Bookreview-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Me leí el libro en inglés así que pensé hacer la reseña en inglés también. Si preferís que haga reseñas en el blog en español, solo tenéis que decírmelo. Aunque os recomiendo que, si podéis, os leáis el libro en inglés por todos los matices del lenguaje que se pierden en la traducción: el acento de los personajes y las formas coloquiales e incorrectas de hablar.

~~I read the book in English, so I thought about doing the review in English as well. If you prefer me doing reviews in Spanish, just let me know.

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my pic, please if you take it give credit!

Several days ago I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and I loved it. It’s one of those books with a perfect ending, even though there are a few things left unexplained, but as there’s a second book – Go set a watchman, released last year – it’s okay. I can’t wait to read the second one, and I hope there’s a clearer view on what happened in To Kill a Mockingbird.

So, the adventure began. To be honest, I thought that, the book being a classic, I would take my time to read it and not be really interested in it. Oh, how wrong I was. I remember being only 10 pages into the book and I already felt so hooked to it! The tone of the book is honest above all, the narrator is Scout, a girl. The book starts when she is 7 and finishes when she is 9, I believe. Due to the narrator, the facts and action are presented in a simple way, in the way a child understands what happens in the world. But this same way of understanding leaves out a lot of explanations and details that provide the story with a thick layer of mystery.

The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1940s. The themes in the book are racism, classism, honesty, silence/absence and honour.

There are two big events or facts in the book that lead the action forward. One is the constant presence of Boo Radley in the children’s minds, and the other one is Atticus’ case. Without giving any spoilers, Atticus is Scout and Jem’s dad, who is a lawyer. He’s an old man that comes across as different from most of Maycomb population. He is more open and a really kind person. During the whole novel the sense of difference between the family and the neighbours is a constant. Atticus has different views and a different morality from the rest and that makes him bring up his children to see things as he sees them.

It’s not an easy read in terms of what happens in the book, it deals with important issues such as rape and guilt, but they are very well portrayed. I will talk at the end of the post about what I didn’t like – just tiny details.

The writing is very realistic and quite unique. It accurately reflects the way the characters talk, using many contractions – such as ‘em or ‘tis – and also non standard expressions or words like yessir or yessum. This is the main reason why I recommend reading it in English if you can. The vocabulary is quite hard, though, but I think that you can guess most of it.

Moving onto the characters, I can’t choose who would be my favourite. I love Scout, because after all thanks to her voice we know what happens in the story, and our point of view is crearly biased. But one of the characters that specially stands out is Jem. Even though Scout doesn’t praise him, Jem brought my attention. He has really strong moral values for his age, when the book finishes he is 13 years old, so he is 3-4 years older than Scout, and that matters. Atticus and Dill are lovely above all. The figure of Dill is quite interesting because of the stories he is always telling, many times utterly fake, even about his own life. Last but not least, one of my favourite characters is Boo Radley. He just being how he is. You will understand me if you have read the book.

Finally, the quotes. There are a lot of amazing quotes in there that can still teach a lot, and that is quite sad. More than 50 years ago (the book was published in 1960), the author wanted to expose a reality in order to change it. Now, there’s still a lot to change. Racism shouldn’t be a thing anymore. I hope that, day by day, we can educate ourselves to not discriminate against anyone.

Cry about the simple hell people give other people – without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they’re people, too. – Mr. Raymond.

There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results. – Atticus.

He told me havin’ a gun around’s an invitation to somebody to shoot you. – Scout.

If there’s just one kind of folks, why can’t they get along with each other? If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? – Jem.

I hope that you give a chance to this marvellous book! If you already read it, what did you think about it?

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Now: spoilers.

If you don’t want to know about the mysteries in the book, DON’T READ THIS. Okay:  What I did NOT like at all, was that the case used in order to show the racism was a fake rape. Feminism is struggling a lot with this issue because there are very very FEW fake rape reports, and still people think a lot of real rapes are fake. Things like this, in such an important book, don’t help at all.

Fear of perfection

It’s been a long time since I don’t write a rant here, so it was about time.

I recently read a post that inspired me a lot to try and do things even if I think I’ll do them wrong, which is called “Be creative”, written by a fabulous girl (you can read it here).

It basically talks about how we prevent ourselves from doing things because we don’t think we “fit” the label or subject – in this case, being creative – and it made me think about my own creativity and how I let it define me.

I’ve always been a creative girl, since I was a child I remember drawing whenever I could, singing with my mum, dancing when no one was around… I even wanted to be an artist for several years. But the thing is that I’ve always been defined as “creative” because I was surrounded by less creative people, or people that weren’t creative at all.

Then, I went to uni, and it all changed. I met a lot of different and interesting people who were very talented, and instead of letting that inspire me, it made me scared. It made me scared because I thought that, compared to them, I wasn’t creative at all. It made be belive I didn’t deserve to think I was creative, because I would never reach their level of talent. I started thinking I was not good enough for that creative world. And in the end, I even thought I wasn’t creative. I thought I was just ordinary, that I had the standard “amount of creativity” for someone that’ll never be related to that world.

Then, all that passed. I started talking with different people and I became interested in other subjects, like going to art galleries and I started reading manga again and I let myself get lost in music for a while. I read a lot, published books, amateur unpublished short stories… I saw a lot of fan-art. I kind of reconnected with the world I loved so much, with the world I had discovered alone. I decided I wanted to try again. I wanted to draw something, I wanted to just be creative for a couple minutes. But my mind wasn’t oblivious of everything I had “learned”. It was still there, haunting me, holding me down. I drew. Yes, I did. It didn’t feel right, though. I thought that, no matter how hard I tried, I would never create something as beautiful as what I saw on tumblr. I would never be like my classmates. I would always be in the background, waiting for my time to shine until is too late.

So I accepted it. I accepted I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. I accepted I was even bad sometimes. So what? If I was bad, then I couldn’t disappoint myself. Later, I reminded myself I was me. I am only me, and that is the only thing I’m going to be for all my life. I told myself it was okay, whatever I did, it would be okay. And after that, I began drawing things that were even better than just “okay”.

Only when I started letting myself be bad, I began being good.

I was scared of perfection. I was so obsessed with achieving it, that I couldn’t even move towards it. I wanted it so badly, and at the same time, I was scared. I was terrified of getting there. Because I was an ordinary girl, a no one. What would I do if I reached perfection? I wouldn’t know how to handle it.

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Truth is, there’s no reason to handle perfection, because perfection is impossible to reach.

So be free. Be you. Do what you have to do, do what you want to do, no matter what. And be happy with it.

 

“Burn Baby, Burn Baby” by Kevin Craig

It’s been a long time since I don’t post anything here, but I’ll try my best to update the blog more often from now on.

Today’s review is Burn Baby, Burn Baby, by Kevin Craig.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate this amazingly beautiful cover? It really attracted my attention.

I read this book thanks to NetGalley, so don’t be afraid to check the website out!

This book was intense and original, it really got me hooked and one night I even lost sleep to read it – it is really worth the read.

It mixes perfectly romance with movie stuff, bullying and several other subjects such as Shakespeare!
I highly recommend it, it’s a fun read even if there’s some deep troubles – I guess just like life is.
I totally understood the point of view of the main character – Francis – who is quite interesting.

I laughed, sighed and suffered reading this book, all at once. Definitely, it’s a moving story.

Since my first language is spanish, I had a bit of a hard time reading this book, specially because there’s a lot of slang vocabulary and casual expressions which I’m not used to. But eventually, it made me realise how interesting english language can be, it also made me learn a lot more! So don’t be afraid to read it if you’re not good at english, it’s not that difficult and it’s so worth the read.

PS: plus, the author answered me on twitter, he’s such a nice person! 🙂

“Nashville Part One: Ready to Reach”, by Inglath Cooper

Another review of an english-written book! If you wanna give it a try, go to NetGalley for more information.

I devoured this book in just two days! I usually take my time to read a book but this one got me really hooked on.
I really liked the fact that music is a big part of the book, though in this first part of the series we get to see a little of the music industry. There’s even some original lyrics in the book, which is pretty inspirational.

I liked the fact that we only have three main characters, this makes it easier to focus on the story and move along with it.
The first pages of the book where a bit too innocent – or “lucky” – for me (Cece is really lucky, in the real world there are billions of worse things that are more likely to happen), but soon enough it all becomes pretty believable.

The characters are likeable and not quite predictable, and that’s bonus points.

Easy and fun read, over all. Music lovers will enjoy it.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Inside a string, by Tom MacLear

This book felt like soft music playing in my brain. At first, you try to get used to it, to its calmed sound, to its melody. But then, suddenly, you find yourself moving to the music. You find yourself appreciating every note, every detail about it.
This is a pretty slow down book, but very unique. Every now and then, there are powerful verses that hit you at a emotional level.
The author talks about life, about the road we have to walk, about death. He also talks about life as an artist, which I found very inspiring.
He puts into words thoughts that many of us have had, but we were never truly aware we’ve had them.

I was lend a review copy by NetGalley, thanks to Water Forest Press for letting me read it.

We are the lost generation

We’ve heard that a million times, and now we even say it. We are the lost generation. We are lost. But let me tell you one thing, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Being lost only means you’re not in your place, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a place. There’ll be change, but a different change from the last generation. Because the generation of our parents knew the things they had to fight for, but we have to discover the things we have to fight for. Some things, we for sure now it. But we still don’t know how to change them. We see our world in constant movement, in constant change, and it scares us. It makes us feel like we are lost and we don’t belong here. But we do belong here, we just have to find our place, our motivation, our minds. Yes, you’ve read right, our own minds.We need to know that we’re not the generation of our parents, and we cannot run directly onto hating their values and wanting to change everything. We were born in the middle of big changes, and big mistakes. We’re confused. And it’s okay.

 

We need to find our own way, our own way of seeing things, and thinking and shouting. We need to find ourselves before we do anything else. They gave us a lot of things, and that hid all the things they took from us. We need to find out what we’re missing, and ask for it.

We need to convince people that we’re not the lost generation, because that’s how they give us less credit, less value, less worth.

Yes, we might be lost right now, but this is not going to last forever. They know that, but do we? We have a voice, we have a mind. And we have to stop being scared of them. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to stand up and begin walking, or even running, because if you’re lost and you walk, eventually you’ll find yourself in another place. And maybe that place’ll be home.

Literature

I like writing. It makes me feel useful, like that little child I once was, but now I do have a fluent and original handwriting. A handwriting I’m proud of calling my own.

Some people don’t understand my handwriting (well, just some words). Others love it. Many people don’t care. “It’s a handwriting, gosh, it’s not a book!” they may say. No, sir, it’s a handwriting that can turn into books.

I like that possibility. Some letters make words, some words make sentences… and then BUM! You have a story. It’s like when you encourage a friend to talk to the person she likes and you feel frustrated because both of them are really shy… and then, all of a sudden, they’re making out in the corner, or in the bus, or even in front of you.

I like the idea of literature being that silly couple making out in front of everyone: passionate, wild, young. Literature has to surprise you, sometimes even bother you with its fierce.

I like thinking about books as little portable expressions of emotions that you can get into wherever: in the corner, in the bus, in front of everyone… You just turn a page and there it is, a whole new world. Sometimes it is sad. Sometimes not. Like couples, you see? Like human beings.

I like being a human. I’m able to feel lots of things, even the ones I never imagined: the written ones.