27 August 2015

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Publication: 2015

# of Pages: 293

Source: Library

Favorite Quotes:

  • "Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you through the messier tunnels of growing up. But pain can only help you find happiness if you remember it."
  • "The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it."
  • "I've become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there's happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I'll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn't one sad ending--it's a series of endless happy beginnings. 
  • "I have to push ahead with people who don't take the easy way out, who love me enough to stay alive even when life sucks."
  • "We all make mistakes...but it's also a step in the right direction. If nothing else it's a step away from the wrong one."
Goodreads Summary/Blurb: "In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile shaped scare on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. 

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard?"


My Review/Thoughts

What if I told you you could erase every bad memory in you life? Would you take my offer? Adam Silvera tests the boundaries of human memory and pain in his debut novel More Happy Than Not. In this beautifully written and captivating novel, the reader is introduced to the complex character of Aaron, a young man learning the meaning of happiness. 

What proves to be most interesting about the development of this novel is Silvera's discussion of pain and memory. Quite often when we experience pain or traumatic events we attempt to disregard it to maintain a certain level of happiness. Silvera utilizes his book and his characters to teach us that not only is pain inevitable, but if we can work through our pain and see the beauty of  the life we've been given we ultimately become resilient and find more happiness than not. It is only when we fight who we are and refuse to face our fears and pain do we truly become unhappy. You can't spend your life running. 

For his first novel, Silvera truly captures how humans weigh and define the purpose of their lives, how they find happiness, and how they cope when happiness is no where to be found. I was positively surprised at the depth of knowledge Silvera exposed to his readers. He proves more than capable of illustrating one's appreciation for sexuality, mental illness, acceptance, betrayal, love, friendship, and last but certainly not least an understanding of the human heart and strength to persevere. I truly feel as though I could go on and on about the sheer beauty of this novel; however, it is best that readers discover this for themselves. Pick up this book and take a journey with the main character Aaron as he discovers himself and you just might find yourself reflecting and understanding that when life becomes difficult and challenging it is okay to be more happy than not. 

25 August 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Graphic Novels/Comics Syllabus

Hello fellow bloggers and readers! It's Tuesday so you know what that means! Another top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is extremely interesting as we decide the top 10 books that would be on our syllabus if we taught X 101. I decided that I would teach a class solely focused on graphic novels and comic books!

1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: No syllabus would be complete without this graphic novel that chronicles the journey of a young girl growing up during the time of the Iranian Revolution. Filled with history, humor, and sadness, I had to make sure this made the list.

2. American Born Chinese by Gene Yang: I absolutely loved this graphic novel when I read it for the first time. It definitely adds a certain flare to the list as it teachers readers to appreciate their heritage and background in spite of trying to fit in with others.

3. Bayou by Jeremy Love: This graphic novel explores racial oppression in such a simple, but rewarding manner that is wonderful for any graphic novel/comic class. However, I think the writer never finished the series--how unfortunate.
4. Chew by John Layman: This definitely made the list for its humor and creativity. The main character is a cibopath meaning he can give you information about anything he can eat.

5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn: Who doesn't love a great sci-fi comic with an inter-galactic battle and an amazingly cute love child?

6. Fables (On-Going Series) by Bill Willingham: A modern twist on fairy tales--need I say more?

7. Locke & Key by Joe Hill: Every comic book class needs a little horror and Locke and Key brings plenty of it.

8. Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction: I mean look at the first word--haha I'm just kidding, but it must be interesting to commit a crime by simply having sex.

9. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn: Ever wonder what would happen if men disappeared and women ruled the earth?

10. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen: One word--mythology.

If you could create a class what would it be? What books would you choose to go on your syllabus? Comment below!

24 August 2015

Author Spotlight: Toni Morrison

Name: Toni Morrison

About Author: Born in February 18, 1931, Toni Morrison has proven to be an exceptional novelist. Morrison transitioned from professor, editor, and finally writer. She began writing at Howard University as part of a group of writers and poets. Her success began with her debut novel Bluest Eye in 1970. With the success of later novels, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She has also been awarded the National Book Foundations Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Published Works:

  • Bluest Eye (1970)
  • Sula (1973)
  • Song of Solomon (1977)
  • Tar Baby (1981)
  • Beloved (1987)
  • Jazz (1992)
  • Paradise (1997)
  • Love (2003)
  • A Mercy (2008)
  • Home (2012)
  • God Help the Child (2015)
Recommendation: Although I've only read one Toni Morrison book, it was in that text that I discovered her ability to create vivid characters, thought provoking themes, beauty, and passion. Toni challenges her readers to think outside the box and face real life challenges. If you are intrigued by complex plot lines and true to life characters look no further than Ms. Morrison. 

12 August 2015

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Publication: 2007

# of Pages: 288

Source: Audio-Book, Overdrive

Favorite Quotes:

  • "Betrayal it's one of the worst feelings."
  • "A lot of you cared, just not enough."
  • "If my love were an ocean there would be no more land. If my love were a desert you would only see sand. If my love were a star late at night only light. And if my love could grow wings I'd be soaring in flight."
Goodreads Summary/Blurb: "Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch, Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deep affect teen readers."

My Thoughts/Review

Suicide--it's almost as if it's a dangerous word, something most of us are scared to talk about. It's considered mysterious, selfish, confusing, and completely and utterly heartbreaking. Jay Asher breaks through our silence and addresses the very essence of suicide in his novel Th1rteen R3asons Why

Hannah, a high school student, commits suicide as a result of many difficult scenarios--13 to be exact. In order to explain her reasons for her untimely death she records a series of 13 tapes chronicling her decision and those responsible. Typing a young man by the name of Clay, readers are taken on a unforgettable journey into Hannah's world of pain and suffering. 

While the scenarios Hannah lists are indicative of many suicide cases, they do not paint a clear picture. As an individual that has faced suicide in several different occasions, I felt that Hannah's story needed more depth. The way in which Hannah left those behind with her 13 reasons almost seemed cruel. It is possible that her tapes could have caused more damage than resolution. I almost felt as though her tapes were more of retaliation than clarification, making it difficult to empathize with her. I also would have liked to see more explanation and development of Hannah as a character. Suicide is a complex subject; therefore, it requires complex characters. Hannah's character felt a little flat. 

Nevertheless, I did appreciate the fact that Jay Asher was even willing to tackle such a difficult subject. As a big proponent of mental health awareness and anti-bullying measures, I truly believe that we need to see more books that tackle such difficult subjects in a means to bring about global awareness. The more people know and understand things about topics such as suicide the more they are likely to notice signs, symptoms, and triggers associated with them ultimately leading to greater prevention. Asher attempted to do this, but fell a little short in development. If you are interested in getting started in areas associated with such difficult topics this is a great place to start; however, keep in mind that it does not provide the whole picture. 

If you know anyone considering suicide or battling thoughts of suicide have them contact 1 (800) 273-8255  or visit www.suicideprevtionlifeline.org which is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are a great resource and always have people willing to listen. 

Rating: 3/5 Stars

11 August 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Read Authors

Good afternoon fellow bloggers and book readers! Today is Tuesday so that definitely means another top 10 hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is our top 10 most read authors so let's go ahead and get started!!

10. Coming in with 3 books is Ms. Jane Austen!! I have read Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense & Sensibility. I hope to finish the rest of her works in the next year or so.

9. Coming in with 4 books is Andrew Clements. I first discovered Clements in elementary school and middle school and have since
enjoyed his writing.

8. Coming in with 5 books is Ms. Jenny Han! I have read her The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy as well as the P.S. I Still Love You duology.

7. Coming in with 5 books is Roald Dahl. I absolutely loved his work as a child and still enjoy his writing as an adult. I do plan to read all of his books some day. I'm slowly getting there.

6. Coming in with 5 books as well is Stephanie Meyer. I read both the Twilight Saga and the Host while I was in HS. Let's be honest as much as everyone hates on the Twilight books we all enjoyed them at some point in our teenage years. :)

5. Coming in with 5 books (I seem to have a lot of ties for 5 books) is Brian K. Vaughn. I absolutely loved the Saga series and I just recently pickedd up the trade copies of Y: The Last Man which has been good as well so far.

4. Coming in with 6 books is R.L. Stine. I haven't read one of his books in years, but I do know that I used to love them as a child.

3. Coming in with 7 books is Rick Riordan. This is no surprise to me as I absolutely love his reading. Expect this number to go up soon! :) I have completed his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and I am currently working my way through the Heroes of Olympus series.

2. Coming in with 8 books is Ms. Rowling! Of course I completed the Harry Potter series. I anticipate working towards her other books sometimes in the near future.

1. Coming in with 10 books is Lemony Snicket (pen-name). Of course all of these books are from his Series of Unfortunate Events. I plan to re-read the entire series some time soon.

Who are your most read authors? Let me know in the comment section below.