Many of you reading this have probably already read The Hobbit, if not recently, then at least way back in grade school. Many of you also probably loved it. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to be one of those adoring fans, I can not include myself as one of the many. Please read on further if you’d like to read to my take on this children’s classic. [Read more...]
Is it unfair that every new book J. K. Rowling writes for the rest of her days will be compared to the much loved Harry Potter series? Maybe. But that’s life, and I can’t really feel all that sorry for her, considering that Potter made her a billionaire. For more on why Heather believes Rowling should stick to the wizarding world she knows best, continue reading her review of The Casual Vacancy.
You are probably all familiar with the boldly emblazoned (and often bedazzled) word “PINK” festooned across the seats of sweatpants from the ever popular Victoria’s Secret PINK collection. ”LOVE PINK” is the motto many girls’ rumps loudly proclaim as they saunter by! And why shouldn’t we “LOVE PINK?”
It’s been a while since I’ve read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, so I’ll keep this brief. This book and its stories (originally published on her blog) were pretty funny. It took me a while to look past the fact that Lawson drops the word “totally” about every other sentence (a crime, in my opinion, if not punishable by death, then at least with a heavy dose of strictly enforced social ostracism). [Read more...]
Book Review: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
I am one of the few people that LOVES books and movies about runners, but who can’t personally run more than 200 feet (and that’s being generous) without my lungs shriveling up and imploding (inspiring, I know…but if you are looking to me for inspiration, I feel sorry for you. That’s what the books about running are there for! So stop reading this and go pick up Born to Run instead. Wait – finish reading this review first and then go do it. [Read more...]
Imagine you are an aspiring writer, stuck working at a five-and-dime store in a small town for an eternity more than you had planned. The novel you furiously began scribbling late into the night after working long shifts at the store is collecting dust, still unfinished almost ten years later. Resigned to failure, you complacently clock in for your shift each morning at 8:30, full of regret but too exhausted to make a change. And then one day, a customer delivers to you a tidy brown package containing ten worn books of various sizes, along with a set of instructions: write a manuscript based on the contents of the books, guard them with your life, and discuss them with no one. Equally bewildered and intrigued, you bend back the cover of the smallest, most unassuming of the collection and read the following: “This is the Journal of Abraham Lincoln.” [Read more...]
Ever wonder what happens after we die? It’s a heavy question, and one that I choose not to think about all too often for the simple reason that we can never really know the answer until we die. Maybe we are just gone, maybe our spirits live on, or maybe the devout believers in God will at last reach that final destination: Heaven. In A Brief History of the Dead, Kevin Brockmeier takes a stab at the afterlife. He creates a city, The City, where the dead exist only for as long as the living remember them. It isn’t Heaven; it isn’t Hell; it’s just a place where the dead get a second chance at living their lives the way they wished they would have the first go round, for however brief a time they are allotted. [Read more...]
Remember watching Dawson’s Creek back in the day and thinking, what 16 year old honestly talks like that? Armed with prodigious vocabularies (I am allowed to use the word prodigious as I am 26 and not 16), they philosophized about the metaphysical, the meaning of life, and so forth as casually as if they were discussing what they had for breakfast. Those were definitely not the type of people I went to high school with, and from what I can tell from the Facebook statuses of current high schoolers (spackled with lolz, omfg, and I “heart” this and that), they are typically not known for being profound conversationalists. Which is one of the only problems I have with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – that is, the two 16 year old main characters speak as though they are a couple of wizened, enlightened ancients going through an existential crisis.
I’ve had my share of rough times while abroad in Spain – tearfully attempting to explain my vivid yellow diarrhea to doctors who openly mocked me after spending a horrific night hallucinating on the toilet; being guilted into eating ham that was sliced off a pig leg in our pantry – a pig leg that that was still covered in a fine coating of PIG HAIR, mind you; eating what can I only assume what was a bowl of sea creatures and worms which my house-mom masqueraded as “pasta;” I’ve even had to see my house-mom’s cleaning lady naked….and well, my house-mom parading about in her birthday suit too for that matter… and those are sights that I can NEVER unsee. But at least I didn’t wake up in a hospital bed in Morocco after the typewriter salesman I fled Spain with disappeared with my fortune, leaving me high and dry with an unborn baby and an unpaid hotel bill for thousands of dollars. Of course my house-mom in not so many words banned me from visiting Morocco… so maybe she saved me some trouble. Thanks for that María Jose. But anyway, that is the situation we find our main character Sira in shortly after beginning The Time In Between by María Dueñas. [Read more...]
Book Review: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
I admit that I might be somewhat to blame for my personal dislike for Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. After all, I began reading it under the pretense that the book was a work of fiction loosely based on the story of a serial killer who used Chicago’s World Fair to lure unsuspecting women into his arms, and consequently, their deaths. Had I known ahead of time that the book was purely a work of non-fiction, and that every conversation that occurred between characters was pulled directly from an existing source, I probably would have given the author a little more credit. In all honesty, Larson does deserve some kudos for the assumedly thousands of hours of tedious and thorough research that went into this book, and the ability to organize it in a coherent way that was at its best interesting and mildly entertaining. Furthermore, Larson perfectly captured the pre-fair dark city of Chicago, with its streets brimming with horse manure that formed a slimy wreaking sludge on days when it rained. [Read more...]
The word monster makes me think of the three things. First, of dancing along to the monster mash as my classmates and I scampered around the Halloween themed obstacle course constructed out of mats, ropes, and scooters in my elementary school gym. The day when the gym lights were turned off, ghoulish music blasted, and the obstacle course stood fully erect made for best gym class all year, and not just because it meant a brief reprieve from square dancing (with boys…eeew…cooties!) or other equally gut wrenching activities invented for the sole purpose of torturing us youngins (uhhh, volleyball? Anyone? Ok so maybe I just have sensitive wrists). The second thing monster brings to mind is Monsters Inc, which is by far the greatest Pixar movie in existence. Anyone that doesn’t want to curl up in the blue fuzzy arms of “Kitty” (a.k.a. Sully) is just dead inside. And finally, who can think of monsters without thinking of Lady Gaga? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Gaga, but she wears dresses made of raw meat! If that is not horrifying I don’t know what is.