Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 316
My Rating: 5/5 stars

I read this book a while ago, and yesterday as I was browsing the internet for 'bookish jewelry' (don't even comment on that.. ) and found necklaces saying 'Okay Okay', I became emotional. That's the impact this book has had on me.

Now, you may not know what I am talking about if you have not yet read the book. Please continue reading this spoiler free review, and hopefully I can persuade you into reading it.

17 Year old Hazel Grace has been diagnosed with cancer, and is trying to make the most of her life while it lasts. At a support group she meets an incredibly handsome and charming guy, and falls for him.

I am usually not such a sucker for romance in novels, especially not as cheesy as in this one, because, let's face it, it is. However, this was written so well, and the characters are so complex and well-developed, that the love in this story is incredibly cute and at no times annoying (which, in my honest opinion, it usually is in YA novels). While I can in no way relate to what Hazel, or Augustus for that matter, are going through in the novel, John Green writes their emotions so well, that I felt like I could.

Putting into words what this novel did to me is difficult. It's an emotional roller coaster. It easily switches from super happy to extremely sad and back. There were times when I had to put the book away for a few minutes in order to step back into reality and just deal with all the emotions.

I know that again, this is not much of a review, just a rant, but I can say nothing but positive things about this piece of fiction. I just loved it, and I believe everyone should read it.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Review: All My Friends Are Dead & All My Friends Are Still Dead

Title: All My Friends Are Dead and All My Friends Are Still Dead
Author: Avery Monsen
Pages: 96 & 108
My Rating: 1/5 stars

The two little books All My Friends Are Dead and All My Friends Are Still Dead are illustrated humour books. They got really good reviews so I thought why the hell not read them.
They are supposed to be hilarious and full of dark humour. However, I just didn't even smile at one point while browsing through them.
Now, I understand that this is all a matter of taste, and seeing the Goodreads average rating being above a 4.0, I suppose I am the odd one out. However, could someone who did like this book properly explain to me why? The texts are very childish, but the content really is not meant for little boys and girls. The jokes are extremely unoriginal and .. I wouldn't call them jokes anyway. It's not that I find it too harsh, or too dark, and felt offended - I just couldn't see why someone would write this, think it's funny, and write a sequel. Fortunately, they are so short that it took no more than 6 minutes to flip through both.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Comments, Dutch books, Uni

So this entry is just going to be a little bit of an update and some other things I'd like to tell you guys.

Firstly, I can see I get views, maybe not that many, but I do get them and I'd love to know who you all are and what you think of my blog and my entries, so please don't be shy to comment!

You may have read before that I am currently writing my dissertation. I was supposed to finish it before Easter, but as my supervisor fell ill and I had to get a new one which caused quite a lot of trouble I can work on it for four more week, which I am terribly happy about. I don't really need to do that much more but as the next block is starting on Tuesday, and I am taking an extra course I will need my time. Of the three courses I am taking, two are Dutch. One is called 'Uitgeverijen' which means publishers. In that course I will learn how the publisher business works, and I've already started reading the coursebook and I think it's going to be incredibly interesting. The next course is Cultuurkritiek , which is Cultural Criticism. For this one, I'm also very excited, but it's also quite daunting as I think it's going to be difficult and a lot of theories which I'll have to learn by heart. The last course is Adapting to the Novel and for this one we have to  read 7 books and watch several adaptations of those, about which we'll write short papers. I'm very excited for that one, and I'm hoping I will have time to put reviews on here, or perhaps the short papers.
For the course on publishers, I have to read two Dutch books, which I have already read. I am not going to review them on here, because there's no English translation and it feels pointless to write in Dutch here. If you are Dutch and would like to read my reviews on Een Blik Jodenkoeken and De Smaak van IJzer - please go to my goodreads page, you will find them there.  

The last thing I want to mention is the top 5 Wednesday. I am still doing this, but just not every week. The topics are very much focussed on YA novels, and I don't read that much YA.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Marcus Zusack
Pages: 554
My Rating: 5/5 stars

The Book Thief is a young adult novel set in Germany during the Second World War. A girl called Liesel is sent to a foster family where she learns the harsh realities of the holocaust. 
The first interesting aspect of the novel is that it is narrated by Death - a perspective we do not usually see. Just like all other characters, he is very likable and develops throughout the novel. The descriptions, the characters, the story telling, it is all beautifully done. 
One thing I was hesitant about at first was the writing style. I read all kinds of reviews saying Zusack's writing was oh so beautiful, and I could not see that. However, at one point, I think about a third in, I started to realise his writing did have something unique and interesting and I started appreciating every second of reading it. 
It did take me a long time to read it, but once I got used to the style, I just couldn't find a reason to give it less than 5 stars. Honestly, I don't have much more to say, just that everyone should read it, no matter your age. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Quotes

1. "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."
      - The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

2. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
     - To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

3. "Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?"
    "All like ours?"
    "I don't know, but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound - a few blighted."
   "Which do we live on - a splendid one or a blighted one?"
    "A blighted one". 
      - Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

4. "Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you -- haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe -- I know that ghosts have wandered the erath. Be with me always -- take any form -- drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" 
      - Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

5. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
      - The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald