Are Books Really Good for Us?

Recently, I finished reading the classic and well-acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451.  Like many others, I was immediately compelled to the plot.  This novel takes place in the (possibly) near future (presumably after 2022 because the book references a nuclear world war during that year) in a futuristic society where all books are considered illegal.  In order to enforce this policy, firemen ironically have the job to ignite fires in order to burn this “contraband.”  Due to the lack of books, the characters in this novel are brainwashed into believing what the government wants everyone to think.  By receiving this perspective, they are limited to one viewpoint which is government’s ultimate wish because it is under the belief that books expose individuals to thinking liberally.  According to this government, this kind of thinking leads to differences and chaos.

Indeed, Bradbury’s creation of this world is extremely interesting.  However, I find it extremely ominous and a huge potential for our future.  Have you ever noticed how quickly we are all to judge someone for not having the “popular” belief as us?  For example, take the Phil Roberston instance where he expressed his belief that marriage is created for man and woman.  Immediately, media, politicians, and individuals attacked him for his viewpoint.  Yet, who is to condone anyone’s beliefs?  As myself and Phil are from the United States of America, we stand under the principles of freedom of speech as well as freedom of religion.  Both of these enable us to form our own values and morals.  Of course, not all of our values and morals can be considered correct.  For example, a man who believes that killing another man is morally acceptable is wrong because government has placed specific laws against murder.  Overtime, government has increased its restrictions on what we can and cannot do as people.  As more shootings are occurring, government is seeking ways to enforce gun restrictions.  A government that protects and serves its country is not a bad thing however Bradbury poses an interesting question in his novel on when are there too many restrictions and conformity.

Books expose billions of people everyday to different worlds, ideas, and beliefs.  Truly, books change and impacts its reader both positively and even negatively.  No one can predict the future of books.  However, what if books do begin presenting themes that go beyond the popular belief or ideas that can potentially be harmful to individuals?  For example, if there is a book on suicide, should there be restrictions placed on it because people could get the idea to commit suicide themselves?  I think not.  There needs to be a point where we stop finding scapegoats.  The root of problems and chaos does not come from a man against gay marriage or a gun or a book.  Rather, we are people create these harmful situations largely I believe because we are misinformed or easily swayed.  Therefore, I believe books present the positive attribute of exposing readers to liberally thinking.  

This movement of thinking more open-minded does not start by a silly blog post.  It starts with you!  Go pick up a book and immerse yourselves in a more enlightened way of thinking!  

Advertisements

Book Recommendations?

Hello, everyone!  I am in the process of compiling a list of various book recommendations according to genres.  However, I have one section dedicated to my follower’s recommendations, so I need your help.  If you have any recommendations, whether it is an adult thriller, new adult romance, or young adult dystopian, all are accepted!  Of course, you will get credit (I’ll link your blog within the rec, as you deserve it!)  Please send as many as you desire!  I greatly appreciate all of your help!

Happy reading!

Katie 🙂

Book Review: Passenger

 

Happy Saturday!  It is time for another book review.  Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

Image

Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began withThe Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The back of this book has the Marbury Lens from the first book, and the front of the book has the Marbury Lens from the second book.  I like that!  It symbolizes the unification of the two plots!  These images are also nice because they reinforce the way readers picture these mysterious lenses.

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • Smith writes some of the clearest and most vivid descriptions in YA fiction.  Through his writing, every scene was perfectly visible in my head.  At one point in the book, Jack falls in the world of Marbury and gets ash and granulated human bones in his mouth.  Somehow, I got a similar taste in my mouth from Smith’s descriptions.  Nasty, but it reflects his ability to truly convey the story to its audience.
  • His descriptions lead into some pretty wonderful world building, as well.  Smith builds off the old world of Marbury and creates a completely new Marbury in this novel.  Of course, both these worlds are intriguing.  However, the new Marbury was more complex and mysterious than the old world.  Therefore, this helped generate an action-packed plot and led the boys to uncover the mystery of this messed up world.
  • I enjoyed reading about the “Marbury Jack.”  To me he was a fantastic leader who persevered through many struggles.  While many people would have quit, Jack continuously fought for his friends and himself.
  • Lastly, I enjoyed the continuation of Jack’s psychology in this book.  For those of you who recall, in the first book Jack was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man named Freddie Hovarth.  Since that moment, Jack has suffered with anxiety and experienced some PTSD symptoms.  While Jack never talked to adults about his experiences, it was interesting to read how these events affected him, particularly how he viewed Marbury as a sort of “justifiable hell” for him.  Passenger took place six months after his kidnapping, but the event continued to haunt him.  Again, he viewed the new twisted Marbury as his punishment.  To me, this was thought-provoking.  Is this world of Marbury Jack’s escape from reality?  Does he consider it a safe place and provide some sort of comfort the real world can’t offer?  It was very interesting.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Overall, I found this book to be too long.  Once I got about halfway through it, I was bored.  Events kept recurring, and characters were stuck.  The development was simply too slow.  I would have preferred Smith continued with plot and character developments instead of repeating events to reinforce the “trapped in Marbury” theme.  I got it the first few times!  Additionally, the book could have done without the 100 page ending.  It was unnecessary.  I know this is horrid, but I kind of thought Smith took the length of this book to be a tribute to his masculinity.  Cool, you write big books…
  • Speaking of Smith’s masculinity, this book portrayed girls horribly.  First, this new Marbury has only four known human females.  Since this world is extremely impoverish, these women frequently used their sexuality in this testosterone-filled environment to get what they wanted.  Was it cunning?  No.  It was offensive.  The men in these books would fight over who got to have sex with these girls, and the girls were all la-di-da about it.  Additionally, Smith portrayed Jack’s girlfriend, Nickie, as being a sex-crazed animal.  In the novel Jack stated something about how Nickie had sex with him all night and all day.  Jack always “blamed” these sexual encounters on Nickie’s desires.  He averted all responsibility for these acts and just was like, “Sorry, man.  She’s just a lady in the streets and freak in the sheets.”  No, Smith.  That is not okay.  Do you think Smith is finished with his “I hate women” motto?  Oh, no, my friends.  He’s not.  In the book Jack, Conner, and some of their school friends make jokes about how it is okay to lie to women/their girlfriends because they will never figure out because they’re basically stupid.  Excuse me, what?  I believe the “Women are awful creatures” theme is the most prevalent in this novel.
  • The “new romance” between Jack and Conner was bizarre.  It didn’t make sense to me.  Jack claimed that he loved Nickie, and she was the most beautiful girl in the world, but he had these moments with Conner, which didn’t make any sense.  I think the relationship between Jack and Nickie was more genuine and provided a sort of  “real life” comfort that he desperately needed, but, of course, Smith can’t have respectable happy females in his novels.
  • While I do overall like the character of Jack, I increasingly grew annoyed with him at the end.  He was so indecisive.  Here’s a shorten version of my interpretation of Jack’s persona: I want something; I got it; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; I want old thing; I got old thing; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; I want the old old thing; I got old old thing; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; REPEAT; REPEAT; REPEAT.  GAH!
  • Lastly, why is Smith even considering writing another book in this trilogy/series?  It would not be worth reading.  I feel the book would be just as dragged out like  Passenger’s ending.  No, I will not pursue this series any longer.

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!  While a lot of the latter half annoyed me, I still liked the overall story.  It’s a very unique tale with some epic world building.

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fiction, action, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy novels.

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The End Games.

Find me on Goodreads.

Find me on Tumblr.

Friday Reads (7/5/13)

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads, a popular query that originated on Twitter, enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

Image

Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began withThe Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?-Goodreads summary

It has taken me nearly a week to read this book-something very atypical of me during summertime.  However, with work, the Fourth of July, and helping my family, I have been quite busy!  In the moments that I do get to read this book, I thoroughly enjoy it.  As this is the second book in the Marbury Lens series/trilogy/no idea, I actually prefer it to its predecessor.  The world building is fantastic; the plot is enigmatic and intriguing.  I simply can’t wait to finish this.  I have nearly 100 pages left and should finish it later tonight.  I want to review it immediately so anticipate a thorough book review on this book tomorrow! 

Image

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.-Goodreads summary

I just discovered that there are zombies in this novel!  This will be my first “zombie book,” and I’m very excited.  Overall, I have not heard too much about this novel, but it is a very popular novel in my library.  

I’m going to be honest.  I’m a little hesitant about reading this book immediately after Passenger.  As stated Smith has done a fantastic job with the descriptions and world building.  Therefore, I’m nervous that this book, my first zombie book, will simply be average for me because this author may not compare to Smith’s world.  Who knows?!  I plan on going in with an open mind and hopefully will be blown away!

*What are the books you plan on reading this weekend?  Comment below!*

Book Review: Black City

As mentioned in my last post, here is my book review that was intended for Saturday but got delayed because of my brother’s graduation party.  Better late than never!  I apologize again. Anyway, Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

Image

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The book is a beautiful cover; however, it took me awhile to discern what exactly was on the cover-an exploding rose.  Gorgeous, but not explicitly in the story so it allows for artistic interpretation.  I like it!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • The original parts of the plot are very good.  I enjoyed when Richards “broke from the mold.”  I found these parts of the novel to be the most exciting and most believable.  Honestly, I wish the author would have structured more of the story around her own ideas because they are great!
  • I’m a sucker for imagery that foreshadows future events, and Richards uses plenty of it.  Some YA authors can over emphasize these images, which detracts from the subtle hinting.  However, she implements these signs in such a nonchalant way that it made me excited to discover one.  While Richards’s foreshadowing indicated certain upcoming events, it never made the book predictable.
  • Great unsuspecting plot twists!  I can’t go into too much detail here because I don’t want to give away the book.
  • I enjoyed the depiction of the corrupt elements in the story.  Every character has a story which led to some very interesting and unsuspecting character development.
  • The latter half of the book is captivating.  I did not want to put down the book!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • I found the beginning of the book to be very confusing.  Richards overly implements the writers’ adage “show don’t tell” in her story, which leads to an inablilty to connect with characters and the plot in the first hundred pages.  Some of the confusion eventually gets resolved, but a lot of information is left to the discretion of the reader.  For example, I know a Darkling is a vampire, but what are these other “races” of vampires and how do they correlate with the ones in this specific city?  From where do they come?  etc.  My confusion and continuous questioning leads me to believe that the world-building is sub-par.  It is not horrible but definitely not comparable to other books.
  • The definition of insta-love can be found between this book’s pages.  Romance in YA books is wonderful when it is done well.  However, Richards makes these characters fall in love within the first fifty pages.  It is ridiculous and horribly unbelievable.  The romance is literally forced.  Moreover, the “origin” of their love is so outrageous and does not give sufficient grounds for a serious relationship.  I mean really!?  Throughout the novel Natalie commented to her lover Ash that they really did not know each other.  Very true, Natalie, but why do you continually profess your love to him?  I would have enjoyed watching their relationship progress as they familiarize themselves with each other and believe this would have made the romance elements more realistic and less of a joke.
  • Too, too, too many elements from top YA books.  I really should have tallied how many references I found to The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter.  I understand that authors can be inspired by other works, but it is important to make his or her own work as original as it can be.  This book heavily relies on these other books’ plots to constitute its own.  I am seriously in awe that this book has not received any trouble for its infringements on copyright laws.  Overall, the times when the author does steer away from these plots are the best.  Seriously, Richards you should have pursued your own story!

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who like young adult fiction, dystopia, paranormal (vampire), and romance novels.

Thirsty Thursday: The Selection

Welcome to the book edition of Thirsty Thursday in which I talk about a book that I cannot wait to read or be published.  Thirsty Thursday is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it click here!

Image

 

“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.” –Goodreads summary

While this book is extremely popular in the YA book community, I also have had many of my Tumblr followers and friends on Goodreads suggest this book.  In fact one individual compared this book to being a “fictionalized account of The Bachelor.”  As someone who loves trashy (obviously set-up) reality TV, I am very hopeful of my future approval and admiration of this book.  Seriously, this book is a combination of nearly everything I could want in a book: crummy reality TV, dystopian, romance, etc.!

Luckily, pay day was two weeks ago, and I immediately rushed to Barnes & Noble.  When I saw this book on the shelves, I freaked out and purchased the book.  Currently, it is looking beautiful on my shelf-I mean can we please take a second to admire that gorgeous cover?  I seriously LOVE books that have Vogue-inspired covers!  

I cannot wait to read this book.  Unfortunately, I have not heard to many great things about its sequel, but we’ll get through the first book and approach that mountain in the future.

*What book(s) are you excited to read or be published?  Comment below, and you may be featured in next week’s Thirsty Thursday post!*