Tag Archives: books

Sorry I Was Using HG2G On A Vogon Ship

So, I obviously wasn’t chilling on a Vogon ship, but I was drowning in an avalanche of homework and despair. So, yeah.

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I recently began reading the second book of The Hitchhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. And I realized that I never reviewed the first book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is a shame because it was the epitome of entertainment.

 

The story originated as a radio comedy on BBC Radio 4 and soon became a staple for the station. Obviously, it’s popularity rose enough for it to be created into a series. It’s one of those series that has a crazy fanbase, bordering on a cult phenomenon.

 

The series revolves around Arthur Dent. He is your average, everyday protagonist whose high school yearbook professed him to be “most likely to end up living in a hole in the Scottish highlands with only the chip on his shoulder for company.”

 

His only worry in life was protecting his home from demolishment, until his dear friend Ford Prefect reveals to him that he is actually Ix, a Betelgeusian from Betelgeuse 5 and that the Vogons are about to blow-up the Earth to make space for their new hyperspace bypass.

 

Ix luckily has a way out of this seemingly hopeless predicament and uses his Electric Thumb to hitch them a ride on a Vogon ship. They soon are joined by Trillian Astra who turns out to be a girl that rejected Arthur’s attempts at flirting at a flat party and a depressed robot named Marvin.

 

Trillian and Arthur are resigned to their fate of living in space for the rest of their lives and go on the adventure of figuring out what the meaning to life is. Which is the number 42 according to Deep Thought, the most powerful computer in the universe.

 

This book was absolutely hilarious in the most cynical way possible. The characters were perfectly developed and I can’t resist a depressed robot. So, if you are looking for your daily dose of dry humor why don’t you hitch a ride with Arthur Dent and Ix?

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用中文怎么说 I’M BACK!

So you might be confused as to what the squiggles in my title mean. Well they are Chinese for: How do  you say…. in Chinese?

I’m sure this means nothing to you, and seems totally irrelevant to anything going on right now. But, it basically explains how I spent my summer. I went to the bustling metropolis of Poultney, Vermont to converse in Chinese and ONLY Chinese for a whole month.

During my Chinese adventure I resided at Green Mountain College, which has the legacy of slaying their campus oxen and serving them in the dining hall. Don’t worry. That was before I got there. 

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Meet Bill and Lou. The campus dinner.

One requirement of participating in the language program was staying true to the Language Pledge, which basically stated that we couldn’t speak, listen to, write, read, think, or breathe in English.

I could deal with all of those conditions, except for one. And I don’t know if you can guess it but, it was reading. I didn’t even consider following that rule. I had contraband stashed throughout my dorm room; books behind dressers, in drawers, in my laundry bag, my suitcases, and between my bed frame and my mattress.

Every single time I heard something outside my dorm, I chucked the book I was reading at the time behind the wall of my study carousel and pretended to be sleeping. I have to say that there were a few close calls, but in the end all was well because I got to read some amazing books this summer.

Reviews soon to come.

Kisses. xxx

 

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‘Emma is to Clueless’ as ‘The Great Gatsby is to The Notebook’

I recently watched the original The Great Gatsby (Of course it was the original, the other one hasn’t come out yet. Silly me. Sorry.). As I watched Robert Redford and Mia Farrow embark on their affair that could be from a fairy tale, I realized how stupid people are.

Yeah, change of tone.

Gatsby and Daisy are fools. Crazy, pampered, delusional fools. Just because your skirt gets shorter and you can fall into a fountain drunk, doesn’t mean you can get away with adultery. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t want them to end up together. Because I did. I just want to point out how crazy it is for me to want that for them. I know it’s a fictional story, but it still bothers me.

When I was watching the movie, I was rooting for them to be together. I justified their cheating with the fact that her husband cheats too, they are each others true loves, they met before she got married, they were meant for each other, etc., but it’s not moral and there is nothing that you can say that excuses what they were all doing, lying and cheating.

Side Note: I know I sound like some Sanctity of Marriage Act fanatic, but I’m not. I don’t believe in true love, I don’t think everyone has to stay married to each other, divorce is a perfectly fine thing to have. It’s sad when it happens, but if you can’t get along with your wife/husband and you are miserable, there is no point in staying miserable together. You should just go for the person you like after you get a divorce. You decided to get married and you should have a moral obligation to uphold the vows you took when you made that decision.

I know Daisy’s husband is a skeezy cheater too, but two wrongs don’t make a right. This applies to the narrator, Nick Carraway, as well. He sees all of the wrong doings of all of his friends and does nothing but aid their self-destructive plans. He knows what Daisy and Gatsby are doing and not only says nothing against it, he helps them get together behind Daisy’s husbands back. He doesn’t say anything to stop them from continuing to see each other even when people start to get suspicious. *SPOILERS* (though most of you have probably seen or read this story by now) He doesn’t tell anyone that Daisy was the one who killed her husband’s mistress. And finally, he doesn’t reprimand Daisy and her husband for running off on a vacation while they get their house redone like Gatsby hadn’t just been killed on Daisy’s husband’s command. IT IS A LOAD OF BS.

Most people say that Daisy is the most disappointing character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, but  I say it’s Nick Carraway because of his failure to grow some balls and tell people what’s what. He could have tried to stop Daisy or told her off for acting like she hadn’t just lost the love of her life, but he didn’t and that is just sad and wimpy.

Surprisingly, I found my favorite character to be Jordan because she knew what she wanted, how to get it, knew what the world was like, accepted it, and used her knowledge to the best of her abilities. She was smart and fully stayed out of other peoples’ business. She hung out with Gatsby and Daisy, but never once tried to encourage them or get them together. All she said was that Daisy deserved to be happy. She never said how that should happen.

Now that I have ranted about the whole movie I am going to get to the point of the post. Yeah sorry, you guys, still haven’t got there.

As I watched the movie I realized how similar it was to The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Nicholas Sparks basically recreated The Great Gatsby. I have yet to read The Great Gatsby, but it is on my to-read list so I will get back to you on the book version’s similarity to each other, but the movies are basically the same up until the ending.

I don’t really feel like explaining this through typing because I’m just too lazy to do that right now, so here’s a Ven Diagram:

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.39.28 AM

See, basically the same storyline.

So yeah. Not that I have anything against movie recreations, I loved the way they plopped the story of Emma into the adolescent, social, and fabulous world of Cher in Clueless. Love that movie.

Has anyone else noticed that? Or is what I’m saying completely wrong and I’m making myself look like an idiot?

Kisses. xxx

P.s. I will come back with an update on the similarities of the books sometime.

P.p.s. Sorry my ven is small. Click on it and you should be able to see what I typed in the diagram better.

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This is Why Elephants are My Favorite Part of the Circus

It’s hard to find a book that is both historically accurate and interesting at the same time. There is a couple out there that I have read a few times and would recommend to anyone, even if they don’t like to read. One of those novels is ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen, which switches between the voice of the past and present main character, Jacob Jankowski.  The book mostly focuses on Jacob during the Great Depression trying to make it in the world.

Reading ‘Water for Elephants’ is like making a new friend that you know you will be with forever. After finishing this book you get this melancholy feeling, the ending is a happy one, but at the same time you feel unsatisfied. You are happy that Jacob is happy, but you want more. You want to read more about him and continue hearing his story after the book ends.

When you first meet the main character Jacob Jankowski, he is days away from graduating from Cornell University with a degree in veterinary sciences and exploring a burgeoning love with one of his fellow classmates. All of that changes the day of his final exam, when Jacob’s parents are killed in a car accident.

Drowning in grief, a broke Jacob starts to walk, and he doesn’t stop. He decides to walk to a new city, find a job, and get a fresh start. As he walks down the train tracks he hears a train and decides to jump on, not knowing that he is about to enter a wild and colorful new world. The train Jacob has jumped onto is the train of the Benzini Brothers Circus, where he is given the job of the circus vet by the head trainer, August, despite his failure to complete his final exam.

Jacob’s new life is a whirlwind of magical acts, toothless lions, beautiful women (for him a very beautiful forbidden woman), and a mischievous and stubborn elephant. Although he has the perfect job and an amazing paycheck, he can’t help but feel unsatisfied as he can’t have what he wants the most, the brutal head trainer’s wife, Marlena.

Throughout the book Jacob struggles with his need for Marlena and protecting the circus animals from August’s violent schizophrenic outbursts.

Shortly after Jacob jumps the The Benzini Brothers train, they acquire an elephant from a bankrupt circus. So not only did they gain an Ivy League vet, but also an elephant, which is circus gold. Unlike Jacob’s silent rebellion against August, Rosie blatantly disobeys her trainers and always drinks the lemonade. Jacob and Rosie end up having something special in common and they create a bond that is unbreakable.

The thing that I loved most about ‘Water for Elephants’ was the many different varieties of characters. There was charismatic, but evil August, the beautiful, mysterious and secretly sad Marlena, drunk and hopeless Camel, the grumpy, but on the inside soft Walter and his dog Queenie, and Jacob, the depressed, love-stricken twenty-three year old trying to find his way in life.

‘Water for Elephants’ was a heartbreaking, hilarious, and insightful book. Sara Gruen give the reader an inside look into the hard life of being in a circus during the Great Depression. I felt everything the characters were feeling and I actually felt like I was there watching everything happen.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43641.Water_for_Elephants

This is a book that will keep you up all night until you finish it, and when you do you will want to read it again. I know I did, I just finished reading it for the second time and I can’t wait to read it again.

‘Water for Elephants’ was also adapted into a film and stars Robert Pattinson as Jacob,  Reese Witherspoon as Marlena, and Christoph Waltz as August. My advice is to read the book before watching the movie because nothing can compare.

Kisses. xxx

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Basically My Only Reason for Living

Now I know there are about a million Harry Potter book reviews out there, but I would like to contribute. This review definitely isn’t trying to convince you to read this series because most of you should have by now. *threatening glare* Right?

I just want all of you to understand the severity of my obsession with everything Harry Potter. I, like every other child out there, cried when I didn’t get my letter inviting me to join the most amazing school in the world, Hogwarts. I went into my room, got all of my Harry Potter books, hugged them to my chest, and rocked back in forth in the corner.

As if you need any other proof to how much I’m in love with these books: I have read all of them nine times. Nine. I will start reading them the first week of Christmas break and exclude my whole family for the next week and a half. If any one tries to bother me I whack them with my book.

When my parents hear my laughing my ass off while reading the books they always ask me, “Pushkin, how can you read those books over and over and still find them that funny?”

To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I just have a special bond with them that will never be broken. I find new things every single time I re-read them and whenever I read a funny line or scene that I had forgotten about it is just as funny as it was the first time I read it. Most of these scenes have something to do with the amazing people that are Fred and George Weasley. If you try to tell me that they aren’t your favorite characters in the series then you’re lying.

I beg to differ too.

I beg to differ too.

Seriously the best people in the world.

I mean how did you not fall in love with them the first time they tricked Mrs. Weasley into thinking that they were the opposite twin before going through the barrier to platform 9 3/4? Classic Fred and George. Or Gred and Forge as they like to call themselves. That is actually one of my favorite quotes in the book:

You haven’t got a letter on yours. I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid — we know we’re called Gred and Forge.
George Weasley to Harry on their Christmas Weasley jumpers

Oh, and don’t forget their infamous escape from Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I remember the look on Umbridge’s face to this day… or the feeling from the book, you know what I mean.

You honestly can’t go wrong with these books, I mean really every character is bad-ass and awesome. I have made a vow to myself that I will read these books every year and will be my children’s first bed time story and their favorite books they ever read and the cycle will continue in every generation of my family.

Kisses. xxx

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Wattpad Will Be The Death of Me

I read Wattpad so much that I barely every read the fifty billion books I have sitting on my nook waiting to be read. It’s absolutely awful, but I love Wattpad. I love meeting writers that have such amazing and funny personalities like the ones on Wattpad, especially since a lot of them are around my age.

I have a place to showcase some of my own stuff (I have deactivated my account for the moment) and co-write with my friends. It’s so much fun, everything is free, and there are so many amazing stories from about every genre you could think of.

I’m sure all of ya’ll (damn it, I said I wouldn’t say ya’ll) have heard of Wattpad before, but if you haven’t, I’m going to warn you now:

Don’t get one unless you are prepared to lose your mind and any semblance of a life (Well I guess you lost the life part when you got a blog if you’re anything like myself).

But to help you with the losing your mind part because I don’t want to be alone in this:

http://www.wattpad.com

Kisses. xxx

 

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All serious daring starts from within.
-Eudora Welty

Dare Yourself

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And Love Was Supposed to Conquer All

Over the summer I was assigned the book, ‘Zeitoun’ by Dave Eggers. Of course I wasn’t incredibly excited about reading it because it was a true story and it was summer. I love to read, but come on! I would much rather be reading a fantasy or thriller!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a book I could skim through and then spout fluff about how much a certain part spoke to me. So, after putting it off for basically 3/4’s of my summer I started to read it and found that I really liked it! The story was great, the situation they were put in was one I hadn’t heard about before, I learned about the Muslim religion and how the stereotypes out there aren’t true, and in the end the characters won their battle because of their love for their family.

It was the perfect story. I even thought about finding more books like it (Key word: thought).

Summer ends and it’s the first week of school and I’m all prepped to discuss ‘Zeitoun’. Until this happened:

“…But in recent years, the stable, loving relationship between Mr. Zeitoun and his wife, Kathy, that was described in the 2009 best seller has taken a series of dark turns. The couple divorced last year after he was convicted of assaulting her. And on Wednesday, the New Orleans police charged him with plotting to have Kathy Zeitoun, her son and another man murdered,” (Celebrated Hero in ‘Zeitoun’ Book Facing Charges in New Orleans, Robbie Brown, New York Times).

and my school ignored the fact that they ever made us read it.

So everything that I admired about ‘Zeitoun’ has all gone to… You can fill in the blank and I wasted the last few days of my summer vacation reading something that I wasn’t even going to need for school.

And this isn’t the first time our school has assigned us a true story book that has come back and bitten them in the butt. The first time this happened was when we were to read, ‘Three Cups of Tea’ by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Now that book was awful. I’m sorry everybody, but that book was the most tedious read of my life. I wanted to rip the book in half and shred it, but I pulled through and finished it.

And then this happened:

“…The report, to be aired by CBS on its “60 Minutes” programme on Sunday night, alleges that Mortenson’s charitable organisation has also taken credit for building schools that do not exist or were built by others. Mortenson was awarded among others the Sitara-e-Pakistan for his work.

The investigation by correspondent Steve Kroft quotes Into Thin Air author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer as saying he learned from one of Mortenson’s companions that the tale of how Mortenson got started was “a beautiful story” but “a lie,”” (Three cups of tea: ‘US author fabricated charity work in Pakistan’, Agencies, The Express Tribune).

This was literally the worst experience of my life due to the fact that (unlike ‘Zeitoun’) I had to write about five papers on this book and then it just didn’t count anymore.

So the lesson to this story is: Always make sure you’re not about to read BS and to be really safe, just stick to fantasy and fiction.

Kisses. xxx

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“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”- Albus Dumbledore

1102317-albus_dumbledore_3_super

When it Comes to Dumbledore, Anything is Possible

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Even Mark Twain Loves It!

You know that quirky comedian you sometimes mistake for Sarah Palin? If you don’t, her name is Tina Fey, and you might have seen her on the show Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock, where she stars as Liz Lemon, the awkward producer of The Girly Show. Tina Fey has not only cornered the market on female comedy, but also comedic non-fiction literature.

Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, is about her journey into comedic stardom and motherhood, mixed with self-deprecating humor, nerdy confessions, and beauty tips.

Bossypants’ cover is graced by a picture of Tina Fey’s head morphed onto the body of a hairy man in a tie. The back has two sections of promotional quotes, praise for Tina Fey:

“You’d be really pretty if you lost weight.” -College Boyfriend, 1990, and advance praise for Bossypants: “Do not print this glowing recommendation of Tina Fey’s book until I’ve been dead a hundred years.” -Mark Twain

Bossypants was one of those books that I said I was going to read, but then forgot about. So, when I realized that I forgot to pack a book for the beach five minutes before my flight was about to leave, I grabbed it off the shelf of an airport kiosk, threw some cash on the counter, and ran to my boarding zone.

And I am so glad I did. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Tina Fey makes her memoir a very entertaining and refreshing read. Her journey to NBC is one that shows how hard it is for a woman to succeed in the entertainment world and much fun it can be as well.

Tina’s introduction to the acting world was as a gawky teenager when she took refuge in a summer acting program called, Summer Showtime, where she manned the ticket booth and bonded with gay teenagers who found a place to be themselves. She then moved on to work at a small improv theater called the Second City, and that was where she was first introduced to sexism in the comedy world. She was in a scene between two women that was cut because according to the director, “No one wants to see a scene between two women.”

Mrs. Fey encountered situations like the one she faced in Second City multiple times throughout her career, but in the end came out the winner when she disproved everyone who told her women couldn’t be funny by mentioning her multiple Emmy awards in her book.

Not only did we learn about her inspirational climb up the comedy ladder, we also got a hilarious look into her awkward childhood and teenage years where she learned to appreciate her straight greek eyebrows, thin upper lip, and weird feet. During her teen and college years she also experienced her fair share of heartbreak and learned that there are many different things that can be wrong with a woman’s body. She finally realized that none of that mattered and that was one of the main things she wanted to teach her daughter.

This memoir was a very interesting and lighthearted read, especially for the beach or on a car-ride. And if you aren’t much of a reader, there is an audio version read by Tina Fey that many say is even better than the print edition because of bonus readings and the fact that it sounds even more hilarious when read by the author herself.

Normally I’m not one to read memoirs or true stories, but this was one that I really wanted to read. Honestly the only reason that I wanted to read Bossypants was because of the mutated man Tina on the front cover:

bossy-pants-tina-fey-10-410x290

I mean come on… just look at those elegant hands.

On the first day of my Spring Break all I did was stay in my villa room and roll around on the bed laughing. I was laughing hard that my family started to knock on my door, concerned that I was having some sort of mental breakdown.

Tina Fey knows how to write a funny book. And TV show. And character.

Kisses. xxx

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