autograph Man changed my reading habits in high school. I'm all about challenging myself and my comfort zones, and that's where the mythical "difficult" writing becomes important. Some books are about the journey and some are about the destination, and with difficult writing i'm all about the destination.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Drowning Tree - Goodman

Carol Goodman

Juno McKay's life hasn't turned out exactly as she planned it, but that okay since she has her beautiful daughter Bea, and her best friend Christine to make up for all of the short coming. While at her 15th College reunion she witnesses Christine give a speech that shakes the ground that Penrose was built on. When Christine ends up missing Juno must investigate some of her outrageous claims and figure out were they enough to get her killed.

The Drowning Tree is the definition of mediocre. Juno's interesting, but not really interesting. She lives in a stained glass factory which she now also runs (+1 interesting point) but she's really overprotective of her daughter, doesn't really date and apparently hasn't done anything interesting since her ex-husband tried to kill her (-2 ). Since this is really all Juno is about she doesn't really have much spirit to carry the store, which is sad, because the plot doesn't really put in much effort either. In The Drowning Tree everything is about imagery. There are intense descriptions of settings, like the mental hospital Neil is in and the Penrose estates, as well as art and the river by the McKays.  While not a fault in itself, using beautiful descriptions to supplement the already overworked and barely functional plot isn't a huge selling point.

While I have several other issues with The Drowning Tree, the one that really sealed it's back of the bookshelf shame is the Penrose diary. Usually Goodman is fantastic at telling a story within a story, pacing them out so that the reader is interested in both and using a device that makes sense and is intriguing to the reader to tell said second story. The diary entries are short and not very insightful. They become more about Juno's assumptions than about the Penrose sisters reality. Not the best way to add in a story, especially when it is needed to make scenes of the entire rest of the book.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer in Review

Summer's been weird. Not weird in a bad way, more like weird in a I-have-a-new-puppy-a-have-kind-of-been-looking-for-a-job-and-life-is-full-of-surprises weird. Usually summer is where I get most of my yearly reading done, this year my numbers are down. Regardless I read some great books and am looking forward to a fall where my brother is back to school and Oskar the Pup has finished his training classes. 

In case you forgot, this is my little Cavashon, Oskar Wild (at 2 months)

Oskar has a new dog tag on Twitpic
He's much bigger at 5 months! 

Okay, you're here for books so I'll give you books!
Books Read:
Pride & Prejudice - Austen 

The Alchemist - Coelho
The Night Villa - Goodman
My American Unhappiness - Bakopolous

The Magician's - Grossman
The Ghost Orchid - Goodman
The Drowning Tree - Goodman
A Game of Thrones - Martin
Tree of Codes - Foer
The Secret Lives of Dresses - McLean
Slaughterhouse - Five - Vonnegut  
Total Number of Books Read This Summer: 11
Total Number of Books Read This Year: 30
Most Anticipated: 
Tree of CodesBiggest Let Down:
My American UnhappinessFavorite Read:
A Game of Thrones
Overall Reflection:

As I was saying before. This summer has been crazy. When I've had the time to read I've found myself fighting through things I haven't been enjoying instead of looking for something better suited to my moods. One of my goals for Fall is to actually put down books I'm not enjoying. Other than that I've actually started to use my kindle and I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed using it. Plus it was a lot easier than carrying around A Game of Thrones!

I hope you all had a good summer and keep reading!