Sunday, April 17, 2016

Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed

There I was, strolling through lists of books on Goodreads when a cover caught my eye (I am not ashamed to admit I totally judge books by their covers). It was a photo of a little girl in a pink tutu sitting on the floor. Then I saw the title: Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Autism. I was intrigued.

I had to read it. I was wanting to read something outside of my normal fare anyway, add a little non-fiction to my historical fiction and young adult fantasy.  Also, I've been feeling that Autism Spectrum Disorder is something that I personally need to be more aware of, especially as a future librarian who wants to work with children and teens.  Since April is Autism Awareness Month this was the perfect time to read this book.

Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed is Jeannie's memior. It chronicles her life from the age of three through finally being diagnosed with Asperger's in her thirties.  From the outside you would never know she was on the spectrum. She details her struggles with school, never fitting in, and attempting to maintain more than one friendship at a time. Her symptoms were treated but no one ever pinpointed a cause. She couldn't keep a job.

It's a quick, simple read. At times its rather funny. But this book is about something beyond the writing.  If you're not on the spectrum, it is a glimpse of just how difficult life can be for someone who is and it just might help you explain why someone reacted to a situation the way that they did.  If you are on the spectrum, this book is about saying "you're not alone" and "it's okay to be different".

Oh, before you go booknerds, just one little note: sadly, less than twenty libraries in the United States have this book (according to WorldCat). So if you want to read it you'll probably have to go to your library and request it through interlibrary loan.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Reels & Reads: Stardust

Hello Book Nerds! Welcome to March's installment of Reels and Reads.
What is Reels and Reads? It's a (roughly) monthly post where I try to compare movies to their books without being too nitpicky (SPOILERS, obviously). After all, we all know that the book is almost always better.

March is all about Stardust.

This is one of the few times that I saw the movie before I read the book (well, I listened to the audiobook). Indeed, I fell in love with the movie (it is one of my absolute favorites) years before I realized it was based on a book. 

The story in a nutshell:
Tristran Thorn crosses the wall (which no one does) to retrieve a fallen star and win the heart of his one true love. Along the way he runs into bloodthirsty princes, evil ancient witches, and lightning-catching sky pirates.

Let's start with the little change that bothered me in a BIG way:

There are no little changes between the book and the movie. There are only massive changes. Seriously. The character names are the same and the basic plot is the same, but the movie took some serious creative license with the story. The ending is not even recognizable. Without really giving anything away, I'll just say that the movie is an action-packed masterpiece of special effects. The book is quieter and just slips into the ending. If I hadn't seen the movie first then I may have accepted the book's ending. But I did see the movie first so I was kind of disapointed with the book's conclusion.

And about the characters...

Who Didn't Make the Cut: There are quite a few characters that didn't make the movie. Tristran's  father gets much more backstory in the book than he does in the movie. In my opinion, the book spent to much time on Tristran's father. He isn't that important to the overall story.

Who Show Up More Than Expected: Well, that is easily Captain Shakespeare. I say easily because he is not even in the book. :)  I'm more upset by the fact that this character isn't in the book than I am about the fact that they made up an entirely new character to add to the movie (with the author's input, I believe). Captain Shakespeare is my favorite character in the movie. Robert De Niro did a fantastic job.

Who Just Don't Get Enough Time Anywhere: Oh the ghosts. The murdered Princes of Stormhold are stuck as ghosts until a new king is crowned so they follow the living princes around. The ghosts appear more in the movie than the book, providing humorous commentary, but they've got several clips in the deleted scenes. Quite simply, next to Captain Shakespeare, the ghosts are the best and need more time in the book and the movie.

Finally, A Little Reader's Advisory...

I will say that I thought this was a YA novel, but it most definitely not. There was a sex scene early in the book that is only implied in the movie. Since I saw the movie first, I was wholly unprepared for this scene when I was listening to the audiobook.  The movie is PG-13 but I think the book requires much more parental discretion.

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Well, there you have it. I'm sorry, I feel like I didn't write anything of substance but I try really hard to avoid spoilers.  Stardust the movie is so loosely based on Stardust the book that you can't really compare the two. If you've read or watched Stardust I'd love to know what you think. Maybe you really love both? Perhaps, like me, you fell in love with the movie and think the book is just kind of meh. Or do you love the book and hate that the movie is so different? Let me know!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reels & Reads: Insurgent

Hello Book Nerds! Welcome to February's (slightly late) installment of Reels and Reads.
What is Reels and Reads? It's a (hopefully) monthly post where I try to compare movies to their books without being too nitpicky (SPOILERS, obviously). After all, we all know that the book is almost always better.

February is all about Insurgent.

Better late than never, right? This was quite a popular title at the library this month, so I had to wait my turn. I loved Divergent, but I just had a hard time getting into Insurgent.  The book felt drawn out and I was bored through most of it, but the movie felt rushed.

Let's start with the little change that bothered me in a BIG way:
Hmm, little change? I think most of the changes were pretty big: the box, scanning people to see what percent Divergent they were, the wildly different simulations, Tris' rescue... Ugh, I just can't even with this movie. 

At least they got the blue armbands of the dauntless traitors right.

Oh, no, I've got it. The little change that bothered me in a big way was Tris' relationship with guns. Book Tris spends most of the book not being able to hold a gun because of the personal demons she is fighting, while Movie Tris is all "Where are the guns? Give me the guns!" Movie Tris also didn't suffer from a debilitating gunshot in the shoulder.

And about the characters...

Who Didn't Make the Cut: The main factionless guy in the movie wasn't supposed to be Edward, right? He didn't have Edward's eyepatch. I was really looking forward to the eyepatch. Marcus, Four's dad, certainly didn't get much screen time. And what about Tori's showdown with Jeanine? Tori is awesome and deserves more time.
Who Show Up More Than Expected: Well, Jeanine is still popping up all over the place. I guess she consumed all of the screen time of the characters who didn't make the cut.
Who Don't Act Like Themselves: I don't know if the movie producers were just trying to cushion the blow of Caleb's betrayal or what, but I am NOT OKAY with the changes they made there.  Caleb spilled all of Tris' secrets to Jeanine, not Peter and the super special divergent detector brain reader. There was still a little bit of the feeling of betrayal because Caleb went back to Erudite instead of Abnegation, but still, the knife of betrayal wasn't nearly as sharp in the movie.

Finally, the feelings...

So, the movie did a fairly good job of showing the guilt that Tris was feeling about her parents dying and killing Will (other than the aforementioned gun situation). However, they didn't really deal with Tris' distrust of Four's Mom. Therefore, the tension and secrets between Tris and Four were pretty minimized. While I did get a bit bored with this in the novel, the movie did need a dose of mistrust and secrets.

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I was so NOT a fan of this movie. I'll have to take some time away from the story before I read Allegiant. So next month will be something totally different. Let me know what you think! Did you like the movie adaptation? What bothered you the most.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reels & Reads: Divergent

Hello Book Nerds! Welcome to January's installment of Reels and Reads.
What is Reels and Reads? It's a (hopefully) monthly post where I try to compare movies to their books without being too nitpicky (SPOILERS, obviously). After all, we all know that the book is almost always better.

January is all about Divergent.

Let's start with the little change that bothered me in a BIG way:
It was supposed to be CHEESE!

In the book, when Tris has her first simulation test she has to choose between a knife or cheese. In the movie, the choice is a knife or a chunk of meat. I can hear you all saying, "Brittany, that's an insignificant change!" No it's really not. Let me tell you why. I like to put myself into the story and imagine what I would do. Given the choice of a knife or cheese, I would choose cheese. But, given the choice of a knife or meat, I would choose the knife. That completely changes my faction! Ugh.

And about the characters...

Who Didn't Make the Cut: It seems that one of the first things sacrificed when a book is turned into a movie is a handful of minor characters. In this case, the characters that were cut COMPLETELY didn't really bother me, but the minimization of Al's role in the movie did. The movie felt like it just kinda threw Al in, whereas he is one of Tris' best friends in the book ( know).
Who Show Up More Than Expected: On the opposite end of the spectrum is Jeanine Matthews. She is mentioned throughout the book, but the reader doesn't really meet Jeanine until about 3/4 of the way thru. Movie Jeanine pops up all over the place which I think worked really well for the movie.
Who Don't Act Like Themselves: Peter is a prime example of a character whose personality gets a makeover between the book and the movie. Peter is tamer, more human in the movie than he is in the book. Sure, he is still a jerk in the movie, but he's not as malevolent and full of hatred. There is actually an aspect of humor associated with movie Peter. In many ways, book Peter and movie Peter feel like two distinct characters that just happen to share a name. Not okay.
Who Don't Look Like Themselves: Let's talk about movie Christina for just a sec. She is supposed to be TALL, not a short little thing. It was easier to believe that Christina was stronger and a better fighter than Tris in the novel when she was actually bigger than Tris. A physical change that I did like was that of Eric. Book Eric had long, greasy black hair (distant relation of Professor Snape?) but Movie Eric had short, blond hair which I felt made him more intimidating. Although, when I was reading, I kept picturing Eric with a lime green Mohawk. I don't know why.

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I could go on and on talking about exactly added, cut, or altered with the characters and the setting and everything. But, that's not what I want to do with Reels and Reads. I'm actually surprised you've stuck around this long. Let me know what you think! Do you like this segment? Should I forget about it? Do you want to guest post? Is there a book/movie you want to see featured?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reels & Reads: An Introduction

As book nerds, we all know that Hollywood's interpretation and visualization of a book doesn't always quite match our own. With that in mind, I'm starting a new monthly post called Reels & Reads.  On the last Friday of every month (hopefully!) I'll be discussing a book and Hollywood's attempt to bring it to life. I won't be nitpicking every single little detail that is different. I'm sure you can find that elsewhere if that is what you want to read. I will be writing about how the characters and setting appear in my head (and yours) vs. how they're portrayed on screen and whether the spirit of the movie matches that of the book. And, okay, I'll probably pick a tiny difference that bothers me WAY more than it should. 

Do you have a fave (or least fave) adaptation that you want to discuss? I'd LOVE for you to be a guest on the blog! Just send me an e-mail and we'll schedule something.

In no particular order, here are some books/movies that I hope we can discuss this year (subject to change, of course):

The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
The 5th Wave
The Maze Runner
The Book Thief
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Friday, January 1, 2016

Challenge Check

Happy 2016 book nerds! This time last year I was signing up for reading challenges. I chose three reading challenges for 2015...and I failed every single one of them. Let's take a look:

The challenge I came closest to completing: Goodreads

Actually, I probably did technically complete this one. I listened to a couple of the Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat and I don't include rereads (or re-listens?) on Goodreads.

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The challenge I was most excited about: The Fairy Tale Challenge

This one is hosted by Mel at The Daily Prophecy. My goal was to reach the "Magic Mirror" level by reading 5-9 fairy tale retellings. I got so close....
1) The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson (review). This one was a retelling of Snow White.
2) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (I thought I wrote a review of this one, but apparently I didn't. I'll work on that). Hale's tell is remarkably close to the original story.
3) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (review to come). This is a very loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
4) Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (review to come). This is an even looser retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. 

You know what? I'm going to go ahead and count Dauntless by Dina Sleiman (review) as number 5. It is a retelling of Robin Hood. Its not quite a fairy tale, but it's close enough. Right?

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The budget-friendly challenge: The Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge

 This one is hosted by Chapter Break and Terri at 2nd Run Reviews. This challenge was all about reading the books you already have instead of buying new books. The perfect challenge for a grad student with a tight budget. I did a spectacularly poor job of reading books that I already owned. However, I used the library much more this year (which is good since I'm in school to be a librarian), so I feel like I got the essence of this challenge. I think I only bought five or six books this year and that is a rather remarkable feat in and of itself. 

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Well, there you have it. My reading failures for 2015. I think I'm going to skip the challenges for this year.   What about you book nerds?

Did you complete your reading goals for 2015? What challenges are you doing in 2016? Tell me all about it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Scarlet Guard Mission #2

If you've read my blog at all, you know I love Red Queen. I can't wait for the story to continue. Check out this new quote from the sequel, Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard: