Tag Archives: culture

The Book Thief

I finished this one during Hurricane Matthew, one of the few times I’ve found time to read nowadays, and was crying by the end. I will tell you now this book comes with some of my highest recommendations. I haven’t cried for a fictional character in a while, and I’m sorry this review is so late because I haven’t had the time to write it, but I finished another book while I’ve been trying to get around to writing this review so maybe I’ll have that review posted soon.

The premise, for those of you who don’t know, is Death is fascinated by humans. None more so than young Liesel, who has lost both her parents in different ways and witnessed at the start of the book the death of her brother. This is also the first time Death sees Liesel., it will not be the last. The death of her brother also leads Liesel to steal her first book, just before she finds herself on Himmel Street where she spends the majority of the remainder of the book. There she is raised by the Hubermann family, Hans who she comes to call Papa and Rosa who is Mama. They are an odd pair who seem to hate each other more than they love each other, but that is just their way. On Himmel street Liesel makes a friend in Rudy Steiner, who is her neighbor, obsessed with Jesse Owens and wants nothing more than to be kissed by Liesel. Later Hans Hubermann will bring into the Hubermann home, Max the Jewish fist fighter and if I neglected to mention now would be a good time to tell you this is during Nazi Germany. This gang of people form a family. Liesel learns to read on Himmel Street, defies Hitler, even in the smallest ways, and steals more than just books. It’s hard to describe the premise of these book because I fear giving too much away, but I will say I really loved this story.

What I loved about it was that it’s told from the perspective of a young, blonde, German girl who isn’t Jewish. So often books told during the Holocaust are told from the perspective of someone Jewish, and while that makes sense because their stories need to be told, so do the stories of the Germans who didn’t support Hitler’s war or cause. I love that this story, is being told by Death. It’s such an interesting turn of events and kept me wondering how and when Death would meet Liesel again. I love how Death speaks of humans, and the tone he/she/it is given. I really fell in love with the characters. Max, Hans and Rudy were my favorites but they’re all just incredibly well put together and fully realized. I even found myself wanting to know what was happening to the smallest side characters. This is a really gripping story about a young girl, growing up poor in one of the darkest times in history. It’s about her life, the people she meets and loves along the way and the truly haunting aspects of being human. It’s a beautiful story and I would honestly read it again, even though it hurts my heart.

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The Secret Life of Bees

I won’t lie, I only ended up picking this book up because I saw the trailer for the movie and was interested in it and I can’t watch a movie that I know was a book first without reading the book first. (This post contains a spoiler, if you wish not to read it stop at the * and jump down to the next paragraph)

The-Secret-Life-of-BeesThe story, set in South Carolina in 1964, follows 14-year-old Lily Owens. Lily lives in a house with her abusive father, T.Ray and her entire life has been shaped by the single blurred memory of the day her mother was killed. Though Lily and T.Ray live alone, they have a no nonsense housekeeper named Rosaleen, who is like a surrogate mother to Lily. The story takes off when Rosaleen is arrested for pouring her bottle of “snuff juice” on three white men. When Lily finds out, she breaks Rosaleen out of the hospital she in and the two decide to run away. After hitchhiking they end up at the home of the Boatwright sisters, August, May and June, who make honey. Lily lies and says she’s an orphan and the both Lily and Rosaleen end up being invited to stay with them. To repay the Boatwrights for their kindness, Lily begins working as August’s bee keeping apprentice and Rosaleen does chores around the house. While Lily is working for August she learns about May’s twin, April, who committed suicide some time back, as well as June’s confusing relationship with her boyfriend Neil, whom she downright refuses to marry. She also meet’s Zach, August’s godson, who also helps with the beehives. As Lily and Zach begin talking and telling each other their dreams, they develop romantic feelings for each other. Also, Lily learns of the Boatwrights religion, which they call Daughters of Mary. This is when Lily learns what the Black Mary that is featured on the sisters’ honey and a card that once belonged to her mother, truly means. *Just as things are looking up for Lily and Rosaleen, an outing with Zach results in his arrest and the fear and sadness that follow lead to May committing suicide. A vigil lasting four days is held, and in that time Zach is released from prison. After the family finishes mourning June agrees to marry Neil and Zach tells Lily that one day they will be together. Lily finally tells August the truth, only to discover that August was her mother’s old nanny. August then tells Lily what really happened to her mother in the time leading up to her death. Afterwards, T.Ray shows up looking for Lily. The rest, you’ll have to read to find out.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think anyone who enjoyed The Help will too. It’s got sort of the same feel, but not entirely. While issues that existed in the Black community during that point in history were brought up and examined, that wasn’t really what the whole story was about. I really enjoy historical fiction so this was right up my alley, but I think even if historical fiction isn’t really your thing you’ll find enjoyment in this book, because it’s more about the story than the history. I really enjoyed the characters, their struggles and the growth that they all go through as the story progresses. I liked how the answers weren’t always what Lily wanted to hear, because it made the story more realistic. And, surprisingly enough, I also enjoyed the movie. However, the book was still better and I definitely recommend it.

 

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Quidditch Through the Ages

Don’t hate me. As it turns out it’s hard to find a book that starts with Q and this is the only one I’ve read. I promise this post won’t be very long because explaining this isn’t hard to do, so let’s get to it.

QuidditchthroughtheagesThis is a book about the history of Quidditch, the sport favored by many people in the magical world. To explain it better for muggles, it’s at popular as soccer is for most of the world, except in America where they prefer Quodpot, which hasn’t been as well received around the world.  The book details out the beginnings of the game, how it grew and developed over the years and what the current rules are. The book also goes over the history of the flying broom and how it evolved into the racing broom we know today. It goes over the anti-muggle protection charms placed on Quidditch pitches around the world and the Quidditch teams of Britain and Ireland.

Honestly, even if you don’t care about the sport, the books pretty fun to look at. The cover claims it’s property of the Hogwarts Library and inside we see checkout dates and the people who withdrew it from the library. There are drawings throughout the book so the reader gets a better visual of what old Quidditch balls and goals looked like, not to mention older broom models. It’s super short so it didn’t take up much time to read and it was pretty fun delving a little deeper into one of the only sports to ever actually interest me.

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Klingon and Other Languages

Well, we could hardly have this list without touching on some of the languages that have been born from geek culture. It is a surprisingly decent list too. Some will be more well-known languages and some will be more underground. Some will very likely surprise you, but many of them will have people who speak the language, some fluently. I’m not ashamed to say that  I would like to learn one or two of these languages. I’m also not ashamed to say that I do know one. Anyway, here is a list of languages that have been invented for and by geeks:

  • Dwarvish- Brought to us by Middle Earth, or the world in which Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit take place. This is obviously the language of the Dwarves. Now, the technical name for Dwarvish is actually Khuzdul. It was influenced by Hebrew and very little vocabulary is actually known.
  • Dothraki- The language was invented for the show Game of Thrones and actually now has a book and disk set to help you learn to speak the language. Dothraki is both the name of the people and their native tongue. It is a relatively new language but people seem very keen to learn it, so I’d expect it to be popping up more frequently soon.
  • Elvish- Now, they actually have several different constructed languages, though the most in-depth and widely known would have to be Tolkien’s Middle Earth Elvish. Though in the game Dragon Age and also in Dungeons and Dragons the Elves have their own language and may speak a few words of it. Tolkien’s Elvish, however is a very well planned out language and would be the one people were talking of when they say they can speak Elvish. If you want to get more into that you’ll have to check the Wiki page.
  • Gallifreyan- The language of the Time Lords, from the show Doctor Who. I, one night, learn to write in Gallifreyan. It’s a bit hard but fun. This language is fan made, and is only a written language, not spoken so if you want to learn you’ll have to be okay with just passing secret notes between yourself and your Whovian friends. Also, since this language is, as of now, only a fan made language its rules might change over time, so we’ll see if this language grows or stays forever head canon for some fans.
  • Klingon- One of the most widely known constructed languages. This one started on Star Trek, so as you can imagine I do not know much about it. But the language seems to have strong Latin influences and was meant to sound very alien as that’s what Klingons are. This is one of two languages invented for the Star Trek universe. It is both a written and spoken language and has many fluent speakers.
  • Na’vi- A very new language with very little vocabulary known. Based on the language of the people called Na’vi from the movie Avatar. Obviously since it’s new there has not been much of a push for a dictionary of more from the language, but if you want to be able to say a random few words others wouldn’t understand, there’s a good place to start.
  • Simlish- Yep, that gibberish Sims speak is technically and language called Simlish. There is no official guide to the language because it was literally meant to be gibberish the player could imagine meanings for as they played, however, there is an unofficial dictionary that can be found online that give a good idea as to the means behind some of the more frequent gibberish phrases the Sims use. I’ve looked it over once or twice and I must say, as an avid Sims player, it seems like a pretty legit guess.
  • Wookiee- I bet you didn’t realize that those guttural noises Chewbacca was making were actually a complex dialect commonly called Wookieespeak. Well, they were. The technical name for the dialect would be Shyriiwook, which is their main trade language. This is a language that can, indeed, be learned for anyone who wants to, though i feel like if you aren’t a Wookiee you sound a bit ridiculous speaking it since no tongue or lip movement is necessary and we just aren’t used to talking like that.
  • Vulcan- Another language that was invented for the fans of Star Trek. The written and spoken language seem very complex though I believe still able to be learned. In fact, I’m almost positive there are geeks out there who can speak Vulcan, though my understanding is not in the same numbers as those who learned Klingon.

Alright, those are some of the most well-known constructed languages. If you’re feeling geeky, go out a learn a few. You might be surprised how many people know it too.

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Just Saying- A Public Service Announcement

Take cover!

Take cover!

I have done pet peeves before, but it was mainly just my pet peeves as a book nerd. These are some pet peeves some geeks, myself included on a few of these, have about non-geeks and geek adjacents. I’m going to put them out there because you might be doing something and not even realizing it’s rude or annoying. So, just in case you didn’t know, here are some things that might be annoying:

  • Spoilers– This should seriously be a common decency thing. I mean, if I haven’t seen the latest episode don’t tell me what happened unless I’ve asked! And thanks for not at least saying Spoiler Alert when you post crap on Facebook or Twitter! Really? Do you know how upsetting it is to stumble on to an important plot moment that i haven’t made it to as I binge watch that show I never got a chance to catch earlier? I mean, sure maybe there are some things it should be absolutely shocking to find someone still has not seen or read, but that doesn’t give you the right to be rude when I’m sad you ruined an ending for me. There are some people who don’t mind spoilers, but the decent thing to do is ask.
  • Fake Glasses– This is more of a pet peeve i have as a person who actually needs glasses. I hate the fad of wearing fake glasses to look more…I don’t even know to be honest! Are you trying to look geeky/nerdier? Are you trying to blend in to your hipster brethren? Are you trying to look smarter? To me, you just look obnoxious. Glasses are not a fashion statement! My glasses are a necessity…I am literally going blind and now people don’t even believe I really need them just because the lot of you out there trying to look cool or whatever! It’s annoying. I don’t want to have to prove my eyesight is bad because people are wearing fake glasses. Seriously, knock it off.
  • Geek because chic– We all know what this means. You call yourself a geek now, but back when it wasn’t fashionable to dress and act like a geek, you weren’t “gaming” or “reading comics” were you? No, you are just following the trend, and you know what, after the trend has passed I’ll still be here nerd raging and you’ll be off bringing fedoras back or whatever it is that’s considered cool now. I don’t like fake geeks. I’m sorry but I have no respect for someone who just follows the trend. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to find your geek and join the culture, I’m saying if you are only here because it’s become socially acceptable by the mainstream, get to stepping. You don’t belong here and you know what? All us real geeks know it. That’s why we don’t invite you to our parties…and our parties are awesome!
  • Book Haters– Okay, now I’m not talking about people who hate to read because I am a firm believer that anyone who says that just hasn’t found the right books yet. No, I’m about to nerd rage about something else. People who don’t read the book because they “saw the movie”…AHHHHHHH! NO, NO, NO! IT IS NOT THE SAME! *breathing deep* Okay, I’m sorry about that. But, this is the worst thing for me because then they have all these opinions and I’m just like, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, read the book.” And they are all like, “No, I don’t want to, i saw the movie.” And I’m just sitting here trying not to scream in their faces because they are being stupid and their entire argument is invalid because the movie got that part wrong but they don’t know because they are annoying and stubborn and like have you never read a book whose movie got some stuff wrong???? AHHHHHHHHHHHH! (Next year I might do this challenge solely about books)

Okay, I have official annoyed myself just thinking of these things, so i need to be done for now.

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