Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I Love Wednesdays: Types of Endings

Reflections of a Bookaholic

Why I Love Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Alexis at Reflections of a Bookaholic. Every Wednesday, she discusses a different literary topic. The topic this week is your favorite type of ending.

Why I Love . . . Epilogues

It's been so long since I've participated in Why I Wednesdays. My last WILW post was in October! But I'm happy to be taking part in this again. This is a great meme that can lead to interesting discussions on so many bookish topics.

Anyways, in this post I want to talk about my love for epilogues. I love it when I get to see what the characters are like and what they're up to years later. Not enough authors do this. I mainly see epilogues in the romance novels I like to read (Susan Elizabeth Phillips often includes a short epilogue in her books). I was so happy to find an epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That was the first time I can remember seeing an epilogue in a young adult novel, and I don't think I've come across another since then, which is a shame. Epilogues really should be utilized in fiction more often. It was great seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione all grown up with kids of their own! It seems that quite a few fans disliked that last chapter though, saying that it read too much like fanfiction, so obviously not everyone cares about reading about favorite characters in future years, and I'm sure there are many who would prefer to use their own imagination and come up with their own ideas about how those characters' lives turned out.

My opinion: It's all fiction anyway, so if you don't like what the author wrote in his or her epilogue, you can easily disregard it and come up with your own ending, which would be just as legitimate. I think it'd just be interesting to read how the author imagines these characters' lives panning out and see that they really did have a happily ever after.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find upcoming topics at their Top Ten Tuesday page.

This week's TTT is a freebie, so I decided to do the Bookish Resolutions topic from last year. I figured it was still early enough in the year to make some goals :)

1. Read 65 books this year: I read 90(!) books last year, but that was including books I'd read for classes, including a month of summer classes. I graduate in May (Yay!) so that means that I'll have about five months less of assigned reading that I can count. I think sixty-five will still be a pretty challenging goal since I used to only read about 40-50 books a year before I started college.

2. Write more reviews: I'm such a slacker when it comes to reviews. I've only written one review in the past couple months. Not good. I resolve to write a review within the week of finishing a book that I would like to share on my blog. I also resolve to write reviews for the 10 or so books that I read in the past couple of months by the end of February.

3. Posts: I have two goals in regard to my posts on this blog. 1) Post more! I haven't been as committed to posting as I hoped I'd be when I started this blog, and I really want to change that. My last semester is going to be super busy so I might not be able to make much progress with this goal right away, but after April I will have no more excuses. 2) Branch out more. I tend to stick with either memes or reviews, but I would like to write some discussion posts, make vlogs, share bookish sites and other things, and maybe even put up a random personal post every once and a while (assuming that anything interesting enough actually happens to me to write about).

4. Create labels for my posts: I put off doing this in the beginning, thinking it wasn't necessary then since my blog was small enough to navigate without those handy labels. But now as more posts are going up, my blog is becoming less searchable and I want to change that.

5. Visit and comment on more blogs: I love checking out other blogs and interacting with bloggers, which I haven't been doing enough of lately.

6. Read more classics: I've been reading mostly young adult books ever since my sophomore year of college. They're such fast reads that it's easier to find time for pleasure reading than it would be if I tried reading anything heavier, but now that I'm graduating I'm excited to get back to reading more literary fiction and classics (of my choice--aka not assigned reading) that I really loved in high school. This doesn't mean I'm done with young adult by any means, but I don't want it to be my major genre this year like it was for the last two.

7. Read more thrillers/mysteries: When I checked out NPR's Top 100 Killer Thrillers list, I was disappointed to see that I had only read five books off the list. However, about half of that list is on my to-be-read shelf. I've been making very little *cough* zero *cough* progress with this list since I came across it over a year ago, and it is well past time that I started reading more of this genre.

8. Start reading outside: I've tried reading outside a couple times, but I never really enjoyed it as much as I thought I would, and I think that's because I'm not really used to it. As soon as the weather gets warmer, I'm going to really give it a shot. If I can learn to love outdoor reading, that would open up a million more possible reading spots for me, and I love my variety.

9. Get an eReader: I really want a Nook Simple Touch for my birthday, which is coming up in April. I keep seeing some really amazing ebooks for only 99 cents and there are a lot of FREE ebooks (such as most classics which I'm excited for, but there are also some interesting paranormal and romance ebooks for free). I'm certain that I'm going to be on a very strict budget for most, if not all, of this year-who knows if I'll ever get a job in this economy?-so the eReader will be great to have for that time. Not to mention how handy it'll be on my two week trip to Europe in June. Instead of having to lug around a dozen books, I can just carry around my ultra-light eReader with dozens of books at my disposal. Heck yes!!

10. Read more books that I own: I resolve to read only books that I own during the summer (with the exception being those cheap ebooks, of course), and if my will power is strong enough, continue reading only books that I own as late into the year as I can manage. I own 126 books that I have yet to read, so my personal library is definitely big enough to see me through to the end of 2012 and well into 2013 (though I know I won't go that long without buying more books or visiting the library).

Teaser Tuesday (1)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Try to avoid spoilers!

Switched by Amanda Hocking

"We normally do same-sex exchanges, a girl for a girl, a boy for a boy, but Elora had her mind set on the Everlys."

"I thought she had been terrible and cruel like so many of my classmates, but she had known that I wasn't her child."

~p. 167

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Chunkster Reading Challenge

This challenge has its own blog, Chunkster Reading Challenge. The challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 and you can sign-up anytime during the year.

I've been back and forth over whether or not I want to commit to this challenge, but I decided to just throw my hat into the ring. I have many chunksters sitting on my shelves, so hopefully by joining this challenge I will become motivated to finally get to a few of them.

I will be a Chubby Chunkster and aim to read four chunkster books this year. I don't know which four books I want to read for this challenge yet, so I'll just list all the ones I own that I am considering. The only one I am sure about is Helen of Troy because it is part of another challenge I am doing.

-Helen of Troy by Margaret George (611 pg)
-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1276 pg)
-The Cider House Rules by John Irving (598 pg)
-The Stand by Stephen King (1152 pg)
-A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (496 pg)
-The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (465 pg)
-Personal History by Katharine Graham (642 pg)
-The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (672 pg)
-Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov (624 pg)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Pages: 153
Publisher: Penguin Books
How I Got This Book: Library
Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Summary: One of the true classics of American Literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  has stirred the imagination of the young and old alike for four generations. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful out of such familiar items as a cornfield scarecrow, a mechanical woodman, and a humbug wizard who used old-fashioned hokum to express that universal theme, "There's no place like home." 

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz.

My Thoughts: First off, I want to say that I really enjoyed this book and getting to know the characters in a different way, particularly Dorothy. It was interesting reading about her character as a little girl when I'm so used to thinking of her as the teenager from the movie. And I loved all of the new creatures and residents that showed up in the book that were not included in the movie, such as those gigantic beasts (forgot what they're called) and the little China people (and by China I mean the porcelain china, not the country, just so you know). The chapter with the China people was my favorite part of the book, and I wish they could have been in the movie.

With that said, I have to admit that I liked the movie better, mainly because of the Wicked Witch of the West. I was disappointed to find out that the witch did not play a very big role in the book. I was hoping to learn more of her story like I did with the other characters, but she remained a rather minor, enigmatic character.

I also like the wizard a lot more in the movie. I actually kind of disliked him in the book. I can't exactly pinpoint why, but I thought the wizard in the book came across as selfish and very cowardly with little redeeming qualities. In the movie, I was able to see the sincerity in the wizard's eyes when he apologized for tricking everyone and I saw that he looked like a very nice old man, but in the book I didn't quite believe his apologies. When he tricked the scarecrow, lion and tin man into thinking he was actually giving them what they wanted, it didn't feel to me like he really wanted to help them but like he was just unshamelessly fooling them again, resorting back to his old ways that he had just apologized for. There was also the absence of the speeches that he had given to each character in the movie, assuring the lion, tin man and scarecrow that they each had what they desired all along. He let the scarecrow go on thinking he had given him brains when he actuallly just stuffed his head with bran. I really didn't like that.

But those are the only two problems I had with the book. Otherwise, I enjoyed it quite a bit and I'm glad I finally got around to reading this classic.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Life According to the Books I've Read in 2011

I found this meme at Midnight Book Girl

Using only book titles you've read in 2011, answer the prompts below:

Describe yourself:
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

How do you feel?:
Passion by Lauren Kate

Describe where you currently live:
666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Your favorite form of transportation:
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Your best friend is:
Beastly by Alex Finn

You and your friends are:
Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook

What's the weather like?:
Frostbite by Richelle Mead

What is life to you?:
Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz 

Favorite time of day:
Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Your fear:
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

What is the best advice you have to give?:
Die for Me by Amy Plum

Thought for the day:
French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

How I would like to die:
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

My soul's present condition:
Torment by Lauren Kate