Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Most of the people in my discussion group didn't like The Catcher in the Rye. I was sort of the minority voice sticking up for Holden, trying to explain that he just wanted to talk to someone, and that he was depressed, and that it probably isn't good to assume that that he is just a whiny rich kid, because there are plenty of people in the world feeling as hopeless and sad as Holden did. Also, he makes a lot of good points about how the world could or should be, and that it is pretty darn depressing the world isn't as "good" as he wants it to be.
Most everyone seemed to really like The Outsiders. I was glad to have similar opinions on this book. One person in our group brought up the point that the language doesn't seem very well written, and that it sounds very young, possibly because Hinton was young when she wrote it. However, I think that the whole point of the book is that it sounds young, because it's a high school kid's point of view, and because of where and how Ponyboy grew up, he has that view point and that language.
Other people in the group read The Pigman by Paul Zindell, and seemed to enjoy it. They talked about the similarities between The Pigman and The Outsiders. Since I guess both books show these groups of people that become family, but weren't born that way. That is a major theme in The Outsiders, that needing to belong and to not only care about others, but to have other people care about you.
All in all, I really enjoyed the first class of this course and I am looking forward to next week's class.
To Buy: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Pigman by Paul Zindell
Reading for Next Week's Class: Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, Forever by Judy Blume
Other Reading: XVI by Julia Karr
Monday, January 24, 2011
Course Theme for the Week: "Introduction to the Course (1-26-2011)
Title: The Outsiders
Author: S.E. Hinton
Date Read: 1-23-2011
Overall: * * * * * (5/5)
Amazon Blurb: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967.
My Review: I didn't actually know very much about this story before reading it. I knew a lot of middle schools had this as assigned reading, but mine did not, and I just never got around to reading it prior to this. I wish that I had not waited so long to read it though, because it sucked me right in and I just had to know the rest of Ponyboy's story. At times I was fearful to keep reading, because I didn't want anything bad to happen to him or his brothers, or his friends.
I liked the honesty in Ponyboy's voice, and that he didn't seem angry about his place in the world, but that he seemed to accept things even if those things weren't fair. The differences in each character's personalities were very distinct, especially the differences between kids like Johnny or Ponyboy and kids like Dallas. Ponyboy's world is so completely different from mine that I couldn't put the book down because of how little I could relate to his world and his lifestyle.
I think that people of any age could get a lot out of this book. The ultimate lesson for me was to never let all of the bad things in the world black out all of the good things, like sunsets. When Johnny died, it did something to Ponyboy for a while, until he could see that Johnny wouldn't want him to be like that, to become like Dallas, and so in the end he tried to hold onto those bits of innocence he had left.
At some points, I could really feel some similarities between The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye, particularly because Ponyboy's thought process was often, in my opinion, very similar to Holden Caulfield's. There were some observations that Ponyboy made that sounded very much like Holden's (like how people are different in their yearbook pictures, and how repetitive both narrators were). This wasn't a bad thing for me, and I don't think I would have noticed if I hadn't read them within the same week.
To Buy: Amazon
For Class -- Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, Forever by Judy Blume
Other -- Bleed by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Books Read in 2011: 8
Friday, January 21, 2011
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped.
They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Plot: * * * *
Characters: * * * * *
Style: * * * * *
My Review: Courtney Summers is on a roll. Her characters, especially the lead female characters, are so real, and never perfect, and never fit into that "oh, but I'm so boring and mousy and normal" cliche that seems to happen so frequently in YA lit. Eddie was so mixed up, and flawed, and just sort of broken (temporarily), that she brought me down with her in her grief. Milo, Eddie's best friend, was really what a best friend should be for everyone. When he broke down and finally told Eddie about "that night," it brought another level of understanding to his relationship with Eddie and how he acts towards her. Culler was strange, and also broken, but he should have known better than to manipulate someone's emotions like that, especially a teenage girl grieving her dead father.
The only issues I had with this book, were mostly that I just kept wanting to punch Beth (Eddie's mother's friend) in the face whenever she spoke, because it felt like everyone was forgetting that Eddie was broken too, that her mother should be taking care of her, instead of her mother's friend telling her to get out of the house all the time. This is actually just a sign of a well written character though, since Beth was so convincingly annoying that she made me angry.
Summers' writing always feels true and real, and not glossed over or romanticized like many authors tend to do. I think this is part of what draws me to her books over and over. Nothing seems fake or perfect or set up. Her first three novels have really hit home with me and I look forward to her having a long career. So much care seems to be put into her stories and the lives she creates, it's so refreshing and so raw.
To Buy: Amazon
Currently Reading: The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Title: Deadly Little Games
Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...
Monday, January 10, 2011
Title: Anna and the French Kiss
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
Thursday, January 6, 2011
2011 Debut Author Challenge - Book # 1
Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.
But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?