Friday, 5 October 2018

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by: Art Spiegelman

Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
Published: November 1, 1991 by: Pantheon Books
Pages: 159
Rating: 5/5 stars

In an attempt to reconnect with his cantankerous and ailing father, Art Spiegelman begins writing and illustrating a story about his father's experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. As his father recounts the blurry details of a horrific past, Art splits between writing about the war, and about how he wishes his father was less stubborn and a bit more compassionate to his patient wife. This graphic novel is a story about the gruesome details of the Holocaust, but it is also about the long-term affects that the war had on the elderly, and the relationships severed because of it.

This book was flawless. The illustrations were poignant, heartbreaking, and so incredibly real, and the story of Art's father was heartbreaking. What's unique about this book is that Art uses the metaphor of the cat and mouse in his illustrations. All Jews in the book are drawn as mice, and all Nazi's are drawn as cats. These details really show the harsh authority that took over the war, and the innocence of the victims.

I loved how this graphic novel didn't really read like one. I do not like graphic novels that have too many pictures and not enough text, but this one was overflowing with rich dialogue that felt like I was reading just a regular book. You can tell that Art is as talented a writer as he is an illustrator.

This book is special because it flips between Art's father in the 1940's, and how he is now. You can really see the affect that the Holocaust had on his mental health, and that has made the relationship with his son difficult. This is a brilliant novel that explores much more than you ever thought you knew about the Holocaust.

Have you read Maus? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 28 September 2018

Month in Review: September

I have been so busy this month I barely literally forgot I was reading a book. But, I did survive the first month of second year, although I am exhausted. Here's what happened in September:

What I Read: 

Little Fires Everywhere by: Celeste Ng: 5/5 stars 
Maus II: A Here My Troubles Began by: Art Spiegelman: 5/5 stars 
Pretty Madcap Dorothy by: Laura Jean Libbey: 1/5 stars 
Titus Andronicus by: William Shakespeare: 4/5 stars
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by: Emily M. Danforth: 4/5 stars 

Favourite book: Little Fires Everywhere was my favourite book of the month. It was suspenseful, dramatic, and beautifully written. I finished it all in about a day, and I definitely want to read more from Celeste Ng. 

What I Blogged: 

I had a good old talk with a lot of you guys about Writer's Block and feeling uninspired. Thanks to you, I now feel motivated to just post what I love and I am looking forward to the future. 

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Based on my writer's block post, Cee posted her own post about how to combat writer's block that I think a lot of you may find helpful. Check it out: 7 Radical Ways to Defeat Writer's Block

Life Stuff: 

Uhm, it's been a month. The stress of second year and having to go back to reality after a really fun summer took its toll on me, and I found myself really sad and anxious most of the time. I don't really love my school schedule and I have also switched jobs in the process which means more time devoted to learning a whole new job, and stressing over not doing things correctly. But hopefully with my fall break and Thanksgiving coming up in a week, I will feel a lot better.

 So that was my September. How was yours? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

My TV Show Pet Peeve: Lazy Writing

So going off of my post last week in which a lot of you told me to just write what I love, I decided to revisit a post that I scrapped because it was just too rambly and all over the place. I am reworking it a bit and hopefully get a good rant in! Although not book related, this post mostly has to do with a TV show well known in the book community, and that is The 100. There aren't any detailed spoilers in this post but some plot points may be revealed so if you want to go into season five completely blind, you have been warned.

I cannot stand it when tv shows get lazy. Meaning that plot lines are ignored, there are extreme continuity errors, and things that have been built up all season are completely thrown out. Nothing checked all of those boxes more than Season 5 of The 100 series.

I'll try to keep things as neutral and spoiler free as possible, but in a nutshell, a huge battle that was teased all season, was completely, (literally and figuratively) blown up. The war barely even happened, and instead, in the last 15 minutes of the season finale, a whole new plot came along that involved the characters racing against time to save the entire human race. Again. By the end of the season, we were introduced to yet another time jump, only this one is a lot longer than the first.

I feel like The 100 writers have just gotten very lazy. They keep building up these huge issues throughout seasons and then they don't even end up happening! Season 4 was when this first started becoming a problem, but Season 5 was just an absolute mess. There is nothing worse for a tv lover, in my opinion, to have to sit through hours of buildup with no end result. And the ending we do get, is just a cheesy, way too fast moving scene that ignores the core of the story. Seriously, all of this "destroying the earth and racing to get back to space" is so damn repetitive.

I don't really know why tv writers decide to scrap plot points towards the end of the season. I guess the technical term is lazy writing, however I think that the poorly made action scenes are also just a cheap way to get more viewers. Let's be honest here, despite my frustration with the series, I will always watch those action scenes because I just need to make sure my faves don't get hurt. But I am tired of writers and their commitment to just rushing through things to make way for a new season to come. I seriously think that The 100 needs to plan a lot better for Season 6, as I'm not sure how deep my frustration can go before I stop watching.

Have you ever watched a tv show that contained lazy writing? What did you think of The 100 finale?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 10 September 2018

I've Got Writer's Block

This year, I am entering my creative writing course at university, which will hopefully give me the tools needed to turn writing into a career. To prepare, I decided to revisit my semi-abandoned WIP. I have about twelve pages of it written, which is farther than any other WIP I've started. (If you don't count my NaNoWriMo book, which was just a disaster.) I hadn't really touched my WIP since May, and when I tried to start continuing it now, I just couldn't. I wasn't inspired by it anymore.

I guess you could say I have writer's block. This WIP which was so vivid in my head about a year ago, has now turned into absolute mush. I have no idea where I want it to go, and I can't even bring myself to keep writing it. I've been feeling so uninspired recently that none of my ideas, if I even have any, seem good or groundbreaking enough.

I've been feeling this with my blog as well. Book reviews are pretty much the easiest things to write because I have a vehicle provided to me to go off from. But a book blog is not built on book reviews alone, and I literally don't know what else to post about anymore. Every time I think something will work and begin writing, it derails and I scrap it. I care very much about what people think when they read my posts, and I quite frankly am not proud of anything original that I've been writing.

I know that there are writing prompts all over the Internet to help with these kind of things, but nothing seems to be working. I feel like when I take somebody else's prompt, the idea is not mine. But the problem is, that I cannot come up with my own ideas!

It doesn't help that there are so many amazing books out there being published, that I don't want my idea to be a "been there, done that." I'm at the point where if I read a really good book, I say to myself,"why didn't I think of that?"

I'm appealing to the book and writing community. What do you do when you have writer's block? Do you sometimes struggle with being "original enough" in the blogging community?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Color Purple by: Alice Walker

Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction
Published: April 1, 2004 by: Pocket
Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5 stars

In the American South, Celie is born into a world of poverty and segregation. She is raped repeatedly by her stepfather, and is tragically separated from her only friend, her beloved sister Nettie. When she is sent to work for and marry into a wealthy and abusive family, she meets Shug Avery, a glamorous singer who takes Celie on a journey to find her joy and reunite with her loved one.

I have read a few essays from Alice Walker for my English classes, but for some reason The Color Purple never stood out to me to read. One day at the library I saw it on the shelf and decided to give it a go. I have listened to a few songs from the Broadway musical and thought it would be a powerful read. I was totally correct.

Alice Walker has such a unique way of writing that is very poetic. Even if she is writing in prose, her words fly off the page and have such deeper meaning than just explaining plot. She perfectly captured Celie's distinct voice that it almost felt like she was right there telling me the story. There is a very distinct tone in this novel.

I love novels that come full circle in the end, and this one did. Every plot point served a purpose and the ending was absolutely superb. Walker was very clever in the way that she planned events in the novel, in a way that made them all make sense by the end. I'll admit I did feel very emotional by the end.

The only problem I had with this novel is that it is very visceral. By this I mean that the details, especially the rape scenes, were very graphically written in a way that was a bit uncomfortable. This poor girl went through so much in this novel, and there were times when things just got a bit too heavy for me. But at the same time, I do think that this book's point is to make you uncomfortable, and to not hold back on the harsh realities of black people during this time. That being said, if these things trigger you, do proceed with caution.

Overall, I am really happy that I gave this novel a go. Alice Walker has become one of my favourite writers and she is overall an amazing exemplification of an incredible artist in her craft.

Have you read The Color Purple? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Month in Review: August

Summer is over, I am a wreck because I am starting uni again and I absolutely hate fall. So you could say things are going pretty well at the moment! August was an amazing month and I am truly sad to see it go, but I do have some other great things during the year to look forward to. Here's what happened:

What I Read:

The Girls by: Emma Cline: 2/5 stars
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by: Jenny Han: 5/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You by: Jenny Han: 5/5 stars
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by: Jenny Han: 3/5 stars
Circe by: Madeline Miller: 5/5 stars

Favourite Book: My fave book was Circe. I loved The Song of Achilles so much and this book just satisfied my Greek mythology-loving heart.

What I Blogged:

My favourite blog post of the month was my review on the highly acclaimed To All the Boys I've Loved Before movie! I reread the series this month to gear myself up for the film, and it met all of my expectations. Please watch it.

Favourite Blog Posts:

Amy shares some Writing Facts about Herself
Veronika and Clare discuss Books that Should be Required Reading
Cee explains Straight-Passing

Life Stuff:

August was eventful and I am so upset that it's over. I went to a lot of birthday parties, it was fun catching up with extended family. Last week I went to Centre Island, an amusement park in Toronto with my cousins. It has always been a tradition of ours and I don't think we will ever stop going. (No matter how squished we get in some of the rides nowadays)

I also went to a concert this week. On August 27th I went to see 5 Seconds of Summer with my sister and cousin. This was my most highly anticipated event of the summer as I have loved this band since 2013 and their new album is off the charts amazing. It was my first time at a general admission concert in which the fans have been absolutely ruthless and while some people were quite disrespectful (we're talking cutting in line), it was an incredible day that I just wish never ended.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Ed Sheeran, and it is very much my last event before moving back to university. I am already pretty sad and dreading for it to be over, because once it is I will be in full back to school mode. But I am also very excited because Ed does put on an amazing show.

That was my August! How was your month? Are you as upset as I am that summer is over?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Movie Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

If you have been absent from book twitter for the past week, then you might be unaware that the To All the Boys movie came out on Friday. People have pretty much been going mental over how utterly adorable is, myself included, and I just knew I had to write a full review on it. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible, but if you haven't seen the movie yet and want to go into it fully blind, then you can just skip over this review, I won't mind.

Release Date: August 17
Rating: PG-13
Director: Susan Johnson
Run-Time: 1 hr 39 min

To All the Boys was released on netflix as opposed to in theatres which I thought was such a smart move. As someone who doesn't have anyone that would be interested in seeing the movie with me, I didn't have to go to the theatres myself and instead could enjoy from the comfort of my own home. And boy was this film comforting.

The acting was superb. I was a bit hesitant over Peter's casting when it was first announced; Noah Centineo just didn't look like a Peter to me, but by his first scene, I instantly fell in love. Right down to the way he talked, was utterly Peter K. I also really loved Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She was so cute and awkward, exactly how I pictured her. Lana and Noah also had impeccable chemistry, without being overly sexualised.

This movie had such witty dialogue and actually made me laugh out loud at scenes. Some parts were so quirky and relatable that I couldn't help but chuckle. It was funny with no overly dramatic points, perfect for a light and easy to get through film.

Even though the film was not exactly like the book, it stood on its own as a heartwarming tale. Jenny Han even made a cameo which was so sweet and got me really excited. It was quite emotional to see a series I have loved so much be so well received by the general public. And can we talk about that post credits scene?! There HAS to be a sequel now.

If you haven't seen this movie already and you have Netflix, please do. It needs to be hyped up and I am convinced that this story needs to continue.

Have you seen To All the Boys I've Loved Before? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess