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End of Another Book, Beginning of a Another Year!

New Years Eve with Book Worm

Hello All!

It’s hard to believe that this will be my last post for 2012!

We have seen a year with many ups and downs – sadly more downs than ups – and witnessed the rise and fall of many great figures. But even in the midst of all the bad times, there have been moments that I will treasure for years to come as some of the happiest times of my life.

Many of those moments, for me, have had some sort of connection to my love of words, literature and the art of writing:

1.Writing with The Fulcrum, for instance, has been a major highlight for me; being able to share something with the world that benefits both them and myself. It has also been one of the big highlights of my university life.

2. Seeing The Avengers with a dear friend of mine. This movie was not only visually stunning, but was also equipped with an amazing script that was made possible by the efforts of non other than the amazing Joss Whedon. One of the things I would wish for in the new year is that Joss Whedon be made a part of more movies, inspiring us with his creative genius.

3. And of course, there are all of the amazing books I have read, ranging from fantasy, to science fiction, and even a little bit of historical fiction. In fact, this brings me to my next topic of discussion!

I must warn you now that the text that follows may contain some potential spoilers from “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green. If you have not read the book, or are planning on reading it (which I do hope you are, since it’s amazing) then I recommend that you read no further. With that said, I will now share with you my final Book Recommendation of 2012!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 

An Abundance of Katherines

I said this after reading The Fault in Our Stars, but I will restate it because it continues to hold true; I do not care for teen romance literature, but John Green’s books have been the exception. I don’t know how he does it, but somehow he is able to take something that makes me groan at the mere thought of it, and turn it into this life changing experience. He is a literary genius, and I do hope more and more people come to know him and his work. In fact, if you would like to get started on that, you can go watch him and his brother Hank Green on their Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel.

Not only did this book unveil a whole new outlook on the world of fictional romance, but it also sparked within me a new appreciation for mathematics, which is saying a lot coming from the person who could barely scrape a B in math all throughout grade school. The idea of being able to graph out a relationship in order to determine who will be labeled the Dumper of the Dumpee is utterly fascinating, even if in the end his formula turned out to be utterly useless.

It also explores a thought that wiggles its way into everyone’s mind at one point in their life, which is the idea of wanting to matter. We all want our lives to mean something, to have a resounding impact on the world that people will remember for years to come. Colin Singleton, the protagonist of this novel, struggles with this idea, thinking that being a child prodigy and having an aptitude for making anagrams just isn’t enough for him to achieve the kind of greatness he sought. It wasn’t even that he wanted to be famous, but he simply didn’t want to die without making some kind of contribution to humankind.

Finally, there is his Katherine conundrum. Although it’s not entirely believable that one guy could be dumped by 19 girls with the exact same name, and the same spelling of said name, it still made for an enjoyable tale of teenage romance gone wrong. I especially enjoyed the twist at the end where he ended up dating a girl who not only was the exact opposite of the girls he normally dated, but wasn’t even named Katherine!

So I hope you all had a wonderful year filled with good friends, good food and good books. I look forward to continuing our literary journey together.

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE EVERYONE!!!

Cheers 🙂

One Book Closes, Another Book Opens

Hello All!

You will be happy to hear that I have finally finished reading The Third Twin by Ken Follett, and have now moved on to something else. First, however, I’ll give you a little bit of my feedback.

The first books I read by Ken Follett were historical fictions that took place back in the 1100’s or 1300’s, and they revolved mostly around certain characters trying to make a living. In the first one, it was about a man trying to build a cathedral, and the second one featured the construction of a bridge, as well as the reconstruction of certain parts of that same cathedral. In other words, they both followed similar story lines that made it easy to transition from one story to the next, but still allowing you to find something new and exciting by having a whole new cast of characters.

The Third Twin

“The Third Twin” is completely different. It’s a more modern style novel that focuses on a cover up of genetic experiments that were performed back in the 70’s, where they tried to breed humans with the desired physical and personality traits, and how one woman studying at a university funded by the business behind these experiments, Genetico, ends up unearthing their little conspiracy entirely by accident. It has a completely different feel than all of the other books of his I have read, but trust me, it is just as good. In fact, in many ways I liked it better, but mostly because it is easier to relate it back to modern society and our current scientific progression.

I said this before, but I will say it again now that I’ve actually finished reading it: I recommend this book to everyone! Okay, maybe not everyone. Just like in all of his other books, there are some rather descriptive sections that are not meant for everyone. Personally, I think it makes the story all the more believable, but if you become squeemish when faced with highly descriptive violence or sexual content, then you should probably find something else. Otherwise, this book is amazing. If you’re into law, science, cloning, genetics, and huge business cover-ups, then this book is definitely for you.

Now, on to the new book!

I only started it today, but already I’m hooked. What can I say? I become hooked on any book that’s written by John Green! That’s right, it’s another teen fiction novel full of witty humor, clever anecdotes, and a great assortment of characters, each one of which you cannot help but get attached to.

An Abundance of Katherines

This one is called “An Abundance of Katherines“, and it’s about a high school teen named Colin Singleton who has been dumped 19 times, each time by a girl named K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e. I have only just begun to read it, and already I feel like I know Colin Singleton. I would say he’s your typical teenage boy, but he’s actually a bit of a genius. His smarts came at the costly price of his social skills, which you will come to understand as you read his story. Oh, and I should mention that he is obsessed with anagrams, which I just find thoroughly amusing.

I’ll fill you in a little more about the book once I’ve had a chance to read it from cover to cover, but trust me when I say anything written by John Green is a must read!

Cheers 🙂

 

“The Amulet of Samarkand” by Jonathan Stroud

Hello all!

Today is Book Recommendations for You day, and do I have an excellent one for you!

WARNING: I WILL TRY TO REFRAIN FROM REVEALING INFORMATION THAT WOULD SPOIL THE STORY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO READ IT AND ARE PLANNING TO, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THERE WON’T BE SOME SPOILERS IN MY REVIEWS AND/OR SUMMARY OF THE BOOK. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS, DO NOT READ!!!

theamuletofsamarkand

If you like demons, wizards, magic and a battle between good and evil, then The Amulet of Samarkand is probably the book you’re looking for. It is the first in a trilogy, and although it is meant for younger readers, there is something about the writing style and the character dynamics that make it enjoyable for all ages. The characters in this book are able to summon demons to do their bidding, but not without a price to be paid. The main character, Nathaniel, summons a 5000 year old Djinni so that he can steal an amulet from a ruthless and cruel magician known as Simon Lovelace. It’s interesting to follow their adventure, and to see if any kind of friendship develops between Nathaniel and his demon, since it is made quite clear in the footnotes that the demon could care less about his masters well being. Oh, I suppose I should note that many of the main characters’ thoughts and snide remarks are written in the form of footnotes on each page, which is just another aspect of the book that makes it so interesting.

Here is a brief summary I found for the book:

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.

 

I read this back in high school, so I can’t say whether or not it would have the same appeal to me if I read it now, but let me tell you this; I read the harry potter books in high school and I still love reading them now. It’s an interesting story, loaded with plot twists, and the main character is one that you alternate between hating and loving, and an incredibly witty demon who is completely unpredictable!

I hope you enjoy this book, and as always, feel free to go to the Book Recommendations from You page in the top toolbar and leave the name of one of your favorite books in the comments.

 

Cheers 🙂

TFIOS MOVIE!!!

As you can tell by my overuse of capslock in the title, I am very excited about the movie that is soon to be filmed, which happens to be based on one of the best books I have ever had the good fortune of reading. It’s one of the first books I mentioned since starting this blog, and just to save you the trouble of looking for it, I’ll tell you. It’s “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, who is not only a brilliant author, but also the co-founder of the online community Nerdfighteria, and also the co-blogger of the infamous YouTube channel Vlogbrothers. If you haven’t heard of him by now, then I suggest you get out from underneath that rock of yours and go look him up, and you will be thankful that you did.

Now, I am not personally a fan of the Twilight saga, but for those of you who are, you might be interested to know that the movie producer of Twilight, Wyck Godfrey, will be producing the TFIOS movie. I figure that might be a pretty good incentive for some of you. Although I didn’t care much for the Twilight books, I will confess that the movies were well done, which gives me hope. So, if you have nothing else planned for the weekend, here is a list of things you need to do:

1. Go buy The Fault in Our Stars

2. Go to VlogBrothers on YouTube and subscribe

3. After being inspired by their videos, go back out and buy the rest of the John Green collection

4. Take a moment to enjoy the knowledge that you have taken your first steps into the most awesome community of all time!

I have yet to find out when the release date for the movie is, but trust me, I will keep you informed because this is something that no one should miss out on.

If you are as excited about this movie as I am, express your excitement in the comments down below. This is going to be a monumental moment, one that everyone should be a part of. This is not to say that this book is for everyone, but so far I haven’t spoken to a single person that had anything bad to say about the book. I think that says something to its quality, don’t you?

Until next time, happy reading!

Cheers 🙂

Is Crime Hereditary?

I know, I know, it’s been quite a while since I last posted a book up here for you all, and although I have a strict rule of not recommending anything I haven’t first read from cover to cover, I think I am willing to make yet another exception. The fact is, even without reading this particular novel, I can already give you my personal stamp of approval for it.

As you may or may not know, I have developed a taste for historical fictions, most notably the works of the infamous Ken Follett. The way he is able to weave the facts together in such an entertaining and captivating manner makes him nothing short of a literary genius. Thus far, I have read through Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and A Dangerous Fortune, all of which were absolutely phenomenal. Now, we all know that no one is perfect, and so for that purpose I will confess one thing that nearly put me off reading them. No, it wasn’t not the amount of detail he used when illustrating those rather … promiscuous scenes (I am rather fond of euphemisms, as you can tell). I will admit that I found it rather shocking at first, but when I considered the time period and the social norms that went with it, I was able to rationalize those parts of the story. But I digress.

The main component to a story that I find the most intriguing is the character development. I can’t stand it when I character remains static throughout the entire novel. I like to see them go through a series of changes that is reflective of the changes humans go through in reality as they encounter new obstacles and accumulate a vast number experiences. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of that in his novels, but there’s the rub; there was A LOT! To be more specific, there were a great deal of different characters, and they all went through their own personality shifts. The more characters you have to focus on, the more difficult it becomes when trying to sort one character from another. All of their paths end up converging in the end, but when they all begin in several different places, it’s like reading several stories in one and it becomes a bit disorienting at times.

With that one criticism out of the way, all that’s left to say is that his books really are a rare treat, and I will now reveal to you the fourth book of his that I am partway through at this moment.

The Third Twin by Ken Follett

Have you ever wondered whether the children of serial killers carry that same incline towards aggressiveness as their parents? Or how close identical or fraternal twins really are right down to their genomes?  This book gives us a peak at studies being conducted on just that, focusing on the life of one man in particular who went from being your average, stand up citizen, to a convicted murderer … but is he really the guilty one? Here’s the book synopsis to get you started:

“Young scientist Jeannie Ferrami discovers a baffling mystery. Two young men, law student Steve and convicted murderer Dan, appear to be identical twins. Yet they were born on different days, to different mothers. Jeannie investigates, but shadowy forces retaliate and Steve is accused of a terrible crime. As Jeannie falls in love with him, can she be sure he is different from his evil twin? Solving the mystery will mean deadly danger.”

Ken Follett Bibliography

Perhaps its best that I have yet to reach the tale’s end, for that makes it less likely that I will give away any spoilers, and we all know how frustrating that can be.

For now, I bid you adieu, and as always, you are most welcome to share with me any of your thoughts, comments, or criticisms on the books I have recommended, and to even recommend your own books for both myself and everyone else to read.

Cheers 🙂

Have you carried Water for Elephants?

I do believe I have stated this at some point before, but there are very few novels I have read for the purpose of school studies that I have actually enjoyed. One of my English classes in University, fortunately, has relatively good taste. I’m sure most of you are probably familiar with the book Water for Elephants if you have taken an english universty course that studies literature. It’s a classic, and I can understand why; there is nothing else like it. I have yet to finish the novel in its entirety, but since I have not recommended in a book in quite some time, I thought it would be okay to make an exception this time. So, here is a little synopsis, and some of my thoughts:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Orphaned and penniless at the height of the depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train – and inadvertently runs away with the circus. Thrown into the chaos of a second-rate traveling show, Jacob is adrift in a world of freaks, swindlers, and misfits …

Trust me, this book will take you for a ride. Each character has a life of their own, created with such substance that you can’t help but want to find out how their lives will turn out as they take you through their life as circus performers. Jacob seems to out of place at first, and even though he never seems to entirely accept his new life, you can see how he starts to find his place among the ruffians. I would like to warn you that there is some rather adult content, and by adult I mean ‘sexual content’, so do read with a certain amount of discretion in mind. Otherwise, enjoy 🙂

Coming Soon … A Trip to Chapters

Hello my fellow avid readers! It has been a while since I have posted a recommended book for you guys, and I do apologize for that. I do love university, but it leaves very little time for my own recreational activities. Never fear, though, because with my newly acquired Chapters gift card – sometimes it’s nice to get a little gift for doing someone a favor – my first order of business when I find myself back in Ottawa will be to storm through the doors of the nearest Chapters and load up my arms with as many books as I can carry. I have a few in mind already, but I don’t want to give away the surprise 🙂

Until then, I will continue to post more of my own thoughts, opinions, creative works and whatever else I happen to be in the mood to share. I’ll leave you with this little piece of advice for now:

Don’t ever let rainy weather get you down; look at it as an opportunity to finish another book!

Cheers 😀