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Ahsoka
E. Russell Johnston Jr.
Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin Between the letter James Baldwin addresses to his nephew and the "letter from a region in his mind" that follows it, there are so many questions, answers and comments that he brilliantly presents regarding some of the great social issues of the 1960’s. Today the characters have changed, but similar criticism can be applied to modern day situations.

“All of us know, whether or not we are able to admit it, that mirrors can only lie, that death by drowning is all that awaits one there. It is for this reason that love is so desperately sought and so cunningly avoided. Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

Divergent (Divergent Series)

Divergent (Divergent Series) - Veronica Roth I really thought that I was going to hate this book, but I rarely put it down over the two days in which I read it. It is also so fast paced, it is very difficult to lose interest in the story.

Some of the foreshadowing borders on patronizing. Even though I assumed from the beginning that there would be a cliche romantic subplot, it was still hard not to cringe through every awkward intimate moment. I'm sure a lot of other people enjoyed these aspects though.

With Divergent, Veronica Roth has managed to corral some of the memories and feelings that Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury previously gifted me. This reading session has even inspired me to brush the dust off of my copy of 1984, finally. I can't wait to acquire the sequels.

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath It took me so long to actually get around to reading The Bell Jar, and I am disappointed in myself for not reading it years ago. I don't think that I have the mental capability to even begin to explain how powerful this book is.

Fade to Blue

Fade to Blue - Sean Beaudoin This book jerks you around and you never truly know what is going to happen. Much of it was confusing for me, but I think that it was perfect that way, since the main characters were confused to the point that they believed they were insane. I feel like there is some kind of easy to grasp explanation to what I read, but it escapes me the harder I try to reach it.

I was very fond of Sophie Blue and was rooting for her from very early on. I was so frustrated by the Matrix-like cliffhanger at the end. Hopefully I will better understand this story someday. If not, I think I am okay with that too.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury I have been on this earth for 23 years and somehow had never crossed paths with this beautiful book! Ray Bradbury immediately threw himself into my favorite authors list with Fahrenheit 451.

It was interesting exploring a more classic example of dystopian fiction, after reading recent examples like The Giver, Divergent and The Hunger Games. I felt like Bradbury predicted the future almost with pinpoint accuracy, in the way many of us consume so much shallow entertainment today.. It makes me thankful that unlike the nightmare of a society in the story, I feel like we have more freedom today than we ever have, regarding what we choose as entertainment.

There are of course reports of banned books and book burnings even today, but information spreads so quickly and easily with the tools that we have, the notion of eradicating any valuable information entirely is nearly laughable. Yet, the book’s warning against conformity and censorship are as strong today as they were 60 years ago.

In the edition that I read, Neil Gainman wrote an incredible introduction with brilliant commentary on this work of fiction. I recommend anyone who is interested to seek it out, whether in the book or online.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay It was awesome to experience the origin of one of my favorite television shows. The book is like a more pure version of the show, without all of the filler. Unfortunately without the aforementioned filler, it isn't quite as enjoyable.

Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy - Jostein Gaarder, Paulette Møller I had been trying to finish this book for such a long time. I would quickly read one or two hundred pages, and then I would put it down for months and repeat.If you aren't in the mood for "A Novel About the History of Philosophy" (major emphasis on the history), then I would move this a bit further down on your reading list.

This book can be very boring. But it is more fun than your school philosophy textbook. I enjoyed the subplot and was even inspired to put the book down a few times to reevaluate my own existence. It isn't often that I stop and acknowledge the fact that we too, are stardust.

The Contender

The Contender - Robert Lipsyte A friend sent me home with this one and I am so glad it was a quick read. I'm not too interested in boxing, or fighting in general. The story felt very rushed and there was little room for character depth. Overall it was an uplifting and inspirational story about working hard to achieve your goals, as well as standing behind what you believe in.

I didn't do much research, but I believe that the author was once a sports writer in the 60's. That would explain how he described the fight scenes so well. I felt like I was in the ring myself at times.

I was surprised Alfred didn't continue down his path to be a fighter. It was nice to see an example of someone taking things they learned in a sport, like patience and determination, and then applying them to more "productive" areas of their life (like School and work).

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan I unfortunately had viewed the movie before I read the book, and as anyone who has seen the movie could guess, I couldn't rid myself of the mental image of Michael Cera as Nick (which seemed entirely off by the books description).


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As most book to movie experiences go, I was stuck wondering why they left out so much in the movie. There were some amazing scenes in this book that would have translated to film beautifully! But this isn't about the movie, so I will move on.


If I had read this book in my teens, I think that it would have immediately been a favorite of mine. David Levithan and Rachel Cohn wrote in alternating chapters from Nick & Norah's perspectives, which was a new experience for me as a reader. You get a front row seat in their minds and see the different ways each of them react to the same situations. I enjoyed observing the insecurities that they were hiding from one another (often insecurities that were mutual), and how they overcome them in their journey to get to know each other.

I recommend this book to any fan of the young adult/romance/coming of age genre. Avoid this book if you are easily offended by explicit language.

Jailbird

Jailbird - Kurt Vonnegut The first half of Jailbird was difficult for me to fully appreciate due to it’s randomness, but I would expect nothing else from Kurt Vonnegut. In the second half, things began to quickly become clear and coherent. I loved the inclusion of real historical events in the book, like the Watergate Scandal. The main characters interactions with Nixon were among the many hilarious attributes of the book. Loved it!

Gone Girl

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn This book was a roller-coaster! I usually pride myself on being able to see twists before they happen, but this one got me, multiple times! I loved the back and forth narration between Nick and Amy. I spent the entire read guessing and was surprised all the way up to the final chapters. Gone Girl inspired me to pick up Gillian Flynn’s other books, though I have yet to read them.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini I love how truthful this book is in shedding light on how some people cope with mental illness. It avoids over-dramatizing and glamorizing anxiety and depression, which I’ve noticed many books tend to do. There is a lot of humor, but it still communicates how serious these issues are.

Craig's relationships with the other characters seem a bit rushed at times. As with most YA fiction, I assumed that a cheesy romantic subplot was ahead, which it was. But it was bearable and actually kind of cute. I don't say things like this often.

Following Craig through his roller coaster of a week in a psychiatric hospital is ultimately a unique and mostly uplifting experience. Ned Vizzini was a great writer. I am glad that he lives on, in a sense, through his books.