Monthly Archives: January 2013

Quote of the day: 1/31/13

“To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity”.

-From I Know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Quote of the day: 1/29/13

“It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up”.

-From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Quote of the day: 1/28/13

“We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”

-From 1984 by George Orwell

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From the film adaptation of 1984

1984

Personal notes: Orwell’s 1984 is probably the single most influential novel that I read during high school. It completely reignited my love for literature and pushed me to read genres that I had not previously looked into. Cliche as is sounds,  it taught me lessons about questioning authority, thinking for myself, and inspired me to write in ways that I thought to be ‘vulgar’ or ‘manly’ previously. This is one of those pieces that I credit for changing me in ways that I never really thought that I could be changed. I’m certainly glad that I read it at the time of my life that I did.

quote of the day: 1/27/13

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion or conflict”.

-Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

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Personal notes: The Lemony Snicket books are always something that I can leaf through when I need a smile. I love how the entire series is completely grim and morose, yet peppered with so much humor and wit. Snicket has a rare way of shining light upon the little truths of life in a simplistic and almost childlike way. His writing has always been something that I’ve deemed as special because it’s quirky and completely its own.

Quote of the day: 1/25/13

“This fall I think you’re riding for—it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.”

-From Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Personal notes: J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential “lost teenager” book that resonated really well with me during high school. I have to admit, I had the biggest crush on the fictional character Holden Caulfield because I could really relate to how he kind of drifts through life, by just barley skating by. This is a favorite “classic” of mine.

Book Review: World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan

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World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan, is set in a world that has been ravaged by a nuclear holocaust. China is the only area that is not completely contaminated by radiation a fallout. The protagonist, Vika Canon lives in the wasteland that was once North and South America, New Amana. New Amana’s totalitarian government is controlled strictly by females, men have been demoted to domestic jobs and are expected to act as servants and home keepers of females. Males are not taught to read and are not permitted to think for themselves. Women bear the burden of childbirth, and are given five chances to conceive once they are matched with a mate, or they are cast away and will not be granted a chance to move to fertile China. Defective children are not recognized by the government. They are shipped off to asylums where the are used in scientific studies. Among these children is Vika’s younger sister.

When Vika is matched with her mating partner Shale, the trouble begins. She is forced to make the choice between being compliant with the government, or risking her life to save her younger sister.

This was the first novel that I read in 2013, and it was a great way to start off the year.

What I liked about it:

  • it’s somewhat original. YA dystopias are kind of the ‘in’ thing right now, and there’s a lot of the same general ideas going about in the novels. This one has many unique elements such as ‘nukeheads’ and the whole female ran government thing.
  • I loved the mash up of genre’s. This one is definitely a dystopia, but with many scientific elements, sort of in the spirit of Huxley’s Brave New World.
  • This is YA without taking on a completely juvenile tone. Vika is 20- not a teenager, so there’s absolutely no teenager-esque whining going on in this one. She’s a survivalist, and a woman- not a child. Tthis is more of what I’d like to see in the young adult genre- characters in their early 20’s that don’t act like stupid impulsive babies!

Criticism:

  • Not much actually, this book was really filled with positives. The only thing that I can poke at is how it sort of upset me how the ‘radical feminist party’ is responsible for the totalitarian government. I don’t really care for feminists being cast in a negative and cruel light, but that’s just me.

Would I recommend this:

Most definitely. If you’re a fan of YA dystopia or YA science fiction then this would be a good one for you to check into! Adriana Ryan is a new author, so show her a little support by reading her book! You can find her on goodreads as well!

Overall rating: **** (4 stars)

quote of the day: 1/24/13

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will”.

-From Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

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Personal notes: I’ve got a bit of a bias with this one, as Palahniuk is one of my favorite writers. In my humble opinion, Diary is probably his least appreciated book. This really makes me sad, because as an aspiring “artist” (the writer kind) I can appreciate what he does with this novel. Palahniuk points out the way that you’ve sort of got to be “fucked up” in order to produce a masterpiece. He says, “we have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace”. Hence, art comes from pain and suffering-some of it self inflicted. Is he just discussing the general nature of artists, or criticizing these methods? You read and decide.

Quote of the day: 1/23/13

“Reality is a state of mind. To the baker, the money in his ledger book is all very real, though he doesn’t actually see it or touch it. But to the Brahma, it simply doesn’t exist the way the air and the earth, pain and loss do. To him, the banker’s reality is folly. To the banker, the Brahma’s ideas are as inconsequential as dust”.

-From A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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Personal Notes: This is on my currently reading list (see my goodreads account on the side bar). I know that I said I’d try to stray away from YA novels this year, but I’m having a really hard time thus far, because the Porterville Public Library has ebooks now! So I’ve been reading off of my phone whenever I have a spare moment; I love convenience. Anyway, I’m really excited to dive into this novel, and I’ve already got the second two on reserve in the elibrary! Looks like I’m not getting away from YA anytime too soon!

quote of the day: 1/22/13

“The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less than he

Whom under hath made greater? Here at least

We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not build

Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:

Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,

To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”.

-From Paradise Lost by John Milton

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Illustration by Gustav Doré

Annabell Lee (Edgar Allan Poe)

This is probably my favorite poetry animation/interpretation, of all time.
Animation by George Higham