Along that Yellow Brick Road Pt 3

After reading the third book in the series, Dorothy has a last name for herself. We should congratulate her. In this book, Dorothy is on an adventure to another magical place: Australia. I’m kidding, sort of. She traverses this new world with a chicken who doesn’t believe a single thing Dorothy says. I mean, I agree entirely with the talking chicken when she says there is no such thing as talking animals. It’s just ridiculous.

Anyway, in this book, we do get to see the new land of Ev. I think Baum had a thing about naming countries with only two letters. The magic is slightly different from Oz’s, but interesting nonetheless as we go on another adventure to find Dorothy a way home as we are joined with the return of other fun characters. I personally felt there were way more characters in the book than necessary, but that was the purpose of the quest, in a way. It was weird picturing all these characters interacting, especially toward the end. Overall I thought it was a good book. Just don’t see why the book was titled as it was.

Up in the Clouds Pt 2

After reading the book after The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, I’m back where the question everyone was asking gets answered: What happened to that one girl? Through the entirety of the first book, you’re not even sure of her name, but you want to know. This book is her story.

This book is an even bigger whirlwind adventure than the first one. Even knowing the basic premise from the first book, this book will still wholly blow your mind as you go through the book. The first book will not thoroughly prepare you for what this book will teach with its different lessons to be introduced to our protagonist. You want to keep find out more about her. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll love this one as well.

Test for Your Life Pt 1

Apparently, I was on a dystopian kick because I am discussing another dystopian novel, but with characteristics that you are probably well versed with. A brunette teenage girl trying to find her way through society with some weird side romances that don’t make any sense and really don’t add anything to the story other than being really weird. I’m not talking about the Hunger Games, but it’s close enough.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is very reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but there is a slight twist to everything. Instead of a competition where the young kill each other, they see who gets to go to university, a privilege allowed by a select few across the war-torn United States. To get to university, you must take part in The Testing. The only difference is that it’s not the typical standardized testing that we are used to.

I really enjoyed the flip of expectations that was introduced in the story. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, something happens to twist your thoughts on everything. What is really chill becomes explosive in an instant. I would definitely recommend this book, even though I do not know where the rest of the series goes. I guess I’ll find out soon.

Utopic Dystopian Pt 1

Insert a book a suspect that everyone and their guardians have already read, except for me. I have already been dragged through the dirt by my friends, so please, no more judging. I understand that it is terrible that it took me being in graduate school to actually getting around to reading this book. I just wasn’t interested until fairly recently. In some regards, I do regret not reading it earlier but better late than never. What book am I talking about, you may ask. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the book I’m discussing, where not even a movie coming out interested me apparently.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the setup before completely turning it on its head. I was expecting a utopian world where everything is great, but that was quickly dismantled. Sure, everything was great, but at what cost. This book was discussed in a way that I’ve never really seen in a dystopian novel. It’s usually all about blood and gore and nothing else, which is something I typically dislike. Instead, every aspect had a world-building element to it that kept me engaged in the story.

Now, there are other books that I’m guessing you’ve not heard about or read. I only know because of how I keep track of the books I read. I plan to read those and then tell you if those other books are as good and if I get the same feeling from them. I’m actually excited to see where this goes since each book discusses a different societal aspect.

Along that Yellow Brick Road Pt 2

I am back after reading the second book in the Oz series. The author decided to forget about Dorothy for a while and give the Tin Man a name and pretend that he had a name the entire time. His name’s Nick Chopper, but the way. This time, we follow a boy named Tip as he runs away from the witch who’s been raising him all his life for a chance of adventure followed by a walking, talking Jack-o-Lantern and a horse made from wood. It’s Oz, so are we expecting anything else. A man accidentally cutting all his limbs off didn’t get us to question anything.

In this book, the craziness continues with more fun, lovable characters being some we’ve met before, with just a dash of sexism. The world is saved when the women go back to the kitchen because the men find the work way too hard and are not good at it. I wish I was kidding. Considering the ending, it’s bizarre and out of place, but we will have to leave it at that, so I don’t spoil it for you.

I will be back with the next book, eventually… I just need to get rid of the image of a talking bug who won’t stop with the puns.

Through the Curtained Walls

It is somewhat interesting having a romance novel in which that main characters barely interact, yet somehow it was a love story. Add in a mix of magic and creativity, creating a circus like no other. Add in a competition and you truly get things are out of this world.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern throws you into a world with vivid imagery that makes you want to jump right into the page.

My favorite part about this book was the author’s writing, hands down. I love the descriptions that just made everything come to life in my mind. One thing I did not enjoy was the hopping back in forth within the story. Although, once you get to the end, it all makes sense, I would get confused somewhat about the timeline of events. I also would not mind if Morgenstern went further into the universe she created. I would love to learn more about the magic systems in the book, but maybe that’s just me being a giant geek. You tell me.

It’s Elementary

I am usually not a big fan of disjointed narratives. I want my story to be laid out to not jump around because it doesn’t keep me engaged all that much, especially when narrators go on unnecessary tangents. In this book, I didn’t mind at all. The narrator goes on a tangent about Sherlock Holmes, but I was completely there for it. It was so in character that I found it adorable instead of annoying like I usually would. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon was just too adorable of a book not to want to recommend.

This story follows Christopher, an autistic young boy, as he goes on an adventure to figure out who killed his neighbor’s dog. Considering the author’s background and comments from other people with children on the spectrum, I would say that this is an accurate portrayal of a child on the spectrum that felt completely human instead of alien, like some writers fail to do. I was cheering along with the kid and didn’t mind his tangents because they built him more as a real person instead of a caricature. Do note that the chapters are not in standard numerical order. The book starts on chapter two, as Christopher loves prime numbers, and since this was written like a journal, it was very fitting. I would definitely pick this book up and give it a try.

Up in the Clouds

There are many views of what happens after we die, and while we might argue about what happens, there is something we should all believe in common: that our life on Earth matters. While the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom does show a view of life after death, that is not the important part of the book. Instead, the lessons the story tries to get across in the most important thing.

While this book may argue that those lessons can be learned after death, I feel great lessons should be learned in life. Everything is connected in a way, and you do not really know the entire story are some of the lessons to be learned. Your religious views do not matter here but do come in with an open mind to what is being taught. There is a sequel that I plan on getting around to within the next couple of weeks, but I wonder what lessons await me.

Be Your Own Fairy Godmother

To be completely transparent, I watched the movie based on this only about a dozen times and then found out that there was a book attached. There is very much fairytale element that, in ways, could have been a lot better, especially given the title. The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer tries really hard at being a fairytale but fails in a couple of ways.

The story follows a woman named Nola who has an alter-ego named Belinda, who everyone just loves. Unfortunately for Nola, “Belinda” wrote a magazine column on losing weight, so Nola’s friends make a pact to lose weight once and for all. The typical story happens where love is maybe found if only Nola would stop lying. This is one of the few cases where I feel prepared to say that the movie is better than the book. The movie “Lying to be Perfect” takes out all the things that were just annoying: counting Weight Watchers points, shaming other women for their appearance and perceive sexual activities, and uninteresting random characters that get inserted into the story for… reasons.

It’s a cute little story that you can get invested in but won’t really take anything away from it. It’s pretty much a feel-good story about a woman who struggled with her sense of self-worth. I still say watching the movie is better, though.

Finding the Weird in Everything

Why do teachers cheat? Why do real estate agents not sell your house for the best price? Why did crime rates suddenly dive-bomb in the 90s? These questions and more can be answered in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. By looking at things as an economist and having large data sets, you can answer practically any question out there. Just be prepared to get answers you were no expected to reach. What does economics have to do with this? It’s about money, right? Actually, economists try to figure out why people do what they do: their incentive to do something.

I found this book really fascinating and got me to think about things in ways that I never had before about sine situations. It sounds utterly absurd at times, but as the authors dive deep into things, it makes complete sense, and you wonder why you never thought about it before. One word of caution when reading this book: abortion is a topic in this book. The authors speak on this in a historical context do not take a side in the debate. If you feel especially strong on the issue, I suggest skipping those sections. It is not necessary for the entire book. From the chapter titles, you can probably figure out where it is discussed.

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