Why it’s important to keep to a schedule

Hello everyone who doesn’t actually read my blog!

 

I am not here to write a review of Middlesex. So, you might be wondering, why am I here? What is the point of this? What is the point of life? Is there a God?

 

…Woah there, got a little too serious.

 

Anyway, the truth is I have been having trouble starting Middlesex, I’ve tried and failed several times to begin it, and I really think it’s because I’m not in the right frame of mind. I am in summer mode. It was easy to read Treasure Island at the beach, when it was a story I knew and loved. An unknown book that contains a story that my mother is partial to? Much more difficult to read during the summer. Maybe when I’m in more of working mode (such as during the school year or when my summer job actually starts) I’ll be able to do it. But for now, I’ve decided to change my next book.

And I feel awful.

I know nobody reads this blog, but I said I’d read Middlesex next, and now I’m just being lazy and changing it to something else. I really want to read another book, but I need to ease into this project. The fact that I need to read the four books in a shorter period than I will in the future is not helping either. I hate looking stupid or unorganized, but this is my project and I can do whatever I damn well please. Jeez.

So, here we go.

 

Book #2 (for real this time): Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I have a feeling that this is more my type of book. As I have stated before, I love novels about families and romance and growing up, such as Jane Austen novels and Elizabeth Gaskell novels. I know that this is set in a different time period (Civil War, I think?) and that it’s not just all about proper behavior and marriage, but even so it’s way more up my alley than…the dreaded Middlesex.

What I know about this book is that it was made into a movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale. I have seen snippets of that movie when it’s on T.v., but never actually watched it. As stated above I think it’s set during the Civil War and is about a family, mostly women I suppose.

When I think of this book, I think of the episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel make each other read their favorite book. Rachel’s favorite is Little Women, and Joey gets really into it and very depressed when someone dies. I don’t know who dies, but if this is set during a war I’m not surprised someone dies.

The other day I was shopping at Goodwill, and bought a couple of books including Little Women. It’s just always been something I’ve wanted to read. So now I own it, for only 99 cents and have a plan to randomly buy these books from thrift stores. I’ll begin soon, I promise! However, I do have all summer to read only three books so I’m really not in a rush.

I won’t change-up the book again, I’m already too embarrassed about Middlesex.

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BOOK REVIEW #1 —  Treasure Island  by Robert Louis Stevenson

English: "One more step, Mr. Hands,"...

English: “One more step, Mr. Hands,” said I, “and I’ll blow your brains out!” Illustration by N.C. Wyeth for the 1911 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Image from the New Britain Museum of American Art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’ve been putting this off for a while. I started the book on Saturday and finished it by Monday. It is now Friday. In my defense, I have been on vacation at the beach, so I haven’t really wanted to hunker down and think out a thoughtful review for this book. But here are my extremely deep musings on the novel.

Rating: ★★★★

Treasure Island is the type of book that you might have never read, but you know the story. There have been endless adaptations of this book. It has been made into feature films, animated films, puppet themed films, and even into a futuristic animated film. These films mostly succeed in capturing the essence of this book, its story about a boy growing up, the deviousness of the pirates and their mutiny, and the vibrancy of the characters. What the book is best at, however, is emotional depth and non-stop action.

There are very few moments in the book where the characters get to relax. The narrator, young Jim Hawkins, is looking back on his adventures and writing them down to keep a record of what happened. He mostly skips over the dull parts of the ocean journey and includes very few passages analyzing his adventure. Everything we see is through his hindsight, with the exception of a couple chapters written by Dr. Livesey. Jim describes his adventures with remarkable honesty, he goes into details about his failures as much as he does about his successes. Jim is brave, kind, and adventurous. He is also quick to judge and rash.

As many of you know, possibly the most important character in the novel is Long John Silver. Silver is presented as a charismatic, devious, intelligent, gentlemanly pirate. He is a wonderful character to read as he is both sympathetic and unsympathetic. He betrays Captain Smollett and leads a mutiny. However, his feelings of friendship and loyalty towards Jim gain him some respect.

Silver’s deception was no mystery to me, as I have mentioned I am a huge fan of Muppet Treasure Island. As stated previously I am very familiar to the story, so what was new to me? I was largely ignorant of the character of Dr. Livesey, who I must admit was my favorite. I love the fact that he is intelligent and honest, but not really a very loud character. By loud, I mean that he does not stand out as much as Jim or Silver, and is generally less captivating. However I loved him for his love for Jim. I loved how he was so upset to see Jim taken captive and how he seemed to want to do anything for Jim. I love respectable characters like Livesey and Captain Smollett, but my favorite characters are usually those who portray both the good and bad sides of human natures. Naturally, Silver would fit this role, but I did not find him as fascinating a character as some of the others.

Overall, Treasure Island is a masterpiece of pirate fiction. As I understand, it created many of the pirate tropes that we are now familiar with such as X marks the spot, talking parrots, and my favorite the black spot (“The black spot…..AHHHH!!!” — Muppet Treasure Island). It was a fun read, especially when I was at the beach, and a relatively easy read. The plot was wonderfully paced and the characters were given great depth.

Favorite Scene:  This might seem odd, but I really enjoyed the part where Captain Smollett was leaving the Hispaniola and Abraham Grey fought the other pirates to join him, getting injured and saying “I’m with you, sir.” It was very unexpected to me, and I greatly enjoyed how he was incorporated into the rest of the journey.

Book # 2: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Honestly, I have no idea what this book is about. I saw it on several lists of books to read before you die and remembered it from my family’s bookshelf. As a child, I remember being afraid of it because its title contains the word ‘sex.’ Scary.

So basically I am reading this next because I already owned it, so it’s easy.

When I told my mom I was going to read this next, she remarked that it was good, so I’m excited and a little nervous. My mother and I rarely have the same taste in books (I am a big fan of fantasy and adventure stories whereas my mother enjoys depressing realistic fiction, we only intersect with literature from the early 19th century like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters).

Onward we ride!

Where do I begin…

Hello fellow internet travelers. My name is Erin and I am a college student at an accredited university in the United States. I am currently twenty-years-old and am dying to start a new project.

Recently, I’ve come across many lists bearing titles such as “20 books to read in your 20’s” or “20 books to read before you turn 30” etc. I consider myself to be a fairly well read twenty-year-old, but I am always looking for opportunities to make this more a reality. Therefore, I have composed a list of 40 books to read throughout my twenties. I plan to read four books a year, starting now. My birthday is November 5, so I want to read four books before then (in six months for those of you who do not know this fact) and then four books a year afterwards.

Exactly why did I choose to do this and make a blog? Who knows. I’ve always been looking for an excuse to create a blog, as I love to write and have a wry sense of humor that I think applies well to the blog format.

So, where does this leave us?

I plan to write a blog post for every book I read. At the end of each blog post I will put the book I am reading next, so if you want to read along with me feel free! I’ll also include some expectations of the book and why I decided to put it on the list.

What I expect from this project is a catalogue of my thoughts throughout a decade of my life. I like the idea of a collection of reviews, written from different parts of my life shown through a linear model of book reviews.

I will be glad to answer any questions if you have one (you wonderful internet traveler you)!

And now…what we have to do is to only begin…

Book #1:  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Cover of "Muppet Treasure Island - Kermit...

Cover via Amazon

I am going to the beach next week, so I thought it fitting to pick a book about the ocean and piracy. I must confess, I am extremely familiar with the story as I was obsessed with Muppet Treasure Island growing up. I’m not even ashamed to admit this (currently searching for Professional Pirate on Youtube…..).

I’ve tried to read this book in the past, in Middle or High School, but I feel that I am more prepared to muddle through a story such as this now.

I’m a big fan of coming of age stories, however I’m not that big of a fan of first person narration. But I shall journey forth! I’m excited to begin this project, and read a classic pirate treasure story.

DISCLAIMER: I’m generally a fairly quick reader, so I’m expecting that the books I read during the summer will be finished quickly. BUT I probably will take a lot more time to read them during school.