Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Wrap-up

Here's a list of everything I read in November, If I did a review for it, I will link it in this post, if I have not done a review. I will give you some quick thoughts on it.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen See My review here.

Papertowns, John Green See My review here.

City Of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare See my review here.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green I didn't review this book, because pretty much everyone has read it, but I really loved it. I read it in one sitting. I started at ten o'clock at night and finished around two o'clock in the morning. It was funny, it was sad, it was insightful, it was everything you would expect a John Green novel to be. If you would like to read more kind words about John Green I would suggest my Papertowns review linked above. If you haven't read this yet, you should. I'm excited for the movie, I think it will be great and very faithfully to the book.

The Son Of Neptune, Rick Riordan See my review here.

Cane, Jane Toomer I read this novel for my English course at college, and although I was not the biggest fan of this novel, I appreciated the creative risks that Toomer took with this piece. It is a Harlem Renaissance piece, as is the book listed below this one. If you enjoy Harlem Renaissance pieces, this may interest you. It is unlike anything I have ever read before, and I would not have picked it up on my own, so I am glad my class introduced it to me.

Passing, Nella Larson See my review for this here.

Although I didn't read everything I had hoped to read this month, looking back, it was a pretty good reading month. November and December are always busy because it is the end of the semester. The first two weeks of December will be horribly filled with papers, projects, and exams, but I plan to read as much as I can over Christmas break. My December TBR list will be coming soon, keep an eye out.

Recently Read: The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan is the second book in his Percy Jackson continuation series The Heroes of Olympus. My review for the first book, The Lost Hero can be found here.
This book opens in the perspective of Percy Jackson, on the run from mythical creatures with no memory of his past. He is lead to Camp-Jupiter, the Roman demi-god camp, where he meets the next two demi-gods that will be part of the Prophecy of Seven. Hazel, is the daughter of Pluto, or Hades in Greek God terms. She has a big secret and a big power. Frank, is big, clumsy, and doesn't know who his God parent is. Percy and these two unlikely heroes are throw into a quest to release Death from the grasps of Gaea.
This book, like all of Riordan's books, is funny, full of adventure, bravery, and lessons in mythology. I'm really enjoying learning about the Roman Gods, which I have much less knowledge of compared to the Greek gods. I also like that characters from the original Percy Jackson series continue to pop up and become a major part of this story as well. I'm excited to read the third and fourth book in this series now that the Seven will be brought together and all the set up for the series is done. I foresee a couple of love triangles in these character's futures, along with lots of action, bravery, and possibly even a tragic death or two.   

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recently Read: Passing

I have been really enjoying my Introduction to Prose English class I am taking at my college. We are reading mostly short novels, and most of them I had not previously heard of or knew much about which has been exciting. Recently we have finished Passing by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929 this short novel is about two African American women who were childhood friends and meet after years of separation. Upon this reunion, Irene, the main character of the novel, learns that her friend Clare has chosen to "pass" as a white women and has married a white man who has no knowledge of her heritage.

I really enjoyed this book and read it in one day. The story is easy to follow, straightforward, but yet intriguing. This book has a really great ending. I guarantee that after you read the ending you will think about it for days.

I had never heard of this book or this author, so I thought I would share it with all of you in case you had never heard of it either. This is a piece from the Harlem Renaissance, and it is one of my favorite pieces I have read from that literary movement. I would recommend this book to classic lovers, and those who don't consider themselves classic readers. It really reads like a modern day novel, and I'm telling you, that ending is one of the best I have read!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recently Read: City of Fallen Angels

November has been a crazy month. I had two exams last week, and then I have been without power for the first part of this week. Luckily I now have power and internet, but I haven't had much time to read or write this week. I finished the fourth book in the Mortal instruments Series, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare earlier in the month so I thought I would do a short review on it.


This series was originally meant to be a trilogy I believe, but Clare decided to expand the series by three more books. The sixth and final book of the series is to be released this spring, while the fifth one is already out. Anyway, I have heard a lot of people say that this was their least favorite book in the series. I can see why people would think that, it has been my least favorite so far too, but I still enjoyed the book and want to continue the series.

I liked getting to know Simon and Isabelle even better in this book, and I really enjoy Magnus and Alec as well. Clare has created some really funny and likeable characters. The main thing about this book that annoyed me was Clary and Jace's relationship. It seemed to be a little immature at times, and they both seemed to be unreasonable and a little over the top. I'm hoping Clary and Jace's relationship will be different in the next two books, but in the mean time I really enjoyed getting to know the other characters.

City Of Glass Review
City of Ashes Review 
City of Bones Review

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recently Read: Paper Towns

Last night I finished Paper Towns by John Green. This is my third finished John Green book. I recently found The Fault in our Stars at my thrift shop for twenty-four cents, so I will be reading that soon. I have quite a lot to say about this book so I will get started.

Going into this book, for some reason, I expected it to be light and fluffy. Which it was in one way. I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this, like really laughed. But when I finished it, I just sat and thought about it for half an hour. So, the main character Q is neighbors and child hood friends with Margo. They share a traumatic adventure together when they are young and then they kind of just grow apart like most child hood friends. One night Margo climbs through Q's window and pulls him into an all night adventure. The next morning Q wakes up to discover that Margo is gone. Of course Q has loveable and hilarious best friends in the form of Ben and Radar, and they find themselves wrapped up in the mystery of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

I have really come to love John Green's writing. I appreciate the way he writes female characters. They have depth and the attraction felt towards them is based on the mystery surrounding them and they always seem to make the male character feel like a better person when they are around. The main characters journey's are always rewarded with great life and self discoveries, which John Green so beautifully words for the reader. Besides all this, his books are just plain funny. The kids are real, the jokes are real, and the friendships are real. I think sometimes people tend to consider Young Adult literature as meaningless, fluffy entertainment, but I don't think that's true. Authors like John Green, David Levithan and Markus Zusak are writing meaningful and thought provoking YA novels.

I thought the discoveries Q made about the way we view other people was beautifully worded and very, very true. I again, recommend every John Green book, even the two I have not read yet, because I know they will be just as heartwarming and beautiful as the ones I have read.
My Looking For Alaska review is here.
My An Abundance of Katherines review is here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recently Read: Pride and Prejudice

I just finished Pride and Prejudice (and by just, I mean ten minutes ago). This was my first Austen novel, and I have been wanting to read it for a long time. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the plot, but the heroine of this story is Elizabeth Bennet. The story follows her and her sisters lives while their mother is on the quest to marry them all off.

I quite liked Lizzy as a character. I found her to be sensible and not much of a romantic which contrasted her greatly with her younger sisters. She is head strong and not afraid to voice her opinion which is great to read about today, but was probably even more refreshing and unusual to read about in 1813 when the book was published.

I also liked Mr. Darcy as the romantic figure. Again, he seemed sensible and not an over-the-top romantic. His romantic actions were believable and sweet. This book made me laugh many times. I really liked Mr. Bennet. I would recommend this book to lovers of classic lit as well as those who don't see themselves as classic fans. The language in this book is not at all intimidating and the principals are still very relevant and present in modern literature today.

Now I am off to watch as many film adaptations of this story as I can! The BBC, PBS and 2006  Keira Knightly versions are at the top of my list. Let me know if you have seen any other good adaptations of this novel. I am also excited to read more Austen, specifically Emma. I am also on the look out for great editions of this novel. I have seen some really great ones from Penguin. The clothbound version as well as the Drop Cap are really great looking editions.
Penguin Clothbound Classic

Penguin Drop Cap Series

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things (Short Story Version)

My last post consisted of the short story collections that I own. (see it here.) In this post I would like to talk about some of my favorite short stories I have read out of those collections. As I read more of these short stories, I hope to add to this list and make future posts with more stories.

The first story I would like to talk about is the longest of the stories on this list. It might be considered a short novel rather than a short story, but since it is one of my favorites I want to include it on my list of short stories. That is of course Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. If you have seen the movie version with Audrey Hepburn, which is just as equally amazing, you still should read the book. They are two completely different stories! I saw the movie first and fell in love with it, and then a couple of years later I read the book, and fell in love with it as well. Capote's Holly Golightly is so different from the movie Holly, but yet at the same time they are so much the same. You really must read the book to understand what I am talking about, and I highly recommend it if you love the movie, or if you haven't even seen the movie.
 The next two stories I have on my list come from the same story collection. The Sphinx Without a Secret and The Caterville Ghost come from Oscar Wilde's collection entitled Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories. The Sphinx Without a Secret is the shortest story on this list today. I really enjoyed this small piece of writing. I have spoke of my love for Oscar Wilde before. I think he is so witty and wise and his flamboyant personality is so alluring and always makes me smile, so I may be a little biased when I put his writing in my favorites category, but he really is a great writer. The Caterville Ghost is a slightly longer piece and more of a fictional story, as apposed to Sphinx which is more of a small recollection of an event. Both pieces are great, as well as everything else Oscar Wilde has written.
The final story  I will mention today is from F. Scott Fitzgerald's collection Babylon Revisited. The story that has made the biggest impact on me out of what I have read so far is The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. This is one of Fitzgerald's more well known short stories. Fitzgerald wrote a lot of short stories that he sold to magazines to help pay for his wife's medical problems. Some of his short stories are quite bazar, this one included. His short stories are much different from his novels. I don't want to say too much about the plot, because I think if you have read any of his novels and then read this story you will be quite surprised.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Short and Long of it (but mostly just the short)

Until recently, I never would have considered myself a reader of short stories. I was looking at my book shelf the other day, while attempting to organize it, and discovered I in fact own quite a few short story collections. I have not read all of them. Some I have not even started, some I have only read a few stories here or there, but that is what's so great about short story collections. If you have twenty minutes of spare time and feel like reading, but you don't have enough time to commit to starting a new book, you can read a short story. Here is the list of short story collections I own, and hope to read soon and some that I have read already.

Sherlock Holmes vol.1, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman
Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Flappers and Philosophers, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Breakfast at Tiffany's and Other Stories, Truman Capote
The Happy Prince and other Tales, Oscar Wilde
A House of Pomegranates, Oscar Wilde
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, Oscar Wilde
Nine Stories, J.D. Salingar
Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salingar   

As you can see, I am lacking in the genre of short story collections by modern authors. If you have any recommendations of short story collections for me, let me know. I would love to read more short stories. I am going to do a separate post on my favorite short stories that I have read very soon, be on the lookout for that, I will go more in depth about which books from the list that I have read in that post.