Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

When the world seems like it’s falling apart everywhere we turn, it’s always good to know that younger generations of people are gaining the same knowledge and understanding of the world. We may not be able to protect our young people from the prejudice and stereotypes and hate that surrounds them, but if we open up the floor for them to speak their truth we might find that what they say actually matters.

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To All The Books I’ve Loved Before

To All The Books I’ve Loved Before

I promise you this is the last blog post that’s somehow related to Jenny Han’s book.

I’ve been meaning to put this post together for a little while, but the list of books I’m about to shove into your faces is way longer than I thought. Who knew that so many books inspired me to keep reading!

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What’s Your Choice? Loving or Hating a Book

What’s Your Choice? Loving or Hating a Book

There are some wonderful books out that most of the reading world will love. It deserves all the stars and their only flaw being too beautiful. Most people read these books and most people give it four or five stars. It didn’t offend them. It was easy-to-read. It led to 80% of the audience to tears. These are great reads and if you read reviews, you’ll know you’re getting a good read.

However, there are other books in this world that will always polarize the audience. People will absolutely adore it and others will absolutely hate it or not finish it. Each of these books is like a fork in the road. One road will take you on to the sunsets and heavens of great reading. The other road will leave you confused by the roadside.

Recently, I picked up Uprooted, a book that’s a little bit polarizing on Goodreads. Some people absolutely loved it and credit the book to being a fantasy series they can actually endure:

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And others hated it to the point where they felt exhausted by the words:

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I started this book pretty hopeful that a wonderful fantasy story will push me to finish this book in a few days. Then, a week went by and I didn’t make it halfway. Then two weeks went by and I still didn’t feel the motivation to continue reading. Oh no, was I siding with the people who hated the book?

Seriously, I’ve tried so many things to avoid putting down this book. I borrowed the ebook from the library in hopes that reading it on my Kindle will change my mind. I also borrowed the audiobook because maybe someone reading the book to me will be a better experience. I think I really like the audiobook version, so I might change my mind about DNF-ing this book.

I’ll admit that I was upset when I put this book down. I really wanted to love it especially when so many people reached out to me and told me that they loved it. And at first I thought the story was intriguing and different despite some important details that were left out (oh, he’s training you to be a wizard? How come your opinion in this matter isn’t discussed?), but then the story kept going on and on and I couldn’t get into it.

At this point, I’m stuck. I wanted to love the book and write a wonderful review and make all the people who loved this book feel validated because yes, I loved it too. But now I’m a naysayer and I’m about to tell the world that I didn’t like the book. Will people love my honesty? Will people hate that I didn’t like one of their favorite novels?

It’s a point of contention for a lot of reviewers. You want to be honest with your reviews, but a small fraction of your body wants to be nice and like a book people recommended. Honesty may cause you to offend that one person who loved it. Honesty can also offend those who hated it.

But the moment I shared on bookstagram that I didn’t finish this book, all of a sudden a few people popped up sharing that they didn’t finish it either. People came up and shared how the book felt problematic and boring. That Agnieszka was manipulated by the Dragon and held against her will. Some people mentioned that the middle is the slowest part. I felt the same, but the middle is also 300 pages and that’s a lot of slow parts for me.

It’s kind of interesting how people sort of “hold their tongue” when it comes to certain books. We’re all waiting with baited breath if our favorite book reader liked that book we hated. And when they admit to hating the book too, it’s like a sigh of relief.

I guess that many book readers already understand that a book will either be loved or hated by other people. While as reviewers we try to be unbiased and explain that hating a book doesn’t mean you’ll hate it too, there’s still that little button inside of our brains that tells us we need validation. We need to be heard and understood and if that doesn’t happen, we feel that tension. We feel vulnerable and maybe a little upset that someone you so admire did or didn’t like a book.

But the truth must be known. If you loved a book, then share the love. If you hated a book, then that should be shared as well. A negative review doesn’t have to be overwrought with jabs at the book, but it needs to be clear so that others can understand. And I think that’s where we all ending up finding ourselves; at this crossroad between loving and hating a book.

 

Have You Ever Written to a Boy You Loved Before?

Have You Ever Written to a Boy You Loved Before?

After watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for the second time, I started thinking back to my high school career and the boys I might have loved before. Then I remembered it. I actually have a story similar to what Lara Jean went through. It made me wonder, what would Lara Jean do?

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What Representation Means to Me

What Representation Means to Me

I just finished reading Jenny Han’s opinion piece in the NY Times about representation in films and what that opens up for people. You can read the article here.

Of course, I thought on what that all meant. What does representation mean to me?

With the release of Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I can’t help but to reflect on my life. I really don’t want be the guy that will explain representation and why it’s so arbitrarily important. I think the meaning of representation is different with every person you come across. So I’m just going to share what I think.

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What I’m Reading This Weekend – August 17, 2018

What I’m Reading This Weekend – August 17, 2018

Happy Friday, folks!

It’s T minus 7 days until I move from New Jersey to California. The road will be a long one and I’ll physically be homeless from then until we move into the new apartment. For now, we’re planning a road trip down to Florida, spending some time with our families, and just enjoying the rest of the east coast before leaving it for quite some time.

The moving process has been pretty exhausting. While I don’t have the biggest library ever, I do have a lot of books so I spent most of my time organizing and packing them up. I’ve got a nice little pile and my Kindle to get me through the period without my TBR.

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