Reading Response

Review posted on Goodreads:

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn is stunning. The entire time I was reading, I was trying to solve the mystery myself. By the time I got to the last 50 pages, I had no idea how the book could possibly resolve itself (don’t worry; it does). The characters in this book are dark, flawed, and deliciously evil, however, I found myself drawn to their darkness and to their troubles. The reader gets three different perspectives of the story. Libby Day, the lone survivor of the Day family massacre, spends the books trying to solve what happened in her house nearly 30 years ago. Ben Day, from the time he is a teen to when he is in jail for the murder of his mother and two sisters, reveals how the murders came to happen. And, finally, Patty Day, Libby and Ben’s mother who is in debt and about to lose the family farm, gives her narrative from 30 years ago and further reveals what happened in the Day house. I never knew how the story was going to end, and I was very surprised when I got to the ending. Dark Places is an amazing book that has darkness, death, Satanic rituals, troubles of the soul, and truly troubled characters.


Reader’s Bill of Rights

I really enjoyed reading Kiera Parrott’s “A (Reluctant) Reader’s Bill of Rights.” I felt for so long that if I was going to begin a book that I had to finish that book, even if I did not like it. I found myself not wanting to read because I did not like the books I would check out. I still refused to move on to another book before I finished the book I had. Eventually, I came to realize that it does not matter if I do not finish every book, especially if I do not like that book.

I also enjoyed “I have a right to reread.” I read the entire Harry Potter series three times while in high school, and my librarian would always say the same thing: ‘This, again? Why don’t you read books you haven’t read?” We should encourage children to read and reread the books they like to read. Reading a beloved book for the second time can reveal many portions of the story that one missed while reading it the first time.

I seems that, in high school, students do not get these rights. More than one in class, I was told to put away my book, that I could read later. Students also are not allowed to read books at their own pace, since teachers always set deadlines and due dates. If a student reads out loud, then he is distracting other students. If a student does not like or finish a book, then they are seen as lazy. If a student does not like or read the books they are assigned, then they are given a bad grade. Teachers should respect students need to read books they like and students need to read at their own pace.

If I could add one thing to this bill of rights for readers it would be: I have the right to read more than one book at a time. I thought that if I read more than one book at a time that the stories would blend together and that I would not get the full experience from either book. I have come to learn though that it is very easy to separate the stories in my mind. I also came to learn that reading two books at once helps when I become tiresome of one story but still want to read.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Featured image by Anna Widerberg

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is, in one word, crazy.

Flynn is an incredible writer who draws the reader in from page 1. I really enjoyed the way she wrote the characters in a way that the reader understands their flaws and may even hate them, but there is still something about them that you want to read. You want to know what happens to them, even if you hate them. I do not want to give anything away because this book is an incredible mind screw. Gone Girl contains 3 parts, and I will tell you, when it transitions from part 1 to part 2 and part 2 to part 3, be prepared for some crazy things to happen.

I would give Gone Girl five stars out of five. I was so interesting in this book that I read it in about 2 days in my free time. Gone Girl has a lot of explicit words and adult themes so, there is a lot of debate on whether it truly is a YA book. However, despite the dirty words and sex talk, this book is YA because it involves deep feelings and a journey through a painful experience. Gone Girl is a book that a young girl reads that teaches her something about herself, maybe something about who she does not want to be. I would say that Gone Girl is on the upper age spectrum of the YA age range. I would not let a 12 year old read this book, but I did read books more adult than this when I was 12 or 13.

This book presents a realistic love story. This is not a story about the boy and girl who are perfect for one another and will always love each other because they are soul mates. The people in this book are screwed up; every one of them. They read as real people with feelings and flaws. The ending of this book will not only surprise you, but it will drive you crazy for the next few days as you think of how it should of ended. Or did it end right? I cannot decide.

YA Books are Awesome!

Featured image by Lidyanne Aquino.

We all know that the teenage years of our life are not easy. Around 15 we suddenly realize that the world is not all that we thought it could be, that the world is a much darkest place than we ever thought it could be. There are constant floods of emotions that are hard to deal with, as well as social pressure and academic pressure. It’s around 15 that we realize we need to understand who we are in this world that we do not understand.

Young Adult literature can help teenagers to understand what role they play in this world. Growing up in Nebraska, I never saw a lot of diversity. Nebraska simply does not have that wide of a variety of people (we all know this). Personally, I believe YA books opened my mind to the fact that every person has their own story, their own feelings, and their own struggles.

Shannon Hale states in The Young Adult Book Tropes that Ate the World that many adults have problems with YA books due to the amount of love triangles and emotional protagonists. I hate to break it to you guys, but teenagers and young adults are emotional people. Meaning, we are going to relate to the whiny girl who falls in love with the vampire instantly. YA books are good for teenagers because these whiny protagonists show them that they are not the only ones who have troubles controlling their emotions or they are not the only ones who do not get along with their parents.

I spent a lot of my teenage years escaping my problems by delving into a YA fantasy world. The YA books I read usually ended up teaching me something about the world or about myself or about how to solve my problems. Teenagers need YA books about young protagonists finding themselves in order to find themselves.

I am hoping to read more nonfiction YA books this semester. I usually strictly read fantasy novels because I am a fantasy nerd, but I think nonfiction YA books will broaden my view on what YA books are. Of course, I am going to be reading some fantasy books since I love them! If I had to choose an area of expertise in YA books, then I would either choose fantasy YA books or romance YA books.

5 Picture Story: How my Love of the Written Word Flourished

pokey little puppy

Do you remember the first book you ever read? The first book you ever read in it’s entirety, by yourself? I do; it was “The Poky Little Puppy.” My parents always read my siblings and I books before bed (mostly a picture book version of the Bible). My siblings and I had always read while we were at our grandparents. My brother would read to my sister and I out-loud. I loved the stories. I loved books before I could even read. The Pokey Little Puppy though, I read that all by myself. It was 1st grade, and all my classmates had chosen picture books, but not me! I wanted to read a book myself! I wanted to finish a book myself! I loved books when they were read to me, but dang I fell in a deep love with books when I finished “The Poky Little Puppy” by myself.

9981577724_7b8b099132_zOff Flickr: Steel Wool

My love for books continued through to middle school. There was one author I loved more than anything: Andrew Clements. When our class would go to the library, I would go slowly down shelf after shelf until I found the signature Clements book cover. I would get so happy when I pulled that book off the shelf and discovered “Oh! I haven’t read this one!” “Frindle” was my favorite Clements book because it taught me the beauty of words and language. For those of you who haven’t read it, it is all about a boy who questions why words are the way they are and why things are called certain things. He asks his teacher why a pen is a pen. Why isn’t it called a frindle? He continues to get every student in his class to call pens frindles, much to the upset of his teacher. As a middle schooler, this book really blew me away. Why do we call it a pen? If it had always been called a frindle, then would we find it normal to call it a frindle? Suddenly, my love for books grew into a curiosity. Why do we all find so much meaning out of these 26 letters placed in different orders? How incredible is it that these simple symbols can create an image in one’s head!

23/365 - Darren Shan CollectionOff of Flickr: Paul Williams

I believe I read the entire middle-school library by the time I got to 7th grade (this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I did read a lot of books). I was excited to move on to the high school library; it was bigger and had bigger books! So, as a dorky 7th grader, I stumble upon Darren Shan. I must say, he is still one of my favorite authors. I had read fiction plenty before Shan, but Shan made me fall in love with fiction. Especially dark fiction. Shan also made me fall in love with series of books. It was crazy! I would finish a book (we all know the feeling of finishing a good book and thinking that’s the end of a portion of our life) and boom there would be another right there for me to continue the story! The cirque du freak series was everything to me my 7th grade year. Other girls were starting to develop, stuffing their bras, and learning to shave. And there I was, in my beat up converse and messy t-shirt, reading Darren Shan. I understood books a whole lot more than I understood my classmates or my changing body, so I stuck to the books. Shan got me through my awkward stage.

6018920992_08f3cbaa39_zOff Flickr: Robert

One could say I become “popular” my sophomore year of high school. I hung out with the kids who wore the best clothes and drank away their talents. They always did great in school  (though I believe it was mostly due to the fact that they were athletes and every teacher looooooved the athletes) but they also thought it was “lame” to read. They constantly called me a nerd for reading (which I now find as a compliment, but at the time it was the worst thing to hear).  I had a huge falling out with that group of friends (a story for another time I believe) and discovered that reading IS cool. We were all assigned the Odyssey, and immediately the complaining began. “It’s so boring,” “It’s so long,” and “why do we have to read this?” I always read everything I was assigned in school, my grades were important to me. However, after the unit was done, I discovered that I was the only one in my entire class to actually read the Odyssey. I discovered this because all my classmates asked me for help with their homework; none of them had read any of it! It seemed as high school went along that most of my classmates did not read a single book they were assigned; they just got better at researching what it was about and bullshitting assignments. YOU KNOW WHAT HIGH SCHOOL GROUP OF “FRIENDS”: READING IS COOL, AND BEING INFORMED IS COOL! DEAL WITH IT!

4815441718_71e77f9a02_zOff of Flickr: Scott Smith

I cannot finish a blog post about my love of books without including the book of my generation: the brilliant J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. By the time I had gotten to high school, I had read the Harry Potter series in it’s entirety. I have never stopped loving it. My senior year of high school I reread all of the Harry Potter books for the third time in my life. I found it so crazy how, after reading the books twice before, I could still find little tidbits about the book that amazed me. J.K. Rowling, you crazy linx, constantly surprised me. The way small things in the first or second book foreshadowed things in the 7th book! The way that any fan theory may be possible because the world of Harry Potter is an endless stream of your imagination!  You are amazing, J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter may be the reason I decided to be an English major. Harry Potter changed my life. I know everyone loves Harry Potter and it’s cliche to say I love it, but it is a damn good series.