Summer book binge (1 of 2)

After five months of reading academic papers, journals and theory books, “summer” months were spent reading just about anything light and entertaining. I’ve had an eclectic mix of young adult fiction, inspirational stuff and a few literary classics. For April, I had adventure-related stories. By May, the books I read centered on mother-daughter relationships (Hey, it’s Mothers’ Day).

April books are reviewed right here:

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Photo from: http://www.eastonlibrary.org.
The story begins with Nick describing how his relationship with his wife, Amy, transformed into indifference. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy suddenly went missing and all the evidence found in their house point to Nick as the prime suspect. The rest of the story develops around events that will solve Amy’s disappearance and of course, other suspenseful stuff you’d want to read and discover for yourself.

Gone Girl’s unreliable narration and plot twists provided me with enough reason to stay up late at night and unravel the mystery behind Amy’s disappearance. Ultimately, the novel depicts marriage not as your usual happy-ever-after stuff; rather, a lifetime commitment as such can turn into something uncanny and dishonest.

I dunno if this one’s really adventure stuff, but I guess the twists and thrills featured in this suspense novel are already something adventurous for me. I don’t usually read “scary” stories, the same way I avert my eyes from horror films—they keep me wide awake at the wee hours of the night. Anyway, this one literally kept me awake at night because I was flipping the pages of my e-book. Flynn’s novel is a page turner and it is a good one. Also, it has a movie adaptation that will be shown this year. Looking forward to it.

4.5 out of 5.

Looking for Alaska
John Green
Photo from Wikipedia.
Miles Halter is obsessed with living out Francois Rabelais’ last words: “I go to seek the Great Perhaps,” so he’s decided to spend his junior year at a boarding school. He becomes friends with his roommate, The Colonel, a Japanese student Takumi, half-American half-Romanian Lara, and the beautiful but emotionally unstable Alaska Young. Miles found boarding school boring but the pranks done by his friends and all the other students made it a much better place. He then falls in love with Alaska. The book’s blurb says it all: nothing is ever the same.

This simple diagram shows how much I like Green’s Looking for Alaska:

Looking for Alaska > Papertowns > The Fault in our Stars > An Abundance of Katherines

There.

As usual, John Green’s novels tackle usual themes in teenage narratives—academics, teenage relationships, some sort of addiction to either smoking, alcohol drinking or substance use, and that dream to be bigger than ourselves like Miles’ Great Perhaps. What made it better than other Green novels? I loved how the story is simple and uncomplicated but had that sense of depth (Naks). #truestory

4.5 out of 5.

Divergent
Veronica Roth
Photo from Wikipedia.
After Suzanne Collins’ successful Hunger Games trilogy, several other writers have tried to pitch in their own stories about teenagers trying to make a better world in a dystopian future. But Katniss Everdeen may have created a niche for herself when only a few managed to successfully replicate their mainstream hit. Publishers and agents have even predicted that dystopian-oriented young adult novels would have a hard time penetrating the market yet again.

In 2011, however, Roth’s Divergent series managed to gain a sizeable following and even successfully landed a movie adaptation this year. Divergent’s heroine is Tris Prior and the novel is set on war-ravaged Chicago. In the story’s dystopian future, the people of Chicago are grouped based on their dominant character—Abnegation for the generous and selfless, Erudite for the intelligent, Candor for outspoken and honest ones, Amity for peace-loving peoples and Dauntless for the adventurous and brave. Those who did not fit into any of these five groups will either become homeless peoples or are Divergents, those with varying characters. Tris has come of age and has to choose. Eventually, her choice will affect the rest of those around her and the society she lives in.

The good thing about the novel is its exploration of characters as groupings—it resembles how the Sorting Hat in Hogwarts determines which House a student belongs to. More than that, it shows how characters are powerful variables to determine how we’ll behave in a society, what we’ll contribute and how this affects social relationships. I also like how the new members of each group are initiated and trained. It’s exciting, I guess I want to try one. Haha! Anyway, I dislike Tris’ character. The author tried to mold her into a strong Katniss clone but ends up becoming a Bella Swan in several parts of the story. Overall, the story has promise but lacks in execution.


2.5 out of 5.

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felix felicis: Summer book binge (1 of 2)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer book binge (1 of 2)

After five months of reading academic papers, journals and theory books, “summer” months were spent reading just about anything light and entertaining. I’ve had an eclectic mix of young adult fiction, inspirational stuff and a few literary classics. For April, I had adventure-related stories. By May, the books I read centered on mother-daughter relationships (Hey, it’s Mothers’ Day).

April books are reviewed right here:

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Photo from: http://www.eastonlibrary.org.
The story begins with Nick describing how his relationship with his wife, Amy, transformed into indifference. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy suddenly went missing and all the evidence found in their house point to Nick as the prime suspect. The rest of the story develops around events that will solve Amy’s disappearance and of course, other suspenseful stuff you’d want to read and discover for yourself.

Gone Girl’s unreliable narration and plot twists provided me with enough reason to stay up late at night and unravel the mystery behind Amy’s disappearance. Ultimately, the novel depicts marriage not as your usual happy-ever-after stuff; rather, a lifetime commitment as such can turn into something uncanny and dishonest.

I dunno if this one’s really adventure stuff, but I guess the twists and thrills featured in this suspense novel are already something adventurous for me. I don’t usually read “scary” stories, the same way I avert my eyes from horror films—they keep me wide awake at the wee hours of the night. Anyway, this one literally kept me awake at night because I was flipping the pages of my e-book. Flynn’s novel is a page turner and it is a good one. Also, it has a movie adaptation that will be shown this year. Looking forward to it.

4.5 out of 5.

Looking for Alaska
John Green
Photo from Wikipedia.
Miles Halter is obsessed with living out Francois Rabelais’ last words: “I go to seek the Great Perhaps,” so he’s decided to spend his junior year at a boarding school. He becomes friends with his roommate, The Colonel, a Japanese student Takumi, half-American half-Romanian Lara, and the beautiful but emotionally unstable Alaska Young. Miles found boarding school boring but the pranks done by his friends and all the other students made it a much better place. He then falls in love with Alaska. The book’s blurb says it all: nothing is ever the same.

This simple diagram shows how much I like Green’s Looking for Alaska:

Looking for Alaska > Papertowns > The Fault in our Stars > An Abundance of Katherines

There.

As usual, John Green’s novels tackle usual themes in teenage narratives—academics, teenage relationships, some sort of addiction to either smoking, alcohol drinking or substance use, and that dream to be bigger than ourselves like Miles’ Great Perhaps. What made it better than other Green novels? I loved how the story is simple and uncomplicated but had that sense of depth (Naks). #truestory

4.5 out of 5.

Divergent
Veronica Roth
Photo from Wikipedia.
After Suzanne Collins’ successful Hunger Games trilogy, several other writers have tried to pitch in their own stories about teenagers trying to make a better world in a dystopian future. But Katniss Everdeen may have created a niche for herself when only a few managed to successfully replicate their mainstream hit. Publishers and agents have even predicted that dystopian-oriented young adult novels would have a hard time penetrating the market yet again.

In 2011, however, Roth’s Divergent series managed to gain a sizeable following and even successfully landed a movie adaptation this year. Divergent’s heroine is Tris Prior and the novel is set on war-ravaged Chicago. In the story’s dystopian future, the people of Chicago are grouped based on their dominant character—Abnegation for the generous and selfless, Erudite for the intelligent, Candor for outspoken and honest ones, Amity for peace-loving peoples and Dauntless for the adventurous and brave. Those who did not fit into any of these five groups will either become homeless peoples or are Divergents, those with varying characters. Tris has come of age and has to choose. Eventually, her choice will affect the rest of those around her and the society she lives in.

The good thing about the novel is its exploration of characters as groupings—it resembles how the Sorting Hat in Hogwarts determines which House a student belongs to. More than that, it shows how characters are powerful variables to determine how we’ll behave in a society, what we’ll contribute and how this affects social relationships. I also like how the new members of each group are initiated and trained. It’s exciting, I guess I want to try one. Haha! Anyway, I dislike Tris’ character. The author tried to mold her into a strong Katniss clone but ends up becoming a Bella Swan in several parts of the story. Overall, the story has promise but lacks in execution.


2.5 out of 5.

Labels: , , , ,

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