Category Archives: Amazed

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

9781409120544I didn’t like Eleanor & Park. I didn’t connect with the plot or the characters and I pretty much had to force myself to finish it. I was therefore understandably reluctant about reading Fangirl. Sure, everyone was raving about it, but most people rave about Eleanor & Park, too. In the end, I decided to read it, because the concept was interesting to me, and because someone in the library had to…

For those of you who don’t know, who haven’t guessed from the title, Fangirl is a about a young American girl just starting college who obsessed with the (doubly) fictional ‘Simon Snow’ fandom. With good reason too! Cath has been fully immersed in the fandom for years, and her current slash fanfiction ‘Carry On, Simon’ is a cult-hit with tens of thousands of fans eagerly waiting each new chapter. The novel centres on Cath’s struggle to mix her fandom life with her real life – a difficult mix at the best of times, made more so by a twin who is going off the rails, and the confusing attentions of real boys.

Despite my unwillingness to start this novel, I am really glad that I did. (Evidenced by the fact that I finished in a day!) Maybe it’s because I myself have been a fangirl, maybe Rowell’s writing has improved, or maybe I should give Eleanor & Park another chance, but I really enjoyed Fangirl from the moment I picked it up.

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Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a_monster_callsThe monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. 

A Monster Calls is the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley, whose mother is undergoing treatment for cancer. His mother’s terminal illness provides a stark backdrop for Conor’s story, and the reason for the appearance of the ‘monster’ at his bedroom window.

This book is as beautiful as it is harrowing.

It is a story that centres around the pain of losing someone you love to terminal illness. Patrick Ness is credited as stating that A Monster Calls is a story “about loss, but also the fear of loss, and there’s not a person in the world – young or old – who hasn’t experienced that.” (Link)

This is a story about grief, about guilt, and about the importance of admitting the truth. It is about facing your monsters: the real ones at your window, and the ones of your nightmares.

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Filed under Amazed, Book Review, Books, Books for adults, Books for Children, Fantasy, Ranting, Reading, YA Books

To This Day

This stunning video, featuring a spoken word poem by Shayne Koyczan, has been making the rounds over the last day or so. And I can definitely understand why.

This is a poignant video, and a heartbreaking one. It focuses specifically on issues of bullying in schools, on name-calling and how something you call someone when they are eight, can still have an impact on their lives when they’re in their thirties.

We are graduating members from the class of we made it. Not the fadedechoes of voices crying out ‘names will never hurt me’. Of course they did.

I love the passion of Shayne’s narration. I love his use of words, and that he truly believes what he is saying. To This Day is a video that makes me cry. Because these situations do occur. Because name-calling does have an impact.

But it also gives me hope. Because Shayne’s message is one of awareness, and also one of hope.

You have to believe that they were wrong! They have to be wrong. Why else would we be here? We grew up learning to cheer on the underdog because we see ourselves in them. We stem from a root planted in the belief that we are not what we were called.

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Filed under Amazed, Of concern, Social commentary

This.

This makes me happy in so many ways. 😀

Lord of the Rings remix by POGO

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Filed under Amazed, Random

Dark Side of Harry Potter

Wow. Just wow. I’ve never really thought about the series this way. Sure, I’ve always known that it was so much more than just ‘children’s books’, but to have everything articulated in this way is just fantastic. Brutal, but fantastic.

 

here-is-the-place:

When people say these books are children’s books, as if to demean them, I balk. These books dealt with themes that adults do not fully understand or wish to. It dealt with racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, prejudice, and general ignorance. These books taught us that it doesn’t matter how you were raised, but that you get to choose to be kind, loyal, brave, and true. They taught us to be strong under the pressures of this world and to hold fast to what we know to be right. These books taught me so much, they changed me as a person. So just because they’re set against a fantastical backdrop with young protagonists does not mean that their value is any less real.

Seriously. Read the rest!

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WOW Moments

What I’m talking about are those moments in life when you actually say ‘Wow!’ out loud. And, because I’m me, I’m talking about the ones that specifically related to books.

I’ve had a number of them over the years. Like when I’d just finished reading the first four books in Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series (in 2008), and realised that the first book was advertised at the back of one of my favourite books, one that I’d had for over five years. If only I’d paid more attention earlier!

I had another one just now, whilst looking for a book to fit into my 30 Day Book Challenge. Browsing through my reading log (the list I keep of every book I’ve read in the last 12 years), I discovered that the second book I ever listed, and the book I just finished reading on Saturday, were written by the same person, Suzanne Weyn. This is all the more surprising to me because the first book was Ballet Debut (one of Barbie’s adventures), and the latter The Crimson Thread, a part of the Once Upon a Time series I’ve been reading. These two books just seem so far apart, and separated by twelve years, it’s hard to get my head around them. But there they are!

Just a random Wow! moment, brought to you by me. 🙂

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My List of Shame

(Otherwise known as: All The Books I Have Bought in the Last Month – a.k.a. I Really Can’t Sleep/Reminding Myself Why I Am NOT Allowed to Browse BookDepository)

This really is just a random posting of all of the books I have bought recently. Mostly because I can’t sleep, but also because I just find it funny/entertaining/horrifying to look at. 😛

Side note: I’ve been going through a bit of a biography/YA phase. They don’t really fit together, but it’s certainly made life interesting!

Books with ** have been read. Books with * I am currently in the process of reading, sort of.

From February 20, 2012: aplaceformorethoughts

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Filed under Amazed, Biography, Books, Entertained, Fantasy, Funny, Of concern, Random, Ranting, Reading, YA Books