Five Books I Recommended to a Non-Reader

This was my video topic for this week, but I decided that I’d better express myself through a written post.

I typically don’t recommend books. It doesn’t matter who is asking or why, but I’ve made exceptions to my rule over the last couple of years. The following is the most recent example.

Earlier this week a friend of mine told me he wanted to start reading in an effort to adopt more healthy habits. With all the things one can do with free time, I think reading would definitely qualify as a healthy habit. What did I do when he told me this? I took him to Half Price Books, of course! Not kidding.

The first thing I did when we reached the store was ask him what he enjoys reading. His response was anything that keeps his attention, he’s open to any topic. So I did the only thing I could do in that situation, I referred back to my own reading history. Kind of like your Google history in books. I came up with five books to tell him about.

Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

No matter your position on war or the military, I’m well aware that nonfiction war books are not for everyone. But to say this book is only about war would be a disservice to Marcus Luttrell and every other man who died during the operation to save him and his fellow Navy SEALs. This book is about faith, family, survival, life and death, and yes, war. Most people living today will never know what it means to trust another person with your life and have them entrust you with theirs. The men described in this book are the best the United States has to offer, and their story is one to remember.

Unstoppable – Bill Nye

I’ve read a few hundred books during my lifetime, and this one (like I said here) is easily the best book I’ve read. It’s science. Another type of book that simply isn’t for everyone. But this book isn’t written for scientists. That would defeat the entire purpose. The book takes on climate change, one of those topics that people seem to want to give up on or kick down the road. But not Bill Nye, nope. The reason this book holds so much weight with me is because of the optimism. Bill Nye is part of the generation currently in power. It’s his generation that has moved technology further than ever before, but it’s this same generation that has gotten us to this point in the climate change debate. This isn’t about blame, it’s about what’s happened. The beauty of this book is that Bill Nye recognizes who will ultimately enact the necessary changes to really combat climate change and begin the the process of preserving our planet for generations to come. Millennials. That group of young adults who gets blamed for things completely out of their control. It’s that same group of young people who are more aware of current issues than just about any generation of people who have come before them. Some would say the issues aren’t as important as the ones previous generations have had to tackle, but to say this is to once again belittle the issues Millennials face today. Humans are imperfect, but we have the ability to preserve this beautiful world we have. I believe history will hold Millennials in particularly high regard when humans look back at who decided enough was enough and that the issue of climate change is not something to leave for others to deal with.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Atticus Finch. I can go on and on about Atticus Finch. I’ll be short and simple. I recommended this book because even when everyone around you is guilty of buying into society’s backward and wrong beliefs, one person can stand up for what’s right and what’s true to the human spirit. That’s what I believe Atticus did in this book, and it’s an idea still relevant after nearly 60 years in print.

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

With social media today we’re able to get a glimpse into the lives of persecuted individuals. Anne Frank’s diary is more than just a glimpse. It’s her life. Now that I’m sitting here writing this I realize that her diary is her version of a blog or Facebook account. Through her words we know what a young girl and her family endured during humanity’s darkest hour. She gives us an idea of what it means to be unwanted, untouchable, and hated. She shows us that we always have the ability to be kind, even when facing the worst of circumstances. Another book that has never lost its relevance.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Society has expectations for just about everyone. It’s up to the individual person and the people they’re surrounded by to stick to what they’re supposed to be doing or to exceed every expectation imaginable. That’s what this book is about. And that’s why I recommended it. In this world the districts are expected to contribute to the welfare of the Capitol by maintaining the status quo and doing as previous generations have done. There’s really no avenue for any individuality. Katniss turns the whole thing upside down. She proved that no matter what society expects of you, you can use your voice to accomplish and change just about anything.

An honorable mention was Elie Wiesel’s Night.

I won’t tell you which book he ultimately decided to buy, but he did buy one.

So those are the books I recommended to an admitted non-reader. I took several minutes to describe the message I took away from each one. This wasn’t a planned thing and I did the whole thing in real time, but I think the books I mentioned shed light on the topics and issues important to me. Every one of these is a notch above their counterparts in my eyes.

Sorry for the LONG post! Have you ever had to suddenly recommend books and felt it was more important than a typical recommendation? What do you think of the books I came up with?

Top Five Wednesday: Who’s Coming to my New Year’s Party?

I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time. Mostly because the girl who took over started with crap topics. Bleh. The topic is pretty easy to comprehend. Leggo.

Katniss Everdeen

She’s the Girl on Fire. I mean, come on.

Harry Bosch

I don’t drink alcohol. So I’d sit down with a bottle of water out away from the rest of the party and talk to Harry about everything. He’s insightful and I doubt anyone could match his stories from decades with LAPD. I’d also tell him his daughter would make an excellent detective.

Mark Watney

I just finished The Martian and have LOTS of thoughts on it, but for now I’d just like to tell Mark here that’s he’s hilarious. Stay tuned for a full review in the next day or two!

A

She’s the protagonist from Every Day and it would actually be cool to invite her every year to the New Year’s party just to see her in different bodies.

Guy Montag

This might seem like an odd choice when you consider the fact that I HATE this book. But I’d invite him because every other person invited to this particular party would love books. And this bastard burns them. I’d pretty much just tell him off. And perhaps create a mob in the process.

Those are the five characters I’d invite to my New Year’s party! Who would you invite to yours!?

Top Five Wednesday: Settings I Want to see More of

The topic of this week’s Top Five Wednesday is settings I want to see more of. Pretty easy.

Panem

This was too easy. I wouldn’t want to see any new movies adapted from new books, but I definitely wouldn’t mind reading another story featuring Katniss. That’s all I want. But eh.

Hogwarts

This is coming from someone who has only read the first two in the series. But of course I grew up with the characters onscreen. Which is why I’m not excited for the play or for the book that a lot of people don’t even realize isn’t an actual book. If they did there wouldn’t be any midnight releases anywhere. It’s just a PLAY! I’d only want a new story if it’s actually a new story following the same characters we know and love. Not something completely different like the play.

The last two I’ll mention are Sera and Reach from Gears of War and Halo, respectively. Though Reach has already been destroyed.

That’s it for me!

What are the top five settings you’d like to see more books in?

Top Five Wednesday: Character Names

Today’s Top Five Wednesday topic is character names. Pretty self-explanatory. Let’s begin!

Katniss Everdeen

I love how unique the name is. And I hope to one day meet a girl named after Katniss. I’d tell her the person she’s named after is strong, independent, brave, and the Girl on Fire. Then she’d probably say duhh and walk away. Bleh.

Hieronymous Bosch

I’ve told y’all about Harry Bosch more times than I can remember. He’s named after the painter you may have heard of. I’m just glad Michael Connelly let’s us call him Harry.

Spenser

Another unique name. He’s named after the poet you may have heard of. But what really makes his name special is that his last name is never given during his series of books. He’s simply Spenser.

Hermione Granger

I mean, come on.

Master Chief

Technically his name is John-117 and he’s originally from a video game series before any book was ever written, BUT who doesn’t know Master Chief at this point? Seriously, who!? He’s the soldier we all secretly want to be. Leading entire armies and defeating monstrous enemies. Is that not your dream job?

Those are my five favorite character names! Tell me some of yours!

Top Five Wednesday: Fictional Items I Want

Yay for finally doing a Top Five Wednesday video! The truth is that I haven’t liked any of the recent topics and I didn’t want to just do my own because then it’s just “five random things Wednesday”, which doesn’t really have a nice ring to it. Ha!

Anyway, today’s topic is five fictional items I want. I knew I’d do this one as soon as I saw the March topics. But I soon realized that I don’t really read too many stories set in fictional places, which severely limits the number of fictional items I’ve read about. But fear not, in the process of recording the video I was actually able to come up with SIX items! Hehe. But they’re all from two series. Eh.

Two from The Hunger Games because duhh. And four from that series with Hogwarts. But you won’t know what they are unless you watch!

Which five fictional items do YOU want? If you can limit it to five. I couldn’t.


 

And don’t forget that Top Five Wednesday is hosted by Lainey here. There’s also a Goodreads group.

I Have a new Obsession

And it’s Funko. I usually just call them Pops, but I’m not entirely sure if others call them Pops or Funkos or what. But you know what I’m talking about. Those little 3 inch vinyl figures you’ve seen floating around everywhere. Well it turns out I LOVE them.

My first encounter with them was a few months back. Late last year I wandered into a Hot Topic store one day for no reason. And I was met by a wall of Pops. A literal wall of them. I was drawn to a few classic characters I’ve loved since forever, but I wasn’t ready to buy just yet. And then my brother (who I was with at the time) gave me a JJ Watt Pop! for Christmas last year. But I still wasn’t really into them, although I haven’t taken mine out of the case because that’s what people do, right?

Anyway, fast forward to last week. My store gets a few of these little guys in sometimes. But last week we got a Harry Potter and Hermione in stock. Brand new. They’re now waiting to be purchased on the 19th and 20th by me. Then I started looking online at all the different ones and THERE ARE SO MANY! But I was able to decide that I NEED the Katniss Everdeen and Jack Skellington ones. The regular Katniss and the regular Jack.

But I know I want Ron and Dumbledore and Hagrid and Dobby and Peeta and Effie and Sally and Willy Wonka and the Master and SO MANY MORE. It helps that they aren’t overly expensive and I literally don’t spend money on anything else.

Do you have any of these Funko Pops? I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to say that.

Another Month Gone

2015 is rapidly coming to a close. And the bloggity here is going with it. I barely started reading posts on here again within the last two or three days. It isn’t that I’m not interested, it’s that in the mornings I’m either sleeping or getting ready for work. And at night I’m usually watching a TV show or basketball game. But I’m just making excuses. I read a bunch of posts last night. And hopefully I will before bed tonight too. All I can do is try. Anyway, let’s talk about November stats.

Posts: 30

Likes: 458

Comments: 418

Followers: 3255

Books Read: 0

Poems: 0

YouTube Videos: 0

Welp. Lows across the board. Of course. Basically what I’ve come to expect at this point. My girlfriend says it best. I’m still on WordPress quite a bit, but I’m not really into it. *sad face* I’m trying, guys.

The one interesting thing that came out of November is that I’m thinking of doing one of two things. Maybe both. I’m thinking of reviving my sports blog OR turning that into a YouTube channel. Probably doesn’t make much sense, but the reason I don’t make more videos on my current channel is because I need to be reading something in order to make a video. Whereas in sports there is ALWAYS something for me to talk about. Always. I guess we’ll see.  Now for some posts.

Top Post

A NaNo Alternative

Favorite Post

What I Learned From Katniss Everdeen

Post you may Have Missed

Saturday Selects #21: My problem with football

No surprise about the top post this month. NaNo is something people are always interested in reading about, and I think I wrote a handful of posts against it in November. Yikes. I’m crazy. Hm. What else? The Hunger Games movies ended for me, which means the series is officially over. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little saddened by this. I love Katniss and that series so much. More than I’ll likely enjoy any series ever again. And it’s over. Maybe one day I’ll go against my rereading rule and reread those three books. Wouldn’t hurt to relive the rebellion with Katniss once again. Wouldn’t hurt at all.

So that’s it. My month in a tiny nutshell. How was your November?

Mockingjay Part 2: A review

Kinda.

First off, I read the book some three and a half years ago. So did I know most of what would happen? Yes. Did I have every detail etched into my head? No.

The movie starts calmly. It has to if you think about what happened at the end of Part 1. We see that Peeta is still in a pretty bad state. And we soon realize that the war is going well for the districts and 13.

What I liked best about this movie over Part 1 and even the first movie in the series is that it played out more like an action movie than the others did. At least in my eyes. It was pretty nonstop from the time Katniss arrived in District 2 until the end of the movie.

When you’re watching it you almost forget that it could ever be adapted from a young adult series. That’s not a shot at the genre, it’s just what I’m thinking.

I thought the cast did quite well in their roles with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson standing out just above the rest. Peeta was good, bad, and even wildly crazy all in just two hours. Hutcherson did well to convince me of the ongoing turmoil plaguing Peeta.

I have two favorite parts of the movie. There’s a scene in which Katniss and her squad are proceeding toward the presidential mansion through the tunnels beneath the Capitol. They’re resting. But their whereabouts are known and mutts are released to find and kill them. They’re unable to outrun them and are forced to fight. They do. But the space is small and most of the squad is able to escape. Except Finnick. He keeps fighting. But he’s ultimately killed. And Katniss kills as many as she can by detonating the holo. It was one of my favorite moments because once Finnick was alone with a long ladder to climb we all knew he wouldn’t make it. But he fought. And fought. He kind of symbolized the entire rebellion.

The other was the assassination of President Coin. One of my favorite parts of the book and the series. It became apparent once the Capitol surrendered that she’d simply take Snow’s place. And it took Snow to convince Katniss, along with Coin proposing a symbolic Games. Katniss always stood for right, and she wouldn’t just stand by and watch one tyrant be replaced by another.

Guys, I thought the movie was a solid ending to a rather fantastic series. My order of the movies is #2, #4, #1, #3. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll reread the series and rewatch the movies.

Thank you, Suzanne Collins. For giving so many The Girl on Fire.

No, These Book Series are not the Same

A few nights ago I was working a closing shift, right? Which generally means it’s pretty slow toward the end of the night. But then I was awakened by a comment a co worker made. She said Twilight is the same as The Hunger Games. You can imagine my reaction to this.

I couldn’t believe it. And she was quire serious. Though another worker did immediately tell her that she was quite incorrect, I was the only one there who’d actually read any of the books around Katniss. So no one could really jump in with me.

Anyway, sure both series are obviously young adult, but to say that they are the exact same thing is outrageous to me. And disrespectful toward Suzanne Collins. Ugh. Have you ever heard anyone compare two books or series that don’t belong in the same sentence?

Is FanFiction a bad Word?

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about fanfiction. I’m not even sure if it’s supposed to be one word or two. But y’all know I tend to be aware of most writing/bookish topics, even if just minimally. Well, it would appear to me that fanfiction isn’t exactly welcomed in most literary circles. But I could be wrong.

For those who may not know, fanfiction is when someone (not the original author) writes fiction about or around characters from a particular story. Just imagine me writing something about Katniss and Peeta.

And now I have to tell you what I think of it. Eh. I’m not a fan. At all. I can say with confidence that I’ll likely never read a piece of fanfiction. For a few reasons. First, the person writing the fanfiction is almost certainly a worse writer than the original author. Second, I enjoyed the characters written from a particular perspective and by a particular author…I don’t need someone changing that. And third, I have a TBR shelf that’s constantly calling my name.

But I’m sure my opinion is different from yours. What do you think? Fanfiction good? Bad? Doesn’t matter?


On this day in 2014 I published What Does it Mean to be a Writer?.