The Literary Canon and Being a True Book Lover?

Last Tuesday marked the first day of my semester’s literature course. I consider myself to be a bit of a voracious reader, seeing as I spend a large chunk of my time in the library, reading or finding books, and then talking about them. Totally excited for the class, I sat down and waited for the rest of my classmates to trickle in.

I was sandwiched between two people, both book enthusiasts like me, of course. But as I overheard their conversations, my heart started to sink. They were throwing around names of novels I’d never read, fervently discussed exactly which Kurt Vonnegut novel was his best, and I found myself completely left out of the conversation because I had not read even two of the books they were discussing. I’d read one of them, in high school, but I couldn’t quote what was on page 15 and say it changed my life like they could. For a minute, I felt like a “bad” book nerd. What was my favorite book? It wasn’t written by Geoffrey Chaucer or Shakespeare. It was a YA novel, and is probably the same favorite book as throngs of other teenagers.

Later as I sat in the library and browsed, I started to think about what truly made someone a book nerd or a voracious reader or a book lover. And that’s when I decided upon my personal definition- someone who enjoys reading books.

It’s that simple!

You don’t need to memorize Shakespeare and read elevated literary fiction and have pretentious discussions on the use of allusions in Hemingway’s works in order to be a book enthusiast. You don’t need to feel bad about reading YA or comic books; whatever you read is awesome! Reading is awesome. If you read books, we’re best friends. Besides, you should enjoy what you read. Don’t read because someone else makes you- find a book YOU enjoy, and read it. Have a good time!

One good thing I did get out of this experience, though, was exposure to books I’d never considered reading before. For a while I’ve been waffling about trying more adult fiction, but I didn’t know where to start. I think when I was younger I told myself that I couldn’t relate to older, married characters with children in novels so I shouldn’t read books about them, but really, you can read whatever it is you want. This got me to start a book called The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which I currently adore.

It was wildly popular when it came out a few years ago, so I imagine many of you are nodding your heads and going, Yeah! I know that book! There’s a reason so many people bought and read this book; it’s moving and beautifully written, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you once I complete it and get all my emotions in order.

This post is all serving as an announcement of sorts that I will be beginning to review some more “literary” fiction in addition to the usual YA on this blog. We read quite a bit for my literature course, and I figure why not tell you guys about some of those in addition to what I’m reading for leisure?

Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject down in the comments below! Also, be sure to give me any recommendations you have because I am truly lost in terms of where to start with Vonnegut (besides Slaughterhouse Five) and other popular adult authors of our day.

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Battle of the Sequel: Cinder vs Scarlet

It’s a battle of epic proportions. Two novels. One winner. Which will survive the grueling tests? Which will emerge victorious?  *Dramatic music now plays*

Well, maybe not epic proportions. But Cinder and Scarlet are at least somewhat out of this world, if you know what I mean. OK, enough with the bad puns.

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Both images are from Goodreads.

My opinion: I preferred the second book in the series, Scarlet, to be much better than the first book, Cinder.

Arguments:
1. Cinder spent more time setting up than getting to the action, a point you’ve probably heard me say only about five different times. Scarlet had the PERFECT opening. You were dropped right into the real plot and action from page 1. I already knew I would love it.

2. Cinder is cool, but I liked seeing her more as a secondary character in the second book. It gave her more of a status (hey there’s that kick-ass mechanic cyborg girl from Book 1 on the run! Awesome!), somehow, seeing things through the eyes of someone other than Cinder. It was like reading about a familiar friend.

3. Scarlet’s story is frankly more eventful, but less sci-fi-esque than Cinder. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you see it.

4. Scarlet had cooler characters; Thorne tops my list of favorite book characters ever. He is one of the few characters that actually made me laugh out loud. Oh, and there’s our mysterious Wolf. (Scarlet is based off of Little Red Riding Hood)

5. This point does not effect my opinion, but I would say Cinder’s cover is more intriguing than Scarlet’s. Cinder’s is an x-ray view into Cinder’s android/human foot and Scarlet’s is… A cape and an elbow?

However, don’t disregard Cinder. I rated it very highly, especially when it came to the second half of the novel! Lots of people try and remake fairy tales, but nobody has done it like Marissa Meyer.

Remember, you must read Cinder before you get to Scarlet! No skipping!! On to Cress, Book #3!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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Cover image is from Goodreads.

My Synopsis:
Colin has a thing for girls named Katherine. Not C-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e, Katherine. But somehow, all 19 of them has dumped him. Every single one. So, he takes a hilarious road trip with his friend Hassan in tow. There’s no destination; he just wants to ease his pain. But, Colin, being the prodigy that he is, decides to try developing a mathematical theorem to predict all the possible outcomes of his relationships, or better yet, all relationships on general.

It’s a John Green book; you know it’s going to be humorous and quick. This is definitely a short and quick summer read. But, that doesn’t mean I think this is the most entertaining book. It didn’t make me laugh out loud. Besides Hassan and his, well, personality, a lot of the humor just comes from the situation. This math nerd somehow managed to find and date 19 Katherine’s, and they all dumped him. But at some points that just became a little too ridiculous.

One thing that is cool, though, is the book’s epilogue. It is an explanation as to how all the math work Colin schemes up actually works, written by a real math expert. But I’m not a math genius, so I can’t say I truly understood this theorem. Props to you though, John Green.

There’s not much else to say here. It’s a beach read for sure, but nothing extraordinary.

Rating time!
Finishing the Book: 1/2 stars
It’s hard not to finish a book this short. However, I kind of wanted to finish it so I could read my other books…
Originality: 2/2 stars
I can’t say I’ve read a book where a math geek dates 19 girls with the same name.
Entertainment: 1/2 stars
So, so. I expected a little more.
Characters: 1/2
I loved Hassan. He was hilarious and all around a nice unique chatacter. Colin was OK, but he needs to stop the anagramming madness!
Writing Quality: 1/2 stars
Nothing too literary here.

Verdict
6/10 stars

Who should read it? Teens and tweens will enjoy it. I doubt this is a book any adult who reads YA, though, is going to lunge for. There are better beach reads.

Do you recommend any other John Green books? I don’t want to give up after just one book I felt iffy about. Let me know in the comments what you think! 🙂

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Booking Through Thursday Post #1!

The Booking Through Thursday meme was created by this lovely blog: http://btt2.wordpress.com

How it works is each week a question is posted. You copy the question onto your blog and answer it, then leave a link on their post so others can read your response!

This week’s question is: Do your reading habits change in the summer?

Definitely, absolutely, yes. Over the summer, school is traded for more work hours, yet also for a boatload of reading time. By the time June comes, I’m usually doubtful I’ll be able to complete the number of books I originally challenge myself to read for the year. But I generally complete the entire rest of the years’ reading in the summer alone. Sometimes, I complete a book at least every other day. That definitely does not happen during the other seasons!

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