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Late Night Post.-

Hello world.

It’s 1:24 AM.

I am not sleeping and I am not sure what will happen when I do.

But let’s not linger on my personal life.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

by Sherman Alexie

First of all, a big thank you to my American teacher for lending it to me.

It was a really funny read. No, it’s not trivial. I’s actually a good book. It won the National Book Award in the United States.

This is not a review, I should say, because my attempt at writing right now is obviously a failure, all the words I say in my head sound like incoherent Gibberish.

I liked Arnold/Junior’s story (yes, I’m talking about the book now), and what I liked the most is that he could see a good part in everything. Even in his best friend Rowdy who hated him, punched him in the face and gave him a concussion. And I loved that he had the courage to go on adventures. He had the courage to climb 50 feet trees and punch a huge dude in the face and study in a school for white kids (he’s an Indian, racism is pretty strong around reservations, from what I’ve read.) And he had the courage to go out with the most popular girl in school! This takes courage, you should see those kids, they are vicious!

And the most impressive of all, he had the courage not to give up when he was down, he swallowed his weakness and stood up and kept fighting until he finally won.

That’s a lesson we should all learn.

By the way, this is my Spring. She says hi. ūüôā

That’s it. I should go before I say anything stupid. The level of confusion now exceeds its normal limits, which, in my case, are pretty wide, so, I should go to sleep. See what’s gonna happen tomorrow.

Just for the sake of it, and because I make people confused:

Mood: excited and nervous

Listening to: Ducu Bertzi- Suflet fara chei

Song that is actually playing in my mind: something of  French origins.

Okay, I’m out. Au revoir folks! See you demain!

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If I Stay and Where She Went

I just finished reading this first book. I think I’ll give it a 3 out of five. It’s not that I didn’t like it, because, all in all it’s been a good enough book, but it didn’t make me twist of feel anything the characters did. I could feel the hard work the author put into writing this, though, and somehow that is a downside.

What I liked is how the characters were made real. A hippie couple formed a family and even though we don’t read about Mia’s parents much, we know there was a great love story behind it.

There aren’t many things to say about the book, the plot is simple and the author’s intentions are obvious, so no surprises are on the way.

Sure enough, the second book I have by Gayle Forman is Where She Went¬†and it’s the sequel to If I stay¬†I don’t know exactly how much had passed from IIS but it seems interesting for now, even though it starts on the same slow pace.

Unlike the first book, I felt sorry that it ended. The pace was slow at times, perhaps in an attempt to show not tell, but Adam’s point of view was a brilliant idea and extremely pleasant for me to read. I thought at the begging that I’d give this book a 3.5, but I believe it made it into a 4 star.

I have enjoyed it despite some repetitive motifs. But It’s the end that makes the book. And the last 20 pages or so were really good. As was the explanation the author gave for If I Stay.

So, yeah, if you feel depressed, go read If I Stay, then this great sequel, and feel better.

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Mockingjay

It is needless to say I don’t usually cry on books or movies. I can count on my fingers the ones that made me weep: Bridge to Terabithia- the movie, because I haven’t got the chance to read the book yet; Anna and the¬† French Kiss- by Stephanie Perkins, because I love Paris so much and I just couldn’t not react; and¬† If You Could See Me Now– by Cecelia Ahern, a book that made me sob all night long and every word is imprinted on my brain; and finally, these three books: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I wept even from the first book, in the beginning when all the people from District 12 gave Katniss the thankful salute for saving her sister from the reaping. Catching Fire was safer for my eyes, but Mockingjay is such a powerful book. It’s so full of sorrow and real pain. It’s not the physical pain that matters, because Katniss faces it bravely, not even the heart pain, because she knows how to distract herself, but the mind that breaks into tiny pieces that can barely be put back together is the problem. Even though Katniss may not agree to that, she is going mad, her mind is in shreds and she acts sometimes without putting any thought into what she is going to do.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I usually do my reviews spoiler-free, but I just can’t explain this book (to myself, not to you, you can find your own explanation if you wish) without revealing key details. So if you haven’t read Mockingjay, go now, then come back and read the rest of the review. ūüôā

            I was taken back by the easiness with which Suzanne Collins kills her characters. Of course, these are The Hunger Games, only one is allowed to survive, so all others have to die. Basically, the same thing happens in a war, but we, as readers, grew acquainted with the characters, we learned to trust them and found out their weaknesses and the people they love, and we learned to love them, as Katniss did. And then they died, risking their life for the Mockingjay to survive, giving it away, conscious of their actions and their use.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Suzanne Collins described a war from which no one gets out unharmed. Every single character is wounded, boxed in with no choices, brought to the edge of despair, madness and beyond. Katniss is mad practically the whole third book, and Peeta, ah, poor, darling Peeta who no one can resist loving him. The author figured out the best, if not only way to hurt him and hurt Katniss. I don’t know if any of the deaths were gratuitious. In a war almost every death seems so. What fault had some of the men who worked in the Nut? What harm did Katniss and Gale’s fathers do? And by all means, what did those Capital children do to deserve a slaughter?

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And yet, these are not the reasons I cried. Sure, I was more than surprised to hear about little Prim, not wanting to believe what had happened to her, but it’s only afterward that my eyes really begun to hurt.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The third part’s name meaning dawned on me when Katniss shot that last arrow of the war. This should have brought her at least relief, or maybe just confusion, but she sunk into despair, and at some point I really thought she would become like one of the morflings: a once glorious victor who couldn’t stand the sight of reality.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† After she goes back home, that’s when the real madness descends. I figured out how these books don’t apply the regular paths of writing: three disasters, character’s inner goal, external goal; having to decide between making the right decision or achieving the initial goal. More than being just another ‚Äúchoose the right thing to do‚ÄĚ book, here the character has to decide things of great importance not only for her and the immediately loved ones, but for everyone’s future. The faults and holes of her chosen paths are the ones that drive Katniss mad. Those weeks, months or even years it took her to heal to the point where she could talk to Peeta openly, those are the pages that made me shed those tears. It’s frightening how long it takes the mind to heal, incredible how the author put it down on the paper with this much realism. The claustrophobic feeling seized me in Katniss’ nightmare, all those people shoving ash over her, not being able to move or breathe while death caught you, but not quite took you from the living world.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Ironic how, in a way, Katniss is exactly like all the other characters in the other books: she was a¬† normal girl, with a relatively normal life then somehow she got to be the key, the only one who could fight the war of two worlds. The details are as important as the plot itself. So many things happen in one book. In the first one, they only go into the arena in chapter 13, in Catching Fire, we are way into the books when the Quarter Quell is even announced, and Mockingjay is so full of small different plots I can’t even think where to begin.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Suzanne Collins mastered a craft that many writers strive to achieve. The characters feel real by the actions they follow, even if Katniss’ first point of view became a little repetitious and hard to follow in her despair. Not only has she created a living world with real problems and solutions just as complicated, but she made us think. This is not a story about a girl who pretended to be a bird, not about her choosing a boy to love, it’s about revolution: why has it occurred to the people, what are the risks and the loss, and what are the achievements at the end of the day. And I just happened to notice the form of government they adopted at the end.

            Congratulations on an extremely well written book with more to it than the story. Also, congratulations to the crew that made the audiobook, Catherine McCormick did a fantastic job reading the book and singing the two little but powerful songs.

 

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The Hunger Games and Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins.

 

Two wonderful books I have read in the last days, and if you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you sure heard about my enthusiasm. ¬†I won’t even begin.

The story is less about Katniss Everdeen and her pain and her doubt and how she struggles with everything, than it is about the world. It’s a modern allegory that I never even hoped I’d read. The political system, the organisation, the Capitol, all are images of what we’ll become if we go on acting like this.

This is the review I made on Goodreads about Catching Fire, since the Hunger Games review isn’t much a review, but rather an exclamation of ¬†awe.

No wonder, this is what I am currently reading:

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Wild Girls

You may remember I bought that book from BookDepository. Well, I did buy it during the exams period and only recently I had time to read it.

It was recommended to me by Camy Tang when I asked her about writing a story mainly about two characters. I never imagined she would give me a book about writing, wrapped in a nice story.

As usual, the back cover synopsis is plain. The colourfulness of the book cannot be resumed in a sentence or phrase.

Mainly, the story is about two girls at the verge of their teenage years, trying to figure out what awesome things to do in their spare time; which does not include make up, malls and boys. Yes, it is true, they win a writing contest and that triggers the entire actual plot, but that happens almost in the middle of the book.  And I found that fascinating- as a writer and a geek, if one might wonder why.

The girls attend a summer writing class with a college professor who teaches them how to write. And this is how I get to my point. The girls attend eight classes during eight weeks and for each class they have to write an assignment. Their teacher gives them tips and advice on writing.

Guess what I’ll be doing this summer? *yay*

Okay, so , FIRST CLASS.

In that first class Verla asked a lot of really strange questions and she said stuff like: You’re the only one whho knows the answer to this question. Questions like these don;t have right or wrong answers. If you don’t know the answer, make up ans answer. Later you can figure out if it’s true.

Here are some questions she asked:

  • What was the first thing you heard when you woke up this morning?
  • If you got to take one thing from your bedroom before a meteor hit your house and destroyed everything, what would you take?
  • What does your room smell like?
  • What would you most like to eat for breakfast? Why?
  • How do you feel about papaya?
  • What’s your favorite color?
  • What scares you? Why are you afraid of that?
  • If you had ten thousand dollars and you had to spend it all in the next hour, what would you buy?

The first thing I heard when I woke up was the sound of ¬†my phone’s alarm. Then ducks and chicks from my yard.
I’d most probably take one book and my blanket. Because one always need a good story and to be warm, even with a meteor on their house.
Currently my room smells like shampoo and shower gel but most times it smells like crowded books and boxes and dust.
I love sandwiches made in the sandwich-maker: with melted cheese and ham. It’s like the perfect sandwich, but warm and with melted cheese. Nothing beats melted cheese.
I feel it’s orange and probably sweet.
My favorite color is blue, the same color of the Red Sea.
It scares me that I could do something wrong about something someone else cares about and I screw it up big time.
I’d buy a house.
“You’ve got to pay attention,” she said ” When you write a story, you want the person reading to see and hear ¬†and smell the world you make up. Pay attention and describe what you see”
..
At the end of the class she gave us two homework assignments.
“First, I want you to interview someone who is at least fifteen years older than you are. Find out where that person was when he or she was your age. What were they doing? What did they care about? What were their plans, their hopes, their dreams? Write down your questions and their answers. That’s the first assignment.
Second, I want you to write about something that really scares you.”

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Shoutout!

I really really don’t have time for more, cuz it’s almost midnight and I’m hungry and sleepy and have two monster exams tommorow. You *have* to read this post by Stephanie Perkins! Why? Because she’s the genious who wrote Anna and the French Kiss. You know, that awesome book with Paris in it.

And now I’m letting you counting here until the very expected companion book comes out. Say hello to Lola! It made people cry. That’s never a good sign.

Vania from VLC Productios is reading the book beforehand and I am SO gealous! But she loves it and I forgive her.

And finally, listen to this, if you liked Anna, you’ll like this music too.

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Black Swan

This is from the Movie Review Series. I just watched Black Swan. I am still listening to the credits music, actually. You can listen to it here.


The beginning didn’t impress me. A woman treated like a 12 year old girl by her mother, she has a crush on her instructor. She is blinded, by the safety¬†of her home, by the perfection of her moves. She has passion in her dancing, only she doesn’t show it. It’s trapped inside her and letting it out meant a total exposure of herself.

Meanwhile, a dark shadow follows her, obsessively . Nina tries to escape it, but it is a force beyond her power.

When Nina sees a threat in her new colleague, she changes. The role changes her from the beginning, the spectator is left to interpret whether the change is real or just the product of a tormented mind.

Nina(Natalie Portman)  is the White Swan. But she has to play the Black Swan as well. The climax is murder. She murders the other black swan in order to be herself one. Her performance is brilliant. Only now she cannot be the White Swan again, the purity is gone.

The wound in the other girl’s womb is now gone, instead she is herself stabbed. Nina rises up to the final act. The final scene she has to jump over from a cliff. Nina hesitates, she knows that killing the White Swan meant killing herself. But she does it. For the sake of the performance.

The end justifies the meaning. And I take it as a methaphor for art and for the creator. There is sacrifice in creation. One must die for the other to live. And if there is some similitude to The Picture of Dorian Gray, I take it as such. The Other Black Swan is who Nina actually is- a personality repressed by all the discipline, self-imposed or imposed by her mother. She lets go of herself, takes off the cloak and kills the picture, in order to become the picture herself. She is The Black Swan as she dances, she feels and breathes evil.

To return to what she was before, to the White Swan, she cannot kill anyone but herself. She sees her womb stabbed, like she’d stabbed the Other Black Swan; the womb, the place where all evil dwells. And she accepts her sacrifice, to be perfect, and she dies, having got everything she ever wanted.

Aside this, there is the story of her mommy. A former ballerina herself, all she can do is make sure her daughter succeeds. Perfectionism in her case is compulsive, and it has two sides. Nina is the perfect part of her, and she controls her as carefully as she can. The other side is the black, dirty side of perfection. And if her obsessive control over Nina is from her heart, the drawings, her attitude emerge from her sick, troubled mind. Her maternal instinct knows that something bad is about to happen to her daughter and locks her in her room. Nina cannot be controlled though. At the final performance, the mother knows, as well as the daughter, what will happen when she jumps off the metal cliff. It’s like the cordon between them was never cut.

So what we actually see in this movie is that we cannot be two persons. We are either the Black Swan, and we kill the good in us, or the White Swan, we return to the¬†initial¬†condition, to the purity, to childhood, even; and by killing the evil in us, we die for a greater cause, one that is beyond us, and the film suggests that this is art by Nina’s last line:

 I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect.

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