Tag Archives: reading

Discovering Joye…This May Be the Coolest Thing Ever


headerBanner
This is not my normal book review…for a couple of reasons.  Discovering Joye is a book about discovering Joye Kanelakos’s poetry and melding it seamlessly with Jim Stovall’s own story.  Both of these are powerful and moving on their own, but together it is just…wow.  Truthfully, I’m pretty familiar with both the poetry and the story.  My grandmother is Joye Kanelakos, and my mother has worked for Jim Stovall for more than 20 years. (I wonder how these two talented people came together?  Any ideas?)  My mom would bring Grandma Joye books and notes from Jim, and she would send him homemade baklava in return.  I think both of them feel like they got the better end of the deal.  Grandma loved Jim’s books, and she loved feeding people.  (I have no idea how many crumbs were washed out of pockets that woman crammed cookies into as people walked out the door.)  Jim’s books are special.  They are different than anything else I read.  They are thought provoking and uplifting, and that’s no small feat.  Grandma’s baklava was kind of the same.  You’ll never taste anything quite like it.  There was something special in her touch that transformed those ingredients in a way I’ve never been quite able to duplicate.  Both of these remarkable people feed your heart and soul.

Having known Jim Stovall for more than 20 years, through my mother, I’ve gotten to hear his story a few times.  It is always one that inspires me, and I go back to it when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated or as if I don’t have an impact.  His story always gives me the jump start I need to get moving again and make things happen.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve told myself that the next time I say to myself “someone should do something about that” that person is me, and just go and do it….even if that thing is just the dishes.  “You can change your life if you change your mind,” has seen me through some frustrating days too.  Before I read Discovering Joye I would have said that I knew this part of his story well enough to tell you a good part of it myself.  However, when paired with the poetry, the “discoveries” and the story take on a new depth.  I walked away from a what I thought was a familiar tale with new insight and perception…inspired all over again, by both of them.

Some of Grandma Joye’s poetry followed me through childhood.  In Discovering Joye you’ll find some of my childhood favorites like “Plink Plank” and “Fairies and Other Good Stuff.”  They arrived in letters, usually handwritten on notebook paper, accompanied by drawings she’d made, and they will always hold special places in my memories.  Those poems sit side by side with evenings on the front porch of her home watching the fire flies wink and blink, listening to her talk about fairies who lived in the mimosa trees, Penny the Peacock, and later about life, books and writing,  and family. Reading those we found later though is a gift of a different sort.  Since Grandma Joye passed away, I return to her poems time and again.  It is like being able to have those front porch talks about those things we never got the chance to discuss in person.  Reading her poetry in conjunction with Jim’s story brought new life to the poetry too.  It changed the “conversation” with my grandmother because I read her words in a different light.  Apparently, she isn’t finished talking to me quite yet.  That is a gift of immeasurable value.

So I recommend this book on so many different levels.  If you’re a poetry nut, this is a book for you.  If you need a little pick-me-up…guess what, Discovering Joye has you covered.  If you just want to read a good story, you’ve got that too.

When I remember to keep the book I’m reviewing with me as I write my post, I try to leave you with the first line or so to give you a sneak peek.  This time, I want to give you my favorite poem.  This is one that I have all over the place…just in case I need a reminder.

New Light

I open my eyes to you

     Bright shiny morning,

While some lonely half-dream

     Still clouds my mind;

And I worry your presence

     By pulling in yesterday,

Plucking out moments

     I should leave behind.

Sweet friend and companion,

     Refresher of souls,

I rise to your joyful

     Awakening at last.

And I gather your warmth

     As a maiden her lover.

Embrace me, sweet morning

   Black shadows are past.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. Keep a close eye out in the next few days…there’s a contest coming!

 


Book Before Movie? Movie Before Book? Decisions, Decisions

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of BonesI’m breaking my rules with this book.  There is a movie, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, being released in theaters on August 21, and normally I watch the movie first then I read the book.  This way I’m not disappointed in the movie and I enjoy the book.  Books are always better, you know that, and they have to cut so much out of the book to make the movie less than 17 hours long that I’ve generally been safe with this approach.  (Well, the only exception has been The Hunger Games I almost didn’t read that book because I watched the movie first.  However, my best friend bought the book for me as a gift, and I did end up reading it…and loving it too.)

It all began when I was in Dallas for the Neil Gaiman signing, I went to the Half Price Books headquarters, and came across Clockwork Angel also by Cassandra Clare.  This is the first book in the Infernal Devices series…it comes after The Mortal Instruments series, and it looked good…really good..really interesting, and I realized that if I didn’t start at the beginning there might be spoilers…I hate spoilers.  The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices are all part of the Shadowhunter Chronicles…I’m listing them below, because they are now on my literary “grocery list”.

So should I risk it?  Should I break my own rule and read the book before watching the movie?  My rule hasn’t been a secrete, I’ve proclaimed it often and sometimes loudly (I’m just not a quiet person), and since announcing my rule about watching the movie first, I have had several people inform me that I have it backwards.  Really? Can you be wrong about this kind of thing?

Well, wrong or right, I’m not able to wait.  Patience may be a virtue, but it really isn’t one I can claim….and people told me I was wrong, so I have to at least test their theory, right?  Can anyone say unnecessary justification? Basically….screw it, I’m reading the book now.

onesheetCity of Bones has that whole bit with a layer of the world beneath ours that most people can’t even see that I just can’t get enough of.  I found Ms. Clare’s world to be very well built.  There were none of those so-how-does-this-work? moments for me.  Only people with the Sight can see Downworlders, demons and Shadowhunters for what they really are.  Everyone else lives on blissfully ignorant of the war being raged around them…it isn’t a new plot device, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good one.

I like the mythology that she uses to build her world as well, and I’ve read enough to have heard mention of the Nephilim and the mortal instruments.  In this last season of the television show Supernatural they referenced the human-angel hybrid, Nephilim.  House of Night series by P.C. and Kirsten Cast also reference the creatures.  Wikipedia’s page lists a whole ton of references from Assassins Creed, The Dragoneers, X-Files, Magic: The Gathering and Hex.  Even before my trip down the fascinating rabbit hole that is Wikipedia, there was enough tickling the edges of my brain to make me want to go digging.  (Where did I read about this stuff?  The bible?   This is what happens when you pair an English Literature Major with a Minor in History…It has been driving me bonkers!)

clockworkangle-265x400WARNING!  Sometimes I’ll go off on random tangents to dig up all the information I can find whatever subject strikes my fancy at the moment. (Don’t worry,  I promise that if I go a-researching I won’t stop writing my blog….it may get a bit more…esoteric at times though, fair warning.)  Previous “hunting trips” have included gemology, theology (everything from Judeaism to Buddhism to Wicca) and how to read and write in Arabic (I did live in Saudi Arabia at one point.  I also don’t recommend trying to learn a language on your own…especially if it involves another alphabet…it is REALLY hard!)  Curious minds want to know!

Aaaaaannnnddd, back to the book!  City of Bones started out a bit slow, but picked up nicely with in the first couple of chapters.  I say it started out a bit slow, but there’s a murder in the first handful of pages, so really not that slow.   The more I think of it the more I wonder if could have been done a bit deliberately.  There’s a roughness to the beginning of City of Bones opening chapters.  You already know I’m a sucker for a well written, well rounded character, and Clarissa (Clary) Fray seemed a bit flat at first.  Something in the first few chapters just seemed off, unfinished maybe, but I think that’s intentional because there are revelations to be had, my friends.  My thoughts are either that the unfinished feel of the early chapters was an intentional device or the author was trying a bit too hard not to reveal secrets, because, without revealing spoilers, there are secrets aplenty.  With each new unveiling, the characters gain depth, the plot, as they say, thickens, and even the imagery gains sharpness that was lacking.  Friendships are built, relationships are broken, enemies made and allies gained….and nothing is really as it seems.  Excuse me while I go grab the next book City of Ashes  so I can see what happens next….

First Lines:

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.  He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head.  “You can’t bring that thing in here.”

Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie first?

Any books that are coming to the big screen that are “must reads” ?

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica

The Shadowhunter Chronicles

The Mortal Instruments Book #1

The Mortal Instruments Book #1

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

The Mortal Instruments Book #3

The Mortal Instruments Book #3

The Mortal Instruments Book #4

The Mortal Instruments Book #4

The Mortal Instruments Book #5

The Mortal Instruments Book #5

Coming April 2014 art by Cassandra Jean

Coming April 2014 art by Cassandra Jean

The Infernal Devices Book #1

The Infernal Devices Book #1

The Infernal Devices Book #2

The Infernal Devices Book #2

The Infernal Devices Book #3

The Infernal Devices Book #3


Affliction: The Book that Consumed Two Days of My Life…When’s the Next One?

afflictionThe Universe was telling me I had to read Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton…now….no waiting for the paperback.  See, I had a trip to Houston this week, just for the day, and apparently I’m not at my best at 4:30am.   On the way, I had work to do, and on the way home I worked on a short story I’ve been playing with…until I ran out of paper in my notebook.  I didn’t bring a book, nook, headphones, iPad and my laptop battery died.  Seriously?  I can’t remember the last time that I left home without a book in my purse or a spare notebook and pen.  Therefore, I had to buy a book at the airport.  I am not a sit quietly and do absolutely nothing kind of girl.  After scouring shelves for a paperback that caught my fancy, something blue caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  I waffled a bit, I can’t lie.  Usually, I’ll check the hard cover out of the library, but wait to buy Ms. Hamilton’s books until they come out in paperback.  Books are expensive in hard cover, and Affliction is the 22nd Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novel…I own all of them…a paperback would match the others.  The waffling lasted all of maybe five seconds before I trotted up to the counter to pay for my entertainment.

If you haven’t read any of the Anita Blake books, start at the beginning with Guilty Pleasures.  The full list, in order, is below.  Set in St. Louis, vampires have been given equal rights by the Supreme Court.  They are people now.  Lycanthropes are out there too, but they don’t have the same rights as people, at least not yet.  The characters develop so beautifully over the subsequent books, and that arc is so fun to read…and re-read again and again.  Sometimes, I’ll go back to read the early novels and I just want to give her a hug…or warn her away…or laugh because I know she is SO changing her mind about that in a few books.  LKH never disappoints, and Affliction is no exception.  Filled with bad guys (both preternatural and human), good guys, emotional landmines, and a special brand of romance, her books are fraught with one disaster or near disaster after another.  For books about the paranormal, the characters are relatable.  Anita likes to pick at her relationships, and uncovers damage, strength and insecurities that most of us would never show the world.  Some of these I can see in myself sometimes, and it makes you love or hate the characters all the more because of it.

In Affliction I found myself smacking myself in the forehead and saying out loud, “Asher, what have you done NOW.”  Mentally begging someoneguiltypleasures to pull their head out, so they can see what’s in front of them, and shaking my head because I was sure her irrational jealousy was going to get her or someone else killed.  I usually read Ms. Hamiton’s books in one shot, because I simply have to see what happens.  They are those “just one more chapter” kind of books that are hard to put back down to go back to normal life.  There are cliffhanger chapters that are nearly impossible to walk away from.  I felt bereft every time I had to walk away.  These are characters and stories I dream about if I have to sleep mid-book, and Affliction wasn’t any different than the last 21 Anita books.  This book, my schedule demanded that:

1) I put it down to sleep, at least four hours the first night.  I was NOT happy, and my dreams were filled with Anita, vampires, weres of all shapes and sizes and, of course, zombies.  You can’t have Anita without zombies.

2) I put the book down to go to work.  That’s what keeps me in books.  It was done grudgingly, and with a chapter or three read over breakfast…I may have been a bit late for work too.

3) I put to book down to talk to people who actually deserved an answer, and didn’t know better than to talk to me while I’m reading (especially the last 20 pages of a book).  I managed polite, but I don’t know about friendly.

Anita Blake is not only a vampire hunter, she’s also an Animator…she raises the dead.  Yep, that’s zombies. That’s her day…well, it is the job she gets paid for.  You have to raise zombies at night.   Until now, she’s never really been afraid of them.  She’s always known what to expect, because raising the dead is something that she had to learn NOT to do.  As she says:

Most animators need practice and training to raise the dead; I got training so I could stop doing it by accident.  A beloved dog that crawled into bed with me when I was fourteen, roadkill that followed me like I was some nightmarish Pied Piper, and finally a college professor who had committed suicide and came to my dorm room so I could tell his wife he was sorry.  I wondered if the lone shambling zombies that they’d occasionally find wondering around were accidents from untrained animators like I had been once.

These zombies are nothing she’s ever seen before, and Anita is afraid.  When The Executioner, preternatural expert and all around badass (it really doesn’t matter that she is a petite woman) has no idea what’s going on, you know you’re in trouble.  Micah’s estranged father is dying.  They knew the trip would raise issues they would rather let die, but this was not what they had in mind.  Who knew that going home would this dangerous?

Have you started to notice that I love books with great characters.  This series has great characters, in every sense.  Quirky, endearing, dangerous, maddening, lovable, frustrating, terrifying, funny, and human; more often than not these traits all come around in one person.  As I re-read that last sentence, I think of all the other characters I love and love to hate in this series and realize that I could list the whole gamut of personality and emotion here, and you still won’t know what I’m talking about until you read about them. She doesn’t shy away from any aspects of their personality, even (thankfully!) their sexuality, so be prepared.

However, good books are not driven by characters alone (although, I do think that a great character can save a mediocre plot).  I really liked the plot in this one (and all the others).  Although at first, I was sure that I knew what was going to happen.  Really wrong about huge parts of that, and I should have known better…forgive me.  I figured out who the baddie had to be, but couldn’t figure out how it happened or where the badness boost came from.  The story moves fast, and there’s sub-plots and relationship arcs and…and…nope, can’t say anything else…spoilers.  The details are great too, and you can tell that there is some serious research behind weapons, police procedure, etc.  Sometimes you even get unexpected biology lessons…no, I’m not joking.

A personal aside, to Ms. Hamilton…thank you, thank you, thank you for more of Jean-Claude in this book.  I had missed him, a lot.  I needed more of him.  I was worried that he was starting to feel ignored.  (I do know he’s fictional, thank you very much.)  Truly, you’ve made so many characters such an integral part of Anita’s life that, while I know everyone can’t be on stage all the time, I miss them when they aren’t there.  Thank goodness for re-reading old books.  They are a balm when I am missing certain characters.

Laurell K. Hamilton has another series sourrounding a Faerie princess, Merry Gentry that is definitely worth a look as well…I have all of the Merry books as well.  We’re all waiting anxiously for the next in the series.  The author is also on Twitter, @LKHamilton.  Through her tweets, I’ve been introduced to a lot of great authors, like Neil Gaiman (as I mentioned in my very first real post), and she also gives quite a bit of insight into her writing process through the tweets and her blog.  The good days and the bad.

First Lines:

My gun was digging into my back, so I shifted forward in my  office chair.  That was better; now it was just the comforting pressure of the inner-skirt holster, tucked away underneath my short royal blue suit jacket.

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica

guiltypleasures

Anita Blake Book #1

Anita Blake Book #2

Anita Blake Book #2

Anita Blake Book #3

Anita Blake Book #3

Anita Blake Book #4

Anita Blake Book #4

Anita Blake Book #5

Anita Blake Book #5

Anita Blake Book #6

Anita Blake Book #6

Anita Blake Book #7

Anita Blake Book #7

Anita Blake Book #8

Anita Blake Book #8

Anita Blake Book #9

Anita Blake Book #9

Anita Blake Book #10

Anita Blake Book #10

Anita Blake Book #11

Anita Blake Book #11

Anita Blake Book #12

Anita Blake Book #12

Anita Blake Book #13

Anita Blake Book #13

Anita Blake Book #14

Anita Blake Book #14

Anita Blake Book #15

Anita Blake Book #15

Anita Blake Book #16

Anita Blake Book #16

Anita Blake Book #17

Anita Blake Book #17

Anita Blake Book #18

Anita Blake Book #18

Anita Blake Book #19

Anita Blake Book #19

Anita Blake Book #20

Anita Blake Book #20

Anita Blake Book #21

Anita Blake Book #21

Anita Blake Book #22

Anita Blake Book #22


He’s Gone and Done It Again – The Ocean at the End of the Lane

TheOceanattheEndoftheLane_Hardcover_1359996597Neil Gaiman has gone and done it again.  I thought I was finished being impressed with him after I finished Fragile Things.  Apparently, I was wrong…like really, really wrong. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about growing up, wanting to keep some of that childlike wonder, sacrifice, human nature, friendship and family.  It is about … life.  To begin, there’s a pond that’s really an ocean, a farmhouse where the moon is always full on one side, a very “normal” type of family, and the Hemstocks.

The storytelling, oh my gosh, the storytelling in this book.  You just get drawn in and you don’t want to leave.  (Well actually in some of spectacularly creeptastic parts you REALLY want to leave, but you can’t because you absolutely have to know what’s going to happen because the protagonist is seven….SEVEN, and what seven year old actually does what you expect?)  However you don’t leave, because well, you’re reading Neil Gaiman.  If he has a book that doesn’t leave you, at some point, distinctly unsettled and/or deep in thought about something…well….I haven’t found it yet. (Don’t worry.  I’ll keep reading, just in case.)

Me, I like a good fantasy book, so I’m used to suspending reality, for a while, to live in the world the authors create for me.  Usually, I don’t think about the whys or wherefores so much.  I’ve started paying attention though.  Who better than Mr. Neil Gaiman to pay attention to WHY I’m willing to believe that his world is THE world for a while?  The stories I like the best these days are the ones that take the world we live in and twist it just a bit.  Think American Gods here, a whole different world layered over our own, sometimes one that “normal” people never see.  Kim Harrison, with the alternate world that changed because of tomatoes.  Laurell K. Hamilton’s St. Louis where vampires have been given the same rights as humans by the Supreme Court.  They make you think about possibilities long after the book is closed, and real life has intruded again.  The magic of “what if”.

The protagonist in The Ocean at the End of the Lane  is a seven year old boy. (I may have mentioned that earlier…once or twice.)  Children are amazing little people, aren’t they?  Watching them learn about the world is an experience, wonderful, hilarious, and just plain weird in turns…and sometimes all at once.  Everything is … data.  (Have you ever used a…socially unacceptable for a two-year-old word…in front of a two-year-old?  They zoom in on that thing like a heat seeking missile, and they think this is the best word they have ever heard.  It is repeated incessantly…in front of the most inappropriate people…like the pastor, their grandparents, or your boss?  Let me tell you about The List sometime.  My niece and nephew wanted to have a shirt printed for me that said “That’s on The List”) Each bit of information they absorb informs them of what the world is, and I think what makes this book and this particular twist on the world so believable.  This childhood ability to adapt a viewpoint of the world, based on new experience. Some things are still fluid, at seven.  Our protagonist isn’t a little kid anymore, but he doesn’t struggle as much as an adult against a set idea of what is “supposed to be” either.  He sees some pretty wild and crazy stuff, but his friend is there.  She isn’t scared, so it’s okay.  There are some things our protagonist is certain are absolute truths, (I mean, I know a few seven year olds who are convinced they know EVERYTHING, don’t you?),but even these get shaken a bit.  Eventually, he’s just taking things as they come, rolling with the punches… it is all just data.  Your friend shows you an orange sky? Weird, but it is right there in front of you so, okay. Adults struggle more to accept sweeping alterations to their perception of the way things really are.

Autographed Ocean

The fantastic events that happen in The Ocean at the End of the Lane are not unbelievable because the character believes.  The fantastic is in turns disturbing, creepy, unsettling, and sometimes beautiful.  The truly scary parts, for me, came from the purely human.  It gave me goosebumps.  It still gives me goosebumps.  It takes some of those vital absolutes our protagonist has and … shakes them up, makes them less certain.  One of his absolutes turned to vapor.  Just.  Like.  That.

During my recent opportunity to attending a reading and book signing, where I got my very own copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane signed, I discovered that Neil Gaiman wrote this novel by accident.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, this started out to be a short story for his wife, Amanda Palmer.  Then it became a novelette.  As it became longer, he said that he resigned himself to it being a novella.  Finally, he says he had to send an email saying that he had accidentally written a novel.  Maybe this is what they mean by “happy accidents.”

For all this is an “accidental” novel, there isn’t a wasted word in this beauty.  It is filled to the brim with everything that you love about reading Neil Gaiman.  I found no passages, paragraphs, scenes or even sentences that dragged. Everything has weight here.  Everything has meaning.

First Lines:

It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm.  It wasn’t very big.

Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly.  She said they’d come here across the ocean from the old county.

Her mother said that Lettie didn’t remember properly, and it was a long time ago, and anyway, the old country had sunk.

Old Mrs. Hempstock, Lettie’s grandmother, said they were both wrong, and that the place that had sunk wasn’t the really old country.  She said she could remember the really old country.

She said the really old country had blown up.

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica


Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

9780062024046_p0_v1_s260x420Oh my, oh my, Veronica Roth, please write faster! Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, was just as riveting as I hoped, and waiting until October for all that I’m sure will be waiting in Allegiant is going to be torture. This book dives deeper into the fault lines of the characters, and, although I hate seeing the characters’ angst, it is always fascinating to stand outside a situation and see so clearly what the characters cannot see for themselves, just like the real world.

This post is harder than most to write without spoilers for both this book and the last! Oh, I want to tell you what happens so badly, but I promised I wouldn’t….so I won’t. This is not an easy feat though. I just want you to know.

I will tell you this is fairly typical of a middle book in a series, a little darker and not a lot of resolution going on. However, I like the story arcs for this series. Not only the over-arching story-line, but the story lines for the individual books as well. They’re well thought out, well put together and I have a sneaking suspicion that the devil will be in the details, as they say. Insurgent left me thinking deep thoughts also. I’m not going to be sharing, because…spoilers…I’m really afraid these deep dark thoughts will give away plot points, so….moving on.

These characters don’t feel flat to me. Everyone, even major-minor and minor characters feel three dimensional. As I said, I think the devil is in the details in this series, and I’m hoping that I have paid attention to all those little things that are going to be revealing as we move further into this world Ms. Roth has built. A bit of the resolution in this book felt a tad forced, but I have a feeling that these issues will pop their ugly little heads up in the next book, and may not be as resolved as they seem to be. In fact, I kind of hope they do, it would be in keeping with real people and relationships. Seriously, how many of you have decided something is resolved only to have another argument about it five weeks, seven months, or even a year later? It isn’t pretty, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gone through that at least once…or three times. Not only that, but these characters have been through a lot already, and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Have you ever just pushed down the stuff you’re just too busy to deal with right now? (Confession, yes, I have.)

9780062024060_p0_v4_s260x420Now, definitely recommending this one. (I already have to…well to everyone I know that reads…like at all.)  Have you read any good books lately? I’m feeling a craving coming on for some new fiction. Allegiant doesn’t come out until October 22, and it is only the end of June! That’s….that’s a lot of days.  Got any good recommendations?


Young-Adult at heart! This week’s review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent

by Veronica Roth

9780062024039_p0_v1_s260x420

Apparently, I’m on a young adult book kick.  Really, it just seems like a lot of really great books are coming out of the YA section lately.  First, The Fault in Our Stars and now Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Although, C. S. Lewis once said:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

I have found that to be incredibly true, haven’t you?  Of course, this is coming from the man who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, and I never get tired of reading those.  Those books are like The Hobbit, an old friend you just have to visit every now and again.  I went and grabbed a book off the shelf with nothing more than a recommendation off the internet…again. (It’s worked pretty well so far.  Confession, I’ll probably do it again.) This title, Divergent,  just kept showing up.  It was in posts on Tumblr, on Pinterest, and Twitter and it stuck in my head.    The word “divergent” is such a great word anyway, and I am such a vocabulary geek.  (Did you know there is a book called The Synonym Finder?  Oh yeah, baby, it is awesome.  It even includes slang. No, I don’t read the dictionary for fun…maybe, I’ve read The Synonym Finder.)  However the info below actually comes from Merriam-Webster.

di·ver·gent

1 a : diverging from each other <divergent paths>

b : differing from each other or from a standard <the divergent interests of capital and labor>

2: relating to or being an infinite sequence that does not have a limit or an infinite series whose partial sums do not have a limit

3: causing divergence of rays <a divergent lens>

— di·ver·gent·ly adverb

Origin of DIVERGENT

Latin divergent-, divergens, present participle of divergere

First Known Use: 1696

divergence

noun

1.  a movement in different directions away from a common point <a growing divergence of opinion about that U.S. president’s place in history>

Synonyms bifurcationdivaricationdivergencyseparation

Related Words differencedisagreementdiscrepancydisparateness,

disparitydissidencedissimilarity

9780062024046_p0_v1_s260x420

This week I flew to San Diego for a business trip and read this on the plane on the way there…let me repeat that.  I read Divergent on the plane ride from Tulsa to San Diego.  There weren’t even any measurable layovers.  Well, the plane stopped in Las Vegas, but I didn’t even get off the plane. (I did move to a better seat though.)  Not only did I finish this book in an afternoon, but I went searching for the sequel, Insurgent…right away, as in immediately.  However, it wasn’t in the bookstores in the airport. (Bummer!) Now, while I couldn’t find it in the airport, I know where to pick it up tonight, as in like two hours!  (Not that I’m counting down or anything…no really! There are some cravings that just have to be fed!)

This series is set in what used to be Chicago.  Everyone is divided into one of five factions, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, and Amity. You choose your faction at sixteen after an aptitude test.  If you choose a faction outside of your family’s faction, you may never see them again.  Your loyalty to your faction comes before family.  This Choice is the biggest decision of your life.

My family might be able to help me make my choice, if I could talk about my aptitude test results.  But I can’t.  Tori’s warning whispers in my memory every time my resolve to keep my mouth shut falters.

Caleb and I climb the stairs and, at the top, when we divide to go to our separate bedrooms, he stops me with a hand on my shoulder.

“Beatrice,” he says, looking sternly into my eyes.  “We should think of our family.”  There is an edge to his voice.  “But.  But we must also th

ink of ourselves.”

For a moment I stare at him.  I have never seen him think of himself, never heard him insist on anything but selflessness.

I am so startled by his comment that I just say what I am supposed to say: “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”

He smiles a little. “Don’t they though?”

Once you choose your faction, the fun is just beginning. (Can you hear the sarcasm there?  When will we get a sarcasm font?  It should come in Italics, Bold, and Sarcasm.  It would make my life SO much easier! ) After you’ve chosen, you go through initiation.  Not everyone in every faction is initiated, and if you aren’t….you become factionless.  That means no home, no real source of income, and still no contact with your family.  In this world, faction equals home and community, and the emphasis is certainly that you cannot survive or at least cannot live well without a faction.
In this book I kept thinking of something that I heard the actor who plays John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the new film Star Trek: Into Darkness  say about his character.(if you haven’t seen this yet, finish reading this post and GO SEE THE MOVIE!  It is fantastic! At the very least, check out the trailer!)  I’m going to get the actual words wrong, I’m sure, and I’m sorry for it because it was very well said. Hopefully, I get his intent right, however.  Every terrorist is someone else’s freedom fighter, and that concept kept circling through my mind along with a question.  When do the ends no longer justify the means?  Isn’t that just a cheery whirlwind of thought.Can you imagine having to choose your future at sixteen? Doesn’t it feel that way when we choose a college or career path? This is so much more permanent, because we all have the option to change our minds about the university we attend . . . or not… the career path we take…or don’t, our future is not set in stone.  Our future is what we make of it…it’s a liberating and terrifying concept, to realize that you’re responsible for what happens next.  Isn’t it? Not the circumstances, but the path you take…

9780062024060_p0_v4_s260x420

I know, I know.  These are deep thoughts this week!  On bit of a lighter note, they are turning Divergent into a movie.  As I was checking out Veronica Roth’s website, I found stills from the movie.  There’s information about casting info on there too, not to mention BOOKS!  There is a third book too, Allegiant, that will be released October 22, 2013. (Why is October so far away?  To pre-order or not to pre-order, that is the question of the day.  Because I totally need to add something else to my reading list, right?)

First Lines:

“There is one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Next up…trip to Washington DC, and, trust me, I’ll have a couple of good books to keep me company on the plane.

Til next time,

Jessica


“Anyway — beca…

“Anyway — because we are readers, we don’t have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next — and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis — at any time of night or day.”
― Kurt Vonnegut