February Wrap Up + March TBR

FEBRUARY WRAP-UP 

This was actually a surprisingly good reading month for me. Two of the books I read were for classes, and the other ones were for pleasure!

Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss by Maggie DeVries 

This is one of the books I read for class! You can read the review I wrote for it, here.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

E&P was my second Rainbow Rowell book and I did not enjoy it nearly as much as Attachments. I know that’s an unpopular opinion, and with all the hype and the rave reviews I’d seen for this book, I was expecting to enjoy it a lot more than I did.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue 

This is another book I read for class. It is a collection of re-told and adapted fairytales, stitched together as a cohesive story that travels back in time with each tale. I found this book really fascinating because not only did it give the reader a look at the psyche and the backstory of the “villains” but it essentially erased the male figures in the stories and gave it an erotically charged lesbian vibe which was really interesting to read!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ll be writing a review for this book soon, mainly for myself, in order to sort through my thoughts about this book. I definitely had mixed feelings about it, so keep your eyes out for the review coming within the next week or so!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I’m not sure anything Rainbow Rowell writes can top Attachments for me, because I fell hard and fast for that book, but Fangirl made a pretty good run at it! There were definitely some aspects that I wasn’t super crazy about, but for the most part I really really liked this book! It’s another one that I will be writing a review for within the next week.

Rating: 4 out of 5

MARCH TBR

March is going to be an insanely busy month for me, school-wise, with the last of my midterms, five term papers and a large number of assignments. However, thanks to my lit courses, I have a lot of books/short stories to read by the end of March.

For my Children’s Literature course, I’ll be reading:

  • The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block
  • I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman 
  • Clockwork by Philip Pullman 

For my course on Autobiography and Memoir, I’ll be reading:

  • Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spieglman
  • Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spieglman
  • World is Moving Around Me by Dany Laferriere 

There probably isn’t much of a chance that I’ll have time for any reading for pleasure, but just in case, I chose a YA contemporary to give myself a bit of a brain break from studying.

  • The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen 

I hope everyone had a good February, and as always, happy reading!

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Top 5 Wednesday

Over on YouTube, there is a Top 5 Wednesday family, where a large community of people answer different Top 5s each week. It was started by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and I’ve been watching a number of the videos every Wednesday so I thought I’d participate over here on my blog!

This week’s Top 5 is Books I’d Like to See as Movies!

I actually found this week’s list to be really hard. The number of books being turned into movies is definitely on the rise, so a lot of the really good ones have been/are being adapted for the big screen.

5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This movie definitely fits into the Romantic Comedy genre! Seeing Lincoln’s love for Beth blossom on the screen would be fantastic. However, it would have to be heavily adapted considering that Beth and Jennifer’s emails aren’t exactly conducive to a visual medium. But despite that, I would love to see it adapted to a movie!

4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

While I did find the world-building parts of this novel a little tedious [more on that in a review to come], the action parts would definitely translate well to the screen! The whole video game to movie transition seems to be an up and coming trend so I feel like this movie would be a good one!

3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants [series] by Ann Brashares

Okay, yes, I know that these have technically already been adapted to movies, sort of, and while I absolutely loved the first movie, I hated the second one. I’m not sure who made the decision to combine the last three books into a single movie, but it was not a good one. The casting for these movies was fantastic, and it had so much potential, but I would love for them to have done the last three books justice.

2. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

While I can’t really explain why I love this book so much, I have re-read it probably 30 or 40 times. There is just something about the characters that I find so endearing and relatable. While the story is told in letter format, I think that it’d translate well to the screen because each letter is told from the perspective of that character and therefore the POV would be portrayed well!

1. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

The amount of love I have for this series is unreal and I would love to see it made into a movie. Not only does this series have three very strong female characters, but the magic and the world that it takes place in is so beautiful that seeing it on the big screen would be amazing.

Let me know in the comments what movies you’d like to see be adapted into a movie!

Book Haul #2 – 21st Birthday Edition

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Since my birthday fell on a Tuesday, which unfortunately meant that everyone other than me [hooray for reading week!] was either in work or school, I went book shopping as a gift to myself. I did some major damage and broke my book buying ban in a spectacular fashion but it was my birthday, so I’m using that as an excuse!

I bought myself 10 books & received one as a gift from my lovely sister.
[All of these were purchased from Chapters]

Continue reading “Book Haul #2 – 21st Birthday Edition”

Top 5 Wednesday

Over on YouTube, there is a Top 5 Wednesday family, where a large community of people answer different Top 5s each week. It was started by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and I’ve been watching a number of the videos every Wednesday so I thought I’d participate over here on my blog!

This week’s Top 5 is Male Protagonists!

I realized while I was trying to make this list that my reading is sorely lacking in strong male protagonists, I just tend to be drawn towards female protagonists. If anyone has any recommendations for books with male leads, please let me know, I’d love to read more!

5. Quentin Jacobsen
[Paper Towns by John Green]

Q is by far my favourite John Green protagonist. He is intelligent, cynical, and inspired my desire to go on a road trip. His loyalty to his friends definitely sold him to me.

4. Henry Skrimshander
[The Art of Fielding]

It’s been a while since I read this book so I’m not entirely clear on what happened, but I remember really admiring Henry’s determination. He has a dream and a goal for his life and he goes through rigorous training to achieve it. He is hopeful and kind and driven.

3. Lincoln O’Neill
[Attachments by Rainbow Rowell]

I fell in love with Lincoln within three pages of the book. He is  kind, he is respectful, and he is intelligent. I have a huge soft spot for him and I always will. I have never been more enthralled reading a character arc that involved a character getting in shape and getting the girl. Normally, that would be considered cliche but Rainbow Rowell created such a likeable character that I was rooting for him from the very beginning.

2. Charlie
[The Perks of Being a Wallflower]

I’m not sure I have ever connected to another character as strongly as I did to Charlie. It’s hard to put it into words because it would involve revealing a lot of really personal things about myself but Charlie and his struggle to fit into a world he doesn’t feel comfortable in, broke my heart into a million pieces. He fought to break out of his shell, small step by small step, and he was fiercely loyal to the people who let him into their lives.

1. Harry Potter
[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]

Oddly enough, Harry was not even in my top five favourite male characters in the Harry Potter series, but this is a list for male protagonists and it would be incomplete without one of the most iconic and life changing series’. While he wasn’t my favourite, I did enjoy the arc his character went through from age 11 to age 17. He showed so much grace and courage in every book, standing up to his antagonist and fighting to protect his friends.

Top 5 Wednesday

Over on YouTube, there is a Top 5 Wednesday family, where a large community of people answer different Top 5s each week. It was started by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and I’ve been watching a number of the videos every Wednesday so I thought I’d give it a shot over here on my blog!

This week the Top 5 is of authors that you haven’t read before and are embarrassed about. While there are a lot of works of fiction I’m embarrassed I haven’t read, I’m not particularly embarrassed about specific authors, but here’s my list!

5. Patrick Ness

I have heard a lot of really fantastic things about Patrick Ness and his novels but I haven’t gotten around to reading anything by him yet! I currently have More Than This sitting in my TBR pile so I’m hoping to get around to reading it within the next few months.

4. Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut has been an author on my ‘To Read’ list for years. I’ve been trying to read more classic American and Canadian authors, so I purchased Slaughterhouse Five in September on whim. I picked it up, read a few chapters and put it back down. Not because it wasn’t good but because it just wasn’t the right time to try and dive into Vonnegut. I was in the middle of midterms and spending most of my time with my head buried in textbooks, so I transitioned into a lighter read that could be a break from all the thinking I was doing. I’m definitely going to try and pick it up again this summer!

3. Jeffrey Eugenides 

I actually just ordered The Virgin Suicides online, so hopefully it will be waiting for me when I go home for my reading break and I can officially read Eugenides! I’ve wanted to read The Virgin Suicides for such a long time, and last semester my creative writing TA whole heartedly recommended Middlesex to me so that will be the next Eugenides book I pick up.

2. John Steinbeck 

My mom loves Steinbeck. We have multiple copies of The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and Of Mice and Men kicking around our house, and she has been trying to get me to read something by him for ages. I tried to read East of Eden for the first time when I was about fourteen, and I think that was definitely too young. I didn’t understand the prose (although I could appreciate that the writing was beautiful) and the themes went straight over my head at that age. Hoping to give it a try again sometime in 2014.

1. JRR Tolkien

This is probably the only one that I’m truly embarrassed about. Not only have I never read anything by Tolkien but I’ve also never seen any of the movies. I own the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy as of December, but haven’t really been in the mood to pick it up as of yet. This will probably be a summer read for me, when my mind’s not so bogged down with school work. I don’t want to break my “read the book before watching the movie” rule but I’ve had multiple people recommend watching the movies before attempting the books so that I’m more familiar with the characters and more invested in their stories. I can’t decide!

Comment below and tell me what your Top 5 Unread Authors are!

Happy reading 🙂

Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss by Maggie DeVries | Book Review

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In general, I’m used to not throughly enjoying books that I’m expected to read for classes. Missing Sarah was definitely a surprise, but a welcome one.

Growing up in Vancouver, I’ve been hearing about this case and the trial that followed it since the investigation of the farm began. It became almost folkloric. Every time you turned on the TV there was another media report about Robert Pickton and his farm that carried the DNA of over fifteen women. Parents panicked, reiterating the same “Don’t talk to strangers” spiel that every kid gets in elementary school. My perspective of the case is only what I heard through the media or overheard my parents talking about, but until reading this memoir, I didn’t fully grasp the enormity of it.

In ‘Missing Sarah’, Maggie DeVries tells the story of her adopted sister, Sarah DeVries, through Sarah’s journal entries, poems and Maggie’s own memories of their childhood.

While the media representation throughout the trial both lumped all the women together in a single group of “missing women” and focused almost entirely on Robert Pickton, the man behind the murders of a large number of women from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, Missing Sarah highlights the victims, the individual women Pickton murdered. DeVries brings  Sarah’s voice to life, giving context to her life as a prostitute and establishing a connection to her deceased sister.

Another aspect of the book that I found especially interesting was the scholarly approach DeVries took to prostitution as a whole. She examines the way it functions now and looks for solutions to the violence that the women suffer on a daily basis.

This memoir, while definitely a personal experience for DeVries, is also aiming to be educational to the population, to create some social awareness and hopefully bring about change to an area that is mostly overlooked.

Highly recommend to anyone living in Vancouver – due to the alternate perspective of the Pickton trial, or to anyone who enjoys memoirs.

January Wrap-Up + February TBR

JANUARY WRAP UP —

January was the month of the memoir for me.

I’m taking an English literature course on Autobiography and Memoir this semester so it got me over my reading hump and into the memoirs of very funny ladies.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for your entire natural born life, you know who Tina Fey is. This incredibly funny and intelligent woman comes at you from SNL and 30 Rock, and she is just as hilarious on paper as she is on the silver screen. She writes about growing up in Pennsylvania, her improv troop in Chicago, and how she made it in New York City. She writes with pride about the generation of SNL where the women took over, bringing us incredible performers like Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Rachel Dratch and of course, herself. Tina Fey also discusses her own show, 30 Rock, and the trials and tribulations that accompanied both that, and motherhood. It’s a really great read!

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is a role model that every girl should look up to. She is strong, passionate, fierce, driven, incredibly intelligent and kind. In her book, she writes about growing up – dealing with weight issues, bullies, making friends, and finding what she loves, her college experience at Dartmouth (where she kicked ass), and trying and failing and trying again to find her footing in New York City. She is an incredible woman and I feel proud to be a fan of hers.

If you can, download the audiobook version because she narrates it herself and it makes you feel like she’s your best friend.

I gave it 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Diamond Grill by Fred Wah 

The last book I read in January was a book I read for my memoir class. It is a memoir by a Chinese-Canadian who struggles with finding a place where he belongs within society and the communities around him. It is written in a combination of prose poetry and prose fiction, and while the writing style is confusing most of the time, it is a great discussion of the chasms between nationality and race and the issue of “navigating the hyphen”.

I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken 

I started this book at the beginning of January but didn’t finish it. I found it incredibly slow at the beginning and I pushed myself through to page 225 but I just couldn’t continue. It sent me into a bit of a reading slump, and I’m honestly really surprised that it has such a huge following and fanbase. Maybe the hype surrounding it gave me high expectations…

This month wasn’t a huge reading month for me. After all the reading I did in December, and then my dislike of The Darkest Minds, it took me a while to get back in the swing of things in January. Then, of course, the realities of school kicked back in and I found myself busier and busier. This is why my TBR for February is much more realistic!

FEBRUARY TBR —

Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss by Maggie DeVries 

This is another memoir I’m reading for my English Lit class. It’s about a woman who went missing during the time that Robert Pickton was killing women (especially prostitutes) in Vancouver. DeVries writes about her sister Sarah who was adopted to their family as a baby and ended up as a prostitute in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side where she was taken and murdered by Pickton. I’m already a third of the way through and it is a fascinating look at the effects of adoption on children as well as a look at the prostitution culture in Vancouver.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I read Attachments in December and fell in love with the characters of course, but especially the writing style so I’m hoping to read my second Rainbow Rowell book this month!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

I’ve heard some really good things about this book and I picked it up after Christmas so I’m looking forward to cracking it open!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I’m going to do my best to give this book a second chance this month but I’m not entirely optimistic that I’ll like it any better this time around.