Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Yay! I'm Not Behind

What's New
Yay! I'm not feeling behind on posts for once! I'm a little behind on school work, but that's the norm. Tomorrow (Saturday) is my birthday, and I took Friday (today) off from classes so I could come home a day early. I'm looking forward to some great food and time away from thinking about school.

My reading has been all over the place this week, I'm currently in the middle of two books for school, and one audio book, and one physical book that are just for fun. Hopefully this week I'll have some time to finish a couple of the things I'm part way through.

Next week is the last week before Spring Break so I'm looking forward to having a week off, and hopefully some at least above freezing weather pretty soon!

What I Bought
I'll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson 
Finally! I've been wanting this one forever!

The Winner's Crime, Marie Rutkoski 
Did I get this early from Barnes and Noble? I think I might have!

The Ghosts of Heaven, Marcus Sedgwick 
Love Sedgwick's works- really excited to read his latest. 

What I Posted
Monday- I reviewed Love in the Time of Global Warming  by Francesca Lia Block
Tuesday- I shared my Top Ten Literary Heroines
Wednesday- I started a new series on the blog, Poetry Spotlight. Ariel and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath was the feature of my first post.
ThursdayHow do you measure your life?

Last Week's Wrap-Up

What's Next
Next week I'll be doing The TBR Tag, along with another Just Added post, Top Ten Tuesday, and I'll be sharing some of my thoughts on turning twenty-one.

What's new with you guys?

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thought: How Do you Measure Your Life?

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
  So how should I presume?

- T.S. Elliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Poetry Spotlight (1): Ariel and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath

In my second year of college I took an Introduction to Poetry class and I fell in love with reading poetry. Before then, poetry was always a little intimidating and a medium that I didn't have much experience with. But after that class, I became addicted to reading poetry, and during the class I actually found myself thinking in and expressing myself in poetry- which I never would have guessed would happen in a million years. So, with this series I'm here to share some of my favorite poems in a way that I'm sure will turn out rambley and unorganized.  

This is a post I have been meaning to write up for a very long time, but I've been hesitant to attempt to put all of my thoughts down on this collection. So, to take some of the pressure off  I decided instead of the traditional review format, I would share some of my thoughts and favorite poems from this collection as part of my new series.

Thoughts on the Collection as a Whole:

My love for Plath started when I read The Bell Jar in 2013; before I was even half-way through the novel I knew that it was one I would reread continuously for the rest of my life. After reading that, I was eager to pick up some of Plath's poetry and decided to start with Ariel as it was her best known collection. 

This is not a collection that I would sit down and read straight through in one of two sittings. I would read a couple poems at a time, put the book down for a few days and let them stew in my head, and then pick it up again and reread them really closely. Sometimes I would pick out one poem I really wanted to concentrate on and read it many times, annotate it, and work with it really closely. I think this is the best way to read Plath's work as there is so much going on; it really deserves to have a chunk of time dedicated to each poem. 

As a whole, this collection is amazing. Plath creates images that stick in your head like the disturbing image of last night's nightmare. The imagery and the themes work together so beautifully, and each poem in this collection shares a common theme or tone to the others, making the collection interconnected and very powerful. I enjoy the fact that Plath works with the same themes in multiple pieces of her work, and that the same ideas are presented multiple times, but in different ways in her poetry and prose. Some motifs from this collection include: bees, motherhood, childbirth, the idea of the housewife, relationships with men and WWII imagery. This particular Restored Edition also has an interview with Plath's daughter and an amazing poem she wrote about people's obsession with her mother's tragic end, and some commentary Plath has made on some of the poems in this collection.    

Poems I Wish to Spotlight:

One of my favorite things about reading this collection was that I had the opportunity to hear Plath read many of the poems herself via Youtube. I highly recommend listening to poems out loud after you have read them once or twice, especially if you can hear the author read their own poetry. 

The Rabbit Catcher- Read it here 
This became one of my favorite poems in the collection when I set aside about twenty minutes to read and work with it. As I reread and annotated it, I began to see the complexity and layers of meaning in this poem. This poem has many of the motifs I mentioned above (references to childbirth, relationships with men, and clear, powerful images) and creates a beautiful extended metaphor.  
This is possibly Plath's best known poem, and for good reasons. This poem is so powerful, I literally think my jaw dropped after I finished reading it for the first time. The imagery is so jarring and the tone is so brutal and honest. The Nazi and Jew imagery mixes in with the perfect sound pattern to make this poem comforting to listen to but uncomfortable to think about the themes and tone. In order to truly appreciate this poem, it should be heard, Plath's reading of this poem leaves me speechless, and I really recommend the video I have linked above.   
This is another poem that Palth's reading of is really great. This poem has great imagery and speaks on suicide attempts and what it's like to die and and come back to life. Plus this poem has the best closing line of a poem I have ever read. 
Lesbos- Read it here 
This poem really interests me because I'm still baffled by it, and quite frankly, it scares me. I have read it many times and each time I reread it, I find something new or think of a new possible meaning. This poem provides some very powerful images of domesticity. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one, and specifically who you think the speaker of the poem is addressing. 
Tulips- Read it here  
This is another well known and often studied poem from Plath. This one too is brutally honest and examines the struggle to stay alive when one wishes to die.   

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Heroines

I'm really excited for this week's topic! I love a good heroine, and I'm really excited to see everyone's lists and add a million books to my TBR. To me, a heroine is brave, relatable and sassy when the need arises. She doesn't have to travel the world and slay dragons in order to be heroic, although that is awful heroic too. 


1. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charolette Bronte-- Review
Jane Eyre kicks ass! She is so independent and fierce, she refuses to settle for anything less than she deserves, and she refuses to buy into the idea that a woman needs to be taken care of by a man. Jane is a heroine by today's standards, but even more so for the time this novel was published. 

2. Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-- Review
Lizzie is sassy and independent- in true Austen heroine style. She makes her own decisions and puts her own happiness before pleasing others. She's smart, funny, and wants a romantic partner that is a stimulating mental match for her.   

3. Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath-- Review 
Esther is so brave. She survives so much in this novel. Her biggest enemy in this novel is herself- which is the hardest enemy to face, but she pulls through and keeps her will to create, Plath is just as much as a heroine as Esther in my eyes for being brave enough to write and share these thinly veiled poems and prose.  


4. Edna Pontellier from The Awakening by Kate Chopin-- Review
Girlfriend has some really powerful passages in this one! Edna speaks for all womenkind in this novel, and she refuses to be silenced. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it. This novella speaks on the woman as an artist and the woman as a human being. 

5. Katey Kontent from The Rules of Civility by Amor Towels--Review
I read this novel every year and it is one of my all time favorites. Katey's character development in this novel is so real and important, plus the writing is beautiful. 

6.  Nancy Drew from The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene 
Nancy Drew is always getting herself into trouble in order to solve her mysteries, but she never lets any of that phase her. She constantly outsmarts everyone around her and never apologizes for her brains or her bravery. 


7. Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione is the ultimate heroine in my mind. She's smart, brave, loyal, and constantly saving everyone else's ass. Hermione is my soul sister. 

8. Celaena Sardothien, from The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas-- Review
Celaena's name is impossible for me to spell, but she kicks a lot of butt! Besides being psychically kick-butt, she is so real. She's just as vulnerable and capable of love as she is capable of killing a man in one thousand different ways. I can't wait to see where her character goes through out this series.  

9. Annabeth Chase from The Percy Jackson series and The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan-- Review 
Annabeth is the Hermione of Riordan's world. She's smart, fearless, and always picking up Percy's slack. I love their partnership and Annabeth's wisdom and confidence. 

10. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak-- Review
Liesel is so young, but so wise beyond her years. She is the true definition of a heroine, and arguably the strongest character on this list.  

Leave me a link to your list down below!  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recently Read: Love in the Time of Global Warming

Author: Francesca Lia Block
Genre: Young Adult: Classic Retelling
Publication Date: 2013
Status: Has a sequel novel entitled The Island of Excess Love 
Page Count: 154
Rating: 3/5

I finally found a few free evenings this past week and decided to pick up something quick. I've had this one on my Nook for quite a while, so I just decided to pick it up, and I'm glad that I did.

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesa Lia Block is a loose retelling of Homer's The Odyssey. The world has ended in a natural disaster, and Penelope's family is missing. On her journey to find her family, she finds a group of unlikely kids who have survived the disaster as well, and they must ban together for survival.

I really enjoyed this read. I really enjoyed the connections with The Odyssey and thought this story was just the right amount of retelling and unique story. This novel has a mythological feel to it, which fits perfectly with the retelling elements, and makes for a fun and whimsical read. This novel has a darker tone and a number of dark elements, which Block juxtapositions with a number of famous art pieces that Pen calls to mind while wandering the newly ended world. This overlay of art and the end of the world is really interesting. 

I loved the inclusion of these art pieces, and I actually discovered a few new artists while reading this, and I loved looking up the artists and pictures as they were mentioned in the book. Another positive about this book is that in true Francesca Lia Block style, it deals heavily with LGBTQ issues. But this element of the story seemed natural and unforced and blended in with the story nicely. 

This novel does have a sequel entitled The Island of Excess Love which is a loose retelling of Virgil's Aeneid, which I have not read, and takes place right after the events of this novel. I'm not planning on picking that one up right away, but I might pick it up sometime soon. I recommend giving this one a go, especially if you enjoy Young Adult retellings of Classics or mythological stories.    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Another Two Weeks in One

What's New
I'm still trying to get on a regular blogging schedule, but because I can't get on a regular reading schedule because of school, this is near impossible. I have just excepted the fact that my blogging schedule will not be regular; I will just have to post and read when I can, and I'm fine with that. Spring Break is coming up in a few weeks, and I'm hoping that will be a good chance for me to catch up on some fun reading. Right now, there is just so many books that I want to read. It's also been so cold here in Michigan that it's so hard to get up and around to doing anything because I just want to lay in my warm bed until Spring comes. 

I did get two free evenings this past week where I was able to read Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block and my thoughts on this book will be posted next week here on the blog! 


I'm currently reading Uncle Tom's Children by Richard Wright for my American lit class- which so far is proving to be pretty good. It's a collection of short stories and novellas, and I'm rather enjoying what I have read so far. I'm also listening to Emma by Jane Austen on audio book, which of course I'm enjoying.

What I Bought
Fire Storm, Andrew Lane- Book Four in the Young Sherlock Holmes Series

What I posted
This Week:
Tuesday- I discussed Book Problems
Wednesday-  My Waiting on Wednesday  contains steam-punk and an alternate London
Thursday- I reviewed Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler  and handed out some recommendations for historical fiction novels with authors as characters.  

Last Week:
Monday- I did a Short Story Round-Up of what I've been reading in my American Lit class.
Wednesday- Waiting on Wednesday- The Uninvited 

What's Next
I'll be reviewing Love in the Time of Global Warming on Monday, and I hope to put up a discussion post sometime this week as well- but I'm not sure what I want to discuss yet- I have a few options. I have lots of posts I would love to put up, I just need to find the time to get around to putting them together.

What's new with you guys? What's your favorite post you have done lately? I'd love to check it out!

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recently Read: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 375
Rating: 4/5

Adult historical fiction aimed at women readers is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and I especially enjoy books with literary characters. I was in the mood for a historical fiction read and this one really did the trick.

This is the story of the infamous lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald told from the perspective of Zelda. It covers their entire lives, from the first meeting to Scott's death, and it's brutally honest. 

One thing I like about historical fiction is that it humanizes events and people that have become almost legendary and mythical. There has been so much written about the lives of the Fitzgerald's and their crazy parties and alcohol consumption, and the stories have made them out to be the careless people in Fitzgerald's novels, but this book tamed the rumors and presented Scott and Zelda as real people. 

I loved the picture this novel painted of Paris in the 20's and all the artists that were mingling and inspiring each other. If you remember my Literary Look on the Lost Generation you will know I love this literary movement, so I loved seeing it come to life. Ernest Hemingway was very close friends with Scott Fitzgerald and I loved Zelda's open and honest criticism of him and his influence on Scott (I will never pass up an opportunity to say Hemingway was a jerk!) 

This book really takes a look at what it was like to be a woman in this time, and the challenges a woman faced when she wanted to be a wife, mother, and artist. Zelda was a great writer, but most of her work was published under Scott's name, or sabotaged by him out of jealousy. She really struggled to get recognition for anything she created, and she was quite a talented writer, painter, and ballet dancer.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was an entertaining read that satisfied my craving and did justice to a smart and talented woman who is often overshadowed by her husband. I would love to read some of Zelda's works now, and I'm going to look into her painting. 

More (fictional) Books About Authors 

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain- Ernest Hemingway and first wife Hadley
The House of Hawthorne, Erika Robuck- Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne  
Hemingway's Girl, Erika Robuck- Ernest Hemingway 
Fallen Beauty, Erika Robuck- Edna St. Vincent Millay 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon 
Release Date: May 19, 2015 
Summary from Goodreads:

From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.

Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.

Why I'm Excited: This one sounds like a really fun read. Alternate London, parallel worlds, action, and humor? I'm in. I'm excited to get a little more information on this one soon.

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Problems I Have (but will totally deny)

Guys, I've got book problems- like lots of them. Here's my top ten. Let's support each other's problems and tell each other they're not really problems in the comments below!

1. Books are covering every flat surface of my living spaces and I need more room!- My room at my apartment and my parents house are both full of books! Every book shelf I own is stuffed with way too many books to be safe, and the overflow has landed on any surface that will hold books. This isn't a problem for me until I buy a new book and struggle to find it a home. 

2. It literally stresses me out and makes me anxious thinking about all of the books I want to read- It keeps me up at night thinking about all the books I want to read and how I will never get to read them all! 

3. Life gets in the way of reading- Mainly school reading, I just want to lay in bed all day and read for fun! But I do love when my school reading and my fun reading overlap with my literature classes.

4. Money- Ahhh! So many books, so little money. 

5. I'm very defensive of the books I love- Every time I hear or read someone say something bad about The Great Gatsby I have to bite my tongue and take a deep breath. I totally agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and reading tastes, but I would go to war to defend the genuineness of the books I love.  

6. I just want to talk about literature all day- Seriously, I'm sorry to my friends and family who have to listen to me talk about a piece of literature from one hundred years ago that they have never even heard of, or rant about the lack of women in the literary cannon.  

7. I sometimes struggle to separate the art from the artist- If the author was a jerk, or misogynistic, or any other negative trait (I'm looking at you, Hemingway) it's so hard for me to separate their lives and views from their works so I can appreciate them and study them. 

8. Amazon- Cheap books + free fast shipping = no self-control  

9. Beautiful editions-  It's not crazy to buy four copies of the same book, just because they're all so beautiful is it? Yeah, I don't think so either. 

10. Old books are so beautiful- I can't control myself (reoccurring theme of this post) around old books! the older, and smellier the better. I own countless books that are over one hundred years old, and I love every single one of them. I especially love old textbooks, and someday when I have all of my books in one place, they will look so beautiful. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Great Books With Unlikable Characters

Characters are so, so important to any story. If you can't connect with the characters or understand them on some level, the story loses it poignancy. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to love the characters in order to connect with them or love the story- and I think that people forget that sometimes. They say "I didn't like the characters", without considering why they don't like them and what purpose that character serves to the novel. Now, I know not everyone reads like an English Major like I do, but I think this is something that it very interesting to think about and apply to your own reading.

So, today I've got a few books that I love with characters that are unlikable. Feel free to add to my list. I would love to hear which characters you disliked and why.

  A Book Full of Bad People

Everyone in this novel is a bad person in some way shape or form, and I love it! The characters are so real and so interesting. I could talk about how much I love this novel for hours- but it really hurts my heart when people say they don't like this novel because they didn't like the characters. Fitzgerald did that on purpose! The fact that Nick narrates the story changes your entire perception of the characters and the events. His man-crush on Gatsby makes him a little bit unreliable as a narrator and paints Gatsby as the tragic hero even though he has as many faults as the other characters in the novel. I'm about to reread this one, so look out for more in-depth thoughts soon. 

Two Bad People in Love (and not surprisingly, bad things happen)
Both Kathy and Heathcliff are bad and unlikable people, but they are also so interesting. Especially Heathcliff. I loved discovering what motivated and kept him going through the novel and seeing just how much he was willing to sacrifice for revenge. This book offers such a candid look at Heathcliff and he is such an interesting character to study. I really want to reread this one soon so I can meditate on the brooding atmosphere of this novel and its characters.    

The Left-Handed Compliment King 
Unpopular opinion alert: I think Mr. Rochester is a jerk. I do not like the way he talks to Jane or treats her. Everything nice he says is really just a left-handed compliment. But with that being said, I was happy with the ending of this book. Jane is such a great and fierce character and I was so invested in her story that I was able to deal with my dislike of Mr. Rochester in order to hear her story. I was happy with the end, even though Rochester is not my favorite love interest he goes through some great character development (Jane's is better though!) and I think Jane balances him out very nicely. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it!
P.S. I would love if the world would stop marketing this as a romance story- the romance is just a small part of the plot. The plot is Jane's journey to self-love, respect, and acceptance.

Beautiful Writing Really Messes with Your Head
You know you should hate Humbert Humbert, but Nabokov has created the perfect sociopath. Humbert Humbert's narration of his love affair with the young girl Lolita is so gorgeous it messes with your head. You start to ask yourself why you aren't horrified by this novel and why you're starting to sympathize with a pedophile and feeling annoyance at his young victim- It's all in the gorgeous writing that completely captures your mind! Humbert Humbert is one of the greatest unreliable narrators of all time.   

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

The Uninvited Guest, Cat Winters
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Summary from Goodreads:

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

Why I'm Excited: I loved The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters and I really want to pick up In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so of course I'm excited for her new novel. I love the historical atmosphere Winter's creates and how her books always have a great visual element to them- usually in the form of black and white photos. This one takes place during the influenza scare of 1918- so I'm expecting the creepy atmosphere Winters is so great at creating.  If you're looking for some historical fiction or paranormal stand-alones, I recommend checking out Cat Winters.  

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Thoughts on Romances

I'm really critical of romance, in real life and in book life. I decided to split my list up into five things I like in a romance and five things I don't like in a romance. This is going to be totally scattered and based purely on my personal preference, so hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen. 

Romance Loves 
1.Awkwardness! Real- life romance is awkward as all get out- and book romance should be too!   
2. Tragedy- I love, love a good tragic love story (I know, I'm so romantic right?)
3.Diversity- I love romances that have something different about them- if it's the characters, the setting, the plot, whatever, if there is a unique aspect to the romance, I'm in! 
4.Forbidden Love- This one goes with number two- I like my romances to be entertaining I guess, and elements of conflict within the romance help to add that entertainment value. Also, maybe why I love Romeo and Juliet so much?
5. Any Romance Plot Written by Jane Austen- Austen is the Queen of marriage-plots with independent and fierce nineteenth century female characters. The romances in her novels do not feel outdated to me one bit, they are timeless and about the only romances that make me swoon!

Romances I love
Romance Hates
1. Insta-love- Duh!
2. Left Handed Compliments- I really, really hate these, both in real life and in book romances. 
3. Too Much Sexy Times- If the plot gets laid to the way side for the sexy times- it's too much. I'm not a fan of romance novels or novels where the romance is the plot. There needs to be something bigger than the romance driving the book forward.  
4. The All-Encompassing Romance- If the world is ending, please don't stress over the last thing a boy said to you! Survival first ladies, then romance.
5. Romantic Interests Who Are All Brawn and No Brain- Mmmmm, no thanks, I'm not impressed by your feats of physical strength. 

So there you go, there are my scattered and totally biased thoughts on book romances! Leave me your link to your list so I can see what you love or hate about book romances. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Short Story Round-Up (1)

I'm reading a lot of short stories in my American Lit class this semester, so I thought I would do a couple of roundups to share my thoughts on a few stories at a time. I used to not think I was a short story person, but I'm really starting to love them when they are done right. They can be just as powerful as novels, and some author's writing styles just fit short stories so well, (I'm looking at you Hemingway.)

You can check out my other posts on short stories too:
A Few of my Favorite Short Stories
Short Story Collections I Own

The "Revolt" of Mother, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman 
Published in 1890, this short story deals with gender themes as you might have guessed from the tittle. We see mother go head-to-head with father and take a stand for what is best for her and her family. I enjoyed this story, and thought that it brought up some great conversation about the man as the head of the family and the decision maker of the family as well as how gender norms are passed down from generation to generation.

The Open Boat, Stephen Crane 
This story deals was published in 1897 and deals with the theme of man vs. nature, which is an idea that I have been thinking about a lot lately because of this story and To Build a Fire by Jack London which I read back-to-back for this class. I preferred this one to the London story because Crane's story had some really philosophical and thought provoking passages about nature and mankind.

Barn Burning, William Faulkner
This was my second experience with a short story by Faulkner. A lot of what we have read in this class so far has been Southern Literature and that's not my cup of tea normally. This story was really interesting, and I'm still not sure what I think about it. Faulkner's short stories seem to be very layered and complicated, which is something I enjoy about his writing. The more you read the story or think about it the more layers and themes you discover.

John Dos Passos U.S.A Trilogy Excerpts 
I read a couple of excerpts from Passos' novels, which was my first experience with Passos. Holy Moley people- there is no punctuation! A whole novel with no punctuation and a non-standard form? I don't know if I could do it. I like how the excerpts painted a portrait and tone of Corporate America and wad a take on the infamous "American Dream" but there is no way I could read a whole novel, much less three, that were written that way.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Two Weeks in One

Okay, I've been really awful about being productive lately. That means nothing is getting done in any area of my life- so this week I'm wrapping up two weeks in one.

What's New:
It's the fourth week of the semester so things are starting to pick up, and I'm getting ready for a break-even though there isn't one in sight! I haven't finished a book of my own choosing since this semester started, and although I'm annoyed by that, I'm not going to dwell on it too much. I've got other stuff going on, and when I get done reading for school, I'm ready to watch some mindless tv to unwind. I've been loving My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC lately. Whitney is so funny and has such a great personality- I love watching her life!

What I bought:
Nothing Again! Which is great since I'm not reading anything.

What I posted:
Last Week:
Monday- I did another installment of my Just Added Series
Tuesday-  I showcased Ten Books that would Spark Great Discussion
Wednesday- I talked about my thought after rereading Romeo and Juliet
Thursday- was a 1 a.m. Post about my feeling for literature

This Week:
Monday- A list of Books Every Woman (man, child, and dog) Should Read
Tuesday-  I posted the Top Ten YA Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet
Wednesday-  A List of Books Every Woman (including myself) Should Read
Thursday- No Post!
Friday- Review of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

What's Next:
I'm thinking of returning to my posting schedule from last semester, where I took Fridays off from posting, because that seemed to work really well. I'm hoping to finish the book I'm currently reading this weekend, and then I'm hoping to start something by Agatha Christe. As for posts, I'm thinking a review of my current read and probably some more lists because I love lists! (nothing is quite as soothing as making a list)

Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Friday, February 6, 2015

Recently Read: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Classic
Publication Date: 1884
Status: Sequel to Tom Sawyer but can be read as a standalone
Page Count: 307
Rating:  3/5 but how does one even rate a classic on a scale of one to five??

This was the first novel that I read for my American Literature class this semester. I had never read this, or anything by Mark Twain before. I bought myself the Penguin Deluxe Classic Edition because I want to start a little collection of them, and it is a very beautiful book (and it always helps if required reading looks pretty)

As mentioned above, this is technically a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but it can be read as a standalone. It summarizes the events of the first novel for you in the beginning, and it really is a completely separate story. This book tells the story of Huck Finn's adventures while traveling on the Mississippi River with a runaway slave named Jim. 

I liked a lot of things about this book, and I didn't like a lot of things about this book. I liked that the book was narrated by Huck himself, as that gave a really interesting layer of depth and meaning to the themes in the book and it added some humor to the story, since Huck is a young boy of about twelve years old.Huck doesn't use Standard English spelling all the time, and he mixes his words up, but he is genuine, thoughtful, and quick on his feet. This book made me laugh a few times, and has some very powerful themes about loyalty, equality, and freedom.

It was a bit of a slow read though, for a few reasons. Huck Finn is well known for its very close to true use of Southern dialects, and that can make the reading go slow if you are not used to the dialects. You do get into a groove with Huck's manor of speaking because he is the narrator, but it can be difficult to understand some of the other characters dialogue in the novel. I also felt that this book dragged on in the middle. The middle of the book didn't really seem to contribute to the over-all plot very much and was a little bit boring, which also made the book a slower read, and then it picked up again until the end where there was five or six chapters that just drug out the ending of the novel.

Overall, I respect this classic's place in history, and it is a great piece that sparks debate over censoring and banning books. I enjoyed this read more than I thought I would, but I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites or anything. 

If you have read this, let me know what you thought about it? Have you read Tom Sawyer? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Books Every Woman (Including Myself) Should Read

Monday, I shared my list of Books Every Woman Should Read that I had read myself. Today, I have a list of books that every woman, including myself, should read. If you have read any of these, let me know what you thought of them, and as usual leave me some recommendations for books you think everyone should read.

Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A Utopian society with only women? This sound like such an interesting read, and I trust Gilman with a plot and concept like this. 

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

This one sounds heart-wrenching but so beautiful and worth while. I have heard great things about the relationships between women in this novel, and that really interests me.  

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Another one that sounds heart-wrenching but absolutely necessary to read. The cover of this book is beautiful, and I think the story will be too.  

A Vindication of the Right's of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft 

I'm so interested in reading this piece from 1792! Plus Wollstonecraft is the mother of Mary Shelley. This nonfiction early feminist essay is a staple of women's literature. 

The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood

I loved The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood (in fact it made my list on Monday) and I really need to read more works from her. This one sounds really bizarre and scary like The Handmaid's Tale, so of course I'm excited to read it. Atwood is so great at poignancy.

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan  

Another feminist classic, this one published in 1963, this one is often attributed to sparking the second large wave of feminism in the U.S. I believe this one is nonfiction, and highly researched based? I don't know a lot about it, but I really want to find out more. 

So, what do you ladies think? Anything else I need to add to this TBR?    

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Young Adult Novels I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet

I'm very behind in the YA genre, and I really need to fix that! Here's ten staple YA books that I haven't read yet. Let me know which ones I should read first; I own eight of these ten books, so I can get started on this list as soon as I find time to read for fun this semester. 

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

The Darkest Minds, Alexandra Bracken

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater

Tiger Lily, Jodi Lynn Anderson

Just One Day, Gayle Forman

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Lani Taylor

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin

I'll Give you the Sun, Jandy Nelson

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

Monday, February 2, 2015

Books Every Woman (man, child, and dog) Should Read

As I have gotten older and become a more alert reader, I have been really interested in reading pieces that deal with feminist themes, classics especially because women authors were kept out of the literary cannon for so long. So today, I am here with a list of literary pieces that I have read and think that every woman should read as well. But these pieces are so great, that I think every reader should read them, not just women readers, but women readers will connect to them more easily. Later in the week I will be making a list of books that I think every woman should read that I have not yet read myself.

If you have any recommendations, please let me know. All book tittles link to my review of the piece if there is one.

A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf

This is a nonfiction essay by Woolf that started out as a lecture she gave to women students. I would have loved to hear this lecture. Woolf's writing is powerful and full of sass and authority in this essay and I love every minute of it. This essay looks at the troubles faced by women artists and scholars and the attitudes that men have towards the mind of women and anything they create. This essay is relatively short and highly worth the read. 

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

This book blew me away. I still think about it quite often and really want to reread it very soon. Atwood is such a powerful writer, and this book is so scary but so important. It's realistic, it's possible and plausible, and it's scary. This is the only work by Atwood that I have read so far, but I think that a lot of her works will make future lists similar to this one. This is a very important book.    

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

This is one of my all-time favorite novels and one that I will never tire of rereading. I love everything Plath writes, and I highly recommend her poetry as well. I love how themes cross over from one piece to another of hers. This novel is perfect for any girl feeling the pressures and uncertainty of being a student or what comes after being a student. Plath's writing is so honest and blunt and Esther is so relatiable, her fears and problems are our fears and problems.  

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

I love Kate Chopin! Her short stories are great- some of the best I have ever read- and her novella The Awakening is amazing too. Everything she writes is packed with powerful ideas of gender expectations and equality, and her heroines are so fierce! She's an author who really struggled to get into the cannon and get the respect she deserved, so I love to share how amazing her work is and urge people to read her. If you are just starting to become more aware of gender expectations and issues as a woman, than I highly recommend The Awakening, you will be nodding your head in agreement with and in encouragement for Edna the entire time. 

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Or any book by Jane Austen for that matter. Her heroines defy their time period, tradition, and societies and never settle for a life that is anything less than they deserve. The love interests in her novels are romantic, and respectable. If I could give young female readers one book to read, I would pick an Austen because her books are such great examples of healthy, well-matched romances. If you're not a big fan of romance or contemporary novels, but you need something a little swoon worthy and sweet, I highly recommend Austen. I've also read, reviewed, and loved, Persuasion.   

Trifles, Susan Glaspell 

This is a one act play which was adapted from a short story in 1916. I haven't wrote anything about my thoughts on this play yet, so I thought this was a perfect time to share them. I really enjoyed this play. It is so quick to read, and the plot is so simple, yet it provokes so much conversation and thought. The irony is so biting, and the women characters are so clever. I highly recommend checking this one out, even drama isn't usually your cup of tea. This one is quick and so very good. 

You can also check out my list of Women Authors if you want some more girl power in your reading line up, and of course, let me know what you thought about these if you have read them and leave me your recommendations.

I also made a list of Books Every Woman (including myself) Should Read