Category Archives: Friday Reads

Friday Reads: A longish list

I am long overdue for one of these.

What I have read since my last post:

 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Since a few people in my book club hadn’t read it yet (and by a few people I mostly mean me), we decided to revisit it. I loved it. It was hilarious, it made me think, and has redeeming messages about the way we access information today. I’m glad I revisited it later in live, because I could only get through about 30 pages when I was 11 before getting bored to tears.

 

Mercury by Hope Larson. My friend Viet recommended this to me when we were hanging out at the public library. It’s a graphic novel about a girl named Tara who inherits a locket that once belonged to her ancestor, Josey. In the novel, Larson intertwines the mysteries and complications of Tara and Josey’s lives until Tara makes a very important discovery about her family’s past. Go read it. It was great. And it has magical realism.

 Catching Fire [The Hunger Games #2] by Suzanne Collins. My friend Ryan’s reaction to the first installment of the series was a big ol’ “meh.” But when he heard me describe the second book to my cousin in the car one day, his ears perked up. Collins amped up the intensity in just about every aspect of this novel: violence, betrayal, rumors, uprisings, punishments. So if you weren’t sold after the first novel, give the second one a try.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami. This was my first library book on my Kindle. I became intrigued after I gathered from the description of this book that Murakami feels the way I do about the hours between midnight and 6AM: there is probably something weird going on. This is a short novel about such weirdness.

 

 

What I’m reading now:

  • Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
  • Mockingjay [The Hunger Games #3] by Suzanne Collins
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (do I even need to give that much detail? Sometimes I wonder if I could just type “HP5”)
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Compassionate Diet by Arran Stephens and Eliot Jay Rosen
Links!
Author Name Pronunciation Guide with audio (you might be surprised)!
You’ve heard of Feminist Ryan Gosling, right?
If you love Maus, you’ll probably love this.
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Friday Reads: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Books I finished recently:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (the very first book I read on my Kindle). I don’t know why this is part of the high school curriculum. I’m willing to bet that high schoolers don’t appreciate Wilde’s sense of humor. I certainly didn’t when they assigned this to me as a high school senior. But as a 24 year old nerd who is a little more aware of humanity and the weirdness of romantic relationships I totally LOL’d. I even have urges to tell people I’m Bunburying around Shropfordshire when they ask if I have plans. I think I will indulge next time.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Do you ever feel like a book was written just for you? I loved this one. There were some aspects that threw me off: Sophie’s mindset about being destined for a boring life because she’s the eldest sibling; the whole Martha/Lettie switching places thing; the abrupt ending. There were aspects I loved: Sophie throwing herself into the role of a determined, assertive, strong old lady; any part with Calcifer; the flowers they grew to sell in their shop (front). And as soon as I learned Howl’s real name was Howell Jenkins and that he spoke a “foreign language” I KNEW I loved the book because all of that means Howl was a Welshie (which he admits later on in the story in a really awesome way). This was my YA choice for book club’s September meeting. Really glad it turned out well – I toned down my enthusiasm at our meeting, though.

Memorable links:

I have a massive headache and the hiccups (this cold won’t seem to budge) but I wanted to get this published before Friday actually ends. Would you mind terribly if I just left you with this?

HEY GURL

Friday Reads: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

Book I finished this week:

For some reason on Monday I decided I HAD to go to the Tustin Library. So I did. I perused the fiction section. I saw this book. I recognized the title. I decided to read it. I needed a change from fantasy and dystopic fiction (I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Howl’s Moving Castle, and 1984).

Well, it was a brief change. I read it in about 6 hours. But man, this book irked me. It had no plot (to Bank’s credit, I think it was meant to be a coming-of-age novel, so no big problem to solve). The main character, Jane, came off as whiny and self-centered (except when she was talking about or with her dad). It was all about relationships and had nothing to do with the other cool things she could have been doing with her life during her 20’s. Most of the other characters seemed so unrealistic (always saying the right things, being larger-than-life). Also, there is a chapter in there told from the point of view of an older woman named Nina, Jane’s great aunt’s neighbor, that has pretty much nothing to do with Jane’s story. I keep thinking about the purpose of that chapter. I can’t think of anything reasonable. Thoughts?

In any case, it was an OK change from Big Brother and Voldemort and Howl.

Memorable links and articles from this week:

Everyone and their mother has shared this link on Facebook and Twitter: Stop Coddling the Super Rich by Warren Buffet – New York Times

One of the best analyses of The Help I’ve read so far: This is why I worry about The Help – Adios Barbie

What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done? by Rebecca Traister – New York Times

Awesome:

Friday Reads: Advice to Little Girls by Mark Twain

“You ought never to take your little brother’s ‘chewing-gum’ away from him by main force, it is better to rope him in with the promise of the first two dollars and a half you find floating down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to this time of life, he will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of the world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the obtuse infant to financial ruin and disaster.”

– Excerpt from Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girls 

Books I finished this week (condensed version):

This week I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I never had to read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, but I thought I should, so I did, and it was life changing. I gave them both 5 stars on Goodreads, and I am very picky about that sort of thing. I also finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was my least favorite so far because the pace was so slow. But I loved the inclusion of merfolk!

Memorable articles and links from this week:

Remember the guy who had Slaughterhouse-Five banned from a Missouri high school? The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library did something about that. – Reuters

The Ladies of the 17th Century Were Way More Hardcore Than You – The Hairpin

How Language Affects Color Perception – Boing Boing

Neko Case + My Morning Jacket + Islands in the Stream – Cover Me

Friday Reads: The Help and Think

#fridayreads is a Twitter meme in which people tweet what they’re reading each Friday. I thought it would be fun to dedicate Friday posts to the books and blogs I’m reading. (I know it’s Saturday afternoon. I apologize – I had a long day of babysitting yesterday. I should have checked to see if Chuck E. Cheese had wifi!)

Books I finished this week:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. If you’ve been reading this blog since…a couple weeks ago…you might recall that I said I was going to read all of the Harry Potter books and then finish the Hunger Games trilogy. Well, there’s been a slight change of plans. You see, I saw the trailer for The Help (the movie). I noticed that two of my favorite actresses of today, Viola Davis and Emma Stone, are the leads. I must see this movie. But before I see this movie, I wanted to have read the book.

Here’s a synopsis.

I didn’t expect to like this book so much. I expected the characters to be caricatures whose actions were based upon stereotypes. That wasn’t the case. I was pleasantly surprised whenever the characters discussed the dire consequences they could face as a result of Skeeter’s savior behavior. The relationships between the characters were really complex (naturally), and I loved how Stockett wove their back stories into their narratives. I found myself on the verge of tears as I read the last page. Not many books have that effect on me!

2. Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom. I put this on hold at the library after I read Bloom’s article for Huffington Post on changing the way we speak to little girls. I thought she made a really compelling argument, so I wanted to read her book (the article is basically a plug for the recently-published book). This book didn’t feel like a slap in the face to me because I already read books often and try to read a little of the newspaper every day (I just really like to read, not out of contempt or for competition). Nevertheless, I am in my twenties, so it is practically given that I could be making better use of my time and mind. This book inspired me to do just that. And it was fun to read – I finished it in about 6 hours!

Memorable articles and links from this week:

The Case for Raunchy Teen Lit – Salon.com

Matt Damon schools some reporter and her sh*tty cameraman on teaching and fulfillment (is what the article should have been called) – Boing Boing

101 Ways to Find Inspiration, Stay Motivated, & Achieve your Goals – Silly Grrl

Some jerk decided he would impose his morals on everyone and ban a couple books (including Vonnegut’s classic Slaughterhouse-Five) from a school in Missouri (is what the article should have been called) – The Guardian. Some people in the non-library-realm don’t know that this kind of behavior still exists, bless their hearts. But it does. And it pisses us off.

We Can’t Teach Students to Love Reading – The Chronicle of Higher Education (this was written by Alan Jacobs, whose book I discussed a few weeks ago.)