Friday, August 30, 2013

The Kite Runner - Hosseini

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini

Amir is haunted by a secret he's kept since he was a boy.  A secret about his closest friend Hassan. He will carry this secret from Afghanistan to America and back again. Will Amir be able to right the wrongs of his past? Will he have the courage to even speak of these events?

Me: Amanda this is really sad.
Amanda: It's not going to get better.

The Kite runner feels a lot bigger than it's 372 pages. Not longer, but bigger in scope than it's page length would suggest possible. Hosseini stuffs in a brief history of Afghanistan, lessons on culture, some mixed feelings on America and, oh yeah, a story about a spoiled boy who deserves the guilt he carries around for three decades.

It's easy to see why The Kite Runner remains one of the most talked about books of the last ten years. It's subject matter is sometimes shocking, sometimes illuminating and all the time difficult. My feels on the end result are mixed. I found Amir to be near impossible to tolerate. Amir is the snotty nosed kid that sat behind you in class that had all the cool toys but still threw tantrums and miraculously had cooler friends to fight his battles for him. He's hard on his father, deplorable to his friends and always brooding. By the time he gets a chance to redeem himself he can't even carry that out without bringing on more trauma to innocent bystanders.

Even with a negative impression of Amir I still found myself crying over certain chapters and reading till I was too tired to continue. I actually finished The Kite Runner in a little under a day, a feit I could not have done without my reading buddy Amanda suffering with me. I can't honestly say I enjoyed what I read but it's stuck with me for the last two weeks and left me with this haphazard review.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bookish Me A to Z

A few days ago I saw a this A to Z survey over at What Red Read. I'm not usually big on posting long pre-made surveys/quizzes/whatever you want to call them here at Loving Books. Actually I'm not big about posting them anywhere. However this one was fun, and it's brings up a lot of topics I've touched on previously. Welcome to a quick snapshot of my bookish life, it's alphabetical! 
Authors you've read the most books from:
I just realized that all of my favorite authors have written a shockingly small number of books. However I've read eleven books by Phillipa Gregory. 

Best sequel ever:
Just a sequel? I'm not sure I've ready any series that are just two books. If you'll allow me to count whole series then my answer is Deathly Hallows. Otherwise I don't have an answer

Currently reading:
I've been been chipping away at If On a Winters Night a Traveler for about two months. It's not long enough to justify that time frame.  

Drink of choice while reading:
I don't purposefully drink anything while reading but I do usually have a Diet Pepsi somewhere near by. 

Ereader or physical book:
I'm split down the middle. I still love physical books but my kindle is one of my most prized possessions (it's even signed by Neil Gaiman!). I use them for different types of reading and I love both equally.  

Fictional character that you probably would have dated in high school:
Ron Weasley. Please?

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Dispatch from the Future by Leigh Stien. I'm not usually big on poetry but this collection has opened my eyes to a whole new world where poems don't make me roll my eyes at teachers and instead make me want to write really cryptic tumblr posts about feelings. 

Hidden Gem book:
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. I've been singing Jansma's praises sing I finished his debut novel back in April. It's the best book I've read in 2013

Important moment in your reading life:
Reading Pride & Prejudice in college and realizing that there was a way to enjoy classics in stead of my high school go to of "read all the high brow literature to seem well read/smart/pertinacious". 

Just Finished:
The Cookoo's Calling - the Robert OOPS PSYCH IT'S REALLY JK ROWLING mystery novel. 

Kind of books you won't read:
When I was younger (read 13) I would go gaga over chick lit. Now I avoid it like bad fan fiction. 

Longest book you read:
Les Miserable by Victor Hugo. Easily. 

Major book hangover because of:
American Gods. Gaiman you give me all the feelings.

Number of bookcases you own:
Five in my bedroom. There's one with my cookbooks on the ground floor. So six total.

One book you've read multiple times:
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. I first read it in middle school and eventually wore out my first copy. I still pick it up every couple years. 

Preferred place to read:
My bed. usually laying with my head towards the foot of it. 

Quote that inspires you:
Metaphors are not to be trifled with . A single metaphor can give birth to love. - Milan Kunera

Reading Regret:
That I've never pushed myself through Infinite Jest. I've started it three times and gotten to the same mark about 30 pages in each time. 

Series you started and need to finish:
A Song of Ice and Fire.  Let's be real, I'm not going to make it through A Clash of Kings. I'm just going to keep watching Game of Thrones. 

Three of your all-time favorite books:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
PS: I think it was mean to make me pick just three. 

Unapologetic fangirl for:
Phillipa Gregory's Cousins War series. 

Very excited for this release:
The Goldfinch. We're all excited for new Donna Tartt, right? RIGHT?!

Worst bookish habit:
Buying more than 1 book at a time. If I buy books in bulk I end up reading 1, maybe 2 before going back to Amazon/Barnes and Noble and browsing for a new book so anything else I've bought will sit unread for at least six months. I have a personal rule with my Kindle where I can't buy another ebook until the one I'm reading is finished. 

Xmarks the spot! Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Rules of Attraction by Ellis 

Your last bookish purchase:
the last physical book I bought was The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. and the last ebook was The Cookoo's Calling. 

Zzz-snactcher. Which book kept you up way to late:
The Kite Runner.

I really had a lot of fun filling this out. Hope you enjoyed it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Behind Every Girl is an Amazing Nail Polish : Jane Austen Edition

Two things have been brought to my attention in the last week.
1. Austen in August is happening again.
2. I have a lot of nail polish.

While neither are shocking revelations, one is a yearly event hosted by the lovely Misty over at The Book Rat, the other is something I have blogged about before and has recently reached obsession level status.
Since I love Jane Austen, nail polish and blogging it would appear that it's time for another Behind Every Girl post.

Elizabeth Bennet

I've done Lizzy before. While I stand by this choice a few marathons of The Lizzy Bennet Diaries and a handful of viewings of the Joe Wright film colored my feelings on dear old Elizabeth's obviously chipped manicure. As a busy modern girl I see Lizzy wearing Lady Muck by Butter. This blue grey is more nuanced in person. It's fun but not shocking, professional but not boring and has just the right amount of personality to make it a signature color.

Jane Bennet

As before the LBD have changed my views on practically perfect Jane. To combine her shy, kind bookish character with the fashion forward, but still shy and sweet modern update I picked French Quarter for Your Thoughts by OPI. This taupe is subtle enough not to draw any unwanted attention but is chic enough to go with most outfits! 

Lydia Bennet

Lydia loves to shock. This attention seeking behavior would be perfectly aided by Essie's Brazilliant. This orange, which is MUCH brighter in person, would let Lydia be the center of attention at ever card game and ball she forced her way into.

Kitty Bennet

We all know that Kitty will follow where Lydia leads. With the guidance of her much wiser older sisters I would like to imagine that while she keeps tries to keep up with Lydia and her attention grabbing color she'd find something like Dotty by Maybelline to be a more interesting and sublet alternative. 

Marianne Dashwood

Marianne is full of life and love. Her carefree attitude and her tendency towards reckless abandon lead me to choose a lovely blue by China Glaze. For Audrey is light enough to be fun but is still a shade that Elinor and their mother would find improper.

Elinor Dashwood

Elinor has proven the most difficult. She's quite, like Jane, but with a twist. She's wise and well aware of what her family is going through. Her level head and realistic worldview lead me to eventually settle on A Piers To Be Tan by OPI. 

Emma Woodhouse

What is there to say about Emma. She's headstrong, but proper. She's bubbly, but then pushy. She's oblivious but would make a great tabloid reporter. Yes, I think that's the best way to describe her. She'd be great running some celebrity news blog that gets all it's facts 25% correct.  Her lack of understand wouldn't keep her from looking fabulous though. She'd totally rock Kerfuffle by Butter.  This delicate pink clashes with her forceful personality but easily fits the way Emma sees herself.

Catherine Morland

Catherine wants her life to resemble a Gothic novel so it stands to reason her nails would follow suit. Skyfall by OPI (yes like the James Bond movie) is a beautiful deep red. It looks like danger and castles and hidden secrets. All things Catherine salivates over!

What do you think of my picks for these Austen heroines? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know!

*Disclaimer* none of these images are mine. Except for my name. That's me. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reading with Friends

I've always wanted to be in a book club. The idea of a group reading has always appealed to me. Unfortunately my taste and geographical location has hindered my abilities to any real book club that doesn't have a median age of 57 and their hearts set on reading the second Shades of Grey book.

However last year I talked one of my friends into wading through Anna Karenina with me. While we rarely read in the same room, or really did more than go "ugh Anna just STOP" via text, it was nice to have a companion in my reading endeavors.  Being someone who has no qualms about putting down a book when it gets dull for a tome like Anna I really did need a friend around to help me push through talks of farming and politics.

This year my AK friend and I took on American Gods in what was originally intended to be a real book club, with real meetings and a reading schedule. This fell apart quickly but being real life friends with other real life obligations we took our time with Gods (and lost one of our readers) and would take some time our of weekly dinners to fangirl over Neil Gaiman.  It was a great experience to actually talk about a book with someone who was just discovering things at the same time I was. I do tend to look back at this with rose colored glasses because right after finishing American Gods I saw Neil Gaiman speak at the Michigan Theater. He signed my kindle. Bookish highlight of the year!

Last weekend my good friend in Dallas texted me about a book she was finishing which got us talking about this list and before we realized what we were in for we were hundreds of pages deep into The Kite Runner. Being hundreds of miles apart didn't hinder the experience. I have a slew of texts that show our emotional distress at every passing chapter and honestly without her as a reading partner not only would I have chucked Kite Runner aside halfway through but I probably would have still needed therapy for all of the emotional turmoil it created. Pro tip: Don't read a Hosseini novel in under 24 hours. We are now happily reading Cookoos Calling. Nobody has cried since Last Sunday.

I know reading is usually a solitary activity. I spend 95% of my bookish time quietly squealing in my room as i underline passages and check book blogs. However if the past several months have taught me anything it's that sometimes you need a friend to push you through those dry/uncomfortable/seemingly unnecessary chapters.

Do any of you have a reading buddy? If so I want to hear all about it!

Shout out to Kirsten & Amanda for being the best reading buddies out there!

Friday, August 16, 2013

An Abundance of Katherine's - Green

An Abundance of Katherines

John Green

Colin Singleton is many things. He's a prodigy, he's quite good  at anagrams and, he loves girls named Katherine. Though as much as he seems to love Katherine's (that's with a K. Spelling is important here) they seem to love dumping him in equal measure. After getting kicked to the curb by Katherine XIX Colin embarks on a road trip with his friend Hassah to try and get his mind off the pain and avenge dumpees everywhere.

There is something about John Green that makes all the YA fans swoon. He writes heartwarming tales about nerdy underdogs, and while they might not always have a happy ending they leave you feeling moved. However after reading two Green novels I can confidently state I'm tired of his male characters and their dream girl counterparts. Colin is smart, but he feels burdened by potential and is constantly thinking about what will make him one of the true geniuses.Oh, and he loves bothering Hassah about his lack of motivation. Even though we spend the entirety of these 200 pages in Colin's head he still doesn't feel like a complete character. Though he is a lot closer than his love interest, Lindsey. She's funny, pretty and troubled but feels like a cardboard cutout for Colin to throw feelings and tantrums at.

Overall I wasn't impressed with Green's characters and didn't feel like road trips and tampon factories in rural Tennessee made up for them. A solid 3 stars. Not awful but not a book I'd recommend.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

THe Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. - Waldman

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

Adelle Waldman
Nate's never been popular and that's fine. Now a Harvard grad with a book deal living in the Brooklyn literary scene he spends all his time thinking about high brow things like western guilt and how he thinks that girl in the low cut top probably does have a great personality. Once he meets Hannah he's sure that she is different but is she really enough to shatter his mold?

There has been a lot of buzz around Adelle Waldman's debut novel and I for one think it is much deserved. Equal parts funny and cringe worthy Nathaniel P. is a engrossing and quick read. However don't be fooled by the title, the story may be about the many loves of Nate but this is not a love story.

Nate, for he is never called Nathaniel, is actually kind of a jerk. A likable jerk, but a jerk nonetheless. He is constantly focused on his work, on his past relationships, on how progressive and supportive he can be. In any other novel he'd be intolerable but here, in these pages that feel so much like Brooklyn he springs to life. While he musing on about how he's really not superficial and that he is just as interested in plain smart women as their superficial counterparts he becomes less likable, but more real. Really where Waldman succeeds is in the verity of her characters.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is currently sitting atop my "favorite books of summer" list. You should totally check it out.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Life and Blogging

I love blogging. I do. I know it doesn't always seem that way. What with my long absences and lack of comments it would seem as if I might have actually forgotten about all of you.  I say you like anyone is still here. If you're reading this: Thanks for sticking around! Hi! You are wonderful!

Anyway, I love blogging and I clearly love books, but sometimes when life gets me down or complacent I fall into a trap of procrastination and Tumblr. I wish my excuse was moving (which I did) or work, but there's no point in lying. Here's too blogging more, reading a ton and Tumblin. Always Tumblin.

I'm glad to be back guys, I promise I won't turn into Dan Brown or anything.

PS: Sorry for the lame "i'm back" post. It'll get better from here. Pinky swear.