The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

For a review of this book, I’m going to direct you to the website of a book blogger I really like and respect, Jamie, as her post about this book inspired me to read The Boy In The Black Suit in the first place.

The Perpetual Page Turner – Book Talk: Boy In The Black Suit 

The reason I want to post about this book is because I really love this passage:

“But this game here, I-DEE-clare War, is how life really goes down.” Finally done dealing, he picked up his stack and held it in his hand, face down. Then, he flipped the first card. “I flip a card, then you flip a card.” he explained, and waited for me to turn my first card. A six. His was a ten. “Sometimes I win” – he raked the cards off to the side, close to him – “and sometimes I lose.” He flipped another card. An eight. This time I turned a queen and beat him. “And sometimes,” he continued while flipping another one, “I can lose and lose and lose and I don’t know why. But there’s nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I’ll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you’re fine. Now, that’s life,” he said, pushing another hand I won over to me.”

I agree, that is life.

Yes, Please – A Book by Amy Poehler

Let me start by saying that over the past year I have grown to enjoy listening to audiobooks in my car. Sometimes, I just need the calming tone of someone’s voice reading a story or a famous person talking about the life in an audio version of their biography or memoir. Often, I enjoy this on the way to work or school, or when I’m driving at night and just want to start to relax a bit.

I just finished listening to the audiobook of Yes, Please – written and read aloud by Amy Poehler, as well as special guests such as Seth Meyers and Kathleen Turner, and even her parents! It was probably the best audiobook I’ve listened to so far! It makes you laugh, it makes you think, and it’s quotable, which is what I love in an audiobook.

I won’t go into much more story detail than that, because you may want to enjoy it for yourself. But I had to share the part in Amy’s book that struck me the most. It was I think Thursday last week when I heard this particular chapter on my way to work, where Amy states:

“Either way, we both agree that ambivalence is a key to success. I will say it again. Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but now about how good people think you are or how good people think you look. I realize this is extremely difficult. I am not saying I am particularly good at it. I’m like you. Or maybe you’re better at this than I am. You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, ‘I made it!’ You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful. Most people I know struggle with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other. Our ego is a monster that loves to sit at the head of the table, and I have learned that my ego is just as rude and loud and hungry as everyone else’s. It doesn’t matter how much you get; you are left wanting more. Success is filled with MSG.”

My Translation = Wow, ambivalence is key! The less you show that you really care, the more likely you are to get what you want because you won’t scare people away or piss people off on your way to success. Hard work is important, but don’t perseverate on what you want so much that it’s all you think about, because if you only get something similar, or half of what you want, you will be more dissatisfied because it wasn’t your goal, than grateful for the smaller success you have just had! Mind = Blown!

I can also relate this to other aspects of my life, such as a relationship. I’ve been told multiple times that I will find a boyfriend when I stop looking. In the past, I have put so much emphasis and energy on looking, that when I do date, I end up disappointed because I so badly wanted that relationship to be ‘the one’. But this statement, about ambivalence, means that if I stop thinking about finding a boyfriend (which I have, I can honestly say that) that I will still get what I want one day. And I won’t intentionally drive it away by putting too much energy into it!

And, since I also know that timing is everything – it is interesting that the morning I listen to this advice on the drive in to work, I find out something that will promote my success and will be a great opportunity, but that I can not fully disclose at this time. Let’s just say that I couldn’t believe the coincidence and timing of it all!

Pretty powerful stuff Amy Poehler, so thank you.

My Year In Books – 2014

Well, for 2014 I set a goal to read 50 books, and I came very very close. I documented 49 books in my Goodreads book shelf. It’s almost too close to my goal for me, that I am a bit disappointed but I don’t want to rush and read a book today (because I really don’t have the time!) and I don’t want to just add a silly little book just so that I reach my goal. The way I look at it, 50 books, cover to cover (or audio CD to audio CD), plus my readings for school, and just managing all my other interests, plus work, school, and social activities, is pretty good!

However, I still think I’ll set the bar even higher for 2015. Working in a library and just loving books and reading, I find that my list of books to read is constantly growing as I am always finding books that sound interesting. I love stories, and I love how books can help you learn, or take you to a new world, or even just let you dream silly dreams, and fall in love with romantic book hero or characters in different ways. I’m not quite sure what my book goal will be for 2015, but I look forward to reading and discovering in the upcoming year!

Here are screen captures of my list of books I read during 2014, with my rating and the date I finished the book. I tried to read a mixture of Young Adult, Adult Fiction, and Non-Fiction. None of the books I read were awful, most were average, and a few were fantastic! It’s difficult for me to give a book a 5 star rating, but some books did make it!

Take a look, and maybe it’ll inspire you to set a reading goal for 2015, or it’ll intrigue you to research some of the books and maybe add them to your own to-read list.

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Reasons Why I Love “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

 

divergent

I have borrowed the newly released DVD copy of Divergent from the library and I was inspired to write this post. There are many reasons why I love the story and premise of Veronica Roth’s trilogy Divergent. The book captured me from the very first time I saw the cover and read the book’s tagline – One Choice Can Transform You. The truth to that sentence is astounding. They say never judge a book by its cover, but from that first glance I was hooked.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book’s basic premise, here is a brief summary. As I have never been good at summarizing books or movies (or tv shows for that matter), I do not take credit for this summary.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

(Thank you Goodreads).

So, without further a due, here are the reasons why I love “Divergent” both the movie and the book, and they are in no particular order.

Let’s start with the book…

Tris Prior is brave, courageous, fearless and feisty – all of which I admire. She’s also smart and she doesn’t trust easily. She asks questions and does her research and strives to discover and learn truths for herself – all of which are qualities that I admire.

The whole idea of factions and people living in communities matching to personality intrigues me. I’ve always been interested in personality testing and so a book that has a basis of individuals being divided by the way they act and think is a second thing that appealed to me about Divergent. I think most people wonder where they belong and deal with that questioning of who they are and who they should be during their youth up until their late 20s – and possibly even beyond. We seek to experiment and discover truths about ourselves and the world as we know it.

Tris starts to believe she knows who she is, and then the whole concept of Factions and rebelling against human nature throughs a wrench into her thoughts, further demonstrating whether we really every know completely who we are, or whether we are constantly evolving as individuals. Can individuals fit into a category or is everyone a little bit of every personality characteristic, expressing varying degrees of strength and weakness in a given trait?

The book is very quotable and inspiring….

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.

“It must require bravery to be honest all the time.”

“We believe in bravery. We believe in taking action. We believe in freedom from fear and in acquiring the skills to force the bad out of our world so that the good can prosper and thrive. If you also believe in those things, we welcome you.”

(Those are just a few quotes that I like…I’ll let you read the book and discover more on your own).

Now, the movie…

Theo James, who plays Four, is incredibly good looking!

Shaleine Woodley portrays Tris well, in my opinion and I can’t picture anyone else playing her now that she has assumed the role.

The soundtrack is fantastic – I love that Ellie Goulding and other techno-based artists make up the majority of musical acts featured. I think it is a great fit.

One of my favourite scenes is when Tris is first running to catch the Dauntless train after choosing her faction. I think “Run Boy Run” portrays the anticipation and adrenaline of the moment well. 

I would love to zipline like Tris does over the city lights – how cool and thrilling would that be?

In both the book and the movie I am enthralled by the relationship between Tris and Four, and to be it is actually believable and realistic. In my experience, people don’t let the one they love in that easily. This story portrays that. The clashing and pretending not to care that so often can happen when two people meet, until both becomes comfortable with their feelings. Not knowing everything about the other person right of the bat, but slowly learning about each other and falling in love unconsciously. Plus, Tris and Four kick ass together which I love. A couple should be a force to wrecked with; a pair that can take on the world together and support each other with their love and strength. It’s a bond that is unbreakable. I don’t know about you, but that’s the love I dream about.

So, I recommend the book and the move to anyone and everyone who can relate to making choices, fighting for themselves, their loved ones, and their beliefs, not giving in to fear, and being brave. Watch the movie or read the book, and maybe then read book 2 or 3. Regardless, I don’t think you will be disappointed.