Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Review of 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen (Audio Book)

"'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the 'most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author's works,' and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as 'irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.'

My entire Lit Theory class is based on "Pride and Prejudice" as  well as different variations of it.  I have never successfully picked up a physical copy of the book and read it before, so when I tried again for this class, it just wasn't working.  I had to resort to audio books just to get through it.  The language is difficult for me to read and understand, so I was reading it out loud in order to get it any way.  Why not have someone else read it to me while I go to the gym and run laps or wash dishes or clean the bathroom?  While it was still difficult to listen to (and this may be due in part to the fact that I found an older recording read by an older lady) I did make it through the book with a lot of effort.

This is of course a classic story-- the original boy-meets-girl-girl-hates-boy-they-fall-in-love cliche.  The general plot is nice, but the language made it impossible for me to take in everything that I could.  Thank goodness for Sparknotes as well as the different variations of this story.  Hopefully by the end of the semester I'll have a better handle of it.  I think, given enough time, I could work through it on my own without the aid of an audio book.  But this semester is not a good semester for that.  There's so much to do...

The language used is no fault of Jane Austen's.  She lived in a time where there wasn't a lot to do-- visiting/going to parties, playing cards, and reading.  At least this is true for the women of the time.  Since there was a lot of time on their hands, books were very long and very intricate so that it would take longer to finish the book.

I liked how each of Jane Austen's characters is very well-developed.  They're people with stories of their own, not just words on a piece of paper.  Even characters like Mrs. Bennet, who seems shallow quite often throughout the story, has a story of her own and she is a very three-dimensional character if you take the time to delve into her.

After I finish (and start) my 10-page final paper on Pride and Prejudice (I'm going to write about how I don't think that Elizabeth actually loves Darcy, but different circumstances that pushed her into marrying him.  I've been told that this will make loves of Pride and Prejudice quite squeamish) I will be putting this book down for a really long time.  However, I do think that when I do pick up this book again (I think that chances are good that I will pick it up again), I will not need the aid of an audio book, just some time.  I feel a lot more confident reading this book because I've spent so much time with it.

I will ultimately not regret taking Lit Theory and I will not regret spending a semester on Pride and Prejudice.  I don't hate it as much as I thought that I would.

I give 'Pride and Prejudice':
Thanks for Reading!


Friday, November 29, 2013

A Review of 'The Dark' by Lemony Snicket, Illustrated by Jon Klassen

"Laszlo is afraid of the dark.  The dark is not afraid of Laszlo.

Laszlo lives in a house.  The dark lives in the basement.

One night, the dark comes upstairs to Laszlo's room, and Laszlo goes down to the basement.

This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark."

This is another book that I heard about and just had to get when I went to that book event on my campus.  The pictures are fairly simple, but the story that goes with the pictures is just lovely.  If you're familiar with A Series of Unfortunate Events, the author is the same and the writing style is fairly similar.  It's a quirky story, no question about it!

Reviewing children's books is a bit difficult... they're not long enough that I feel like I can/should talk about the plot.  But I really want to... the ending is one of the most adorable endings that I've seen!  I'm always going to remember it and my heart will swell with happiness every time I remember it.

If you're looking for a cute and quirky children's book, look no further!

I give 'The Dark':
Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

It's that time of year again when I make a list of things that I'm thankful for.  Some things will be repeats from other years while other things will be new.

I Am Thankful For...

1. My Little Sister!  It's her seventeenth birthday today, so I really hope that she has a great day.

2. Those Who Didn't Fill Up the Classes I Wanted for Next Semester.  I got all of the classes I wanted for the month of January and for spring term.  I'm so happy!  Next semester is going to be great!  By extension, I'm also grateful for my advisor.

3. Jack.  Our relationship has become so much stronger over the past couple of years.  I'm happy and grateful to have spent five wonderful years with him.

4. Counseling.  When things get overwhelming or frustrating or I simply feel lost, the counselors on campus are a great resource for me.  They are wonderful and helpful people.

5. My Parents.  They work so hard and they are so supportive of my sister and me.  I'm grateful now, but I think that that feeling can only grow at this point.

6. The Global Studies Office.  With their help, I have been able to start getting my study abroad plans off the ground.  It's wonderful having their guidance.

7. The Chance to Improve.  I'm taking a Speaking class as well as Lit Theory this semester.  I feel like I've grown as a speaker and a writer and this will be awesome for my future.

8. Netflix.  As well as the shows and movies I have sort of become addicted to.  It doesn't even matter if they're good movies or shows..

9. Cereal and Potatoes.  Yum.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Review of 'Journey' by Aaron Becker

"A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound.  Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny.  When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free.  Can it also lead her home and to her heart's desire?

With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all..."

I recently went to a book event on my campus.  They presented on all kinds of books, ones meant for those from elementary school to senior high.  I did not anticipate to leave with two children's books, especially since I want to be either a middle school or a high school teacher.  Journey is one of the children's books and The Dark is another, which I will review at a later time.

One thing that I love about this book is that there are no words.  You have to put your own words to the story.  The other thing that I loved-- and really, what pushed me to get this book in the first place-- was the illustrations.  Here, just take a peek:

I want to decorate the bedroom of my future child just like this forest.  Do you blame me?

A third thing that I really like about this book is that it's a nod to Harold and the Purple Crayon (he even shows up in this book!).  I think that Harold was one of my favorite books of all time when I was young (along with The Greatest Picnic in the World, which I once had memorized), so this is an awesome and wonderful companion to Harold's story.  And best of all, children can narrate the story as they imagine.  I think it's a good exercise for those little ones.

This is a book that children and adults alike should absolutely pick up and look at.  It's beautiful and wonderful and I think that it's impossible for anyone to hate.

I can't wait to read this to my kids when they come into existence.

I give 'Journey':

Thanks for Reading!  Let me know if you want to hear more about children's books.  I'm considering reading more for this blog.


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Review of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust, Book 2' by Chris Roberson

"New York Times bestselling author Chris Roberson (Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, iZombie, Stan Lee's Starborn) write the prequel to legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Disk's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?," this inspiration for Blade Runner and one of the greatest science fiction novels ever published!

Charlie Victor and Malcolm Reed continue their pulse-pounding mission to retire the renegade androids threatening to destroy the human race.  Journey thought the world returning world returning from the brink of destruction as the critically acclaimed epic concludes in an exciting finale that pits android versus android while leaving mankind's fate in the balance."

This is the continuation of Dust to Dust, Book 1 where we are introduced to Malcolm Reed, the only human who can discern man from machine, and Charlie Victor, an android who sets out to hunt down rogue androids and "retire" them.

In this continuing graphic novel, it switches from being something closer to character-driven to a story driven mainly by plot.  This graphic novel is more fast-paced because we already know where the rogue androids are hiding, but we're waiting for Charlie Victor to come and find Malcolm Reed and rescue him.

This is an exciting second prequel.  Besides the exciting plot, I thought it was really interesting to be inside Malcolm's head as he finds complete bliss just by being in the presence of the androids.  They aren't capable of feeling anything like biological humans can and so the silence in his head is just glorious to experience.  Malcolm is the character who questions whether it's actually a good thing to have feelings.  Perhaps the androids are lucky that they can't experience feelings.  I know that when I'm having weeks like the one I had last week (unpleasant for no reason other than biology), I would rather not feel anything.  But then there are moments like the moment you fall in love or are having a great day and you just want to stand and feel happy because you're able to feel happy.  It's a difficult question... interesting to toy with, but one that I'm not sure I can ultimately answer.

Read this book if you've finished Dust to Dust, Book 1, are looking for a plot-driven book, and/or if you looking for a mildly philosophic read.

I give Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust, Book 2:
Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Review of 'Dramarama' by E. Lockhart (Audio Book)

"Two theater-mad, self-invented fabulositon Ohio teenagers.  One boy, one girl.  One gay, one straight.  One black, one white.  And SUMMER DRAMA CAMP.  It's a season of hormones, gold lame, hissy fits, jazz hands, song and dance, true love, and unitards that will determine their future-- and test their friendship."

I didn't do drama in high school-- well, I didn't act, but I wrote a one-act play-- so I can't relate to this book in that respect, but I did go to a number of plays both through school and around the city.  I'm a huge musical buff, so it was exciting to read about a number of shows that I'm familiar with.

I listened to this as an audio book over the summer while I was working as a gardener (yeah, I'm still wrapping up summer reads...).  It was nice because there really isn't anything heavy to this book.  It was a really nice summer read.  I'd read a number of heavier books during the school year and this was a good time to just chill out and read something light.  Just because it is a relatively light read, that doesn't mean it was boring.  I remember really liking the narrator, Sadye.  She wasn't annoying or too in-your-face, but actually very relate-able as a character.  Sadye and her friend Demmy are mainly trying to find out where they belong in the world.  Demmy, upon entering Summer Drama Camp almost immediately finds where he belongs and settles in comfortably.  Sadye, however, doesn't find her place so easily.  Most everyone, while growing up or even after that struggles with personal identity: who am I?  What am I good at?  Where can I practice what I'm good at?  How will I know that this is what I'm meant to do?  I think that Sadye is a good narrator for the job.

I have read The Boyfriend List, but that was years ago.  I think I would like to reread that book and try E. Lockhart's other books.  She has a playful and mildly sarcastic style-- it's my favorite, I just love it.  I can't wait to pick up more of her books!  Perhaps I'll have a chance to get more when I go to an even on Monday called 'Booked for the Evening' at my college.  Perhaps I'll talk more about that later.

Overall, this book is a great fun-read and one you'll be happy to lose yourself in.

I give Dramarama:
Thanks for Reading!