A Little Bit About Me And My Love For Books

A Book Survey (written during my lunchbreak)

1. What book are you reading now?  I am currently reading Dead Until Dark from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. For those who are fans of “True Blood” – this is the book series that the show is based off of. I’ve read all but the final book in the series, and I can tell you that the book series and tv series are very different from one another.

2. What are your favorite books/series? It’s so hard for me to answer this question because I have SO many books that I love. Some of my favorite books include: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, Hannibal series by Thomas Harris, The Prophecy of Tyalbrook series by Michele G Miller and SOOOOO many more.

3. How did you learn to read? I actually learned to read when I was very little. Reading has always been important in my family. When I was little, I was one of those kids who would read every sign that I went by out loud. Come to think of it, I sometimes still do that. Old habits die hard.

4. What foreign languages do you read? I can read a little bit in French, but that’s a bit rusty. This will be vastly improving as I jump into my Rosetta Stone soon.

5. What’s the funniest book you ever read? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first that comes to mind.

6. What books have changed the way you look at the world or the way you live your life? I grew up with the Harry Potter series. I guess I’ve always loved the fantasy world, but this series has stuck with me. It was beautiful and tragic and whimsical all at once. Another book that I remember distinctly is Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years by Misha Defonseca. Despite the fact that this turned out to be a hoax, I read this book when I was in 5th grade, perhaps a bit young for some of the heavier issues inside, but it was impactful, nonetheless. One last series that struck a large chord with me was the Hunger Games series; something about children fighting to their deaths due to politics and power just has that type of effect.

7. About how many books do you own? Oh, hundreds… I really should count. Once I get them all in one place. My collection grows all the time.

8. Do you read in bed? I read before going to bed every night. This can pose for some really interesting or terrifying dreams, pending what I’m reading at the time.

9. Do you ever read while walking or driving? Oh yes… I have been known to have my nose stuck in a book on my way from the train in the morning to work.

10. What was the most difficult book to read? My husband and mother-in-law will be really disappointed… but I have been reading IT by Stephen King for the last 3 years… I’m halfway through. I understand what I’m reading and the subject matter doesn’t bother me… it’s very difficult for me to stay focused on most Stephen King’s work. I love action, live for it… but IT contains a LOT of description, filler, back story, etc. One day I will finish..

11. What books do you intend to read but keep putting off? I plan to read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth

12. Do you buy new or used books, paperbacks or hardcovers, leather or collector’s? I buy them all. I also buy e-books, as I am finally allowing myself to use a Kindle, though I have strict guidelines for doing so. I’d MUCH rather read the real thing versus the e-version, though.

13. How do you feel about writing in books? Writing in books… I’m not a huge fan of doing this myself, though I have purchased books with writing in them.  To each their own.

14. What were your favorite books as a child? Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is one of my favorite books from when I was little. It breaks my heart every time I read it, but I absolutely love it.

15. Do you ever read the ending first? Absolutely not.

What about you? Tell me some of your answers to these questions. 🙂

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Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The Devil Wears Prada
By: Lauren Weisberger
Copyright 2003
Published by: Doubleday
Format of Book: Physical (Good ol’ crinking-pages, hardcover, hold-it-in-your-hands, smells-like-a book)

*Please note that this may contain some colorful language and tongue-in-cheek statements.

Let me start out by saying “Yes, I have seen the movie and I loved it.” There… now I feel better. As someone who typically prefers to “read first, watch later” it’s always hard for me to read a book after I’ve seen the movie. You can’t help but visualize the characters as they are depicted in the movie and little is left to the imagination. I try to avoid this scenario whenever possible. “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger, however, is one of those anomalies. One of my co-workers recommended it, so as I was perusing an amazing used bookstore in Burlington, MA, I stumbled upon it and figured, “Sure. What have I got to lose?”

“The Devil Wears Prada” is about Andrea Sachs, an aspiring journalist, who has just graduated from college and is hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the highly visible, well-known editor of Runway magazine. With the promise of a great work recommendation from Miranda if she makes it through a year working as her junior assistant, Andrea sets herself up for the long haul. After all, how hard can the job really be? We very quickly come to find out that Andrea isn’t just Miranda’s assistant – she’s Miranda’s bitch. The reader gets to experience events unfolding through Andrea’s witty and wholly sarcastic narrations. We read as Andrea struggles with potentially compromising her integrity, makes poor life choices, fights for her future, etc.

I can’t say that I loved this book, but I didn’t hate it either. There were moments that had me laughing out loud, while others had me perplexed and struggling to maintain focus. I would recommend this book as a decent read, but I won’t be raving about it. Some of the best scenes in the book were when Eduardo, the security guard, made Andrea have to earn her way into the office through song. I will forever thing of “Material Girl” when I think of this book.

The Final Countdown

Characterization  –  2/5 Stars
At times, I found myself empathizing with Andrea, but mostly I was frustrated with her character. In my eyes, she was a weak character surrounded by a weak supporting cast. Andrea does little to win the audience over. She consistently puts those who care about her on the back burner in lieu of her career. She complains incessantly about her job choices and consistently judges those around her, placing herself on a pedestal.

In general, the characters simply weren’t built on. We were introduced to various moments, but very rarely did I have a moment where I found myself thinking “Oh, that’s why this characters responds in such a way.” It would have been nice to see more back story.

The star in this book is Miranda Priestly; she wins the show with her incessant need to challenge her assistants and have them submit to her overt dominance. We get hints of Miranda’s life outside of Runway and I found myself wanting to know even more about her back story.

Dialogue  –  3.5/5 Stars
I found the dialogue to be thoughtful, sarcastic and witty. I enjoyed that this was a book that was obviously written for an older audience. I prefer the gritty, trash-mouthed reactions over the fluffed up version that was in the movie, mainly because it brings the reactions of characters to a more realistic level.

I found there was a lot of filler consisting of more monotonous explanation versus a substantial amount of dialogue. Perhaps if there was a bit more dialogue in the novel, I would be a bit more favorable to the story as a whole.

Plot  –  2.5/5 Stars
Sure, the book is about a very material world, but overall the story came across as superficial. I wish that there was more than just a surface explanation of what was happening in the world of Runway and Andrea’s life. Girl gets job that “a million girls would die for” > Girl has boss who is the equivalent of Satan > Girl judges and gets angsty about those around her > Girl changes and hurts people > etc > etc>.  This left me wanting more, but not in a good way. I wanted to get behind the psychology of it all.

The repetition throughout the book was bothersome – Andrea’s routine tasks throughout the day appeared over and over, with very few exciting scenarios. Wrapping bottles, getting lunch, grabbing coffee, angst, etc. I did enjoy moments throughout – such as the Harry Potter reference early on. (Then again, anything that references Harry Potter will probably be a highlight to me..)

Visual Imagery  –  3.5/5 Stars
Overall, the visual imagery was done fairly well. Any scene set in Runway placed a great vision in my mind while I was reading. I particularly enjoyed the sample closet of designer clothing, shoes and accessories. I’d love to have access to such a thing for my current job.

Ending  1.5/5 Stars
Blah! With so much going on throughout the book, the end felt rushed and lacking. Without giving anything away, I found it to be predictable. After reading such an angsty book, the ending didn’t fit the puzzle.

TOTAL: 13/25 Stars

Why read this book?

While I wasn’t a huge fan, I know some folks who did enjoy this read and couldn’t wait to get their hands on the sequel. There are some really great moments that occur throughout this book, such as our glimpses into Miranda’s life. It’s sort of like when you were a student and you saw your teacher at the grocery store. That moment of “Wait a second… they have a life outside of school?” Like I said earlier, Miranda is the star of this book.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?