Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday! (Numero Tres)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. So with no further ado, I henceforth give you...

Top Ten Books That Are On The Top Of
My TBR List For Fall

1. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (Released on October 18, 2011)

Liz at Consumed by Books, a person who I once twitter-stalked because of her ever-frequent and interesting tweets, has uttered that this novel is beautifully rendered with excellent writing. But who could not love the story as well?

"Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better ? Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected. Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall...." (from Shelfari)

I am a student musician, so the relatability factor seems awesome. Marvelous it is when you see a character as yourself, when you are reminded of why literature is so great.

2. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Released November 8, 2011)

Once upon a time, one little boy in the fifth grade dreamt about the thrill he received when devouring the Harry Potter books two years before. He loved realistic fiction, but a hunger for fantasy still ravaged him. That was when he picked up Eragon, then Eldest four books later. I now have both read Brisingr and fostered an annoyance for the average book about rebellions toppling oppressive governments. Unfortunately, that is what this novel's plot seems to be composed of-

"Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.

The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?

This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle that the world has waited for."(also from Shelfari)

-but Paolini may surprise me. After all, he did take an absurdly lengthy amount of time to compose this "astonishing conclusion." (Do I seem a bit snippy about this? If so, then good.)

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I have heard amazing things about this book and was immensely ecstatic when I added it to my overstuffed bookshelf. It seems like a meditation on the element of risk in an excellent life, a lesson that control-freaks desperately needs to grasp.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This bibliophile has obtained the notion that if he doesn't read Stockett's novel soon, he cannot called himself bibliophile anymore. Is there anything else I have to say?

5. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

A novel that describes the intriguing lives of reporters and editors who toil for a Roman, English-language newspaper. First of all, I have a gargantuan affinity for Rome-I dream that Augustus Caesar and Virgil were my ancestors. Second of all, my novel has a great deal to do with newspapers, so this can definitely be considered research. Chapters written like short stories can definitely aid the daily plagues of an AP student as well...

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

If my current obsession with coming-of-age tales didn't do it, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger!) starring in this novel's movie adaptation cemented my desire to experience the work.

7. So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

As I have written before, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River was stunning, so I am very anticipative of completing this classic, felon-is-the-good-guy western. Yes, that's right, I had to put it down once. My brain deserves a heartfelt wave of apology.

8. The Color of Water by James McBride

Like a well-balanced meal, one's reading material should have differentiation. The nonfictional yarn of a Polish mother who raised twelve of her own, black children with incomparable gusto seemed too fascinating to resist.

9. City of Thieves by David Benoff

No joke, I am apprehending this sentence directly from the novel's back flap: "Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake." Another coming-of-age tale that can righteously be featured on the Food Network-lovely!

10. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Providing a fresh insight into living within the City of Lights (yet another place I find myself heavily desiring to reside in), recipes additionally lie within this nonfictional book's contents. The myriad of holiday parties organized for school organizations around December will be much more delectable if Dulce-De-Lece Brownies were served, don't you think?

And now comes the philosophy part of it all: Looking at that overcrowded bookshelf of mine, I previously found myself bewildered at where to begin my reading experience for the coming months. There is no time for confusion over a scholastically unnecessary matter within a high schooler's schedule. Yet with the composition of this list, everything seems more possible. The human mind is overflowing with different strands of thought that, often times, mix with each other to forge a smoothie of inaction. Written words, utterly physical and apparent, are often the best way to separate and individualize those strands, forming a new self of progressive action. And as I have stated before, life is only given to those who live.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me on this Friday! (Numero Dos)

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs and therefore supreme administers of question are Jenni Elyse and Caught in the Pages, both of which are also composed by immensely interesting people indeed. So what question have they inquired of us today?
In some books like the Sookie Stackhouse series, the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish this would happen with in real life?
This will probably not be the average answer, but I would definitely choose ghosts like that of Marley in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. There are so many humans who share the condition that both Marley and Scrooge inflict on themselves: being completely oblivious to the greater world. We focus on our individual realm of work since, according to us, any other matter on Earth is really just some breed of distraction. A more common label for this condition is "being a workaholic."Although this doesn't necessarily mean that every workaholic is Ebeneezer Scrooge (I certainly like to think that I am not despite my friends saying differently during final's week), we all share a shrewdness and occasional disregard for the needs of others. Shrewdness can help us disregard the needs of ourselves as well-our need for that distraction. A balanced life in indispensable. The existence of ghosts like that of Marley can remind all workaholics that other phenomena than work are important in one's life. We will probably not be forced to roam the world in chains after death, but a harrowing and cautionary depiction of regret will be presented so that we do not ignore the world in chains during life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama, Be A Ghostbuster!

*This post is part of the Steinbeck Classics Circuit Tour hosted by Rebecca Reid. This tour began on August 15th and will end on the 26th, celebrating all that is Steinbeckian throughout its duration!
John Steinbeck's last novel was The Winter of Our Discontent, a novel which begins with the following statement: "Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search for their own hearts, for this book is a large part of America today." Isn't it uncanny that he still is correct in this day and age?  
      But let us begin with the basics-Ethan Allen Hawley toils each day as a mere grocery store clerk in the very town where members of his family were once prominent aristocrats. Hawley has been robbed of the aristocratic lifestyle by both his father's ill-fated investments and his own fiscal follies. The slightly impoverished man now resides with his family of four in the old Hawley house that houses artifacts reflecting the family's previous grandeur. The great margin between failure and success causes there to be many comparisons between Hawley and his forefathers on the parts of both Hawley's mind and the individuals around him. Eventually, these comparisons and the great expectations forged by them pervade his sense of honesty and righteousness, causing the innocent and kind Ethan to become a ruthless, success-obsessed machine. When banker Mr. Baker (love the alliteration of his name and profession!) mentions that the only land usable for a lucrative airport in New Baytown is in the ownership of Danny Taylor, a drunk who was Hawley's best friend in childhood, our main character hatches up a scheme fatal for Danny and excellent for Hawley when it ultimately gives him the piece of profitable property. And this is only the surface-Ethan also reports the existence of his ever-benevolent boss, Marullo, as an illegal immigrant to the federal authorities. And all this occurs because of expectations sprouting from these constant comparisons between Hawley and his forefathers....it's almost like they are haunting him, yes?...they're influencing him even when dead just like-ghosts. Yep. Ethan is in fact being haunted by ghosts. Not the kind reminiscent of Marley in A Christmas Carol with a translucent body and terrifying voice, but a ghost that only exists through influence. The dead and successful ancestors of Ethan haunt our main character with an impeccable model of what, according to both him and his peers, he should be in life.
      However, the aforementioned haunting does not have to exist. You see, it all has to do with what occurs within Ethan's mind-even if others are consistently making the comparison and setting the expectation, Hawley cannot be haunted if he doesn't make the comparison and set the expectation in his own mind. What Hawley does wrong is both dwell on the comparison and feel that he is a complete disappointment for not achieving that expectation of success; this is what causes him to attempt to expel the disappointment with such atrocious actions. A way by which to stop making these comparisons is realizing that Ethan Allen Hawley both does not face the same circumstances and is not the same person as any of his ancestors; it is therefore purely illogical to compare Ethan and the previous Hawleys.
      So nowadays, the United States finds itself at a particularly challenging point. With unemployment at an uncomfortable rate, the national debt rising to excessive levels, and Congress having a hissy-fit over almost every piece of legislation that comes under its nose, the outlook is not so positive for America retaining world domination. But all in all, America's situation is not all that different from that of Hawley.  Current America is significantly less great than Past America, and it is this difference that causes both Past America's mind of those of its fellows to make comparisons between the two. The level of success Past America experienced is now expected of Current America, just like the level of success Ethan's ancestors experienced is now expected of Ethan. Therefore, we are letting Past America with all of its success be a ghost that haunt us.
        However, Ethan Allen Hauley is not the same person as any of his ancestors and now faces different circumstances than any of them once did. Present America and Past America are the same way: Was President Eisenhower on Facebook? I don't think so. Did Teddy Roosevelt have to deal with Muslim extremists? Not that I know of. We must respect our age and know that Present America calls for different government attitudes, different philosophies in policy, and different manners by which to get itself back on the track to glory. Just because FDR raised the debt level to fix a recession, for example, does not mean that we should do the same nowadays.
         America needs an entire government's worth of ghostbusters indeed.

See what bloggers are participating the remainder
of the tour here

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday! (Numero Dos)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. So with no further ado, I henceforth give you...

*Top Ten Books I Loved But Never Wrote A Review For*
1. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
These books are both my childhood and the reason why the blog you are currently reading exists . As a rather cute third grader, if I do say so myself, I was taken by how J.K. Rowling created such an intricate world with mere words. Despite my slight lack of confidence (that continues to this day), I was willing to give the ambition one hell of a shot. Over the years, I have matured with Harry and used his daily battles as guidance for my own span of being, something this writer deeply thanks Ms. Rowling for.

2. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Reuben Land is an eleven-year-old with asthma who, with his family, goes on a search for his criminal brother. It is a remarkable portrait of childhood devotion and how what one thinks is true can be untouchable.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Must I say more? A shocking display of unknowing innocence in the blatant face of experience with a man who, to this day, remains one of my favorite characters in all of literature. Atticus, I beg you to go out to dinner with me. Please?

4. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
I have never seen anyone else reading this book, and that truly disturbs me. The true beauty of Mass's story is that one can comprehend its meaning from ages 10 to 110. Jeremy's father died, but the influence he had over his son did not perish in that car crash with him. And trust me, you will adore having his influence blessing the very essence of your own life as well.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
By far one of the strangest and most enlightening novels ever composed. Pip is given the chance of a lifetime to become a member of the English aristocracy, and along the way meets an eternal Bridezilla plus the love of his life.

6. The Giver by Louis Lowry
A book that meditates on the existence of an nonconformist past on an utterly conformist now. Everyone on Earth should experience this tale of people who do not know what it is to live on their own accord and how they react to those who do.

7. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
What happens when unknowing ignorance has a streak of prolific wisdom? A young man named Holden Caulfied who is burned into millions of adolescent hearts each year that he is heard.

8. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Although this is an allegory for the American condition in the late 1890s, any period of world history that has past us still possesses a great amount of similarity to now. It is inborn.

9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
It is not a habit of mine to cry during books, but this novel had Niagara Falls practically racing down my cheek. Betty Smith gives us a semi-autobiographical novel that so painstakingly describes how children lose the belief that their parents are infallible forces of nature with morals strong and unmoving as iron.

10. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
A moving tale from the very voice of innocence. I loved this book particularly because Boyne forces the reader to supply 75% of his reading experience.

So what moral can we obtain from this listing adventure? Just like these these books not being featured on le blog because they weren't read at a certain period, humans can also miss opportunities with a lack of correct timing. However, timing is something we cannot study for, cannot foresee. We must therefore both accept that some phenomena are not within our control and selflessly appreciate those that are.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me on This Friday!

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read (didn't I tell you how HARD we book bloggers party?). This week's featured bloggers and therefore supreme administers of questions are Stuck In Books and Belle Books, both of which are composed by immensely interesting people, I might add. So what question have they inquired of us today?

If you could write yourself a part in a book,
what book would it be and what role
would you play in that book?

     Indisputably, a younger brother of Melanie in Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. When Melanie is in Atlanta with Scarlett, I would just love to be an indispensable asset to the two of them as they endure those horrid days of Civil War. I would be a person of the utmost benevolence, and when the Yankees are about to put Atlanta under siege, I would stay with my sister, later aiding both her Scarlett once Rhett has left them in the wilderness outside of Georgia's capitol.
     I also imagine me acting as an older sibling to the child of Scarlett, who is without a dominant male figure, once Melanie, Scarlett, Beau (Melanie's son), and Wade Hamilton are taking refuge in Tara after their escape. This is especially imperative because a child must be surrounded by diversity from an immensely young age. How successful can a man be if he is not comfortable with other men? The same would occur if a child is never presented with the existence of racial minorities-How successful can any person be if they are unable to deal with people ethnically different from themselves? An African American who cannot deal with Asian Americans? A European American who cannot deal with Mexican Americans? Any people falling under the aforementioned conditions would be simply incapable of satisfying what life expects from them since life, in the end, knows no color, no gender, nothing but which humans are capable of living. And that is a great amount of us.    

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday!

So I have entered the world of memes, devices used by bloggers to party with each other on the internet (and we book bloggers know how to party HARD!) Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. This week's theme is allowed to be anything the writing blogger would desire it be, so henceforth I give you....

Top Ten Books That Should NEVER
Be (Or Have Been) Turned Into Movies
Some pheneomena in this world are not made for transformation. Sometimes one must leave something the way it is. Let us utilize these books in discovering why...
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez.
The magic of this author's realism is the immensely encompassing quality of his description. You feel as if Macondo, the book's primary setting, can be both the North Pole and your own backyard, and the Garcia family (main characters) simultaneously your amiable neighbors and that impovershed family who trudges down your boulevard in rags. Movies give you both a definite setting in which what you see is what you believe. Characters are presented with definite looks that will make people have predetermined beliefs about them before the characters begin to execute defining actions. Therefore, the setting wouldn't have that magic and the characters that duplicity in an ultimately terrible film.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The voices of those narrators these two books boast are so distinct that the cinema cannot replicate them, which then renders the cinema unable to portray the stories in all of their greatness Voiced narratives within the films would just be deserving objects of ridicule.

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Don't make a mean-spirited judgement of me because I am basing this novel's placement on a quality that occupies two pages: how Steinbeck describes the death of Lenny. He shows George being shaken by the murder and Slim referring to it as an action equivalent with washing one's face, but does not describe Lenny's body after George shoots that pistol. The movie audience would be unable to capture this wonderful specific on a count of their disturbance that stemms from a bloody dead man lying in the sand.

5. Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
7. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
A book that requires much thought to not seem like a hopelessly meandering travelogue. Another that requires much thought to not seem completely strange and pointless to anyone over the age of twelve. Another that requires much thought to not seem completely strange and pointless to anyone. The certain audience who can ponder only does so when their overall comprehension is instrumental to comprehending the film's action sequences (think of Inception.)

8. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
9. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Part of Albom's charm is the fact that he so seamlessly crosses the past with the present. However, the books he composes are puny in length and inconsistent in the "major story line" department. This would probably cause Hollywood to add "enticing" scenes forged by themselves, which (think of Harry breaking the Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows, Part Two) produces a movie downgraded by a lack of faith to its literary predecessor.

10. My Antonia by Willa Cather
Think this as sort of a culmination to all my reasons against pasting these timeless books onto the silver screen. Willa Cather's masterpiece is written more like an incomplete biography than a novel. The biography only becomes a novel if one has the patience to insert a significant amount of thought and patience into his reading experience. These two factors would probably cause Hollywood (I portray it as such a horrid character, don't I?) to add their "enticing" scenes that include "action", and I would much rather be forced to read Les Miserables in a day than sit through the ugly phenomenon that would be.

So what have we learned? For that friend of yours who you've had a robust intention to snog recently, be sure that it's a companion who you want to snog, not a friend. Take inventory of your change.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Be Ke$ha When You Are Aretha Franklin

When everyone was in about second grade, their teacher taught them about how each butterfly was once an entirely alternative being called a caterpillar. She also must have thrown in the term "cocoon" while you were thinking about how mean the cockney in front of you was for stealing your colorful eraser. Nevertheless, most everyone conceived the concept that there were two inseparable stages to a butterfly's life, two states completely indistinguishable from one another. Being the conceited little priss that I was, my brain never thought this knowledge would be applicable to life in the future. And I was only to be proved wrong years later by a book my very eyes devoured.
     State of Wonder by Anne Patchett describes the experiences of pharmacologist Marina Singh when getting to and living in the Amazon rain forest. After a colleague of Marina's named Anders Eckman dies there, Marina is sent by her boss and lover, Jim Fox, to both discover the exact cause of Eckman's death and oversee the progress of brilliant Dr. Annick Swenson, who is studying the indigenous Lakashi people so that a drug  permitting lifelong fertility in females can be forged. Singh's determination to discover how her colleague perished is intensified by a heart-wrenching plea from Karen Eckman, Anders' widow who is left with three mourning boys while she is still miserable herself, for information about the death. One found phenomenon unexpectedly turns out to be an alternative Dr. Marina Singh-the scant resources and dire situations that the Amazon present cause our main character to perform previously unthinkable actions. When an anaconda threatens to strangle her ever-lovable companion, a deaf boy named Easter, Marina suddenly finds enough courage to murder the great snake with a machete. Marina was once Dr. Swenson's gynecology student, but switched her major to pharmacology after performing a hasty cesarean (something I am so glad we didn't have to complete a lab about in biology) that blinded the baby she was delivering. When a Lakashi woman is in desperate need of a cesarean because her infant is (for lack of a better word) stuck, Marina finds herself forced by an incapable Dr. Swenson to actually conduct the necessitated procedure on a wooden floor with unsterilized equipment and shoehorns to hold open the uterus. When Dr. Fox actually comes into the Amazon to check on her, Marina doesn't tell him the imperative secret every doctor there is incubating: that Fox's investment is being used for, along with that fertility drug, the development of a malaria vaccine from which he will not fiscally benefit. Then it is discovered that Anders is really alive, which leads to Marina having sex with her former colleague on small cot.
     The Marina Singh who boarded that plane bound for the Amazon would never have executed any of the aforementioned actions. She loved Dr. Fox and therefore would never have desired to hurt his well-being. Karen Eckman was a morbid woman who reached out to Dr. Singh in a time of need, not a person whose spouse she would desire as a sexual partner. The bleak lab at Vogel Pharmaceutical company was her home, a place where discomforts meant tedious faculty meetings, not watching an anaconda strangle the life out of her friend. She had palpably turned into a butterfly somewhere along the way...
     All humans experience dramatic change-in-state's throughout their lives. It is imperative that after these changes transpire, we do not completely revert back to our previous state. What comes to the forefront of my mind when I think of this concept is the drastic change from childhood to adulthood-would I witness Barney singing on my television every twenty-four hours nowadays? Would I hold on to my parent's hand every time I cross the street now that I am a teenager? The reason behind this prohibition is that our previous states cannot support us as we attempt to fulfill our current potential for success. As arrogant a priss I was, there is no way I would be writing this post at the present time if I was yet to learn long division.
     Dr. Singh eventually returns to her Minnesota hometown with Anders and fondly watches her colleague's reunion with his family. It is then that Ms. Patchett composes an immensely vague sentence to culminate her narrative: "And Marina brought him back, and without a thought that anyone should see her, she told the driver to go on.(page 353)" I interpret this to mean that Marina brings the spirit of Anders and therefore the Amazon (the two are intertwined since she knows how that Amazonian endeavor started and ended because of him) back to her and uses them in forging her decision to once more be at the side of Dr. Swenson, who both predicted Marina's return and desired that Singh stay to work on the project with her. It is in the Amazon, not in Minnesota, that the new Marina can fulfill her potential to help develop the fertility drug and malaria vaccine. I cannot study records of a 1920s newspaper for my novel tomorrow if I spend all of the day at a day-care. Uomo di Speranza has switched from being raised by others to raising himself.
     So, my dear friends, insure that you do not crawl on the ground once you have turned from caterpillar to butterfly. You cannot be squashed by an unsuspecting foot if you are flying.