Posted in Book Challenge

Favorite Females

My two favorite fictional female characters are Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March. Both are dynamic and interesting.

little women.jpgprideprejudice

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Posted in Book Challenge

A Favorite Desecrated

The challenge for today is to choose my favorite writer. I prefer the word author to describe those who pen books, but we’ll go with writer for the sake of the challenge. I’m really stalling here because “favorite” is a scary word. I can’t choose just one favorite because there are authors that I like some of their books but not all, and it always depends on my mood. For example, I like C.S. Lewis for his thoughtfulness. John Steinbeck is good for real characters. Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut are good for extended metaphors and allegories. Jane Austen is good for some predictable romance. Ted Dekker provides a thrill. The list could go on and on, but you get the point. My “favorite” author depends on my current needs and desires. Today, I’m thinking solely of the books I have on my bookshelves, which if you’re wondering are organized by genre/time period and author as well as books I have read and want to read. Based on those books alone, it would appear that Jodi Piccoult is my favorite author because I have so many of her books. They take up an entire shelf on my smaller bookshelf. Piccoult writes real-life dramas usually involving mystery or court cases in some way. Her books are well-researched and well-written. She tends to follow a specific writing style in which she alternates between various perspectives in each chapter. Sometimes it takes me a while to discover how the characters connect to one another. The books are a quick but intense read, and typically I can re-read them after some time because I forget how the story plays out.

Book Challenge

Speaking of Jodi Piccoult, the next challenge is a book that was turned into a movie but completely desecrated. Can I just pause here to say what a wonderful word “desecrated” is? It might be used a bit out of context here. I suppose if I was to answer the prompt in a way that reflects the sacredness this word connotes I would have to choose a movie based on a book of the Bible. I’m going to take the word more loosely though and stick with the theme of this post to say that Jodi Piccoult’s My Sister’s Keeper was completely ruined by the movie industry. I remember being so very excited when the movie was released. We were reading it in my creative writing class at the Governor’s Scholar Program during the summer before my senior year of high school. After convincing the teacher to schedule a field trip, we left the movie theater disappointed that the book wasn’t respected. They changed the entire ending! I completely understand taking out scenes, adding characters, or even re-ordering scenes, but it’s just wrong to change an ending to a book. The story was perfectly fine as it was written in the book. Why change it?

Posted in Book Challenge

With a Little Help From My Friend

I had to get my best human friend’s help with this next challenge because I was having a tough time finding a book that I’ve loved but hated at the same time. We landed on the definition that it’s a book that I really enjoyed but that there were characters or plotlines that I didn’t enjoy. Without going too far back in my memory, I would choose A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I’ve posted about a couple of times if you’ll remember. (If you don’t remember, click here and here.) This book is one that I really enjoyed reading, but Owen’s character annoyed me sometimes. I was also slightly put off by the format of the book going back and forth between present and past. The present wasn’t as interesting to me. All in all though, I’d say there’s more love for this book than there is hate.

 

My friend also helped me parse out the meaning of the challenge that I skipped. She helped me see that the characterization “overrated” is an opinion, and it doesn’t mean I am saying no one else should read the book nor am I saying it’s a bad book. I am simply saying that Twilight does not deserve as much hype as it has received. There are better stories out there. It’s a sensational novel that garnered a lot of buzz and now can be found in many peddler’s malls. I enjoyed it while I read them, but they’re not ones I will re-read or rush to see the movie (I did get caught up in the first one). There are just better books out there.

Posted in Book Challenge

A Hard Thing to Say: Hate

Hate is a really strong word, but the next category is a book that I hated. I hesitate to say I hate a book because usually on a second read-through I find something to like about the book. Before you get up in arms about the book I will discuss because you like it so much, know that I realize it probably has redeeming qualitities and someday I plan to go back and re-read to find those.

The book I choose I read during high school. It was a time when I was doing independent work in the hallway, so that might have impacted my understanding of the value of The Turn of the Screw. I remember it being somewhat cheesy as a ghost story and hard to read. I just don’t remember enjoying it and wishing I could finish it. That’s all the negative I want to say. Now I need to put it back on my list of books to read.

Posted in Book Challenge

Reminiscent of Kentucky

If you’ve been following along, I’ve been making (sort-of) daily posts based on a list of categories I found on the internet. Today’s category is a book that reminds you of home. This is another hard category because I generally read books because they take me other places. It’s not that home is a bad place; it’s just that quickly trekking through other character’s adventures is generally more thrilling than living my life slowly.

For the sake of this challenge though I’m going to attempt to choose a book or at least an author that takes me to my home in Kentucky. I’m going to choose books by Barbara Kingsolver. She grew up in Kentucky, which is probably why her books feel somewhat like home. Even though it’s been a while since I peeked into one of her stories, the characters still feel real. The Bean Trees reminds me of people I know here in Kentucky. Prodigal Summer brings to mind places I know. While The Poisonwood Bible is set in Africa, the situation of a preacher’s family is reminiscent as well.

Posted in Book Challenge

The Odyssey Wins

I’m not sure that I can find a book that I think is overrated. Every book I consider for this title, I find some redeeming quality or it just feels wrong to call it overrated. Therefore, I’m skipping this challenge. If I find one, I’ll come back and let you know.

The next challenge is a book I didn’t think I would like and ended up loving. As you might remember, I read mainly “classics”, but even I turn my nose up at some classics. Later though, I humble myself and realize that I’ve been a book snob for no reason. The first one for this category is The Odyssey by Homer. I had just finished reading The Illiad for class and wasn’t a huge fan of it, so the idea of another Greek myth full of strange names and lengthy poetry did not make the top of my list of things to do on my weekends. Nevertheless, the book was assigned for a class, so I cracked it open. I ended up enjoying the story even though some of the characters were annoying. It’s not one I’ve read again since then, but it’s a story that I can recognize other places.

 

Book Challenge

 

 

Posted in Book Challenge, Book Review

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

I’m about to sound like a real nerd when I reveal the book that makes me laugh. Even though Eats, Shoots and Leaves is about punctuation, the manner of writing cracks me up. It’s brilliantly written in that it presents common punctuational blunders and their proper uses with a dash of humor.

Lynn Truss, the author, begins with a story followed by a warning.

Either this rings a bell for you, or it won’t. A printed banner has appeared on the concourse of a petrol station near to where I live. “Come inside,” it says, “for CD’s, VIDEO’s, DVD’s, and BOOK’s.”

If this satanic sprinkling of redundant apostrophes causes no little gasp of horror or quickening of the pulse, you should probably put down this book at once.

The book continues in this witty manner to discuss apostrophes, commas, dashes, colons, periods, question marks, quotation marks, and other punctuation marks. She debates about the proper uses of these marks and what they mean when they’re used. She even delves into the Oxford Comma debate!

Even the title is an example of a punctuation confusion. The back cover tells that story.

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, “look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 

“Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

The punctuation in this manual implies that the panda eats his meal, shoots something, and leaves. (Of course, as debated in Truss’s book, I think there should be another comma after “shoots”, but that’s for a different conversation.) What the manual really meant to say was that the panda “eats shoots and leaves” as in bamboo shoots and tree leaves. Instead, this comical picture is created of a panda with a gun.

eats,shoot,and leaves

This book is good for English-minded people, such as teachers, students, majors, or anyone that speaks English. It won’t remind you of the boring English grammar workbooks we’ve all endured, but it will teach you a few tricks of the trade concerning punctuation. We’d all be better off if everyone understood punctuation.

eats shoots and leaves