Saturday, March 16, 2013

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

This is a book every girl should read (if you're a boy and non-chauvinistic, 
you'll like it too!).  If you judge Beauty Queens solely by its cover, you would think it was a trashy beach romance, but really it's a parody of that type of book, and of every stereotype that is pushed on girls today.  
In it, an airplane full of beauty pageant contestants crashes onto a deserted island, forcing the girls to band together and learn what it means to survive, as well as what is important outside the realm of reality TV.  It is hilarious, ridiculous, and a fairly easy read, but it's also poignant and just really, really true.  It deals with sexuality, friendship, racism, love, sexism, insecurity, and what it means to be a girl today in the least preachy and most fantastic way possible.  
The themes in this book are not the best part, though.  The characters and the way they develop throughout the book contributes to the flawlessness of this book too.  Libba Bray somehow manages to give over a dozen beauty queens as well as a ship full of pirates (don't ask) their own voices and personalities.  I want to be best friends with all these girls, and I would happily marry any one of the pirates!!  I can see a little bit of people I know in all of these characters, and that gives me a deeper connection.
I don't know what else to say except that I DEMAND you read this book.  It made me think twice about the world I live in, and it's not every day that that happens.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Storage Ideas for Bibliophiles With No Extra Space

Are you out of space to put your burgeoning collection of books?  Or are traditional shelving units just too mainstream?  Never fear: Today's post is all about interesting, maximum-space-saving new ways to store your books!   Try:

1. A hollow ottoman/coffee table!


2. A painted bookshelf!  Ok, so this isn't a space-saver, but it's just so pretty...
Rainbow bookshelves

3. A trundle bed book drawer!

4. A bookshelf chair!

5. A carved-up staircase!

6. Replace your wall with a solid bookshelf!

7. Hanging bins!

8. Make furniture out of your books!

9. Use your closet!  Because who needs clothes when you spend all your time indoors, in the dark, reading Harry Potter?!

10. Embrace the clutter!  There comes a time in every bibliophile's life when she must admit that there is no organizing this mess.  Once you understand this, you have achieved literary Nirvana.

Love and clutter,

Between Shades of Gray

This first thing I have to say about this book is that it is NOT Fifty Shades of Gray. This is a book about the gulags not sex.

Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is about a  15-year-old Lithuanian girl who is taken to a Siberian labor camp under Stalin's rule. We follow Lina from the day she is taken by the NKVD (a secret soviet police) all throughout the time she spends at the camps (called gulags) to when she is set free again. 
Because Lina and I are very close in age I find it easy to connect with her. This helps me to empathize because I have never been in a situation even remotely close to what she went through. 
Lina is an artist and in the book she vows to draw everything that happens to her and bury it in a jar so that one day someone will know her story. 
One of the most captivating aspects in this book is it's imagery. Lina tells the story using what she sees and how she translates that into her own mind. The result is some powerful images and a lot of confusion that Lina and the reader work out together. 
If anyone is learning about the gulags in school or are just interested in that part of history I would definitely recommend this book. It is fiction, but the author used survivors stories to shape one of her own. 

Reading List #1

This is our first recommended reading list!!!  We will put out a new one every Friday.  All the books on this list are flawless and majestic and the reading of these books should become your #1 priority from now on.

The Cold Awakening Trilogy 

1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys: This is about a 15-year-old girl named Lina who is taken to a labor camp in Siberia under the rule of Stalin. 
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: The love story of two teenagers with terminal cancer - but, the characters' words, this book should not be mistaken for a 'cancer story.'
3. Before I Fall By Lauren Oliver: A girl who dies in a car crash finds herself repeating the day of her death until she figures out what really important. 
4. On Writing Well by William Zinsser: This should be every writers' Bible.
5. Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell: While very long, a timeless classic about southern views throughout the Civil War. 
6. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: I don't even think this entry needs a caption...
7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: A gifted high school-age cellist loses her entire family in one tragic car crash, and has to decide whether it's worth it to go on living.  
8. The Cold Awakening trilogy by Robin Wasserman: A story about the divide between humans and robot humans set in a future where the human consciousness can be downloaded.
9. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: A beautiful story set in an alternate world where witches rule the skies, bears can talk, human souls take the form of animal daemons and ordinary people struggle to understand the nature of magical elementary particles called Dust.
10. Every Day by David Levithan: This book explores themes of identity, sacrifice and love at its purest through the eyes of a being who wakes up every day in the body of a different person.

Introducing Us

Hello, our names are Grace and Carly. We are high school bibliophiles who live in New York City. When we are not reading we are either reading or gushing about books we have read. We sometimes go to school as well. A a result of our obsession we have driven off most of our friends and have turned to the internet for solace. 
This blog is a way for us to reach out to other (earth dwelling) bibliophiles and share our thoughts on anything and everything related to literature. 
Hope you like it! 

P.S In order for you all to know who is recommending what we will be writing in different colors. 
Grace will write in green
Carly will write in white