Calendar Girls- Best Shakespeare Play

Welcome back to the sixth month of Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly blog event co-hosted by Flavia and Melaine and designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers. Calendar Girls was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl, For more information, about the Calendar Girls community click here!

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June’s Theme- Best Shakespearean play

There are quite a few things that I love about Shakespeare plays. One of them being that the stage direction is so vague that they can be set anywhere and essentially have leaves the play in the hands of the director.  The play can take place a high school, or on Verona Beach, the ghost that can be seen as super scary can be a giant lion voiced by James Earl Jones ascending from the clouds, side characters can ride unicycles, extremely important speeches can take place in a Blockbuster video. ANYTHING is possible.

1432My choice for this month’s topic is Hamlet. I love this play. The first time I read it was in high school as part of a Shakespeare class that I ended up in on accident, but ended up really enjoying. After reading this play, the teacher showed us parts of 3 or 4 different movies. The fancy “traditional” one, one with Ethan Hawke with the Yorick speech in the Blockbuster, and some other less memorable ones. I think the point of that was to show us that anything can happen in Shakespeare using the same dialogue. Hamlet alway stuck with me. Even after reading many of the Shakespeare’s plays, this one stands out above the other ones. I did that “Alas poor Yorick” speech in college as part of a drama presentation, but if I remember correctly we had to choose a passage from Hamlet and not just any passage, and I already had it memorized, so that was a no-brainer.

I think one of the reasons this particular play stuck with me so much is because it’s so Emo. I first read it in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. 2005 was a pretty emo time with the beginning of Panic! and Fallout Boy and the already steady influence of other bands that I should probably know the names of. Myspace was full of emo quotes and amateur gifs with lyrics. Therefore the overall feeling of Hamlet was one that I felt pretty regularly. It is probably the most melodramatic of the Shakespeare plays, and I think that’s what really drew me in.

I also found it super profound, again, I was reading this play the first time through the eyes of an 18-year-old girl in 2005, which is a very specific kind of person. Act V of this play is just so over-dramatic that reading the quick sparknotes summary to refresh myself that it almost seems ridiculous.  There is so much unnecessary death, and the fate of Ophelia is just so tragic. This is just a wonderful play.

 

Have you read Hamlet? What did you think? Is Prince Hamlet the single most emo person every to exist? (Trick question because it might be Ophelia.) What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

 

Next month’s Calendar Girls Theme: Best Fairytale retelling. 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

Calendar Girls: Best Sequel

Welcome to the fifth month of the reading/blogging event Flavia and Melanie are hosting, Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly event designed to ignite bookish discussions between bloggers based on the monthly theme. For more information, check out Melanie or Flavia’s launch posts!

This month’s theme: best sequel.

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My choice is the second book in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty, Second Helpings. To be honest, it’s been a little while since I read this book (about 7 years) and I desperately need to re-read this series considering how much I talk about Megan McCafferty, her writing, and how much I love her books, but I remember this one sticking with me for so many reasons.

 

 

I picked up this book because Hayley for the fiveawesomegirls youtube channel talked about it, and she was very excited about the release of the fifth one. Trusting Hayley’s taste in books I decided to dive in for a crazy ride that goes from YA lit to more adult literature and themes as Jessica, and therefore Jessica’s audience aged.

The first book in this series, Sloppy Firsts, was published in August of 2001, Second Helpings was released in April on 2003, Jessica, the main character is a senior in high school in this book. It follows Jessica through her senior year, the superlatives, yearbook prep, college selection, as well as her older sister’s pregnancy. It’s a turbulent year for Jessica as she tries, like so many of us have at 17 and 18 years old, to learn who she is and what she wants.

Between the release of the first book and the release of the second book, a huge event in American History happened. I was a freshman in high school that day. And in the nine years between that event in September of 2001 and March of 2010 when I read this book, I had never read a book that discussed the high school student reaction to it. There is a tone shift in the books that, looking back at them; you can tell that book one is a pre-9/11 book and the second in a post-9/11 book. It’s hard to explain, and I could have been imagining the whole thing, but there is a worry free honesty of the first book and the second book truly captures the change that there was in, at the very least, my high school.

Obviously, the Megan McCafferty’s take on 9/11 through the eyes of a high schooler who was not that much older than I was isn’t the only reason I love this series and this book. There is an honesty and a light-heartedness that Jessica’s character has as she writes her diary and explains the events of her life that feel so real. She doesn’t sugar coat her friendships with the people in her friend group who she calls “The Clueless Crew.” She’s conflicted about her feelings with two different boys. It just feels more real than many YA books I’ve read. There is also a lot of appreciation for Barry Manilow, which you just don’t see in YA literature.

I highly, highly, highly, recommend reading the Jessica Darling series. They are just good books.

Have you read them? Let me know what you thought!

Next Month’s Calendar Girl’s Theme:

BEST SHAKESPEARIAN PLAY

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

Calendar Girls- Best High Fanstacy Novel

Welcome to the third month of the reading/blogging event Flavia and Melanie are hosting, Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly event designed to ignite bookish discussions between bloggers based on the monthly theme. For more information, check out Melanie or Flavia’s launch posts!

This Month;s theme:

BEST HIGH FANTASY NOVEL

What is a high fantasy?  Well, High Fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than the real, or “primary” world. The secondary world is usually internally consistent, but its rules differ in some way(s) from those of the primary world (GoodReads.com).

So I’m not exactly sure of these stories are high fantasy, I asked the internet, and the internet gave several different answers, but I enjoy these stories, and it’s a fantasy, so I’m going with “yes.”

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So The Once and Future King by TH White is a collection of four Arthurian legends. There are probably 458 thousand Arthur legends, but these four are the most “well known” of the stories. The first being The Sword and the Stone which there is a Disney movie about, which is what got me interesting in the Arthur stories back in the day.

The books are set in fictional Britain where King Uther and Arthur Pendragon rule over the land. This book is a basic overview of the legends, going from Arthur’s birth to Arthur’s death, covering many, many events and characters in between.

 

I found this book hilarious; it was so funny. Laugh out loud funny. Parts of it are very, very, extremely serious, and there is murder, and war and accidental incest and father killing. It’s wonderful.

I read the “grown up” version of this book a while back, and I currently have it in my audible queue, so I’ll be listening to it soon. I find this whole legend fascinating. There are so many, and so many characters with their own stories. Many of the characters have similar names which can make it confusing at times.  I love this kind of stuff. I

I love this kind of stuff. I loved the show Merlin that was on BBC and SyFy a few years back. The Sword and the Stone was probably my most watched Pre-Aladdin Disney animated movie.

I would love to hear what your favorite high fantasy novels are and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Calendar Girls recommend.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

Calendar Girls- Best novel with an active war

Welcome to the third month of the reading/blogging event Flavia and Melanie are hosting, Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly event designed to ignite bookish discussions between bloggers based on the monthly theme. For more information, check out Melanie or Flavia’s launch posts!

This month we are discussing novels with an active war.

There are a lot of books about war. Being very interested in especially the political atmosphere the revolutionary war, I have read so many non-fiction and fiction books about it. Shout to the middle school treasure Johnny Tremain, who was fictionally employed by Paul Revere, that sparked this in me. Paul Revere, in case you are unfamiliar with him, was the man who did not travel across Massachuttes warning about the British. His name is just easier to rhyme with things.

However, my vote for best novel with an active war is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

 

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This book is beautifully tragic, it is written through the voice of Death and their interaction with a German girl during World War II. This young girl, Liesel, does her best to survive in a world where nothing seems like it can last long. The people she is living with are hiding a Jewish man in their basement, and she has to grabble with the semantics of wanted to be loyal to German and her foster parents and knowing that if anyone finds out, they will all mostly die. Liesel does what she can to make herself feel as normal as possible, she steals books and hides them as she watches libraries burn in the street.

This book is beautiful and shows the human side, the young kid human side, Liesel is in her early teens if I’m remembering it correctly, of this war. It’s deeply emotional and definitely one of the best books of the 21st century so far.

Have you read The Book Thief? What were your feelings about it?

How about you? What is your pick for the best novel about war?

Until next time internet,

Deanna

Calendar Girls: February 2017

I stumbled into a pretty cool thing today, and I was asked if I would like to participate in it and I said “yes please.” So here we are with my February 2017 post as part of the Calendar Girls.

Calendar Girls is a brand new monthly blog event inspired by Neil Sedaka’s 1961 song Calendar Girl. Just like in the song, we decided to use a specific theme for each month and choose a book based on these themes! The event is meant to incite discussions with other bloggers about books we’ve read and loved, is meant to help bloggers meet other bloggers, and also for bloggers and readers to find out about blogs which they normally may not have come across!

This event is hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie Noell Bernard. Both of these links go to the launch posts for this event if you would like to learn more.

Now without further rambling, my choice:

BEST YA ROMANCE EVER

in my opinion

 

As I look over at my bookshelf that is in desperate need of a makeover, I see several shelves full of YA romance novels.  Sarah Dessen, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Stephine Perkins– I would not call myself an expert but the subject, but I have been known to reading a lot of them. This was not an easy decision to make.

I thought back to books that centered around teenage love that stuck with me, and I landed on Gayle Forman’s Just One Day and Just One Year

These are the love stories of Willem and Allyson. They meet by chance while Allyson– a girl who has done nothing spontaneous in her life– is on a school trip to England. Allyson’s best friend convinces her to skip the scheduled trip to see Hamlet and to go see a Shakespeare in the park style performance because a cute boy asked them to. Allyson thinks they will never see each other again, but her friend convinces her to go on a trip to Paris on their last day in Europe and on the train they see Willem. Allyson and Willem spend an amazing day together, and when Allyson wakes up the next morning in a weird apartment they broke into, Willem is gone.

We are then taken on a journey of the next year of Allyson’s life as she tries her damnedest to find out what happened to Willem.

The sequel is Willem’s story as he searches for LuLu, which is what he calls Allyson.

This is a story that brings two people from very different background, socially, financially, emotionally, and all the other sorts of ways people can be different and having them fill in each other’s holes. At first, I was a little “get over it, it was one night” when reading Allyson’s story but the more I thought about it– and after reading the second book where Willem essentially has the same gut reaction to Allyson as she does to him– the story grew for me.

When I was thinking about which story to chose, the first thing that popped into my head was the ending of both of these books. There is something about them that has stuck with me years after reading them. I have gotten that with all of the Gayle Forman books I have read, but these two, Allyson and Willem have that perfect combination of could be real and fairytale adventure that makes their love story a great one.

And that is my choice for best YA romance. Do you have one? Let me know! I would love to hear what you think.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna