Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taft 2012 by Jason Heller

Taft 2012 is written as though William Howard Taft disappeared in 1913 and then magically reappeared in 2011. He struggles to understand current society and technology--Google, Twitter, and the rights of African-Americans--while also finding new-found fame as a presidential possibility. (*spoiler alert*) Through a "random" uprising (?), the Taft Party emerges wanting Taft to run for president, which he does, until he realizes who is really behind the Taft party. I found this novel entertaining at first, until the author's obvious political beliefs crept in (legalizing marijuana, promoting vegetarianism/veganism, animal rights, food regulations...just to name a few). It is definitely a quick read, but enjoyable as long as you don't mind someone else basically rambling on about their beliefs as a thinly-disguised political platform upon which Taft runs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

So I saw the movie Hugo and thought to myself, I bet that was a book! And looky here, it is! Now to the unfortunate part...I should have read the book first (always a must). The whole time reading (which only takes about 2 hours since most of the book is in black and white drawn pictures), I kept wondering how the Station Inspector's romance was going to be introduced, when Hugo would hang off the side of the clock, when more images from Georges' movies would be shown...and none of that happened. I should also mention that during the movie, I was thinking about the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight" music video...if you've seen the movie, watch the video and you will understand! Suffice it to say, I think the movie may have been better than the book (the horrors, I know, I don't need to hear it) because of the subplot of the Station Inspector romance it and also because one could see the actual footage of Georges' old movies.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I really, really enjoyed this book, and it was a breeze to read. The story centers around a girl, the titled Frankie Landau-Banks. She attends a boarding (?) school that her father went to starting her freshman year, where she is essentially invisible until she becomes a sophmore with boobs and a boyfriend who happens to be the most popular guy at school (and a senior...gasp!). She is very annoyed, though, because Mr. Boyfriend keeps ditching her for his friend Alpha on a oh-too-regular basis, so one night she follows him and discovers that the secret male society that her father randomly referenced being a part of is actually true, with her boyfriend and Alpha as the Kings. She knows her father talked about some book of the secret society's, so she goes out to find it, and in the meantime, poses as Alpha online and sets up ridiculous pranks against the school, very a la Looking for Alaska. Her whole point is to show that girls can be just as good as guys when it comes to pranks and that the secret society should not be male-only. I really loved the feminist bent to the story (anything boys can do, girls can do...better), which is something I would not have picked up on had I been an actual teen reader and/or not suddenly wanting to know about feminism and its roots, thank you, Republican Party, for your War on Women. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Catfight: Women and Competition by Leora Tanenbaum

I really really really enjoyed this book. My only caveat is that it is 10 years old, so Facebook is known as the "face book" (that is verbatim from the book). Tanenbaum does a wonderful job of exhibiting why and how women compete against each other in the realms of beauty, dating, careers, and motherhood. Since it was written before Facebook became a household name, it would be interesting to see how the book would change if it were updated today. Facebook has become the ultimate in competition--I, personally, have been Facebook-free for almost three months and life has gotten a lot better. I would spend so much time on it, essentially comparing myself to all my friends and acquaintances daily. I saw who started a relationship, who ended one, who got engaged, married, had a baby, graduated, owned a house, etc., and always felt that my life did not measure up. But it measures up just fine for me right now, since I no longer constantly compare myself to people I rarely see in real life, let alone people who truly matter on a daily basis (that is not to say that I compare myself to people I see every day). I definitely recommend this book (and sorry about the Facebook tangent)!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Since I enjoy dystopian novels, but had not read this, I decided to give it a whirl. The book is definitely over 50 years old, and goes on a lot of seemingly random tangents (that still seem random thinking about them right now...). The book centers around Guy Montag, a fireman who sets books aflame. Books are feared since they breed ideas, and society has been set up in such a way that not much thought is used. I found the story odd and difficult to get in to. I don't much recommend it, such there was not much for plot or character development. Everything pretty much centered around the downfall of society and how books are not really evil things and should not be outlawed or burned.