Posted in Book Review

My Thoughts: Brave New World

brave-new-world

Title:  Brave New World

Author:  Aldous Huxley

Publisher:  Harper Perennial

Pages:  268

Genre:  Speculative Fiction

Setting:  Mostly in a dystopian London, England

Source:    Purchased for my own reading pleasure.

Publication Date:  Originally published in 1932

Blurb:

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

My Thoughts:

I read this book to coincide with Banned Books Week. I’m happy to say that I finished it on the last day. Yay! With that in mind, I can see why this is a challenged book. Take into account that it was first published in 1932, I’m honestly surprised it even saw the light of day.

In Huxley’s speculative future, promiscuity is the new religion. Big deal, right, until you take into account that it’s encouraged among small children as well. This shocking concept is used to demonstrate just how much social mores and ethics of this alternative world have changed from our reality. Not only is promiscuity a main theme of the novel, but so is materialism and genetic engineering. Huxley used these extremes as a parallel for how capitalistic and materialistic he viewed society as well as how he predicted the world would be in as few as 200 years from the time he wrote Brave New World. 

I enjoyed this novel despite wrinkling my nose whenever the children were trotted out in the novel which, thankfully, wasn’t often. I’m honest enough to say that I didn’t enjoy their role in the novel. I think that Huxley more than made his point about overt sexuality with the other characters in the story and adding in the children felt more like  a shock factor than a necessary additive.

What I found most surprising about this novel was how modern it felt when I was reading it. I had a very hard time remembering that this book was written in the 1930s. In the so-called utopian society that was genetically engineered I pictured it, in my head, looking like something out of the 1950s, kind of like The Jetsons. Huxley had some really advanced thinking and imagination with the technology he invented.

This book is a fast read, possibly one sitting, and easy to read as well as to get into. While I don’t think I’d recommend this book to a 8th grade or younger reading list, I would recommend it to any other reader.

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Posted in Community, meme, Weekly Reading

Mid-Week Update 9/27/16

I’ve had a busy week, so far, when it comes to reading. I had a few unexpected requests come in from Net Galley, which has made me switch up my reading list just a smidge. We’ll start out with What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing and go from there.

whatareyoureadingwed

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

I’m currently reading Sepulcher (every time I type that word into WP, it highlights it as being misspelled even though it’s not) by Kate Mosse. At page 34 we have:

Anatole smiled. “Ah, but that is precisely the point. Debussy says that one must drown the sense of key. He is seeking to illuminate, through his music, the connections between the material and the spiritual worlds, the seen and the unseen, and such a thing cannot be presented in the traditional ways.”

Leonie pulled a face. “That sounds like one of those clever things people say that mean precisely nothing!”

I love that this passage is on page 34 because I laughed when I first read it. I get irritated at the same thing that Leonie does here.

This book takes place mostly in France (From what I can tell so far. I’m only on page 75.) but it switches back in forth in time from 1891 to 2007. I wouldn’t mind living in France in either of these times, but I’d probably prefer 1891…at least until WWI started.

shelf-control

Next is Shelf Control hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

The rules for this meme:  Write a blog post about a book you already own but haven’t read yet. Include when and where you got it.

brave-new-world
Don’tcha love this cover?

I am picking Brave New World by Aldous Huxley this week because it’s an ALA challenged book and I’m going to do my best to actually read it sometime this week, lol. We’ll see how it goes. I bought this book at a used book store but I’m drawing a blank on which one and I have absolutely no memory of when. I want to say it’s been at least a year if not two but definitely less than four, lmao!!

Blurb:

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

This article from the Washington Post on why this book has been challenged is hilarious. When I bought it, I didn’t know it was a challenged book. I bought it because it was a dystopian novel written in 1932 and I wanted to compare it to dystopian novels written more recently. Now, I’ll read it with the reasoning behind the challenges in mind.

 

Posted in Book Review

Re-Review of Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

Backstory:  I first reviewed this novel as an ARC from Netgalley a few months ago. This is my first review. I was approached by the author’s marketing agent to see if I’d be willing to read an edited version of the book based on the early reviews. This review is based on that edited version. My opinions are still my own and as honest as I could be.

Nirvana

Title:  Nirvana

Author:  J.R. Stewart

Publisher:  Blue Moon Publishers

Pages:  320

Genre:  Science Fiction

Setting:  2030s Canada

Blurb:

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Larissa Kenders lives in a world where the real and the virtual intermingle daily. After the supposed death of her soulmate, Andrew, Larissa is able to find solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world where anything is possible – even visits with Andrew. Although Larissa is told that these meetings are not real, she cannot shake her suspicion that Andrew is indeed alive. When she begins an investigation of Hexagon, the very institution that she has been taught to trust, Larissa uncovers much more than she ever expected and places herself in serious danger. Her biggest challenge, however, remains determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is the first installment in the three-part “Nirvana” series, a fast-paced, page-turning young adult trilogy that combines elements of the romance, mystery, and science fiction genres. This first novel introduces readers to a heroine who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.

From Me:

From the beginning, this book didn’t even read like the previous version. The writing is much stronger. I didn’t have any of the problems I previously had following the timeline and the story just made more sense. The characters each had discernible roles within the story and were all great personalities that added to the plot.

Kenders, our main character, is strong-willed while still being vulnerable. She’s very human with all the flaws and mistakes that make us so. But she faces her fears head on, uses her instincts to figure out who to trust, and keeps going to find the truth no matter what. I liked that while she was this strong personality, she still could be scared and cry and that didn’t take away from the fact that she’s the heroine at all.

I also liked the ending much better as well. The author moves the story along to the next point, leaving us a cliff-hanger, and it makes you want to read the next book in the trilogy rather than being irritated that we were left with a cliff-hanger. That being said…While I would like to read the next book and if I had had it in my Kindle app waiting to be read I would have immediately started it, waiting for the next book doesn’t have me on the edge of my seat like other books would. Do you know what I mean? I enjoyed this book and it was entertaining with unique themes but there was still something missing that wasn’t there to grab me. I would rate this book a very solid 3 1/2 hearts out of 5 and would recommend it to other scifi/dystopian fans.

3 Hearts

 

Posted in Reading Roundup

What I Read in September 2015

September-Reads

I had a pretty good month of reading. My favorite, by far, was The Martian by Andy Weir. My least favorite was The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. I feel bad saying that because this novel was an ARC that isn’t due out until January. It wasn’t a bad book, per se. But, I’m not sad that I don’t own a copy of this for my bookshelf. I rated it 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads. What I said there is all I’m going to say about it.

Also on my September list:

  • The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  • It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
  • Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (reread)
  • Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • The New Hunger by Isaac Marion

I feel like I’m leaving something out, but oh well. Ten books for the month of September isn’t too shabby, especially considering the volume of reading I’ve had to read about museums for my class. I also started volunteering at a museum this month too.

Posted in Book Review, Reading

Fluff Reading

I also sometimes call this “guilty pleasure” reading. Why? What do I mean?

Sometimes I feel a certain pressure to read for quality. The classics, award winners, thought provoking books. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy reading these types of books. However, sometimes I get in a reading slump and a heavy book full of symbolism or political undertones, etc. just doesn’t fit the bill. I have approximately 85 or so books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read. Yet, sometimes I’ll stand in front of them for minutes and stare trying to figure out what I’m in the mood to read. It makes me sad to admit that this has been a problem of mine for a few months now. I thought that once I was on break from classes, the kids were on summer vacation, and things relaxed around my house that I’d be able to dig my way out of this slump. Not so much. My solution has been to read some of the YA books that are on my TBR.

Tiger's Curse

I started with Tiger’s Curse and Tiger’s Quest. I could immediately tell that Tiger’s Curse was Colleen Houck’s first book. Her writing needed some polilshing. With Tiger’s Quest I noticed some improvement. However, I didn’t immediately feel compelled to go on and read the third book in the series. I may or may not pick it up at a later date.

The Selection

The I moved on to Kiera Cass’s The Selection series. I read the first two books in this series as well. They were just okay. I rated them three stars on Goodreads, but I really think they deserve 2 1/2 stars. It was mostly, I love him. No, I love him. Does he love me? I hate him. Now I love him. Can I trust him? Over and over.

Elizabeth 1

Being mostly disappointed in my reading choices here, I’ve moved on to Margaret George’s Elizabeth I and I’m really enjoying it. It’s the second of George’s books that I’ve read and I like her style. Writing from the 1st person point of view of Elizabeth I, George takes a lot of liberties with history. However, she throws enough actual events in there to keep me happy. I never get bored with the story and my only wish is that it was a smaller book so that it would be easier to read in bed. 😉

Have you read any of these books? Do you go through reading slumps and if so, do you have any advice for getting out of them?

Posted in Reading

October 2014 Roundup

Round-UpOctober was a busy month and NaNoWriMo, November promises to be even busier. Considering that I put myself on a book buying ban last month, my reading still ended up being pretty decent with only a few minor disappointments. I hope that you can say the same. Without further ado…

  1. Every Day by David Levithan – 5 Hearts
  2. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – 4 Hearts
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 5 Hearts
  4. Festive in Death (In Death #39) by J.D. Robb – 4 Hearts
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – 3 Hearts
  6. Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  7. Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  8. Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  9. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts
  10. Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts
  11. The Murder of Adam & Eve by William Dietrich – 3 Hearts
  12. Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz – Did not finish – Broken Heart
  13. Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Including item #12, my read books for October had an average rating of 3.46 Hearts. Not including item #12 they had an average rating of 3.75 Hearts. Again, not too shabby. My favorite book of the month is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of Rainbow Rowell. I just have one more book of hers to read before I’ll have read them all. She needs to write faster. Do you have any favorite writers that you feel that way about them? That they need to write and publish faster?

My least enjoyed book of the month was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I enjoyed her writing style but not the story. In case you were wondering, I don’t include Frozen because the reason I didn’t read it was because the formatting for the eBook was frightful. It also needed some major editing. I mean, names and the beginning of sentences weren’t capitalized. I couldn’t read it like that. It was an ARC, so nothing was really lost on my part.

How was your October reading? How did it compare to September?

Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading: October 19, 2014

Weekly What I'm Reading

I really deviated from what I posted last week. WHICH IS WHY I don’t commit myself to a weekly TBR. I read what I feel like reading or else it becomes something other than fun.

Anyway, I said that I was going to start reading Z by Therese Anne Fowler but I nixed that in favor of starting Gail Carriger’s YA series, Finishing School. Book #1 is Etiquette & Espionage. I am so far, loving this book. It is so much fun and the way that Carriger immerses the reader in a steampunk world is fabulous. The reason for the switch was because Netgalley sent me a notification about book #2, Curtsies & Conspiracies being available to the first 500 as a “read now” so I jumped on it and got it! Woo!! I have book #1 from Netgalley as well, but I had bought a hard copy of the book several months ago. I figured I had better get to reading them so that I can do reviews for both books. Plus, having read the first three Parasol Protectorate books, I knew I’d love these YA and I do!

Ally Condie MatchedI did finish reading the entire Matched trilogy by Ally Condie last week. I definitely enjoyed reading all three books. I loved the dystopian world that Condie created and I really loved her protagonist, Cassia. I especially liked how the third book was told from three different points of view. I know that some readers don’t having the perspective changed, but I really feel it gives a book more depth when you get to see the story from several points of view. Also, first person pov is unreliable. When you have two other 1st person povs to back up the other, the reader can more easily see what is fact and be able to interpret the emotions of the characters based on how the other characters interpret the same events. Know what I mean? I also love these covers, lol. I definitely want to read more of Ally Condie’s work.

To conclude, my plan for this week is to finish the 1st Finishing School book and start/finish the second. After that, I’m going to say that I’ll finally get to Z but we shall see.