Thoughts. Not Quite A Review…The Fault In our Stars By John Green

I have been a Nerfighter for a long time.13687366_888660391265561_563314833_n

I think John Green is a fantastic human being. I also knew he wrote books. Hell, his name on Instagram is johngreenwritesbooks. Until yesterday, I had never read any of his books.

I attribute this to my attempt at not being a book bitch and occasionally falling from grace anyway. I have a bad image of YA literature due to an unfortunate foray with a book called Twilight a few years back…Perhaps everyone and their freaking grandmother has heard of it. I will never get the time back that I lost to this book. Ever. It will continue to haunt me till the day I die. I have since, judged all YA literature as harshly as I wished I had treated this one.

When I would see John Green books on my many bookish travels, I longed for his writing and yet, denied it for fear of the whiny, angst-ridden, brainless adaptation of young america that was Twilight.

I’m 35 years old this year and trying to think like a teenybopper is, to be honest, painful at best. Yet, who am I to judge a whole type of books based on one bad experience? That makes me an asshole. Not all teenagers are brainless, slightly larger versions of toddlers, or the sparkling undead.

So, on a whim, at the Goodwill, I’d picked up The Fault In Our Stars and figured that for a buck, even if it was horrible, not a huge loss.

I started reading yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m. and took a few breaks to go to the store and to mini marathon Intervention with my sister. Still, I finished this book at 11:53 p.m. I then spent hours looking at the dark ceiling unable to let the story go.

I won’t bore anyone with an actual review. Everyone knows of this book, through seeing the movie, watching much better reviews than I could write on BookTube or through book blogs who have much more talent than mine. I will say that there are very few books in this life (and I read a lot) that have left me speechless.

I love (present tense) this book so much, I love these characters so much and I love the brilliant mind of John Green more now than I ever have before. That’s saying something.

Everyone should read this book, everyone.

I will from today going forward no longer judge any book based on others of it’s kind.

 

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Book Review: Icy Sparks By Gwyn Hyman Rubio

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Icy Sparks is a story about outcasts. About not fitting in, being different.

The story begins with an adult Icy Sparks recounting her life as a young girl in the mountains of Kentucky in the 1950’s. She lives with her grandparents after the  deaths of her parents.

Her mother, we don’t really know too much about besides what her parents (Icy’s grandma and grandpa) tell her. Her father we know had some peculiar mannerisms, namely  his eyes popping and other tics, though Icy nor anyone else in her mountain town knew what actually ailed him.

Icy soon finds herself facing some of these tics herself. Besides the eye popping are jerks (as she calls them) along with outbursts and cursing. With not a single person close to her knowing what this is or how to deal with it, this poor girl goes through the hell of mistreatment at school and being ostracized by her peers as well as the folks in town, eventually landing in a hospital.

This was a hard one to read as much as it was interesting. Icy has her grandparents and her grown friend Miss Emily, who is also an outcast due to her being grossly overweight, but the small town  50’s mentality keeps Icy alone in a position she can’t understand. Yet, she pushes through with a mostly positive attitude. I think her life was harder for me to handle than it was for her. This is a story full of death, secrets, unresolved animosity and so many other very upsetting emotions. A reader would be hard pressed to not relate to some of what Icy goes through on a smaller scale. One also feels for her on a very human level.

I gave this three stars on Goodreads. Here’s why.

The characters were well written and likable, yet it was difficult at times for me to figure out what the author wanted the reader to focus on. There was focus on lying, abuse at the hands of a couple of adults in a place of power, strange friendships, seemingly useless and confusing medical treatment and finally religion. Some of the parts of this telling seemed like they were just fillers to get to the end, but they don’t seem to be necessary to the whole of the story.

Though I did find out what happened to Icy, what the actual cause of her symptoms was, I felt like in the last few pages the answer was quickly thrown together to simply to end the story. Perhaps, I missed something or I’m too thick to see what the author was doing, but I felt the resolution was hasty.

In the end, it was an interesting read and I would be curious to see what others thought about this book.

(Drunken) Book Review: The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle By DavidWroblewski (Spoiler Free)

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I’m going to be honest, this is a bit of a drunk book review. It’s truly the only way I can review it, in my humble opinion (have you seen ‘My So-Called Life’?? Or am I dating myself??).

Anyway, I just finished The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle…it…I just can’t.

I spent the better part of July and August plugging through this book. Judge my slow reading as you may, it was friggen amazing. This book was everything I don’t want in a book, everything I run from when I read a synopsis. My advice…screw the synopsis.

So, here is a story, highly character driven. I freaking love characters. One meets in this story more characters than is even necessary and yet, ask how many f’s do I give?? None, because I’m better for having met these people. The scenery is even a friggen character!

Shut up and strap in for the ride.

This book is long…so damn long. That doesn’t matter. We follow a family, the Sawtelle family, Trudy, Gar, and Edgar, who breed a fictional breed of dog, the “Sawtelle Dog”, read it to find out more. There we also meet, Claud, Ida, Page, Henry and Glen…I can’t even call them secondary characters. They stick in your head and don’t let go. Then the dogs themselves are actually front and center characters in some cases. That shocked me. I worked in a kennel myself and the narrative of a dog still threw me for a loop. It also pulled me in. To see the world from their point of view made life seem hard and careless, but full and exciting at the same time. They gave a fresh perspective this story demanded.

It’s apparently some sort of adaptation of Hamlet by Shakespeare. I don’t like Shakespeare, though I did enjoy The Taming Of The Shrew. I see it, but I don’t give two craps. This story out of this authors mind is just a trip. It makes you love, hate and wish you had some answers that you will never get, then make you glad you never found them.

This is so character driven, you just need to cry. For good, for bad, for the ones you love.

Remember, I’m slightly (totally) intoxicated, but totally honest. I don’t think I will ever get this story out of my head. As you know if you’ve been here from the beginning, I love Stephen King. I Feel Like Teddy here in the movie version of Stand By Me. Then What? What happens next? Maybe I want to know, maybe the actual completion of this book is the best.

Jesus, just read it. Let me know what you thought. Even if you hated it, you still may never forget Edgar Sawtelle and his dogs. I know I won’t.

If David Wroblewski is out there anywhere reading this, write another book, please.

 

The Last Few Pages

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As I finally make my way to the end of my current read, which has taken me an embarrassingly long time to get through. Been about a month, though it’s only 562 pages and it only took me three days to read the 900 or so pages of  Stephen King’s Under The Dome . Yet, I have arrived, if fashionably late, to the last 18 pages…

Of course, this is where my mind started to wander. I started to think about my approach to books that have kept me drawn in for any  period of time. Then, my thoughts go a bit crazy.

I start by mentally preparing and wondering, “Do I really want this to end so fast?” and “HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS IN 18 PAGES???!!!”. So, I put the book down an find a distraction. There is the fear, naturally, of disappointment and the inner irritation at myself for not being able to read the words fast enough regardless of the outcome.

I can speak only for myself, but I’ve noticed my book ending reading habit goes a bit like this…

Sit up if I’m laying down…move the book as close to my face as humanly possible in case my peripheral vision might find a distraction…yell at everyone around me to shut the hell up…then take in every word as though this were the last book ever written and it holds the answer to all of life’s great questions (even if the book sucked).

This usually follows me finding excuses to put the book down to sate a few of the nagging distractions, like wondering if it will all make sense, peeing, did I miss something huge in the story one night while half dozing and dropping the book on my face over and over. DID I GIVE THE BOOK THE ATTENTION IT DESERVED!?

Reading is more than a hobby to me. It’s separate lives I live, good or bad and I like to take the process seriously. That kind of makes me sound mentally ill…but it’s the truth.

Now, with only minor distractions left, those last 18 pages await…

Does anyone else get end of book anxiety or is it just me?

Goodwill Book Haul (Just A Little One)

Today I was feeling the need, the need to read…Ok, that wan’t necessary, but I had to say it. Since I’m always in the mood to buy books, yet not always in the financial position to do so, I hit the local Goodwill store. This is actually my favorite place to find books as it’s cheap as hell and I find all sorts of gems!

It was red ticket day, so naturally everything I picked was a yellow ticket, but who really cares when you’re still making out with three books for a quarter of the price of one at the ol’ Barnes & Noble.

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I felt like I’d hit the jackpot when I made it to the book section. There was a whole shelf of classic books. I love to buy them, even if sometimes I start them and wonder why they were ever taught in school save for teaching students to sleep or hate literature as a whole. Truth be told, I love how they usually have those mesmerizing colors on the edges of all the pages…and they smell good. Thus the name of this blog, I really do love to sniff books.

I made a deal with myself to only buy three books, so I quickly grabbed my choices. The first one I saw was Animal Farm by George Orwell. I desperately wanted it because it’s the same printing I read in my 7th grade reading class with Mrs. Lynch. Props to my Junior High for providing their students in 1993 with a 1962 copy of a book. I felt the love in that tattered copy and I loved the story, too. Though, in those many years I have forgotten much of this story and I’m pretty damn excited to read it again.

Next, I found To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’m just going to say it. I have never read this book. I am quite a bit ashamed of this since even my husband who would rather set his face on fire than read has read it. I was never in the classes that read this one, so obviously I had to grab it. It was only later that I realized the way I was carrying the book through the store, I had lost some pages, so I only have starting from page 15 on. Still the edges of the pages are green and I love the movie cover. I almost feel as though someone doesn’t want me to read this book…Yes, I’m as paranoid as Fox Mulder in a room full of Smoking Men.

Finally, I saw The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I’m going to start by saying I’m a big Vlogbrothers (the YouTube channel John has with his brother Hank) fan aka Nerdfighter. I’m not a huge fan of YA lit these days as I head toward 35 next month, sometimes I just can’t get into the mind set of a young adult…Jesus, that’s depressing. Not even sure if this is YA, just that I’ve seen many BookTubers do reviews on this particular book and they mainly read YA, so I’m just projecting, I suppose. That being said, books are books and if I can get it for cheap, I will give it a try. I’ve never READ John Green before, so now’s as good a time as any to start.

As I continue to plug my way through the book I’ve been reading (and loving)  for just about ever, I am happy to add these new finds to my collection! Nothing says happiness like a full bookshelf.

Time

I was hoping to have another book review ready for today, but time happened. Time seems to me to be a readers worst enemy. I’ve started a new book, ‘The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle’, which is so far wowing me quite a bit. However, it’s long  and though the story is calling to keep me glued to the page, my life off the page has kept me from reading this at the pace I’d like.

It’s not fun to be pulled out of the imaginary world that has got hold of you, only to be faced with such mundane things as dishes or work. It is a fact of life, though, and for people like me who can read fast, but would much rather take my time and enjoy the story in all it’s details, this means planning.

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I’m not stuck on taking my books with me when I go out, since these times are usually to run quick errands or go to some event that would leave me looking like a first class A-hole should I pull out a book. I also cannot read in cars. I get horribly car sick. This means I need to actually make scheduled time to read during the day.

I’m not sure what everyone else who has little free time to read does to squeeze in the time to jump back into the story they’re consumed by, but I like to divide up my books into a weeks worth of reading. Seven days. This way I don’t give up even trying and fill my little free time with social media. I like to sit down and read late in the day, before I lay down, because God knows I’ll just end up falling asleep and dropping my book in my face.

These days of adult commitments and responsibility make me long for the days of my youth when I could take all the time I wanted to read. It was actually encouraged!

What does everyone else do to find reading time with a busy schedule?