Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nook Book Haul Part 2

A while ago I posted this Nook book haul, which was a compilation of books that I had picked up on my nook. I have a tendency to pick up books when they are in the $2.99 or under section and I have picked up some more recently so I thought I should update with another haul.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Literary Characters/Personalities

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week was a freebie pick your own topic week, so I choose to make a list of some of my favorite characters. This list is in no particular order.

1. Jem from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare I was always team Jem, Will is great too but... Jem! He's so polite and sensitive and thoughtful.

2. Peter Pan from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie Peter is one of my all time favorite books and Peter is such a fascinating character. Even though he is just a child, there are so many sides to his personality and the way he reacts to others. Plus I love the way he crows like a rooster when he is pleased with himself!

3. Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I'm not going to speak about my love for Sherlock too much, I have mentioned in many posts my love of Sherlock, but he really is such an interesting person. He is so mysterious, yet he manages to be fully developed and full of surprises. I love his wit and intelligence and the way he shows his affection for those he cares about.

4. John Watson from The Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Watson is perhaps my favorite literary character ever. His fierce loyalty is second to none, and he is so very, very important to Sherlock. I really love the way that the BBC Sherlock where Martin Freeman plays Watson portrays him, I think that portrayal is so true to Watson and really highlights the way that Watson saved Holmes.

5. Oscar Wilde from The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries Series by Gyles Brandeth This is one of my favorite series of all time, and if you have seen my review for The Picture of Dorian Gray  you know how much I love the real Oscar Wilde. Brandeth portrays Wilde perfectly, his wit, and over the top personality really shine through in this series. Bonus fact: Sherlock Holme's older brother Mycroft was inspired by Oscar Wilde, he and Doyle were good friends for many years.

6. Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Lizzy's dad made me laugh through out the entire novel, he is so practical compared to his wife and his sarcastic comments always made me laugh. You can read my review of this book here.

7. Celaena from The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas I love this series and Celaena is such a bad ass. She kicks some major butt, and I like how she uses her beauty as a weapon as well as her assassin skills. I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

8. Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling Of course Hermione is going to be on a list of favorite characters. I admire her hard work, how much she values knowledge and education, how she is always true to herself, and the way she saves Harry and Ron a million and one times. 

9. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote Holly is truly a unique character, no one, including herself, fully understands her. She is able to draw people in and capture their attention is a way that is unique to her. I wrote a little on Capote's story here.

 and in honor of the final book's release today...

10. Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare I just finished rereading City of Lost Souls in order to prepare for City of Heavenly Fire and found my love for Magnus re-sparked. He is so true to himself and so kind hearted, loyal, and funny.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Recently Read:The Picture of Dorian Gray

I just finished The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde which I have been reading on and off all month. First I had to put it down for exams at the beginning of the month, and then I found it was going too slow to start my summer reading off with so I put it down again. I have a feeling this may be a long review so be prepared.

First off I have to warn you that I love Oscar Wilde. Anything he ever said or wrote will be pure genius to me because I love him that much, with that being said I'm going to be honest about this book because I don't think this is a book that everyone would enjoy. This novel is about a young and very handsome man named Dorian Gray who wishes that his portrait of himself that his friend painted for him would age and bare the weight of his sins instead of himself, and he gets his wish.

Oscar is known for his wit and comedic plays, while Dorian is not without its comedic and witty moments, it is much more serious than Oscar's comedic plays. This is his only novel, and the writing is beautiful but very wordy. There are large passages in this book that are philosophical and beautifully crafted, but do not move the plot forward at all, or even mention the characters names. I can easily see how people would absolutely detest this book for that reason. Wilde makes many references to classical literature and theater that can also be frustrating because the modern reader is not familiar with these stories. This is definitely a slower read, and although it is rather short, it takes all of your attention.

With all that being said, if you are a fan of Oscar, or this kind of writing I highly recommend this book. Passages of this book could be separated from the plot and characters and read on their own and still be just as powerfully packed full of theme as an entire novel. The prologue of this novel in and of itself is an amazing piece on art and the perception of art and the artist. I usually try to separate the artist from the art, as Oscar suggests in the prologue, but this novel is made even more poignant by the knowledge of Oscar's weakness for youth and beauty and the trouble it would later cause him in his life.    

Dorian Gray is a very interesting character, and this book makes many points and contains many themes on beauty, art, admiration, influence, sin, people as works of art, and the pursuit of beauty among other topics. Although this novel is a serious piece, it still contains those witty and funny one liners that Oscar had such a talent for.

In an attempt to wrap this up (I tend to go on forever whenever Oscar is involved) I will say this, to lovers of classical literature who don't mind philosophical tangents, read this book. If this book doesn't sound like your cup of tea, don't let it deter you from reading Oscar. I suggest starting with some of his short stories, I mention a few here or one of his plays, such as The Importance of Being Earnest which I reviewed here. His plays are especially enjoyable if you can listen to them out loud.

And the last thing I would like to share is this painting inspired by Oscar's novel which I saw at the Chicago Art Institute a few summers back.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Ivan Albright

Friday, May 23, 2014

Recently Purchased: May Part Two

In part one of my May purchased post I mentioned that my second part would be made up of young adult novels. I recently ordered some hardcovers online for a great deal, and I also got some graphic novels that I'm really excited about.

Winger by Andrew Smith I have heard lots of great things about this one, and I am planning on reading it super soon.
Tumble and Fall by Alexandra Coutts I have not heard too much about this one, I believe it is a love story that takes place right before the end of the world?
Juliet Immortal & Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay I love Romeo and Juliet, the original play, movie adaptations, and any retelling. Juliet Immortal is a retelling of R&J and Romeo Redeemed is the sequel, I'm interested in trying these out, though I will admit I am not crazy about the romance novel-esq cover of Romeo Redeemed.
No Fear Shakespeare graphic novels:
Romeo and Juliet 
Macbeth You may know I am currently attending University to become a high school English teacher, and Shakespeare is the enemy of every high school student every where! I am interested in checking out these graphic novels with the hopes that they could be used in a classroom to help teach Shakespeare. These adaptations are from the No Fear Shakespeare section at so I have high hopes for them. More on these to come once I have read them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Recently Read: The Assassin's Blade

I have been reading two books at the same time all month this month for some reason. I never do this so I have no idea why it started now. I'm having trouble committing to just one book at a time. I have been working on The Picture of Dorian Gray for about a week, which was stressing me out because its summer and I want to read everything on my shelves! I'm enjoying Dorian greatly, but it is a slower read and takes more effort to read than other books on my shelf. The point of that tangent was to say that I picked up The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas while taking a break from Dorian.

This is a collection of the five novellas that go along with her Throne of Glass Series which I love. I have read the first two books, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, and am excited for the third book which is released this September. I had not read any of the novellas so I was eager to pick them up.

What's cool about these novellas, is that the five of them together make a prequel for Throne of Glass. Each novella builds upon the previous one, and they don't feel like filler or fluff which can happen with novellas sometimes, they feel like a complete novel. These novellas give so much insight in Celaena's character and her past. In this book we meet Sam, Celaena's first love and Arobynn, the Assassin King who has trained Calena since she was a young girl and learn more about the betrayal that landed Celaena into Endovier.

This book was very fast paced, just like Maas' other novels, and I would recommend it to those who read the first two books and need more Celaena before the third book, Heir of Fire comes out in September. (which by the way has another gorgeous cover) These novellas really add to the series, and although I don't think you'll be totally lost if you don't read them, they are very enjoyable to read and do add to the series and the character development.

 Throne of Glass Review
Crown of Midnight Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books about Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
My list is in no particular order

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Ann Brashares The first YA series I read that I really loved and got attached to the characters.

2. Peaches Trilogy, Jodi Lynn Anderson  I read this after the Sisterhood series and it was equally as good.

3. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling Harry, Ron and Hermonie are the most loyal of friends. These books contain so much love and loyalty.

4. Papertowns, John Green Q's friends are willing to skip their high school graduation ceremony to help him learn an important lesson.

5. The Rules of Civility, Amor Towles This is one of my favorite books of all time, it is so beautifully written and makes very raw and honest comments on friendship and loyalty.

6. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald Nick and Gatsby have one of the most interesting literary friendships I have ever encountered.

7. Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes and Watson are perhaps the most famous bffs in literature, and for a good reason. Their friendship dynamic is my favorite out of all the friendships I have read, as well as my favorite relationship I have seen on screen. I could go on about my love for Holmes and Watson's friendship forever.

8. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck This is a heartbreaking story of friendship.

9. and 10. Percy Jackson series and The Heroes of Olympus series, Rick Riordan These books both contains groups of friends that kick Greek mythology's butt! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May Book Haul Part 1: Jane Austen and Adult Fiction

Since school ended this month, I have treated myself to some books for summer reading. I bought the whole collection of Jane Austen novels in the Vintage Classics publishing versions (I had previously purchased Emma in this edition), I bought Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. I now have a little collection of classics by this publisher, and love the way they look displayed together.

I also bought two adult fiction books that I found used for great prices. 
I bought American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
Part two of this haul will include young adult and graphic novels, which I will be more likely to read over the summer than all of the Austen novels. The only Austen I have read is Pride and Prejudice (my review here.) I am looking forward to reading these novels and then searching for the best movie/tv adaptations of them. Leave me your suggestions on where to start with the reading, or which adaptions you love. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Recently Read: Wuthering Heights Graphic Novel

I read Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights the summer before my Junior year of High School, so about abut three years ago? Wow that's crazy to think about how old I'm getting! But I enjoyed the book. I read the first half very quickly, Heathcliff and Catherine's story really sucked me in, but the second half with Catherine's daughter Cathy and Linton was a little slow moving for me.
I wanted to reread this book this year, and I put it on my list of rereads and classics to read in 2014. While at my local used book store, I found a little graphic novel adaptation of the story and picked it up. This graphic novel is part of the Classics Illustrated series and was adapted by Rick Geary.

It was great being able to revisit the story and refresh myself on the details through this graphic novel. This book has really great characters, and their troubles and personalities show through in the graphic novel adaptation. Wuthering Heights is a rather long book, but the graphic novel took me about half-an-hour to read. Graphic novel adaptations of classics are such a great idea. They could serve as a great introduction to a classic by helping to make the plot and characters more clear and provide background knowledge of the story before diving into a lengthy classic, or they could be a great way of testing out the story before committing to the lengthy book.

Next, I am eager to pick of some graphic novel adaptations of some of Shakespeare's plays as well as an adaptation of Charles Dickson's Great Expectations by the same publisher that did the above mentioned Wuthering Heights.  Any classic graphic novel recommendations?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Recently Read: Where Things Come Back

I recently finished Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. 

This book is about the residents of a small Arkansas town named Lily, specifically Cullen Witter who is seventeen years old. During one summer, someone claims to have seen a species of woodpecker in Lily that has been extinct for many years, and Cullen's little brother disappears.

This book evolved beautifully. The plot is both simple and extremely intricate, the writing style could be explained the same way too. Cullen's understanding of the world expands greatly in this book, and this book comments on some interesting ideas and themes. I think this book will be different for everyone who reads it, different pieces will  resonate with different people.

I really enjoyed this book and found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. It's not very long, but it manages to make an impact on you. I am interested to check out more of Whaley's work. His second book, Noggin was just released not that long ago, and it has a very interesting premiums.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Man You're Crazy: Books with unreliable (and sometimes just plain crazy) Narrators

I really enjoy reading books narrated by unreliable narrators. It is so fascinating to me! I've complied a  list of books with crazy narrators.

Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Brent Easton Ellis
Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 
Esther Greenwood from The Bell jar by Sylvia Plath 
Humbert Humbert from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
Lia from Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson 

Some would argue that Nick Carroway from The Great Gatsby should make this list too... but I'm unsure of how I feel about that. What do you think? Whose your favorite crazy narrator?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May To Be Read List

Required reading is over!! I finished my last book that I needed to read for my classes last night and I'm very excited to choose my own reading again. Because the last couple weeks of April was pretty crazy with school I had to scrap some books of last months TBR but one carried over to this month and the others I will read soon. Prepare yourself for a long list.

Currently Reading: Well kinda, I plan on starting this book tonight so I have't started it yet, but the first book I want to read this month is Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. I don't know much about the plot, but I have heard its a great book multiple times.

Next I have an e-copy of If I Stay by Gale Forman from the library so I want to read that, plus it is being made into a movie soon so I would like to read it before the movie comes out.

I would like to continue The Lux series by reading the third book Opal by Jennifer L. Amrmentrout and I probably won't be able to stop myself from reading the fourth one Origin too.

Next is the second in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Pretties. 

And the carry-over from last month which I'm not sure if I will get to or not is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. 

The next two books I know I will for sure get to this month. I plan to reread City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare before picking up City of Heavenly Fire when it is released May 27th (I already preordered my copy from amazon).

Well, there's my huge list, I guess we will see how many I get to this month. What are you planning to read this month?