Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Added to my to-read list:
-Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
-The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
-The Talking Parcel by Gerald Durrell
-The Beasts of Clawstone Castle by Eva Ibbotson**
-Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl**
-The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall
-Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner
-The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (own it!)
-The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett*
-Boy by Roald Dahl**
-The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit**
-The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff
-The Silver Sword/Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier*
-The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith
-The Dark Is Rising Series by Susan Cooper*
-The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo
-The Pendragon Adventure Series by D.J. MacHale
-Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
-The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi**
-Stig of the Dump by Clive King
-The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
-Leven Thumps Series by Obert Skye
-A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (only read first book)*
I’ve read and love the other twenty-six. And judging by the quality of the ones I know, the books listed above promise to be new favorites. What a great list.
P.S. I am obsessed with “old” children’s books.
*owned by work library
**owned by public library
Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal
genre: nonfiction, gaming, life improvement
age: all!, adult
rating: 7/8 tentacles
I spent a large portion of my childhood glued to either the television screen or computer monitor playing all sorts of games with the ferocity of a baby drug addict. Reading Blaster, Kings Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, Super Mario Bros, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Paper Mario, and (especially) Final Fantasy VIII are some of my favorites. I understand the joy that comes from abandoning one’s self to the rules and world of a game, from working hard under the constricts of those rules to achieve an arbitrary goal, the path to which is strewn with obstacle after obstacle. I understand the determination, the absorption, and the focus it takes to achieve those goals as well as the pleasure of these comparatively small successes, the pleasure of simply escaping.
McGonical, herself a game designer, wonders why so many gamers choose to spend their time working toward virtual successes that have little value in the “real world” when they could dedicate themselves to equal but more practical productivity in their lives. In her exploration of the human love—need, even—for games, McGonical references a wide variety examples ranging from Jacks to Tetris to Words with Friends to World of Warcraft to sports. She then suggests applying the structure of game-play (a clear goal, clear instructions, and direct feedback) to real life projects and work. I think this is a fantastic way to give ourselves the sense of purpose often found in games.
A lot of what McGonical says here can be applied to books. A good book allows us to live vicariously through its characters, who often accomplish great things that might feel more important or more consequential than the trivialities of our everyday lives. Books, in addition to games, offer an alternate reality that is in many ways more satisfying than real life. I find this both sad and wonderful. Reality is Broken is ultimately a dissection of the reasons we seek escapist ventures, why we choose the methods of escape that we do, and how we can mold our worlds into places that mimic the games that fulfill us and provide us with such satisfaction.
McGonigal’s prose is deliciously clear. She writes with entrancing and efficient simplicity. Her book was a joy to read and provided some fascinating insights into the psychology of gaming, the awareness of which will now influence the way I organize my work projects and my life.
What if I started writing 1-3 sentence reviews.
Dramarama by E. Lockhart
genre: realistic fiction
rating: 5/8 tentacles
Sarah Paulson is bored with her life in what she sees as a dead-end middle-of-nowhere sort of town. She gives herself a dramatic makeover, changes her name to Sadye, and heads off to a summer theatre camp with her best friend Demi, convinced that her fortune is about to change, that the world of theatre will nurture her true self and allow her to grow into the sensational human being she knows she’s meant to be. But theatre camp isn’t quite the dream Sadye expected.
One of Lockhart’s talents is making readers empathize with her protagonists. Even though I didn’t like Sarah/Sadye, I felt enragedly frustrated on her behalf as she fought to prove herself at a summer semester of drama school. She was like a little mole who kept popping her little mole head out of its hole, blinking in awe at the dazzling world of theatre, only to get whacked on the head by a mallet-happy drama instructor.
I pronounced “Sadye” as “Sad-yuh” in my mind. I knew it was supposed to be Sayd-ee from the moment I saw it but my brain wanted to say it the way it was spelled. Should have gone with Sade, Sadey, Sadie, Sady… there are so many options. Sad-yuh doesn’t work for me.
The novel is interspersed with transcripts of the tape recordings Sadye and Demi make of their adventures at drama school. The format is clever but boring. Dialogue included in these segments feels flat and mostly uninformative and I had trouble following the conversations.
I’m not particularly interested in theatre, but the details of life at drama school entertained me and made me feel like I was looking into a secret world. I liked the ambiguous portrayal of friendship vs. competition and mindlessly following orders vs. creative collaboration. Dramarama is enjoyable, but not as good as Frankie Landau-Banks, which I constantly recommend to everyone.
FINALISTS I RECOMMEND:
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (obviously)
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Book Thief by Maarkus Zusak
The Giver Series by Lois Lowry (except The Messenger, didn’t much like that one)
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (not to be confused with the above)
Paper Towns by John Green
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (the only Picoult book I will ever recommend)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The Chocolate War by Rober Cormier
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace (childhood favorites)
MY NEW READING LIST:
* = books I already own
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien*
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Call of the Wild by Jack London*
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones
Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
Dune by Frank Herbert
Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin
Song of the Lionness Series by Tamora Pierce
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Crank Series by Ellen Hopkins
The Immortals Series by Tamora Pierce
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Weetzie Bat Series by Francesca Lia Block
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
So I guess there’s about half I want nothing to do with.
If you review books, tell me (like/reblog this). I want to follow you.
And so my morning begins.
Oh boy, I’m not bragging I swear (I am a little). But, uh, speed is not important blah blah all about enjoyment blah blah blah personal pace.
*EDIT: okay, I think it’s really funny that every single person I saw who took this after I posted mine got a way higher score than me. and i was bragging (a little). now i’m crying with shame in the corner. that test was rigged! rigged, i tell you!
Jeanette Winterson, Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 150
When Reading Books
So, uh, how much description do you like interwoven with dialogue?