Showing posts with label tom wolfe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tom wolfe. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Six Degrees of Separation: 1984

Let's do a little Six Degrees today!

As a reminder: the Six Degrees of Separation meme was created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith.  Basically, they pick a new book each month, and you start with your thoughts on that book...then, through free association, you link it to 6 other books.

This month's book is 1984 by George Orwell.  AND GO!

A year or so after I graduated from college (2006), I started making my way through some of the classics that I was never assigned to read in high school.  1984 was one of them, and I loved it.  This may have been my first real taste of dystopia (before Hunger Games/Divergent/etc made dystopia cool).

Other than working on the classics, another little reading project of mine in 2006 was trying to read my way through the library's fiction section alphabetically.  Yeah, I know.  I gave it up well before I was halfway through the A's.  But one of the books I remember from that project was...

How I Paid For College by Marc Acito

Honest to God, the only reason this book continues to stick out for me is because of the title and the cover.  They are, admittedly, hard to forget.  That said, I just re-read the book description on Goodreads, and I have absolutely no recollection of that plot.  I also gave it a 2-star review, so apparently it was a little bit awful.  Don't you hate that though, when you read a book and then years later, you can't remember a single thing about it?

There are GOOD books with college themes too, though!  That happens to be one of my preferred settings for a novel.  An example would be...

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

I have mentioned this book on the blog before (here!), and it continues to make the list of my all-time favorite novels.  I connected with so many elements of the novel as Charlotte made her way through a rocky freshman year of college.

Since we're talking about all-time favorite novels, let's give a shout-out to one of mine that I've never mentioned on the blog before...

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

Fun fact: my original college major was pathobiology, and I wrote several of my college admissions essays about this book.  I read it during my junior year of high school, found it completely fascinating, and then decided that I wanted to major in pathobiology, go to graduate school for public health, and eventually work at the CDC to find a cure for Ebola.

Yes, you read that right.  This is, indeed, a book about Ebola.  Timely, yes?  (Also, I think we can all agree that changing my major to family studies was an unfortunate decision for the entire world circa NOW.)  Even though my career goals did not stay the same, I still have a lot of curiosity and interest in biological sciences, and this book continues to be a favorite.  An interesting read for sure if you don't know much about this disease (beyond what you hear in the media).

Nonfiction!  Haven't talked about that a lot around here lately.  I actually just looked on Goodreads and saw that my last nonfiction read was...

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

WHAT?  I read that back in MARCH!  It's a bit atrocious that I have read zero nonfiction since then.  Thank goodness that Nonfiction November is coming up.  This book was very entertaining though, and reminds me of why I need to get back into the groove with nonfic.

So let's see, what other nonfiction books are on my favorites list (other than The Hot Zone)...

My Life by Bill Clinton

Me sharing the former president's autobiography as a book on my favorites list does absolutely nothing other than reveal the fact that I am an unapologetic liberal and fan of Bill Clinton.

Wait, you're not supposed to discuss politics in mixed company!  Quick, think of a good memoir that's less political for us to talk about!

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Phew, that's better.

This is the strangest train of book thought I've ever had...although, I just realized that I started with 1984 and ended with Steve Jobs...and Apple had that famous commercial based on 1984 way back when.  CRAZY, RIGHT??  I'm a genius.  (Not really, just very sleep deprived, as Tater Tot has croup at the time of this writing.)

Have you read any of these books, friends?  What did you think?  And feel free to share your six degrees as well!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me Think INSTA-READ!

I haven't participated in Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and The Bookish in quite a while, but I like this week's topic:

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make You Buy/Pick Up A Book
Any books that fall into these categories are pretty much insta-reads (or at least insta-going-on-the-TBR) for me.  As I made the list, I realized that a lot of it, for me, has to do with wanting to read about things that are relevant specifically to my life.  Does this make me a selfish reader?  If so, I am not ashamed.

1. "The _______'s Wife/Daughter"
Example: The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve  
I adore most books with this title structure.  Why?  Perhaps because I am a wife...and a daughter?  Plus, titles like these almost always equate to women's fiction, which I love.

2. Marital Strife
Example: Love The One You're With by Emily Giffin
Okay, this is NOT something I aspire to, but my interest is always piqued by a book with marital strife as a major plot mover.  I like to think it's because my marriage is so blissfully wonderful that I have to look elsewhere to read about such things.  :-)

3. Babies/Pregnancy
Example: A Bump In The Road by Maureen Lipinski
Again, this is completely selfish in nature, but as a mom I love to read about mom-related and baby-related books.  Most of them are written either from a very humorous perspective (I love to laugh at my own mom mistakes, why not others' as well?) or an introspective one (moms muddling through child-rearing and trying to figure it all out).  I enjoy either side.

4. Travel + Humor = Win
Example: Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson
I'm a lover of travel.  And travel can be hilarious sometimes.  Miscommunicating in countries where you don't know the language, not knowing local customs, missing connections--these all have the potential to be funny (in hindsight, at least).  A travel memoir that embraces this is a winner.

5. Food-Related Nonfiction
Example: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I've already waxed poetic about food memoirs, but my love extends to all things food-related.  I am a horrible chef, but my stepfather was trained at the Culinary Institute of America, so I harbor a fascination for this area of reading.

6. "Psychological Thriller"
This term is pretty broad, but I think the spirit of Gone Girl captures it fairly well.  The more twisted and unexpected, the better.

7. Zombies
Example: World War Z by Max Brooks
This has absolutely no relation to anything in my life.  I just have a really sick fixation on the zombie apocalypse.  I have an escape and survival plan in place, it involves baseball bats and an Ergo carrier.

8. Female 20-Somethings In Their Post-College Years
I am slowly (gracefully?) exiting the 20-something age group, so perhaps this preference will soon change.  But I always find books in this category to be relatable to some area of my life...either in career building, wedding planning, friend-keeping, etc.

9. Collegiate Setting
What can I say?  I adored all 4 years of my college experience, and now I work at a college.  College settings are very, very familiar to me.

10. Set In/Near My Hometown
Example: I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
I should basically just say "Wally Lamb novels" because no one else sets their books in southeastern Connecticut.  But if they did, I would totally read them!  No matter what the genre!  SECT in the house, boiiiiiiii.

What do you think, readers?  Do you share any of my preferences?  What are your insta-read topics?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 2012 In Review


Me, Instagramming October.
October, in addition to just being one of my favorite months (gotta love the changing of the leaves), was a great bookish month for me.  Lots of reviews, my first giveaways, and I've bumped into some fun new book blogs along the way.  I feel like October was the kickoff to what is going to be a very busy holiday season.

I tried to focus more on scary/suspense books this month, and I kind of succeeded.  Genres are difficult for me to stick to.  I start reading one thing, and then all of a sudden another book grabs my attention like a shiny object.  "Oooooh David Levithan new release MUST READ THAT NOW!"  So I did jump around a little.

I read and reviewed 8 books (click links for my reviews):
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn  <--this book still blows my mind, you MUST read it
Every Day by David Levithan
Rogue by Mark Sullivan
Feed by Mira Grant
The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I also posted a full review for 1 past read:
In The President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

And 2 mini reviews of past reads:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

AND I started a lil new meme: Small Fry Saturdays!  Join in anytime if you have favorite children's books to share.

In the midst of all this, I met Junot Diaz, completed my first two giveaways, and took part in my first blog tour review.

November should be an exciting month, with election season, Thanksgiving, and the beginning of Christmas shopping (gahhhhh)!  Plus, it's my husband's birthday--woohoo!

Last month I asked if people had any good recommendations for Halloween reads (and there were TONS), but now I wonder if there are any good ones for this less-written-about holiday.

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving reads?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deja Vu Review (2)

The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to mini-review books that I read pre-blog.  This week's topic is to choose some of the longest books you've read.  I was tempted to jump right to Stephen King (The Stand and Under the Dome?  Hello!).  But I read a lot of King, so I mixed it up.  Instead, I have 2 very different books to contribute!

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Yes, I read this monstrosity a few years ago.  It was my ultimate reading challenge for a long time; I had a vision in my head of completing W&P and automatically receiving a bejeweled crown and years of adoration from all that came into my presence.  Instead, I received looks of genuine puzzlement ("Wait...you didn't do it for a class or anything?") and carpal tunnel after holding up that heavy tome for 3 months.

Okay, it wasn't as bad as all that.  It's actually a pretty decent novel (English professors the world 'round are keeling over at me calling War and Peace "pretty decent").  There are a lot of intersecting storylines, all sorts of romantic drama, and hello!  War!  With Napoleon!  Good action there.  It's hard to keep all the Russian names straight, and the second epilogue made me want to cry (it's very philosophical, and I may have skipped it), but otherwise, if you have the time, it's not the boring trudge that everyone makes it out to be.  The bonus is that it will make you interesting at cocktail parties.

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

I told you I had two very different books to review!  I Am Charlotte Simmons is actually on my all-time favorites list.  It follows the title character as she begins her freshman year at fictional Dupont Univerity (a thinly-veiled Duke).  Charlotte is a bit sheltered, having been raised in a small North Carolina town.  She does not expect that she will so quickly have to deal with things like sex, drugs, and other debauchery when she reaches campus.  The book follows her throughout her first year, as her innocence and values are continually challenged, and she tries to discover herself through a new lens outside of her small town.

I read this book not long after I graduated from college, and I think that is a lot of why it spoke so loudly to me.  If you had the "traditional" 4-year university experience (living on campus, away from parents for the first time, etc), I'm sure at least some part of this book will resonate.  Wolfe does an awesome job of fleshing out Charlotte's character, and paints a realistic portrait of university life (as much as parents and college administrators probably wouldn't want to admit it).  Yes, it is long--but Wolfe takes his time telling Charlotte's story, and it's worth the extra pages.  I've been meaning to re-read this one for a while, because it's worth savoring again!

What are some of your longer reads?
 
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