Tag Archives: book blog

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

  • Title: The Neverending Story
  • Author: Michael Ende
  • # of Pages: 445

SPOILER ALERT: mentions main characters and touches on major events, includes quotes without names or direct comments about the plot but that may give away points to attentive readers


Bastian Balthazar Bux is shy, awkward, and certainly not heroic. His onlThe Neverending Storyy escape is reading books. When Bastian happens upon an old book called The Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica—so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story! And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he has been the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?


I recently read Momo, also by Michael Ende. A quick Google investigation led me to the conclusion that my review of it was going to be the only non-five-star review on planet Earth, which reminded me – I never liked The Neverending Story, when I read it as a kid, either. I also didn’t like the movie. (Fun fact: Michael Ende didn’t think so either. he asked the production to stop, or at least change the name, because in his opinion it was too different from the original book. He sued and lost.) I thought the book really was neverending. As with Momo, I seem to be the only person who thinks this way. So naturally I decided to read it again and attempt to solve this mystery once and for all.

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Momo by Michael Ende

  • Title: Momo
  • momoAuthor: Michael Ende
  • # of Pages: 227

 

Momo has a wonderful life. She has no parents and her home is the ruins of an old amphitheatre, but she has wonderful friends of all shapes and sizes who take care of her, play with her and keep her company. There’s Beppo Roadwsweeper, old and wise, who loves her and cares for her like a father, Guido Guide, the storyteller who loves to make up local history for tourists, and the children of the city who love to play with Momo and find that no game is really much fun without her.

One day something weird starts happening to the people in the world. It starts with the old barber, who gets a visit from a very odd, very gray man who tells him he can start saving time in the Timesaving Bank and then, when he’s older, he’ll have enough time saved up to fulfill all of his dreams. The man agrees. In order to save up time he has to start giving up some small things – a daily hour with his old mother, a weekly visit to his lover, his habit of sitting around and contemplating life every evening. He’s not the only one. One by one, people start saving time. As they strive to become more efficient, they drop hobbies, family and friends. Very soon society turns into a sort of machine – there’s no point wasting a second on anything that isn’t neccessary. 

Momo and her friends start noticing the change around them. They soon find out it has to do with men in gray plaguing the citizens, convincing them to save time and then evaporating from their memories as soon as they’ve gone. They try telling people the truth, but when the men in gray find out, they find themselves in grave danger. As the world keeps changing, it’s up to Momo to save everyone.


I spend a good fifteen minutes reading reviews online before I set out to write this one. I screened through pages and pages of four and five star reviews, each one praising Ende more than the last, trying to figure out what went wrong for me.

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How Katie Got a Voice (and a Cool New Nickname)

  • Author – Pat Mervine
  • # of Pages – 26
  • *includes illustrations

How Katie Got a Voice (and a Cool New Nickname) is a story told by a fourth grade classmate of Katie, the new girl in school. Everyone in the school has a nickname related to individual interests and personalities. When Katie comes into the class, the students are eager to involve her in their activities and to learn what is special about her. This proves to be quite a challenge. Katie has significant physical disabilities. How can Katie fit in with her classmates when she can’t even talk? When Katie is introduced to assistive technology, she is finally able to communicate with her new friends. As a result, the students are delighted to see her as a person with many interests and abilities, just like them. Katie knows she is a valued member of the school when she is given her own special nickname.

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Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 – Part 2(/3)

Part two of my 3 part survey series! (sounds fancy when you put it that way). Credit, of course, to the wonderful lady at Perpetual Page Turner and her post, which can be found at – 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey.

You can find Part 1 here, where I answered questions 1-9.

  • Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
  1. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  3. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

        

  • Most memorable character in 2013?

Not too sure about this one. Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gentley is definitely a memorable guy, but I’m going to go with Ram Mohammad Thomas from Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It’s usually easier to connect to the character telling the story, and Ram’s is told beautifully – due to both content and writing.

  • Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. The entire story is written from the point of view of a five year old boy. It’s a chilling, calmingly scary story and the POV makes it both creepier and more beautiful. The idea to tell a story through a character that doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time is absolutely brilliant, and the writing is fantastic. World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo is pretty close though, maybe even just as great.

  • Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Room by Emma Donoghue. The story was so intense it was hard to break out of the mood for a couple of days at least, if not more. I read the entire book in around twenty four hours and I was so into it that when I finished returning to the world felt like I’d fallen out of the sky and landed head first on the ground. Unfortunately, I also realized just how… how not-so-outta-this-world kidnapping is, which was not a very great conclusion to reach around the same time the news was filled with stories about the Castro kidnapper.

I feel like it’s also neccesary to mention David Levithan’s How We Met & Other Stories because one of the stories in it inspired my very first proper short story, that was followed by another four over the course of the year. It’s the short story I read at a talent show in New Hampshire this summer, that led to a fellow writer telling me I inspired her and writing a poem about me. It really affected me, and has immense impact on my writing and on my feelings about being a writer in general.

  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

 I don’t think I have an answer for this one. I guess 1984 could qualify, but on the other hand I’m very glad I read it at this certain point in my life, so it doesn’t really answer the question.

  • Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
  1. “Yes, expenses were, well, expensive in the Bahamas, Mrs. Sauskind, it is in the nature of expenses to be so. Hence the name.” – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  2. The Electric Monk’s day was going tremendously well and he broke into an excited gallop. That is to say that, excitedly, he spurred his horse to a gallop and, unexcitedly, his horse broke into it. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  3. “Well, yes. But it takes a village to raise a child, as they say in Africa…””If you’ve got a village. But if you don’t, then maybe it just takes two people.” – Room, Emma Donoghue
  4. “You’re afraid of monsters, aren’t you?””It depends on the monster, if it’s a real one or not and if it’s where I am.”  – Room, Emma Donoghue
  5. “I don’t know,” says Ma. “How could he not? If he’s the least bit human…” I thought humans were or weren’t, I didn’t know someone could be a bit human. Then what are his other bits? – Room, Emma Donoghue
  6. Lucy had a good brain even though she had lived all her life in LA.Despite the continual exposure to carbon monoxide and people from the film industry, she had remained smart. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. So short yet so good. Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon. Took me three months (minus 3 days, longest time I’ve every spent on on book in all of my almost 17 years on this planet.

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*I’ve decided to cut this at seven questions because of length considerations, expect the remaining ten in the last part!

Christmas Cracker Book Tag

Hey y’all. So I was catching up on posts from blogs I follow and I came across Pretty Books‘ post doing this tag, who found it  through Christmas Cracker Book Tag (video), created by Lucy @ The Bumbling Bibliophile and Queen of Contemporary. I went over the questions and decided to have a go at it myself, despite the fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas (and Hannukah is already over).

Pick a book with a wintry cover.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I read the book quite a while ago, but I’m pretty sure they end up in Alaska or something somewhere in it. Anyhow, it has a mittened and coated girl on a snowy background in the front so I think it covers the category pretty well.

Pick a book you’re likely buy as a present.

I feel like I’m repeating myself because I’ve mentioned these two in my Annual Book Survey Pt. 1 post, but these would have to be Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo. 10000%.

Pick a festive themed book.

I’m really proud of my choice for this one – The Latke Who Couldn’t StopScreaming by Lemony Snicket. I think I read this in a book store and I literally remember almost nothing except the fact that it was, by far, the weirdest book I’d ever read. I think that’s really all that needs to be said.

Pick a book you can curl up with by the fireplace.

I’m never very good at answering these because I’ve never been the kind of person who chooses books based on where they are. I mean, of course I might choose a couple of light reading books after finishing an intense one, or a classic, but it rarely has to do with where I am. I also tend to read lots of… disturbing books, so not sure how good those are for a fireplace curl up. Maybe Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins? Not too short, not too long, great writing, great story. Lots of love, movies and French stuff.

Pick a book you want to read over the festive period.

Hannukah’s passed and I spent half of it with friends, discussing the tests the following week and the other half studying for said tests. Barely got to read at all. I really need to get a move on with my book. *quietly runs off before anyone notices I didn’t answer the question*

Pick a book that’s so good it gives you chills.

Room by Emma Donoghue. Just… yes. That’s all. One of my all-time favorites.

Pick a book going on your Christmas wishlist.

Again, no Christmas wishlist, friends. Instead I’m choosing a book I want to read and already know will be hard to find out here so many miles away from the United States. Maus by Art Spiegelman. Tara @ The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh” mentioned it in a post during her Graphic Novel week posts and it seemed pretty awesome. It’s a book talking about a man’s Holocaust story in which the people are drawn as animals. Also, I’d like to try out a graphic novel, see if I like it.

Tis all for now. These tags are always fun to fill out, definitely thinking of writing up my own sometime. Kay, guys, your turn to fill it out. Link your answers or share them in a comment below! Happy Holidays!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Winter TBR (December 10th)

This week’s TTT topic, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. Winter in Israel isn’t very… wintery, nor is it very long. Our seasons can pretty much be summed up into SUMMER and KIND OF COLDISH SUMMER. It’s currently in the 60s and it’s rained maybe three times, lasting no more than an hour each. So yeah. No winter. However, seasons have nothing to do with my reading and seeing as there’s a fixed TEN spots for this list the length of said nonexistent winter does not matter! Yay!

Also, I’ve just looked up the list for 2014’s Eclectic Reader’s Challenge. It’s in its third year, and so far I’ve failed the previous two, but I’m determined to complete 2012’s this year and do 2013 along with 2014 next year. This means making a plan and starting early – two things I keep not doing and keep failing because of. Here’s my list, paired with the category it fits into. 2014 is the year in which I FINALLY SUCCEED IN COMPLETING MY OWN CHALLENGES GODAMMIT.  *ERC 2013 *ERC 2014

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

  1. Wish Me Away – Chely Wright (memoir, 2013)
  2. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (published in 2013, 2013)
  3. Wide Awake – David Levithan (lgbt, 2013)
  4. World War Z – Max Brooks (made into movie, 2013)
  5. Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks (humour, 2013)
  6. The Boyfriend App – Katie Sise
  7. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven – Susan Jane Gilman (travel-non fiction, 2014)
  8. Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz (award winning, 2014)
  9. One Handed Catch – MJ Auch
  10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (alternative history fiction, 2014)

Failing is one of my greatest talents. I have managed to fail pretty much every reading challenge I took on this year. 2014 SHALL BE DIFFERENT… I hope. So here’s an organized plan that includes books I’ve been wanting to read anyway, which should help it feel natural, as opposed to forced, and keep me on track. Hopefully this all works.

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 – Part 1(/3)

On Sunday Perpetual Page Turner posted her 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey and reading her post made me want to write up my own, and by doing so finally returning to blogging. The year isn’t over yet but since I’ve given up on completing both Eclectic Reader’s Challenges and I’m so busy I’ve decided to only finish the 2012 one which requires finishing my current – Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon, and reading a horror book – most likely Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs. If I decide to include either of those in the post I’ll edit it. For now, this is it.

(I’m going to be splitting the post into THREE parts, each answering NINE questions..)

  •  Best Book You Read In 2013?

Oh god. What’s with all of the “favorite” questions?! You guys know I can never answer these! I’m terrible at choosing just one. Let’s try narrowing it to… Top 5 *not in any particular order.

  1. World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) – Eshkol Nevo
  2. Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
  3. Room – Emma Donoghue
  4. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
  5. Q & A – Vikas Swarup
  • 2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It was my second attempt at horror, following last year’s Cell by Stephen King which I didn’t even finish out of boredom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much better. I just wasn’t… scared. It’s part of the Hannibal Lecter series and it was supposed to be terrifying and it wasn’t. Definitely disappointing. 

  • Most surprising (in agood way!) book of 2013?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.The book is an epistolary novel and I haven’t read many of those because I somewhere early on developed a dislike for them. My mom recommended this one to me and since it was short I gave it a try and fell in love. It’s a wonderful book and manages to deliver a very powerful story in so few words.

  • Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

I guess this would be a tie between two – Eshkol Nevo’s World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I ended up buying both books, on seperate occasions, as birthday gifts. Or was it both of them for one person? Not sure. Anyway, both absolutely wonderful and both highly recommended by me to any living creature with reading abilities.

  • Best series you discovered in 2013?

The only two books I read that are part of a series are Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon (1/4 Hannibal Lecter franchise) and Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (one of two Dirk Gentley novels). Both were pretty disappointing compared with my expectations. Douglas Adams did live up to his God of all Writers status I have in my brain so in that sense he was the best, but neither were fantastic.

  • Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Definitely Eshkol Nevo. I rarely read Hebrew and I will definitely be reading more of his books now.

  • Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

1984 by George Orwell. First dystopian novel! I think it’ll take a while before I get used to the kind of book endings that go with this genre. That kind of simultaniously satisfying and unsatisfying and ugh I wanna hug the writer but also kill him kind of thing.

  • Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. Read it in two days. I have no words to describe my love for this pile of paper, or in this case electronic text cause I read it on my Kindle during my book craze week in June.

  • Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Hm. This is a tough one. I’m gonna go with 1984 by George Orwell just because it seems like the kind of book that needs to be read more than once. I didn’t care much for the plot and the characters but the whole political and social aspect is what got my attention.

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It’s cool to go over my reading log for the year and see what different things I’ve read this year and look at them through these questions. Twenty seven questions in one post is definitely too much so rather than bombard y’all with a ton of info all at once I’ll make a three part series for the survey instead. That way I can answer more at length and you guys have more patience to read it all.

If anyone else wants to do the survey or has already done it be sure to credit Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner and please comment with a link to your own post so we can all see your choices too! 

Long Time No See

Hey everyone. It’s been… a while, to say the least. Life’s been busy and I slowly gave up my book blogging in favor of other crazy things I need to start thinking about now that I’m getting older. However, a couple of days ago I came across a Book Survey by Perpetual Page Turner that I liked, and it got me to thinking about returning. I have to admit I’m kind of worried – I’ve been missing for so long. I’m shocked to discover I’m still getting views – even if they are very few – and that I’m only one follower away from 100. All of this is even cooler because apparently today is my WordPress account’s one year anniversary! So yes, I guess this post signals my return. I don’t know yet if I’m going to return to my nearly daily blogging, or maybe spread out some more, but I’m back. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Turnoffs (October 1st)

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you as usual by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs 

This topic reminds me of the one we did a while back regarding book COVER turnoffs, though this one has to do with plots. To make it more interesting I’m also going to include certain plot-lines that usually affect my liking of certain characters. 

  1. Cheating – I find it very hard to like cheaters in books. Tom Perrotta’s Little Children proved to me that this isn’t exactly 100% true, but I do struggle with liking people once I know they’ve cheated.
  2. Bad Boy Falls for Nerdy Girl – these aren’t nessecarily bad, there are just WAY too many of them and they tend to all follow the same template. Repetitive? No thanks.
  3. Girl’s Entire World is Saved by Guy – I mean this not in the supernatural sense, but in the oh-I’m-so-clumsy-and-weak-and-silly-I-need-a-man-to-save-me sense. (ahem ahem Twilight?) I don’t mind infatuation, I just don’t really think books that perpetuate the stereotypical weak woman needing a man are very good for promoting progress and change in society, and that’s one of the things books are supposed to do.
  4. Historical – again, not 100% true, but I tend to go for more modern stories. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction. I’d say most of the stories in the books I read take place no more than… thirty years ago. I like feeling like I’m in the character’s world and recognize things that relate to myself. I mean, you can “get lost” in historical novels as well, but for example one thing I found lovely in the Pretty Little Liars series was that they’d suddenly mention some famous singer or movie and I’d be like OHMYGODTHAT’SFROMREALLIFE and it was great.
  5. Absent Parents – at least give us an explanation! Maybe they don’t care much, work late, are busy, etc. But there is NO way a teenager spends an entire novel not mentioning them even ONCE. I know there’s a spectrum for parental involvement, but even when they aren’t there they still exist in the kid’s brain – so SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
  6. Very Big Books – I’ve mentioned this multiple times on this blog, my downward spiral from big-book-lover child to -big-book-coward… older person. I feel like big books are this huge burden, this huge commitment and that I’ll never ever finish them. The Kindle has actually helped with that, not seeing the book in pyhsical form makes it easier mentally to take on, despite the length.
  7. Long Series – something I used to love and no longer do. When I read a series I read it in proper order and straight through, so taking on long series means committing to something specific for a very long time and I don’t like doing that. 
  8. Very Long Nature Descriptions – no thanks. Everyone told me The Hobit’s full of ’em, but it turned out pretty okay. I understand the desire to create a believable setting, but sometimes it’s just too much.
  9. Sci-fi Books That Break Their Own Universe Rules  – I’m perfectly alright with stories taking place in fictional worlds, but if there’s a set of rules in said universe YOU. MUST. STICK. TO. THEM. You CANNOT break your rules for the sake of a plot-line, even if you’re the one who wrote them. No. It makes it seem messy, not well thought through and hard to believe. Stop it.
  10. Tiny Font – tiny font can make even the smallest book feel like #6 Very Big Books. Why must you print so tiny? It makes me give up before I’ve even started. Plus, not a big fan of squinting, thank you very much.

So, that’s it! This was actually an interesting one… y’all should give it a go! Lemme know your answers – link, comment, whatever. Go go go!

Gettin’ Back To Sci-fi

Hey y’all! I know today is Banned Books Week but I also happened to spend three days at a fantasy/sci-fi convention this week and seeing as you’re all probably SWAMPED with Banned Book posts, I’mma choose to discuss the later here for today’s post.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I spent my days at the wonderful world known as CONVENTIONS aka Days That Feel Like Magic And Then They’re Over and Real Life Seems Horrible. I met new people, went to panels and lectures about different aspects of sci-fi and fantasy, books, movies and tv shows. It was fascinating, but that’s not what I want to discuss.

This post is mainly about my desire to return to my good ol’ sci-fi/fantasy days. I developed my tendancy to shy away from long or complicated books sometime in the past few years. I used to love reading never-ending, million paged books, whereas today I run away from anything that’s thicker than a pizza crust. This year I’ve been trying to fix that, and I’m currently about 100 pages into a 580 page book. One of the things I’ve lost due to this habit is my love for the two genres mentioned above. I now read mostly mainstream young adult novels, which in my defense are easiest to aquire when looking for English book in a non-English speaking country.

I think my main drive for returning to my old ways is… well… fandom. Yes, it sounds silly but it’s true. I love the feeling of community, and that’s an extremely strong feature for these two genre fans. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Doctor Who… the list goes on and on. I like merchandise, I like conventions, I like stimulating discussions about fictional characters and ideas and situations.  The convention this week has inspired me to start catching up, both film and literature wise. I have a whole new list of authors, books, movies and tv shows to watch. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more free time than I did before so the journey shall be a long one, but hopefully it will be worth it.

My book schedule for the remainder of 2013 is a tight one, due to my attempt at completing TWO ERCs, so major advances in MY NEW CONQUEST TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH SCI-FI AND FANTASY will only take place in January. Does anyone want to join? We can do it together. Sort of like a no-commitment, sort-of-book-club-ish-thing? We could decide together on reading material and/or viewing material and discuss it together. This idea is still in its early stages – in fact, I’ve only thought of it just now when I wrote that – but it could work. There are nearly one hundred of you here now (!!!) and if we have participants we can develop it together! Maybe I should provide you all with some of my TBR/TBW(atched) plans:

  • TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (on season two), Agents of Shield (watched pilot yesterday) Firefly, Star Trek, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones
  • FIlm: SerenityBack to the Future, Star Wars, Matrix Trilogy, The Congress
  • Books: Doctor Who novels, I Robot (reread),  Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Asimov’s Robot Series, The Caves of Steel, Pandemonium (Daryl Gregory), Blindsight, Tea From an Empty Cup, Neuromancer, The futurological Congress

So, what do you guys think? Wanna join me? Lemme know in the comments. I’m actually kind of excited about this idea! Expect a follow-up post going into more detail, maybe plans of an all-genre-every-book-ever book club sometime in the future? We’ll see. For now I leave you all with this post and this list. It’s very… demanding, and it’ll take time, but I’m good at listing and planning is always a good start! This post has kind of gone off track and is very different from my original post idea but I think it’s wound up okay.

So, that’s a wrap. Book club? Maybe. Sci-fi/fantasy comeback? Definitely.