Monday, September 15, 2014

Book vs. Movie: The Book Thief

Hello friends,
How are you today? Today I’m sharing with you another movie adaptation. Not too long ago I read The Book Thief and found it to be a profound book, unlike anything I’d read before. Naturally, I was eager to check out the film and a few weeks ago I did just that.

I found the casting choices to be excellent. The actors in this movie did a superb job of playing the character roles just as I had imagined each while reading this story. As with all movie adaptations, there were some noticeable differences between the book and movie. Though I suppose it would be nearly impossible to recreate a 500+ page book with the same amount of detail in a reasonably timed movie.
The most detail was left out of the story of Max. In the movie, you see him leave his family and knock on the Hubermann’s door. I kept expecting flashbacks on his journey to their doorstep, but none came. After he leaves their house, there is no mention of his time as a prisoner in a concentration camp, I which I also found off. The other bit I missed from his story, write possibly most important of all, was the lack of the story Max wrote within his copy of Mein Kampf in which he paints over the pages to make a new story all for Liesel. You hear a version of this story while Liesel in a neighbor’s basement waiting out an air raid, but it’s not the same and I greatly enjoyed the illustrations of it in the book. It seems like such a crucial part to leave out. However, I suppose the most important thing to come out of Max giving her that story was she herself found her voice and reason to write, and that was evidenced in the movie.
All in all, this is a fantastic movie and I highly recommend watching it. I think the book is worth a read as well, since you get much more depth on each character from it.  

Finding hope from the ashes,
Ashley

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Book Trade: Anne Frank Biography by Melissa Muller

Hello there,
How are you all doing on this beautiful day? If you have noticed what I’ve read lately, you’ll see a theme of World War II or Nazi era books in the mix. This all started with The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief, which both mention the Holocaust. I then wanted something a bit more factual and thought of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to be the perfect starting place, especially since I had recently acquired my own copy of the book. I read the book before years ago, but wanted to reread it, to gain new perspective from it. This book, as the name suggests, is the diary of a young girl, as she is in hiding with her family, and four other Jews in Amsterdam during Nazi invasions.

However today I’m not talking about her diary. If you’re interested on hearing more of my thoughts on that book, find them here. Instead, I’m here to talk about her biography, which came years after her life and the worldwide publication of her diary.
It’s no secret that the story of Anne Frank is a popular one. She was in hiding from the ages of thirteen to fifteen and so naturally, she does a lot of growing up in her new very closed off world. Still, you are reading her words, and so everything you hear is biased and skewed. It is all her opinion at the time she wrote it, or rewrote it, as she tended to do after looking back at some of the things she put into words in her countless quiet hours in the secret annex of 263 Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.  
Between July 1942 and August 1944, the secret annex was occupied by the group of eight Jews. Anne’s father, Otto, first published her diary in 1947 and the biography by Melissa Muller did not come out until 1998.
While I think her diary is very important and insightful, I think her biography gives much needed insight and context into Anne’s whole life from birth to death and the background on each character that is not coming from a moody teenager made to suffer through childhood growth within the confines of a small and exceedingly shutout space. I think reading both books together is ideal. Reading her diary gives you her unique viewpoint and then her biography expounds on that by giving you the broader picture by explaining her life before and after the annex and also in the context of the world during the war. 
Quick Facts:
Genre- Biography
Copyright- 1998
Pages- 352
Finally beginning to understand,
Ashley

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Trade: The Onion Field

Hello!
Today I have another Book Trade for you. My Goodread’s 2014 Reading Challenge (I did last year’s too) has been going great as of late, as I’ve been a reading machine and making great progress in my quest to knock out 30 books by the end of the year!

The latest book I’ve finished is the topic of today’s post- The Onion Field, a graphic thriller of the physical and psychological variety. I first heard about this book in July when my boyfriend was in town. As two bookworms and serious nerds, we found ourselves at Barnes & Noble and he mentioned the book as one his mom suggested he read. It’s a bit dated and so they did not carry it. That’s when I knew I’d be making a trip to my local library to see I get my hands on it. Sure enough, I was able to request it. Once the book arrived and I picked it up, I dove into it that same day and read the first chapter.
This nonfiction book tells the story of two police officers and two small-time criminals and the fateful night they found themselves together in an onion field. Without giving too much away, this novel deals with a lot of disturbing issues and looks at the crimes these cop-killers committed as partners and the law their case helped set the stage for, as it was dragged out over several years. Set in the mid sixties, there is a lot of talk of homophobia, racism, and general prejudice, which doesn’t sound too far off from today.
The factual story was written by Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant and told in narrative format. He did his best to recreate this story accurately through year sof research, the help of dozens of people’s first-hand accounts, and the evidence from the cases tied to these men. It starts off with a teaser of the action to come followed by the back story of each key player. For the first few chapters, the story goes from being told in the present to flashing back to some moment in the past.   
This novel was very unlike anything I have ever read. I am drawn to YA books and biographies and this book showed me a glimpse of the evil found in our world. How could two people find themselves in a position to actually murder another, especially one who did not threaten either man in any way? The answer is of course in this book.
If you enjoy books about crime, murder and mystery, especially as they relate to real-life, this book will likely appeal to you. You’re sure to find yourself disgusted but also intrigued. You’ll feel sympathy and pain, but also deep sadness and anger. For me, this book started slow; but once I got to about the hundred page mark, I was hooked. I was no longer dreading reading this book and as vile as a topic as it was, I had to know what happened. In the end, would there be justice? Would I be satisfied with how it turns out? I was left feeling the need to ponder life and realize that we can truly go at any time, yet I was content and almost at peace with how the story concluded.
This book was adapted into a movie in 1979 and while I’m still getting over the assault my mind took getting through this, I’m not sure I’ll watch it because I have a very clear picture in my head of how it would go, and I don’t think I need to see that twice.
Quick Facts:
Genre- Nonfiction/ Crime/ Murder
Copyright- 1973
Pages- 427
Does this seem like something you would be interested in?

Sustaining the mental shakedown,
Ashley   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Words of Wisdom: September 2

Hello again,

This week's words of wisdom offer you some great advice. Will you take it? :)


Which did you most like?

Inspired,
Ashley

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Trade: Clockwork Angel


Hi there,
If you missed my reviews this time last year on Cassandra Clare’s earlier series, The Mortal Instruments do yourself a favor and read those, then get your hands on those books now!
Clockwork Angel is the first book in a trilogy called The Infernal Devices and it has it all: a fantastic setting- nineteenth century London, dynamic characters, and twists in plot you do not expect.  There is action, drama, love, loss, betrayal, romance, and regret. Each character has so much going on in their lives and this book takes time to examine each of them individually.
While this series was written after The Mortal Instruments, it is set decades prior. After the passing of her grandmother, Tessa Gray leaves her NYC home to live with her brother in London. She boards a boat, docks in England and is met by strangers who promise to take her to her brother. From that moment on, Tessa cannot deny the world of the supernatural. After being held prisoner and tortured into using what her captives, ‘The Dark Sisters’ call her gift, she is rescued by a Shadowhunter named William Herondale. She is taken to the London Institute, or sanctuary for Shadowhunters and sometimes Downworlders and mundanes. With the aid of the Nephilim, Tessa sets out to find and save her brother while discovering who she truly is.
Anything more, and I’ll likely spoil the story for you and we can’t have that! Will and Jace (from The Mortal Instruments) seem practically identical. I’m hoping that once I tackle the second book, Clockwork Prince, I’ll be able to differentiate between the two male leads with ease. This novel has the love triangle aspect typical of young adult books, which I eat right up. It took just a few days for me to devour this book and its intense imagery and symbolism whole.  
If you enjoy Clare’s other novel’s you are sure to like this one too. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Clockwork Prince and see where this story goes next. I dare you not to fall in love with this series! :)
Quick Facts:
Genre- Young Adult/Dystopian/Fiction
Copyright- 2010
Pages- 476
Is this something you might enjoy? What have you read lately?

Savoring the Supernatural,
Ashley

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Words of Wisdom: September 1

Hey there,

I'm back with another group of Instagram picture quotes from a particularly inspiring user. Check them out!

Which of these stands out to you? The middle one resonates with most at this moment!

Feeling ferocious,
Ashley


Monday, September 1, 2014

My New Beginning!

Hello friends!
Today’s challenge from the 2014 Blogger Challenge is to talk about new beginnings. In some parts of the world, school is just beginning again and students and teachers alike are preparing for that, in fact I’ll be in a classroom tomorrow! As a teacher, I could easily tell you about my experiences in school from both the perspective of a student, as well as a teacher, but that’s not what I want to focus on today, perhaps another time.
In case you missed my announcement earlier this summer, I have a very exciting new beginning on the horizon and it’s finally becoming more and more of a reality. I’ve been going through the motions of this involved process for months but I can finally taste it! If you have ever had to get an extended visa for travel you have an idea of what I’ve been going through- the waiting, the stress, the minuscule details of how every paper needs to be presented, haha.
Last Thursday, I made my way to Chicago (for the second time this summer!) to the Spanish Consulate to apply for the au pair visa I am seeking. It is supposed to take four weeks from the date of the interview but I’m really hoping they notify me sooner than that so I can go pick it up (read: take a third road trip to Chitown) and fly out to Barcelona!
It has felt very dream-like for weeks now, as this whirlwind opportunity took place at the very beginning of the summer and has been in-process ever since. Now, I can practically taste it, and it’s incredible!

So there you have my new beginning. Who want's to see pictures while I'm there?! :)
What new beginnings are happening in your life?

Feeling my hard work pay off!
Ashley