Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Wrap-up

July has been pretty busy. I am moving out of my parents house into an apartment about two hours away. I have spent a lot of the past month buying things I need for the apartment and packing. One thing I have learned from this experience is I really need to clean out my life. I have way too much stuff! Because of this craziness I am still reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac with one hundred pages left, but I am determined to finish this book because I have been reading it for way too long. I also introduced a new series on the blog, Literary Look (which you can find in the "other posts" list below).
But, here are the books I read and the things I talked about in July:

Book Reviews
Winger by Andrew Smith
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Other Posts
Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Classics
Mid-Year Reading Check In
Used Book Haul
Women Writers List
Stacking the Shelves: Book Outlet Haul
Poetry Wish List
Top Ten Tuesday: Tv Shows and Movies
Stacking the Shelves: Used Books and Nook Update
Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island Companions
Wishlist: Beautiful Books
Literary Look: The Beatnik Writers
Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I own the most books from

How was your July?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I own the Most Books From

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is authors that you own the most books from. A lot of the authors I own a lot of books from are authors that write large series, so I just complied my list by counting the number of books I owned. Many of these authors are series writers, but a few are standalone writers. 
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1. Oscar Wilde (15) I own the Barnes and Noble collected works of Wilde that contains: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, A House of Pomegranates, The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Women of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, Salome, The Duchess of Padua, Vera, A Florentine Tragedy, La Sainte Courtisane. I also own The Ballad of Reading Goal and De Profundis 

2. Cassandra Clare (11) City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire, Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess, What Really Happened in Peru, The Course of True Love and First Dates, What to Buy the Shadow Hunter who has Everything. 

3. Rick Riordan (9) Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, The Lost Hero, The son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades 

4. Laura Ingles Wilder (9) Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek, On the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, The First Four Years 

5. Andrew Clements (9) Frindle, The Report Card, The Last Holiday Concert, A Week in the Woods, No Talking, Things Not Seen, The Janitor's Boy, The School Story, The Landry News

6. Jane Austen (7) Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Other Works, which contains the Watsons and Lady Susan 

7. F. Scott Fitzgerald (7) The Great Gatsby (2), Babylon Revisited, Flappers and Philosophers, This side of Paradise, Tender is the Night, The Beautiful and the Damned   

8. Sarah Dessen (7) That Summer, Someone Like You, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Lock and Key, Just Listen, Along for the Ride

9. J.K. Rowling (7) Harry Potter series 1-7

10. Gyles Brandeth (6)  Oscar Wilde and the Death of No Importance, Oscar Wilde and A Game Called Murder, Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile, Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders, Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders, Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Goal 

Well there's my list! I have all of the books listed with numbers 2,3,5,8,9 and 10. But the rest of the numbers contain books I haven't read yet. Let me know which authors are on your list. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Literary Look: The Beatnik Movement- A Beat Generation

Here is the first installment in a reoccurring post series I hope to make. I am attending college to obtain a degree in secondary English education, as some of you may know, so naturally I love literature as an art and a subject to study in addition to reading for fun. I am very fascinated by literary movements and how authors seem to feed off of the energy created by other authors and artists of different mediums to create a movement.
 I am currently reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road which is probably the defining book of the literary movement known as the Beatniks or the Beat generation, so I thought I would cover this movement for my first literary look post. Of course I can't cover everything about this movement,( I would love to, but I don't want to bore you, or be up all night typing) so I will just cover the highlights and offer you some suggested reading from the movement.

Quick Overview 
The Beat movement occurred in the U.S. in the 1950's. The generation that was coming of age and entering early adulthood in this time were greatly affected by WWII and the mass destruction the world had witnessed. Many authors and artists in the Beat movement served during the war. The term 'beat' was given to this generation by some of those usually seen as the original members of the group, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Kerouac described his generation as being furtive, exhausted, and down-and-out, or beat, and so the name stuck. My Penguin The Portable Beat Reader, 1992, classifies the Beat generation as,
" ...A cultural revolution in progress, made by post WWII generation of disaffiliated
young people coming of age into a Cold War world without spiritual values
they could honor. Instead of obeying authority and conforming to traditional
middle class materialistic aspirations, these young people dealt as best
they could with their will to believe, even in the face of an inability
to do so in conventional terms." (pg xx)

Major Contributors and Works 

Jack Kerouac 
Kerouac belongs to group that has been called the nucleolus of the Beat generation. He met the other members at Columbia University before he dropped out. Kerouac's most well-known novels belong to his "Legend of Duluoz" series which is a semi-autobiographical series of his life. His name and the other beatnik writers names are changed in each book as to protect them, but the stories are mostly true. The most well known of Kerouac's works are On The Road, The Dharma Bums, and The Subterraneans.  
On the Road is a great place to start with Kerouac and the Beat generation in general. Just watch which version you buy of this book. The original scroll version is a slightly edited version of the original draft Kerouac wrote in three weeks with no paragraph breaks. So be warned a version marked the Original Scroll will be more difficult to read. You should look up pictures of the Original Scroll, it really is something to see.

Allen Ginsberg 
Ginsberg is another "founding" member of the Beat generation. He met Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University. Ginsberg was always a trouble maker and was suspended from Columbia twice. Ginsberg had a very strong fear of the atomic bomb, which was a recurring idea in his works. His best known work is his poem Howl, and Kaddish a poem in six parts which he wrote in the course of forty-eight hours under the influence of multiple drugs. Howl is also well known for the controversy that followed the poem's publication when it faced an obscenity trial, which only helped sell countless copies of the poem. Ginsberg is also well known for his activeness in the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples, as he himself was gay. 


William S. Burroughs 
After Burroughs graduated from Harvard he had a difficult time finding his own identity, and basically just got hooked on drugs. On of his friends encouraged him to write a factual book based on his experience with drugs,which has become one of his most known books, Junky; this task got him hooked on writing. In 1951 Burroughs accidentally killed his wife and basically spent the rest of his life in pursuit of various drugs. His most popular book Naked Lunch also deals with the idea of drug addictions.    


Neal Cassady
Cassady is someone you should be familiar with if you want to read the Beat works. Although Cassady didn't write much in terms of published literature, he sure did inspire a lot of it. Kerouac would write of him in many of his novels, and Cassady serves as the main focus of On the Road. Cassady lived a carefree life, never worrying about the future, or those that he has made promises to and seemed to embody many of the main ideas that pop up in Beat literature. 

Lesser Known Highlights 
Diane DiPrima's poetry
Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind and The Time's They are a Changin'
Tuli Kupferberg's hilarious satirical piece 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft 
Carolyn Cassidy's (Neal Cassidy's wife) Off the Road   

Have something to add? Want to recommend me something from this era? Let me know! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wish List: Beautiful Books

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates I have never read anything by Yates and have heard that he is great. This is the book of his that appeals to me the most. I'm also interested in seeing the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This novel is set in 1955 and follows the life and struggles of a married couple. It sounds like a slow book with little plot, which I really enjoy if they are done well. 

Orlando, Virginia Woolf This is one of Woolf's works that I do not own, but I am very interested in reading it. It sounds so interesting. I have heard that it is semi-autobiographical based on the life of Woolf's lover. I have also read that this is one of her more accessible works.

Naked Lunch, William S, Burroughes I am starting to dive into the world of Beat literature and would like to read a variety of authors. This novel seems to be one that makes little sense and is full of drug stupors, and that's all I really know. 

 The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton This is a young adult novel about a girl who is born with wings, as the result of the tragic love stories that reside in her family in the female line. The magical realism in this book sounds very interesting and this book sounds very beautiful.

The Lover's Dictionary, David Levithan I really enjoy Levithan's works and his writing style. This book has an interesting concept. It is structured like a dictionary, with mini love stories about the word at the top of the page. I really like Levithan's short stories so I have faith that this collection of short prose will be poignant and heartwarming. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recently Read: Everybody Sees the Ants

Author: A.S. King
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/ Magical Realism
Year Published: 2011
Status: Stand Alone
Page Count: 197
Rating: 5/5

Everybody Sees the Ants was my first A.S. King book. I had heard lots of positive buzz about her works, and her amazing command over magical realism, which is an element I haven't come across much in my reading.

Magical realism is when an element of magic, or the supernatural, is added to an otherwise realistic fiction or contemporary novel. As you can imagine, this can be quite difficult to pull off without coming across as cheesy or odd, but this book is a great example of well done magical realism. 

Lucky Linderman is in high school and is bullied by Nader relentlessly. Lucky's father is still trying to deal with the fact that he had to grow up without a father, because his father was a Prisoner of War from the Vietnam War and never returned home. Lucky receives no help from his parents about dealing with Nader because his parents are trying to deal with their own problems. When Lucky was a kid his grandmother died, but before she did she told Lucky to rescue Grandpa Harry from the jungle. This is where the magical element comes in to play. Lucky meets with and attempts to rescue his grandfather from the jungle almost every night in his dreams, and always wakes up with a tangible item from the dream.  

This book is short, but so powerful and emotional. I loved how the magical element worked and was portrayed. There was no doubt that these dreams were real magic and that Lucky was really talking to his grandpa. I really enjoyed the lessons that Lucky learns about everyone around him, but especially his parents. The main theme of this book is "Everybody sees the ants" and when you finish the books you realize how powerful that theme and title is.

I'm a little bit of a history nut, and happened to spend a long time studying the Vietnam War in high school, and I was very pleased with the way the war was presented in this book. The facts check out, and the atmosphere of the jungle mixed with dreamland is perfect. 

I really recommend this book, and I am eager to check out more of A.S. King's works as well as other authors who tackle magical realism. Next on my list for A.S. King is Ask the Passengers about a girl who talks to the passengers of overhead passing airplanes, and another for more magical realism is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Eva Lavender by Leslye Walton about a girl born with wings. 

Leave me more suggestions! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island Companions

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the top ten book characters I would want on a deserted island with me. Now let me just say, I would not survive on an island no matter who I had with me!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish 

 Practical Choices:

1. Hermonie Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
She's so smart and prepared I'm sure she could find a way to keep us alive and then get us rescued. Plus, Magic!

2. Celaena Sardothien form the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
She's so kick-butt and great at surviving on her own!

3. Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians
He could use his water powers to summon a boat and get us off that island.


4. Dameon Black from The Lux series by Jenifer L. Armentrout
He's hot, he's a super fast, super strong alien, he's a good choice.

5. Katniss Everdeen form the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzzane Collins
Katniss is the toughest chick ever! so of course she's on this list.

Impractical Choices:

1. Jem Carstairs from the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare 
I wouldn't mind being trapped anywhere with Jem.

2. Oscar Wilde from the Oscar Wilde Murder Mystery series by Gyles Brandeth 
I love, love, love Oscar and would love, love, to get to meet him and his outrageous personalities and hear his stories.

3.  Ron Weasly from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
Ron is so funny, sweet, and a red head! Bonus points for cute red heads!

4. Rory from the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
Rory's narration of this series makes me laugh out loud all the time, so she would be a great person to take with me to keep my spirits up! (ha! see what I did there? Spirits!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recently Read: The Winner's Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Year Published: 2014
Status: First in trilogy, only book released
Page Count: 355
Rating:  4/5

I had heard a lot about The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski lately. It was on a lot of people's Top Ten Books I've read so far this year lists, and the cover is just too gorgeous, so I moved it up on my TBR list.

Kestrel is the daughter of the Valorian's most famous war general. She has two choices for her future, join the military or get married. Neither of these options are ideal for Kestrel and she feels trapped. One day while in town she makes an impulsive decision and buys a slave she sees as a kindred defiant spirit, but Kestrel can not imagine the consequences that come with buying Arin. 

Goodreads has categorized this book as fantasy, but I'm not sure if this book can be put into one category. It has a historical fiction feel more so than fantasy, yet it does take place in a fantasy world. This novel is an interesting mix of politics, society gossip, and romance. I loved that Kestrel defied gender stereotypes and was a brilliant war strategist. I sometimes get bored when books, fantasy books specifically, have too much strategy or political drama, but I wasn't bored or confused with the political side of this novel. I found the plot to be rather unique, and the romance was well done and never over-the-top.  

I thought both Kestrel and Arin were likable characters, and the story was very fast paced and captivating. Would I say this is one of my favorite books of the year? I don't know. I think that this was a great setup for the trilogy, and the politics and strategy will continue to develop in the final books. I do recommend this book, because it is quite fast paced and hard to put down once the action picks up. This book would be great to get out of a reading slump, or in between heavier books or school reading. 

I am very interested in the next book in The Winner's Trilogy which so far only has a 2015 expected release date and a title of The Winner's Crime. I am eager to see the cover of the second book, as well as continue the action. The first book leaves off on a perfect set up for the next novel.        

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: More Used Books and Nook Update

Someone stop me from buying any more used books!
Here's what I picked up on my latest trip to the book store.
Stacking the Shelves: Tynga's Reviews



Latest Nook Additions:



Friday, July 18, 2014

Recently Read: Fighting Ruben Wolfe

Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Young Adult
Year Published: 2000
Status: Wolfe Brothers #2
Page Count:  219
Rating: 4/5

I had read  The Book Thief and I am the Messenger  by Zusak and enjoyed both of them, so when I saw a copy of Fighting Ruben Wolfe for very cheap at my goodwill, I picked it up.

I actually just learned a few seconds ago that Markus Zusak's first three books are a trilogy about brothers. This is the second in the trilogy about the Wolfe brothers, but obviously these don't have to be read in order because I didn't even know this was part of a trilogy. The first book is The Underdog and the third book is Getting the Girl.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe is narrated by Cameron, who is the youngest sibling in the Wolfe family. Their dad has lost his job do to an injury he acquired at work, so money is tight and the children feel helpless because their parents won't accept any money to help pay the bills. Cameron shares a room with his older brother Ruben and the two are very close. One day Ruben gets in a fight at school, and a man who witnesses the fight offers to sponsor him and Cameron as boxers. The boys accept. 

This book, like all of Zusak's books, is full of heart. Once you read this book, you realize how perfect the title is. What's interesting about this book is, although the book is narrated by Cameron, Ruben is the main focus of the book. This allows the reader something they don't usually get to know about a main character: how other characters view them.   

This book is about family, brothers, finding yourself, and fighting for yourself and those you love. It was such a quick read full of heart and made me smile. I really enjoy Zusak's writing and characters. 

Because this book was so short, I feel that the characters weren't as developed as they could be, but they weren't underdeveloped by any means. I would like to read the other books in this series, as well as anything Zusak puts out in the future. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Recently Read: The Handmaid's Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Adult Fiction
Year Published: 1986
Status: Stand Alone
Page Count: 311
Rating: 5/5

The Handmaid's Tale was my first Atwood book. I had some experience with her poetry, but this was her first piece of fiction I had read. This was the one I had heard the most about so I decided it was a good place to start, and I think I made the right decision.

This novel is narrated by Offred, who is a handmaid to a Commander, one of the most powerful men in her world. The United States has been plagued by nuclear plant spills and war, meaning that most of the population can no longer have children and the birth rate is steadily declining. Offred's job as a handmaid is to get pregnant with the Commander's children. Offred is of the first generation of women in this world, she was ripped away from her job, husband, and daughter, just like all of the fertile women in the country, and sent to be taught how to be a handmaid.

This book was very difficult to read at times because of the awful world Offred is forced to live in. There are a few lines in this book spoken by the men in charge that just make my blood boil. Atwood's world seems so real, and her narrator is so brutally honest, its hard to put this book down. I was not even half way through the novel when I knew that I would want to reread this book.

This is such an important book, and raises so many questions about how our society treats women and gender equality. In Offred's world, the Aunts, who are older women in charge of oppressing the women who will be handmaids, say that this system was invented to protect women from rape and sexual exploitation, but all the system does is exploit them for their fertility and  take away all of their rights. Because this system is ran in such ways, it makes it very believable and plausible.

This book touches on many interesting topics, such as oppression and how people begin to internalize hate and oppress themselves. Perhaps the most thought provoking part of this novel is the last section which is structured to look like a Historical Notes section. This section questions the way we view history, and people, and objects of the past, and how the patriarchy is still in effect today.

It's hard to discuss this book without discussing it in depth. If you have read this, leave me a comment below if you want to discuss it, I would love to. But I will say this... this book was greatly written and makes a huge impact. I highly recommend this book, and I will be looking to pick up more Atwood in the very near future.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Tv Shows and Movies

I really enjoy watching movies and tv shows, and I am definitely a person who loves rewatching movies and tv shows. I made a list of five of my favorite tv shows and five of my favorite movies, I love so many movies, so this is just a sampling of the movies I love as well as tv shows.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I am currently watching Buffy on Netflix, and I just finished season 2, so don't spoil anything that hasn't happened for me yet! I love how kick ass Buffy is, and how loyal her friends are. Plus David Boreanaz makes an extremely hot vampire! I love the humor and action and heart in this show, I can't believe it has taken me this long to watch it.

2. Mad Men 

This show is so full of drama and sexy characters its crazy! It takes place in the 1960's and follows the employees of an ad agency, mainly Don Draper who just can't seem to be happy with what he already has. I love the fashion and make up in this show, I love the humor and the drama. The second half of the final season will be aired next year and I'm eager to see how it all wraps up.

3. Sex and the City 

This one may be a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I own this whole series on DVD. I love the all female main cast, and the fact that friendship is the core of this show. It's full of empowering characters and so funny. I love Miranda's cynical attitude, and of course Carrie's wardrobe.

4. Sherlock 

Duh! Seriously if you haven't watched this yet, stop what you are doing and binge watch. The writing, casting, and acting are superb. I love how this show portrays Holmes' and Watson's friendship. and Benedict Cumberpatch is so dreamy.

5. Doctor Who 

Also duh! This show constantly surprises me with the amount of heart it contains. I love the crazy plot lines, the history and humor that is woven in, and the magic of the Doctor. Matt Smith is my favorite doctor so far, and I am still mourning for Rory after him and Amy left the show. I'm excited for the new episodes with the new Doctor, but I'm also a little nervous because I really love Matt Smith.


1. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

This is my favorite Marilyn Monroe film. She is just radiant in this film, and you can't take your eyes off of her. This film is actually quite funny, and contains many catchy songs, including "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." Monroe and Russell play show girls who go on a boat trip, so Monroe's character can marry her very rich and very clueless fiance in Europe without his disapproving father. Of course the girls get themselves in plenty of trouble on the way.

2. Walt Disney's Peter Pan

It's hard for me to put into words the love I have for this movie, so I will just say this, Every time I watch this movie I cry tears of happiness at the end. Yes, I know it's weird, but I love Peter Pan and I love this film. This movie is quite different from original book, but it is just as beautiful and just as meaningful to me.

3. Romeo and Juliet, 1996

Will there ever be a better adaptation of Rome and Juliet? I don't think so. I love Leo as Romeo in his Hawaiian shirt, I love the music in this film, and I love the over-the-top atmosphere that always accompanies Baz Lutherman. And seriously, 1990's Leo, so swoon worthy.

4. Legends of the Fall 

This is easily one of the most heartbreaking films I have ever seen. The first time I watched this film was actually in one of my high school history classes. It is based on a short novel, which I would love to read one day. This film is about three brothers who fight in WWI together and how their lives entangle afterwards. This movie will stay with you long after you watch it, as will the beauty of 1990's Brad Pitt.

5. Charade

I love Carey Grant, I love Audrey Hepburn, I love them together. This is a spy thriller for the 1960's. The film keeps you guessing the entire duration and is so charming and funny. This movie was my introduction to Carey Grant and I have watched many of his films now.

Writing this post has made me want to watch every movie in my collection now! Let me know your favorites, especially tv shows, I'm always looking for new shows to start.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Poetry Wishlist

Here's the poetry collections that are on the top of my wishlist. I have women authors on the brain after this post so many of these collections are by women, but I'm not complaining.

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson 

Never read Dickinson? Start with "i heard a fly buzz-when i died"

The Collected Poems of Anne Sexton 

Never read Sexton? Start with "For my Lover Returning to his Wife"

Two-headed Poems by Margaret Atwood

Never read Atwood? Start with "you fit into me"

The Collected Poems of Maya Angelou 

Never read Angelou? Start with "Phenomenal Women"

The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath 

Never Read Plath? Start with "Daddy"

The Collected Poems of John Keats

Never read Keats? Start with "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Poet recommendations?