4 Books to Read Before the Movie

As much as I know and understand the movie adaptions are their own entity and they don’t always follow the books they’re based on, I enjoy reading and like to come up with my own ideas of what characters are like before seeing the movie versions of them. I also find that knowing the story beforehand helps me to get excited about a movie.

It will come as no surprise that I am, and have always been, a read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie girl. Probably always will be. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones yet. So here are 4 books (and a bonus) that I want to read before the movie comes out.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, and with the movie coming out soon, it feels less like and eventuality and more like a high-pressure need. I love adventure stories. I love the feeling of being on my own. I love stories about other women who have gone on adventures alone. I know I’m going to like this book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I saw the trailer for this movie when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars on opening weekend. I cried my way through the trailer, as I cry my way through many things. I seem to like things that will make me cry, so this should be a good exercise.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Another instance of seeing the trailer and wanting to read the book first. Also, since a friend of mine found out I haven’t read this, she’s been telling to. Highly recommended. Admittedly, this one isn’t as high on the priority list as the other two, but I want to give it a shot.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
This book has been critically acclaimed and has been on my radar for a little while, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer that it moved onto my to-read list. Mystery, suspense, you’ve got me hooked. Besides, it’s about time I start reading “grown-up” books. I guess.

Bonus:
The Giver by Lois Lowrey
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Okay, so this one is more of a re-read than a to-read. I read this book as assigned reading in middle school and loved it. In many ways, this book is the precursor to many, many YA dystopian novels. The Giver is a book that I imagine changes and grows with you and I’m looking forward to reading it again with new eyes. In regards to the movie: I’m nervous, but curious.

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What I’m Reading: July to November

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

I think this is round four.  I’ve lost count.  I finally got myself an Amazon account and I subsequently feel like a much more grown up human.  One of my first purchases was a Kindle which I’ve been LOVING.  I’m devouring books at a crazy rate with this thing.  I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think there something to do with not quite comprehending how much I’ve read on the electronic format.  Not knowing how far I’ve gone makes it easier for me to plow ahead.

Out of Oz by Gregory McGuire
The fantastical conclusion to the Wicked series, follows the journey of Rain, the granddaughter of Elphaba, more commonly known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Since we last saw the Land of Oz, the conflict with Munchkinland has grown into the beginnings of a full blown war. Rain joins the not-so-merry band of The Clock of the Time Dragon, and begins growing up on the road. Along the way we run into familiar characters such as Brr, more commonly known as the Cowardly Lion; Candle and Liir, Rain’s parents; Dorthy, the strange girl from Kan-sis; and eventually, Tip, a character new to the Wicked series, but recognizable to fans of the Oz-verse.
Just like the others in the series, Out of Oz is a complex book full of unexpected turns and a new way of looking at the traditional Oz-ian legend. It recalls on your knowledge of the three former books in the series as well as testing your memory of the Oz books you read as a child. As always, the Land of Oz is filled with strong characters and gorgeous settings. As the final book in the series, it does not disappoint.

The Shack by William Young
This book was heavy. There were a lot of good thoughts and a lot of hard ideas to think on wrapped in a narrative that was both supernatural and a little bit loopy. A lot of people think this book is the be all end all of explaining a lot of spiritual things (or at least, that was what I was thinking heading into it), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it as much as I was expecting to be. It was good. It’s not a desert island book though.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield
I read this entire book in a day. Insane. To be honest though, I’m not surprised by that one bit. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for years, and it was the first book purchased on my Kindle. I loved pretty much everything about his book. Adventure, Utopian society, and YA romance. Pretty much perfection. My only qualm with it being that it took this long for me to pick it up. I feel like it would have been much more impactful when I was 16. I’m not sure that it was published when I was 16 precisely, but even a few years closer to Tally’s age it would have hit closer.

Daisy and the Pirates by JT Allen
This is more of a short story that I read for one of my internships, but I’m including it because it’s fantastic and it can be bought on Amazon.  It’s a Kindle-only book, but absolutely worth it if you have a Kindle.
It’s a little bit Swiss Family Robinson, where Daisy and her family are on a boat that gets taken over by pirates and wind up shipwrecked on an island, find pirate gold, and have to somehow take said pirates down.  Of course Daisy manages most of it on her own because YA and adults are stupid, but that aside, it was a really quick, really fun read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I love this book. So much. I was drawn to it at first by it’s title alone. I am a fangirl, but the idea of fangirls and specifically of fandom and fanfiction isn’t really acknowledged in media. Which is fine with me, but it was striking to see something acknowledging it at all. Secondly, I found out recently that it started as a NaNoWriMo novel. Can anyone say awesome? Because I can.
Besides the clear love of fandom, this is also a very real story. It follows a freshmen in college as she works through college, relationships, life, and fandom. She’s a famous fanfic author which I love. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to be Cather.

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A little bit slimmer on the reviews this round because a lot of what I’ve been reading is scripts that I’m not allowed to talk about.  Or maybe I am.  Honestly, I’m not sure, but to be on the safe side I’ll not.  Besides, I would rather save this space for prose books that everyone can buy as opposed to insider movies that wont be out to the general public for years if they ever make it past the production phase at all.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round three, and I’m at 20 books so far for the year.  I feel like I’m slowing down, so maybe my goal of 26 wasn’t too far off.  The program I’m in right now is kicking my ass so I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked.  In fact, I had hoped to be done with at least one more book before this post went live.  Alas, it was not to be.

In the meantime (sort of) since I last did a book review round up I’ve joined Goodreads, a site that helps keep track of books that I’ve read and what I’d like to read.  Now if only that would sync to the public library and they would just send me stuff.  Like a Netflix for books.  That would be awesome.

Goodreads makes it really easy for me to make up this post because I review books as I read them and then to make this post I simply copy/paste the reviews into WordPress.  If you’re on Goodreads, let’s be friends.  You’ll also be able to see what books I’m currently reading (usually about three), and leave comments.

Fed Up with Lunch by Sarah Wu
I remember following Mrs. Q when she was blogging back in 2010. I was a regular reader all through the project, but got a little lost afterwards. I knew there was a book and I’d been meaning to read it, but never got a chance until I saw it on sale at my local bookstore. A really fun read, and a very insightful book about everything that’s not quite right with school lunches.

Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
I have adored the Jessica Darling Series for a long time, but somehow only just got around to reading this fourth in the series. I’m planning on reading Perfect Fifths soon too and I’m so excited. While the other books took place over years, this one is the thoughts and musings of Jess from only one week, the week the infamous Marcus Flutie has given her to think about weather or not she wants to marry him. As a life-long shipper and a big fan of Marcus, I had to quell my excitement over this development, somehow knowing it could never be that easy. This book is full of references and mentions of the previous books, but also brings in new characters and surprising stories that did nothing short of make my heart exceedingly happy. So exceedingly happy.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus is the fantastically told, true story of a jew and his family in Poland during the rise of the 3rd Reich. Woven in between horrors, the narrator tells about dealing with his elderly father (the protagonist in the WWII story). Both stories are ripe with depth and honesty. The artist uses personified animals to show the different races and sects of the characters. I was moved by this telling of the Holocaust like i had never seen it before. Highly recommend to anyone interested in WWII/Holocaust stories or fantastically rendered characters.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I have been casually interested in this story for years, always remembering in the back of my mind the story of a young man who died in Alaska. I don’t know how i came upon this when I was younger, as Chris died before I was old enough to understand what death was, but regardless I am glad to have stumbled upon this book. I think Chis was brave, perhaps a bit under prepared, but nevertheless a strong character and someone I would have been proud to know. His story is told well in these pages, with a heartfelt honesty that is both refreshing and shockingly simple. Well done. I hope that Chris’ story will continue to be an inspiration as well as a cautionary tale.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Robert B. Grant & Thomas Lennon
This is not my usual reading material. For one thing I’m much more interested in TV then movies. I’ll admit my naivety, but most movie-specific guides turn me off from the get-go. To add onto that, I’m not really interested in making the “boat-loads of cash” they keep talking about in this book..

My Life Without God by William J. Murray
I finished reading this book in two days. There are a few factors in how quickly I managed to get through it. For one thing it’s good. The writing is easy to follow and I continually want to know what happens next, though… Another reason I read it so quickly because i kept waiting for the turnaround. To have a life without God implys that there was also one with God. I kept wanting the author to find God already so he could stop making mistakes. I kept thinking ‘oh, it’ll be in the next chapter…or the next one’ it’s literally the last chapter and I wish that he had gone more into how his life was changed after. The last and least of the reasons I read this book so quickly: no internet at my new apartment.

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Oh, that was six!  For some reason I thought there were only five since last update.  6!  Awesome!  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

Previous Book Review Roundups:
January to March
March to May

What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round two, and I’ve gone through another 6 books.  I’m sort of impressed with my progress.  Lately I’ve found myself reading for hours on end.  I keep looking for the midpoint, the next round of plot development, something to up the stakes.  I keep remembering that books don’t have the same structure as television does.

1984 by George Orwell
Written during the beginning of the cold war, 1984 portrays a society where everything is regulated and the only emotion is hate.  Big Brother, the ruling power that may or may not actually exist, controls the past the present and the future, with his minions updating the records every time something changes so that the history books say that things were always as they are.
I don’t really know what my opinion on this book is other than finally understanding the references to it.  I’m happy to now be one of the enlightened, but other than that I have no strong feelings for of against it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Of savages and class societies, Brave New World examines how the introduction of one “savage” impacts others in the society.  In a world of birth control and mass consumption, we see the flaws of the system resulting in a writer, the savage, and the savage’s keeper being given a choice: stay where they are or be sent away where no one will see them again.
It’s a classic, and I enjoyed it.  It get’s pretty deep, and sheds light on the world in which is was written as much as the possibilities still to come in the world we live in today.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Leviathan and John Green
Once again with my love of Young Adult literature   This one is written from the point of view of two guys both named Will Grayson, and the perspective flip flops between them.  While I liked the story, one of the Will Graysons seemed to think in one of my pet peeves (where everything is lowercase even when things should be uppercase. like the beginnings of sentences and the word i) which made it hard to concentrate at first.

Long Drive Home by Will Allison
This is the beginning of my reading novels meant for actual adults (beyond the classics).  Written as a father’s confession to his daughter about how he and her mother broke up, it’s a touching, yet sad story of the end of a marriage due to a series of mistakes and half truths.  A quick read, and a touching story.

Love is the Higher Law by David Leviathan
Upon seeing the cover of this book I immediately checked it out.  It’s about three kids and their memories of 9/11, and the friendship they began because of the events following the attacks.  It’s a topic that’s very close to my heart and with the recent attacks on Boston, all the more real.  Again, this book is told from shifting perspectives, and in the best way possible.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
A book about women and their love lives.  This book has so many characters it makes my head spin a little.  They are all somehow connected to the main three, Isabella, Lauren, and Mary, who all live in New York and are trying to find happiness in their jobs and in their love lives.  It chronicles them watching as friends get married and they are bridesmaids again and again.  The large cast of characters was a little disorienting at times, but overall I really loved this book.

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I seem to be making much quicker work of 26 books than I thought I would.  I suppose I was in a state of inertia where I hadn’t read anything for so long that I didn’t know if I would be able to continue, but now that I’ve started I can’t seem to stop.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

What I’m Reading: January to March

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.  So far I’ve finished six so far which I’m pretty happy with, and I’ve also gotten a few more in the works.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
This one is sort of an ‘untold story’.  A fictionalized account of the life of Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame.  I’m not sure how much of it is true (and to me it doesn’t make much of a difference), but it follows young Alice begging for the book to be written and then the repercussions throughout her life.  I’m a nut for both historical fiction and grown up versions of children’s stories, so this one was a win/win for me.  Fantastically well written, I would recommend this one to anyone who fondly remembers Alice.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
I have been an avid VlogBrothers subscriber for a while now, but hadn’t read any of John Green’s book until The Fault In Our Stars came out last year.  I loved it and knew immediately that I would have to read his others.  Looking for Alaska is about a guy at boarding school getting to know a girl named Alaska who–nope, not giving it away.  Just read it.  It’s awesome.

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A book my sister gave me for Christmas, Glaciers is a novel following the musings of a young woman.  What it lacks in plot it makes up for in beautiful prose.  You get to know Isabelle, her present and her past, as she recalls memories of growing up in Alaska.  Glaciers is a great book, but it certainly is not for everyone.

Messenger and Son by Lois Lowry
These two go together and are the continuation of the universe established in The Giver and Gathering Blue, books I read a long time ago when I was a kid.  Both look into the world of the village that Jonas sees at the end of The Giver.  Time has past and Jonas, is now the leader of the village.  He helps Matty, a messenger between the village and outsiders to use his gift to heal the wounds of the town.

Later in Son, Claire, a young woman from the community where The Giver began, tells her side of the story as the birthmother of Gabe.  The book follows her journey to find Gabe and runs into characters new and familiar in the process.

I would recommend both of these books.  While they are aimed towards young adults (remember my love of them?), they both, along with their companions The Giver and Gather Blue pose lots of good questions to readers of any age.  In fact, I almost think that I got more out of them this time around than I did when I had first read their predecessors.  Reading these was like returning to an old friend, a true joy.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Kind of a “and now for something completely different” moment right here.  Mindy Kaling was, of course, one of the writers of The Office, and currently the creator and star of her own show, The Mindy Project.  The book is a memoir (I guess?  I’m not really sure about the definition of these things) of her childhood and her quest to be a writer/actress on stage or screen.  It covers up to and partially including her time at The Office.  Just like she is on screen, Mindy is entertaining and engaging on a page.  And funny.  Of course funny.  But you already knew that much, right?  Recommended to anyone who enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey.

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I am still reading, though somewhat less lately, I expect to have another review post in a month or two.  In the meantime, have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

The Fine Line Between A Young Adult and Me

Jessie Willcox Smith's illustration of Alice s...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my newly acquired free time, I have been reading constantly.  I’m surprising myself even, by reading more than I am watching television.  I have finished five books since the start of the new year, and am set into a sixth.

The interesting part though, is the books that I’ve been choosing.  Out of the five finished, three have been young adult books, and a fourth was a rehash of sorts of Alice in Wonderland.  Clearly I have a type.  On one side I feel this needs no explanation   What’s not to like?  But all the same I want to share my exuberance for this genre with you.

Besides being short, well-written, and easy to read–at least from a college level’s perspective–young adult novels have a lot going for them.  They often deal with big themes that are still just as scary as a “grown up” as they are for kids.  Things like self-discovery and knowledge, love and loss.  As a teenager I wished these things would happen to me.  Now, I’m glad that most of them didn’t.

Books have a way of highlighting and heightening the good times that I remember from my own past.  Characters in books were not bogged down by things like math homework and chores.  Or at least, if they were they didn’t seem to take over a character’s life.  Books remind me of the times that I like to remember; an idealized version of my childhood and teen years in which I spent hours at friends houses and the only homework that needed doing was the fun parts.

Furthermore, I find the books that I’m finding or returning to are by the same authors I read as a kid.  Their voices and writing styles are quietly familiar.  Sometimes, they are loudly recalling the books I read as a kid (as is the case of Son, the final in a quartet by Lois Lowry).  Other times they are simply a similar feel (I never read John Green’s books as a kid, but love them now).

Whatever the reason, I will happily continue to read books “below my reading level” as long as they interest me.  While I am glad to read more grown up books, I see no reason to stop reading my current favorites as well.  Besides, the fiction section of the library is huge!  How am I going to find stuff I like in that monstrosity?

All the Feels

I’ve never been to LA before.  I mean, right before I went to college my parents decided that what needed to happen to celebrate my growing up was a trip to Disneyland, but I’ve never really been to LA.  Until now, but my guess is you saw that coming.

These past few weeks have been quite full of emotion.  I finished school which involved an all-nighter and then cramming for work.  Then there was the finalies.  I know I am far to attached to Television.  I know this is a thing, but at the same time I don’t even care.  Fringe was fabulous and confusing in a way that makes me happy they have another season, but genuinely curious as to how they are going to continue.  I am far too attached to Once Upon A Time, The Big Bang Theory, and Community, all of which finished the season very strong.  And NCIS.  Oh my, I haven’t been watching NCIS regularly this season, but I’m invested now.

Also to go on the list of things I am potentially too emotionally invested in is The Fault in Our Stars, John Green’s new book which was absolutely heartbreaking.  I refuse to spoil it for anyone, so all I will say is this: Don’t read in public if you value your emotional dignity.  I was a mess.

Then to add to it all my best friend, and ex-boyfriend is in a new relationship.  With a guy.  I’m so proud of him and happy for him, but (and there’s always a but) I wasn’t expecting to be this affected by it when I first found out.  It doesn’t change how much I care for him, but… well, I guess I still haven’t really figured out all my feelings about it.

Which brings us here.  To LA on a Friday morning to work on the set of a web series that I love (more on that later this week I hope).  And I’ve been having a great time.  I’m meeting people and making connections.  I get to go home and tell my mother about all the people I’ve run into from my school who currently have industry jobs after being out of school for about a year.  She’ll like that.

Right Then

{This week instead of doing a Right Now post I’m doing Right Then as an end of the year reflection.  Hope you like it.}

I tried to spend my time more wisely this year and was continuously trying to see where I could be doing things that would better myself.  I’m not sure that this directly lead to more activity, but I think it did make me more aware of the ways that I could be wasting my time less.  It’s a start at least.

I took on more responsibility this year, work-load-wise and financially.  It was really comforting to be able to say that I feel prepared for being financially independent.  I know that I’m nowhere near that now, but I’m working with the stepping stones of it.  I also feel more confident in my ability to keep house.  It’s strange how domestic I am sometimes, but I really like having a nice place to live in.

I started planning and organizing differently.  I’ve always been a pretty organized person, but when I moved into the new apartment in Chicago I kind of took it to a whole new level.  This has lead to more health contentiousness and more budget contentiousness.  Awesome.

I learned a lot about myself and how I deal with leadership (not well) by being a leader in InterVarsity.  I didn’t really talk about the process and reasons for me leaving on this blog, and may never quite be comfortable enough to explain it on here, but suffice to say I learned a lot and grew in my faith and in knowing myself.

Overall I’m really happy with 2011, and I’m looking forward to what 2012 will bring.  Travel, planning, new projects, and new possibilities are all on the horizon.  Bring it on.

Discoveries: September 2011

I want to start a series I’m going to call Discoveries.  On the last Friday of each month I will post a short list of things that I have discovered (or perhaps re-discovered) throughout the month that have made me smile.  To some of you, these will be old news, but perhaps you will discover something along the way.

Peanut-butter honey sandwiches.  Pretty simple — bread, peanut butter, honey, done — but so amazingly wonderful.

Reading.  This one is a re-discovery.  I feel like I rediscover reading every few months and it’s better every time.  Right now I’m about a quarter way through a collection of travel essays.  Awesome.

New TV Shows to watch.  I’m loving the premieres these past few weeks.  My new favorites are New Girl, Up All Night, and Pan Am.  I just want new episodes of these to be on at all times even though I know that would result in me getting absolutely no work done.