Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stories That You Always Come Back To...

Stories That Stay With Us Forever: A Post of Too Much Nostalgia

(I promise that at the end of this I will speak of something other than Harry Potter.)


So, a scarce few of you may have noticed that I'm currently reading the entire Harry Potter Series....again. Maybe for the billionth time. And I don't think that I'm shocking anyone here when I say that I'm a huge and ridiculously dedicated fan. Like, ridiculously. My visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal may have been one of the greatest days of my entire life. I cried.

Anywho.

My love for HP began when I was in the first grade. I had seen the movie, and my older siblings were reading the books, so naturally I had to read it. The first book took me about a month to read, and Lord only knows how much of it I actually absorbed. But that didn't really matter because I was already hooked. I ran through the rest just in time for The Order of the Phoenix, which I distinctly recall forcing our parents to buy while we were vacationing in Colorado. I remember the agony of awaiting the next two books and the bittersweet moment when the final movie came out.

For a time I think that I must have thought that after the last movie, the magic would be over, and Harry Potter would slowly fade away. Well, I'm glad that I was so wrong! In fact it's nearly impossible that it will ever leave me. I fully credit Harry Potter for introducing me to reading and for my advancement in English and reading skills. And even beyond that, Harry Potter never stops amazing me. The progression of darkness as the books go on is absolutely fascinating to observe, and the continuity is beyond impressive. I could praise the imagination, intricacy, and character progression for ages and still feel that I haven't done it justice!

Harry Potter taught me that even the most unlikely people can be heroes, that you must always stand up for yourself, and that love, above all things, can save us all. All of this is--and so much more--is why I loved Harry Potter all those years ago, why I love it now, and why I'll love it for all those years ahead.

I think the appropriate way to end this rant is...

Harry Potter, always.

So, after all of this emotion on my part, I want to hear what you think! What story has always stayed with you? How did you come by it? How has it affected you? Can you please be more of a freak than me? I'd love to hear from as many people as possible! Thanks! (:



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: The ABC Murders

Book Review: The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie


The ABC Murders

Things to know up front...

Recommended to: mystery fans, Christie fans

Rating: 8/10

Setting: various towns in England

Content
  • No sexual content.
  • Several murders (obviously), but not too graphic or disturbing. 
  • No drug use.
  • A few curse words, but most are what I call "dashed out" such as d----d or b------d. 
  • Overall, suitable for as young of readers as are interested. 


The ABC Murders starts out with the wonderful Hercule Poirot receiving a letter from "ABC" warning of a crime to be committed that no one, except Poirot, seems to take seriously. Yet, sure enough, murder strikes an old woman named Alice from Andover, and the story takes off with each murder following a grim alphabetical pattern. Poirot and his good friend, Hastings, must put their minds together in this fast-paced novel to track down the murderer before--God forbid--the culprit reaches "Z."

I really quite enjoyed this little novel! Poirot was, as always, brilliantly entertaining, and the premise of the book is extremely exciting. Christie also departed from her usual style to give us a few chapters that were a third person narrative on the agitated murderer! I have read other reviews that have criticized this move on Christie's part, but I quite enjoy the extra excitement and pieces of the puzzle that it gives the reader. 

As usual, I didn't quite know what was going to happen until the very end, though I may just be very un-clever (stranger things have happened). Nonetheless, Christie gave the story a very satisfactory and characteristic twist that completely unraveled all of the ideas that I had formed about the plot; I honestly yelped "What?!" aloud as I was reading! 

Overall, I found this to be an extremely entertaining novel and think this would be a perfect read a day at the beach (though those days seem far off here in the high five of the nation) or a semi-long car ride! This is something that Christie fans, old and new, can enjoy, so go ahead and give it a try! (:   

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Flight Behavior

Book Review: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


So, due to lack of time, this review is going to be a bit more on the traditional side! Hope you enjoy!

Things to know up front...

Recommended to: those interested in the climate change, Kingsolver lovers

Rating: 9/10

Setting: Feathertown, Tennessee during modern times

Content: 

  • There is talk of a woman's flirtations outside of marriage--nothing serious. A woman sees another man naked, but nothing is described. A woman has a child out of wedlock. 
  • No violence of any kind. 
  • No drug use, except for cigarettes. 
  • Smatterings of curse words, but most--if not all--are pretty mild. 
  • Overall, suitable for about teenagers and up, but the themes are very mature, so the book may not have much appeal for those younger readers. 

Flight Behavior centers around Dellarobia Turnbow, a woman not yet thirty who is a perfect symbol of missed opportunities. Pregnant and then married soon after at seventeen in a tiny southern town of Tennessee, opportunities and excitement have passed Dellarobia by for too long. But when Dellarobia hikes up the mountain one day for a tryst, she discovers something amazing: millions of monarch butterflies flooding the trees, so many that she retreats back down the mountain without ever meeting her man. Suddenly, the butterflies become the center of Dellarobia's life as it brings controversy, love, and unwelcome ideas about global warming to Feathertown. Flight Behavior is an amazing story of life and the chosen and un-chosen events that get us there.

I started out reading this with some serious doubts. I'm a huge fan of some of Kingsolver's other novels such as The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible, but I know I've read one or two others that have been a bit of a miss for me. Fortunately, my doubts were very unnecessary! Kingsolver delivered once again with this one!

The protagonist, Dellarobia, is a truly amazing medium to tell such a tale through. You can't help but love this sassy little woman that wants so much, but got stuck with so little. Her rise to someone that finally decides that she deserves something more after she helps biologists study the monarch phenomenon is inspiring and yet so very saddening at the same time.

The best part about Flight Behavior is that it's a novel that works even though it seems like it shouldn't. A fiery woman with two children, a pushover husband, imposing in-laws, and oppressing small town ideas coming into contact with a beautiful but disturbing appearance of monarch butterflies and global warming?  None of it seems to fit together, but somehow Kingsolver carries it off with perfect fluidity.

Overall, I loved this book; it's insightful, thought-provoking, and inspiring. I would highly recommend it to just about anyone, especially Kingsolver fans! Even if you are unfamiliar with any of her other books, you should definitely give Flight Behavior a try anyways; you will experience the unique and intoxicating way that she can blend together science, faith, and the fallibility of human nature to produce something that you won't soon forget. I hope you pick it up soon!