15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 9

15-Day-ChallengeIt’s already day 9 of the über fun challenge which was created by the blogger of Good Books, Good Wine. So sit back, kick up your feet and just scroll on down.

Day 9: Why do you blog about books?

Why did Picasso paint? Why did Da Vinci invent? (I’m equally appalled that I just compared myself to Picasso and Da Vinci).

Because I am passionate about books.

I want to read, I want to discuss what I read, I even want to argue about what I read.

Because I am passionate about books.

I want to recommend books, I want to warn about books, I want to learn about books.

Because I am passionate about books.

I want to talk about which books inspire, which books are timeless and which books fall flat.

Because I am passionate about books.

I want to analyze books, I want to be challenged by books and I want to be left thinking for days because of a book.

Because I am passionate about books.

I can describe it no better way (sadly). Why do you blog about what you blog about? Comment below and happy reading!

 

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist WednesdayIn the famous word of Snow White, “I’m wishing (I’m wishing) for the one I love, to find me (to find me) today.” In this case (actually in most cases) the one that I love is a book, three in fact.

I came about Wishlist Wednesday hosted by the ever so lovely Pen to Paper. (Please check out their blog, it’s awesome).

Wishlist Wednesday is a meme that allows you to turn the spotlight on a few books that have been sitting on your get-to-eventually list for a while. Books that you dream of claiming their rightful spots on your bookshelf. Really you’re suppose to just pick one but I can’t pick just one (I know, I’m a rebel), so I have chosen three novels that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

menRaised in a two-room shack by her strict Oklahoma grandfather, Gin Mitchell knows a better life awaits her when she marries hometown hero Mason McPhee. Even so, nothing can prepare her for what’s to come when Mason takes a job with the Arabian American Oil Company in 1960s Saudi Arabia.

Gin and Mason are given a home with marble floors, a houseboy to cook their meals, and a gardener to ten the sandy patch out back. Even among the veiled women and strict laws of shariah, Gin’s life has become the stuff of fairy tales. But when a body of a young Bedouin woman washes up on the shores of the Persian Gulf and Mason disappears, her world starts to close in around her.

Ever since I read Khaled Hosseini I have become extremely interested in the ordinary lives of people living in the middle east and this novel promises just that. I want to understand the world or at least become aware of what is going on around me and fiction is the best way to do it. Also, as a female especially, I believe it important to read this novel.

wonderAnn Patchett raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle.

Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete the mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend’s death, her company’s future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson is as imperious and uncompromising as ever. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina.

State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader in to the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.

Can you guess what’s on my bucket list? That’s right, see the amazon jungle (funny because I’m not even remotely an outdoorsy person). The jungle offers so much mystery and exoticness (is the even a word?). So to satisfy my jungle craving (for now) I’ll settle for State of Wonder.

rainEnzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated him by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope. The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life… as only a dog could tell it.

I don’t think I’ve told you guys yet, but I LOVE dogs! However I usually don’t pick up books about dogs because most authors insist on killing off the dog (something I will never understand). But The Art of Racing in the Rain takes the point of view of a dog, which leaves me feeling that even thought the dog dies at the end of the novel, it won’t be quite as sad as meaningful. (At least that’s what I’m hoping)!

Those are my wishes this Wednesday. What are your wishes? Comment below, the wishing fairy is reading!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

mockingbirdNovel Facts:

    • Published: July 11th, 1960
    • Publisher: J.B. Lippincott & Co.
    • Genre: Coming-of-age story, social drama, courtroom drama, southern drama
    • Pages in hardback (The 40th Anniversary Edition): 323
    • Quotes: “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” 
    • Goodreads
    • Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Book Depository
  • four

 

Plot:

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”– A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel– a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice– but the weight of history will only tolerate so much. 

Review of the Characters: 

Scout– Easily the best protagonist I have ever read. She describes the dramatic events that take place in little Maycomb, all the while sounding exactly like the child she is, keeping the reader laughing at her simple logic. There are so many aspects that make this novel great but I believe it was Harper Lee deciding to use the point of view of a child that MADE this novel what is continues to be today. Scout is not yet tainted by an adult’s judgement and as so sees things more clearly than any adult would. For example, she more or less brings to light her teacher’s hypocrisy when her teacher says that Hitler is wrong for discriminating against Jews when the teacher in fact indulges in her own prejudices against blacks. What I love is that we truly grow with Scout; through her innocent, easy days to the days where she realized that humanity has a great capacity for evil, however she never once loses her spirit and through this we see that humanity can combat evils with simple kindness. (There are countless great scenes with Scout but my favorite would have to be when she stops a mob of men intending to hurt her father simply by showing them kindness).

Atticus– I consider Atticus the main character of the novel even though it is not told from his point of view, proof of this is Lee who was originally going to title the novel Atticus but then changed her mind. We needed Scout’s perspective to give us child’s logic, but it was Atticus that showed us the depths of humanity. We saw a good man struggle but all the while trying the best that he could. He is the type of man who actually lives by his morals instead of just saying that he does, “he acts the same way he does out in public as he does in his home.” We watch as Atticus does only right, his friends (and even certain family members) turn on him. Everything he does, he does with the intent of making his children proud. “Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him.” It’s because of Atticus that Jem and Scout grew up with clarity and compassion. Oddly enough his children don’t idolize him in the beginning of the novel because he is different from other fathers, but by the end they realize that it is this difference that makes him heroic. Atticus is the person we all strive to be.

Jem— Scout being too young to fully absorb the injustice that plays through this novel, Jem reveals the heart-break of childhood when one discovers that justice does not always prevail. In the beginning of the novel Jem’s world is innocent and fun but as the trial plays out evil is introduced into his world and he is forced to face that sometimes you can’t win against it. It’s a tough lesson to learn and Jem changes because of it, stopping Scout from killing a roly poly because it has done nothing to harm her. He is starting to cling to the mockingbird theory, trying to stop evil when he can. The hardest part for me to read was the trial because Jem was so sure and excited for justice to prevail and when it didn’t (even though we saw this through Scout’s eyes) the reader’s heart broke with Jem’s.

Review of the Story:

The story is… well, it’s so much more than a story. It is a window to humanity. It paints a portrait of the stark reality of our world in the point of view of a child, which is nothing but accurate. Lee’s story is timeless. It’s a tale that all can connect too because the ugly truth about humans is we NEED social outcasts. There will always be discrimination whether it be based on race, sexual orientation or gender but Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, shows us that we must do our best in spite of this downfall of humanity. We must fight these evils even if we can’t beat them. To Kill a Mockingbird can be described in so many words: quiet, truthful and genius.

Review of the Writing:

Harper Lee’s writing is one than any could take in, chew and stir around. She writes so that her meaning is clear though in the context many complex devices lie. For example, symbolism. I found three mockingbird (please tell me if you found more).

  • Tom Robinson— He was innocent and not only that but he bestowed acts of kindness on his accuser on a regular basis  
  • Boo Radley– An intelligent child broken (but not all the way) by a cruel father
  • Jem Finch– An innocent who had his world shatter because of the injustice of the trial.

She is a brilliant writer adding to her talented aura by not publishing another novel.

Rating:

People don’t call To Kill a Mockingbird the novel of the century for nothing. Harper Lee wrote the novel that can sum up humanity in three hundred or so pages. She talked about harsh truths and good morals all the while keeping us laughing. (I love the part where Jem claims the Egyptians gave us a whole lot of important stuff– like toilet paper). My only wish is that Harper Lee had published another novel.

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Overall Rating:

four

P.S.– My next read is The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis (so excited)!