Friday, January 30, 2015
If you can not view the audio, please click HERE!
Bambi Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/04/reading-bambi-by-felix-salten.html
Bonjour Tristesse Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/06/bonjour-tristesse-by-francoise-sagan.html
Disney After Dark Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/11/literary-critic-disney-after-dark-by.html
The Gospel According to Disney Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-gospel-according-to-disney-by-mark.html
Housekeeping Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/09/housekeeping-by-marilynne-robinson.html
Life of Pi Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/10/life-of-pi-by-yann-martel.html
Love Letters to the Dead: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/06/love-letters-to-dead-by-ava-dellaira.html
The Moviegoer: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/04/mini-book-review-moviegoer-by-walker.html
The Silver Linings Playbook Review: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-silver-linings-playbook-by-matthew.html
The World According to Garp: http://thereader101.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-world-according-to-garp-by-john.html
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The World According to Garp is a widely expansive novel that focuses on the life of writer T.S. Garp. The story begins with an in depth look at his mother Jenny Fields and how she came to conceive Garp. It would seem a bit curious that the story doesn't start with our main man but then again, there are many curious narrative choices made by author John Irving to tell Garp's story and all of the choices are particularly brilliant; for if we didn't hear Jenny Fields story then we wouldn't have such a good look at how Garp's mother impacted him and his life. The book focuses on many things in the midst of Garp's life. At once it is a commentary on list and politics and the next moment it is about writers and morality and parental paranoia. The book encompasses so many aspects of life and with most novels this would be a huge problem. But not with Garp. Irving seems very aware of the grandness of his tale and matches it with brilliant writing and deep reflections on life and diverse characters.
I feel compelled to compare the experience of reading this novel to reading Ian McEwan's Atonement when I was 17. While these novels are completely different in scope, they both focus on a similar theme and that is the theme of the writer. Both novels illustrate how reality becomes fiction and how fiction is not much different than reality and how the two bleed into one another for better or worse. This theme is captured so well in Garp.
My complaints are limited when it comes to this book. It was a bit boring at times but character development makes up for it. I had a love/hate relationship with Garp's writing. While it was awesome how he came to write a certain piece, I never truly enjoyed reading his writing. I appreciated it in the overall scope of the story but actually reading it was hard to get through. But I don't feel those complaints warrant me from not loving this book because man, did I love it. I'm so glad I read it and wish I could take a class on it and study it more! Definitely giving this 5 out of 5 stars.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
If you are like me and have this much experience with Freakonomics, I wouldn't recommend this book. Much of the text was old news to me. I've already heard the argument about less crime in the 90's having to do with legalized abortion, and I already know about the sumo wrestlers cheating. I've heard the same argument about names not deciding a person's fate over three times between the book, podcast, and documentary. So in that regard, the book was a bit repetitive and boring. However, if you are coming to this book for the first time and have no prior experience with the podcast or documentary than you will probably enjoy this book.
What I love about Freakonomics is that it makes connections is placed no one thinks to look. It isn't a biased program taking sides but just dishes the info and allows you to make your final call. The same can be said with this book. It presents the evidence very well but also leaves room for defiance.
Overall, it is a good book. It didn't really wow me so perhaps my review is biased since I already formed a relationship with Freakonomics. I will give the book a 3 out of 5 stars.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Books, in my opinion, are more than just simple words on a page. They are friends, experiences, and life lessons. They reveal truth to us in very subtle and unexpected ways. With them we learn new things and sometimes a book will raise more questions than answers, forcing us to look deeper into the text and deeper into our own lives. When I reread Harry Potter, it isn't only nostalgia that keeps me coming back. It is the sense that every time I return I will be gaining new insight not only in my life but into the text. Rereading forces me to notice different bits of dialogue that reveal character depth and allows me to notice foreshadowing which in turn reveals the brilliance of J.K. Rowling and helps me in my own writings. There is a lot to be gained from Harry Potter in terms of plot, mystery, character and setting for any writer.
Growing up with Harry always gave me a small sense of community. When I read about Harry visiting the Weasley house I was, and still am, reminded of family gatherings and nights spent with the youth group. The comradery provided a sense of relatability and provides a look back at childhood ethics similar to those found in the 1986 film Stand By Me.
But I think what ultimately brings me back to Harry is my love of literature. Going back to analyze these books is such a treat and helps me when going to analyze other works of art. And I think Harry Potter provides this amazing element of story telling in that it raises more questions than it answers. The books continually force me to think critically and help me become a better critic, artist and writer. For that I am thankful!