Books

Ten Books to Lose Yourself In

Last week was a bitch! I have so much to say about the outcome of the election but then nothing to say as well. I almost wrote several different posts since last Wednesday. I was never able to really find the right words to express how I’m feeling.

The hatred I’ve seen on display by so many Americans has been disheartening. I’m scared for the future. And I’m saddened by the division. We all need a lesson on kindness. And we need to realize that you don’t fight intolerance with intolerance.

There’s so much more I can say about my feelings from last week but I won’t. I can imagine that everyone has heard enough already. But I also couldn’t bring myself to go back to writing unimportant posts as if nothing has happened. So I’m going to do something a little different this post.

I promise that I’ll go back to posting rants about adulting being really hard but for now I wanna leave you with this:

When life starts to get overwhelming and scary, you can find solace in books. Here are ten books that I recommend to lose yourself in when your FB newsfeed becomes terrifying.

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling – If you’ve never read it, read it! If you’ve read it already, read it again!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This book is terrifying. What makes it so terrifying is how believable it actually is.

Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne – This is the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read and I mean that in the best way possible.

Matilda by Roald Dahl – The ultimate book for people who love books.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor – I read this book when I was tired of the typical YA trilogies. You should read this book if you’re also tired of the typical YA trilogies.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get friends to read this book. Maybe my lovely readers will listen to me.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn – This book is a mind fuck and I love it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Want a crash course on race in America? Read this book.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – This book is long but don’t let that stop you; it’s AMAZING! It’s one of those books that you never want to end.

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Everyone is all about Pride and Prejudice but this is my favorite book by Ms. Austen.

Every Day is Book Lovers Day

belle - i love reading

Today is Book Lovers Day. And while I don’t need a special day telling me to sit back and read, it’s nice to have a whole day dedicated to the love of books. I’m one of those people whose heart breaks when someone tells me they don’t like reading. I’m a firm believer in the saying, “If you think reading is boring, you’re doing it wrong.” I am convinced that everyone can learn to love reading with a little push and shove. All of us who love reading can remember the things that turned us into readers for life. A certain book or series that solidified our love.

For some the love for reading does come more natural than others. My mother loves to always talk about my obsession with books, even at a young age, reaching for books at the age of one over every other toy offered. I read my first book when I was three-years-old, Bears on Wheels. Sure most of that “reading” was just memorization but this is still one of my mother’s favorite stories to tell (brag about!). Between the ages five and seven, I probably went through every single book Stan and Jan Berenstain had to offer. Twenty years later, these books will always hold a special place in my heart, especially The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habitas I still struggle with a nasty nail biting habit to this day.

After that I progressed to my Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy books. It was nice to escape the reality of being an awkward preteen and pretend to be Nancy or Harriet. Needless to say I spent a lot of time “solving mysteries” in my house.

Matilda will forever be my one of my favorite books. The movie is also one of my favorites. It made me realize how amazing it can be to see your favorite literary characters come to life on the big screen.

matilda - i love to read

I remember reading Go Ask Alice, A Child Called It, and It Happened to Nancy. Stories about drugs, rape, AIDS, and abusive, sadistic parents. Thankfully they were horrors in the world that I otherwise would have been blissfully unaware of. I couldn’t get enough of these tragic stories, slowly realizing that life is not as easy as my 12-year-old self thought it was.

And Speak is probably the book that solidified me as a reader for life. I felt a connection with Melinda Sordino that I wasn’t able to fully get with any other character I’d read about before. I felt her pain and wanted to be her friend.

Sometimes finding your love for reading just takes some trial and error. Some people may not have any desire to ever read the classics, and that’s fine. As long as you’re reading, that’s all that really matters. Try out a few different genres to see what sticks. You’re never going to like every book you come across. If you find a book boring and think all reading is boring, then clearly you’re doing it wrong.

So in honor of National Book Lovers Day and because I am always looking for new books to add to me to-read list, what are some of your favorite books?

Note: This post originally ran in a blog I used to run about books and food. 

Parents, Please Keep Banning Books

Doctor who - books best weapons in the world

If you ask me, books are the greatest invention in the world! I can’t think of a better way to unwind from a long day than curling up with a good book. When people tell me they don’t like reading, I’m genuinely confused. That’s like saying you don’t like food. Sure, you may not like certain foods, but you taste things here and there to see what you like and don’t like. I mean if you can dream it, it’s probably been written about. Every topic, every theme, every character, every subject. The varieties of books are endless! If you don’t like reading, you just haven’t found something you like yet.

Now taking into account how much I love books and reading, I bet you can imagine how I feel about banning books. Spoiler: I think it’s ridiculous. I just do not understand it. So you don’t like the content in a book. It makes you uncomfortable. You know what you do? Don’t read it! Don’t buy the book!

And it’s always parents trying to ban books because the topic is “taboo”. I don’t want to be judgmental but I know exactly what type of people these parents are. They are the same family who give out floss and toothbrushes on Halloween. Translation: They are fun suckers. They suck all the fun out of life.

“If my children read about S-E-X (said in a hissy whisper) and drug use, they’ll drop out of school, become prostitutes, and never make anything of their lives!” Cause naturally that’s how these things work. Those bookworms; degenerates of society. But here’s a question: Are you just too lazy to discuss things like sex and drugs and mental illness to your children? These are serious real world issues and almost everyone will deal with at least one, if not all, in their lifetime. Do you think by banning a book that has the gall to talk about masturbation you will somehow guard your child? “If they don’t read it, they’ll never know what it is!”

And I realize these are all rhetorical questions. I doubt anyone reading this is the type to ban books. If you are a book banner, we can’t be friends. Sorry, but I already don’t like you.

However, after all that rambling and bitching about people who ban books, I have to say I somewhat support it. Parents, keep banning books. Do you know what you’re doing when you challenge a book and proclaim that young kids shouldn’t be reading it? You’re making it enticing. Explicitly tell a young person they can’t do something and they’ll want to do that exact thing you said they shouldn’t do. So ban more books so people will have more books they have to read, even if it’s just to piss off their parents.The best way to ensure a teenager will do something is by forbidding them to do it.

In honor of Banned Books Week and because I’m a rebel without a cause, here are some of my favorite books that are challenged often in America.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner – You have a very serious subject (the death of a mother) and you try to throw in some humor? For shame!

Forever by Judy Blume – The main characters do “it”. And they are only teenagers! Again, for shame!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Woah, woah, woah. A society that oppresses women and strips them of all their rights? Where did Margaret Atwood come up with such a far-fetched idea?

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Witchcraft! Have you ever seen the documentary Jesus Camp? When it’s declared that Harry Potter should be burned at the stake, I didn’t know whether I should be laughing hysterically or be completely terrified?

1984 by George Orwell – A book about a future where people are watched and controlled every second. Can’t have that! Let’s control the masses and make sure they don’t ever read this book. Makes sense.

So, you little rebel readers*, what’s your favorite frequently banned book?

*From here on out Rebel Readers will be the unofficial name for all those who read my blog!

If the Author of 50 Shades of Grey* Was Honest in Her Writing

The office - I don't get it. I just don't get it

This is me during the whole 50 Shades hysteria.

So I finally watched the 50 Shades of Grey trailer. It was more out of curiosity than anything else. There is much I can say about the trailer but I am not going to get into it here. Sure the girl playing Ana looks like she’s about 35 and Christian Grey could have been so good-looking if they just slapped some friggen facial hair on him. What I found interesting was that it looked like a trailer for a horror/thriller film. Christian Grey looked like a psychopath getting ready to murder his next victim. I hope this means the movies will be portraying Christian for what he really is: an obsessive, stalker, sociopath.

I remember expressing my disdain for this book and someone had the audacity to say to me, “I think you need to experience more to enjoy this book.” At the time, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. Of course I came up with the perfect response in my head later that night: I think you need to read more to realize that these books are crap. What was this guy trying to imply anyway? Because I’ve never been locked up in a room and had anal beads shoved up my ass, I couldn’t possibly understand the complex story the author was trying to tell? Lolita is one of my favorite books of all time but this 50 Shades of Shit novel is just too taboo for me! That seems about right.

There are some real problems that can be discussed at length about this book. The way that women idolize Christian Grey is a big one when his only redeeming qualities are that he’s rich and good-looking. And the rich thing is a bit iffy. If you came across Donald Trump and he acted as psychotic as Christian Grey, even the most shameless of gold diggers would probably be like, “I don’t care how many diamond encrusted dildos this guy wants to buy me. He’s insane, I’m out.”

As someone who loves books more than anything in the world, what bothers me the most about 50 Shades of Grey is the writing. Holy guacamole is it bad! I have a serious problem with fanfiction becoming published work. (It’s the same reason I think City of Bones is a joke of a book.) Now, this isn’t knocking all fanfiction and those who write it. And it isn’t saying that just because someone writes fanfiction they don’t have the talent to become a published author. I just don’t think that people should be making money off of stories where the themes and characters were taken from someone else’s work. That’s right, people. Your beloved novel is basically Twilight 2.0. You all are going crazy over the human version of Bella and Edward banging.

Still undecided about whether or not you should read this book? The short answer is, “you shouldn’t.” But if you don’t want to take the advice from a random stranger (even though you should cause I really know what I’m talking about), I’m gonna sum up what the book is about in just a few short paragraphs and save you the trouble.

Christina Grey at Work
Look at me. I’m so important. I own an entire empire at such a young age. How you ask? I have no idea seeing as I barely do any work. Excuse me for a second, I need to go send an email. Haha, my hot secretary probably thinks I’m doing very important work right now. I’m really just emailing my girlfriend telling her how I want to tie her up and smack her around when I get home. *checks watch* Well, I’ve been here a whole five minutes. That’s enough work for the CEO for one week. Gotta go now and spank my girlfriend for a few hours.

Ana and Orgasms
I have a magical vagina. Oh excuse me, I mean down there area. You’ll never actually hear me call my down there area by its proper name. Now back to this magical “down there area” I have. Christian spanks me and I cum. He says my name and I cum. He looks at me and I cum. If I go into the bathroom after he’s taken a shit and smell it, I cum.

Ana and her Self-Esteem
I’m so plain-looking. My best guy friend is basically in love with me. I wish I could be beautiful like my roommate. Ya know that guy I keep comparing to a Greek God? He’s totally in love with me. Wah, why am I not pretty? Oh, male boss. Naturally he’s obsessed with me and wants me. So let’s see: I am completely average looking and have no discernible personality, yet everyone I come across that has a penis is instantly in love with me. Seems legit!

Christian and his Stalker Tendencies
That girl I just met. I like her. She pleases me. I shall have her. Time to call a private detective to tell me everything there is to know about her. Haha, silly girl doesn’t want to work for me and wants to get a job on her own in a different company. I don’t think so. I’m gonna just go buy that company now since I’m the richest person in the world and can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I cannot believe this girl thinks she can have a life on her own. Doesn’t she know who I am? I own her now.

Ana and her Inner Goddess and Subconscious
I bet you thought my boyfriend was the crazy one? Ha, think again! I clearly suffer from some multiple personality disorder. But it’s so cute. Look at my Inner Goddess! She’s doing a salsa dance in the corner cause Christian just fisted me at the dinner table. My subconscious wasn’t too happy. She was weeping over a Jane Austen novel trying to ignore the hand in her ass.

So that’s it people. That’s the entire novel. You’re welcome. For those of you still interested in seeing the movie, I’d like to tell you about this little thing we call porn. You should check it out. You’ll find better story lines and most likely better acting.

*To stop myself from being overly obnoxious, I refrained from calling the book and movie 50 Shades of Shit the whole post. It was difficult but I did it!

Signs You May Be the Lead Female in a Young Adult Novel

could they please be more generic

Think you may actually be the main female character in a Young Adult novel? Well I’m here to help you out.

  1. You have no female friends. If you do, it’s only one and you guys are completely different. You often wonder why you are friends in the first place.
  2. You never wear make-up, dresses, or heels. You do not understand these things and any girl who puts any stock in her appearance is shallow and inferior.
  3. You are incredibly insecure and find yourself unattractive. But it’s actually weird because every boy within a five mile radius wants to get with you.
  4. You do not like to go to parties, dances, or sporting events. They are so lame!
  5. Those boys can keep dreaming because you have never liked or been attracted to a boy ever.
  6. But wait! All of that changes when you meet a boy and that very day fall madly in love. You had no idea what the meaning of your life was before you laid eyes on said boy but all you know is that you’d rather jump off a cliff than be without him.
  7. You love to read. And that alone makes you different and unique and better than other kids in your school.
  8. You feel as though no one understands you and everyone judges you, yet you spend a significant portion of your time judging others based on what they do.
  9. You are white.
  10. You have brown hair.
  11. If it’s not brown, then it has to be red. And it needs to be natural. You would never dye your hair (see number 2 to remind yourself why). This red hair is your defining feature and determines your personality. (You’re a feisty one!)
  12. You often find yourself wondering where your personality went but get distracted when you fall over your own two feet. AGAIN!

If you can identify with most of these, then you may very well be the main female character in a young adult novel. Congratulations?