2016 Reading Challenge: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Oh boy.

I’ve had my eye on this book ever since I launched my reading challenge late last year. I knew this would be the book I reread after not enjoying it the first time around.

I mention this book so much on the blog and off of it that I’m used to jaws dropping to the ground when I tell people what I think of it. It’s the best.

But YOU don’t know if the second time around changed my opinion! And I’m not going to tell you. Either watch or don’t Blah.

Fun fact: This was the first book I ever reread that wasn’t written by me.

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The Book Was Better

Right?

It’s one of those sayings that you hear ALL THE TIME. The book was better than the movie adaptation. And probably more than 90 percent of the time it is. Because it’s the original and it’s difficult to match the original in any medium.

I’m here to ask if you’ve ever thought otherwise. I’ve written before on here that I hold the movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original) in much higher regard than the book. I just about hated the book. But I’m not sure if I can really think of another movie that really surpassed the book in its brilliance. There may be a few out there, but I’m not thinking of any.

Perhaps the original Jurassic Park movie comes very close to matching the first book. Perhaps. Or maybe the LOTR movies? Though I haven’t read all the books

Can you think of any movies adapted from books that actually came out better?

Some Good and Some Bad all at Once

I’ve written before about McDonald’s giving away books in their Happy Meals, and now they’re doing it again. This time in the UK. So now you know the good. But there’s also some bad.

The books are some of Roald Dahl’s most beloved titles. Not the full books, but short excerpts. So why do I think this is bad? Well Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the worst books I’ve ever read all the way through. It was terrible. I’m not ashamed to say that I pretty much hated every part of it. And now 14 million kids will be reading his words over the next six weeks.

Why not throw in some Potter excerpts? Rowling would have been my choice if it were up to me. But of course I have no say in the matter. Props to McDonald’s for once again promoting literacy, but I really wish they’d have picked another author. Oh well.

What do you think of another book giveaway by McDonald’s? Or more importantly, what do you think of Dahl’s work?


On this day in 2014 I published Read a Banned Book This Week.

 

My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

The Reader in Me

I missed another post yesterday, well maybe to you I missed it, I had plenty of time to write one and several ideas but I just didn’t feel like it. So I don’t think I missed anything more than I just didn’t do it. But that’s neither here nor there. I have a simple one for you all today. Y’all know I like writing posts in which I get to answer questions about my reading or books or whatever. Wellllll I have another set for you guys to read. Each of the other two times I’ve written this type of post I’ve had a number of bloggers copy me, so one of you needs to continue that tradition.

Okay. Might as well get started. Oh, I found these questions here. I’ll do the first ten today and the last ten tomorrow.

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

Ooooh. This is actually a tough one to answer. I know for sure that I’ve had some books at least since my sophomore year of high school. I’ve probably had a couple handfuls since before then. Okay. I’m going to have to take a wild guess and say that the book that I THINK has been on my shelves the longest is A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon. I have another of her novels that I read right around the same time that actually won an Edgar. Didn’t even know.

2. What is your current read, last read, and book you’ll read next?

Don’t really have an answer for any of the above.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the history on the universe who did not like this book. I’ve written about it over and over and even dedicated a full post to it back in March. Sorry, Mr. Dahl. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but probably won’t?

The Bible. Ha. Just kidding. I’ll never read that. No matter what reasons people give me. Hmmm. I don’t think I have an answer for this one. Cause I’ll read a book if I want to and won’t if I don’t. Pretty simple.

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

Uhh what exactly does this even mean? Is it supposed to be a book I’m saving for years and years from now? Or…I don’t even know. Anyway, I’ll just say Potter. Cause when the movies ended I vowed to wait awhile before actually starting the books. Cause once I finish them there’s no going back, the entire phenomenon would be over. I know there are millions of people like me in that I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The first movie was released when I was ten. You see what I mean. So I’m saving the series for forever. Although I have now read the first and have the second right here next to me. Once I get to book seven I imagine that I’ll wait at least a year before actually reading it. Cause then I’ll be done and  I’ll no longer have anything more I can take away from the series that haven’t already. I know a lot of people reread the full series every year, but I know I won’t be doing that. Of course, with all that being said, I read THG trilogy in a really short span and finished the series shortly after the first movie was released. Eh.

6. Last page: Read it first or wait til the end?

Oh boy. I read mysteries. Where’s the mystery in reading the last page of a book before actually reading the book? Makes no sense. Okay. Let me go pay $13 to go to the movies and walk in during the final five minutes. Yep. No. Literally the dumbest thing I know readers do is reading the last page first.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

The person who created these questions has obviously never written a book. To say that the Acknowledgements section of a book is a waste of paper and ink (you’re talking pennies) is simply moronic. This is the kind of person who thinks one person writes a book. This is the kind of person who has no respect for what authors and writers do. This is the kind of person who says “Oh, so you just stay home and write?” This is the kind of person who has never written anything of substance in their life. I almost always skip the Acknowledgements, but as someone who has gotten to write just one Acknowledgements section I can tell you that I spent quite some time on those few pages and every person mentioned helped with the book. I very much hope that not a single one of you who reads this will think they’re a waste of ink and paper. Then you fall into the category I mentioned above.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Easy. My own. Andrew Banks. Perfect girl. Perfect job. Pretty intelligent. Strong physique. Helps people.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

No. I don’t know how many times I have to say that I read because I like reading and because it’s the greatest form of entertainment we have today. Whatever I have going on in my life has absolutely nothing to do with what I read. I’m not trying to cope or deal or get away, I just want to read my books without someone thinking that I have some motive for doing so.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way?

I buy all my books. Nothing special about it.

Okay.  I rather enjoyed answering these questions. Had to really think about a few and then had those that were pointless, as usual. Feel free to go ahead and answer them yourself or let me know what you think of my answers.

Questions 41-55 About Books and Reading

So we’ve reached the final set of questions. I think you’ll know just about all there is to know about me and books and reading once we finish this last bunch. But if you need to catch up, here are the links to the previous posts with the questions leading up to today’s post.

Monday.

Tuesday.

Wednesday.

Thursday.

All caught up? Perfect. Let’s see what else I have for you all. Fair warning, this is a little lengthy. As in my longest post I’ve written. But it’s okay. There are some great questions toward the end!

41. The longest you’ve gone without reading

Well I didn’t hardly read at all during middle or high school. I mean, those are like full time jobs. Where could I find the time? So I’ll just say I’m sure somewhere along the line I made it a full year without reading a book from start to finish that wasn’t assigned reading.

42. Name a book that you did not finish

Well up until very recently my list of DNFs was quite small. But then I just started reading some books I didn’t like. I’ll just mention the most recent one. A Wrinkle in Time. And it’s so short, but I hated it from page one.

43. What distracts you when you’re reading?

Everything. I’m almost always in silence when I read. Occasionally I’ll read with the TV on mute.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel

This is tough. I think I’ll have to declare a three-way tie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But the only thing is that I haven’t actually made it that far into the world of Harry. Those two are based solely off the movies because I think they were great. I’ve obviously read Catching Fire and saw the movie on release day and thought it was true to the book and better than the first.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation

The Great Gatsby (2013). When you see that cast you expect a pretty damn good movie to result, and it didn’t. I had this on my DVR for months and I finally started watching it a few weeks ago. To say that I was wildly disappointed would be an understatement. I just didn’t understand the crap music in the movie. And it won a freaking Oscar for it! Just didn’t like the final product that was adapting a great, great book.

46. The most money you’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time

I’ve never been one to buy a bunch of books at once. It’s expensive. And you all know I only read one book at a time. I’ve spent maybe $35 on Amazon at one time. And I think when my local Borders store was closing down I may have spent between $20-$30. I’ll never spend more than that at any one time. Makes no sense. I’m sorry I’m not rich like you.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Never. I read mostly series. And when I finish one I don’t even see what the next is about before buying it. I’ll literally read the back cover text of the book seconds before I start reading the book. I have no idea what the book is about until I’m ready to read it through. Just how I am. Skimming a book seems like stealing to me. Why not just go to Barnes and Noble everyday for a week and finish the whole book there? That’s what skimming is like to me.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

The story. The main character. The writing. Any number of things. One of the most recent books I stopped halfway through was because the author wrote entire chapters of description. These were like 25 page chapters of nothing but description. not only was that boring, but holy crap it was annoying. Give me some dialogue or action or something!

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Whaa? I love books. More than non-book blogging people can possibly understand. You know how we randomly play out crazy “what-if” scenarios our heads to see if we’ll know how we’d react? Well I do that all the time. And very recently I thought of a house fire and what I might do. Guess what I came up with rather quickly? I’d break the window in my room by throwing my night stand out and then I’d grab one of those super heavy duty trash bags and just start throwing all my books in there as fast as possible. I think they’d all fit without ripping the bag. Then I’d throw them through the window and see what else is happening in the house. So yes, I keep my books organized because they’re my most prized possessions. Sure I have one on my bed and a few on my desk, but my shelves are perfect.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away after reading them?

Reread my answer to the previous question. Do you honestly think I would give away books if I’m over here talking about breaking windows and inhaling smoke just to save my books? No. Matter of fact, hell no. I will never give away any book I own. Even the ones I don’t like. And it really ticks me off to see that some people are willing to give away boxes and boxes of them. If there ever came a time in which I didn’t have enough room to keep all of my book, then I would throw away unnecessary furniture or I’d have them in storage or in the garage if it was climate controlled. I don’t care what you say, there will never be a valid reason for me to give away any one of my books. And when I’m older and dying I’ll probably leave them to someone in my family who vows not to ever give them away, in writing. If no one like that can be found, then I’d donate them to a library or charity. They’ll never just be given away. Rather serious answer there.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Avoiding isn’t the correct term. There is only one type of book that I’ll never read. Erotica. Cause no. Even though there are several books I’m not interested in reading like Twilight, I would read those four books fifty times before ever reading erotica.

52. Name a book that made you angry

Crap. Plenty of books have made me emotional. But I really can’t think of one that made me angry. Honestly, I don’t get angry but in very specific circumstances. Books don’t fit the bill.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did

The Hunger Games. Shocker, right? It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to like it, it was that I had no idea what it was about or why the heck my brother had been telling me over and over to read it. It was one of those rare instances in which I went in with no expectations because we all know my take on recommending books. Just because he liked it didn’t mean I would. But hey, now I’m obsessed with the series and I’ve been introduced to my future wife in Jennifer Lawrence and I’ll likely be getting that mockingjay tattoo I told you all about.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, we’ve all seen the first movie. And probably many of you have seen the second. I really thought this would be a great book. Roald Dahl is freaking beloved. But it wasn’t. It was not good at all. Oh well.

55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading

Nothing. I read whatever I want. Period.

Yeahhhh! All done! Any thoughts on the last bunch of questions? Or are you just ready for me to get back to my regular posts? Probably choice B. No worries. Monday shall be more normal.

Questions About Books and Reading

So I found a list of 55 questions related to books and reading on Tara Therese’s blog. I thought they were interesting enough to answer myself. BUT there’s a twist. If I wrote out answers to all 55 questions in a single post you all would not read all the way through. I know because I wouldn’t. Instead I’m going to answer 10 questions each day this week with the final 15 coming on Friday. This is a little different from what I normally post, but eh. Let’s go ahead and get started.

1. Favorite childhood book

I wasn’t a big reader as a child. So I’m going to have to to say Crispin: The Cross of Lead. This is the first real book I remember reading, though I have no idea when it was. 2003 maybe? No clue. You’ll notice that this is the book I mention in my ridiculously long bio on my About page.

2. What are you currently reading?

It’s actually a book written by a fellow blogger. But we have some stuff coming for that so I won’t say.

3. What book do you have on request at the library?

Unfortunately, none. I haven’t used the library much in recent years. Maybe I should. Well see.

4. Bad book habit

Bad book habit? I have no bad book habits. Unless you’re damaging your books by dog earing the pages or bending the covers all the way back, then I don’t see what habits there could be. I mean, not talking to a human being for 12 hours straight because you’ve been reading isn’t bad, right?

5. What do you currently have checked out from the library?

Well this is stupid. Nothing. If I actually used the library, then I’d most likely have something on request, right? Dumb question asker. (Who am I yelling at?)

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Of course. But don’t go punching me in the face. It was given to me as a gift by someone I no longer talk to. It’s a Kindle Keyboard. So it’s one of the first models, though I’ve never had any problems with it. I’ve read maybe 20 books on it in three years.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?

I feel like I’ve written posts about all of these questions. One book for me. Everyone who reads several is a crazy person. Just kidding. Nope.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting your blog?

Well yes, but the blog has nothing to do with my reading. Last year I was finishing up my undergrad and then writing my first book. This year I’ve just been lazy.

9. Least favorite book you’ve read this year

Easy. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.Didn’t like it at all. Not going to explain further because I’ve already written about it.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year

Another easy one. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Best book I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read this for some reason, then you need to right now. Right now.

So there you have the first 10 questions and tomorrow shall bring 10 more. Any thoughts? Also, I just realized that she skips random numbers in her post, so I may have less than the 55 I’d said unless I start searching the internet for others who have answered the questions. We’ll see.