HOLES by Louis Sachar

38709Apparently I missed the stop for the Holes train when I was younger, because it feels as though everyone else has read this book except for me. After countless people recommended it to me (both through blogging and in my everyday life), I finally decided to listen to the audio book version this summer. While the many positive reviews I’d heard prior to reading this book certainly pushed me to actually start it, I think they may have ultimately done me a disservice. I enjoyed Louis Sachar’s Holes, but finished it feeling a bit disappointed that it hadn’t met my high expectations.

One aspect of this novel I did love was how Sachar included clever, funny details in the story. Making the main character’s name a palindrome (Stanley Yelnats) is not only brilliant– it’s hilarious! His unusual name came up several times throughout the story and even played an important part in the climax of the novel. Each detail is significant in its own way, which I greatly appreciated. Similarly, Sachar’s use of repetition led to many little coincidences that were always a satisfying, pleasant surprise to come across. For example, I loved the cyclical nature of the song passed down through Stanley’s family, as well as the ongoing joke about Stanley’s “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” These quirky details added an extra layer of fun, surprise, and wit to an already unique story.

Moreover, another strength of Holes is its many complex, multidimensional, one-of-a-kind characters. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, so instead I’ll pick three: Stanley Yelnats, Mr. Pendanski, and the Warden. I couldn’t help but root for Stanley throughout this novel because he is easy to relate with. He’s an average kid who is thrust into an undesirable situation, which is a feeling I think we have all experienced to a certain extent. Life isn’t always easy for Stanley, but he remains optimistic all the same and refuses to give up. What more can you want from a protagonist?

%22When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up.%22The other two characters may not have the most sound morals, but they do have their charms. Mr. Pendanski has an odd sense of humor that I think is hilarious, and I love the way he tries to teach the boys that they are in control of their own lives. He is that ambiguous blend of good and evil which is sure to result in a fascinating character. The Warden, on the other hand, is just plain evil– but that’s what I love about her! Her unpredictability, mischievous personality, and enigmatic persona add an exciting element of suspense to the story. Furthermore, nearly all of the characters undergo some sort of character development. From the courageous campers to the wicked workers of Camp Green Lake, everyone learns a lesson or two throughout this wacky adventure.

However, my mixed feelings began to develop when the additional story lines were introduced. There are certainly aspects of the intertwining story lines that I thought worked well, such as the way they helped explain the supposed curse on Stanley’s family and the history of Camp Green Lake. They added remarkable depth to the story and came together nicely in a satisfying, clever conclusion. But along with the strengths of the multiple story lines come several weaknesses, including jarring transitions and a bit of general confusion. Perhaps it’s because I listened to the audio book version of Holes, but I found the transitions between the different plot lines to be quite abrupt. At first they were really unexpected and I had no idea how the second one connected with Stanley’s own story, thought that became apparent later on. I understand that it’s meant to be a mystery or puzzle in the beginning, but I think more could have been done to clarify what was actually going on. Again, this might simply be a result of the audio book, but it’s nevertheless worth thinking about.

Holes was also a bit confusing due to the incredibly random nature of the story itself. Kids forced to dig holes exactly five feet deep all around? Carrying a pig up a mountain so it can drink from a stream and miraculously grow larger? Magical onions? Although I fully support creativity and originality, this book was so outlandish at times that it all felt a bit much. Perhaps I would have enjoyed these seemingly random elements more if I had read this book when I was younger.

Overall, Holes by Louis Sachar is a unique, clever, and hilarious read. While I enjoyed many aspects of the story– the quirky details, the characters, the satisfying ending, etc.– I couldn’t help but ultimately feel disappointed. This book was so hyped up for me that my expectations grew to unreachable heights, as will happen when the hype monster attacks. Nevertheless, Holes is an entertaining, original, and worthwhile read.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! Despite my own disappointment, I still enjoyed this story very much.

Have you read Holes? What are your thoughts on it? Have you ever been disappointed by a book because your initial expectations were too high? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Unread Books from the Pre-Blogging Era

Foodie Facts About Me-7

Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a lovely week so far. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is quite a challenging one: the Top Ten Books from Before Blogging that I Still Haven’t Read. I’ve been book blogging for years now, so long that I can hardly remember when I started (eighth grade? ninth grade?). I started out with a different blog using Blogger, and then I created this WordPress one a few years later. I know for sure that I’ve been book blogging for at least five years, so remembering what I wanted to read way back then that I still haven’t read is a little difficult. However, I’ve managed to piece together a list of books that generally fit the bill.

Let’s take a journey into the mind of fourteen-year-old Holly, shall we?

1043781. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

I was a devoted Sarah Dessen fan when I was younger, and I ended up reading the majority of her books. There are a few that I never got around to for some reason, and this is one of them. Her books were always my go-to summer reads, so I’m sure I’ll end up picking this one up at some point in the future.

94627752. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

This is the sequel to Johnson’s book Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, which I read and enjoyed enough to want to read the sequel. However, because so much time has passed since reading the first book I really have no burning desire to read this sequel now. Unfortunately, this is a short series that I’ll most likely leave unfinished.

71377753. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

I loved the first book in this trilogy– Perfect Chemistry– and I always meant to read the other two books, but I never got around to it. (This will be a recurring theme in this post: me “not getting around” to reading books. Basically, there are so many books and so little time in which to read them all!)

1513704. Many Waters An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle

These are the fourth and fifth books in the A Wrinkle in Time Quintet. I read the first three books and actually still own the entire series, but for some reason I have never read these last two installments. I feel like I would still really enjoy them, so I’ll have to put them back on my TBR!

97438015. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Again, this is another sequel that I have yet to read for no particular reason. I really enjoyed The Giver, especially considering it’s one of the early books in the YA dystopian trend that recently exploded with popularity. (And if you ask me, Lowry wrote it much better than many of the newer novels!) I’ll definitely have to continue on with this series eventually!

2144386. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I’ve always pictured this book as being the quintessential YA summer novel, and because of this idealization I think I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to read it. However, at this point I think I just have to read it whenever I have the time and I’m in the mood. People seem to love this series, as well as the movie adaptation.

92791777. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Ever since I first discovered The Lover’s Dictionary I’ve been infatuated with its basic premise: the story of a romantic relationship told through dictionary entries. What could be better for us word-loving bibliophiles? Plus, David Levithan’s books are always a treat to read.

247708. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Back when I was in middle school, this was one of the more popular YA novels. However, after all of the initial hype settled I began to hear some mixed reviews, which is why I set it aside to read at a later date…. a later date that has apparently never arrived! Unfortunately, I don’t think this is one that I’ll be picking up any time soon.

the silmarillion cover9. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

I LOVE LORD OF THE RINGS.❤ I’ve owned a copy of this book for years, but it has always sort of intimidated me. I don’t know much about the actual story itself, and I’m afraid that it’s going to be confusing at first. But I’m determined to read it at some point!

3898010. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

I adored these movies when I was younger, and I’ve always toyed with the idea of reading the entire book series. Part of me wants to save them for a rainy day when I could use a little cheer– I feel like these will instantly put a smile on my face, no matter how blue I’m feeling!

What are some unread books left on your TBR from your pre-blogging years? What do you think of the books on my list? Which ones should I read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Thoughts While Reading GONE WITH THE WIND {Part 5}

THOUGHTS WHILE READING (3)

The time has finally come: I have finished reading Gone with the Wind!! Today I share my thoughts on the fifth and final installment in this classic American novel. Feel free to catch up with any of my previous posts in this series by clicking here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. It’s been a long journey, but it was definitely worth it!

Be aware that the “Thoughts” section may contain spoilers, but the “Overall” section will be spoiler-free!

June

  • p. 863: Melanie is so loyal to Scarlett! I’m glad someone in Atlanta still has Scarlett’s back, especially after the big mess with the Ku Klux Klan and Frank’s death. Why can’t the rest of Atlanta see that Rhett saved their men from the Yankees? Will they ever come to accept that fact as reality?
  • p. 874: You can already see the money changing Scarlett for the worse. Oh, I don’t know if this is going to end well!
  • p. 882: Scarlett is having ANOTHER baby? Also, I’m not so sure that Scarlett and Rhett have a very healthy relationship…
  • p. 888: Awww, Rhett is so good with Wade! He treats him like Wade is his own son.
  • p. 891: Bonnie Blue Butler❤ Such an adorable name!
  • p. 926: OH NO, Scarlett and Ashley were caught! But what did they think would happen? Melanie was bound to find out sooner or later!
  • p. 937: Rhett is insane!! What if he hurts her?
  • p. 944: Everything is falling apart! Now they’re talking about a divorce?! I really hope this book has at least a sort of happy ending!
  • p. 979: I think Scarlett has finally realized that all of her money hasn’t made her as happy as she thought initially thought it would.
  • p. 982: What irony: Ashley and Rhett working together to break up the Ku Klux Klan in Atlanta!
  • p. 991: OH MY GOODNESS, Bonnie died just like Gerald!! That’s so tragic! (And also a bit creepy.) Rhett will be absolutely devastated!
  • p. 994: The image of Rhett with Bonnie’s corpse in his bedroom is disturbing. And the way he insist on keeping the lights on because she’s afraid of the dark– is her really in denial that Bonnie is actually dead?
  • p. 1016: Scarlett has finally realized that she never actually loved Ashley, only an idealized image of him that she had convinced herself was real.
  • p. 1018: I CAN’T BELIEVE MELANIE IS REALLY DEAD.
  • p. 1037: AHHHHHH.

June (2)

“The old days had no glitter but they had a charm, a beauty, a slow-paced glamour.” (p. 924)

This is such a beautiful, elegant description of the nostalgia that consumes Ashley.

“As usual they would cast the blame upon the woman and shrug at the man’s guilt.” (p. 927)

Once again, Mitchell emphasizes the ridiculous gender inequality entrenched in the Southern way of life. I greatly appreciate Mitchell’s direct forthrightness when it comes to addressing this topic, especially regarding the boldness of Scarlett’s character.

“Suddenly it was as if Ellen were lying behind that closed door, leaving the world for a second time.” (p. 1027)

Even in death, it appears as though Melanie is an embodiment of Ellen. In my mind, Melanie is the woman who Ellen probably wished Scarlett would become. I think the juxtaposition between Scarlett and Melanie is absolutely fascinating– it’s definitely a topic that I’ll dive deeper into in the future!

“After all, tomorrow is another day.” (p. 1037)

I can’t imagine a better last line for this novel. It perfectly captures the tone and essence of the story, that life goes on and on despite all of the bad things that are happening. It’s so simple, but so fitting!

June (1)

Wow. Just, wow. I don’t even really know how to begin explaining my thoughts on the conclusion of this wild, wonderful story. It certainly didn’t end the way I thought (or even hoped) that it would, but I can’t imagine it ending any other way. So much happened within the last 50 pages or so that it still really hasn’t completely sunk in. Overall, I’m thoroughly impressed and astounded by this brilliant novel and I’m so glad that I decided to finally read it this summer!

I’m definitely going to need some time to process everything and form some coherent opinions about this. I plan on posting a full review soon, so stay tuned!

I can’t believe it’s over! What am I going to do now?!?! *cue the inevitable book hangover*

What are your thoughts on Gone with the Wind? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Sunshine Blogger Award

Book Courtship-5

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day! I’m a little late with posting this (I was nominated in July) but better late than never, right? Thanks so much to the lovely Megan @ Tables of Content for nominating me! Definitely go check out her blog if you haven’t already. She’s so kind and her nomination made my day!❤

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  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the eleven questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate eleven blogs to receive the award and write them eleven new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Suspense-9

William Shakespeare
Good ol’ Shakespeare.

1. What city/country would you like to travel to next? 

Fun fact: I’ve never traveled outside of the United States. I don’t even have a passport! However, I’m hoping to study abroad during my junior year of college in either England or Spain.

208940842. What book(s) are currently on your nightstand? 

Right now the only book on my nightstand is the one I’m currently reading: A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland. So far I’m absolutely loving it. It’s every literature lover’s dream!

3. What do you find most rewarding about blogging? 

For me, the most rewarding part of blogging is definitely talking with and getting to know others in this lovely bookish community. Whether it’s through blog comments, Twitter, or even email, I truly enjoy chatting with all of you!

4. Any advice to new bloggers? 

I’m certainly not a blogging expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I would love to know your answers to this question as well. At any rate, my blogging advice is simple: do it because you love it. Otherwise, it’s easy for blogging to feel like a chore at times. If you love it, though, then blogging becomes that much better!

5. What is the craziest/wildest/most adventurous trip or journey you’ve taken? 

I’m not the most adventurous person in the world, so I don’t have many wild stories to share. The most adventurous trips I’ve taken are probably the many hiking trips I’ve been on over the years. One time I camped in Baxter State Park in Maine and hiked a few mountains around there, and to this day it is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

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This train is accurately called the Knife’s Edge.

6. Three songs you always have on your travel playlist? 

Whenever I go on long road trips with my family, I inevitably end up listening to these three songs at some point: Ribs by Lorde, Anna Sun by Walk the Moon, and Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford & Sons.

June-11

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater7. What is one book you are secretly embarrassed you haven’t read yet? 

I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily embarrassed to not have read certain books, but there are definitely many that I need to read as soon as possible. A few that come to mind are The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. (But seriously, there are SO MANY MORE that I could list!)

8. Do you have or want any pets? 

DO I. Currently I have three days, which is the most my family has ever had at one time> Melody is a mutt who we adopted when I was in kindergarten, Abby is a miniature dachshund who is very nervous, and Eddie is a friendly chug (a chihuahua pug mix!) who we adopted this past April. Needless to say, my house is pretty crowded with furry friends!

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Eddie and I!

9. What are your favorite types of blog posts to write?

Even though I never manage to keep up with creating them, I think my favorite posts to write are book reviews. They take a while to finish but I feel so accomplished when I do. Also, I love seeing the response they get and learning about whether or not others had similar thoughts on that particular work. Book reviews are very rewarding posts (both personally and in terms of community engagement), which is why I love to write them.

10. Are you a planner or a spontaneous traveler?

I’m a planner when it comes to nearly everything, including traveling. I love to make schedules so I know well in advanced where we’re going and at what time. I also tend to do a lot of research about the place before I travel there, particularly regarding restaurants due to my nut allergy. It just makes the entire trip so much easier when you know where you’re going ahead of time.

11. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Sometimes I can be a bit of a pessimist (can’t we all?) but I’m going to say half full for this one because it’s what I try to remind myself every day. There are so many reasons to smile, even when you feel blue!

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I’ve decided to include the two themes of this award in my questions: blogging and sunshine!

  1. What’s your biggest source of motivation when it comes to blogging?
  2. What inspires you?
  3. Out of all of your posts, which one is your favorite?
  4. Do you stick to a blogging schedule or do you prefer to post spontaneously?
  5. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
  6. What’s one of your biggest blogging pet peeves?
  7. Any blogging advice?
  8. Do you prefer sunny or rainy days?
  9. Favorite pair of sunglasses?
  10. What’s your ideal way to spend a sunny summer day?
  11. Favorite song with “sun” in the title?

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I’m nominating 11 blogs that I recently followed. Definitely check these great blogs out!

  1. Olivia @ Heir of Glitter
  2. Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction
  3. Sarah @ Reviews & Read-a-Thons
  4. Ola @ Ola Reads Books
  5. Nagina @ Oh Bookish
  6. Alisha @ Alisha’s Words of Wonder
  7. Laura @ Life is a Book Blog
  8. Eliza @ Bookaholic
  9. Olivia @ Olivia Chanel
  10. Emmy @ Fictionaire
  11. Georgia @ Books & Other Miracles

Thanks again to Megan for nominating me!!❤

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? What blogging advice do YOU have? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway | Reread

book drive

Recently I read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway for the second time; predictably, my love-hate relationship with this classic American writer continues.

When I First Read

I first read this classic American novel in April 2015, almost exactly one year before I reread it again in April 2016. I had read Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms for English class during my junior year of high school and didn’t really enjoy it, so this was my way of giving Hemingway another chance. As you can tell by my first review, his writing still didn’t click with me.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayWhat I Remember

Spain. Bull-fighting. A lot of drinking. Parties. Choppy, terse writing. The Lost Generation. My memories of this novel were a blur of these various elements, accompanied by my negative impressions of it. I tried to go into this reread with an open mind and push those past judgments away, but it was difficult to do completely.

Why I Wanted to Reread

The Sun Also Rises was assigned reading for my Cultural Diversity in American Literature class this past semester. At first I was disappointed (I would have to suffer through it again?!) but over time I actually looked forward to giving it a second chance.Because I read it on my own the first time around, I suspected that there was a lot I had missed. I hoped that class discussions and my professor’s enthusiasm would rub off on me and transform me into a devoted Hemingway fan– or, at the very least, help me appreciate his writing a bit more.

There is no reason why because it is dark you should look at things differently from when it is light.How I Felt After Rereading

I’m just not destined to love this book.

Overall, I certainly enjoyed it more than I did when I first read it; however, there’s just something about this novel that I simply can’t click with.

One positive outcome of rereading The Sun Also Rises is that I’ve gained a greater appreciation for Hemingway’s writing. My professor described his choppy, short, minimalist writing style as an iceberg: there’s so much more beneath the surface than will ever show on the page. In other words, what he doesn’t say is more important that what he does. His explanation shifted the way I read Hemingway’s work, allowing me to look past the narrative itself to the core of what he was trying to get across. One of the more obvious examples of this is Jake’s injury, for Hemingway never directly identifies his wound by name. If you don’t pick up on what his war injury actually is, then chances are that you’re missing a lot of the tension between Jake and Brett. In this way, the story is also more complex than I initially thought.

There is no reason why because it is dark you should look at things differently from when it is light.-2Most of the characters in this novel are quite unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interesting to read about. Brett fascinated me the most, for she straddled both the masculine and feminine spheres of society. She calls people “chaps” as though she is one of the men, yet she is also produced as “sexually promiscuous,” a trait that is stereotypically feminine. It’s almost as though she is an androgynous character, neither male nor female but seemingly both at the same time. This portrayal of a woman is another example of how Hemingway conveys a lot by actually saying very little.

Despite my newfound appreciation for the fascinating and complex nuances of The Sun Also Rises, I just never became invested in the story. For me, this is one of those books I enjoy thinking about rather than actually reading, if that makes sense. I admire the challenge it poses to me as a reader, but I would never pick this novel up for purely pleasurable, entertaining purposes.

Would I Reread Again? 

Hmmm… Probably not, unless I have to read it for another class or have a friend who is willing to read it with me. I might try picking up some of Hemingway’s other work, but I think The Sun Also Rises and I may have seen the last of each other.

My Previous Rating: :0) :0) 2 out of 5 smileys

My Current Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys (Some improvement!)

While I’m still not completely sold on Hemingway’s writing, I must admit that I did enjoy this novel more the second time around.

What are your thoughts on The Sun Also Rises? Do you enjoy rereading books? Would you recommend any of Hemingway’s other works? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in the City

Foodie Facts About Me-6Happy Tuesday!! Once again we have some freedom with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, since the prompt is “Books with X Setting.” I’ve decided to go with a rather broad one: Top Ten Books Set in the City. I live in a pretty rural area and, while I enjoy visiting cities for day trips and short stays, I don’t know that I would necessarily choose to live in one. I much prefer the quiet, peaceful countryside, but that’s just me! However, cities do make fantastic settings for stories, as these books certainly show.

New York City

New York City-2

New York City-3

New York City-4

New York City-5

New York City-6

New York City-7

New York City-8

New York City-9

New York City-10

What are your favorite books set in cities? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you like cities? What’s your favorite city to visit? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Thoughts While Reading GONE WITH THE WIND {Part 4}

THOUGHTS WHILE READING-4 Welcome back to my journey through Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind! As per usual, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, favorite quotes, and general impressions of this part of the novel. If you’ve just stumbled upon this installments, feel free to read my previous three posts about the first three sections of this hefty tome by clicking here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Now, onward with the fourth and penultimate part!

Be aware that the “Thoughts” section may contain spoilers, but the “Overall” section will be spoiler-free!

June

  • p. 522: Mitchell does an excellent job informing the reader about life during the Reconstruction, including laws, race relations, the economy, etc. I think this time period is so fascinating!
  • p. 529: Scarlett is too real for Ashley, while Melanie is a part of his “dreaming.” Will he ever find a balance between harsh reality and his inner dream world?
  • p.534: NO, ASHLEY! What are you doing?!?! Don’t kiss Scarlett! You’re married to Melanie!!!
  • p. 535: If Ashley has loved Scarlett all this time, then why didn’t he just marry her in the first place?
  • p. 563: People suspect Rhett of having millions of dollars worth of gold hiding somewhere? Sounds pretty PIRATE-Y to me! (I stand by my comparison of Rhett with Jack Sparrow.) Also, I really hope he isn’t hanged! I’m desperately holding onto the belief that there’s some potential for him to be a great guy.

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  • p. 564: I’m surprised by how indifferent Scarlett seems to be about Rhett possibly getting hanged. She doesn’t care if he is killed, so long as she gets his money first. Is this an act, or does he really not matter to her? (I’m leaning towards the former.)
  • p. 579: Scarlett’s weathered hands reveal her true status and intentions to Rhett, who astutely deduces that weathered, cracked, callused hands mean that she has been physically working and that therefore there is something wrong at Tara. Because of this, he figures out that Scarlett is there to get his money. Rhett always manages to see right through Scarlett’s performances, which is perhaps why I like him as a character. Scarlett can’t fool him like she can the others, and in this way Rhett keeps her in check.
  • p. 594: Now Scarlett wants to steal Frank from her sister simply because Suellen “doesn’t deserve” to be as comfortably married as Scarlett does? Honestly, does Scarlett have ANY boundaries?!
  • p. 610: Scarlett is very focused on the future, while everyone else is stuck in and motivated by the past. I think Scarlett is smart to be this way; she might not be as happy as the rest of them, but she will probably be better off financially in the long run.
  • p. 614: I love how Frank feels like more of a man, when in reality he is being smoothly manipulated by clever Scarlett. If only he knew! I think this is Mitchell’s way of showing the intelligence, strength, and tenacity of women. Appearances were– and continue to be– misleading.
  • p. 641: I think it’s fascinating that Mitchell comes right out and directly says that people think Scarlett is “unsexing” herself. Gender roles and identities play such an interesting role in this novel!
  • p. 670: Reference to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Scarlett suggests that it depicts an inaccurate, exaggerated, cruel, dramatized image of slavery that the Yankees accepted “as revelation second only to the Bible.” Such an interesting perspective, and different from what we learn in history classes (in New England, at least).
  • p. 680: RHETT HAD A GRANDFATHER WHO WAS A PIRATE. This is proof of my Jack Sparrow theory!!

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  • p. 686: NOOO GERALD DIED, TOO?!?!?!
  • p. 711: I really like Will– he’s wise and practical and hardworking and has a lot of common sense. He might not come from a wealthy family, but I think he’s a step up for Suellen O’Hara! Definitely better than Frank would have been!
  • p. 762: Another pirate reference! This time from Scarlett. Once again, my theory stands strong!
  • p. 798: Ashley and Frank are in the Ku Klux Klan?!?! SOMETHING REALLY BAD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, I CAN SENSE IT.
  • p. 811: FRANK IS DEAD?!?!?!?!
  • p. 831: OH MY GOODNESS IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING: Rhett asked Scarlett to marry him! She better say yes– I’ve been waiting over 800 pages for this moment to finally arrive!!
  • p. 835: SHE SAID YES!! However, the way it finally happened was a bit too aggressive for my liking. I didn’t expect Rhett to be so violently forceful.

June (2)

“Unfortunately, we Southerners did think we were gods.” (p. 527)

This quote comes from Ashley, who describes the war as a Götterdämmerung, or “a dusk of the gods.” Not only is it an interesting portrayal of Southerners, but it’s also just a beautiful descriptive word. Somehow Ashley always manages to express himself so elegantly!

“A startling thought this, that a woman could handle business matters as well as or better than a man, a revolutionary thought to Scarlett who had been reared in the tradition that men were omniscient and women none too bright.” (p. 620)

So feminist– I love it! Mitchell smartly emphasizes the role that societal norms and traditions play in perpetuating both gender inequality and stereotypes. Also, she implicitly brings up the nature vs. nurture discussion, in this case arguing that women are not actually less intelligent than men; rather, they are raised to believe it is true, and therefore they behave accordingly.

“Now her reactions were all masculine. Despite her pink cheeks and dimples and pretty smiles, she talked and acted like a man. Her voice was brisk and decisive and she made up her mind instantly with no girlish shilly-shallying. She knew what she wanted and she went after it by the shortest route, like a man, not by the hidden and circuitous routes peculiar to women.” (p. 639)

Scarlett is reproduced as a man in the eyes of Frank, and he is greatly disturbed by her masculine behavior. This passage stands out to me because it is such a direct description of how Scarlett seems to “unsex” herself through her actions and personality.

“The former slaves were now the lords of creation and, with the aid of the Yankees, the lowest and most ignorant ones were on top. The better class of them, scorning freedom, were suffering as severely as their white masters.” (p. 654)

Reconstruction turns the social hierarchy upside down, contributing even more sources of conflict to the already tense South. Passages like this one emphasize the importance and influence of such a tumultuous setting like the post Civil War South.

“They didn’t understand negroes or the relations between the negroes and their former masters. Yet they had fought a war to free them. And having freed them, they didn’t want to have anything to do with them, except to use them to terrorize the Southerners.” (pp. 674)

Scarlett views Yankees as hypocrites due to the ironic fact that they wanted to free the slaves, yet now the Yankee women refuse to allow black servants to care for their children. I guess I haven’t really considered what the opinions of the Southerners would be of the Yankees regarding slavery prior to reading this novel, so I think this is very interesting!

“The whole world can’t lick us but we can lick ourselves by longing too hard for things we haven’t got any more– and by remembering too much.” (pp. 716)

A lovely quote from Will! I think these are important words of wisdom for everyone to understand: sometimes, the real danger is ourselves.

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So much happened towards the end of this part that I hardly know what to think. Once again, I love the way Mitchell blends actual events of the Reconstruction seamlessly with the fictional lives of Scarlett, Melanie, Rhett, etc. There were also some very interesting discussions of gender roles in this section, further supporting my belief that Gone with the Wind is indeed a feminist novel. The way Scarlett steps out of the confines of the domestic sphere and boldly entered the masculine space of business is both exciting and inspiring. She knows what she needs and wants, and she isn’t going to wait around for her husband to bring it to her. Scarlett certainly has her flaws, but I can’t help but admire her resiliency, determination, and independence. If only the rest of Atlanta shared my admiration!

My appreciation of Melanie as a character has also grown throughout this section. She is unfailingly kind, selfless, and thoughtful, but she is much stronger than initially suggested by her delicate appearance. In times of need she always rises up to the occasion, surprising everyone with her inner fiery spirit. She may be the embodiment of the Old South, but that isn’t to say that she doesn’t have a spark of the “New” South in her, too.

Only one more part left to read! What will I do when I’ve finally finished this brilliant novel?

What are your thoughts on Gone with the Wind? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

The Inside Out Book Tag

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I only watched Pixar’s fabulous movie Inside Out very recently, so imagine my surprise when I saw that I had been tagged in this lovely bookish tag! I loved how clever, unique, and touching the movie was (tears, people, tears) and it reminded me just how confusing emotions can be sometimes. Needless to say, I’m very excited to do this tag! Thanks so much to Beth @ Reading Every Night for tagging me!!

A BOOK THAT BRINGS YOU-2

438353-2How can you not smile while reading William Goldman’s The Princess Bride? Not only is it hilarious and witty, but it’s also a heartwarming tale of true love. Whether I’m laughing at Fezzik’s clever rhymes or swooning from the amazing bravery of Westley, you can be sure that this book certainly brings me joy. (The same goes for the movie– I love them both!)

A BOOK THAT BRINGS YOUlooking for alaskaI love Looking for Alaska by John Green, but a wave of sadness washes over me each time I read it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m sure that those of you who have read it know what I’m talking about. The Fault in Our Stars is obviously incredibly sad as well, but this story contains a more subtle sadness, a sadness that fills you with its mystery and senselessness and the simple need to know why. 

A BOOK THAT BRINGS YOU-3

126078The most recent book to send creepy shivers down my spine was Sphere by Michael Crichton, but really anything by Michael Crichton will do. Be it aliens, dinosaurs, or some other scary creatures, you can rest assured that I’ll be thoroughly frightened after reading any of his novels. I have a bad habit of reading these fast-paced, gripping, suspenseful books right before I go to sleep, which is always a recipe for a strange dream or two.

A BOOK THAT BRINGS YOU-4

18135-2I read William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a freshman in high school and it frustrated me to no end. They literally just met and they’re already willing to die for one another if they can’t be together? I just wasn’t buying any of it. I’ll save you the rest of my angry rant, because I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. I feel like this is one of those works that you either really like or really dislike– it certainly had that polarizing effect in my freshman English class!

A BOOK THAT BRINGS YOU-5

18475596Easy: Only Everything by Kieran Scott. It pains me to loathe a book as much as I dislike this one. Everything about it just left a sour taste in my mouth: the annoying main character and her narrative voice, the cheesy plot line, the insta-love involved, etc. I read about a third of it and then skimmed the rest because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Usually I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to things like this, but Only Everything was too annoying even for me!

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YOU!!
I’ve lost track of who has done this post and who hasn’t, so I’ve decided to tag anyone who would like to do it! Be sure to leave me a link to your post below if you do decide to join in because I’d love to see which books you pick!

What books bring you these emotions? What do you think of the books that I’ve picked? Did you like the movie Inside Out? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

8 Reasons Why You Should Read THE BFG by Roald Dahl

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Roald Dahl’s The BFG was one of my absolute favorite books when I was younger. My fourth and fifth grade teacher read it aloud to us both years and I was enchanted by the heartwarming, magical story. I desperately wished that a Big Friendly Giant would scoop me up in the middle of the night– as long as it brought me home safely, of course!

After recently rereading The BFG, I’ve been filled with an overwhelming love for this childhood favorite of mine. In an effort to persuade you to pick up this spectacular little book, here are 8 Reasons Why You Should Read The BFG:

1. The BFG Himself

The BFG certainly lives up to his abbreviated name: he’s kind, caring, and incredibly thoughtful. He’s smart in his own way and isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in. Plus, he’s hilarious! Who wouldn’t want to be friends with this jolly giant?

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2. Sophie

Sophie is such a sweet, witty, smart protagonist. She’s mature for her age but still has that lovable childhood innocence about her. I wanted to be Sophie’s best friend when I was younger (and to be honest, I still do!).

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3. The Plot is WILD!

Man-eating giants, jars upon jars of dreams, and breakfast with the Queen of England– what more could you want? Everything about this unique story is unexpected, but it somehow goes together perfectly.

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4. Made-Up Words

Snozzcumbers, frobscottle, and whizpopping, anyone? The BFG uses a plethora of hilarious words that always make me chuckle. If only our everyday vocabulary was as fun as his!

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5. Settings

From the BFG’s cave and the land of dreams to Buckingham Palace, this story takes the reader on a wild adventure to many different places– and all by traveling in the enormous ear of the BFG. What a way to get around!

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6. Lovely Illustrations

I absolutely adore the illustrations in this book. Just look at the BFG. Isn’t he the cutest thing ever?! AND THOSE EARS.❤

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7. Life Lessons

As with any good children’s book (or book in general), The BFG teaches many valuable life lessons. One of my favorites is when the BFG discusses the senselessness of violence, the way humans frequently kill each other but other species rarely do. It also teaches kindness, compassion, empathy, and emphasizes celebrating and loving our differences. This story sure packs a powerful punch!

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8. The Clever Ending

I’m a sucker for a clever ending, and The BFG is probably what started it all for me. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that I love when books end like this! It’s simple, but it always takes me by surprise and brings a smile to my face.

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The BFG is and always will be one of my favorite children’s books. I highly recommend giving this Big Friendly Giant a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

What was your favorite book when you were younger? What do you think of The BFG? Have any other Roald Dahl recommendations? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Endings that Left Me Speechless {Rewind!}

Foodie Facts About Me-5Happy Tuesday! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, and this week’s theme is a particularly fun one: REWIND! That means that we can go back and do any theme we would like that has already been done. I’ve decided to go with my Top Ten WOW Endings; in other words, I’ll be sharing ten endings that left me speechless, whether due to their brilliancy, their unexpectedness, or their ability to simply blow my mind. A good ending can make or break a book for me, so you can rest assured that the books on this list are real stunners.

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I was initially planning on writing a bit about each one, but I decided not to because I don’t want to spoil the endings for anyone who hasn’t read these books. That being said, I’d love to chat more in-depth about these endings in the comments section!

What books have wowed you with their endings? What do you think of the books on my list? How important is an ending in your overall opinion of a book? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY