Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shall I Be Challenged?

Hey!  I know this is a little late in the year, but I think it's time to join a couple book Challenges!

The first challenge I've decided to join is the YA Contemporary Challenge, hosted by Katie's Book Blog and Reading Angel.

RULES: Participants can read any contemporary YA novel that is publish between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 but you must read them in 2012!  (All formats accepted: paperback, ARC, e-book)

There are a couple different levels offered:
Level 1: 5+ books
Level 2: 10 + books
Level 3: 15+ books

I've chosen Level 1: 5+ books
1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
3. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
4. Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
5. Guitar Notes by Mary Amato
6. 52 Reason To Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

The next challenge I've decided to join is The 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge, hosted by Reading with Tequila.

RULES: Participants can read any books from the list of books recommended by bloggers in 2011.  You can decide to read books only from the top 25 or from the entire recommendation list.  Rereads do not count towards your total books.  (All formats acceptable: audiobooks, e-book, etc.)

Recommended Books

The Levels:
Level I: 5 books
Level II: 10 books
Level III: 15 books
Level IV: 20 books
Level V: 20 + books

I've chosen Level I: 5 books (I might move up levels as the challenge continues)
1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (2/26/12)
2. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (3/30/12)
3. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (5/21/12)
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (7/21/12)
5. Paper Towns by John Green (9/16/12)
6. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (10/28/12)

This book challenge is called The Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge, hosted by Book'd Out.

This challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st 2012.  Create a blog post committing to your participation.  You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advanced.  You have to read a book from each of the genres listed below.  You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 21st 2012.  Each time you read and review a book as part of this challenge, make sure you identify it by adding either a direct statement or the challenge image badge to the post.


1. Literary Fiction - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
2. Crime/Mystery Fiction - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
3. Romantic Fiction - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
4. Historical Fiction - Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
5. Young Adult - Paper Towns by John Green
6. Fantasy - Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
7. Science Fiction - Nevermore by James Patterson
8. Non Fiction - The Scientists by John Gribbin
9. Horror - Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Graphic Novel)
10. Thriller/Suspense - The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson 
11. Classic - Lord of the Flies by William Golding
12. You favorite genre - I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
I'm jumping on another bandwagon!

I was sorely tempted to make most of this top ten Harry Potter characters, but don't worry I didn't.

In no particular order:

1. Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter Series) - These characters are among my favorite Harry Potter characters because they come into their own.  Neville shows his bravery at the very being of the series and by the end he becomes a hero in his own right.  Luna is wonderfully strange and does not have to change who she is in order to make friends and she is fiercely loyal.

2. Sam (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) - Sam is a wild child but at the same time she knows what she wants in life and isn't afraid to lose herself.

3. Despereaux (Tale of Despereaux) - This mouse is the bravest character I have ever read about.  His determination and courage make him such a great character.

4. Ender (Ender's Game) - Ender's innocence is my favorite thing about him.  He has the will power and the imagination to create new formations and friends. 

5. Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit) - Bilbo is just so funny.  At first he is the most reluctant person but then once he is bitten with the adventure bug, he can't get enough.  He is really entertaining, even when he complains.  I love him.

6. Scout Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird) - The reason I love her, is her relationship with Boo Radley.  End of story.

7. Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson (The Help) - These women are so ferociously courageous and entertaining.  They risk everything to bring awareness to their conditions as maids in the south.  I think they are wonderful.

8. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) - Tenacious. She is not afraid to speak her mind and to be a strong woman in a world of men.  I love her banter with Darcy.  LOVE.

9. Leisel Meminger (The Book Thief) - She broke my shattered my heart so completely, I love her.

10. Lucy Pevensie (Chronicles of Narnia) - She is the first to believe and see; she made me believe too.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
Published: Pedigree Books edition, 1970
pages: 202

This is an Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge book!

This review has SPOILERS!

This is the worlds worst book, parable if you will.  It left me highly irritated and unsatisfied, also slightly depressed for the nature of society. (Not really, it was very well written.)

A group of boys gets stranded on an island and are left to find food and shelter.  The boys elect a leader, Ralph, who was determined to find a way off the island and back to England.  Along with Piggy, he tried to keep the boys safe and in order.  Ralph, determined to get off the island, he commands that a fire be built and sustained so that passing ships will see it.  For a while this works but Jack, the boy in charge of the hunters, gets restless and decides that he should have been the leader.  This is reaffirmed after he successfully catches and kills his first wild hog.  When the group of boys splits in two, most going with Jack, nothing but animosity between the boys is left.

William Golding does not neatly skirt around his opinions of the true nature of humanity.  He does not baby or hold the reader's hand.  He lets you fall deep into the most horrifying and ultimately distressful story of good and evil. Each character seems to symbolize a different characteristic like common sense, knowledge, violence, spirituality, and evil.  It is not immediately evident who symbolizes what, but the reader can quickly draw conclusions through the characters actions.  For example, Ralph symbolizes common sense because he is so adamant about keeping the fire going, which is the only way they would get off the island.  Anyone with self-preservation or common sense would realize that the fire was their best chance of being rescued.  Also, Jack symbolizes violence.  As the new chief and the leader of the hunters, he is wild and blood thirsty, always craving to kill more hogs.

Ralph and Piggy seem to be the only boys with enough sense to continue to strive to get off the island.  The others seem to submit to their fate.  They care less about getting off the island and more about hunting and killing.  The reenacting games are terrifyingly violent that result with two murders and one attempted.  The consequences are nonexistent because the tribe leader sees nothing wrong with it.  All of the savage ways, seem to be completely forgotten as soon as an adult steps onto the shores.  The boys become English children once again.  It's like the subconscious can erase the horror that occurs when there is no one around to monitor it.

People are inherently evil and occasionally do good things.  I absolutely do not like the fact that the subconscious goes away, essentially making everything that happened on the island okay or accidental.  No responsibility is taken and because there was no one to witness it, no one will ever take responsibility.

So it is with sadness that I cannot tell you whether I did not like this story because of it's implications or if I just did not enjoy reading it.  I guess it can be one in the same.  I wanted to like this novel, I wanted to meditate on the morals and meanings behind William Golding's tale.  Alas, consensus is: negative.

Stars: 2.5/5


"One sees what Golding is doing. He is showing us stripped man, man naked of all the sanctions of custom and civilization, man as he is alone and in his essence, or at any rate, as he can be conceived to be in such a condition." 
     - Walter Allen

"To me Lord of the Flies has always represented what novels are for, what makes them indispensable." 
     -Stephen King