2017 Reading Challenge: The Lightning Thief

I’m probably the last person in America to have started this series. I mean, at this point Rick Riordan is writing a dozen other series he started after concluding this one. Oh well. Better late than never, right? Anyway, I have only good things to say about this one! Watch and see!

This book was the 7th book from my 2017 Reading Challenge and satisfied the requirement to read a book everyone else seems to have read already. This is also 1 of Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read. Two birds with one…book? Ha!

What did you think of this book?

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Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

First off, I KNOW you guys didn’t believe my whole thing yesterday about going to the World Cup. Come on. I work weekends. I don’t have anything remotely resembling a rich family or girlfriend/wife. So where the heck would I get the thousands of dollars I’d need to be traveling for two months? The lottery? No.

Back to this post. You guys might have forgotten that I decided to tackle all the books on this list when it was first released in February. This will be the fourth book I read from the list since then and the seventh book I’ve read from it overall. But enough with the pleasantries, you guys probably want to know what I thought of the book.

Fault in Our Stars

I know I don’t need to waste time telling you guys what the book is about because who hasn’t read this book, so I’m not. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at their cancer Support Group and everything that follows is nothing short of wonderful.

My Thoughts

I’m writing the rest of this under the impression that you’ve read the book, if not, this is your warning to turn your eyes away from the screen. Well, this book has a huge amount of hype going right now. For me, I think it was able to live up to it. Let me tell you the million and one things that I liked about it. LOVED Hazel and Augustus as characters, as a couple, as thinkers, basically everything about them. Loved Hazel’s approach to everything. Loved how they both could quote An Imperial Affliction like no tomorrow. Excuse the language, but I loved how amidst everything that was going on between her and Augustus and her illness, Hazel was able to call Peter Van Houten on his shit. Yes, of course it’s later revealed that he had a daughter who died of cancer at the so very young age of eight, and Hazel changed it up a bit from constantly yelling at him.

I realize my thoughts are just spilling out at random, but that’s okay. I thought it was seriously fantastic that Augustus Waters called her Hazel Grace throughout the entire book even though at the very start she told him just Hazel. And I thought it was great to see that Hazel rarely broke down for any reason during the book. I’m thinking when she lay in her backyard in front of the swing set and of course after Augustus died. Both times guess who ultimately cheered her up, Gus.

Lastly, you all are probably wondering if I cried even though I’ve mentioned that I’m a notorious cryer when reading books. Yes. Just once, at the very end as Hazel is reading what Gus sent Van Houten before he died. This was the line that got me for some reason. I was at 98% on my Kindle.

“-I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever?”

He was dying and he knew it, and he STILL couldn’t stop thinking about Hazel. I mean, seriously, how freaking great is that? So yes, I cried the whole time as Hazel read what Gus so eloquently wrote to Van Houten about her.

You guys may or may not remember that I rank all the books I read. The books from the Amazon list rank as follows: Anne Frank is #1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is #22, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is unranked, and this one comes in at #13 just behind The Hunger Games on my list.

Now if only I could find a girl who’s read this book, then maybe I might go see the movie.

Oh, and tell me Hazel Grace Lancaster isn’t the greatest name in the history of ever.

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: 17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Photo Credit: Penguin

I must first apologize to you guys. I had said that the next book I’d be reading from the Amazon list would be A Wrinkle in Time. My bad. It WILL be the next one now because it’s the only book I currently have from the list. But that doesn’t matter yet. The purpose of this post is to talk about the book I did read, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Let’s jump right in.

The Chocolate Factory

The book begins by introducing the reader to the family of Charlie Bucket. You immediately realize that his family is experiencing some hard times. He lives in a house that is much too small for his family of seven, four of which are grandparents. They barely have enough to eat. And Charlie gets excited once a year on his birthday when he receives a whole chocolate bar for himself. Then life becomes even more difficult for the Bucket family. His father loses his job and can’t find full-time work elsewhere. The family begins to starve, literally. Until world famous chocolate genius Willy Wonka announces that he’ll allow five children inside his factory for one day. All you need is one of five golden tickets. The first four are quickly found. Then Charlie finds a dollar bill on the ground during his walk home one day. He buys two chocolate bars and the second has the final golden ticket. The following day Willy Wonka takes the five children on a tour of his factory and one by one each of the children act out and are taken from the group until only Charlie and his grandpa remain. This is when Willy Wonka reveals the real reason for his tour. He’s giving his factory to Charlie. All of it.

My Thoughts

I definitely enjoyed the book. Would I call it one of the best books I’ve ever read? No. I realize that Roald Dahl is one of those iconic authors of the twentieth century who everyone seems to have read at some point. This book just didn’t make me want to go buy his other well-known works. I have some issues with the book. There were WAY too many exclamation marks. I’m talking in the hundreds. Yes, Willy Wonka is enthusiastic and energetic, but I couldn’t read any more dialogue ending in an exclamation mark if my life depended on it. I honestly believe the dialogue took away from the book. I liked Charlie as a character and liked the chapter titles, and the book itself wasn’t bad, but I’m actually surprised to find this book on the Amazon list. I’m thinking this was one of those body of work kind of picks.

You’ll recall that I have my own list of the best books I’ve ever read and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank ranks #1 and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ranks #21. This book didn’t make the list at all. It’s currently 113 titles.

I’ve seen the first movie and enjoyed it but not the more recent one. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book.

I’ve now read seven books from the list.

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: 29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Another week, another book read from the Amazon list. When I first set out to read the books on the list I figured that I’d read one every five or six books I read overall…WRONG. I’ve found myself browsing through the list trying to decide on which book I want to read next. I have no scientific way of picking books, I really just go with whatever catches my eye. The first two were fairly easy beginner choices, though.

The Sorcerer’s Stone

The book begins with an introduction to Harry Potter. We learn about his ill-fated family. We learn about his horrible Muggle family. We get a small taste into how rough he’s had it since the murder of his parents. Then we’re introduced to all kinds of magical characters. The Weasleys. The Malfoys. Hagrid. Dumbledore. Snape. Quirrel. Hermione Granger. There are too many to name. Then we’re taken on a journey with Harry, Hermione, and Ron through their first year at Hogwarts. There are tears, triumphs, trolls, dark magic, and…Voldemort! He’s back, after all. The gang of three is ultimately up against the Dark Lord himself, though they don’t even realize it until it’s nearly too late.

My Thoughts

This was a splendid read. I found several things that were either changed in the movie or left out completely. This being my first JK Rowling novel, I quickly learned that she has a great gift for children’s fiction. I found the reading to be more than accessible for a grade school student and still rather intriguing. I haven’t read a book with chapter titles in years, and I loved that the chapters have titles in this book. I liked being able to expect when Hermione needed Ron and Harry’s help with the troll. I liked knowing when Harry would be making his first trip to Diagon Alley. I liked knowing when Harry would play his first quidditch match. The chapter titles told me a little about what to expect in the coming pages, and for a young reader who may not read leisurely very much, I think that can make reading more enjoyable.

I also loved Hermione more than I did in the movies and hated Draco more than I did in the movies. Just happened.

This book is currently ranked #21 on my list of best books.

The next book from the list that I’ll be reading is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: 63. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Photo Credit: npr.org

Since I’ve decided to do my best to read every book on Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read in a Lifetime, I’ve now decided to also dedicate a full post to each book I finish. The first on the list is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’ll first have you know that it isn’t my intention to review the books I read from the list, per se, but rather to offer up my thoughts in a manner that may not always be critical. Now let me tell you what I thought of one of the most well-known works of any author of the 20th century.

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne begins the book at the fairly young age of just thirteen years, but you wouldn’t know it from her writing. She easily describes each of the eight inhabitants of the Secret Annex, she describes the relationships that develop between all of them, she describes her longing for companionship during her first year in hiding, the feeling of coming to love Peter, experiencing puberty, and the great optimism that came with the Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944. She puts you there in that annex and keeps you there for the 25 months she remained. She tells you what she thinks of herself and everyone around her. She writes of wanting to publish her diary after the war has ended. She gives the reader an account of what it meant to be persecuted as a Jew in German occupied Europe during World War II.

My Thoughts

I’m somewhat upset with myself for having waited this long to read this. I think I watched and/ or read one of the plays during high school, but it’s just not the same as reading her words. I was in tears once I was nearing the end because of the joy that had made its way into her final entries. I wanted the ending to be different this time. I wanted those eight people to make it through the war without being discovered. I wanted Anne to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. I wanted all of these things as I read about each of their deaths in the Afterword. If you have not read this wonderful work, then please read it. Though I’d never read it, I think I’ve read quotes and reviews that label this as one of the prime examples of the human condition, and yes, this is it. It is far and away the best book I’ve ever read. I’ll leave you with a quote from Anne.

“I want to go on living even after my death.”

If only you knew, Anne, if only you knew.