Category Archives: Classic

I Capture the Castle

Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She was a sporadic reader, usually coming back to the same 10 or so classic books. She loved the familiarity of the words, her old friends. It seemed like all of the new books she tried ended with sadness. Sadness made her not want to read, to go back to the old comforting, predictable books.

One day, the girl’s teacher handed her I Capture the Castle and said “Please read it. I know you’ll love it.”

The girl did so.

She was captured by the candid descriptions of the English countryside. By the shaby castle. By Cassandra, her literary kindred spirit, stole her heart from the first line- “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

She finally found a happily-ever-after book, but not the fake kind. One that, after much love and writing and hardships, the main character turns out all right. It taught her life that life is moments of extreme happiness and sadness, and that you need both to appreciate the magnitude of it all. That laughter really is the best medicine, besides writing.

The girl wondered where she could find some friends to talk about this book with, the book that started it all. Her teacher was great, but the girl wanted some others too. So she started a blog, and began to read everything in sight.This book made her step out of her comfort zone, and she hadn’t gone back since. She made lots and lots of friends, and felt like she found a purpose.

A few months later, on her second read of this book, the girl thought about writing. She thought about an idea that had been in the back of her head for a while. She decided to take a chance, found a kitchen sink of her own, and started to write.

Several ideas later, the girl is still going. She doubts she’ll ever stop.

****

This was just my little thank you letter to the book that started it all. Highly recommended! 😀

Olivia

P.S. Thanks to my friend Alice and her lovely Girl Series posts that gave me the idea to write this subjectively! ❤

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Filed under Classic, Fiction, Modern Fiction, Romance, writing

Book Review- The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“We accept the love we think we deserve, Charlie.”

This book is the sort of book that changes you for having read it. I rarely buy things without reading them first, buy I’m so glad I took the leap of faith with this one. It far exceeded my expectations. I am lost for words on summarizing this one, so thank you, GR. 🙂

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

I loved this book because I felt, as so many other teens do, that I am not quite so alone after reading it. Charlie is utterly charismatic because he doesn’t realize he is. He often has moments of brutal honesty and wisdom, but not in that TFiOS-esque way of knowing that he’s being wise. His letters are so real, it’s hard to believe.

As much as I loved this book, it’s very controversial. It touches on basically every single taboo topic ever. But to people who complain about this, I say; “Um. Hello? It’s life. This stuff happens. It’s awful, but it’s life.” Charlie isn’t a good role model, but would you say Bella is a good role model? Or even Katniss? (the first basically almost got herself killed 10 times and then became immortal, and the second volunteered to fight to the death. Not that that isn’t honorable and all, but would you really want your kids doing that IRL? Rant over.) Teens love this because it doesn’t shield us from real life. Not every YA book has to have this stuff, but the way it was written gives these things a natural place.

Charlie’s POV is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It ticks me off to read all these rude reviews or this book on GR. “Only teens like this book” “childish” Seriously, people? Anyone who has ever been a teen has identified with this book in some way, especially current teens. He does write in short sentences with that type of harsh, beautiful language I love, but that is because he has mental damage. (I won’t tell you exactly what happened, but if you read it, you won’t expect it, and you probably won’t even understand it when you find out) I’ll be honest, it’s a bit hard to read. Not because of the language, but because it’s so real it’s almost painful. How Chbosky wound up love, pain, trauma, happiness, and depression into one novel so seamlessly, I have no idea.

I also totally love the cover. Some people think it’s hideous, but I think it’s just Charlie.

Do I even need to mention the fact that this book is totally quotable? The quote at the top is my favorite, but below are some awesome others!

“So, this is my life. And I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for all the right reasons.”

While I don’t recommend this to everyone, and certainly not to those under 14, I think everyone should read it at some point just to form an opinion. If you are currently a teen, I pretty much guarentee you’ll love it to death. Thanks to my friend Mark for pursuading me to read this!

Olivia

“And in that moment, I swear we were all infinite.”

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Filed under Classic, Fiction, Modern Fiction

If you liked….

I’m sure there are many posts like this out there already. Heck, this is basically exactly what Goodreads does. Sometimes, though, I have issues with Goodreads’ recommendations. As a whole, I LOVE Goodreads. But when you read as many books as I do, it’s hard to trust their recommendations. It’s hard to explain, but some books I like/don’t like are grouped into genres that I wouldn’t normally put them into and thus change what is recommended for me. Example: why exactly is The Tales of Peter Rabbit being recommended for me as a Young Adult book?

Anyway, I could have used a post like this a few months ago. I still could. So without further ado… “If you liked___, you might like___!” I’ll be using a lot of my favorite books, because frankly, they’re great!

If you liked

You might like…

    

If you liked…

You might like….

     

If you liked…

You might like…

   

If you liked…

You might like…

If you liked…

You might like….

    

And that’s all, folks! I hope this post was a little helpful to you! It’s kind of like my entire blog, condensed into one post. All of the books above are my favorites, and absolute must-reads for everyone!

Have

Olivia

4 Comments

Filed under Classic, Fiction, Modern Fiction, Nonfiction

Book Review- Love in the Time of Cholera

I hate this book with a passion!!! If you enjoyed this book, I don’t really recomend reading this review. But if you didn’t or haven’t read it, this might save you from reading it and give you a good laugh at the same time.

I’ve got to use the description from the back of the book for this one. Why? Because other than what is on the back, nothing happens in this book. NOTHING. I (ahem) added a few notes of my own in bold. In the interest of keeping the summary truthful, you know.

“In their youth, {obviously youth= when she was 13 years old. Duh.} Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza {if you don’t get those names mixed up, I’m impressed.} fall passionately in love. {through letters, of course. They never actually had a conversation} When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated {i.e. mopes around for 50 years instead of, you know, moving on}, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs {we learn the details of many of these affairs. Included: prostitutes, random ladies, cleaning ladies, and a 12 year old girl (I’m sorry, that’s just twisted)}- yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. {Um. Jerk.} Fifty-one years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again. {obsessive much?}

Can you see why I disliked the book? I’m sorry for being so negative, but seriously. Seriously. The book’s entire plot line is outlined above. Other than that, the book consists of:

75% totally useless information, like pages upon pages about how Fermina smelled like decaying old people (gross!)

15% Florentino’s 622 affairs, in disturbing detail

10% pointless metaphors and similes. Example: “he was crying with tremendous loud wails, the way Arabs cry for their dead, sitting in a trickle of fouled water that might well have been a pool of tears.”

To me, that’s not beautiful language. That’s wastelful language. Wasteful of my time, eye strain, and patience. And that is the least wordy example I could find! Honestly, every single sentence in the book in a run-on. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is probably the only book I’ve ever read that I enjoyed the flowery language. In that situation, it feels right. Here, it’s ridiculously excessive.

This book pained me to read. Like, physically. It took me 2 whole weeks to finish. This is like 2 months for someone who reads at normal speed. I winced at every page; the overly descriptive affairs, the holy excessive words, the fact that there ISN’T EVEN A PLOT. NONE. If this wasn’t a summer reading book, I’d have quit on the second sentence. The first sentence was the *only* redeeming factor of this book.

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him the fate of unrequited love.”

Pretty cool sentence. The ONLY good part of the book.

And finally…

Things I Learned From Love in the Time of Cholera:

  • If a man stalks you for 51 years, while at the same time having 622 affairs, don’t worry! He’s not a creeper. He’s just madly in love. And you’ll fall for him eventually.
  • Random dead bodies floating in the river while a cruise ship is passing isn’t unusual.
  • It isn’t wrong to have a 40 year age gap between a man and a girl. Duh.
  • If you’ve been stalking your love for 50 years and she stil doesn’t want to marry you, just take her on a cruise. That will solve all of your romantic issues.
  • Parrots can be deadly.
  • The first chapter of this book has almost nothing (or everything) to do with the ‘plot’ of this book.
  • Unrequited love smells like bitter almonds, apparently.

My point is, I feel like I lost brain cells reading this book. Please don’t waste your time.

Olivia

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Filed under Classic

Hurrah for Audiobooks!

As most of you know, I am going to Disney World tomorrow! I am very excited, but here’s the catch. We are driving, and Disney is about 10 hours of driving from where I live. In the past years, I have read books almost the entire way (crazy, I know). But lately, my motion sickness/seasickness has gotten worse. Not to mention my vision (I have to wear reading glasses). I decided that it was high time I check out an audiobook.

I started listening to this while packing this afternoon! Surprisingly, it is only 4 hours long. I am enjoying it so far! The narration helps with the otherwise slightly boring (sorry, Jane) book.

I haven’t started this one yet, because it is something like 14 hours long and I want to use that on the drive! I’ve heard great and terrible things about this book. I can’t wait to read…. err listen for myself and decide!

How did I miss the hype for this? I’m pretty sure it came out a while ago, but still! I’ll be listening to this one on the way back, I believe!

I will be reviewing the two modern ones (Jane Eyre too, maybe). I am also wondering about how an audiobook affects your ability to review a book. So far, I have noticed that I am more interested and am paying attention to details I would have missed before. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic though …

I really wish I didn’t have to take such a huge break from posting, guys!! I miss being on a regular schedule, what with the roof and all that mess. I will hopefully be back and posting on next Friday. If something changes, it may be later.

I have also been told that there is a developing tropical storm in the Gulf that very well could hit us while we are in Florida. If so, I will probably buy the hotel’s wi-fi and post (because frankly, hotel for 2 days straight=claustrophobia and boredom). The chance of an actual hurricane is pretty slim, but the chance I will get super bored and read all bajillion books I’m bringing is high! That means more reviews!

Lastly, I will be tweeting LIVE from Disney World! If you don’t already follow me, I highly suggest doing so, because that is the only way I can update about books I’m reading, hurricanes, and FUN! If you don’t have a twitter, just look in my blog sidebar. It shows my latest tweet! (I’m @OliviasOpinions)

Miss you bunches!

Olivia

P.S. I CAN respond to @ messages from my phone (even without wi-fi) so if you have a question, ask! 😉

6 Comments

Filed under Classic, Fiction, Modern Fiction, Romance

Coming Soon!

I had to change the name of these lovely hauls…. at Library Awesomeness Haul no. 7, I am getting a little worn out of that name. I figure if I am getting tired of typing it, you’re probably getting tired of reading it, too. (if this isn’t true, please comment!) I happened to be at the library today for a volunteering orientation- my first day is this Tuesday! It was really cool to meet some fellow bookish teens and discuss books during a few spare minutes! I got into a really long conversation with the librarian about Divergent, and convinced several other teens to check it out. YAY! 😉 ANYWAY, I was wandering the teen section before it began (a very dangerous thing for me to do) and ended up choosing 1… or 2… or a lot. In this haul, I’m also including books not from this library trip and books I’ve recently purchased.

I bought this for my Kindle when I saw that it was on sale for 1.99! That is so inexpensive, and I’ve wanted to read it ever since Gaby started glowing about it on her blog!

I got this at my last library trip, and I am forcing myself to read it first, no matter HOW MUCH I want to read a specific other book in this group!!! Pride and Prejudice is taking me so long to read that I haven’t gotten to this one yet!

This is on my summer reading list. I’m slowly plugging through, but I’m putting it down until I finish all of these.

I was innocently perusing the classic section when I realized I should get more Jane Austen! Pride and Prejudice is the first thing of her’s I’ve read, and I’m LOVING it! When I was searching for the book cover I noticed pictures of Alan Rickman in the movie! I did a double take! I said: “Wait, Snape? In Sense and Sensibility? What?!” 😀

I know absolutely nothing about this, except that it is dystopian and Chew Your Lipstick raves about it. Why not?

I loved Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, so when I randomly spotted this I snatched it up. It’s been a to-read for a long time!!

I know little about this one as well! But it is Goodreads recommended for me, and Shannon reviewed it positively a few days ago!

Now for the two I’m SUPER excited about!

I’ve been waiting and waiting for this to come in for me! I love the idea around this book…. and the fact that the author could take a plot so overused like this and make it a hit!

All I have to say is, it is about time! I’ve been anxiously waiting for months, and it is finally here! I am scared, a little. Scared of sobbing (because I love hate can’t make up my mind about sad books. But I love a good love story, and this sure seems to fit! You can definitely count on a review of this one!!

Hope you guys enjoyed this! I can’t wait to read these and review! 🙂

Olivia

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Filed under Classic, Fiction, Modern Fiction, Romance

Book Review- The Picture of Dorian Gray

It has almost been too long since I read this book to review it… about 2 weeks! But it is burned into my mind. *shivers* This cover is pretty, but way too innocent.

I’m just going to give you a little warning here. I get scared VERY easily! I’m a wuss when it comes to scary movies (frankly, I just don’t watch them). I don’t read scary books (for the most part). If I see a bug, I can”t squash it. Ghost stories make me run in the opposite direction screaming like a 2 year old girl. Because of all this, I can’t be sure if this book really is as terrifying as I think it was, or I am just very lame. I tend to this everyone is a little creeped out by this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (also known as The Portrait of Dorian Gray) is about a man who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for eternal beauty and youth. The deal is that he lives forever, but a very special portrait of himself ages and gets more grotesque, the more hideous his soul becomes.

I know a lot of people who would stop here, and give up on this book. I don’t blame you, because I almost did the same thing. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because A) this book turned out to be great B) it is a classic, and you should probably read it, even if you dislike the topic and C) I didn’t realize that Dorian actually didn’t sell his soul on purpose! It seems insignificant, but to me this makes a large difference in the morality of the book. This isn’t a spoiler, because it happens just a few pages into the book. I’m not quoting, but it goes something like this:

Dorian: “That picture is so beautiful, and I look so hot! I wish I would stay that handsome forever, and the picture would grow old and ugly, instead of me.”

That’s it. It was entirely an accident. The morality issues come later on in the book, because when he realizes that his wish came true, he goes a little crazy and does very bad things. Another thing to keep in mind while reading is that the bad things he does are awful and disgraceful for his time, but not necessarily ours.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me the heeby-jeebies all of the way through, especially at the end, but it was in a good way! I can see why this book is a classic. The language is great, and it is remarkably fast paced for a classic.

Another little comment about the morality issues surrounding this book. I think it is a misconception that this book condones killing, savagery, and evil. To me, this was wrong. This book is showing the reader about the dangers of evil, the dangers of defiling your soul. It does it in a very… shady way. But this isn’t an evil book in itself. And keep in mind that it is fiction. This never happened, no matter how real it seemed.

It is one of my favorites, to be sure. I see myself reading it many more times in the future! I can’t wait to watch the movie… in broad daylight. 😉

Happy Saturday everyone!

Olivia

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Filed under Classic, Fiction