Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fireworks*! Notices**! And more fireworks!

*No fireworks of any kind are involved in this blog post.

**Notices are. Yeah, sorry.

Through complications that have arisen Samantha will be rendered unable to blog for the next two weeks... however, we are experimenting with some other blogging ideas that might work, such as a  couple little 'About us', Q&A type of posts.
But if you actually read this blog do not be deterred! We'll have lots of fun things this month! Besides the Q&A's which I promis if we actually post them will be amazing. We're doing a swap! I feel awful for posting two boring and yet verbose paragraphs explaining basically we aren't doing anything for a couple weeks, so I'll post the titles and brief pitches of some of the books I'm contemplating swapping.
Feed M. T. Anderson:

 Samantha loves dystopian novels, and personally, this is my favorite in the genre or at least on par with the Hunger Games, while it lacks action it's more of the classic oblivious citizens, domineering government scenerio. It follows the story of a wealthy teenage boy named Titus and Violet, who has a dysfunctional feed but is very conscious of politics and aware of the looming war and rapidly deteriorating environment. It's so eye opening and entertaining. I bawled, but that might just be me.

Wuthering Heights Emile Bronte:

Wuthering Heights stands strong ont the edge of the English moors, the moors are without common law, a wild and feral place where a misanthropic boarder of Thrushcross Grange finds himself. Thrushcross Grange is under the control of the mysterious wealthy Gypsy who also reins control over the imposing fortress Wuthering Heights. Upon visiting the Heights he finds the sparse inhabitants harbor hatred and paranoia for their master, Heathcliff. Upon spending the night in the room of the late Catherine Earnshaw, that the Heights, specifically Heathcliff are haunted. The story is told through an elderly maid who grew up with Catherine Earnshaw, her brother, and Heathcliff. It's dark and gothic but really fantastic.

As You Wish Jackson Pearce:

I talked about Jackson Pearce in my fairy tale post, but here it goes again. Viola has had relationship problems, and by that I mean her last boyfriend turned out to be homosexual, and although he's still her best friend she feels that her peers think she's invisible, and as an aspiring artist she paints this invisibility, all the while wishing she were whole or visible again. Jinn a genie or djinn who is supposed to keep an impersonable and respectfull relationship with Viola then falls into her life, but after three wishes are up she will forget she ever met him.

Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell:

I talked about Gone with the Wind in another post as well... but a little shorter and more about plot. Scarlett O'Hara is the belle of the county, with the smallest waist and the most beaux she is despised by all of her fellow women, including her sisters. She strings men along, stealing them from dowdy relationships purely for fun but really has eyes only for Ashley Wilkes, who's dreamy looks and artistic mind are unatainable. Then the war starts. It's a story laden with good looking men, beautiful clothes, of poverty and wealth, of the Confederates on their rise and collapse, of reconstruction and marriage, of children and slaves. It's just everything old and a little frayed around the edges, with patches of darkness and sprinkles of light.

The Once and Future King T. H. White:

King Arthur. Merlin. Guinevere. Lancelot. Gawaine. It's all just very old and mythical, and nerdy. A lot nerdy. Arthurian Legend is in my opinion degraded. But how can an old story that has stayed strong through centuries, of faries and wizards, of unicorns and knights... of swords in stones... be degraded? Arthur was hidden as a child, given to a noble family and raised as a second son affectionatly called Art, but destined for virtually nothing great. He dreams of becoming The Black Knight and standing up for chivalry, and he tells this to a man he comes across in a forest, a man who supposedly ages backwards from the end of time to the beginning, named Merlin. From turning into fish to pulling the sword from the stone to the love triangle between his fair wife Guinevere and his most skillfull knight, Lancelot, this book is worth reading.
Adeiu, Sara.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'm a Gryffindork. This post proves it.

I lied. I'm a hufflepuff. This is a post about personality typing. A subject near and dear to my heart, that plagues my mind day and night. Well... maybe not so much. But I think it's really cool! ~ The dork

I think you've seen Whitney Lee Milam's video on youtube entitled Personality Typing + Hogwarts Houses. Well if you haven't... I will provide it... right below these sentences. There.
Well, I'm going to try to elaborate on her video as well as try to simplify the different systems in the most convenient ways possible. Yes. Personality typing is super complex and really inaccurate. I mean. How can you honestly expect to fit perfectly into a mold? Before I start I need to rant a minute. I'm already dreading explanations, because I have so much to say.
When I watch movies or more often television shows with lots of characters, most recently Lost, I think... I bet many of these people have overlapping personality types... be it the sixteen modern PTypes, or the four humors (four temperaments), or the sixteen Myers Briggs types. So on a show with seventeen characters there has to be overlapping. It's really fun to type strangers, if not creepy.
A lot of people make tests to try to sort you or type you, but they include questions like 'If a woman was dying and you could provide medicine, would you?' Which basically catagorize you into two types 'heartless' and 'normal'. (Hufflepuff speaking)
But before I explain the shortcuts, I'll tell you how I typed myself. Hello, I'm Sara, I'm phlegmatic, Conscientious, an INFP, a virgo, and a Hufflepuff. They don't all match up, and I don't demonstrate all the characteristics of each type, but I found some ways to make more sense out of them... and here's how.

I won't dwell on this, because it's explained pretty well in the video.  People were drained of either blood, yellow bile, black bile, or phlegm, based on whether they fell into the sanguine, choleric, melancholic, or phlegmatic humor, and they were then drained of the respective metabolic agent to 'normalize' them. They would be either pleasure seeking, power seeking, knowledge seeking, or a sort of relationship seeking person. Simple enough. What do you want in life, right? There are other characteristics in the diagram to the side, like introverted Melancholic and Phlegmatic and the extraverted Choleric and Sanguine. I feel like I display a lot of the Melancholic traits, reserved, anxious and moody, but am also reliable, passive and careful. And as I will explain when I talk about sorting, it can be about what traits you want to enhance in yourself or you think or more important.

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series features groups or 'houses' that match up with the Humors. Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. While these houses demonstrate qualities of the humors and inhabitants, in reality it's a choice about your own ideals. What you value, bravery, power, intelligence, or family and friends (relationships). Hermione was really intelligent, but she valued bravery over intelligence, and Harry basically just chose to be in Gryffindor, although he had overlapping characteristics. I just really like these types and they're just so easy to sort people into.
Also, each house has a mascot or symbol, an element, and a metal. The house of Gryffindor is symbolized by a lion, a creature of bravery and passion, the element of fire and gold. Slytherin is symbolized by a serpent, the symbol of cunning water, and silver. Ravenclaw is symbolized by an eagle, as clever and intelligent as any of its fellow birds, air, and bronze. Hufflepuff lastly is symbolized by the badger, an animal that burries underground and lives with its family in catacombs, and is generally peacefull unless provoked, when it becomes fierce and formidable, earth, and the color black.
I explained the animal symbols, but I might talk more about them under 'animals', and I will talk about the elements below, but for now I'll talk about the elements. If you're unfarmiliar with Harry Potter or its houses, then you might be reeling at 'the color black'. Gold, silver, and bronze are often associated with first, second, and third place in competition. Perhaps in terms of passion for competition, leaving Hufflepuff out of the running. However if you've read The Goblet of Fire you'd know that Hufflepuff can be just as competitive as its fellow houses. However when you add the color combinations red, green, blue, and yellow, you could make the connection between Hufflepuff's and bumble bees. Busy bees working together for a higher cause, fiercly loyal and willing to die to protect their queen or one another.
But I mean, literally took all sorts of tests and was sorted into every house save Slytherin, and don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with some serious ambition, but it's not really me, and yes, I would give the dying woman medicine.
I really reccomend going to for further explanation of the PTypes. These include conscientious, sensitive, vigilant, dramatic, aggressive, idiosyncratic, inventive, solitary, leisurely, serious, self-sacrificing, devoted, self-confident, adventurous, mercurial, and exuberant. While each word is a pretty good clue what the type is all about, the website has all sorts of little details. I'm a thrifty perfectionist. However, I'm not so neat and tidy. Check it out. 
Zodiac (Star/Sun Signs)
Well, if you've been following me up until now, I might loose you with this one. As much as people can believe typing, it's harder to believe that your personality can be influenced by the stars you were born under. They don't exactly correspond with each month, so you do have to look at the specific days to find your Zodiac and then you're off to understanding your future exactly by looking at charts in the back of magazines. No. I'm not so dumb as to believe Seventeen magazine's predictions of my life, but the Zodiac is really cool and if you want, you can make you're own charts. The picture on the right, by the way shows the actual constellations, which is cool. You're a capricorn, right? The Goat. Practical, prudent, funny, and pessimistic. Stable and independent, they are an eart sign. Virgo's an earth sign, too, which matches up with Hufflepuff as well. Interesting. You are liable to knee problems and are often taken advantage of. You ruling planet is Saturn. Like most personality types there are symbols attatched to each sign, however they are the constellations themselves and are really what the characteristics are based on. Virgo, the virgin, is innocent and shy, makes sense? Again with the Lions, Leo's are outgoing, domineering (Kings/ Queens of the Jungle) and brave (Gryffindors).
To make a natal chart you can follow these steps: or go to some of the free chart making websites, if you like the easy way out. I did. Here's a good website: that makes free charts for you!
It's worth a shot and I feel like I embody a virgo. Well... is a great resource.
Different figures on the zodiac associate with different elements, which is also worth checking out, then the Hogwarts houses associate with fire, water, air, and earth. However the humors they match up with do not have the same elements. Air, fire, earth, and water, which is strange. I mean, you kind of have to really think about what the element means to you or the world. Air is free and moving, essential to life, climbing higher and: flying. Air is a wet and hot element. Fire is hot and dry, raging and destructive, it profits from oxygen and can be put out with water or smothered with earth; loyalty and reason, as much as it embodies passion, which could translate to the Choleric or Slytherin passion for power. Earth is stable, rigid, and according to the humors dry and cold, however when you think about how often earthquakes take place earth can be a violent, angry element. Lastly water, the cold and wet element. Water goes with the flow quite literally. It takes many forms, but is always essentially H2O, it's inside of all people and all living things. Everything needs water. Everyone needs loyalty and goodness, determination and kindness. So I lean more twoards the Humorism's interpretation of the elements.
I went into a Native American store the other day, looking for a worry stone. Yeah, dumb problem. And they asked me what my Totem Animal was. So I just looked blankly at them and said I hadn't really ever put much thoughts into it (none at all). But a lot of Native American jewlery and medicine changes based on your Totem Animal. The Eagle is a universal totem in case you came unprepared like me, but don't come unprepared! Think about it! Right now!
I heard that in some native tribes of various countries this is a pretty big deal, there's this whole ceremony where the leader or the shamen gets his son high or super drunk and the son journeys through the forests of their mind until they find an animal and then they take over the tribe identifying with that animal. That's really cool and would be a really interesting experience sans the whole high/super drunk aspect.
Crazy psychics online suggest you sit still and meditate on the subject, of course, in today's world you aren't limited to identifying with animals just in North America, because theirs things on every other continent and some islands that all have distinct personalities and characteristics and although you'd have a fantastic time looking for zebra-totem specific items in a Native American store, it's you and your life and you can always just be an eagle in America! (Again that's really cool because it might signify Ravenclaw being a universal, accepting house...)
This website is pretty good at explaining animal totems in America, and like the houses it's really more of what you aspire to be instead of what you already are.
Myers Briggs
I feel pressed for time so I might have another post in the future to explain these all better, but I'll give my shot and my personal favorite. Myers Briggs.
Are you introverted or extraveted? Simple enough. Do you recharge by yourself, reading or some activity alone or at parties or hanging out with large crowds. A ridiculously high percent of the population is extraverted, so keep that in mind, and it doesn't men you're antisocial to be introverted or you're not ever alone as an extravert, it's just a majority or preferencial thing.  
Are you sensing or intuitive? So basically a bit superficial, or a bit of a know-it-all?
Do you feel or think? It doesn't mean you're dumb. Would you rather act on people's feelings, kindly or what you know is right or will end up all right in the end (rationally).
Do you judge or percieve? Are you more into concrete and literal, or do you look at things more abstractly?
Then when you judge your own type look them up on the following website for career, relationship, friendship and even parrenting advice:

Or to go this website to find out interesting stuff too like famous fictional and non-fictional people who share your type, as well as more information into how you process things:

And here's this really helpfull diagram with the sixteen types that also have the most common careers the types tend to choose:

Well basically that's it. A much quicker guide than I was planning on to deeply understanding yourself and others, in your daily life or in the fictional world.
P.S. I loved the story, and I really want to find it and read the full version. It was pretty freaking deep for a fairy tale, a little creepy, which isn't that strange in fairy tales but all around really good!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Not-So-Famous Tale From The Grimm Brothers

WARNING: This post is dangerously lengthy and may cause insanity; read at your own risk

The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was is a story from the Brothers' Grimm collection that most people have never heard of, yet it brings up a question that has haunted mankind for ages: What is fear?

Scenes from The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was

Sara, last week you asked me what my favorite fairy tale is. To be honest, I have many a fairy tale that I adore, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel. Even so, this story (with an insanely long title that I'm not going to bother typing), while not as popular, is also among my favorites. The tale's protagonist is a young, naive boy who, to put it nicely, wasn't the brightest guy around and as a result, he could never seem to please his stern, overbearing father. To make matters worse, his older brother was both intelligent and responsible; the father made sure the boy knew this and often compared him to his older brother. Though, something set the boy apart from his brother, and everyone else for that matter. While others would shudder at frightening tales told around the fire at night, he never understood why; they never made him shudder. And whenever his father asked his elder brother to fetch something at night along a route that passed a graveyard or some other creepy place, the brother would refuse, saying, "I will not go, for just the thought of it makes me shudder." This, the boy did not understand.
One day, the father asked his youngest son what he was going to learn to be able to earn his keep and support himself, pointing out that his older brother worked and paid for himself. The boy, eager to prove himself, replied that he would learn how to shudder. Both the boy's father and his brother saw this as laughable; learning to shudder wouldn't pay for anything. When the father told this to the local sexton, the sexton claims that he could teach the boy to shudder. So the sexton taught the boy how to ring the church bells and one night, while the boy was ringing the bells, the sexton arrived dressed as a ghost, intending to scare the boy. But unafraid, the boy asked what business the ghost had with him. When the sexton didn't answer, the boy grew frustrated and pushed the sexton down the stairs, injuring him.

The father, both furious and horrified, decided to kick his son out of the house and pretty much disown him (he won't win Father of the Year Award anytime soon...). Even so, the boy continued his quest to learn how to shudder. One day, a man heard the boy complaining, "If I could but shudder," and advised the boy to spend a night sitting beneath a tree where seven men were hanged and left hanging. The boy complied and since it was quite cold outside, he built a fire. He noticed the men's bodies swaying in the biting wind, and thinking that they may be cold, he took them down and set them near the fire to get warm. The men's clothes soon caught fire, and infuriated with their carelessness, the boy hung the men back in the tree.

Frustrated with his defeat, the boy continued on his way. Soon after, the boy met a waggoner who he began traveling with. They come to an inn one evening, where the inn-keeper told of a haunted castle that would be perfect for helping the boy learn how to shudder. If he could stay in the castle for three nights, not only would he learn how to shudder, but he'd gain vast riches and the hand of the king's daughter.

But The inn-keeper warned the boy that many men had tried, yet none had returned. Unfazed, the boy went to the king to ask permission. The king agreed and told him that he could bring three inanimate objects with him into the castle. The boy decided to bring a fire, a turning lathe, and a cutting-board with a knife. The first night, the boy heard voices complaining about how cold they were. The boy replied that they were foolish for not warming themselves by the fire with him. Suddenly, out of the shadows came two large, black cats. Seeing the boy, calm as ever, the cats asked him to a game of cards. The boy agreed, but asked to see the cats' paws first. Seeing their long claws, he tells the two cats that he'll cut them so the cats would be able to hold the cards. The boy then seized the cats, tied them to the cutting-board and struck them with the knife, killing them. Soon after, dozens of black cats and black dogs appeared, making horrible noises and attempting to put the boy's fire out. Fed up, the boy began to slay the creatures. Some of them fled, the rest he killed. A little while later, a bed appeared. Exhausted, the boy decided to lay in the bed and get some sleep. But without warning, the bed began walking around the castle, as if it had grown legs. Again unafraid, the boy urged it to go faster, which it did. It then flipped upside down on top of the boy, but he simply pushed the bed off of him and then proceeded to go to sleep.

The second night, half a man tumbled down the chimney. The boy wasn't startled and said that the other half of the man was needed. In reply, the other half of the man fell down the chimney. The two halves joined and formed a grotesque looking man. More men began falling down the chimney, and they brought with them nine dead men's legs and two skulls which they started playing nine-pins with (it's pretty much modern-day bowling). Seeing that the skulls weren't completely round, the boy took them and put them into the lathe until they were round. He then joined the men and played nine-pins with them until midnight, when all the men promptly disappeared. With the fun over, the boy decided to simply go to sleep.

The third and final night, six men appeared carrying a coffin. He peeked into the coffin and saw that it was his cousin who had died recently. He touched the dead man's face and felt that it was cold, so he took him to the fire to try and warm him up. When that failed, the boy took the dead man into the bed and lied down next to him to warm him. It worked and as the dead man grew warmer, he began to move. Suddenly, the dead man got up and yelled at the boy that he would now strangle him. Angry at the dead man's lack of gratitude, the boy stuffed him back into the coffin and slammed it shut.

Another man arrived, this one old with a long, white beard. The old man told the boy that he would soon learn to shudder because he was going to kill him. The boy began to argue, telling the old man that he was just as strong as he was. The old man, confident that he was stronger, told the boy that if he was stronger he'd let him go without killing him. The boy agreed, and the old man seized an axe and with a single blow, slammed an anvil into the ground. The boy, axe in hand, approached another anvil. The old man came near the anvil to watch, but unbeknownst to him, his long beard was on the anvil. Taking advantage of the situation, the boy swung the axe, splitting the anvil in two, and the old man's beard was caught in the anvil. The boy then seized an iron rod and beat the old man until he told him he knew where he could find the castle's riches. The boy let him go and the man showed him where the vast amount of gold and jewels were kept. When midnight struck, the old man disappeared and the boy fell asleep.

Having survived three nights, the king gave the boy all the riches in the castle and arranged a wedding for him and his daughter. Even so, the boy was still unhappy because he still had not learned to shudder. Seeing her new husband's unhappiness, the king's daughter decided to help. While he was sleeping, she took a bucket full of cold water and fish and dumped it on him. The boy awoke immediately, shuddering. He exclaimed, "I have finally learned how to shudder!"

And that concludes one of my favorite fairy tales. I adore the protagonist, because he's an innocent fool, and I always tend to cheer for the underdog. He's quite different than the male that usual shows up in fairy tales; he's not exactly Prince Charming if you know what I mean. And the ending gets me every time! He wasn't looking to be afraid; the idiot literally just wanted to shudder. Anyways, if you're reading this, congratulations on making it through my longest post ever! You survived! I hoped you enjoyed it for at least three paragraphs.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

This post might be a little Grimm...

Gah! I'm just so punny. This is a post about fairy tales. But yeah, it'll be grim, no kidding. 

I'm a sucker for fairy tales. I'll just get that out of the way. The myth and romance and all that old world charm. Knights, princesses, wolves and witches. I love fairy tales. Although Hans Christian Andersen was a writing genius, I infinitely prefer the Grimm Brothers' collections of the folklore that they gathered throughout their lives.
Andersen's mind birthed The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and The Ugly Duckling while Grimm unearthed Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, and Hanzel and Gretle, all of which have been adapted and readapted into television shows and movies, whether dramatic, as the recent Snow White and the Huntsman or mellowed down into Disney flicks for children, as well as translated into hundreds of languages. Of course, patterns in folklore can be redundant, and varieties on some of the Grimm brother's tales can be discovered if one looks hard enough on nearly every continent.
Folklore or fairy tales were nearly always dark, and somber, designed entirely to frighten children into behaving a certain way or to make them aware of some basic moral; 'Don't lie', as in The Little Boy Who Cried 'Wolf', or to be weary of secluded forests, and strangers, courtesy of Little Red Riding Hood, or true love.
However, the modern enterpretations end with '...happily ever after.' or scarcely envolve death, not the case in the original tales. An example... Cinderella. Her step-sisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the slipper, as per request of their mother, and they are discovered as blood seeps out of the glass slipper.
I've been a bit obsessed with a local author from Atlanta, Jackson Pearce. I'm not sure if I've told you about her Sam, but she's really great. Apart from a book As You Wish, accuratley about a djinn who falls in love with the girl, Viola, whose servant he has temporarily become, and Purity, a YA romance novel, he has also started a series of fairy tales set in modern times, which include Sisters Red, a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, about sister werewolf or Fenris hunters in Atlanta, Sweetly, a Hanzel and Gretle tale, and Fathomless, a varient of The Little Mermaid, following Hans Christian Andersen's original story, significantly more closely than Disney, which has yet to be released, and unfortunatley does not have it's former's amazing cover art. Too bad. But really, they're great interpretations and really readable and entertaining.  

As if that wasn't enough of fairy tales, that was barely scratching the surface. Few of the folkloric stories became a part of our pop culture. And hundreds of thousands were left behind, some of which I think have just as much charm, if not more.
I'm going to tell you about The True Sweethearts.
A poor girl lost her mother at a young age and has been under the custody of the stereotypical evil step-mother. She really wants nothing more than to gain the wicked woman's love, however her step-mother is constantly giving her ridiculous tasks, that seem laughable if not impossible, and a mysterious woman (who I take to be a fairy godmother) comes to her aid at the presence of her tears, and completes the impossible tasks for her in order to save her from beatings.
Eventually the girl recieves a task to build a fully furnished castle in a day, or face dire consequences, but the girl is incappable of carrying a single one of the designated stones, and cries for the fairy godmother, who comes to her aid and builds it, the large stones flying into place and furnishes it with rich woods, velvet upholstery, exotic birds in gilt cages, wardrobes full of jewels and beautiful dresses and enchanted pots, pans, brooms, and feather dusters, keeping it tidy and preparing dinner. Not to mention a secret trap door that becomes her step-mother's untimely demise, to the poor girl's dismay. However one cannot mourne a total beotch for too long, because there are parties to attend and suitors to turn away. A woman in possesion of such an enchanted castle is bound to have suitors, right?
I think that's a bit unconventional, a girl is the one with the money and power, with no one to sell her away and without some foolhardy prince to save her from her poverty.
Regardless, eventually the local prince does pay her a visit and they fall madly in love. Eventually the prince decides to embark on a few hour voyage to his castle to announce their bethrotal to his family, and the girl tells him she will wait for his return beneath the beautiful lime tree in her yard. 
But hours turn into days as she wakes early each morning to ventur out to the tree and return late each evening to sleep.
Eventually packing three of her most gorgeous dresses and some jewels she leaves her enchanted castle in search of her true love, a task that undertaking meant a year of traveling, degrading herself to the life of a cow-herd, and eventually discovering that her beloved prince was marrying another a few days after the town's three-day festival.
So she dresses up in her jewels and gorgeous dresses and attends the festival intending to steal back her sweetheart.
It's strange, because it has elements of other fairy tales, but, I don't know her position, and the humor that transcends time just makes it great, and if you add little details, like he was enchanted, and the castle was the castle of her dreams, it adds a little something to re-reading the story. So that's The True Sweetheart, and my freaking long Jackson Pearce and Brothers Grimm blog post.
P.S. I am dying to read The Fault In Our Stars. Swap, maybe? And still on fairy tales, what's your favorite fairy tale? And if it's pretty unknown you should summarize it! I know you have a similar fairy tale fanaticism, so discuss! Bye!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars: Not Your Average Cancer Book

*This post contains no spoilers from The Fault In Our Stars (though it may contain minor fangirling)

The Fault In Our Stars is a novel that centers around a sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Hazel Grace who suffers from terminal cancer and is slowly but surely succumbing to death. Sounds depressing, right? But if you're thinking about putting this novel to the side as just another one of those melancholy "cancer books", then think again. 

Sara, if you are at all interested in young adult literature or YouTube (which I know for a fact you are), then it's pretty safe to say that you've heard of bestselling author John Green who is one half of the immensely popular YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers. If not, crawl out from under the rock you're living under and see what you're missing, my friend. With John Green being one of my favorite authors, it might sound a bit biased when I say that JOHN GREEN IS A WRITING GOD! But seriously, with all fangirling aside, Green really is an extremely talented writer (I'm drowning in envy of him) and The Fault In Our Stars is a great example of that talent.

This novel really is a ticking emotional time bomb that seems to blow up every other page; one chapter you can't breathe because you're laughing too hard, and the next you use about a billion tissues to stop the flood of tears that won't stop flowing. Not only is this book full of witty, sarcastic humor and tender, tear-jerking moments, but it contains some surprisingly dark yet insightful themes. Through Hazel, the reader learns the truth about dying, and living as well. This unique perspective isn't often seen in young adult novels, and is in one word, refreshing. Not only that, but Green boldly takes on the soul-stirring questions that people ask themselves: When I die, will anyone remember me? Will I have changed the world? Will I be seen as a hero? A success? A failure?

 I simply love how Green chose to portray death in this book because it's so different than one might expect. People (including me) tend to have this idea that when we die, we'll be ready. That we'll bravely accept our fate and die peacefully, quietly, and gracefully. At least, that's what we want our death to be like. In reality, when death rears its ugly head, people break down and cower before it. Death crushes and rips people apart, physically and mentally, and not just for the one dying. Death, is in one word, ugly.

Even though I tried my best not to pin this book as a stereotypical "cancer book", I still knew I was going to shed some tears by the end. I mean seriously, half the main characters have cancer; something bad is bound to happen, right? So as I was reading, I did attempt to mentally prepare myself for the worst, but let me be the first to tell you; it didn't work. I don't care how "tough" you think you may be. When you finish this book, you're going to need some emotional therapy. And there will be crying. Lots of crying. Overall, this emotional rollercoaster of a book will take you places you never thought to explore, places of tragedy and places of joy. At its core, this novel is about life, death, and the beauty and heartbreak in both.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Frankly, this is a Gone with the Wind Pitch

Gone with the Wind, a love story really ambiguously about love, set in good ole' Georgia during a fun notorious four years called: The Civil War. This is why you should read it... 

Sam, I'm not sure if you've seen the movie, but I know you got pretty far into the book.. before you quit. Whether you've seen the movie or not, the film is so different from the book and the book was just so entrancing, you might as well read it. 
Scarlet O'Hara should be really hard to relate with. She's a girl who will flirt with your boyfriend, manipulates people who love her, has a one track mind, is shallow, obsessed with wealth,  undervalues true friendship, and at times seems only concerned with her stomach. But who does this sound like? Why, she's an extraverted Katniss Everdeen! Nah, but I gotta try. 
Anyway, for all of her faults, Scarlet is so unconventional that she can be so freaking hilarious at times, and the way that Margaret Mitchell writes, the way that Scarlet thinks is so relatable.
The way her brain processes things makes so much sense. You just get it. When she's worried or anxious, or analyzing a person, it's just that it feels human. It takes her to the next level and makes her something more than just some book character, something vital. She could be real, because she can think.
As it's difficult not to relate to Scarlet, or at least understand her, you don't have a heart if you don't feel sympathetic towards the dashing Rhett Butler, or if you don't absolutely adore Melanie and her heart of gold. The characters you are supposed to like you love and the characters you are supposed to dislike you hate.  
The book is so descriptive. From every house on Peachtree Street to every button Rhett Butler ever wore, it's explained and it just colors the story. It's readable. 
Gone with the Wind so emotional and potent. You can't be angry at any of the characters, because whatever they feel, you feel, even if it's stupid or unreasonable. 
I felt that at the end Scarlet should have been ninety, not in her twenties. Ashley, Rhett, and Scarlett's reflections on life before the war seem so far off and dreamy, full of ghosts and dead values. I felt like was ninety and reflecting on my  past. 
Gone with the Wind was a great reading experience. So colorful and spectacular. So full of passion and emotion. You need to read it. 
This wasn't really a review, so I hope there weren't any spoilers, it was more of a pitch, which is my excuse for why it's so short.  
Oh! And I'm glad you liked those web series. I wanted to read your post so bad. But I don't want to spoil anything. You better swap the first Heroes of Olympus with me. See you soon!
P.S. Notice: Sam is going to be posting on Fridays and I on Saturdays. If it's not always regular we apologize in advance, thanks! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Mark of Athena: Fangasms and Speculation

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from Percy Jackson and The Olympians, as well as the Heroes of Olympus

The Mark of Athena: Fangasms and Speculation

The cover for Rick Riordan's third installment of The Heroes of Olympus series, set for release this fall, has recently been revealed and oh my Zeus, am I excited! As you can see, the cover features two boys (obviously Jason on the left and Percy on the right) charging at each other, seemingly about to attack each other. It's been confirmed that this is an actual scene in the book, which leaves me, as well as hordes of other fans wondering WHY? Jason and Percy haven't quite met each other yet, so judging by the cover, I'm guessing they didn't hit it off so well on their first meeting. And to be honest, it isn't quite so hard to believe once you think about it, because Jason is simply Percy's Roman counterpart. Granted, even though they have many things in common, they aren't exactly the same; they each have qualities that set them apart from each other. But as we saw in the previous books with Thalia, who also had many things in common with Percy, those who are alike don't always see eye to eye. So perhaps Jason wouldn't appreciate Percy basically taking his spot as praetor, or maybe Percy would feel as though he shouldn't take orders from Jason (I can only assume that Jason would try to take charge and order others around with him being the son of Zeus and all). Or maybe Gaea performs some sort of crazy voodoo magic, brainwashes Jason and Percy into mindless zombies whose only purpose in life is to destroy each other, which in turn, sparks a civil war between the Greek and Roman camps and then the world as we know it is destroyed and ripped apart into oblivion...okay maybe not, but I feel as though my two previous theories are plausible and both would definitely cause some tension. 

Now on to other matters, I'm almost positive that The Mark of Athena is a reference to Annabeth, just as The Son of Neptune was referencing to Percy. I also think that Annabeth is going to be the seventh demigod of The Prophecy of Seven. I just don't see it going any other way, unless some mysterious demigod just suddenly appears out of nowhere. Though, in saying that, I guess there is a possibility of Nico being the seventh demigod, but it seems unlikely since Hazel has already taken the place as a child of Hades AND the fact that he's currently missing in action. Oh and wow, is anybody else freaked out by Octavian? I'm usually pretty fond of children of Apollo,but this guy is just terrifying. One of my favorite lines was when Percy gets his mark and Octavian tells him, "I hope that hurt" just because it was so...well, evil. Seriously, he's a psychopath! Rick Riordan has definitely succeeded in making the books a bit darker.

There are definitely some more unanswered questions like, what happened to Nico or how Leo can possibly be Sam, but I'm going to leave those up to you. I will now leave you all with a video of Rick Riordan reading the first chapter of The Mark of Athena. Enjoy!


P.S. Sara, I absolutely LOVED Job Hunters and Squaresville! They're both so unique and are extremely entertaining!! I haven't started watching the Lizze Bennet Diaries simply because I'm still only in the beginning of Pride and Predjudice, but I can assure you, once I finish reading it, I'm totally watching it!