Tags

The Totally Should’ve Book Tag | 2

Hope you’re all having a lovely Friday! Today I’m here with the Totally Should’ve Book Tag, which I was tagged for by Norees @ Nor Reads Too Great.  This tag was created by EmmmaBooks. I’ve done this tag once before, but I always like repeating tags because it’s interesting to see how my answers change (if you’d like, you can check out my first version of this tag here). Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

I would love to know what happens to Ifemelu next in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I feel like there’s so much of her story left to tell, especially since the novel doesn’t leave off on a particularly conclusive note. And this book was so popular that I feel like she would definitely have an audience for it… just saying! (*hopes that somehow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is listening*)

Totally should’ve had a spin-off series

I would gobble up a spin-off series based on one of the side characters in Maggie Stiefvaters Raven Cycle. Can you imagine a series based on Gansey? Or Ronan? Or Noah? Or any of Blue’s family members? Or even someone else living in the same town experiencing similar fantastical things? I would even take a series of novellas about different characters… honestly, these are golden ideas here!

An author who should totally write more books

adore both of Mindy’s Kalings books (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?) and have been (im)patiently waiting for her to write more. I love reading personal essays/memoirs like these, especially when they’re written with the humor, wit, genuineness, and eloquence of Mindy Kaling’s writing style.

Totally should’ve ended differently

Although I thought Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was excellent, I thought it would have gone in a very different direction than it did. I’m not necessarily saying that it needed to end differently, but it would be interesting to see what the novel could have been like had she taken another path with it. (Really, I would have liked more answers. I just want closure!)

Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

Honestly, Sarah Dessen deserves a movie franchise more than any other author I know. She’s written so many novels that could have been turned into teenage rom-coms by now!! Why hasn’t anyone picked these up? Why has all the glory gone to Nicholas Sparks, or even John Green? (Although don’t get me wrong, I love a good John Green book/movie.) This may be the greatest wonder of the world.

Totally should’ve had a TV series

Rather than be a four hour film, I feel like Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell might be better suited to being a TV series. Imagine all the details that could be expanded upon in a TV series! They could include all the little events of this 1057 page tome and have plenty of time for fully explained character development. And think of the time they could spend showing the setting! Ah, this would be such a good television series…

Totally should’ve only had one point of view

Although I really admire Yvonne Vera’s novel The Stone Virgins for its striking, powerful look at violence in Zimbabwean society before, during, and after the war for independence, the alternating perspectives between the victim and the rapist/murderer are very, very, very unsettling. I understand that the novel wouldn’t have the same hard-hitting impact without it, but having to read and write about this book over and over and over again was pretty challenging emotionally.

Totally should’ve had a cover change

I love a good random Faulkner novel, but I feel like there are very few pretty editions of his books. Are cover designers trying to match the often somber, dark tone of his novels? Or have they just given up because they figure Faulkner novels are dull classics that aren’t really worth spicing up with a pleasant cover design? (I beg to differ!) All I’m saying is that we Faulkner fans would greatly appreciate a little bit of pizazz when it comes to his cover designs (or some attractive font at the very least).

Totally should’ve kept the original covers

I’m going with Sarah Dessen again for this one (maybe because summer always nostalgically reminds me of Sarah Dessen?). I grew up with the older covers, the ones with the girls without heads, and now whenever I see these new covers I’m so confused. Although I admit that these may be more aesthetically pleasing to look at, I can’t help but miss the old ones!

Totally should’ve stopped at one book

I’m pretty sure this was my answer for this prompt when I did this tag the first time, and if so I wholeheartedly stand by it: I just saw no reason that Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games had to be a trilogy that seemed to drag and repeat itself. Personally, I feel like The Hunger Games would have been perfectly fine as a longer novel, or at the very least a duology.

There you have it! Thanks again to Norees for tagging me! To pass along the fun, I’d like to tag Christine @ Life with All the Books, Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts,  and Emma @ Daylight Awaits–and anyone else who would like to do this tag!

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: Romeo & Juliet and The Hunger Games

Sometimes it seems as though everyone is birthed from the womb with an inherent knowledge of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I have a feeling that a similar situation will happen with Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games in a few generations. Just as the mention of Shakespeare’s famous play immediately conjures up ideas of star-crossed lovers and family feuds, The Hunger Games may inevitably be associated with fights to the death, trust and betrayal, and forbidden love. Today, I’d like to discuss the many similarities between these books that make them more alike than one might initially expect.

+ Star-crossed lovers. Let’s get this one out of the way first since it’s probably the most obvious similarity. Both of these texts are rooted in romance, particularly relationships that are seemingly not supposed to happen. While Romeo and Juliet shouldn’t be together due to the clash between their families, Katniss and Peeta should be focused on killing each other rather than trying to seduce one another. These relationships occur rapidly yet are fueled by different motivations: love and lust vs. strategy and survival. The flawed natures of both of these relationships emphasize the far extent that people will stretch for romance.

+ Life and death: The dichotomy of living and dying plays a significant role in both texts. Each of their climactic scenes focuses on the tension between these two opposites and plays with the reader’s expectations of what should happen next. Romance becomes a life source for Katniss and Peeta as it helps them gain the popularity needed to ultimately survive the games; however, love becomes the downfall of Romeo and Juliet as it blinds them to realistic consequences and leads to their hasty deaths.

+ Youth: Part of the reason these texts are so remarkable is the age of the protagonists: Romeo and Juliet are in their early teen years, whereas Katniss and Peeta are in their later teen years. While this is often one of the more frustrating aspects of Romeo and Juliet for modern readers—they’re willing to commit suicide over someone they’ve known for three days when they’re thirteen?!—age plays a more positive role in Collins’ novel. Katniss and Peeta are able to fight back against an entire oppressive regime even though they are still teenagers.

+ Rebellion: Likewise, together these texts highlight the advantages and disadvantages of rebelling. While Shakespeare paints a rather bleak picture of what could happen when you go against the wishes of your elders, Collins seems to advocate standing up for what you believe in and opposing unjust authority figures. In this way, romance is used to make a very political statement in The Hunger Games. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at two very different, very similar texts!

Click here to check out other Classic Couples from past posts.

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with Romeo and Juliet? What are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Totally Should’ve Book Tag

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Hello, hello! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. Today I come to you with the fun little Totally Should’ve Book Tag. Thanks so much to Azia @ The Uncharted World for tagging me!

When We CollidedTotally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel

Does anyone else ever wonder what happened to Jonah and Vivi years after When We Collided by Emery Lord ended? Or Jonah’s family in general? Or the restaurant or the pottery place or any of the people living in Verona Cove? I would love to read even a novella about where these characters are at years later.

Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonTotally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series

I’m not really a fan of spin-off series in general, but I guess I’ll have to go with Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Who doesn’t want more dinosaur fun? I’d love to read about the park from an outsider’s perspective living in another county or even the process of how they developed the idea for the theme park in general.

the night circus coverAn Author Who Should Write More Books

After reading and loving The Night Circus a few years ago, I’ve been eagerly waiting for Erin Morgenstern to write another novel. I would read anything that she writes in a heartbeat! A bookworm can always dream, I guess… fingers crossed!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsA Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else

Is it weird that I’ve always felt that Katniss should have ended up with Gale in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games? Few people seem to ever agree with me on this, but it’s a gut feeling that I’ve had ever since first reading the book years ago.

ready player one coverTotally Should’ve Had A Movie Franchise

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline would make such a fun movie! I once heard rumors that there was a movie adaption in the works for this novel, but I’m not sure how true that is. Hopefully a movie adaptation will be made someday!

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall coverTotally Should’ve Had Only One Point of View

I’m generally a fan of books with multiple points of view, providing that they actually add meaningful depth and intrigue to the story. However, I was really disappointed when I read A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall because the numerous different perspectives instead made the characters feel distant from the reader.

16156303Totally Should’ve Kept the Original Covers

My answer to this is basically any book with a movie poster as the cover design. *cringes* A recent example of this that I’ve come across is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. There are so many better cover designs!

the maze runner coverTotally Should’ve Stopped At Book One

I absolutely LOVED The Maze Runner by James Dashner when I read it in middle school, but the rest of the series? Not so much. The other books don’t even feel like they’re a continuation of the same story. The series has so much potential stemming off from the first book, but unfortunately it all goes downhill from there.

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What are your answers to these prompts? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Age Well

Top Ten Tuesday_

Welcome to another installment of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I hope you’ve had some great experiences and read some even better books since the last TTT! This week I’ll be showing you a list of my Top Ten Books That Age Well. In other words, these are books that I have enjoyed more reading them recently compared to when I first read them years ago.

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+ The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: First read as a high school freshman, later read as a high school senior. I enjoyed this more the second time around because I was able to empathize with Holden rather than thinking of him as some annoying teenage boy.

+ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. I loved this book the first time I read it, but I appreciated it even more the second time because I realized how cleverly Twain uses language to emphasize his points.

+ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. Again, I loved this book in high school and love it even more today, if that’s possible. However, reading it with my literature class this past semester opened my eyes to an additional layer of meaning regarding imitations, illusions, and appearances that I had never thought about before.

+ The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading this classic either time I read it, but I did gain a better appreciation for Hemingway’s writing style and overall story during the second read. In my literature class we talked about how Hemingway’s writing is as equally about what’s on the page as what he omits, and reading it with this in mind definitely helped ease my frustration a bit.

+ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: First read in 2011, later read as a college freshman.When I voraciously read this on my own in 2011 I was reading purely for plot, as it’s easy to do when you’re really exciting about a book. However, when I read it more recently with my literature class my eyes were opened to thought-provoking interpretations of characters, districts, and even the genre itself. It definitely made me enjoy the book even more!

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The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg: First read in third grade, later read in high school. My love for this book hasn’t changed a bit, though my general understanding of the story certainly has. Back in third grade I described this book as a summer-camp story, when in reality it deals with so much more than that: friends, family, history, art, growing up, and even small town drama.

+ The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: First read in middle school, later read in high school. When I first read this trilogy I was so frustrated by the omniscience of the “villain,” AKA Sauron. I was so used to reading stories where the “evil” side had an obvious presence that I couldn’t fully comprehend the idea that he was an eye?!  Since then, of course, I’ve grasped a much better understanding of these beloved books.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: First read in eighth grade, later read as a college freshman. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this classic novel when I read it for the first time; however, now that I’ve recently reread it I can confidently say that this book is brilliant. It’s so much more than a romance story, which is precisely what I failed to see back in eighth grade.

Paper Towns by John Green: First read in middle school, later read in high school. Now that I’ve graduated high school, I think about this book a lot differently. It’s riddled with a sense of nostalgia for me that wasn’t present when I read it the first time around in middle school. I feel as though this book is perfect for that, though: it has something unique to offer both high school students and graduates.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: First read in middle school, later read in high school. Oh, this lovely book! My love for this book has grown over the many times I’ve read it since middle school. The difference for me is that I know appreciate Marchetta’s writing more, the way she expertly develops characters that you can’t help but root for and the way she writes several story lines that seamlessly intertwine.

What books have aged well for you? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, Tags

Soundtrack to My Life Book Tag

Soundtrack to My Life

I’m so excited to finally get around to doing the Soundtrack to My Life Tag! I’ve seen a bunch of people do this one before and it looks like so much fun, so I was so happy when I woke up one morning and discovered that I had been tagged. A big thanks to The Orang-utan Librarian for tagging me!

Let’s get on with the show, shall we?

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The BFG by Roald DahlWhen I was in fourth grade my teacher read us The BFG by Roald Dahl and I absolutely fell in love with the story. I wanted to meet my own Big Friendly Giant so badly! Since then it has always stuck with me and is the first book that comes to mind when thinking of myself as a young reader. It just goes to show that being read to is just as important as a child reading on their own.

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the hobbit coverThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of those books that I always enjoy, no matter when I’m reading it or how many times I’ve read it before. I love the burst of nostalgia it gives me and the way it instantly takes me back to the first time I read it in fifth grade. There’s something about the exciting and fantastical sense of adventure that keeps me coming back for more. It’s one of my go-to books for battling those dreaded reading slumps!

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Great ExpectationsI read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for my AP English class during my senior year of high school and absolutely fell in love with it. There are endless aspects of it to adore: watching Pip grow up and change with age, the bizarre quirks of Miss Havisham, and of course the captivating mystery that ties it all together. This book converted me into a lover of Dickens’ novels, for sure!

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John Green PIZZAI’m going to have to go with John Green for this one. Not only do I adore his books, but his books and videos were an integral part of my middle and early high school experience. John Green is such an inspiration and I love the work that he does both in regard to writing and in his personal life in general. DFTBA!

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A Darker Shade final for IreneI’m not a huge fan of action sequences or fighting in books, mostly because I usually don’t find them all that interesting. However, I have to say that A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab has some awesome fight scenes. The best part about them is the magic involved– a little spark of magic always makes everything more exciting!

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dairy queen coverI tried reading Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock over a year ago and I just couldn’t get through it to the end. I read maybe 50 pages of it– no more than 100 pages at the most– and it simply wasn’t clicking with me. I didn’t think the plot was exciting at all and I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. I ended up setting it aside altogether, and I don’t regret it!

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All the Light We Cannot SeeI feel as though I’m constantly recommending All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr to people, and with good reason: IT’S BRILLIANT. I mention it all the time (both on this blog and to people I know in person), but it honestly deserves every piece of praise that it receives. I read it over a year ago now and I still can’t stop thinking about it!

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tfiosOkay, so here’s the thing: I’ve never actually cried/sobbed while reading a book. Lately it’s been happening more with movies, but for some reason I’ve just never been that emotional of a reader. I certainly feel all of the emotions, but the closest I’ve come to crying is when I teared up at the end of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you’ve read it or have seen the movie, you definitely know why!

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harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverTHIS IS SUCH A DIFFICULT QUESTION. There are so many series that I’ve loved over the years, but I since I’ve already mentioned Tolkien in this tag once (I absolutely LOVE The Lord of the Rings) I’ll go with Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. It’s an obvious one, but it’s the truth! It’s been with me since I read the first book in second grade, and the magic never fades!

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looking for alaska5 years ago I was a freshman in high school (EEEK! I’m so old!!!), and my favorite book was probably something by John Green, most likely Looking for Alaska. It’s one of those books that has really stuck with me over the years, despite the controversy that sometimes surrounds it. There’s just something about it that makes me so nostalgic whenever I read it, which is usually in the summertime. Suspense-37and then there were noneI first read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in fifth grade (was I a little too young for it? Maybe.) and I have read it countless times since there. It’s such a brilliant mystery and each time I read it I pick up on little details that I hadn’t noticed before. There’s actually a new BBC mini-series about it that I absolutely have to watch as soon as possible– I can’t wait to see how they adapt the story for to be told on-screen!

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jellicoe road coverAgain, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is one of those books that I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog, mostly because I’ve read it countless times and I’ve enjoyed it more and more each time I do. I love the intertwining story lines, I love the characters, I love the setting– I love everything about it! I can distinctly remember checking it out of my local library years ago to read it for the first time, and I’m so glad that I randomly picked it up off the shelf that day!

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Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixAccording to Goodreads, the longest book I’ve ever read is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, which has 870 pages. That surprised me at first, but I guess it makes sense because most of the long books I’ve read recently have been somewhere in the 600-700 page range at the most. Kudos to the Harry Potter series for being composed of numerous tomes!

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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsIt’s been years since I first read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, but nevertheless I still remember distinctly hating the ending. It seemed so forced and emotionless. Perhaps that was the point of it, but either way I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. It just had so much potential that was wasted on a rushed epilogue! I’m interested to see how it’s handled in the movie.

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the handmaid's tale coverThe first book that comes to mind when I think of epilogues is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodI won’t say much about it specifically because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it puts a completely different perspective on the entire novel. It’s definitely one of the best epilogues I’ve ever read and certainly makes your head spin a bit!

And there you have it! Boy, that was a long tag! I’m not going to specifically tag anyone else because at this point I’m not sure who has already done it and who hasn’t. If you feel like doing this tag, please do!!

What books would you want on the soundtrack of your life? What do you think of the books I’ve chosen? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

 

 

Tags

The HAMILTON Book Tag

THE HAMILTON BOOK TAG

Lately I’ve been listening to one thing and one thing only: HAMILTON THE MUSICAL. I go to bed listening to Hamilton, I wake up singing Hamilton, and every time I hear something resembling any of the lyrics my mind automatically thinks of the corresponding song. I cannot express to you how much I love this musical: it combines my love for United States history and the Founding Fathers with stellar vocal and instrumental performance, incredibly catchy tunes, and some ridiculously brilliant lyrics. Clearly, Lin-Manuel Miranda is genius.

To spread my love for Hamilton, I’ve decided to create my first ever original book tag!!

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Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their blog
  • Link back to the original post (this one)
  • Match each song listed with a book of your choice based on the criteria given
  • Tag tag tag!
  • Let people know that you’ve tagged them

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The Martian by Andy Weir1. Alexander Hamilton: A book with an underdog protagonist

I think that Mark in The Martian by Andy Weir takes the cake for this one. Poor Mark– no one is prepared to have to survive on Mars by himself, especially with little hope of being rescued.

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb2. My Shot: A book that made you want to RISE UP and tell everyone about it

I know I mention Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta all of the time, but it’s truly the books that always comes to mind. After a recent reread of this I actually tried to tell my mom the entire plot… needless to say, it didn’t sound nearly as good as it does in Marchetta’s own words!

pride and prejudice cover 23. The Schuyler Sisters: A book with some kick@$$ sisters

The Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen are not ones to back down from a challenge, especially when that challenge involves a man. You go get him, sister!

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton4. You’ll Be Back: A book you’ll know you’ll read again

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is way too good to not reread at least a few more times. Sure, I know the ending, but the crazy twists and adventures along the way will undoubtedly make it as suspenseful and exciting as it was when I read it for the first time.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling5. Helpless: A book that you couldn’t help but buy

As soon as I heard about Mindy Kaling’s second book Why Not Me? I knew that I would have to buy it and read it ASAP. I absolutely adored her first book, but I loved this one ever more!

All the Light We Cannot See6. Dear Theodosia: A book that blew you away

I’ve mentioned All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr a million times and I’ll mention it a million times more: THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE. If you like historical fiction or a story with stunningly beautiful writing, then this is the book for you!

Illuminae7. Non-Stop: A book that you couldn’t stop reading

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the definition of a gripping, suspenseful, and entertaining story. It also helps that the unique format of this book makes it feel like a super fast read!

Great Expectations8. Cabinet Battle #1: A book that you would always defend in an argument

I loved Great Expectations by Charles Dickens when I read it for my AP English class in high school, but since then I’ve noticed that people either seem to really like it or really hate it. With that said, I will always defend this book as the masterpiece of literature that it is!

A Darker Shade final for Irene9. The Room Where It Happens: A book with a unique setting

London, England might not sound like the most original setting for a story– but how about a bunch of magical, color-coded Londons? In A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab adds her own fantastical twist to this famous city, making it a setting I’ll always want to revisit.

beloved cover10. It’s Quiet Uptown: A book that left you speechless

Beloved by Toni Morrison is one of those books that just leaves you at a loss for words with its raw emotion and powerful story. You really have to read it and experience it for yourself in order to understand how impactful and hard-hitting it can be.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins11. The Election of 1800: A book revolving around a competition

What better book to match with this song than The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Without the idea of competition, this book would basically have no point whatsoever.

jane eyre cover12. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book with a memorable narrator

I love the way Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is narrated as a sort of autobiography by Jane Eyre herself. The framework of the story ties it all together, especially at the end when she really brings in her older perspective about her life.

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Tag, you’re it! (If you haven’t listened to Hamilton before, a) go listen to it NOW   or b) don’t worry about doing this tag!)

And YOU! Yes YOU! If you love Hamilton, feel free to join in this tag!

What is your favorite Hamilton song? What do you think of the books I’ve picked? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

Rue: The Real MVP of the Hunger Games

Why Mr. Bennet Is My Favorite Character in P&P-3

While rereading Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games for my Introduction to Literature class, I couldn’t help but notice that one character in particular is vastly undervalued and under-discussed. As the title of this post would suggest, this character is none other than Rue, the female tribute from District 11. She may be the youngest tribute in the Games, but I believe that she is also the most surprising, wisest, and important competitors in the Arena.

One of the most valuable and interesting aspects of Rue as a character is the way she challenges the reader. At first I automatically categorized her as a reflection of Prim, Katniss’ younger sister. Prim and Rue are the same age, and Katniss even goes so far as to say that “she reminds [her] of Prim” (210). But just as you’re confident that you know Rue, she begins to take on a different– yet still familiar– persona. Suddenly the reader is exposed to yet another side of this young girl, a side that certainly surprised me at first. Rue’s hidden strength is clearly uncovered when Katniss says, “You can see the glint of excitement in her eyes. In this way, she’s exactly the opposite of Prim, for whom adventures are an ordeal” (210).

Smile_Rue

Not only is she more courageous, adventurous, and clever than she first appears, she is also much more like Katniss than I initially realized. In fact, I’ve come to think of Rue as more of a reflection of Katniss rather than Prim. Take this description of Rue, for example:

“And I come to know Rue, the oldest of six kids, fiercely protective of her siblings, who gives her rations to the younger ones, who forages in the meadows in a district where the Peacekeepers are far less obliging than ours” (211).

Whether she is conscious of it or not, Katniss has actually given us a fairly close description of herself. Although the tiny details are different (Rue has six siblings while Katniss only has one, etc.) the basic ideas are the same. Both Katniss and Rue are the eldest sibling and take on a parental role in their families. They feel as though it’s their responsibility to protect and provide for their siblings, and they accomplish the latter by illegally hunting and gathering. In many surprising and unexpected ways, we come to view Rue as a younger version of Katniss. Rue_points_out_the_nest

However, I believe the case can be made that Rue is actually much wiser than Katniss. Unlike Katniss, Rue understands the value of appreciating the little things in life, as exemplified by her love for music. Such a seemingly frivolous passions surprises Katniss, as seen when she says, “In our world, I rank music somewhere between hair ribbons and rainbows in terms of usefulness. At least a rainbow gives you a tip about the weather” (211). My guess is that Rue feels much happier and fulfilled than Katniss does, for there are few things that this District 12 tribute appears to enjoy.

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Arguably the most important and fascinating aspect of Rue is what and who she represents. Rue is a tribute from District 11, which specializes in agriculture. The citizens of this district are forced to work in the field to earn their wages. Much to Katniss’ surprise, the Peacekeepers there are even more cruel and merciless than those in District 12. Rue explains that if you eat the crops while picking them “they whip you and make everyone else watch” (202). Add to the harsh conditions of District 12 the fact that Rue is described as having “bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin” (98) and what does this all suggest? When the details are broken down and laid out it appears as though Rue is representative of slavery and the horrific racial inequality faced by African Americans. Katniss is taken aback when she learns that conditions in District 11 are indeed worse than those in District 12, similar to how many people are ignorant of the struggles that people of different races and ethnicities are forced to confront on a daily basis. Rue is much more than yet another tribute in the Games; in actuality, she is a symbol for an aspect of American history and society that people are often too eager to forget.

Having realized the complexity and depth of Rue’s character through this second reading, I would be interested to see how much more insight I could gain from reading this novel a third time. Rue is so much more than she first appears to be– a statement that applies to each and every one of us, if only we choose to see it.

What do you think of Rue? Who is your favorite character in The Hunger Games? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books, Read for English Class

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

I think that many readers– myself included– fall prey to the common misconception that there are two distinct categories of literature. The first of these categories could be considered “hard literature” (I don’t know if these names already exist– I’m completely making them up on the spot). These are the texts we are often forced to read for literature classes, including the classics that sit on our dusty shelves until we eventually feel guilty enough to pick them up and crack open their stiff spines. An obvious name father opposing category would be “soft literature,” which encompasses those books that we willingly read for pleasure.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsOne of the greatest distinctions between these two categories in our minds is our purpose for reading them. The former, we read to analyze, think critically about, and learn from; the latter, we read to be entertained. While I have never been a resolute believer in this concept, until recently it has had at least a slight influence on the way I read. I didn’t realize this, however, until I was assigned to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in my Introduction to Literature class this past semester.

I read The Hunger Games a few years ago and loved it, but I hadn’t read it since then because the end of the trilogy had kind of put a sour taste in my mouth– but that’s a topic for another day. When I read books like this one I tend to view myself as a fan, but my professor was asking us to read this novel as both a fan and a critic. Intrigued, I was eager to experience the story from a different perspective than when I first read it.

What my class found through close reading and thought-provoking discussions was honestly extraordinary. I never imagined that there were such interesting, controversial undertones apart from the obvious themes involving insurgency, the proliferation of the media, and the ignorance of many people in modern-day society.

For example, we talked about how up until the Reaping when she is forced to wear a dress, Katniss does not necessarily have a clear, definitive gender. She hunts with Gale, wears masculine clothing and even takes on the role of the father figure in her house by providing for Prim and her mother. In contrast, Peeta embodies a much more feminine role compared to Katniss. As the son of a baker he is a very skilled cook and painter, both of which are generally considered to be feminine talents. These observations caused some people in my class to wonder whether or not Katniss was actually gender fluid. While I don’t particularly agree with that claim, it is nevertheless very interesting to think about.

Not only did I discover several deeper layers within this story that can be endlessly analyzed and contemplated, but my overall feelings towards the characters also changed in this second reading. When I first read The Hunger Games years ago I was a firm opponent of Peeta for some unknown reason. In my mind Gale was the more suitable partner for Katniss, and perhaps in some ways that is true. However, after having read the book again I have come to really appreciate and admire Peeta. He’s just an average, innocent guy trying his best to survive, and he has to deal with Katniss’ conflicting emotions regarding himself and the Games. People definitely don’t give him enough credit for his cleverness and ability to strategize. After all, he’s the one who furthers their “star-crossed lovers” image, which is essentially what allows them to survive. He also balances out Katniss emotionally, much more so than Gale. So I must admit that I’ve had a change of heart: I now believe that Peeta, not Gale, would ultimately be a better match for Katniss.

Overall, rereading The Hunger Games has reminded me of all the reasons why I loved it the first time around. It’s one of those books that you can’t help but get caught up in as soon as you start reading it. The concept of the story itself is absolutely brilliant, and I was glad to see that it was still able to excite me even though I knew how it would end. While it will never top some of my personal favorite books and series, it is still evident that Suzanne Collins has written a fantastic novel that will surely continue to captivate readers for years to come.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! To all of my friends! (And maybe even to a stranger or two… it’s SO good!)

What are your thoughts on this book? What do you think about the concept of “hard” and “soft” literature? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: December 2nd

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words that asks three questions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWhat are you currently reading???

Right now I’m reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for my Introduction to Literature class (this will be a common theme in this post!). I read this book years ago and haven’t picked it up since, so I’m looking forward to giving it another go and reading it more closely. My professor always helps us see so much more in literature than what we notice at a first glance, and I have no doubt that I’ll view this series much differently after our class discusses it!

Galileo by Bertolt BrechtWhat did you recently finish reading???

The last thing I read was a play called Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, which I had to read for my Introduction to Literature class. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would, mostly because of the historical significance behind it. Even though the play itself is about the actual philosopher Galileo who lived during the Renaissance, it explores the conflict between science and religion in a way that can connect with the controversy surrounding the atomic bomb during World War II. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, Galileo is a play I would love to see performed on stage.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle coverWhat do you think you’ll read next???

Since The Hunger Games is the last book I have to read for my Introduction to Literature class, the next book I read will finally be one that I choose to read on my own! I’m not entirely sure what I’ll dive into next, but I really want to get around to reading more Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and perhaps even something Christmas-related. If you have any suggestions for books relating to the holiday season, they would be greatly appreciated!

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but I felt like a quick update on what I’ve been reading lately would be good since things have been kind of quiet on this blog recently.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday: most intimidating books

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s Tuesday once again, and that means that it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the lovely blog the Broke and the Bookish. This week is a freebie week, which means that it’s up to us to choose our own theme! I’ve decided to go with my Top Ten Most Intimidating Books. So, in no particular order:

  1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I’ve heard that this one can be incredibly dull, but I’ve also heard some pleasant reviews about it. It seems like quite a dense novel, and its mixed reputation is why I’m a little hesitant to read it.
  2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Before I read this novel I was very intimidated by it, mostly due to its large size (nearly 800 pages) and its small font. However, after having read it I have to say that I had nothing to be afraid of! The story is so well written and developed and the entire idea behind it is just so fascinating.
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I have not read this book, and I don’t think I plan to any time soon. I’ve heard that it’s incredibly sad, and I’m not one to voluntarily read very sad books. (Says the girl who rereads The Fault in Our Stars every year…. so maybe I do read sad books?) Still, this one looks REALLY sad, and I just don’t know if I want to read it.
  4. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. I had to read this book for my AP World History class last summer, and I was extremely intimidated by it- and with good reason. The majority of this book was the history of agriculture and gathering food, how different plants became more common and animals domesticated in different societies around the globe, etc. Fun fun fun in July, believe me.
  5. The Peculiar Institution by Kenneth M. Stampp. Let me tell you, this book is extremely intimidating. It’s a book dedicated to the topic of slavery in antebellum South, and it seems as though it discusses Every. Single. Aspect. I did end up learning a lot from it and discovered that Stampp is an excellent writer, but at first I was VERY hesitant to read it. I didn’t have a choice, though, because it was assigned reading for my AP United States History class this year.
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I think this one kind of speaks for itself. It’s the final installment in a truly amazing and epic series, and I was extremely intimidated by it. Just thinking about all the endings and last moments it would inevitably contain made me afraid to read it. Luckily Rowling is a masterful writer, and this was a brilliant conclusion to a spectacular story.
  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had to read this book earlier this year in my American Literature class, and at first I was very intimidated by it. I had heard so many amazing things about the story and its impact over nearly the last century, and the prospect of reading it was sort of overwhelmingly. However, I can say now that this is one of my favorite novels of all time, and it is definitely worth reading!
  8. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I still have not read this one, and I am still thoroughly intimidated by it. I’ve heard so many mixed things about it that I just don’t know what to believe. I’ve heard it’s easy to follow, super confusing, really fast-paced, slow and boring, absolutely worth reading, a book you could do without- the list goes on and on!
  9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. The controversy over the ending of this series really intimidated me. Endings are always fairly intimidating, but people seemed to either really love or absolutely hate the ending of this particular book. Going into it I was very afraid of what I might find, and with good reason. (If you’ve read it, then you probably know what I mean.)
  10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’ll admit: I totally read this series because everyone else was. I didn’t really know anything about it, but everyone else seemed to love it so I thought I should probably read it. It was intimidating at first because I really wanted to like it since everyone else did. Turns out that I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not my favorite series ever. And I’m completely fine with that.

What books do you find intimidating? Have you ever read Moby Dick, Thirteen Reasons Why, or A Game of Thrones? What did you think of them? Should I read them? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY