Hey, you nerds. You know what I like? Pretentious movies that are aware that they are pretentious and make fun of themselves. (Does that make them more pretentious? If they know they’re pretentious and continue with their pretensions?) Anyway, a movie like that is Submarine.
First off, it’s directed by Richard Ayoade, who is hilarious in The IT Crowd (watch it on Netflix) where he plays Moss, a character who has great lines like, “Women, eh? Can’t live with ’em, can’t find ’em.” (So good.)
Second, it is narrated by / follows Oliver Tate (see poster), a 15-year-old boy who says things like, “I suppose it’s a bit of an affectation, but I often read the dictionary” and “To us and a wonderful evening of lovemaking” but still expects to lose his virginity.
Third, the cinematography is really pretty.
Fourth, Oliver Tate, again. And other characters like Graham Purvis the mystic and Oliver’s parents.
Fifth, also the soundtrack is good!
Sixth, okay go watch it now.
Here’s a trailer, if you need some extra media to convince you:
Sometimes I like to read books because everyone who reads is reading them, and also the obnoxious pink and orange cover of One Day kept catching my eye at bookstores. So I went on the library waiting list for the ebook version of this one and, although it took over a month, finally downloaded it to read. And I am sorry you guys, but I do not understand how it has gotten so much attention with how lame it is.
Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
So this book is about how obnoxiously-leftist-feminist-political-turd-who-is-way-hotter-without-her-glasses-obviously Emma is totally into party-boy-doesn’t-give-a-shit-about-politics-but-is-super-hot Dexter (“Dex”) and how one time they hook up after college graduation and then they meet up every year after that and have awkward we’re-pretending-to-be-friends-but-secretly-we’re-in-love-with-each-other-lol moments. Both of them have crappy lives because obviously life is crappy when you aren’t with the person you love. OBVIOUSLY. And then the ending irritates me more than anything, because it is obviously meant to pull at your heartstrings and it is so cloying and horrible.
Other things that are horrible: seriously, stop talking about Emma’s stupid lips or Dex’s stupid eyes or anyone’s stupid hair. The romance novel language is THE WORST. Also, the characters are stupid cookie cutters and two dimensional and I didn’t give a rat’s rear about them. Also, the Britishisms felt forced and awkward. (Sorry, Brits.)
Actually, I just figured out the worst thing about it, and it is that it makes me think these two words: Lifetime Movie. So read it if that’s your thing, but ignore it if it’s not, and you’ll be happier.
Other things: I hear the movie is also terrible and Anne Hathaway’s accent is laughably bad.
Other other things: HAY YOU GUYS I CHANGED MY BLOG ALL UP. Check out my clips (I’m so professional) and my books read list up in the corner. Hopefully a background change will be coming soon ’cause that’s the one thing I’m not really happy with.
Other other other things: THIS SONG (and video). So good.
Because who doesn’t love books involving suicide, social isolation, and serial runaways?
Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Maybe some of you (all you readers who don’t exist) remember that I read the facebook book a few months ago, half by Jay Asher. I decided I liked that enough to read Thirteen Reasons Why, and also this book is kind of a big deal so there’s that, too.
Anyway, the book is about Hannah Baker, or rather, about the tapes she left for certain people to hear after she committed suicide. Heavy stuff, guys. The tapes are basically about what and who made Hannah want to kill herself, and they’re to be heard by all the people who are to blame, and also Clay Jensen, poor dude. Of course he’s full of guilt as he listens to all the tapes before he is to send them on and none of this book is a happy story.
But you know what? Way better than the facebook book and even though I find the idea that someone would be angry enough to leave suicide tapes behind really really disturbing, the concept is way more believable and way better executed. (Sorry, Jay Asher, but I couldn’t really get behind FACEBOOKFUTUREBOOK.) Also, good things for kids in schools to think about: small actions make a big difference. (HEY THAT WAS FACEBOOK BOOK’S MESSAGE, TOO.) Not my favorite book in the world because I didn’t find it super compelling (like I said, same message as about a million other books), but I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, because it’s well written and one of those books that’s obviously going to be a big deal to teens.
Author: Stephen Chbosky
So I read this book because I have a girl crush on Emma Watson and she’s in the movie adaptation. I have to say, guys, I have no idea how they are going to make this into a movie I like because honestly, this book was not very good.
This book is all about social outcast Charlie who somehow finds his way into a “cool” crowd of kids and all his (mis)adventures. I’m a be real, though, it was way Catcher in the Rye except only the bad parts, like how the narrator is really obnoxious about not understanding anything, except this book is even worse about that because this kid does not understand anything at all even more than Holden didn’t. But somehow this group he falls into of seniors (while he’s a freshman) thinks he’s the bee’s knees and get him all sorts of drugged up and girlfriend-ed and it’s weird you guys, it makes no sense.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why teen readers are into this. It’s all growing-up-y and it’s great if you’re a social outcast and you’re like If Charlie can get friends and he is SO WEIRD AND CRIES ALL THE TIME totally I can get friends too. But if you have even a little post-teen perspective the whole thing just seems shallow and try-too-hard and frankly disturbing, because these seniors hanging out with Charlie do a lot of questionable things to a boy who is so socially stunted.
2 stars, Goodreads. Because ugh.
So, uh… good luck, movie industry. I will probably (totally legally) stream this on the internet after it comes out just to see if Emma Watson can save it.
Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
I also decided to finally finish my John Green reading before the next book comes out, which roommate Katie is totally pumped about and pre-ordered, so I’ll probably borrow her copy because I’m cheap. (Run-on sentences are fun.)
So here’s another quirky-girl gives boy-who-would-probably-not-attract-quirky-girl-in-real-life the run-around book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining, and I like it, but John Green, this girl does not exist in real life, and if she does, she does not function socially very well. She could not manage to be super popular like Margo, and probably no one would go looking for her, because boy-who-would-not-attract-her also wouldn’t be into her, because he’d see that she’s kind of a mess, you know?
So anyway, Margo kidnaps Quentin (Q) in the night to go mess with a bunch of people who messed with her, and then she runs away and Quentin and friends try to find her because she always leaves clues. And it’s super entertaining, and it’s got endearing characters (even if they aren’t quite real and are very derivative of his past books), and if you like John Green, obviously you’ll like this because it’s quintessentially John Green. Quirk, romance, mystery, funny, and smart, while just barely missing the mark on being deep and profound because you can’t get over the characters-who-don’t-exist, so you can’t really get into their problems.
That’s it for now you guys but guess what. I’m reading TWO BOOKS FOR GROWN-UPS right now. So I promise it won’t always be this ridiculous shower of young adult books. (Sry.)
(I couldn’t come up with a more ridiculous title, sorry. Next time, blog.)
So here’s some sad news blog: I have another internship (not sad news for me, just for you, blog) and I have no internet at home (T-Mobile figured out I was secretly tethering internet and wants to charge me boooo) so I don’t have a lot of time / opportunity to blog. Right now I’m sitting at Starbucks ostensibly researching travel so I can be a brilliant travel blogger, but actually as you might have noticed I’m blogging here. (I will still research travel. Don’t worry, other internship. It’s early afternoon, still.)
Anyway, I’m going to try to blog regularly, but it’s probably not going to happen. In the mean time I will be reading a million books, and some of them will probably be for grown ups. (I have 12 books to blog about including Wildwood and a whole FOUR of them are for grown ups. Can you believe that, blog?)
So here it is. I read Wildwood. And got some swag from B&N, too.
Author: Colin Meloy
Illustrator: Carson Ellis
Remember when I read the Wildwood excerpt before and loved it so much? Well, I went out to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square on the day Wildwood came out and bought it in hardcover. That’s love, you guys. I am really cheap and have no money. (Here’s a fun fact: the B&N didn’t have the book out yet and many of the employees were confused when we (Katie and I) asked for it, despite the part where they had promotional material (awesome buttons and artwork) for it. It took a while before I had a copy in my hands, but I did in fact get the book that day.)
Anyway I read it and I really liked the whole thing! The book has definite touches of Narnia, but with less Jesus-y themes (as in none) and hints of hipster instead. The vocabulary is, as usual with Meloy, way higher than your average vocabulary, especially for a middle grade book. This was, for the most part, really great, because more books should do that (esp. adult books), but (sorry Mr. Meloy) to be perfectly honest, it sometimes got a little bit tiring. The book is pretty long (560 pages, a veritable tome) and the writing style just gets wearying to the point where you can’t really sit and read huge long spans of it at once, even if you want to (and I did).
The plot itself is pretty great, although there are areas where it drags. I think what the book does best is creating a new world and the characters in it. So many great characters. Owl Rex! Septimus! Curtis! (I wish the books focused on Curtis instead of mostly on Prue, to be honest. I like Curtis better. Prue is kind of a B sometimes.)
But the best part about Wildwood is Carson Ellis’ illustrations. They kept me more into the book than even the words did, because they are just so great. I loved the full color illustration pages and I loved the chapter illustrations and I loved the black and white ones. They were just all great. I love Carson Ellis’ style. This book made me want to read other books she illustrated, just for her illustrations.
And, bonus, Katie and I went to see Carson and Colin at B&N’s Upstairs at the Square event series and they were really adorable and we got our books signed.
Despite the at times wearisome writing style (which actually I really like! it’s just difficult 560 pages straight), this book is really really excellent. I’m glad I have it in hardcover to read lots of times over. Beautiful illustrations, adorable characters, humorous and adventurous and worth your read. Go do it.
I watched Northanger Abbey (Felicity Jones / Masterpiece version; it is ridiculously funny) and it was so good that I read the book. (This might be backwards, but sometimes I think Jane Austen works better this way.)
Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
You guys, this book is so funny. Really, Jane Austen is hilarious. All you have to do is get into old-timey language and then you just totally get it and it’s so smart and biting.
Basically, ordinary girl Catherine Morland goes to Bath and meets hottie Mr. Tilney and his sister, Eleanor, and they invite Catherine to Northanger Abbey where she’s pretty sure all kinds of crazy mysterious stuff is going on because she reads too many Gothic books.
Carey Mulligan Isabella Thorpe and her bro John try to mess some stuff up, but obviously true love prevails in the end because it always prevails in the Austenends.
You should totally read it. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but I would’ve given it 4.5 if I could have. And also watch the Masterpiece version because it is really really hilarious.
Here are some fun quotes:
“On his two younger sisters he then bestowed an equal portion of his fraternal tenderness, for he asked each of them how they did, and observed that they both looked very ugly” (Loc. 480-81).
“Here Catherine secretly acknowledged the power of love; for, though exceedingly fond of her brother, and partial to all his endowments, she had never in her life thought him handsome” (Loc. 1399-1400).
“She was all impatience to see the house, and had scarcely any curiosity about the grounds. If Henry had been with them indeed! But now she should not know what was picturesque when she saw it” (Loc. 2120-22).
Go read it right now. Bonus: You can tell your friends you read a Jane Austen novel and it wasn’t even Pride and Prejudice!
Like VAMPIRES or DYSTOPIAN SOCIETIES WHERE THEY VACCINATE AGAINST LOVE or RELIVING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER and stuff.
Remember when I liked Vampire Academy? Well I also read Bloodlines, the spinoff book. Because I’m cool.
Author: Richelle Mead
Okay you guys, this book was not as good as the Vampire Academy books but mostly I think that’s because I wanted dear Sydney the Alchemist to be less awkward so that she got more action. If I am going to read YA paranormal stuff, I want more romance, you know? What is the point otherwise? I am looking for cheesy romance, and there is not as much in this as in the VA books. HOWEVER, it was still pretty good and one of the characters that gets kind of a crappy deal in the VA books (Adrian) gets a lot of page time here and you can tell there WILL be some romance. Anyway, so I can’t really say much more because it will spoil the other books, but I can say that the last line in this one makes me really excited for the next one. (I still feel bad for liking these books so much ugh.)
So in that way where Ali encourages my worst habits, like reading YA books, she advised me to read Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
Author: Lauren Oliver
So in this book, Lena is about to turn 18 and then she’s going to get this awesome operation so that she never gets deliria, which is FALLINGINLOVESICKNESS. Her mom committed suicide ’cause she felt too many feelings so Lena is super pumped to be protected against it but THEN SHE MEETS A BOY, DUH. The writing style of this book was impressively not the worst, like is often the case in YA, so it was pretty good. Ended with a cliffhanger, of course, and of course the next book isn’t out for forever (like a few months), but still pretty great! Another bonus: the dystopian world is not the worst, either! Aside from love, the government is pretty anti things like music and having lots of fun with your parents, which makes a lot of sense if they’re against love. You get pretty into the characters, too, so this is actually a pretty superb example of YA. Way better than Matched also.
So then I read more Lauren Oliver! And actually I can’t remember which of the Lauren Oliver books I read first; I read them very close together. This next one was written first, fun fact.
Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
This book has been described as Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls and that’s totally true. Basically, Samantha dies and keeps reliving that same day with different outcomes. Sometimes that’s a little dull, because you just want it to get to the point already, you know? But then it picks up more as you learn more and more along with Sam about all the mean stuff she and her mean popular friends were up to. Sam becomes more honest with herself and I get really excited about decent messages in YA books, so that’s great. Delirium kept my interest better, but this is also a quick, excellent read. Yay for Lauren Oliver!
Only nine books behind now! Also I’m reading another book for grown ups so go me! ALSO happy Mindy-Kaling’s-book-comes-out Day!
So the next easiest category I found in the YA books I’ve read was BOOKS WHERE KIDS ARE EXCELLENT MUSICIANS. I have read three of these. And really “read” is stretching it because one of the books was this book, from Penguin:
Authors: Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
So this book doesn’t actually come out until February and I read it because I know a dude who works at Penguin. So anyway, the book is entirely made up of photographs so it’s a quick read because there’s almost no reading to do. Basically it’s about piano genius Glory who meets this dude Frank and then goes crazytown until she can only play Chopsticks because her dad thinks Frank is lame and tries to keep them apart. OH WOE AND ANGST etc. Then the book makes you doubt the narration of the photos and blah blah and it was just so gimmicky that I thought it was kind of terrible. The images were nice and everything, and they’ll be even nicer in the final copies (since I saw an advance copy, it wasn’t as pretty as it’ll be later) but the story was just not even a little compelling to me. The characters were so flat because pictures and they really couldn’t be three-dimensional and it’s too bad. Good try, Penguin. I bet kids will like this, though, because angst or whatever. And maybe it’s even a bonus that the characters are barely characters, because then you can SUBSTITUTE YOURSELF IN YAY.
At the Brooklyn Book Festival, I heard Gayle Forman read from If I Stay and then talk about how she didn’t have a love triangle in her book because love triangles are lame and why do young adult books always have those? I was intrigued, so I read:
Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
So in this one, cello genius Mia gets in a horrible car accident that kills off her parents and she’s all kinds of in a coma. But lo! She can see everything going on around her, like her awesome (guitar genius) boyfriend, Adam, coming and being sad and her other family coming and being sad and she basically thinks about her life as it was and how it will be if she wakes up and it’s really good and deep for a YA book, all talking about things that matter like what it means to be alive and whatnot. So read this one!
After reading that I was like, YAY let’s read the sequel:
Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
And it was such a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well-written. It’s told from hottie guitar-player Adam’s POV and he’s going on and on about how hard it is to be a super famous guitar player since his band, Shooting Star, took off. (Sorry Gayle, but that is a terrible band name.) It is SO ANGSTY and SO OBNOXIOUS. Again, teens are into that kind of thing sometimes, but I don’t listen to Evanescence (anymore) and I don’t want to hear all the whinyness about how hard life is when you are famous and rich when I am worrying about real jobs and paying the rent and whatever. Or ever, really, because I’m just not into angsty teen books. SO READ IT IF YOU ARE, it’s still a good book, just not my thing. Also, there were some great Mia/Adam moments that made me keep going, so there are those, too. Just. Not as good as the first.
YAY PRODIGY MUSICIAN CHILDREN IN LOVE.