Monday, May 27, 2013

I think it's finally time that I go back to Annabelle, the novel I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo. offered to participants who completed the 50,000 word goal to give five copies of the novel they had written in like real book form. Awhile back I made the cover design for it all - the question is, should I order it (it' free, just pay for shipping)? My only hesitation is that it is a super rough first draft and that I will no doubt be embarrassed of so much of it. Do you think I should go for it?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why I Enjoyed As I Lay Dying More than The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the FuryAfter powering through the second half of The Sound and the Fury, I finished somewhat confused and unsettled. Benjy and Quentin had incredibly difficult sections to work through, and it was pretty difficult to know what was going on through most of it. After reading some helpful summaries online after I finished each section, the missing pieces were filled in, luckily. Jason's narrative, although a welcome relief from the disjointed streams of consciousness of Benjy and Quentin, was unnerving. When you read, it is a time to embody another character's worldview: to see themselves and the world around them in the unique way that they do. Jason was an awful man, and seeing his hateful views on the family members I liked was unsettling when it came to the end. Jason goes on a hunt to kill Miss Quentin, and hurts Luster and Benjy in the process, completely absorbed in his own selfishness. Yet, nothing really happens to Jason in the end, there is no justice served for how terribly he treats his family, unless you count the tragedy of his life beforehand.

Dilsey was a fantastic character, she is the antithesis of Jason in that she is loving and selfless; she is the only mother that Benjy and the Compson children truly have. My favorite part of the book, in fact, is when she proudly takes Benjy to church with her and states that God loves him as much as anyone else in the world. I enjoyed Caddy's character probably as much as Jason despised it, and I also was fascinated by Quentin- I had never read a character like his before.

The family dynamics in both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are what I enjoyed the most about both novels. It was interesting to see the similarities- each book about three brothers, both mother's in the novels had a special love for the son that treated them the worst, and each of their daughters were promiscuous and had an unwanted pregnancy. I also love how Faulkner sets his characters in the same town, so when I first read Anse's character in The Sound and the Fury I was sort of mind-blown.

Overall, I liked As I Lay Dying more because I thought the relationships in this novel were more interesting and intricate; I felt like there was more to each one of their stories. The Sound and the Fury primarily dealt with each sibling's relationship with their sister- Benjy's longing, Quentin's distress and possibly incestuous desire, and Jason's raging hatred. As I Lay Dying explored the ideas and ethics of Darl's insane actions and state of mind, if he was truly insane at all. The novel shed light on Jewel's character, who was seen as spiteful and harsh but in actuality cared deeply for his family. Cash, well, he is just my favorite character ever, so I'm very biased on him. All of these reasons and intricacies Faulkner laid out in As I Lay Dying, along with Addie's unique, mothering figure that touched each of her family members lives in an enormous way, were just something that I found unmatched in The Sound and the Fury. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Perfect Graduation Gift

Even though my bookshelf is at maximum capacity, I can't help but to want to begin a collection of these beautiful books. Scrolling through tumblr, I found this blog of an amazing designer who created these Penguin classics. The books are cloth, hardcovers with gorgeous color and designs of so many of my favorite novels. I'm hardcore dropping hints for a few of these as a graduation present; I found an Amazon listing of the Dickens' novels for significantly less than the expensive list price, so it's looking up!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Was Gatsby Great?

The Great Gatsby was assigned summer reading going into my sophomore year, and sure, I liked it, but I never really got it. After seeing how incredible the movie looks I picked it up again, and now I literally can't believe I let it just sit on the shelf all these years. The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest books I've ever read; it's one of those few books that have completely blown my mind and I feel like everyone needs to just read it.

By luck, as I was just finishing the novel, I was assigned Gatsby in my AP Literature class's Literary Death Match, aka a fight to the death. By this point I was basically in love with Gatsby, extraordinarily peeved at Daisy, and just detested Tom. I was a mess of feeling for this book and didn't do it justice.

But what I wanted to make a point of in the match against Frankenstein was why Gatsby was, indeed, great. After thinking about this central question a lot, I've come to the conclusion that Gastby was great because of his "extraordinary gift for hope," as Nick Carraway famously introduces him as possessing. Gatsby stares out across the bay, living on the wish of a perfect restoration of the past. All of the wealth and riches Gatsby acquires mean nothing if they do not please Daisy; he is only this rich because he wanted to meet her standards. 

Gatsby is a perfect representation of the American dream: to become something out of nothing, to become wealthy in the monetary sense, but also in the sense that he would be rich having a "golden girl". But, perhaps because of the overwhelmingly wealthy lifestyle Daisy has lived her entire life has made her so careless, so unable to appreciate Gatsby. No matter Gatsby's endless waiting, Daisy just did not care, and this carelessness translates directly to the tragedy of the novel. 

Gatsby was great because he is a manifestation of everyone's desire to live fully. His ambition is what we all have somewhere- Gatsby's was simply clouded by "foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams," or Daisy, the unworthy fixation of his devotion. Gatsby rose from nothing to almost unimaginably rich but the novel really is revealing how this wealth leads to corruption. The Great Gatsby is a perfect account of this life of Gatsby, who cannot be seen as anything less than great.

Trading in Books

So, I've always been pretty sentimental about my books. I've kept them on display in my bookshelf for years. Lately, my bookshelf has been overflowing and I want to read more and more different books. My taste is surely changing, I just took eleven YA books and got some fantastic ones in return that I can't wait to read: Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Catcher in the Rye! Even though I feel a little cheated for getting just $13 for all of the books I brought in, I'm trying not to dwell on it.

What I sold:

What I bought:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What I'll Be Reading this Summer

The somewhat completed, hopefully plausible and subject to be lengthened summer reading list I have made for myself:

I'm most looking forward to The Catcher in the Rye and This Side of Paradise! Hopefully will get to those first!

The Catcher in the RyeTess of the d'UrbervillesGone with the WindSlaughterhouse-FiveThe Art of HappinessThe Sun Also Rises
Love in the Time of CholeraPersuasionThe Old Man and the SeaA Farewell to ArmsThis Side of ParadiseTender Is the Night
The Beautiful and DamnedGreat ExpectationsThe Five People You Meet in HeavenA Midsummer Night's DreamOthelloMuch Ado About Nothing
As You Like It Julius CaesarDavid CopperfieldWar and PeaceAnna KareninaFor Whom the Bell Tolls