Saturday, June 27, 2015

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 5

Textbook
  • Fink, Chapters 3-4
Books
Film

Textbook

Oh the failure. Abject failure. I may have caught up on my reflection journal, but I am so far behind in my textbook reading. I haven't ever read this many books in such a short span of time. It's actually exhausting. But I digress. I am so far behind on this it isn't even funny.

Books

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

I...didn't get this book at all. I love a good unreliable narrator, but I had a hard time "believing" the story, if that makes sense. Not only that, but I really didn't feel emotionally invested in this person's story. If this wasn't required reading, I wouldn't have read it. What started out with a bang, kind of fizzled as it went on. Yes, the main character does grow as the novel progresses, but I had a hard time connecting with her because she was not a nice person and I didn't really have a reason to like her. I don't have to like the character to enjoy the story, but I have to feel some emotional connection or there really isn't a point. I felt the entire plot was "and then...and then...and then...and then." I know a lot of people like King, my coworkers were shocked that I didn't like this story, but I no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I wasted my time.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I've been told by several people that I need to read this book. I will, I just haven't yet.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

This book was ok. I liked the description of life in the ghetto, but I felt like it was a little light on substance. I can enjoy a story that doesn't have a lot of depth, but I really need to feel a connection. I didn't here. Maybe it was my mindset that week (it was not the best week for me personally) but like King's book, I didn't get it. I did enjoy it a more than King, but I still felt it lacked something that would make it really good. Does that make me a story snob? I don't think so. I read a lot of different genres, but a story has to have a unique twist to it and it really didn't.

Film

City of Ember

Haven't watched this yet, but I expect I'll enjoy it. I know the book was very popular even if the movie didn't hit it off as much as was expected.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 4

Textbook
  • Cart, Chapter  7
  • Fin, Chapter 2

Books
Film

Textbook

I should just throw myself onto the mercy of the court on this one. Once again, I failed to get my textbook reading done. I will have to find my bloody scourge in my bloody scourge closet and correct my behavior.

Books

Steampunk! An Antholoyg of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

I haven't read many anthologies lately. I remember reading a few when I was a kid, and of course, they were SciFi. It's hard to talk about anthologies in such a short format because there are so many different stories. Yes, they have a central theme, in this case Steampunk, but that's where the similarity ends. One the stories that did stand out for me was Steam Girl. It was different because it wasn't actually steampunk. It was the real world and the main characters were normal kids who loved the concept of steampunk and wrote stories about it as a way to escape their situations. I would have thoroughly enjoyed this as a teen and I definitely enjoyed it as an adult.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

This book reminded me, in some ways, of the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher. Mostly in that the humor was often dry and sarcastic, but also because the main character wasn't necessarily a tough guy, but still able to step up to the plate when people he cares about are threatened. Just like Dresden, he doesn't do it alone. He has friends and allies who support him. I also loved that it had a Monty Python reference in it. Not many of those around. Definitely a book I would have enjoyed when I was younger. I actually want to read the rest of the series.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I've had this book on my shelf for a while and just never got around to reading it. It's a dark story that touches on a lot of deep topics including domestic abuse. The characters, though archetypical, are the product of their lives and they don't exist in a vacuum. I've read other Stiefvater books, but this is probably one of her best. I definitely would have enjoyed this a teen and I really enjoyed reading it.

Film

The Hunger Games

I've been kind of apathetic towards the Hunger Games. I don't know exactly why. I know it is a ground breaking series and the movies have excellent acting. I sometimes don't get involved in series that have too much hype surrounding them. That being said, I loved this movie and the second one. I can see why every girl wants to be Katniss. She's strong, dependable, but also human. She's terrified, but still gets the courage to keep fighting. But she's not impervious to her situation either. It affects her deeply and though she "wins" she is also damaged by what has happened to her and what she has been forced to do.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 3

Textbooks
  • Cart, Chapter 6
  • Fink, Chapter 1

Books
Film

Textbooks

Once again, I'm behind! It took forever to get a copy of the Fink book. Ended up ordering it through Google in digital format. Unfortunately, since I don't have a physical copy, I often forget it exists. And of course, I'm missing out on the information in Cart.

Books

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This book was required reading and I LOVED it. It was beautifully written and did a great job of drawing* me in. The narrative is unlike anything I have ever read before. We see Noah's side when he and his twin are 13 and then we have Jude's story when they are 16. I really can't express how this book affected me. I wish I could open up people's brains and impart the understanding directly. Both characters are artists and how they perceive the world is through art. At times fantastical at other times full of pain. The end fits the story. It may not be "realistic" but honestly, I don't care. It fit the book. It fit the story. I would have definitely enjoyed this as a teen. It was just weird enough, for a lack of a better word.

*not an intentional pun, but a pun nonetheless.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

This was a fascinating book. I liked that the main character was hispanic instead of the overly common white teen. This is a scifi book and is almost post-apocalyptic/dystopian in nature. It's not overt, but it does crop up in how people perceive the world. The story is about a young boy who must overcome the fact that he is the clone of one of the most notorious drug lords in the world. It raises a lot of questions about nature versus nurture and the lengths someone will go to live forever. I enjoyed this book a lot and expect I may have as a teen. I was big into SciFi back then.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

I still need to read this book, but it popped up when I was finding comparable stories to I'll Give You the Sun. I look forward to reading it. Based on the blurb, I don't know if I would have enjoyed this as a teen. My tastes were more restricted back then. We'll see.

Film

Mean Girls

Once again, I didn't get a movie watched. I had planned on Napolean Dynamite because everyone says I should see it. I guess it's one of those movies, but I wouldn't know.

Mean Girls is an awesome movie. It's a lighter version of Heathers (which if you haven't seen, you should). It's a story about fitting in and learning what is really important. The kind of story every teen should see. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere, but the costs aren't always the best thing.

Having watched this several times, I know I probably would have enjoyed it as a teen as it has the right amount of physical humor and general craziness that just appeals to me on a certain level.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 2

Textbook
  • Cart, Chapters 4-5

Books
Film

Textbook

I could lie and say I read these. I'm not entirely sure what happened this week, but I didn't get as much done as I should have. As such I don't have much to talk about on this point. I need to do some serious catching up at some point. This class is pretty intense reading-wise and I've already fallen behind in this regard which is unfortunate as the textbook is really enjoyable.

Books

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus

I loved this book. I would have loved it as a teenager too. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy novels really didn't take off until I was an adult. When I was younger, the only stories like this were  by Piers Anthony.

What separates Blood and Chocolate from a lot of urban fantasy stories is the main character, Vivian. Vivian is a werewolf, but unlike a lot of stories, she doesn't hate what she is. She embraces her differences. She's beautiful and she doesn't need some guy to make her feel that way.

This isn't to say that she doesn't have her moments of insecurity, because she does, but rather that she has no problem stalking her prey (so to speak). She falls in love with a human boy, but unlike most stories, he rejects her and even attempts to "save her." Except she doesn't want to be saved. She embraces her life and who she is.

I think a lot of young girls would benefit from reading this.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

I literally read this book in two hours. The story is compelling and highlights the rampant racism inherent in our judicial system. Very appropriate given what has been going on in the country lately. In this book, Steve Harmon gets put on trial for murder. In reality, his only crime is being black and knowing the people involved.

I've read only one other story that was written in the fashion of a screenplay. I enjoyed both of them. I think I would have enjoyed this as a teen. I know I did as an adult. It's an important novel to read. It says a lot with very little.

Film

Pump Up the Volume

You would think the movies would be the easiest things for me to do, but the reality is, I usually put them off because I prefer reading more. So instead of talking about Mallrats, I'll be discussing my feelings on Pump Up the Volume.

I've seent his movie several times and the first time I watched it I was a teenager. It was dark, funny, but it exposed the ugly behind the facade of American education system. Like Chocolate War, we are presented with a school that has more invested in its image than its students. However, in this case, students are not beaten or abused, but anyone who is considered "undesirable" is expelled. Mark is a complex character that most teens would enjoy (I know I did). Quite and shy student during the day, shock jock of a pirate radio station by night.