Friday, December 30, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 22

Favorite book you own

Well that's just silly.  All the books I've already been talking about I own.  Anything that you see that was a favorite of mine I probably own.  Except Michael loaned Mistborn to someone a couple of years ago and we can't remember who.

Anyway, working at the library gives me VERY little reason to purchase books.  So if I do purchase a book, it's because I really, really loved it and must have a copy on hand for future reference and nostalgic reading whims.  My Favorite Book I even buy different editions of, because I like the different look of the fonts and feel of the different papers - it's like a collection.

Michael, on the other hand, used to have dreams about owning every book he's ever read, and having an extensive library where he could gaze across the shelves and see all these things he's read.

So what's your preference?  Do you like having copies of the books you've read on hand, or do you like to borrow from friends or the library?

Just as a note: if you are trying to clean house and have lots of books that you don't really want to keep around anymore, donate them to the library!  Your library will be grateful for the donation, and even if they don't add your book to their collection, they can probably put it in a book sale where the proceeds will aid the library - and then your book won't lie at the bottom of a landfill! (Call your library first to ask about donation info).  Also - you can get a tax deduction donation slip.  Libraries can't give you a receipt showing you the value of what you donated, but they can give you a slip saying you donated something at all.  I'm not sure how much it helps at tax time, but it's something, right?

So what book do you absolutely have to own?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 21

I think I've recovered from Christmas enough to get this going again. So, day 21:

Favorite book from your childhood

I think I might alter this slightly to Favorite children's book.  I had some favorite books from childhood, but it's a bit hard to remember what they were, so I'd like to talk about a more recent experience.

I graduated with my bachelor's in December of 2006. Afterward in January and February, even though I was working, I was still trying to figure out what to do with myself without school hanging over my head and permeating my life. I hadn't read anything for recreational purposes since my freshman year when I blew through the Lord of the Rings series instead of doing my English homework. In the years since then, all my reading consisted of textbooks and dissertations and scholarly journals and academese.

So in those cold winter months I picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables from my shelf and started to read. It was like the sun shining into my life. Anne's character is so enraptured with the world around her, so excited to be alive and full of imagination. When I had to put the book down to go to work, colors seemed brighter and sounds sweeter. She filled my life with color in a season of grey and I felt like I was becoming myself again. The easy language and lightness of the story lifted me out of my university funk and reminded me that reading could be frivolously pleasurable.  Even if it wasn't peer-reviewed.

About a year later, I was working at the library and a girl came up to me and said, "I just graduated and all I've read are textbooks for the past few years.  Now I want something fun to read."  After some questions we settled on a Shannon Hale book for her and I could see her excitement as she headed to check it out.

I was excited for her, too.

Did you have a similar experience after college?  What's your favorite children's book?

Friday, December 16, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 20

Um, woops, was I supposed to be updating this?  I'm sure you're all very busy, too, with Christmas coming up.  So I'll back-date a few of these posts and we'll get caught up.  So here's day 20:

Favorite romance book

I'm having a hard time remembering, but I think I liked the romance in Graceling a lot.  I liked Katniss and Peeta's relationship in The Hunger Games.  I can't mention my Favorite Book yet, but that's another one.  I think the romance in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is pretty epic.


Honestly, all I can think of are movies for this one.  Is that cheating?  Yes.
Am I going to do it anyway?  Yes.

Let's just get right to the point and admit that we all loved The Young Victoria to pieces, okay?  Good.  That movie rocks.

So what about you?  Do you have more success than me when you try to think of a book with a good romance?  What about films?  What's your favorite filmed literary romance?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 19

Favorite movie made from a book

Actually, I think the last Harry Potter was really well done.  It was kind of a sad, beautiful, chaotic thing.  I thought the music was really well done, also.  It was more or less how I envisioned the book and that is always satisfying.

Other than that, there are lots of literary adaptations that I like.  It's too hard to choose between them.  Maybe I'll have to do a blog post when this is all over about my favorite Sumptuous Literary Adaptations, to borrow a phrase from Miss Nemesis.

What about you?  What are your favorite movies that were made from books?

Monday, December 12, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 18

A book that disappointed you

It could be really easy to go on and on about this, but I'm going to try to keep it simple.

I read Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer in 2008.  It is a really great book, written as a journal of a 16 year old girl.  An asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to earth, and all sorts of crazy things happen like tsunamis and volcanos erupting and it's pretty apocalyptic.  So this girl has to basically survive inside of her own home with her family.

She has to go from a self-absorbed teen to someone who finds slivers of hope in a tragedy, and learns to quit taking her family for granted and instead be thankful that they're even alive.  It's honestly beautiful character progression, and as an added bonus this book will make you so paranoid that you will stock up on canned food and potable water.

This book is not the one that disappointed me.  There is a second book that's not technically a sequel, it's just the same events told from the perspective of a boy in NYC.  It's okay.

But there is a third book where the girl in book 1 and the boy in book 2 get together and their families try to survive together.  It is awful.  Because you desperately want to know what happens to Miranda after the closing scenes of book 1, and you are SO relieved when this "sequel" comes out because finally you get to know!

But... this is going to sound really critical and I'm sorry to Susan Beth Pfeffer.  It's like she got such a huge reaction from how good the first book was that she was like - I better make a sequel.  But she just threw it together.  All of the beautiful character progression and growth that Miranda and her family had gone through in the first book is gone, and in some ways they have regressed into selfish whining idiots.  The setting might be cool - what is the world like now? Are there people anymore? But we're given a disappointingly small amount of information on what is happening in the world and what we are given is lacking in detail.  "They drive to a house.  There are people there.  The people give them some food."  Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that a "romance" arises between Miranda and the boy from Book 2, a romance that will baffle anyone who reads the book.  Why are they interested in each other?  There is no reason.  What actually takes place in their relationship?  Nothing.  I think they kiss once.  I don't think there was a reason.  They just arbitrarily become a couple that don't really act all that into each other or interact much.  One review I read on Goodreads says, "for all we know they fell in love because they weren't related."

After how awesome the first book was, the let-down of this "sequel" was crushing.  I recommend Life As We Knew It to patrons all the time, but I tell them to not bother with either of the other books.

P.S. - I just looked ahead and there aren't really any more "negative" book discussions like this one.  I'm a little tired of complaining about stuff.  From here on we get to talk about cool stuff, yeah!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 17

Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)

Well, my favorite book is for day 30.  And I can't really think of a favorite quote from it.  But I have LOTS of other favorite quotes, not necessarily from favorite books, but from some good ones.  I'll choose from five books and put them here in descending order of length.

So that means I'm going to do the longest for my first one, and then we'll have it out of the way, okay? It's a passage from Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

In Paris, Simon Thibault had loved his wife, though not always faithfully or with a great deal of attention. They had been married for twenty-five years. There had been two children, a summer month spent every year at the sea with friends, various jobs, various family dogs, large family Christmases that included many elderly relatives. Edith Thibault was an elegant woman in a city of so many thousands of elegant women that often over the course of years he forgot about her. Entire days would pass when she never once crossed his mind. He did not stop to think what she might be doing or wonder if she was happy, at least not Edith by herself, Edith as his wife.

Then, in a wave of government promises made and retracted, they were sent to this country, which, between the two of them was always referred to as ce pays maudit, "this godforsaken country." Both of them faced the appointment with dread and stoic practicality, but within a matter of days after their arrival a most remarkable thing happened: he found her again, like something he never knew was missing, like a song he had memorized in his youth and had then forgotten. Suddenly, clearly, he could see her, the way he had been able to see her at twenty, not her physical self at twenty, because in every sense she was more beautiful to him now, but he felt that old sensation, the leaping of his heart, the reckless flush of desire. He would find her in the house, cutting fresh paper to line the shelves or lying across their bed on her stomach writing letters to their daughters who were attending university in Paris, and he was breathless. Had she always been like this, had he never known? Had he known and then somehow, carelessly, forgotten? In this country with its dirt roads and yellow rice he discovered he loved her, he was her. Perhaps this would not have been true if he had been the ambassador to Spain. Without these particular circumstances, this specific and horrible place, he might never have realized that the only true love of his life was his wife.

2. The next one comes from Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt.  This is a story about a girl who is confronted by Death, who wants to take her to the afterlife.  She buys time by telling him a story and then leaving it unfinished until the next day when she tells him a little more, but still isn't finished, etc.  The interesting thing is that she's telling Death a story about... Death.  Anyway, here's the passage that I like, it starts with her telling him part of the story:
"Though he was Death, and beyond all wanting, yet he wanted something, yearned and mourned and raged in his heart for something as only an immortal being can."
Lord Death had become very still.
"And what was it that Lord Death wanted and wept in his heart for?" I continued. "A love of his own, a consort to adorn his endless and hallowed halls, a companion who would comfort his heart when it broke from the sadness of his errands, who would weep with him when he carried home little ones in his arms, who would greet him with a joy equal to the terror with which mortals greeted him.  Above all, he wished for a wife into whom he might pour his passion--"
"Hush. You try my patience," he said coldly.
"But who would love such a one? What maid wished for gold coins to shut her eyes, or a satin-lined coffin for her marriage bed?  What maid would come willingly?  For he would have it be willingly.
"And so he did his endless work, without feeling, without pity, without rest... He waited without waiting, and dreamed of what he could not imagine."
3. This one is from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  'Nuff said.
“So this is it," said Arthur, "We are going to die."
"Yes," said Ford, "except... no! Wait a minute!" He suddenly lunged across the chamber at something behind Arthur's line of vision. "What's this switch?" he cried.
"What? Where?" cried Arthur, twisting round.
"No, I was only fooling," said Ford, "we are going to die after all.”
4. There are lots and lots of good quotes from Brandon Sanderson.  Unfortunately, I only took notes when I read the second book of the Mistborn series, The Well of Ascension.  Here are two of my favorites from the book (they aren't adjacent to each other in the book, by the way):
"You, Elend Venture, are a good man. A truly good man."
"Good men don't become legends," he said quietly.
"Good men don't need to become legends." She opened her eyes, looking up at him. "They just do what's right anyway."

"It's easy to believe in something when you win all the time, Jastes," Elend said, opening his eyes. "The losses are what define a man's faith."

By the way, I think it is really funny that a few people told me they were buying the Mistborn series after my review of it the other day.  I hope you're not disappointed!  I didn't really think you'd believe me when I said it was the perfect book!  But it is. =D

5. My last favorite quote is from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
"Happiness would continue for summer's duration and into autumn. It would then be brought abruptly to an end, for the brightness had shown suffering the way."
Most of the book is like that.  Breathtaking and sad.  Have the tissues ready.

So there you go.  I think each of those give you a little taste of each book, or at least of the best of each book.  You don't even have to read the books now, you can just tell people, "Nah, I got the jist of it."  Good work!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 16

Favorite female character

Ay, carumba.  Seriously?  Because all I read are books from a female POV (point of view).

I really like female characters that kick butt.  Um, literally.  Favorite characters that would fit into this category are:

Claudia from Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (can you say wedding dress snowstorm?)
Saba from Blood Red Road by Moira Young (a pile of red hot whoop ass!)
Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore (kind of the ultimate butt-kicker)
Vin from Mistborn (Wait, no, she's the ultimate butt-kicker)
Wait, I'm forgetting about the ultimate ultimate butt-kicker:
Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, of course.

I'm not really talking about The Hunger Games much in this 30 day book discussion, because I just assume by now that every other person on the planet has read this and loved it and we all just understand that it's now the standard to which we hold all other works of young adult dystopian fiction, to their very certain detriment.  If you haven't read it yet, you should probably start looking for a rock to live under.

But seriously, I really do love Katniss.  Reading this book from Katniss's POV is like reading thoughts coming from my own head, she's THAT readable and sympathetic and natural.

Alright.  Well apart from kick-butt young adult heroines, there are a few other female characters that I have come to love over the years:

Minnie from The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Skeeter is great and Aibileen I adored, but I really connected with Minnie.  It's probably the humor that she brought to this story, but also her strong personality and no-nonsense way of working with the world.  Also the way this story slowly transformed her and ultimately the strength that she gained.

Rosie Winter from The Rosie Winter Mysteries by Kathryn Miller Haines.  I will be talking more about these books on day 24, but I absolutely love Rosie and her sassy, witty, caring, unpretentious personality.

Anne of Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.  Again, more on this on day 21, but I will just say that having Anne in my life for a few months made my heart lighter and life sweeter.

And because I have to talk about Brandon Sanderson in every blog post now (it's NOT Mistborn this time!) I must definitely include Sarene from Elantris.  Here's how it goes down: girl is engaged, girl shows up to the new country she's moving to for this guy and finds out he's DEAD, but she's still legally obligated to stay there.  So what does she do?  Makes freaking lemonade, that's what!

Really, she comes back from this blow by throwing herself into this new country and tries to make it better and help the people there.  All the while unaware that her betrothed is really not dead.  Poor thing. But this girl really impressed me.  When I read that she got to this country and found out her fiance was dead I was like - great, now I get to watch her mope for half the book (that's SO Bella).

But Sarene completely surprised me and in the wake of her dashed hopes she rises up and kicks butt (metaphorically this time) by doing good and becoming a force to be reckoned with among powerful men. I guess I just love a strong woman.
*wolf whistle*

By the way, click on the picture to the right if you haven't seen this meme yet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 15

Favorite male character

Uh.  This is a hard one.  There are a few, I don't think I could pick one.  Here are some favorites:

A couple of Brandon Sanderson characters that I like a lot are Breeze from Mistborn, and Wayne from The Alloy of Law.  Both are funny characters and good men, which is usually a sure-fire way to get me to like a character.  I really love it when someone is a good man but it's not readily apparent.  (Not gonna talk about the ultimate icon of this magic formula.  Ladies, you know who I'm talking about.)

Bartimaeus from The Amulet of Samarkand is an awesome character.  The only problem is that in order to read about him, you have to hear about Nathaniel, the other character in that book, who is painfully obnoxious.

I really do like Peeta from The Hunger Games.  I mostly want to give him a big hug.

Probably my favorite male characters are Fred and George from Harry Potter.  I need more Freds and Georges in my life.

And, um, I didn't read the book, but can we all just agree that John Thornton (aka Richard Armitage) from the North and South adaptation is super dreamy?

Thought so.

Okay, now leave a comment and tell me who I'm forgetting!  Who's your favorite male character?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 14

Favorite book by your favorite writer

Oh, so easy.  In fact, sometimes I refer to this as my Favorite Book, depending on what circles I'm traveling in.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.  This is actually the first in a trilogy, but to me this is the perfect book.  The whole arc of the plot is perfection.

I explained this to a co-worker the other day like this:
The first Star Wars movie that came out is now technically 4th movie, right?  A New Hope.  And to me, that is the most perfectly plotted story of the six.  I watched a documentary about Star Wars that talked about how George Lucas originally wrote Star Wars as a trilogy of movies, but he didn't think that any company would pick up three movies, so he re-wrote it and pushed the big climax into the first movie (you know, where they take out the death star?).  Remember how huge and intimidating the death star is?  And they take it out in the first movie.  And then the big threat in the next two movies is... they're building another death star.  Lol. When you think about it that way it's obvious that some plot re-arranging has taken place, isn't it?

Anyway, so the first movie (or the 4th, whatever) is the most beautiful plot arc to me.  You have your hero who goes through some character progression,  you have your insurmountable feat (the death star), and they take it out - pow!  Cue the dancing in the streets.

So Mistborn is kind of the same way.  I feel like Sanderson built up the Insurmountable Object in this book so much that the stuff that happened in the other books just seemed like dealing with the aftermath.  Of course, the next two books are fabulous and epic, but they're just not as perfect as the first book.  The Insurmountable Objects of those books are more vague and ambiguous, whereas the first book you have a solid goal that everyone is working towards.

But it's not just the big finish, it's the whole journey there, the varied and endearing cast of characters, the progression of our heroine, and just for the ladies: there are even balls with fancy dresses.  To me, every perfect book needs some fancy dresses!  Take note, authors.  Even The Hunger Games had fancy dresses.  Very key element.  Probably why more people don't like Twilight - she just wears jeans the whole time!

Okay, I am really kidding, but my point is that I feel like there is a little something for everyone.  Action, romance, great characters, a coming-of-age story with smart writing and an epic ending.  It's just the perfect book!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 13

Your favorite writer

Well, there are lots of good writers out there.  But usually when I get asked this question, my answer is Brandon Sanderson.

If you read my blog this may come as no surprise considering the time I spied on him at Borders but was too nervous to speak to him, and then a week later when my sister maneuvered my visit to Barnes and Noble to speak to him (yes, you did).  And I always embarrass myself when I speak to the poor guy.

Because his books are AWESOME!  Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic writer.  He's got solid stories built on interesting, personable characters, with insightful writing to boot.  And the guy works like a maniac.  It seems like the past few years he's had two or more books out per year, and I'm not talking a couple of 250 page teen reads, I mean like 1000 page long opuses.  And the sad thing is that it's still not enough for me.  The poor guy can't write fast enough for his voracious readers.

The last book I read by him was The Alloy of Law which just came out last month (and, okay, it was a shorter one).  When I picked it up I had just finished a slew of disappointing books, each one with some kind of major flaw.  And then I pick up this book by Brandon Sanderson and just get the sense of, "Ahhhh.  This must be a Brandon Sanderson book."  Solid story, solid characters, solid writing.  The guy has nailed how books should be written and he's just churning them out.  In my eyes, he's got a great talent and it's a pleasure to have so many new works by this guy on a yearly basis.

I just hope I can tell him that someday without making a fool of myself.  =)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 12

A book you used to love but don't anymore

This is a hard one.  Well, there are a lot of books that I really liked when I read them, like The Inferno by Dante, and now I'm kind of -meh- about them.  There are books that I enjoyed reading and now I enjoy the movie a lot more, like Jane Eyre.  There are books that I liked, but then after hearing a LOT of criticism from others I sort of changed my mind about them, like Twilight.

Okay, here's one.  When I was young I read a lot of James Herriot books, you know, he's the country vet with all the cute stories?  I ate that stuff up.  But I can't really imagine myself reading cute animal stories these days.  Or - can I?  Now I have to go find the book and see if I'm still disinterested.

Talk to you later.

P.S. - what about you?  Do you have an easier time than I do thinking of something you used to love but don't anymore?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christopher Paolini came to my library!

In the last couple of years we've had some amazing events at my library, in large part due to our new PR person who has been getting some great authors to come visit us.  On Friday night we had Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon books, which are hugely popular, especially in my community.  I think I can safely say it was our largest event so far.  From what I remember, we had about 650 people come, not including the 100 or 150 we had to turn away because we had reached capacity (we were really sad about that).  We've never been unable to seat everyone before, so maybe we'll have some contingency plans for next time, even though we had an overflow room for this event.

Our PR person usually asks the staff to come dressed in costumes for events like this, so that we can show a little extra effort and excitement to the authors and publishers who come.  And I'd have to say that she works the hardest out of anyone to make her costume absolutely amazing.  Here is a grainy photo I took of her:

Unfortunately, you can't see the extra details: the scales of blue-ish green glitter she patterned over her shoulders and arms, and the blue sequins she added to her face and skin.  Maybe someone will have taken a better photo and I can post it later.  By the way, if you've read the books, you get that she's Saphira, right?

Anyway, she had some people come over from the sword and quill club at BYU who played flutes and recorders while walking around the ballroom before Paolini spoke.  I'll admit I thought that would be kind of dorky, but it was actually kind of amazing.  The patrons attending were all so crazy excited about this event, and I think it really added to the atmosphere.

When Christopher Paolini entered the ballroom, he did so under a sword salute with all the staff lined up behind him.  I think they were playing a fanfare, too.  I snapped this photo as he ran through:

I enjoyed the address he gave.  It was cute and charming and funny and the patrons!  My goodness, they were SO excited and gave him a lot of feedback as he spoke.

You can see a little over half of the people in the room in this photo (500 people)

We also had a costume contest for the patrons, and a bunch of people showed up in amazing costumes.  You can vote on Facebook for your favorite, and the winner gets a full set of the Inheritance series books, all signed by Christopher Paolini.

After he spoke, Christopher Paolini signed hundreds and hundreds of books, and went at an amazingly fast pace, he was done in about 2 hours!  We had Markus Zusak last year, who was really friendly and chatted a lot with the patrons as he signed the books, but it ended up being about 1 in the morning before my co-workers were done for the night.  C. Paolini is also very friendly, but he was a bit more streamlined as he signed.  I think he did a good job, actually, he was really personable and managed to get a few exchanges in with people before they left him, but he did it quickly enough that everyone else wasn't waiting for a long time.  It's a fine line to walk, I think, but I know he did a good job because everyone who walked away from their chat with him was glowing and excited and smiling like crazy.  

At the end of the night the staff who had worked the event lined up for a picture with the author.

OMG!  That's Christopher Paolini standing next to me!!  WOO!

Do you want a better look at my costume?  I was going for kind of a dark assasin/shade-y type thing.  My skirt is actually really cool, made of a dark fabric that glistens silvery when I walk.  Michael said it reminded him of dementors from Harry Potter, which it actually reminded me of, too.  I found the belt at DI and painted it silver (it was black originally).  The vest was the hardest part, because believe it or not, there aren't too many leather vests out there these days.  After two DIs, a costume shop, and much pestering of my co-workers for their opinions, I finally found this vest at Savers for $4.  I took it home and cut slits down the front so I could lace it up like a bodice.  Oh, and my co-worker noticed a rubber dagger in the library's lost and found the day before, so I "borrowed" it for a couple of hours for this event.  Here's how everything looked:

I probably should have had someone take a picture with a better camera because the lacing turned out kind of cool.  Oh well.

Anyway, it was a really cool night.  I really enjoyed the Eragon books, even though I read most of them before I started working at the library and it's hard to remember a lot of the details now.  But it's also cool to meet a big author and be a part of a big night that people are excited about.  So many of the patrons were thrilled to be there and to meet Christopher Paolini, and their excitement was infectious.  Lots of fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 11

A book you hated

This one is easy.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  100%.  And the real cruelty is that I had to read it twice.  I read it my sophomore year in English, and then I moved to Utah and my junior English teacher wanted our class to read it.  Ugh.  Maybe I didn't read every page the second time, but I still had to go through all of the agonizing analysis in class.

This "classic" was written in 1891.  Let me break it down for you:

- Girl gets raped and is no longer "clean"
- Everyone shuns girl
- Girl moves away and falls madly in love
- Her love proposes and they marry, and she tells him about the rape
- He shuns her and they go separate ways
- The cad who raped her finds her and wants her to be his mistress
- After about a million years of him asking she finally accepts
- Her love comes back and wants to take her back
- She kills the guy who raped her
- She escapes with her love and they spend five days together before she's captured and executed.

And I had to read that twice.
Yup.  I hate Tess of the D'Urbervilles.  One day a lady came into the library, looking for "unfair" books. She was writing some sort of English paper.  "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" was out of my mouth before she finished her sentence.  Seriously, Tess can't catch a break.  If I never read that book again it will be too soon.

Do you have a "most hated" book?

Friday, December 2, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 10

Favorite classic

I can't actually talk about this one, because it's also my Favorite Book, and I'm saving that for Day 30.  So instead I'm changing this category to:

A book you know is good, but still can't like

That would have to be Unwind by Neal Shusterman. This book basically takes the debate over abortion and takes it to extremes to play with the idea. So it's some future date after a civil war over abortion, and after the war the laws they decided on were: from the moment you conceive to the age of thirteen, a child's life may not be terminated. But once the children are between the ages of 13 and 18, "unwanted" children (or pregnancies, if you think about it) can be "unwound," meaning they harvest body parts from the teen so that parts of them live on but essentially their life as they know it is over.

Right. So basically if you don't want to be pregnant, you have to have the baby anyway and then when they are a teen you can have them unwound. Another option is: if your teen is a big troublemaker and you want a convenient way to get rid of them, you can send them to be unwound, all the while rationalizing to yourself that you're not really killing them, because they'll "live on" in other forms.

Can you guess what my problem is with this book? Okay, I have a lot of friends that love this book, and honestly, it was kind of thrilling and kept me turning pages and staying up late to see what happened. So I can totally understand why they like it and I don't mind that they do.

I think that it's just that my personal experiences have made it so this sounds completely ridiculous to me. Especially because I read this 4 months after I miscarried a baby and I was still devastated. It's just... I don't think any parent would EVER do this. Well, maybe like the fringes of society, freak-show-type-people. Like the guy who hid his daughter in his basement for 15 years or however long. I think, even if your teen is a troublemaker and obnoxious, you still spent 15 or so years raising them! All the effort, all the work, daily, taking care and feeding and teaching and whatever. I wouldn't throw that away,  I don't think the majority of people would.  Not to say anything about loving your kids, the bond parents have with their children that makes this sort of idea unpalatable and for me, unconscionable. I can't express enough my frustration with this concept.

So while the book was good, any time I gave more than a passing thought to WHY all of this was happening... I wanted to throw the book at the wall. Because it's just so silly. It's like writing a book based in a society that stabs themselves in the eye, except two teens in the society don't WANT to stab themselves in the eye, so they start trying to get away from all the eye-stabbers and will they ever make it?!!? It might be exciting, but it's also ridiculous.

Wow, I feel like I'm doing what I discouraged people from a few days ago with "Most overrated book." Well, I'm trying to qualify it by saying that I feel this way because of what I experienced personally, especially right before reading the book.  And I don't really mind that other people like this book.

I just kind of want to stab Neal Shusterman in the eye.

What about you?  Has a personal issue ever stopped you from liking a book?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 9

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

I'm going to have to pick The Help by Kathryn Stockett for this one.   I didn't think I would like it for two reasons:
1. There was so much hype I wasn't sure it could live up to the expectations.  2. I read light, adventurous young adult books.  I'm not really a beautiful, meaningful-book kind of girl.  There are beautiful, meaningful books that I love, but it's generally not what I'm searching out when looking for my next read.  They're kind of exhausting.  I'm in "meaning" up to my neck most of the time - honestly, in my family, life is one big exploration of how we feel about stuff.  Give me a little battle to the death, please.

But.  The Help was just awesome.  I listened to the audiobook because I thought it would help me to focus better.  This is my trick for reading books that I secretly don't want to read, because the reader forces me to keep moving through the sentences whether I like it or not!  Ha!  But I needed absolutely no help with this one.  In fact I loaded it on my iPod, and carried the iPod around with me all day and night, laying in bed in the dark to listen to half an hour more... well, okay, an hour.  The audiobook totals about 15 hours, and I finished them all in six days.  Yup.  One thing that helped were the performers - three women who did a breathtaking job.  I was captivated from the first chapter.  And, of course, it had all sorts of meanings and messages and I enjoyed every last one of them.

So basically, it was a nice surprise!  And I don't have to feel quite so silly about my reading preferences being only kid books.  Whew!

What about you? Did you have a book you loved even though you didn't think you would?