The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’m just getting around to reading the Hunger Games series (I know, I know, but I like living under a rock!) and decided that since they were so popular and such major movies, I’d do a book/movie comparison! I mean, we all know the book is going to be much better because Hollywood likes cutting the good stuff for movie length reasons (just give us the 4 hour movie, seriously!) but I like being able to remember what really happened vs what happened in the movies.

  • The introduction of the movie sums up the first few chapters of the book fairly well, though there is far more background in the book. And the relationship between Gale and Katniss isn’t as defined at the start of the movie as in the book.
  • How Katniss got the Mockingjay pin is far more meaningful in the book than in the movie. For a mayor’s daughter to give away a pure gold pin versus being handed it by a Hob woman without much insight on the pin doesn’t give the audience much information about the state of the district and the worth of the pin to Katniss. Though they add sentimentality in the movie- where Katniss gives the pin to Prim to protect her, and then she gives it back after the reaping- it still doesn’t do the book justice, in my opinion.
  • Katniss doesn’t put on as much of a show in the opening ceremony in the movie, and it’s Peeta’s idea to hold hands and not Cinna’s. Truthfully, this carries throughout the movie, and it makes their romantic interest in each other hard to believe in the movie. In the books, you really think there could be something mixed in from what the reader gathers from Katniss’ internal conflict.
  • Katniss’ display to the scoring panel- way more thrilling in the book than the movie- although, seeing her hit the apple was pretty cool!
  • The constant surveillance isn’t as apparent in the movies as in the book. The things that Peeta tells Katniss the eve of the Games in the movie is less censored than the book. The surveillance in general during the games is also lesser than the book portrays. Katniss doesn’t act up or hide her emotions in the movie as often as the book says. In the book, they seem to be constantly aware of the cameras.
  • The relationship between Katniss and Rue wasn’t as developed in the movie as the book. You get that they admire each other, but you don’t see Katniss’ soft side, the part that makes Rue remind her of Prim.
  • Katniss didn’t stay hidden after blowing up the cornucopia in the movie, nor did they explain her hearing loss.
  • The uprising of District 11 in the movie wasn’t talked about in the book. None of the underlying Gamemaker/Capital business is truly revealed, only speculated by Katniss, until the end of the book. Even so there wasn’t any mention of any district outside of the capital being upset about the Games ending the way that it did.
  • The love story is definitely not played up as much in the movie, making the whole “Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers” death threat at the end a lot less believable, and the whole end of the book is Katniss trying to sort out her feelings in the Games vs her reality.
  • There is no mention of the separation of the two main characters at the end of the movie, and Peeta finding out about Katniss’ not reciprocating the same feelings for Peeta. This obviously is supposed to set the reader up for the following book in the series, and therefore should also be done in the movies- but it wasn’t.

Obviously, as the first in the series, the movie left the audience curious about what might happen next, but the book left the reader rushing off to the store in search for the next one. Now, if you’re like me and haven’t read or seen the movie, I suggest you check them out, because even though I found the movie lacking in comparison, both the book and movie are thrilling and keep their respective audiences wanting more.

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Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre is another very witty and clever book that I highly recommend for a change of pace and a good laugh. The book is comprised of short “screenshots” of text conversations between some of literature’s most memorable characters and authors, including Jane Eyre (hence the title), some done in a modern style and some retaining their classic voices.

Because it’s such a short book and again, I don’t want to spoil it for you, here are just a few classic characters you will “chat” with:

  • Circe:
    • “where did the pigs come from Circe?”
    • “i don’t know, a pig farm, a pig mommy and a pig daddy who loved each other very much…”
  • Jane Eyre:
    • “I KNEW IT. DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT”
    • “yes. Absolutely.”
  • Hamlet:
    • “darling i don’t mean to criticize but you really hurt your father’s feelings last night”
    • “hes not my real dad. why do you even like him”
  • Nancy Drew:
    • “do you think you can come get me?”
    • “are you tied up again?”
    • “i’m just over at the cave by the old mill”
    • “so you’re tied up…in a cave.”

If you giggled at any one (or all!) of these, then you’ll really enjoy the rest. It’s a perfect way to get to “connect” with some of your favorite literary characters in one place. It’s fast paced, light fare, and well worth checking out!

 

 

 

 

Oy with the Gilmore Girls Booktag!

So I follow HappyWhenImReading.com (you should too!) and she posts some really fun stuff, like this #GilmoreGirls book tag! So, being that I just finished reading “Talking as Fast as I Can” by Lauren Graham, I’m in such a Gilmore mood that I thought I’d do the tag too! Ok, I’ve got my coffee- let’s do this!

 


Lorelai: A character with a witty or sarcastic sense of humor

Jo from Little Women. I totally wanted to be like her when I was preteen. Such a smart, sassy spitfire!


Rory: Favorite classic

Gone with the Wind, hands down.


Luke: A book you secretly love but are afraid to admit

Haha, I mean this was really close with the Twilight series, but the 50 Shades of Grey series. I’ll plead the fifth on the explanation, hahaha… haters gonna hate!


Lane: A musical character

Mia, from If I Stay. Not only was the book good, but the movie soundtrack made me appreciate the cello a lot more.


Dean: Your first book love (character or book you first loved)

Oh gosh… Well I remember many bedtime stories that I loved, including Dr. Seuss books, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and Three Little Kittens, but I’d say the first books that I started reading (and not my dad) were the American Girl series. I loved their adventures and being taken back to their respective time periods. I can’t remember who my favorite was, though!


Sookie: A book you’ve devoured

There are too many to count, and sometimes it’s just easy to speed through a short novel. So I’ll say I’m going to interpret “devoured” as “completely absorbed”- which in case I couldn’t get enough of South of Broad. Even though that took me a week to finish, I was sneaking every chance I could get to read it. And you bet when I get my own copy, I’ll be rereading it!


Jess: A book you love, that gets the most hate

Any Twilight fans out there? Yeah, me too. Even though people hate (and for crying out loud, it wasn’t meant to be a classic piece of literature!), I loved the series and the conflict between characters and the fantasy and the action… but yeah, it is a little embarrassing to admit sometimes.


Miss Patty: A book that was ruined by the hype

I never could get into the Lord of the Rings series (pause for effect). And then, the movies were super hyped (ORLANDO BLOOM!) and I said well I’ll watch the movies instead, and then I couldn’t even get through the movies without getting lost… so yeah. LOTR, not my thing.


Emily Gilmore: An expensive book

I really don’t pay attention to prices of books because on the regular, I buy most of my books cheap, second-hand, and well loved ❤

But, oh gosh, my college textbooks were stupid expensive (though my program director did try and keep the costs down). So, I kept all the ones that I knew I’d use as a resource. I can’t remember which one was most expensive, but if you really want some exciting equine resource textbooks, check out: Equine Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians, Horse Business Management, and Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary! (But seriously, equine nerds, eat your heart out!)


Paris: An uptight character

My girl Hermione, obviously! That is, until she learned how much fun breaking the rules can be!


 

As much fun as that was, that was also a super hard tag. It could be my over-caffeinated brain or the challenge itself, but either way I hope you enjoyed, and feel free to give it a try!

 

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Where are my Gilmore Girls fans out there?!

Welcome welcome! So, I just had to read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham for so many reasons.

  1. Because I love “Gilmore Girls“.
  2. Because Lauren Graham is hilarious.
  3. Because everyone who has read this said it’s hilarious.

So for all thee above, I checked it out of the library and read it in two sittings. And it is hilarious, and enjoyable, and makes me believe that Lauren Graham and I should be friends… just saying. Although, I think I’d have an awful time keeping up with her because she seems to like having a million things on her plate!

Being a biography, the book covers Graham’s childhood, to how she decided to be an actor, to her big break on “Gilmore Girls“, and then to her latest project of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life“.  It was interesting to “get to know” Lauren, and to peek at how she came to be Lorelai Gilmore. The bio is full of comedy, sarcasm, and a little satire. But between all that is also a lot of great advice- some Graham’s, some “Old Lady Jackson’s”. Each chapter is fast pace

I don’t want to spoil it for you, as it is a relatively short book, but here are some of my favorite parts:

  • “I hadn’t really seen “Slap That Bass” as much of a comedic song, but maybe I was wrong? So I decided to go with their response and sort of shimmied my shoulders, adding even more personality and pizzazz.”
  • “The Top Secret Hollywood Secrets Food Chart”
  • “Paper Towels, a Love Story”
  • “Where ‘Oy with the poodles already” was born! I’ve said it on command for you in airports across the land, but honestly I forgot where exactly in the show it appeared.”
  • “But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”
  • “It’s his variation on the Pomodoro technique, called Kitchen Timer, and it’s transformed the way I write…I love it so much that it makes me want to touch my fingertips together in that wonderful symbol we just invented in the last decade.

Image result for heart symbol hands

I highly recommend the read, especially if you’re a fan or if you need some light reading or humor in your life. I promise you’ll walk away from it with a smile and a good dose of laughter! 

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

For Marie- Laure, it all starts with the Sea of Flames and the legend behind it- of one rare blue teardrop diamond with a flare of red in the center, with the power of immortality to the owner at the price of a curse: ill fate to those dearest. It was a centuries old story that Marie-Laure wasn’t quite convinced was true, but she pondered the legend anyways, imagining what the diamond would look like- for not only was she blind, but the jewel was said to be held deep in a vault with thirteen doors. After all, her father, security and keeper of the keys at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, worked in close proximity to the vault.

For Werner, it all starts with a copy of a popular mechanics magazine and a simple radio, listening to a broadcast from who knows where of a man teaching science. An orphan living with his sister, Jutta, at Children’s House (an orphanage), Werner was eager to understand the world around him, studying conduits and gears, magnets and electricity, and eventually becoming extremely talented at fashioning simple machines and fixing even the most complex radios. When a German officer has him repair his radio, Werner is inspired by his praise and decides to attend the National Political Institute of Education at Schulpforta, in an effort to make something of himself- to go far, do well.

What these two young children aren’t expecting is the start of World War II, and how quickly it would change their lives.

For Marie-Laure, she would flee with her father to Saint-Malo, having to learn the area through her father and his handcrafted wooden replica of the town by feel and sound. Her great-uncle Etienne, who fought in World War I and still battled his demons post-war, and his housekeeper, Madame Manec, took them in, eventually becoming Marie-Laure’s guardians when her father is caught and sent to a labor camp in Germany. Determined to aid the allied war effort, Madame, Marie-Laure, and even Etienne risk their lives running operations in code through the sound waves of Etienne’s radio.

For Werner, he would become one of Hitler’s Youth, learning the cold methodology of the Nazi SS organization. Though he witnessed the cruelty of the system, there didn’t seem to be a way to stand up against it- nor was he sure that he could. Attempting to keep his nose to the grindstone, he surprises one of his teachers with his quick ability to produce simple mechanics and electronics, and becomes a favorite of his instructor. Then, when Werner tries to level the favoritism playing field between himself and his peers, the instructor turns against him and enlists him. As a soldier in Hitler’s Army, he scans the radio waves for illicit transmitters, ones that could be aiding the allied war effort.

As the two plot lines connect, the pages seem to turn faster and faster as the reader learns what is to become of the now young adults. It’s a beautiful story, and the sensual visualizations (sight, sound, even tactile) that Doerr gives the reader through his two main characters is so realistic that it’s like you are there, witnessing everything for yourself. I also enjoyed reading about World War II from yet another point of view, in which the characters are affected by the war differently than some other novels I’ve read- though it still reads heavy because no matter who is talking about the subject matter, the subject is still about the one of the darkest times in our history. I should also mention that the chapters alternate by character and are very short, so though it is a 500+ page novel, it still reads rather quick.

Overall, I’d recommend All The Light We Cannot See, but I wasn’t as enamored with it as I thought I would be. It’s a good story, and if I found the book on one of my Goodwill hauls, I’d certainly pick it up, but I’m not rushing to the store for my own personal copy. I’m glad that I did read it though, and would say that those who recommended it to me were spot on in saying that I would enjoy it!

 

 

 

Banned & Challenged Books Week

Hi Everyone! I’m blogging outside the box today because it is #BannedBooksWeek! I decided to do a little research on the honorary week, and suggest you check out the American Library Association (ALA) list of banned and challenged books!

I did so myself, and wasn’t surprised at what I saw on the banned books list- mostly books that were ahead of their time or had controversial points of view. As it is, some of these are still talked about in controversy! What did surprise me is that I read most of these novels between middle and high school ages- formative years. Each one has broadened my understanding of the time periods, taught me to see both sides of conflicts and resolutions, helped me sort where my moral values stand, and fueled my love for historical fiction!

Banned Classics:

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Ulysses, by James Joyce
1984, by George Orwell
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

Then we reach the challenged books. This list really surprised me. I know I read about a third of these before I even entered middle school, and I haven’t read any of these post high school graduation. To think of a child reading challenged books- *gasp*! Of course, when I skimmed through the entire selection of challenged books, I understand many of them had adult themes- sex, mostly, but also drugs, violence, strong language and other controversial content that would make any movie “Rated R”. But some of these on my list- Junie B. Jones, REALLY?!- were shocking.

Challenged 1990-2009:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine

The Witches, by Roald Dahl

Blubber, by Judy Blume

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

Carrie, by Stephen King

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

 

So there you have it- I’m completely guilty of reading these books, and I’m thankful that I’ve had the freedom- AND HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED- to read them all. I think that reading has helped me become the mature, well-rounded, educated woman that I am, and every book has allowed me to open my mind, experience life through someone else, and ingrained the moral of the stories into my body. I’ll always carry a bit of Scout, Scarlett, Ponyboy , Harry and the trio, Tom and Huck, and Gatsby and Daisy… all of them along within me. And, above all, I encourage others to do the same- to learn from these characters, to express their thoughts and ideas, and to keep their minds open.

Now, it’s your turn! Feel free to share what banned books you’ve read!

 

 

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year or two (and if you have and are now reading this, welcome welcome), you’ve probably heard of the term “body positivity”.  It’s based on the crazy, outlandish notion that all bodies are worthy of social acceptance. Of course, I’m being facetious- this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard of, and I’m dying to spread the word.

As a fat girl, I have always had difficulty with loving my body just as it is. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been conscious of my weight and the scrutiny of what others thought about it. I remember dieting by the time I was in third grade. In retrospect, there have been so many times where I’ve looked at old pictures of myself, despite at the time hating the numbers on the scale even back then, and wishing I could look like I did 5, 10 years ago. And above all, it’s always been something I didn’t really want to talk about. I’m not a big “let’s talk about our feelings” kind of girl…I’m still trying to figure out why, but honestly I’ve always been really protective of talking about my personal baggage. I always took it as, it’s mine and mine alone to carry.

Thankfully, I’ve been really fortunate in that I’ve surrounded myself with some really amazing people who have loved me at every size, and they’ve always given me the confidence booster I needed when I was having a ‘bad body’ day. They see me for me, and know my weight doesn’t change how much I love them or what I would do for them, and visa versa. One of those amazing people includes my awesome friend, Althea, who told me about this blog, called The Militant Baker – let me tell you how much that has helped me.

Hang in there- I promise there is a reason for this back story!

So I’ve linked to her blog, but in short Jes Baker is a very strong and active advocate for body positivity, for both women, men and everyone in between! Seeing her posts and advice and colorful commentary (she loves to swear/curse- I find it hilarious and charming, though I acknowledge others may feel differently) really made me think about how I view my body and interact with others around me. Things like, I didn’t need to lose weight to love my body just as it is; That others weren’t going to die or whatever if I wore a sleeveless shirt or horizontal stripes out in public; That I had the right to dance, run, jump, and move however my body wanted to without worrying if I was horrifying others with my jiggly bits. Again, I’ve spent sooo much time within my head going over the ‘fat girls can’t” rules that they became a running commentary that I conditioned myself to work around- and because of that, I spent a lot of time trying to hide that reasoning, or even worse joking about it and keeping that negativity going. When Althea said, hey check out this blog, I didn’t realize that I could begin freeing myself from this inner dialogue, and how AMAZING that felt.

Alright already, enough about me, let’s get to the book!

SO, when I learned that Baker decided to write a book, I knew I just had to read it. It’s been on my TBR pile long before I even knew what a TBR pile was. So when I finally got my hands on it, I tore through it, flagging every other page or so, and I’ve decided to share with you 10 (even thought I could easily triple that!) nuggets that blew my mind:

  1. “The word “pretty”, when used to describe a woman’s physical appearance, signifies a physical ideal that’s fabricated by companies to make you believe you’ll never be enough until you reach it. Pretty is what they want you to believe in.” Think about that for a second- how many times have you seen a product boasting it’s ability to make you pretty/beautiful/younger, etc. It’s a money scam!
  2. “81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat (more than cancer, war, or losing both of their parents). In a survey of 9- and 10-year-old girls, 40% have tried to lose weight. 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting. And, 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.” If those statistics don’t make your jaw drop, then I don’t know what will.
  3. “Your life is not going to become happier, more amazing, or more successful after you lose those 10lbs. Or 20lbs. Or 50lbs. Because the pounds aren’t really the issue. Your state of mind is.” How many times have you heard this? After 10 lbs, I’ll (fill in the blank.) Yeah, I’m so over that.
  4. “Diet culture is the reason weight loss is at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions lists. Everyone hates dieting, but we still feel this thrill when we eat a carrot or get our dressing on the sides.” When she explains this, I just kept repeating “ohmygawd” to myself. Like, the whole chapter. Which by the way has a hilarious and high five worthy title that I’ll let you all find for yourselves!
  5. A la Marie Kondo- “This applies to the beauty standards we were raised with. I’m going to challenge you to mentally pick up each rule you’ve been taught and ask yourself: Does this bring me joy?” I LOVE THIS THOUGHT. Do tank tops bring me joy? Yes- keep. Clothes that I’m “someday going to fit into?” No- toss. Eating healthy? Yes! Keeping a food journal & counting calories? NO!
  6. “One study showed that over 50% of primary care physicians viewed fat patients as “awkward”, “unattractive”, and “noncompliant”. In another study, 45% of a sample of physicians agreed they have a negative reaction to fat individuals.” She then goes on to talk about how doctors tend to only see the weight and not the actual health problem- which I have witnessed first hand thanks to a little known thing called Factor 2 Blood Mutation. It’s a wonder why people are afraid to go to the doctor- we can’t just go in and get a cure for our sinus infection without the addition of being told to lose some weight.
  7. “We all deserve the same amount of opportunity, respect, health care, education, life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness regardless of our size, shade, shape, sex, gender, level of ability, and health records.” She said I could quote her on it in the book, so I did not only because of that, but because I believe she is 100% correct in this statement.
  8. “If you were to fill a room with women of all shapes and sizes, most of those women would have cellulite. Because, it’s totally and completely normal. Why don’t men have as much cellulite? Well, (1) their skin is thicker so it shows less, and (2) they store more fat around their organs instead of between the skin and muscle like we do.”
  9. “Take care of yourself above all else. It isn’t greedy. It isn’t selfish. It’s absolutely necessary, and this concept can translate into every part of your life.”
  10. “Contrary to what we’ve been taught, other people’s bodies are NOT ours to publicly comment on.” It sounds obvious, but we’re probably all guilty of making a comment we shouldn’t have. I’ll admit to it- and I’m also making a conscious effort to stop myself, because I also know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that cruelty. As Baker continues, there is SO MUCH MORE we could talk about without having to put someone else at the expense of conversation.

I swear guys, I still have 23 (yes I counted) other flags left- there’s just SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. So obviously, I’m off to order this one for my own personal library. I suggest you all read it- even if you aren’t a fat girl, there are so many great “decent human being” points that would resonate with any reader. Body love and body positivity are here to stay, and the more that we can discuss acceptance and HAVE acceptance, the better the world will be. Yes, seriously.