Saturday, 18 January 2014

What you should be reading

'When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret. Now that I am 50 I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness.'

- C.S. Lewis

At some point in my life I started to think that there were certain books I couldn't read anymore because I was 'to old now'. I also felt that way about some genres. Adults surely did not read fantasy? I'm glad that I finally reached that point in life where I just don't care anymore what anybody thinks of what I am reading or that I don't feel anymore like there are certain books that I should be reading. So whenever I feel like it, I just reread one of my books that I read as a child. I read books in almost every genre including childrens, teenagers or classic literature. In all the different types of books I always find something else that I can love.

How about you? Are there certain books you are afraid to read (or admit that you read them) because you feel like you are to old?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Review - Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent #1
Genre: young adult / science fiction / dystopian
Pages: 487
Rating: 5/5 stars

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My thoughts
I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time. When a friend of mine said she had bought it and I could loan it, I first said that I was going to buy it myself. However, I couldn't wait any longer and borrowed the book from her anyway. I had heard about this book before, but never given it much thought until I heard it was being made into a movie. I'm really glad that I finally read it, because it's been one of the most enjoyable books in a while.
After The Hunger Games was a huge succes, there seemed to appear a lot of dystopian novels that where very much like The Hunger Games. Divergent is the first dystopian novel I've read in a while that was different than any of those. I was intrigued by the idea of a society split up in factions that represented certain character traits. Eventhough I don't think that governements would ever decide to organize their people this way because they probably would revolt against it, I could also see why people might think that this could actually work. I liked that the book was all about how Tris had to decide what her future would look like and how it would affect those she loves. Tris was a very realistic character and I could relate to her very easily, eventhough I live in a society that is completely different. She was a quiet girl, but was also strong-willed and brave. She was likable and smart, but she wasn't without flaws. Like any other human being she had her ups and downs and, she too, fell apart from time to time.
Christina, Will and All were all interesting characters too. They struggled in different ways with the question 'how far can I go to achieve what I want?' I liked that the line between friendship and enmity was sometimes very thin. Allthough it would have been hard to deal with that, it was very realistic that something like that would happen in such a harsh environment.
The book was very fast paced and a lot happened. Roth was not afraid to let unexpected things happen and because of that there wasn't a moment that I was bored or struggled to read on. This was definitely one of those stories that kept me up at night, wanting to know how it would continue. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and to see the movie.

'We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.'

Friday, 3 January 2014

Review - Cinder by Marissa Meyer

11235712Genre: young adult / fantasy / science fiction
Pages: 434
Rating: 4/5 stars

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My thoughts
I really liked the concept of the book that it is sort of a retelling of Cinderella but with a cyborg as main character. Sometimes I find retellings a little bit annoying when they are to much like the original story, but this one definitely was something different. I didn't know that the plague would play such a big part in this book, but I really liked it because it raised the stakes. I thought Meyer did a good job of making Cinder a real character. She struggled with the fact that others thought the was worth less than a human because she was a cyborg and didn't like that people couldn't see beyond that, but she herself also had her prejudices about the lunar people. She was a likeable main character, but she also had her flaws. 
The ending was a bit predictable, but still enjoyable. The book was fast paced and made me want to read on until I was completely finished. The only aspect of this book I didn't really like, was the ability the lunar people had with which they could influence the way other people saw them. There was sort of an explanation of how this worked, but it wasn't a full explanation. I rather have no explantaion at all than a bad one. Than I can just accept it, instead of being confused. Usually with science fiction elements I want things to be explained, but with fantasy elements I can just accept that some things are the way they are in the story, eventhough they would not be possible in the real world. The power of the lunar people seemed to be neither fantasty (as in magic), nor science fiction (although it clearly was meant to be).

Thursday, 2 January 2014

I hope you surprise yourself

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. 

—  Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Goals for 2014

I wish you a verry happy new year! 
May it be full of good books!

For this year it is my goal to read at least 40 books, of which at least 5 are classics. I'm not sure which ones I will be reading this year, but I think I will read one of Jane Austen's novels and I will be rereading The Hobbit. Divergent is still on top of my to-read list so I'll definitely be reading that one soon. I can't wait to finally catch up with that series.

As far as writing concerned I want to finish at least the first draft of one of the stories that I'm writing and finish Nanowrimo.

What are your reading and/or writing goals for this year?