Monthly Archives: April 2012

Inkheart. Oh, books, how I love you.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover art: 3/5 The cover is kind of weird. The only thing I like about it is that it shows how it is very fantastical and there are all of the mythical creatures that are featured in Inkheart. It also show (with the hand reaching out) that the world of the novels we read are connected to our physical world.

Age Limit: 9 and up seems appropriate

Author: Cornelia Funke

Mo and Meggie have something in common: their love of reading. Mo is a bookbinder and tries to find as many “sick” books (what he calls damaged books that need his care) as he can. He searches all around in used bookstores and people who specifically call on his expertise, dragging his daughter, Meggie, around with him.  Underneath this search for damaged books, though, is the whole reason behind his search: a book called “Inkheart.”

What’s so special about this book? Mo has a special talent that he discovered when he was a young boy, but then forgot about…until one night when he would lose someone very dear to him: his wife. No, she didn’t die. She disappeared into Inkheart. Whenever Mo reads out loud, whatever is on the page comes to life. The only thing is that when something comes out, something in this world goes in. So when Mo was reading Inkheart to his wife and daughter, Dustfinger and Capricorn came out, but his wife went in. That is the night that his search for her began.

Night after night he would read this story to try to find a hint of his wife, but whenever he read certain parts, nothing would ever come out. He did so for years, not having any luck. Meggie had no idea about her father’s talent. She only knew that her father never would read out loud to her. One night, while Meggie couldn’t sleep, she looked outside of her window to see a man standing outside of her window. She ran to get Mo and was shocked to find that there was a hint of recognition on her father’s face when he saw this strange man. The man was Dustfinger, the fictional character that Mo had read out of the book ten years earlier. He had been coming around for years trying to get Mo to read him back home to his wife, but Mo refused.

The next day Mo got Meggie to pack all of her things and they left there and went to the house of his wife’s aunt. Meggie didn’t understand why, but Mo had a reason. Dustfinger had told them that Capricorn (the antagonist in Inkheart and the other character that Mo brought to this world) was looking for Mo and had sent his men to capture him. Little did he know, Capricorn’s castle was only a few hours from where the aunt’s house is. Capricorn wanted Mo’s voice to make him rich by reading treasure out of different books. Mo though he was going in the opposite direction, but Dustfinger led him straight to Capricorn’s men. His men found Mo and Meggie, and took them.

That’s only the beginning of the story. It’s really only scratching the surface. There is so much that happens in this novel that you would have to read (because I’m not spoiling it for you). This is one of my favorite trilogies (Inkspell follows and then Inkdeath), because it is all about reading (and you know how much I love to do that). Each chapter (there are a lot of them!) begins with a quote from another novel or poem. I’ve actually been enticed to read other novels just from the quotes used in this novel! I actually saw the movie way before I even knew it was a book, and so after I read it, I obviously watched it again, and it is a LOT different than the book. They stay true to most of it, but they leave out a lot and even change some scenes. For example in the movie, they meet Dustfinger while out searching for books, instead of at their home. The ending also is neatly tied up and nothing like the book, which leaves questions unanswered and unresolved.  Having said all of that, I absolutely love the movie! Cornelia Funke actually wrote the part of Mo with Brendan Frasier in mind. I really wish they would make Inkspell and Inkdeath into movies, but there are no plans for that as of right now (and it would be difficult since they would have to continue the storyline of the movie and not the book). I highly recommend this series to anyone, and especially those of us that have a passion for reading.

As always, the trailer: Obviously, the trailer shows a lot more than what I told you, so maybe it will entice you a bit more to read it! (Or at least watch it, if you hate to read!)

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Fans Of Fiction as requested

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I had several people ask me if I would post this article I wrote for class, so here it is!

Fans of Fiction

So many times, we hear of crazy fans doing off-the-wall things in order to read the next book to that “hit new series” or spending outrageous amounts of money just to see the movie version one day early. There are millions of these fans out there watching and waiting to pounce on the first whispers of a new piece of fiction that is going to “literary” rock their world. Why is that? What is it about The Harry Potter Series, The Twilight Saga, or The Hunger Games Trilogy that gets fans so worked up into a literary seizure? I will attempt to answer this question through evidence and examples of crazed fans doing lunatic inspired stunts in order to feed on the next fiction victim.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Fans

I will first talk about The Harry Potter Series, because it was the first out of the three and probably has the most devoted fans. There is a young man, self-named Harry Potter, who prides himself on being the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world. He has three rooms full of paraphernalia, has read each book over a hundred times, wore dress robes to his high school prom, and claims he can wear HP-related clothing for three months straight and never wear the same thing twice. He even had J.K. Rowling sign his arm and had it made into a tattoo, one of four HP related tattoos.

Yeah, this guy.

Amazing stories of the stars actually being approached by these crazed fans never cease to amaze and even frighten those of us with a sane mind. A devout HP fan offered, with necessary documents in hand, to adopt the still under-aged Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy). This fan wanted to take him away from his own parents to live with him at a place he was to call “Malfoy Manor.” He even legally changed his name to “Lucius Malfoy.” Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) unfortunately is terrorized by many of the perverted fans out there. One man photo-shopped her face onto child pornography, but was kept out of jail because he didn’t mean to send out these pictures, only to keep them for himself (Sick, I know). When she went to college at Brown University, she was actually stalked by a group of guys from Harvard at a football game, who tweeted about their success as it was happening. Stalking, apparently, is not the only way to show your devotion to the characters.

Have you ever heard of Wizard Rock? Well, it’s a genre of music celebrating the world of Harry Potter, and consists of some bands such as “The Luna Lovegoods,” “Danny Dementor,” “Riddle TM,” “The Band Who Must Not Be Named,” “Celestial Warmbottom” (probably my favorite name), and “The Ministry of Magic.” This is only scratching the surface of devoted fans out there dedicated to this franchise, or as they might call it, “my childhood.”

This is Danny Dementor’s song “The Fallen”

So the Fan Fell in Love with Both Edward and Jacob

I am going to go ahead and take a stand on this one: Twihards, or the many other names Twilight fans call themselves, are among the craziest fans in existence. Small events turn into crazed, angry, and more often than not, violent, mobs. People get trampled, hit, and even end up in the hospital. There have been several reports about young girls with broken noses just because they grabbed the last free poster. These young girls and grown women (we don’t like to call attention to the age gap here), kick, push, and scream if it means getting only a little closer to being able to talk to one of these stars. Speaking of women who will do anything…

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The fourteen-year old Booboo Stewart (Seth Clearwater) experienced the inappropriate actions of older women. After taking a picture with a forty-year-old woman, Stewart was asked if he wanted to “make out” with her. These types of stories are plaguing these actors and even putting their lives at risk. A group of giggling girls ambushed Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), causing him to jump out into on-coming traffic. Luckily, the car only grazed him, but he could have been seriously injured from these unrelenting fans. I guess Pattinson should be thankful the driver wasn’t anti-Twilight like some of these people:

While some of the actors themselves have been accosted, the anti-Twilight people out there have actually been harmed for their hate of this franchise. I have read three girls’ accounts of what happened to them or friends of theirs, while bashing Twilight. One girl was sitting with three friends on a dock by a river when a very deranged fan overheard them poking fun at Twilight. She proceeded to pick up a flare gun and shoot it directly at them, severely injuring one of the guys in the group, making him unable to move his arm. Another account is about how three fans “jumped” a girl for writing an anti-Twilight essay, resulting in this girl needing stitches because of the assault. The last one, and probably the most frightening of the three, is when a girl said that because the saga was taken too seriously, it should be destroyed. Proving her point, a nearby fan-girl left the table fuming. Later on that day, as the first girl was sharpening her pencil, the crazed fan came behind her with a shank and tried to slit her throat. I would like to stress that this is a book adapted into a movie and these fans are willing to go to jail and ruin their lives just because someone doesn’t like it as much as they do. However, it isn’t just the teen fans acting crazy; it’s the older women as well.

Some older women go too far with their obsessions, compromising their marriages, their integrity, and even their sanity. Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) was approached by an older woman and proceeded to take her panties off for him to sign. Other men have claimed that their wives love the books more than they love them. Some women have whole rooms devoted to their obsession and have to retreat there in order not to become depressed. They have even created a name for this: Post-Twilight Depression. It is defined by Urban Dictionary as “the mixed feeling of wondering awe and devastating sadness when a person finishes the last book of the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn.” Fans are letting a series of fictional characters literally ruin their lives.

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 May the Fans be Ever in Pursuit

The Hunger Games is quickly gaining the fandom that Twilight and Harry Potter have achieved. There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see crazy fan stories throughout the rise of this series. However, since the movie was just released, it hasn’t had enough time for the crazies to come out. The actors in the movie have had some weird, and maybe a little creepy, encounters with fans, but not to the same extent as the other two franchises.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) is still getting used to the new attention being placed on her and is still confused when people start cheering when she walks into a room. “I still do the thing when they start screaming and I’m like, ‘Who’s here?’” She has said that fans follow her and kind of “creep her out.” One girl followed her home from the airport and confessed to sleeping there while waiting for her. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) has gotten many marriage proposals and had some older women beg her to let them buy her coffee.

Like always, there are fans who like to dress up for the premieres on opening night (I might be one of those people, but I will never admit to it!). At the theater I went to, there were many people dressed up as various characters.  The other fans, who did not dress up, were begging for pictures with them. I’m not going to lie: we felt important. I mean, you know, the other people who dressed up felt important (not me, I would never dress up for a movie…).

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These franchises all have something in common: they make people do crazy stuff. No one really understands or can coherently explain why they like these books/movies they just know they do. There is one thing that I have learned though: Never, I repeat, NEVER tell a teenage girl that you don’t like Twilight. She WILL shank you. You have been warned.

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m emotionally drained…but in a good way.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover Art: 5/5 On first look, you might say, “Hmm? That’s strange. Why is the title written on this outline of a hand? I am confused as to why this is!” Or maybe that was just me. But as I started reading and getting deeper and deeper into the book, I realized that the cover art is kind of genius. There is a character in the book that doesn’t speak (I won’t tell you who, because where’s the fun in that?) and he writes everything he wants to say in “day books.” He also has things written on his hands, and writes a few things on other character’s hands. See? Genius! Well that is just my interpretation. It could be totally different.

Age Limit: 13 and up. But parents, do be advised! There are some sexual scenes in this book. I would say younger children could read this book if it wasn’t for these few moments.

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer

Set in New York, the book opens up through the view of Oskar Schell, an eight year old who is incredibly smart and speaks a little French. He invents things in his mind to take away some of the hurt that he feels and his “heavy boots.” A term that, when you first hear it, kind of confuses you, but you start to understand what exactly those “heavy boots” mean. Oskar’s father, Thomas, is a genius and always gives Oskar little clues to go on adventures. The only problem is (and I’m not spoiling anything, you can find this on the back of the book) Thomas dies on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center.

One day Oskar finds a mysterious envelope with the name “BLACK” written on it. Inside there is a key that has no explanation and no instruction. Oskar then plans to visit every single person in New York with the last name of Black in order to get closer to his father and understand the last adventure that his father planned for Oskar. He met tons of people and influenced many of their lives without even realizing it.

The whole novel shifts from Oskar’s point of view to his grandmother’s view to his grandfather’s view. Time in the novel isn’t linear. It jumps from present to past from section to section, and you find out what some of it means later in the novel (so if you’re confused about something, don’t despair, just keep reading!).

The first time I heard about this book is when it came out in theaters. After I first saw the preview, I began to see people around me reading it and discussing it. I was intrigued. At work one day (Barnes and Noble) I was on my lunch break and decided to pick it up and see what it was about. I read 20 pages…and was hooked. I left the break room and bought it.

The entire time reading it, I wanted to give Oskar a big hug. It is such an emotional book (not the “cry for 30 minutes after reading it” type of emotional, but it is a gradual build-up that you don’t even realize is there until you see those final pictures. Oh yeah! The book is filled with pictures of the things that Oskar talks about. There are also sections where there are red pen marks filling the page with corrections. It is an interactive book and you feel like you are growing and learning with Oskar.

Like I said earlier, there is a movie, but I haven’t seen it…yet! I’m going to see it within the next couple of days, hopefully! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have. It really is a fantastic book.

I even plan on reading Safran Foer’s other novel, Everything is Illuminated, which was also made into a movie. Stay tuned for that one in the future! For now, I will include that trailer as well!

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Pride and Prejudice. Sorry in advance: I’m a little obsessed.

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Rating: 10/5 (There is a reason I have warned you. I’m just a bit biased.)

Cover art: 5/5 There are so many different versions of this book that it is hard to choose (when I say a lot…I mean a lot!) Even I have two different versions. I will just post one of the ones that I have, even though there are some much greater than this one.

Age Limit: If you can read…do it.

Author: Jane Austen

Perhaps you are familiar with a little lady I like to call “Elizabeth Bennet”? If not, you have come to the right place. For “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Those famous words are the first you will see when you open up Pride and Prejudice. My hope is that after you read them, you will fall in love, as I have, with Jane Austen.

Set in 19th Century England, the Bennet family (residing at Longbourn estate, in Hertsfordshire, near London), consists of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and five daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet. Mrs. Bennet and the three younger daughters are constantly embarrassing the family with their disregard of social norms. Mrs. Bennet  never quiets down about marrying her daughters off to any man with a substantial amount of money.

There is no surprise when Mrs. Bennet becomes frantic when a wealthy gentleman, Mr. Bingley, and his sister move into Netherfield. She forces Mr. Bennet to go introduce himself immediately so that they have a better chance of marrying off one of their daughters. When the whole family is able to attend a ball in honor of Mr. Bingley, the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and Bingley fall in love. It is also at this ball that Elizabeth Bennet gets to meet Bingley’s dear friend, Mr. Darcy. And so the story begins.

Elizabeth and Darcy are at odds for most of the novel. Mostly because they are both so full of pride and prejudice (Go Figure). He offends her, she offends him, but throughout the story, they see each other’s true character and slowly start to fall in love. They keep meeting in unexpected places and surprise each other through their actions, both good and bad.

But before that can happen, there is a Mr. Collins (cousin to the Bennets who is to inherit Longbourn estate whenever Mr. Bennet dies) who comes for a visit in search of a wife. Mr. Collins, a clergyman who is very much enthralled with Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Darcy’s aunt and Collin’s Patroness), is devoid of personality and wants a wife in order to please Lady Catherine. Well you can imagine, with Jane in hopes of a proposal from Bingley, Collins is going for the next in line: Elizabeth. When he proposes to Elizabeth, he states the reasons on why he is doing it (in the book, it takes up five pages) and will not accept her refusal. Let me take a second to talk about Elizabeth’s personality:

She is sarcastic and incredibly witty. She always has something to say and she speaks whatever (and I do mean whatever) is on her mind. Elizabeth feels pride for her family, but she is also deeply embarrassed by their social behavior. She loves to read, but is not very practiced at playing the piano (or any other pastime that women in this period were supposed to perfect).

Later in the novel, a tragedy happens to the Bennets and everyone is frantic. But this incident only strengthens Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s relationship. As a reader, you grow with these two characters and fall in love with each of them. Please, please read Pride and Prejudice. It will change your life.

I really could write pages and pages on this novel (I feel as if I already have written too much), but I won’t tell you any more of it. I’m sure most people are at least familiar with the story (or at least have seen the movie). But if you aren’t familiar with the story, I’m going to do something rare and suggest that you see the movie before you read the book. If you aren’t familiar with 19th Century literature and find that you have a hard time reading it, it might be a little difficult. So to help you understand it a little better and follow along with it, it might be better to watch it first. This might be the only time I ever suggest this, so don’t get used to it! Like I said earlier, this is my favorite book and I have read it several times. Sometimes you have to read it again because you get to understand a lot of Austen’s wit and humor the second time around. I have read all of Austen’s novels and she is also my favorite author.

As always, here is the movie trailer (only this time, I am going to post both movie trailers because both of them are good in their own ways.)

The Kiera Knightley version:

And the five hour BBC (Colin Firth) version (side note..I couldn’t find the trailer, but this is my favorite scene in this movie [the swimming doesn’t happen in the book, but everything else does. It’s a good one!]):

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”