Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wizards & Bestsellers & Mainers

A friend and I were recently discussing book reviews and I realized I need to write them more often. This particular friend writes some fabulous ones on his blog. With his helpful nudge I'm hoping to get at least a small review written for the books I read from here on out.

BTW, if you don't use Goodreads, you should. Find me there and we'll compare books.

A little about my summer reading:

My big challenge this summer was to read "Moby Dick." My sophomore American Literature professor told me anyone who got through it deserved a Master's Degree, so I'm waiting for that to show up at my door any day now. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. I enjoy it, but I definitely can see the complaints I've heard from friends about certain sections of it that drag on. I think that it is important to remember the readers Melville may have had in mind. Although you or I may easily conjure up a visual of what a Sperm Whale looks like because we were raised with picture books and movies, that's not the case for Melville's audience. I find it interesting to think about who it was written for and how differently it would be written for a more modern audience. That being said, the action scenes are fabulous, and the descriptions (though some definitely seem like Melville was some sort of Sperm Whale fanboy) are kind of beautiful in a tearing-apart-whale-carcass kind of way.

I have also been making my way through the Harry Potter series again. There is something about these stories that I never outgrow. I'm not usually one to reread books. While reading them I've also joined Pottermore. I don't know who had the initial idea for that site, but if it was Rowling herself she officially is the most brilliant woman ever. Combining the challenge and entertainment of a video game with an already wonderful book series was genius. The site avoids being tied too closely to the movies, includes many scenes that aren't in the movies and aside from my frustration that I still haven't successfully brewed Polyjuice Potion, I'm completely enamored by it and impatiently awaiting the next installment of chapters.

I'm hoping to get my hands on "The Cuckoo's Calling" and "Casual Vacancy" soon as well, so I can truly be a well-rounded J.K. Rowling fan.

"Out of Nowhere" by Maria Padian. This book is by a Maine author and it is based on the Somali immigrants who live in the Lewiston, Maine area. Each character in this book is well-developed and believable. This book is a must-read for every teen, parent of a teen, or person living near an immigrant in this country. There is a balance to the story, an emphasis on equality without being preachy. It will make you question your interpretation of events when encountering someone from a different culture in a way that I think we all could learn from. I definitely suggest this one to everyone.

Oh, and she has a blog as well.

A few other summer reads I have enjoyed:
"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. Don't believe people who tell you it is depressing. It's not a feel-good story, but it is worth the read for the social commentary and poetic paragraphs alone.
"The Witch's Boy" by Michael Gruber. This is for the brainy child who enjoys fantasy. Full of philosophy, politics and ethical debate. If you want your child to question the world and to strive to find their own place in it, go for this.
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Greene. Yes, I have joined the fan club. I'm not quite ready to obsess over his youtube channel or squeal over his twitter feed, but he is a good storyteller. I read this book in an afternoon. Couldn't put it down.

Next on my list is "Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs and on to "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." What about you?

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