Monday, December 26, 2011

30 Days of Books: I have lots of opinions.

Day 26- A book that changed your opinion about something: This book didn't so much change my opinion about anything, but it did convince me that being vegan was easy and absolutely do-able, even in Nebraska. This book is Vegan with a Vengeance by the incomparable Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This is the book that taught me how to cook tofu and tempeh, how to use various egg substitutes and how to make the best darn chocolate chip cookies of all time. As a scared, little vegan newbie, the recipes, banter and tips in this book shoved my fear out of the way and got me into the kitchen for the first time in my life, and I could not be any more grateful for that.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

30 Days of Books: With five days left, I'm getting better at this!

Day 24- A book that you wish more people would've read: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. When this book was released in America, the last chapter, for whatever reason, was cut out. What's so important about that last chapter is that it basically explains all the violence and horrible things that happens and, you know, completes the point that Burgess is trying to get across. The writing in this book is fantastic and well worth reading, but still pretty violent (just a warning, it's still not a fluffy book by any means).

Day 25- A character who you can relate to the most: Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. After reading about the Wakefield twins, it was refreshing to have an awkward heroine who relied on her intelligence and resourcefulness rather than her social skills and looks. Plus, she lands that dreamboat Calvin. Rawr.

Friday, December 23, 2011

30 Days of Books: Ten Days at a Time

December is maybe not my best month for continuous blogging, huh? Anyway.

Day 14- Favorite book of your favorite writer: My favorite book of Ray Bradbury's is a toss-up between Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Illustrated Man, with the winner being The Illustrated Man. What gives it the edge? Haunting short stories such as "The Rocket Man", "The Last Night of the World" and "The Long Rain". However, it spawned one of the worst movies ever. Don't ever watch the movie version. Just trust me.

Day 15- Favorite Male Character: That would be Reepicheep from the Chronicles of Narnia. He's short, sassy and fiercely loyal, not to mention adorable. If I had a tattoo, it would be of him (Mom, don't worry, I'm still tattoo free).

Day 16- Favorite Female Character: Sticking with the YA theme here and picking Katniss Everdeen. So refreshing to have a strong, resourceful, intelligent female protagonist after Bella Swan. Katniss has mad skills.

Day 17- Favorite quotes from your favorite books:  I'm skipping this one because there is too much here to take on in a catch-up post. I have a lot of highlighted quotes in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, such as:
"I just thought to myself that in the palm of my hand, there was this one tape that had all of these memories and feelings and great joy and sadness. Right there in the palm of my hand. And I thought about how many people have loved these songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs.And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean."
This book also introduced me to the saddest song ever.

Day 18- A book that disappointed you:  I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block. Love Francesca's other works (Psyche in a Dress, The Rose and the Beast, Girl Goddess #9) but I just couldn't handle the level of fairy in this one. I probably should have read it when I was 12, instead of 23.

Day 19- Favorite book turned movie: Jurassic Park. Hands down.

Day 20- Favorite romance book: Ummmmmm. Pass.

Day 21- Favorite book from your childhood: Barbara Cartland's Princess to the Rescue, a pop-up book that tells the story of a princess who goes on a quest to find an elixir to cure her mother, the original Katniss if you will.

Day 22- Favorite book you own: The Watchmen because it is an amazing graphic novel or this version of Lady Chatterly's Lover, because it has a pretty cover.

Day 23- A book you wanted to read for a long time but haven't: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King. I don't own it yet, so that's probably why I haven't read it. This is also the part where I am sad that I deleted my list of books to read by syncing my iPad.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

30 Days of Books: Um, catching up

I'm not going to offer excuses as to why I haven't posted, so here are my catch-up books (let's pretend I didn't skip day eight).

Day Nine: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
The answer to this one is Not Wanted On The Voyage by Timothy Findley. Totally weird and surreal, this is a retelling of Noah's ark, and God and Noah are the villians of the piece. It took me a little while to realize how surreal it was and I hated it until I was figured out that the dragons were just a normal part of reality in Findley's book.

Day Ten: Favorite classic book
This question is hard because what exactly makes a book a classic? I'm going to go with the general definition of 'oldish' and select Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. The story of an anonymous soldier who wakes up in a hospital lacking arms, legs and a lower jaw, as well as now being blind and deaf. The whole story takes place in his head. He lacks a specific country of origin, which makes the story that much more powerful.

Day 11: A book you hated
I don't hate a lot of books but I really hated The Daughters of the Plaza Del Mayo. I had to read it for a class and now I can't find anything about it on the internet, but it is intensely boring and not super well written.

Day 12: A book you used to love but don’t anymore
The first time I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, I was in seventh or eighth grade and it seemed like the greatest book ever: compelling characters, interesting story, tragic ending. My dad warned me never to read it again because I would not be so impressed reading it as an adult. I read it again when I was 24 and my dad was right. We're just going to leave it at that.

Day 13: Your favourite writer
Ray Bradbury. Love an author that can write great science fiction but make the scariest parts of it entirely human.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 Days of Books: You read what?

The first image you get when you
google  'young adult' (linked to source)
Day Seven: Most underrated book

This day was hard for me because I don't really read reviews. I don't like going into a book with a pre-conceived notion of how good it will be, and sometimes that works out well and sometimes it works out really, really poorly. So, I'm going to say that, for me, the most underrated part of literature is the young adult genre. Yes, there are some stinkers out there but the same goes for books for grown-ups. You want hard hitting, realistic novels? Check. Compelling, imaginative fantasy? Check. Cliffhangers at the end of every chapter to make you keep reading even when you needed to go to bed three hours ago? Check (Anthony Horowitz, I'm looking at you). People absolutely make fun of me when almost every book I mention is a young adult book, but I feel no shame for what I love so purely. What's so wrong about wanting compelling, thought provoking books with some sassy slang? Just please don't judge me when you see me in the paranormal romance teen section. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

30 Days of Books: Books for when you want to cry

Day Six: A book that makes you sad

This was a toss-up between The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Host by Stephanie Meyer. The Host won. I realize this means I found a book about the Holocaust written from Death's point of view less depressing than a book about aliens written by the author of Twilight, but while The Book Thief put me in regular cry zone, The Host put me straight into ugly cry, I can't go anywhere because I am too destroyed to function as a human being zone. If I tell you why it was so sad, I will straight up spoil it for you, and I just can't do that, so go ahead and read it with a box of tissues nearby. Plus, it's going to be a movie soon and you'll want to prepare yourself.

What other books are perfect for a good cry?

Monday, December 5, 2011

30 Days of Books: Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face

Day Five: A book that makes you happy

This day was a battle waged between Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris and I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee. While Sedaris's tale of how he spent a season working as an elf is laugh-until-I-cry hilarious, I've never carried the book around with me and made people listen to me reading it aloud, which I have done with Bee's book (you can hear Bee herself talk about the book here, and the less aurally inclined can read an excerpt here). From her stories of learning about the birds and the bees from her mother, to her views on pets to how she met her husband, each story is a gem that will make you laugh. To put this in perspective, the first time I read this, I was bedridden with strep throat and I soldiered through this book even though every time I laughed, I experienced a horrendous coughing fit. Worth it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

30 Days of Books: Like picking a favorite child

Day 4: Favorite book of your favorite series.

Since I've already outed The Hunger Games Trilogy as my current favorite series, logic (and the meme) would say that I should now tell you which of the three is my favorite. However, I like to occasionally break the rules, and when it comes down to it, I really can't pick a favorite, so here are my favorite things about each book:

The Hunger Games: Where it all begins! We meet Katniss and become completely absorbed by how awesome she is- love that we got a strong female protagonist after Bella Swan. What I love about this book is that it is the beginning of a revolution and that we finally see a strong female in action.

Catching Fire: The book that introduced us to Finnick Odair, who is my favorite character in the trilogy, as well as my ipad's namesake. The arena in this one is brilliant and we also get a deeper look into life in The Capitol.

Mockingjay: This book both inspires me as you get to see a revolution in action but you also see how it can completely destroy those involved on either side. This book is great for making me cry in public but also because it doesn't paint one side as good and the other as bad- they are both shades of gray and half the tension is just watching Katniss ponder whether or not she is fighting for the right side.

As a side note, I totally pretend I'm in the Hunger Games when I'm bored during a work out. Being a tribute is a big motivator.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Days of Books: Favorite Series

Day Four: Your Favorite Series

I'm going to go ahead and go with my current favorite series, as I've had several over my life, such as The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, so on and so forth. So, my current favorite series is The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins which tells the story of Katniss Everdeen after she volunteers (in order to save her sister) for the yearly event that is the Hunger Games. I love this dystopian trilogy because instead of the sides being black and white, they both fall into shades of gray. There isn't a clear-cut right side for Katniss to be fighting for and I will totally admit to crying during every single book. If you haven't read these books, go read them now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

30 Days of Books: Reading it thrice is just as nice

Day 2: A book that you've read more than three times

Although I've read every book in The Chronic(what)cles of Narnia more than three times, except for The Last Battle, my favorite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Influenced by Lewis's love of tales of the journeys of knights, Voyage takes Edmund, Lucy, Caspian and Eustace, among others, on a journey to several different islands to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. Crazy hijinks ensue and we get to spend time with my all time favorite Narnian- Reepicheep. Small, fiesty and fiercely loyal, Reepicheep is just the best. On an unrelated note, let's pretend that the most recent movie version of this does not exist.

PS- Was anyone else bummed when they realized that they were too old to go to Narnia? Or that they would never get a letter from Hogwarts? I totally was/am.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 Days of Books Kick in the Butt

To explain my silence, I haven't been doing much that's super exciting in general and my dinners have been variations of whole wheat pasta with veggies, which would make for boring pictures that are taken in artificial light. In light of this, I am going to be doing the 30 Day Book Meme, which I found through Windy City Vegan. Without further ado, here is day one:

Day One- The best book you read last year:

Twilight! Just kidding, but it is a vampire book: The Historian: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova. To be perfectly blunt, when I describe the plot to people, all I can think about is how lame I make it sound. It's the story of a young woman searching for her missing father. Also missing are her mother and her father's advisor, who are all linked to Dracula. Yes, the book is about Dracula, but it never feels cliched or boring. Between lush descriptions of various locations throughout the world and the overwhelming sense of dread that pervades the book, you forget all the stereotypes of Dracula that culture has provided and become immersed in the story provided.