Sunday, September 15, 2013

Eleanor and Park

I have to say that I was also pretty underwhelmed by number 19 of 2013.

This is a somewhat frequent problem I have been having lately for young adult fiction. I still appreciate much of young adult fiction and many of my favorite books are actually young adult (case in point: Harry Potter and TFiOS). Eleanor and Park, however, did not follow in that example.

I really don't have much to say about it, mostly because my opinion of it really isn't good or bad, just indifferent. It just didn't live up to the quality of some young adult fiction out there. It's generally pretty well-received, though, so this is clearly not the opinion of everyone.

I think I gave it two stars ("It was okay") on Goodreads.

The Little Prince

I wasn't sure whether or not I should be able to include number 17 on my book challenge list because it is technically a children's book... and also very short.

I decided to include The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ultimately because it's often included in the sort of lists that are called, like, "books you should read in your lifetime" and reading books that I "should read in my lifetime" is the kind of thing that I want to be a side effect of my challenge.

I thought it was a beautifully written children's book that grappled with some not-specific-to-childhood issues. It's clear why adults enjoy it just as much, if not more, than children do.

I decided a few years ago that, every year for their birthdays, I would give my youngest cousins (now ages 6 and 2) a book that either I really enjoyed at that age, or one that I happened to enjoy later that is appropriate for their current age. If you want to know whether I'd recommend it, I plan to give one of them this book for one of their upcoming birthdays. So yes, I do recommend it, and enthusiastically!

Playing Catch-Up

I should clarify. I am several books AHEAD of schedule for my goal of 30 for this year. But I am almost the entire summer behind on blogging... Oops!

Number 16 was a non-fiction pick, the author of which has been recommended to me by enough people to prompt me to check it out. And I actually found it on extreme clearance at Half Price Books for like a dollar or two, if I remember correctly!

It was definitely interesting. Although, for me, it was a little over-hyped and not as compelling as it was made out to be. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't mind-blowing, to be honest.

I think the concept of his other book, Outliers, seems a little more interesting to me, so I will have to check that one out (I wasn't unimpressed enough to be completely turned off from the author).

Despite my underwhelming experience, I certainly learned something, which is always a plus.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


#15 is also a reread. I continued the end of 2012's endeavor by continuing the Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by, none other, than J.K. Rowling.

I am not going to review each of these as I read them, but can I just say: I have such a new found appreciation for Azkaban. It was never one of my favorites in the series, but it is so important to all the subsequent books in the series and gets really compelling toward the end, even reading it for the sixth time!

(I will also note here that, according to my Goodreads profile, I am not only on track for my goal, but I am A BOOK AHEAD! YAYAYAYAYA!!!)

I have been reading the series while also reading new books, however, so stay tuned.

TFiOS Magic

Book #14 is a reread from last year.

I can't give The Fault in Our Stars by John Green enough praise, but for the sake of avoiding redundancy, I will redirect you to my original review here.

I reread it for a Speech piece for two of my students and I am SUPER excited to see what comes out of it!

Books in Birmingham

Last week I joined our national qualified students and a fellow coach to the Speech and Debate national tournament (through the National Forensic League) in Birmingham! It was a blast, and I am proud to have had students competing in such a prestigious academic contest.

During the small amount of down time I had alone in my own hotel room and between competition rounds that I judged, I was able to work on my thirteenth book of 2013:

This one was recommended to me by a friend and, after having read the description, it was one I knew I'd enjoy. I had no idea it was used in the high school curricula of so many schools. In fact, many other judges at the tournament commented on the book I was reading with high praise (they also complimented the my Catcher in the Rye "Holden Caulfield thinks you're a phony" shirt, which you can buy here).

I understand their praise! It so accurately highlighted the struggles and characteristics of an individual with autism (though, now that I think of it, it was never actually stated that the protagonist has autism... interesting), while also providing a compelling story.

Anyway, four stars!

Pride and Prejudice... and Progress

It seems as though I am a bit behind in reviewing my 2013 literary experience. I'll start with what was my twelfth book this year:

I have really enjoyed reading many "classics" that I would have read sooner had I been an English major (lucky English majors!) and Pride and Prejudice was a continuation of that endeavor. I bought the book a few years ago, but in typical me fashion, it was among a pile of purchased books left to plow through that eventually got forgotten after I bought a new stack to read.

This one (and Jane Austen novels in general) has been highly recommended by a friend for quite a while. Honestly, this type of genre is not typically my favorite, but as was the case with Gone With the Wind I knew I'd enjoy it once I finally finished it.

It always boggles my mind what people lived for during this time period. Like, it's crazy how a successful marriage meant one that included wealth and status (even if it meant marrying your first cousin). Older novels tend to remind me of the differences in societal norms between my world in the here and now and that of the worlds of other times and places. This one was no exception! Yay, classics!