Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Catalyst *maybe spoilers read at own risk*




Title: Catalyst 
Release Date: September 2002 
Publisher: Viking Press
Page Number: 233
Purchased: Barnes and Noble

Get ready for all of the feels when you read this book. I just finished it last night, but still today I have been thinking about it all day. That is how much it stuck with me. I rarely cry during a book, this one caused tears to flow down onto the pages. It ripped my heart out, then put it back in.

I have always loved this author. I have had this book on myself for a long while. I never realized it was a companion/sequel to Speak. It's apparently set one year after the events of Speak. This made me instantly want to read it. I loved speak. I have read it a total of ten times so far, and I am sure I will pick speak up again in the future.

I am going to be honest and say that I went into this thinking that it would have a lot more to do with the books speak. It lacked that for me. I felt like it had nothing to do with speak. The only part where Melinda from speak is mentioned is when Kate goes to the art room, where Melinda is having art class and mentions the rape. Ummm... hello? Can we have more? I was expecting Melinda to sort of help her with what she was going through.

I loved all the AP Chem terms that showed up in the book. I hated that Kate made the stupid choice of choosing only one school to apply to. This book almost lost me hear, because she was sort of being a drama queen, over something that she caused herself. After a long while I realized why she only applied to one. It was because she wanted to make her mom happy, her father, friends, and to prove to everyone that she was worthy.

This book just like speak deals with the touch subject of rape, abuse, and overcoming challenges. This one does is in a gentler way than Speak did, its not the main subject, or storyline. It's such a hushed background subjects. At one point it is mentioned, but quickly hushed away.

The main character is Kate Malone a straight A student. Very much a  science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, brand new girlfriend, unwilling family caretaker, emotional avoidance champion. She manages her life by organizing it, as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all, or so she thinks. 

 Her father is a Good Man of God, she has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's adorable, trouble making little brother. This causes her all sorts of problems, but also ends up being the best thing to happen to her.
  
 Kate's life is less and less under control-and then, something happens about page 60 or so that blows it all apart, and forces her to examine her life, self, and heart for the first time. This part killed me. Tore me apart. I actually had to set the book down and take a breather. The way the author, pulled you in made it seem like it was happening right in front of you. 

After that every single page was like a roller coaster ride. I was hanging on to my seat, riding all the ups and downs the storyline threw at you. 

It did have its downsides though.  At some points it has very high emotion and every act being handled with high drama. Everything could lead to the end of the world in this girl's mind. It has several side characters that aren't completely explained, or explored. I understand that there is so much drama to this book, but sometimes the character appears out of no where, or leaves without an explanation.

Catalyst is a novel that will make you think, laugh, cry, and rejoice--sometimes at the same time.

Goodreads Book Description:

Meet Kate Malone-straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell "Early Decision Harvard" Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, things change as suddenly as a string of chemical reactions; first, the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their own home and move in. Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's little brother. The days are ticking down and she's still waiting to hear from the only college she applied to: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of her control-and then, something happens that truly blows it all apart. Set in the same community as the remarkable SpeakCatalyst is a novel that will change the way you look at the world.

Links:  Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / Indie Bound 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: Where did you go Bernadette?



Title: Where did you go Bernadette?
Author: Maria Semple
Pages:  330 pages 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publishing Date: August 14th, 2012
Purchased: via Amazon

I read this book about a month ago. I wasn't blogging about books at that time. I really didn't plan on making a review for this blog but decided to go head. I loved this book so much. I fell in love with all the characters instantly. I read it in one day! It has a great plot twist. I can't wait to read it again.

The synosis of this book instantly draws the reader in.  Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

One of the number one things I love about this book is that it is different. It is written using emails between people, magazine articles, even doctors' bills. Its a refreshing change to how books are normally written. The structure of this book is very unique.

I don't often read adult fiction, as I am more of a ya reader, this book has changed that. This book was laugh out loud funny.  

I live near Seattle so I completely understand what she talks about when she describes it. 


“What you’ve heard about the rain: it’s all true. So you’d think it would become part of the fabric, especially among the lifers. But every time it rains, and you have to interact with someone, here’s what they’ll say” “Can you believe the weather?” And you want to say “Actually, I can believe the weather. What I can’t believe is that I’m actually having a conversation about the weather.”

The city, and Bernadette’s reactions to it, are part of the web that bears the weight of Semple’s heavier themes: a lost sense of self, depression, isolation and anxiety. That she can hold it all together with such a deft hand at slapstick comedy without being cruel is yet another form of magic.

The plot twists are genius. For Bernadette is not lost just in a metaphorical sense. Semple takes us on a cruise to Antarctica and the book’s title becomes a call that echoes in the blue glaciers of this frozen continent. Hang on – you might get a little seasick as you try to keep up, but it’s so worth the ride.


Goodreads Book Description:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Link: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / Indie Bound

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Let's chat about book collections




I actually have just started actively working on my collection of books this year. Which seems weird to me, because I have read my whole life (I am currently 22) mainly I just borrowed books from the library and friends, because my family couldn't really afford to spend money on books?

Although on the rare chances I got books, I cherished them. I would take books from anywhere, and anyone. If you were actively looking to get rid of books, I was your go to girl. Eventually school and life got super hard and I stopped reading. 

Last year I started reading again, and collecting books (i.e., caring about conditions) and I went from having about 30 books to having over 200 which is slightly crazy. If you counted my reference, children's, and others the number would be closer to 400. If I added all my husbands books the number would surely be close to 500. 

Due to my early reading/collecting I have a pretty indiscriminating library. I have books from a wide range of genres. I recently reorganized and found that Classics, and also General Fiction are my largest genres. I have been working on trying to buy collectable, perfect additions of my favorite classics. Its been a slow but fun process. 



























Originally I was going to be getting rid of the older copies, the beat up, well loved editions but I found that I couldn't bring myself to. I also find that I like the way my library looks with the mix of new/old/antique/first-edition. 


I have been having major anxiety about losing these books that I am working so hard at collecting, that I have made the choice to only lend out books that aren’t that important to me, and also only lend out my “well loved” editions. 

I have been talking with people about book collecting lately, most think its odd, what do you mean “collecting”. The seem to think its wasteful to have all the books. I have an end goal. I would say about 78% of my books are read. But all of them will be read before I die, which I am pretty young so hopefully will be a very long time. Earlier this year I set out a plan. What do I want out of this collection? Whats the point exactly? 

I spent most of this year thinking about those two equations. I came to the conclusion, that I want a collection/documentation of everything I have read over my lifetime. I want to pass this down someday to my children (if I decide to have some). I want these books to be cared for, for the next generation. I want knowledge, no I crave it. Books give me that. Oh and I love reading. Always have and always will. 


I do spend lots of time weeding out the library, and working on collecting. Not everyday, not everyweek, but randomly and for short periods of times. 

Now lets talk about exactly how I organize my genre/books. The main genres that I own are : (in order of amount) 

1. NON-Fiction Reference

This one is sort of obvious. Being that my husband is a college grad and me still being in school it's our biggest collection. It's so big that I have had to create sub genres. This is sort of exactly how I think. My husband is a software engineer. So I have a bunch of his books. I call them stann but honestly its organized my topic and catagorized as 


2. Childerns Books

I used to read a buch of little book. It's lucky that I had a mom that was a teacher. I have probablly over 200 but I haven't actually really counted but its a bunch. I have them organized by theme rather than, genre since childerns books tend to be different. 

3. Adult Fiction

This is sort of two genres/subjects. I have regular (adult)  fiction that is current and new authors. Then I also have a classics shelf that has, as you guessed, older books and such. They are both organized by author, and then also alphabatacilly by title (unless its a series, then I just go by the first book in the series title).

*should be noted that my classics also have childerns books/younger classics in them. 

4. YA Fiction 

This is extremely similar to the previous one. I keep "middle grade" and "tween" in this section. I have it organized by auther and also alphabatacilly by title (unless its a series, then I just go by the first book in the series title). Because mostly my reading has been "classics" and other genres, I have missed out on tons of series and popular books. I am slowly working my way through them.

*My theme for 2015 or better yet goal, will be to collect all of my "middle/ya" books that I missed. 

5. Bios/Memoirs

This is a growing section for me. Lately I have been really interested in these types of books. I really enjoy reading about life stories. These books are organized by author, rather than by subject or person they are about. I tried that and I found that it got really confusing and complicated. 

6.  NON Fiction 

This is my most compicated section in my bookshelf. I have it divided by War / Military / Presidents / Laws / Trials  on one self. This is organized by subject, war /battles ( for example WWII or Battle of Little Big Horn)  or person ( for things like presidents or military generals). The on another shelf I have things like Politics / Religon / Mariage / Relationships.


7. Other 

I have a few genres that don't really have enough to make one shelf for I keep graphic novels and self help/inspirational books on the shelf with memiors/bios. 

I hope this gives you an idea about how to organize your collection.