The Slowdown

My new video for this week was about being okay when you’re not reading. And now I’ve gotta be true to that. I read one book at the beginning of March and haven’t read anything since.

I took two books with me on my trip, but I take books on every trip and I’ve never once read a single page. 😂 So I’m not going to stress about it. I’m now behind on my reading challenge, but WHO ISN’T? How are you doing with your reading?

2017 Reading Challenge: The Sun Also Rises

Would you look at that?! Look who’s off to a fine start to their 2017 reading! *raises hand*

Okay. I’m going to be completely honest. I read this book because it’s one of Amazon’s 100 books everyone should read, which y’all know by now that I’ve been slowly working my way through the list since it first came out almost three years ago. It was my first foray into the world that is Ernest Hemingway. I was so excited to read the book that I didn’t even bother to read the back of it before I started.

I could not have been more disappointed. I considered splitting my review in half between this post and the video, but I just couldn’t do it. When I went back and edited the video it was so obvious how frustrated and disgusted I became with parts of this book. I didn’t want to fail to convey those feelings through the written word. So, all of my thoughts are in the video.

I imagine many of you have already read this book, so I do want to tell you some of the things I discuss in the video.

  • The objectification of women in the book
  • The drinking habits of the characters
  • Bullfighting
  • The Jewish character
  • The overall writing style

ALL are discussed. I have extremely strong thoughts about every aspect of this book. As always, I encourage you to take a quick look at my reaction to my first Hemingway read. This book fulfilled the requirement to read a 20th century classic for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Have you read The Sun Also Rises? What did you think of it?

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2017 Reading Challenge Announcement!

In 2016 I hosted my very own reading challenge for the first time. Of course I didn’t even complete it myself. So now I’m upping the stakes! Last year’s challenge included 20 books. This year’s includes 25. Branch out and read along with me as 2017 unfolds and I continue to diversify my habits. Take a screenshot, share on your social media accounts, and take up the challenge starting on January 1!

Once again the only rule is that you can’t use the same book for multiple requirements. And don’t reread if you can help it!

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2016 Reading Challenge: The Burning Room

This won’t contain any spoilers.

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time it’s highly likely you’ve read something about Harry Bosch. I’ve written about him more than just about any character, even KATNISS!

He is the epitome of who and what I think a fictional detective should be. This was the 17th book in the series I’ve read, and to me it was the best one yet. No matter the character being written, an author who can keep the reader interested in a single character over two decades is one of those rare jewels in literature. Michael Connelly is right there with the likes of Sue Grafton and Robert B. Parker.

Harry Bosch has never become stagnant or boring. His stories have never escaped the realm of reality. And he’s never forgotten his mantra that “Everybody counts or nobody counts”.

This book satisfied the requirement of my 2016 reading challenge to read a crime novel.

Now TOMORROW I will post an update on my progress! Stay tuned!

Also, the first book in the Harry Bosch series is The Black Echo. Just saying. 😊

2016 Reading Challenge: Every Day

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I’m way behind on my own 2016 Reading Challenge, but there’s cause for hope! In the week since I left another job I managed to finish two books already!

The first one was Every Day by David Levithan, which I finished on the morning of Thanksgiving.

First, a little about the book. A, the main character and protagonist of the story is unlike any person you’ve ever read about. At least I haven’t. She’s a sixteen-year-old teen who wakes up in a different body every single day. She lives in these different bodies until midnight each night, only to wake up in another body in the morning. She has no physical presence outside of inhabiting these other bodies for the single day, which leaves her longing for much of the interactions and feelings we take for granted. That all changes when she wakes up in the body of Justin, and spends the day with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. Nothing is the same after that single day.

The day is all but perfect. The two cut class and spend the day at the beach. Rhiannon enjoys it but doesn’t understand why Justin is acting so differently for no apparent reason. Shortly thereafter A drops a bombshell and tells Rhiannon what’s really been going on. Of course, telling a teen that you wake up in a different body every day is hardly believable. But they continue to see each other just about every day with A in a different body.

Enough of my quick little summary, let me get to what I thought of the book. First off, this was the first book I’ve read by David Levithan. I bought this one over a year ago at someone’s recommendation. I immediately read the back of it and was intrigued, though it took me forever to get around to reading it.

I thoroughly enjoyed A. She wasn’t your typical smart-mouthed teen (mostly because she chose not to dramatically alter the lives of the bodies she inhabited). She didn’t give off this feeling of knowing all there is to know about life or certain events. Which would have been easy because she experienced life from a different perspective every single day. And the entire concept of the story was something I’d never really thought about. I mean, can you imagine what it would be like to wake up in a different body each and every day? You essentially have control over 365 lives every year. You can change any thing, whether it’s a boyfriend or how you treat your parents.

A typically doesn’t change any thing in the lives of those she inhabits. But one body stood out to me. She woke in the body of a girl who was seriously contemplating suicide. She’d set a deadline for six days into the future to do it. A considered doing nothing, but ultimately decided she had to help this girl. The girl’s relationship with her father was rough at best, but told him during the night before she left the body that she needed help. That she wanted to kill herself. And that she might try to forget this conversation took place in the morning, but he couldn’t let her change her mind. She also gave him her journal in which she’d drawn herself committing suicide in several different ways. It was never confirmed, but it appeared the girl was sent to get help for what she was feeling after that night.

I enjoyed A and Rhiannon, but the main issue I had with the book was also them. They spent one day together, right? A was Justin and Rhiannon had no idea what she was dealing with. After that single day A proclaimed to the reader that she was in love. That it was different this time around. I understand the book is young adult fantasy, but for someone to say they are in love with someone after one day with someone is about as childish as it gets. Over the course of the rest of book they became closer and their relationship grew more in line into what I’d expect, but the idea that the whole thing started after a single day is simply absurd.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. It was completely different from anything I’ve read.

The book satisfied the requirement on my Reading Challenge to read a book that starts a new series. I’ll post an update on my overall progress tomorrow!

Have you read Every Day? What did you think of it?

2016 Reading Challenge Book #6: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

*Contains spoilers*

I also read this book weeks ago and failed to write a post or make a video about it.

I’m sure you know the basic premise of the story by now. The book is decades old. There’s an outbreak of a virus that turns people into what appear to be vampires. Dr. Robert Neville essentially makes it his life’s work to find a cure.

First, the book is NOT like the movie starring Will Smith. The stories are actually quite different and should be evaluated on their own individual merits.

The movie has a relatively happy ending. Dr. Neville sacrifices himself for the cure he finally finds. The book does not. There is no cure. Dr. Neville is taken from his home after he refuses to leave everything behind when a mysterious woman warns him of what’s to come. Then it becomes apparent that he’s now become an outsider to this new group of people. He’s different because he’s not infected. And he must be killed.

The book is exceptional. There’s no other way to say it. And it’s short, so you don’t have dozens of pages of filler. The writing is superb and Dr. Neville is a character you can easily relate to. Each night the loneliness he feels is nearly unbearable.

When I finished the book I immediately thought of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He gave birth to the modern vampire. And his classic is nothing short of a masterpiece. But I Am Legend is nearly as brilliant.

I haven’t read too many vampire stories, but I imagine the two I’ve mentioned today are many steps above just about everything else out there.

Have you read either of these classic vampire tales?

This book satisfied the requirement from my reading challenge to read a book with a movie tie-in cover.

2016 Reading Challenge Book #5: Night by Elie Wiesel

Immediately after quitting my job at Half Price Books I got to reading. I finished this book over a month ago, but I’ve been too busy to make a video.

Night is the autobiographical account of Elie Wiesel’s experience during the Holocaust. The book is just over 100 pages long, but not a single page is wasted. There’s no fluff or filler. There’s no dramatization. It’s simply the retelling of what happened to him.

He takes the reader on a journey no man or woman should have ever taken. He describes a feeling of hopelessness that most simply can’t comprehend. He describes losing his faith. Most importantly, he holds nothing back. The events described are brutal, terrifying, and beyond humanity. No detail is spared because to do so (in my opinion) would be to take away from those who didn’t make it out of the camps. The story of the Holocaust must continue to be told in this manner. We can’t afford to lighten up on the details. Every person who experienced the Holocaust deserves better.

My takeaway from the book is rather simple. Anne Frank’s diary has given millions of people a look at what it was like to be persecuted and in hiding during this dreadful period. Night has given millions of people a look into the lives of those forced from their homes into camps like Auschwitz.

Both stories need to be told. Both books should be required reading for every high school student in the world. Why? Because the Holocaust is an important world event, but there’s more to it than that. These students are going to be politicians, world leaders, military personnel, and voting citizens. It’s important they understand the evil humans are capable of so that when the time comes to act against a group or regime or leader, there’s no hesitation.

I surely hope you’ve read Night by now, but if you haven’t I believe it’s a book more than worthy of your time.

The book satisfied the requirement on my reading challenge to read a book by an author I hadn’t read before.