Saturday, May 25, 2013

Author Talk with Christopher Paul Curtis

Author Talk!

Christopher Paul Curtis (Author of Bud, Not Buddy, Elijah of Buxton, The Watsons' Go to Birmingham and more!)

Me: "Hi Mr. Curtis! My class read The Watsons' Go To Birmingham a while back to reflect on the Bombing and it was an amazingly touching read. My question is; Did researching and writing about the church bombing effect you in any way?"

Christopher P. Curtis: "The answer to your question is a double yes! when I researched the bombing all of my work was done in newspapers, magazines and books. The internet was just a wee baby and I didn't have a computer. Once I began to read and observe all that went on it had a very strong effect on me. I, just like Kenny, was ten years old when it happened, and although I'd never been further south than Detroit at the time, I do remember the horrible way the news affected my parents and even the whole neighborhood. As I was writing about what happened I openly wept (I assure you it was dignified weeping). I really believe if the writing has no impact on me it won't on the reader either, so I look upon this as a good sign.

I thought I was pretty much over the emotional impact of the book until I recently went to Atlanta to watch part of the filming of TWGTB-63. (Hallmark Network, September 20th at 8 PM) I saw only two scenes being shot, but they really caused all of the emotions I felt when I was writing the novel to flood back in."

Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (Play Review)

Title: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Publisher: NA**
Release Date: Originally published in 1597**
Genres: Drama, Romance, Classic, Play
Medium: Paperback, bought

**The retelling I read from was from the Folger Shakespeare Library series (Simon & Schuster) and was a January 1, 2004 edition.

A novel/play of unrequited love that will never die. I call it a novel/play because we review books here at NPR, but I do of course make special exceptions from time to time. This is one. Romeo and Juliet is a fantastic play full of betrayal, heartbreak, forbidden love, and so much more. The play is short, but spread out with backstory to make it seem longer. It didn't feel long enough. It's a timeless read. Most will be assigned to read this in either high school or college, but I think you should read it at least one time yourself before a required reading. I also recommend you get a comprehensive edition that explains terms and words you make be unfamiliar with. I got mine from the Folger Shakespeare collection, and it made it so much easier to understand. Anyway, I recommend anyone to read it, male or female. This book is simply too iconic and too spellbinding to pass up. Broaden your horizons and read a play, preferably, this one. (Read 5/19/13)

Mojo by Tim Tharp (Book Review)

Title: Mojo by Tim Tharp
Publisher: Knopf Publishers
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Action
Medium: Hardback ARC from Random House Publishers

Mojo by Tim Tharp was amazing. Now, I'm not usually a fan of mystery novels. It's not that I don't like the genre, just that I don't usually find a novel of mystery that captivates me. But alas, I have found one. Mojo was a great mix of everything: funny, slightly romantic, action-packed, with an in depth plot, and large plot twist at the end. Very interesting, filled with realistic ordeals of fake gangs, partying gone bad, devilish plotting of rich people, and more. Definitely a book I would read again and would recommend to anyone. If you are looking for a good mystery novel that has interesting characters, a riveting plot, and just good mystery to keep the wheels turning inside your head the entire time, then Mojo is the novel for you.

Tim Tharp's iconic writing is still there, with intriguing characters, interesting and deep plot line, mysterious setting, and intellectual pull. It's definitely a novel that pulls you in and refuses to let you go, whether it is a reader trying to take a break from the novel, and even after you are finished. It stays with you. Even if you are not a fan of mystery novels or are not familiar with Tharp's work, you should definitely take a gander with this novel. You will not be disappointed. (5/24/13)

Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen (Book Review)

Title: manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Medium: Paperback ARC from Random House Publishers

Manicpixiedreamgirl was an absolute joy to read. It was so much more than expected. What I expected, was a lovey-dovey teen novel like any other romance/drama novel you pick up in a bookstore. What I read instead, was an in depth story of unrequited love, tangled with lies, mistrust, passion, friendship, and not real love. You have a boy who thinks he's in love with this broken girl at first sight, yet is too confused on his feelings to decide whether or not to break up with his possibly too-caring girlfriend. Enter friendship and misread feelings when the girl turns out to be the one thing he told himself she'd never be. He saw what she really was, but told himself it could never be true. Until her got close to her. Real close to her. And everything began to make sense. But with these mistakes and lies came honesty and trust.

The writing and characters in this book were breathtaking. Tom Leveen is (once again) fantastic. His writing is wholesome and natural, and very easy to understand. The writing was flowing, dramatic, and very addicting. His characters were relatable and the plot could very easily be the tale of someone's life. This is what made it so hard to let go of. This book swept me away. A great book with perfectly imperfect characters that tug at your sense of reality. A very good book. Five stars. (5/25/13)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Book Review)

Title: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Genres: Historical Fiction, Drama, Contemporary
Medium: Hardback, bought / Ebook, bought

The Help is and will be one of my absolutely favorite novels ever. No matter your age, you need to read this book. It will touch your heart and soul in every possible way. It shows how sometimes the right thing seems like the wrong thing. It shows you how unfair life really feels sometimes. And most of all, it shows how courage, strength, friends, and family are all you need to get through the hardest of times. This novel is one of those stories that makes you angry, happy, laughing, and crying all in a few pages. It'll make you want to read it over and over, and it will never get old. A story for the ages.

The writing was definitely there. Stockett perfectly conveyed the idea of 1960's Jackson, Mississippi, without being overdramatic or fake. Slang is not over or underused, the historical research was done perfectly, and the writing overall was impeccable. The flow was great, and the novel kept you either laughing, crying, or on the edge of your seat the entire time. Never a dull moment with this one. Five stars.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book Review)

Title: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Medium: Paperback, bought

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare was a good read. I won't say great, because to me, it wasn't. First off, I expected so much more. By the cover, the plot outline, everything- it all seemed completely different from the story it really was. Really, there was so much more that could have been done to the story. But alas, I can only review what was written.

The writing was good, but the creativity just wasn't there. Truth be told, I hadn't really wanted to finish the novel once I started it. It turned out not to be my cup of tea at all. Some of the "monsters" in the story seemed immature and childish at best, and the love triangle that started out great turned into something twisted and weird at the end. It ended with a pretty good cliffhanger, but just wasn't a good story, and some things felt like they were left or ended without explanation. I don't really see how this was a best seller, or categorized as a Young Adult fiction. It seemed more like a middle grade, elementary school novel. It was an okay book, though. I will attempt to read the sequel, which will hopefully be better. 


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