WWW Wednesday [27th November]

What I’m currently reading:

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Insurgent, by Veronica Roth 

Loved, loved, loved the first book in the series, Divergent, as you can tell in my review of it! I can tell this will be a good sequel; hopefully it doesn’t disappoint!

AND 

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The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James 

I am reading this for the next school year. I like reading my school novels a few times, so first I’ll read it for myself, then once or twice for school. Sounds like a good psychological thriller!

What I recently finished reading:

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Evan Burl and the Falling, by Justin Blaney

This book was alright. It had quite a few things that I didn’t like, but also a couple of aspects which I enjoyed. Look out for my review, which will be up soon!

What I think I’ll read next:

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Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

The last instalment in the Divergent trilogy! I’m sure once I finish Insurgent, I won’t be able to wait to start this one!

I’d love to know what you’re reading this fine spring/summer! Link your WWW Wednesday post in the comments section!

Happy reading,

Z.

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The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4671Release date: September 30th 2004 (first published 1925)

Publisher: Scribner

Number of pages: 180

Genre: Fiction/ Drama

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan.

MY REVIEW

This is my favourite classic I have read so far. The Great Gatsby is thought-provoking, without being complex-  it has a simple narrative structure. This is a novel that doesn’t force symbols and metaphors and life messages onto you – you have to take up the responsibility as a reader to find out what the author has tried to impart in his words, and also what he hasn’t.

I liked how there were some characters that you really hated, and some that you liked and some that you loved – though I think there were less characters in this novel that I loved than the ones I just liked or hated. The narrator, Nick Carraway is quite neutral – making a good story teller. I really like Jay Gatsby, and his gift for hope.  Gatsby is admirable and annoyingly elusive at the same time. Tom Buchanan – don’t get me started on him. He is so hate-able, and I really did dislike his character. Not in the way that he was not well-written, but in the way that Fitzgerald made him to be the way he was for the purposes of the narrative. Daisy Buchanan – beautiful and quite wise. I, like many others, love what she says to Nick early on in the book: “That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” All the characters in this book are either very real, or quite clearly exaggerated to symbolise something- for example, the consequences of being inherently rich.

The ending is completely unexpected – at least to me, it was. Like I said before, the plot is quite simple, yet still packed with revelations and events. I wasn’t bored with the plot or characters or inner monologue at any point- and I’m not even that much of a classic lover! There are some symbols that were quite evident, but I didn’t understand the meaning of. Like, what’s with the colour yellow? I still don’t understand that.

I would definitely recommend this book if you love/like classics, and even if you’re not a big fan, I urge you to try this one out. And after reading The Great Gatsby, have a look at some of John Green’s videos about the book on the Vlogbrothers channel or the Crash Course channel on YouTube. They really helped further my understanding of the novel.

MY RATING

Characters: 1.5/2

Plot: 2/2

Writing style: 1/1

I wouldn’t give this book any extra special points, even though I think it’s a pretty genius novel. (I’m harsh with my special points. (: )

4.5/5

Happy reading,

Z.

Reading and I – We’re tight.

At first, the question of why I like to read kind of baffled me. I was like: What does that even mean? I like to read because I like to read. Why should there be any reasons behind it? But then I thought about it some more, and I realised there are reasons, and these may or may not be different for everyone.

1.  I don’t know if I like reading because of this or if I like this because of reading, but I absolutely love to know about other people. I like to hear random and particular stories about a friend’s/stranger’s/relative’s life; I like to know why someone is doing something or why they chose to do it; I want to see a ‘Draw My Life’ video about nearly everyone I have ever known about. This could be considered ‘nosy’, and yea, sure – if that’s what I am, that’s ok. Nosy and proud. So, of course, this ‘nosiness’ makes me extra interested in books- they are (in their simplest form) stories of people and things and the why and how and when. I love to know the story of a girl living in Germany during the Second World War who loves words. I love finding out how a self-satisfied hobbit finds so much more in the company of a wizard and dwarves. It is just so awesome to know about all these people and things and hobbits that it’s overwhelming!

2. Reason 2 kind of links to what I was saying before about me being nosy. I like to know what other people are thinking (I promise you, in the most not-creepy way possible). And books (in their more complicated form) are, on some level, a collection of thoughts that a person wants to share. I like it when people share their thoughts. It’s a way to be able to understand each other, and by sharing what they think, others are allowing themselves to be closer to us, and I think that’s exactly what we humans need to do. Be more ‘together’. Books are often a way for people to speak out against unfair principles – or speak out for emerging ideas- that circulate the world; like how discrimination was addressed in To Kill A Mockingbird, and how feminism was explored in The Colour Purple. It’s so enlightening and just a beautiful thing to be able to literally read someone else’s thoughts- their personal views and values.

3. No matter how much I read, there will always be an infinite amount of material that I haven’t read. So it’s a never-ending love. (Which, admittedly, can be a bit of an overwhelming idea at times.) Books will always be there. Forever, and ever and ever. Maybe even when humans aren’t around there will be books to carry on messages and stories. I like the idea of immortal words. And I like even better the idea that I am reading immortal words. It just sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

4. I love to learn. I love to learn old things and new things and I like to learn about different perspectives and equations and socialism. Books give me knowledge. It’s a proven fact that by reading a range of different novels, you become more intelligent. I promised myself pretty early on to try and be as socially and globally aware as possible. Writing allows for perspective, and reading gifts you an open-mind.

Though I don’t think it is necessary to have reasons to love to read, I’m sure we all do. Let me know why you like reading, and if there’s a story to it, do tell! 😉

 

Happy reading,

Z.

 

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman

TheTinyWife_thumb Release date: September 1st 2011

Publisher: The Friday Project

Number of pages: 88 (in hardcover edition)

Genre: Modern fairytale / literary fiction

“A thief charges into a bank with a loaded gun, but he does not ask for money; what he asks for, instead, is the object of greatest significance currently in the possession of each patron. The thief then leaves, and the patrons all survive, but strange things soon begin to happen to them: One survivor’s tattoo jumps off her ankle and chases her around; another wakes up to find that she’s made of candy; and Stacey Hinterland discovers that she’s shrinking, incrementally, a little every day, and nothing that her husband or son do can reverse the process.”

MY REVIEW

This is a very unique book, in terms of the storyline. The writing was peculiar (in the best of ways); filled with metaphors and analogies. And the story is threaded with really pretty black and white drawings.

There are lots of different characters in this short book. The main character is Stacy Hinterland, who after the bank robbery begins to shrink each day. At the very start of the story, the thief explains how the victims of the robbery can reverse whatever process has been unfolded in their life, and I really liked that idea. There are elements of fate, love and finding yourself again mixed into the 88 pages of this book – I think most of these aspects were executed well, but there was something left to be desired. Another thing I found quite interesting is that The Tiny Wife  is written in second person, which isn’t a common way of writing. Or at least, I haven’t read many books written in second person.

I felt that the book could have done with a few more pages, and a bit more of an explanation and more information. I was left wondering about the connection between characters, whether certain parts are relevant or not (and in some cases, it seems that they are, indeed, irrelevant to the story) and also about how it ends for certain characters. I did like the diverse range of characters and their stories, but I feel like the story, as a whole is not quite smoothly executed.

As is aforementioned, I did like the interesting writing style. I believe that if I had read more deeply, and if there was a bit more to the story, I might’ve found a lot more meaning to this story. I think that there is possibly more going on than we see on the surface, like with many good books. Unfortunately, in this reading, I did not care to dwell deeper. It is also possible that there is no ‘deeper’. I guess it’s like John Green says: “Books belong to their readers.”

I wouldn’t say this a must read, but if you have time for a quick 88 page read, then go for it. It is definitely a unique idea, and maybe you’ll get more out of it than I did.

MY RATING

Characters: 1/2

Plot: 1/2

Writing style: 1/1

Sadly, this book does not receive any extra points from me.

3/5

Happy reading,

Z.

Happy World Booklovers Day and Happy National Bookshop Day!!

This past weekend was quite exciting for us bookworms! On Friday the 9th it was World Booklovers Day and on Sunday the 11th it was National Bookshop Day!

This is just a quick post to give you a belated Happy World Booklovers Day and National Bookshop Day! I also want to share with you 6 TED talks that were under the title: “6 talks to watch for Book Lovers Day”. Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to embed the video into this post (I tried for at least half an hour – computers don’t seem to like me much), so I’m just going to have to link you there. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I promise you, following the link is so worth it!

http://blog.ted.com/2013/08/09/6-talks-to-watch-for-book-lovers-day/

Hope you like these videos as much as  I did!

Happy reading,

Z.

WWW Wednesdays!

What I’m currently reading:

BookThiefThe Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

This is probably the first book I have read that is about the Germans who were not direct victims (like the Jewish people were) of Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. Not even a third of the way through, but the writing style has already captivated me. Can’t wait to see where this story leads!

What I recently finished reading:

images-2A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Such an amazing novel! I might do a review soon, after I get over how beautiful and heart-wrenching it was, and just aaahhhhh!  So, maybe when I can get a full sentence out about the book? 😉

What I think I’ll read next:

For once, I actually don’t know. There are a few options, but I guess I’ll just pick something when I’m finished The Book Thief. 

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I might continue with the Maze Runner trilogy, which I just haven’t read because I’m too lazy to go to the library, and I don’t want to buy it just yet…

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…OR, I might re-read City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, just as preparation for the movie that will come out in a couple of weeks!

Link your WWW blog post in the comments, or just feel free to let me know what you’re reading at the moment! Would love to hear from some fellow readers!

Happy reading,

Z.

Authors who need more world-wide recognition

I feel that some really great authors don’t get enough recognition for their amazing work! This is based off what I see nowadays on BookTube and other book blogs. Hopefully you find someone new and enjoy their book/s as much as I did.

Emily Rodda                                                                                                                                                                                           This is just a pen name; her real name, the one she uses for her adult books is Jennifer Rowe. Emily Rodda has written so many amazing children’s series. One of my absolute favourite children’s series, Deltora Quest, is written by her, and it was also made into an anime. Rodda is an Australian author, and I feel that more people (not just children) need to read what she writes. Her books are filled with adventure and mystery and magic – if you liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, I recommend the  Deltora Quest series and the Rowan of Rin series.

Christopher Paolini
  Paolini is the author of the Inheritance Cycle, consisting of: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance. This was the first YA/ Fantasy series I read and I cannot believe how so many people discontinue reading it after the first or second book! Christopher Paolini started the first draft of Eragon when he was 15, and then later on his family helped him to self-publish this marvellous beginning of the Inheritance Cycle. The movie adaption was awful – made me really angry, and I want someone to remake it so that it actually follows the storyline. The world in this series is so magical and exciting; I mean, who doesn’t like dragons and people who can merge their minds with dragons? It’s a pretty cool idea and the story has so many twists and turns! I urge everyone to pick up the first book and start with this awesome series!

 

John Marsden                                                                                                                                                                                        Marsden is an Aussie author who has written a lot of books, his most popular series being the Tomorrow When the War Began series. Admittedly, I have only read Tomorrow When the War Began (which, by the way, is studied in my school in Year 9 English), even though it has 6 sequel books. I will definitely be getting to them soon because the first book was very exciting with a really awesome idea. Definitely go check out John Marsden – he has some amazing books. I would absolutely recommend the TWTWB series.

Let me know some of the authors who you think should be given more credit in the community. I always love to find new authors, especially those who just haven’t gotten enough recognition!

Here’s are the Goodreads pages of the books I mentioned in this post:

Deltora Quest- Forests of Silence:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/155238.The_Forests_of_Silence

Rowan of Rin:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/116473.Rowan_of_Rin

Eragon:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/113436.Eragon

Happy reading,

Z.