Friday, June 27, 2014

JUNE BOOK HAUL

I have been buying so many books. TOO MANY. I have discovered a thing called BookTube, which is just a bunch of people on YouTube who vlog about books. And while I have no plans to start my own BookTube channel (I am lacking a decent camera setup), I have been hoarding book recommendations like crazy. My Goodreads To Read list is getting ridiculous. It's fine, though, because as a person who wants to be a writer, buying tons of books can be justified as research. That is now and will forever be my excuse.

Anyway, here is a picture of the books I have recently obtained:


This picture did not turn out as great as I wanted it to but I already put them away and I don't feel like redoing it because I'm lazy and it's Friday night and so here is this crappy picture, I'm sorry for failing you with it.

HERE WE GO.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Okay, I have talked about the first two books of the Grisha trilogy on here previously. This is the conclusion to that trilogy. I am not going to give too much away here, because I don't want to ruin anything for anybody, but personally, I thought this final book was a perfect ending to the story. I've seen some haters here and there who were complaining about it for various reasons but I am ignoring them. This book is great, this trilogy is great, Leigh Bardugo is great... everything. Is great. And Leigh said on twitter that she's writing another series set in the same universe so that is very exciting! There is definitely a lot of room for more to happen in the world she created so I can't wait to see what she writes about it next.

Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers. These are book one and two of the His Fair Assassin trilogy (?) (as far as I know there are only going to be three). I've already read Grave Mercy and I loved it. It is very hard for me not to love a book about assassin nuns who aren't really nuns because they fall in love. And murder people. But the murdering is sanctioned by the god they serve so it's fine. Also, they kill bad people, like rapists and traitors. I've been reading Dark Triumph and I'm not loving it as much as the first one, but it's still really great. This series is full of awesome ladies and I'm super excited for the third one, Mortal Heart, to come out later this year.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. This one is on here because of all the BookTubers who were talking about the newest and I guess final book in this series by her. BookTube people seem to love this series a ton, but I have heard mixed things about it elsewhere. So I don't know if I'm going to like it. We will see!

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. AKA JK Rowling if you did not know. That's mainly the only reason I want to read this, or finish reading it since I started it on my iPad. I got the hard copy of it since it was out in paperback finally and I prefer paperbacks. (I know I'm the only one on the planet who does, but they are just lighter to carry around which is what I like... unless I TRULY adore the book and want it to last forever. Then I buy the hardback.) I enjoy mystery novels as long as they are clearly more than just a procedural type of book and have interesting characters. I just read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Dark Places and really loved them. While I know that it is not possible for JKR to have written something as messed up as those books are (I assume anyway), I am still really looking forward to this one, and then The Silkworm one day when that is in paperback.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I have heard soooooo many people whose opinion I respect talk about how great this book is, so I'm glad I finally have it. I don't usually gravitate towards contemporary books, I'm more into sci fi/fantasy stuff, but I'm making an exception because it's possible I could love it the way I loved Eleanor & Park and/or The Fault in Our Stars. Also it's set in France, which is a place I very much desire to visit, so I'm hopeful I'll really enjoy this one.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove. This book looks SO COOL. For some reason, each continent on earth exists in a different time period. I love this idea, I think it is so ridiculously original and interesting, and I haven't tried to find out more than that about this book because I don't want to risk spoiling anything for myself about it. I'm probably going to be reading this one next once I finish Dark Triumph because I've been obsessed with it since I heard about it.

It feels like I've bought more books than this recently... and I probably have but this is all I remembered at the time I decided on a whim to write this post. I am sure that if I have any intense feelings about any of these, you will be hearing all about it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Have An Unpopular Opinion

Let's just start with a picture of Hazel and Gus being cute. Awww, look how cute they are:

All right, now that that's out of the way... if you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars or seen the movie, avoid the rest of this post because there's going to be spoilers.

I'm not the kind of person who likes to be a hater of universally loved things just for the sake of it. But I saw the movie version of The Fault In Our Stars this weekend, like everyone else did, and I did not particularly like it. SORRY. BUT I DIDN'T.

There were a lot of really good things about it. In fact, almost everything that was in it was directly lifted from the book. It was a very faithful adaptation in terms of events and story progression.

But I did not think it was genuine. I didn't get the same feeling watching it as I did reading it. I felt like the spirit of the book was missing, or at least dulled.

And look, I know not EVERYTHING from a book can be put into the movie. I fully understand that. But the things that were missing were, I thought, things that illustrated the whole point of the story in the first place.

I'm upset that the movie glossed over Gus' illness and final days. Yes, they included the gas station scene, and it was as heartbreaking as it was in the book. But they didn't include any other scenes depicting him as actually sick. They had one scene where he was getting chemo, wherein he also made out with Hazel. There were some scenes with him in a wheelchair. But that was it. The full ugliness of cancer wasn't in this movie, in my opinion. And I know it's maybe a rating issue, like if they'd kept the scene where Hazel found Gus half coherent in a puddle of his own urine in his bedroom... I mean, that's gross. So maybe they didn't want to risk a higher rating or something by including that. But even though it's gross, it's also, you know, real life. It's a thing that happens to people when they're sick and declining the way he does in the book.

I get that they were focusing on it being a love story, and maybe if it hadn't been a book first it would have been fine. But the book exists. And the book is infinitely better, in my opinion, at showing the reality of what cancer can do to a person who has it and the people who love them.

I thought the whole ending was rushed and thus the emotional impact was lost. For me. Clearly not for everyone else in the world who saw this movie and wept for the last half hour straight. I thought Hazel's dad didn't cry enough (which was one of the things I loved about him in the book), and I was sad her mom didn't make her celebrate her half birthday or Bastille Day. Too many of Hazel and Gus' existential conversations were left out and the letter at the end was too different from the one in the book.

And I didn't like Ansel Elgort that much as Gus. SORRY. AGAIN. BUT I WAS UNDERWHELMED. (Shailene was great though.)

This is a selfish thing, because I know it was not really necessary to include both of Isaac's eulogies in the movie when the first one is really the only one that matters. But the one he gave at Gus' real funeral was what made me finally break down and weep when I was reading the book. And I think it really says a lot about who Augustus Waters really was.

"Augustus Waters was the Mayor of the Secret City of Cancervania, and he is not replaceable," he began. "Other people will be able to tell you funny stories about Gus, because he was a funny guy, but let me tell you a serious one. A day after I got my eye cut out, Gus showed up at the hospital. I was blind and heartbroken and didn't want to do anything and Gus burst into my room and shouted, 'I have wonderful news!' And I was like, 'I don't really want to hear wonderful news right now,' and Gus said, 'This is wonderful news you want to hear,' and I asked him, 'Fine, what is it?' and he said, 'You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!'"
(p. 272)

If this had been included, I could have forgiven almost everything else I had issues with. I'm still hopeful for a deleted scene.

I mean truthfully? My favorite thing about this movie was Lidewij's outfit. Her peplum blouse and the jacket and scarf she had? I NEED THAT OUTFIT. IT WAS AWESOME.

I've seen some people say they trust that this movie is good because "John Green loves it." First of all, this is not a good reason to like a thing. Books belong to their readers, which is something he repeatedly says, and something he even wrote into this book in a semi-roundabout way with all the Van Houten stuff. So the story became mine when I read it. While I'm glad the author enjoyed the movie made out of the book he wrote, his opinion on the movie is not more valid than mine. The story is mine because that is how stories work, and I did not like this movie's interpretation of that story.

And secondly, of course John Green loves it. IT EXISTS. I would be the same exact way if anything I'd written and published got turned into a movie, even if it sucked. He's lucky in that they were very respectful of the source material, but just because they didn't butcher it doesn't mean it's automatically good. Please use your own discernment when it comes to deciding whether or not you like something instead of relying on someone else's opinion.

I also saw Edge of Tomorrow this weekend and enjoyed it infinitely more, so... there is that. I know people are trumpeting around everywhere saying LOOK, A YA MOVIE MADE MORE THAN A TOM CRUISE MOVIE ON THE SAME OPENING WEEKEND! SUCK IT TOM CRUISE! LONG LIVE JOHN GREEN AND HIS ARMY OF TEENAGERS. But poop on those people. Both movies are worth seeing and it's annoying that people are comparing their worth when they are really nothing alike whatsoever and are not exactly intended for the same audience.

Besides, blockbuster sci-fi Tom Cruise movies that are actually intelligent do not come along very often, so it's exciting that this one qualifies in that category. The last one I can think of is Minority Report. It was really fun and entertaining with an intriguing premise and good acting and an incredible soundtrack. So... see it if you don't feel like crying every time Shailene Woodley cries. (She's very good at crying.)