Monthly Archives: January 2016

Books We Want to Read in 2016

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For our book club, we’ve read a variety of books. But there are always books we keep leaving behind, despite how much we want to read them. There’s just never enough time in a year to get to all the books on our lists. This year, we want to read at least these 20 books for our book club.

  • School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

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Aristotle and Dante Sequel: There Will Be Other Summers.

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Anyone who has ever heard me talk is well aware that my all-time favorite book is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. As many book lovers, I’ve shouted at the winds about my incredible fascination over the story following two Mexican American boys on their coming of age journeys. I’ve read this novel three times, and each time, I’ve found new things to love. And if you haven’t already, pick up this book and see what I’m rambling about. But if you’ve read it, and you’ve been hooked on this book like a kid at a candy store, then let’s discuss the wonderful news of the sequel in progress.

Since last year, Saenz has been talking on his Twitter about writing the same book from Dante’s perspective. That, in itself, was more than I could ever ask for. (Not that I mind re-reading Ari & Dante once again, but new material straight from the main source is never unwanted). Recently, though, Saenz has been tweeting more about the sequel, which according to him, will pick up where the last book left off, from Ari’s POV. He stated the title would be: There Will Be Other Summers. Saenz continually talks about his progress, and it only ignites more buzz for this highly anticipated sequel.

Regularly, I don’t find sequels, or series for that matter, necessary. (Not unless it’s Harry Potter). However, I’m not against a sequel for this particular story. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was wrapped up neatly in the end, after so much hurting and healing. It was all brought to a satisfying close, and it appeared as though the characters lived happily ever after.

Wrong. There were many unfinished issues in the story. Not to mention that Ari is only sixteen. He has his entire life ahead of him. He has a brother in prison who would not accept him for who he is. He has to face the world anew. He has to finish high school, face his friends after everything that happened. Ari’s life is just beginning. Sure, at the end of the book, he found out the mysteries he wondered about at the start of the book, but those are not the only mysteries he will ever face.

And then there’s Dante. We need to see his sibling, whether it’s a boy or a girl. A closer insight into his cultural issues wouldn’t be bad exploring either. I would love to get to know more of Dante’s family. I want to know more about Dante’s school, too. What else does Dante wonder about? Does he finally feel like the world belongs to him?

I’m beyond excited for the continuation of my favorite book, and it’s good to see I’m not the only one. I am sort of wary, though. Having read the majority of Saenz writing–which is lovely, by the way–I have noticed a trend in his stories. They’re mostly tragic. Although, the love he has for these characters is noticeable, so I’m not too worried. I believe their story is in great hands.

I’m really hoping we get to see more of Aristotle and Dante as a couple in the sequel. Another secret of the universe: are they actually a couple? We will have to wait and find out. (Fingers crossed they’re super gross with each other).

In the meantime, I would really recommend reading any other of Saenz’s novels, as well as his short stories, and poetry. He is a beautiful, talented author–my favorite, too. Below is a list of his published works, excluding his children’s books, which are also amazing. Saenz has another fiction novel in the works entitled The Inexplicable Logic of My Lifeand you can bet I’ll be pre-ordering it as soon as it becomes available.

Novels:

Last Night I Sang to the Monster
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood
He Forgot to Say Goodbye
Carry Me Like Water
In Perfect Light
Names on a Map
The House of Forgetting

Short Stories:

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club
Flowers for the Broken

Poetry:

The Book of What Remains
Dreaming the End of War
Elegies in Blue
Calendar of Dust
Dark and Perfect Angels

Writing Playlist-New Love

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Everything has changed by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran

All I know is we said hello/And your eyes look like coming home/All I know is a simple name/Everything has changed

Chills by Down with Webster

I can’t shake this feeling/It fills the room/These chills didn’t come from the cold/They came from you

Modern Nature by Sondre Lerche

Do you have any clue what this is?/Are you everything that I missed?

Coffee shop by Landon Pigg

I think that maybe possibly I’m falling for you/Yes there’s a chance I’ve fallen quite hard over you

First Time by Lifehouse

Looking at you/Holding my breath/For once in my life/I’m scared to death/I’m taking a chance/Letting you inside

I’m Yours by Alessia Cara

So all that I’m asking/Is that you handle me with caution/Cause I don’t give myself often/But I guess I’ll try today

Nice to be with You by The Gallery

Oh, it’s so nice to be with you/I love all the things ya say and do

The Only Exception by Paramore

None of it was ever worth the risk/ But, you are, the only exception

Like a Virgin by Madonna

I was sad and blue/But you made me feel/Yeah, you made me feel/Shiny and new

Young God by Halsey

He says Oh, baby girl, you know we’re gonna be legends/I’m the king and you’re the queen/And we will stumble through heaven

Simple As This by Jake Bugg

God knows how I could have missed/Something as simple as this

Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley

Take my hand/Take my whole life too/For I can’t help falling in love with you

 

Turning Page by Sleeping at Last

Your love is my turning page/Where only the sweetest words remain/Every kiss is a cursive line/Every touch is a defining phrase

The Color Purple by Alice Walker – Book Review

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“And I try to teach my heart not to want nothing it can’t have.”

The Color Purple is a stunning novel about the hardships and blessings of life. It is a story of abuse – emotional and physical – as well as it is a story about love and friendship and unity.

The writing style is quite peculiar, but it never distanced me from the characters or the story. There were many difficult scenes, but it never made me want to stop reading. I enjoyed the various different relationships in the book. The main character, Celie, meets people she can trust and others she can’t, but these relationships evolve throughout the book. I really appreciated that aspect. It’s so realistic to our world. We keep evolving as people, so of course our relationships with others change with us.

“Have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”

I was deeply moved by this story. There is a beautiful lesbian romance in this novel, which I found lovely. I wasn’t expecting to adore these characters as much as I did, but the entire book was so charmingly written. It was hard not to love it.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

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Breadcrumbs

 

The first thing I want to point out about this book is that it has a beautiful cover. Throughout the book there is a few more drawings  that enhance the story in my opinion. They are all beautiful, and there isn’t too many of them so it doesn’t crowd the book.

 

The book is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” Hazel is a fifth grader who is dealing with a new school,  and her parent’s recent divorce. She only has her imagination and her friend, Jack, to depend on until magic interferes. Then, well, you have the story.

 

I liked the feel of the story, and how it was written. Hazel is adorable and brave, and I don’t see how anyone could dislike her even if they don’t enjoy the story. One part I didn’t particularly like about this book is that it switches POV a couple times. Those chapters were always brief, and always added to the story that otherwise wouldn’t be revealed. It helped with the story, but it still wasn’t my favorite.