Sunday Read: Metamorphoses

This week’s Sunday Read is one of my all time favorite books, Ovid’s Metamorphoses. I originally picked this up for a Mythology and Literature class, along with The Thebaid and The Argonautika along with several other Greek and Roman mythology novels. This one was easily my favorite.

If you’re interested in Greek/Roman mythology than this is one novel that I can guarantee you won’t want to miss. It contains 15 different books. And in each of these books are multiple stories, with over 100 tales of the gods and goddesses, and often the stories are weaved into each other. For instance, Minerva telling the tale of Prosperpina–a story within a story.

The language that Ovid uses (or at least the translation) is stunning. It’s very poetic, and wonderful descriptions abound. I would definitely recommend reading it aloud if possible. Themes of love and transformation abound, and are easily something which any reader can relate. Loyalty, Betrayal, and Fate are all evident in the work.  You’ll also see where some other writers got their inspiration — the story of Pyramus and Thisbe is simply an older Romeo and Juliet.

I would fully recommend this novel (as one of my favorites, I would hope thats obvious). It’s a worthwhile read that leaves the reader with plenty of food for thought. And if you’re interested in Greek/Roman mythology, I definitely feel that this is the novel to pick up. It can be purchased here on Amazon, where I have linked the the same translation although the format of the novel is slightly different. You could also head to a used or local bookstore and pick up a copy there.

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Sunday Read: Speak

Disclaimer: There are never spoilers in my book reviews. I won’t ruin a book for a person who has not read it yet!

This week’s Sunday Read is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book falls under the category of young adult literature, but I would recommend it to those in their twenties also.

The book starts with the first day of High School for the main character, Melinda, and continues over the course of the year. Melinda begins high school friendless and traumatized over an experience she had in the summer. Her old friends have all abandoned her, and as she attempts to deal with the pain alone she stops speaking rather than talk about what happened to her.

Throughout the novel, Melinda’s voice is incredibly distinct and well written. In addition, certain parts are written almost as a script between Melinda and whomever she is speaking with, be they parents, friends, or enemies. Melinda is also sarcastic and utterly hilarious–I can practically guarantee that this is a book you will love.

In addition, the book is strongly relatable. It deals with emotions that are universal–loneliness, anger, fear, and pain. In addition, it deals with subjects that so many teens have experienced or will experience. I fully admit that I first read this book when I was teen, and have re-read it many times over the years. Melinda’s deep dark secret that she refuses to speak about is very heavy, but realistic to the world we live in. However, her eventual triumph over the pain and the cause of it–leaves the story on a good note with Melinda as a stronger character than she was before we came across her.

Some people may feel as if the deep dark secret Melinda holds is not appropriate for teens. I do not think that is the case. What Melinda experienced is something that many teens have experienced or will experience in their lifetimes. Anyone who says otherwise, is lying to themselves. I full recommend this novel to any and every teen I come across. If you happen read young adult lit, or dip into it from time to time, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

If you’re interested in the novel you can purchase it on Amazon or at your local bookstore, or even check it out from the library!

Sunday Reads: Ender’s Game

Sorry for the late post! I haven’t been feeling so great this weekend, leading to blog neglect.

Anyway, today’s Sunday Read is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book is classified in the Young Adult Lit section, and accordingly, I first picked it up around sixth grade. It’s definitely a science fiction novel, which is not everyone’s taste.

Ender’s Game follows a boy named Ender, he is six years old and lives on Earth. Earth is in the middle of war with aliens, called the “buggers”. Children have monitors placed on the backs of their necks, that will decide if the child is good for combat. If they are, they are taken to a space station and trained for battle against the buggers. In the novel, people on Earth are only allowed to have 2 children. However, Ender is the third child of his parents. The government gave them clearance to have a third, because the other two children (Peter, and Valentine) were not chosen for the space station.

Ender is obviously chosen for the space station, called Battleschool. During the novel, the boys (and few girls) at the Battleschool must fight against each other to prepare for battle. The majority of the book takes place at the Battleschool, where teams of boys fight against each other in scheduled battles. We watch Ender’s struggles to make friends and win battles with the whole of the Battleschool against him. However, we also get views of his siblings left on Earth, and even the perspectives of the commanders at the Battleschool.

The book is a wonderful novel, and I would suggest picking it up if you’re interested in Young Adult Lit or science fiction. We see the way war changes people, and the effects it has on children (because by the time the novel ends, Ender is still a boy). I also love that book does not treat children as idiots, but as intelligent, sneaky, clever individuals who are capable of killing, loving, and governing.

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I’ve been debating over the 21 day Challenge for the past week or so, wondering if I really wanted to participate. After feeling incredibly burned out after 30×30 (which took twice as long for me), I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump right back in to another challenge. However, after considering all the pros and cons, it was definitely something that sounds like fun and and opportunity I couldn’t pass up! Day 1 of the Challenge will be up tomorrow!

21 Day Challenge

Sunday Reads: War for the Oaks

Okay, I’ll admit, I had an entirely different book in mind when I went sorting through my boxes of books in the garage (still unpacking and all that). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the book I was looking for. However, this book is just as beloved as the other I was going to review (though admittedly I am disgruntled I could not find one of my favorite books).

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull is an urban fantasy novel, focused on a war between the different courts of the faerie folk as it unfolds in Minneapolis. The main character, Eddi McCandry, is a girl who loves rock and roll, she can’t imagine a life where she isn’t playing music. At the beginning of the book she’s preparing to dump her boyfriend, breaking up her band in the process, when she gets unwillingly drafted by Seelie Court into their Faerie war. Although she doesn’t want to participate, she literally has no choice. (And when I say “literally,” I’m not meaning “figuratively” while saying “literally.” I mean “literally.”)

A huge part of a book for me is language, and I’ve going to add a couple paragraphs from the book’s prologue here to give you a taste of just how wonderful the words really are…

“But late at night, there’s a change in the the Nicollet Mall.

The street lamp globes hang like myriad moons, and the light glows in the empty bus shelters like nebulae. Down through the silent business district the mall twists, the silver zipper in a patchwork coat of many dark colors. The sound of traffic from Hennepin Avenue, one block over, might be the grating of the World-Worm’s scales over stone.”

Like I said, stunning. This book has a great intersection of reality and fantasy, our world and the Fey world–which is what I really tend to head towards in books, to be honest. The main themes of the book are ones that anyone can easily relate to–love, death, sacrifice, and creativity. The characters are ones you can easily fall in love with, my favorite being the Phooka. She also has written one of the very best definitions of love I have ever seen written down on paper. For years, when people asked me what I considered love to be, I would point them to a certain paragraph in this book (I would write it here, but it might spoil some of the story).

I re-read this book twice a year, at least. It is an adult novel, although I picked up this book in sixth grade. There are so many parts of this book that have stuck with me and influenced me throughout the years, I would recommend it to most anyone who reads fiction. (Even if it’s not your normal taste, no reason to not branch out once in awhile!)

You can purchase the book on Amazon (here) for only $12. As for me? I’ll be reading my copy again. 🙂

Sunday Reads: “Game of Thrones”

This post contains NO SPOILERS.

You may (or may not) be wondering where I have been the past two days. Well, in addition to moving I picked up a book.

Books are my productivity kryptonite. I love reading. Always have and always will. Needless to say, yesterday I had not one, but two (!) dentist appointments and went to Target in between them and snagged a book to read.

My keen eye (haha) spotted Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin which I have been meaning to pick up for the past couple weeks, after recommendations from several friends whose judgement I trust. To say it only took me seconds to decide on a book after I saw that would be an understatement.

I have to be honest. I started the book and I could not put it down. I was totally immersed in the story line and the characters.  At 807 pages, it’s a nice long read which delights me, considering I tend to read quickly. I started the book around 11 AM on Friday and finished it the next morning, although there were breaks of time in between. I would estimate I spent a good 6-10 hours reading it (I probably should have timed myself).

As for similar books, based on setting I see similarities to Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series. I’ve also heard it compared to Lord of the Rings–and I can see where they’re getting it from. There are knights, kings, castles, wars. It’s set in a medieval times. However, I prefer it to LotR. LotR has places where it drags (all those damn songs) whereas Game of Thrones has a much better pace.  George R. R. Martin also uses a LOT of different characters. Each chapter focuses on a different character, and so it does seem a bit confusing at first (especially since some of the characters’ names are the same) but as a reader, I managed to keep them all straight after a couple chapters. There are also multiple plots and subplots within the story.

However, be warned: no character is safe. My friends warned me that George R. R. Martin has no problems killing off main characters. Basically, anyone can die. So I’m warning you (if you chose to read this series): do not get too attached to the characters. Resist as best as you can! (However, this warning is actually what intrigued me most about the series and made me pick it up.)

I’m actually picking up the rest of the series (that is out) today because I can’t wait to read them! Although to be fair, this book ends in a great place for the series. It ends on a great scene, although some of the characters’ scenes end on cliffhangers.

I fully recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the fantasy genre. I also recommend it to those who look for a fast-paced read (its not boring in any place), and those who read quickly (it should take you a nice chunk of time to get through them).

You can buy Game of Thrones on Amazon.com here, although I suggest purchasing a copy from your local bookstore instead.

I’ve decided to create “Sunday Reads” as a new permanent feature. I will feature a new book every Sunday for the foreseeable future. I’m always looking for new reads, so if you’ve got a good one–leave it in the comments! I read everything from sci-fi and fantasy to Russian lit to cheesy romance novels.