When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets the girl of his dreams. Savannah Lynn Curtis is attending college in North Carolina, working for Habitat for Humanity, and totally unprepared for the passionate attraction she feels for John Tyree.The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty, and John realizing that he’s ready to settle down with the young woman who has captured his heart.Neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world and will force John to risk every hope and dream that he’s ever had. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. And like all those left behind, Savannah must decide to wait or move on. How do we choose wisely? How can we face loss-without giving up on love? Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover that loving Savannah will force him to make the hardest decision of his life. An extraordinary, moving story, DEAR JOHN explores the complexities of love-how it survives time and heartbreak, and how it transforms us forever.(taken from Google Books)
I think Nicholas Sparks is an extraordinary storyteller in that he has never failed to make my heart ache every time I watch a movie based on his book. Dear John is no exception, though this time I am reading the book instead.
What I love about him is that he writes to a pretty predictable recipe. To think predictable stories would be boring, it is actually the opposite. When I look at the things I do everyday, I realize that it is pretty predictable as well: wake up, eat, school, work, leisure activities, sleep, and repeat for the next day. What I learned from his stories, though, is that sometimes I overlook the little details in life which makes it more meaningful.
For example, Dear John really made me stop and think about the struggles that other people are facing. When I see my friends’ pictures and statuses on the Internet, it’s really different than when I actually talk to them in person and find out that they, too, are not as happy as what their latest update would seem to suggest.
“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.”
Everyone is struggling with something. They just hide it from the public, which creates the illusion that everyone else’s life is perfect.
So dear reader, whatever the challenge you are facing, remember that you are not alone. At the same time you are trying to overcome the challenge, we are all trying to do the same thing as well. ^_^
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around the survivors after an outbreak of the “superflu” in America. Think of it like the swine flu, but way worse. Everyone who comes in contact with it dies, except for the few lucky people who are immune to it. The survivors eventually end up following either Mother Abigail, whose society represents Christianity & democracy, or Randall Flagg, whose society represents an Antichrist cult & dictatorship. It’s basically a “good vs. evil” kind of book.
When I first saw The Stand at the library, I wasn’t sure if I really want to read a book over 1150 pages long or not, though I admit, I am strangely fascinated by stories that have to do with viruses. I have mentioned in my other post (Take that, Kindle!) that this is my very first “big book,” so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Even when I read books that are 300 pages long, I would often feel that there’s already enough stuff going on. So with a book more than 1150 pages long, was it possible to make it interesting as well? Did Stephen King, one of the most famous contemporary authors, live up to the challenge?
With a curious mind, I decided to read the book. Here’s what I think of the beginning, middle, and the end of the book:
Beginning: Wow, just what I thought. The book does get draggy at times. I don’t like the fact that it’s going into every detail. I just want to know what happens next. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s the uncut version. Oh well, it’s not bad enough for me to stop reading it. After all, there are hundreds of pages left…but it better get more interesting soon!
Middle: I cannot put the book down! I am actually somewhat glad that the beginning was draggy. It allowed me to know all the characters and feel for them. Because of the great characterization, the book ended up being insanely addictive!
End: The ending was meh…was I expecting too much since the middle was so amazing? Or does it actually have some deep meaning behind the ending, which I didn’t get? Or is it just a Stephen King thing, since I read somewhere that he rarely plans a plot when writing?
Nevertheless, I think this book is worth reading. It’s the journey that counts, not the destination. ^_^ The ending could have been better but I did enjoy most of the book.
It kind of makes me think about the possibility of the world ending like this. I feel that we have put ourselves on destruction mode ever since we decided we’re going to become more civilized. We decided that we don’t want to chase after our food. We wanted to control how much food we get instead, and hence we went from foraging to farming. Because the people living next to you might not be the people you like anymore, we started having fights with each other. Over time, towns became cities, which then became countries. Our desire for control grew with the size of the population; We started to feel the need to control everyone that was not one of us, and we did this by destroying & taking over their land, resources, etc….our definition of civilization is having control.
“Always remember, Kojak, that control is what separates the higher orders from the lower.”
So to accidentally release a virus from the military (which is what happened in The Stand) is not at all impossible. I wonder how will our react to it. If the “superflu” really did happen, will we see it as a global pandemic or just another over-hype made to gain more profit? Hmm…
Set some years after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed rebellion in Scotland, Kidnapped is a timeless classic about David Balfour, whose uncle cheated him out of his inheritance and schemed to have him kidnapped and sold into slavery. A great majority of the story is about his journey in different parts of Scotland with his acquaintance Alan Breck Stewart. They have very interesting affiliations; the main one being that Alan is a Jacobite (someone who is unhappy with King George and hopes that a Stuart rules Scotland again), while David is a Whig (a supporter of the English Government). Several historical characters are included in the novel (such as Cluny Macpherson), though Stevenson is not aiming for historical accuracy and tells us that “This is no furniture for the scholar’s library, but a book for the winter evening schoolroom when tasks are over and the hour for bed draws near.”
I picked this novel up because after reading the back of it I thought it would be about David coming up with some smart strategy to reclaim his inheritance. And to that, I was slightly disappointed because the inheritance part of the story is only the subplot. But Stevenson’s way of “building things up” kept me reading. For example, there are so many things that lead up to David and Alan’s quarrel which makes it so real, not just all-of-a-sudden.
This novel is rich in dynamics and characterization. It is originally intended for young children. Sadly, young children today might find it a bit difficult to read, since it is written in Scots English. As for me, I didn’t read it with ease, but I didn’t find it really challenging either. Ay, I actually learned some Scottish words by reading this. ^_^
Though showing “buddy love” is very common in the past, it is not so common now. Nowadays, guys just “act cool” and show little care for their friends (though they probably care for each other on the inside). I actually don’t like that…What do you think?
Just something I’ve realized recently. I feel like I am not acting quite like the people in this time period. For example:
I wake up at 4 to 5 am for no apparent reason
I almost never watch the T.V. anymore
I read books for fun
More specifically, I really like books written a long time ago (classics) and I’d choose them over contemporary works
I deleted my Facebook because it somehow didn’t appeal to me (why waste time on this website just talk to your friends in real life)
Just stuff from the past fascinates me a lot in general (i.e. when I go to the museum or something)
Anyone else feel like they are born in the wrong time period? Do you find that you should belong to the past? Or even the future?
Btw, I’m currently reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m at page 50-ish atm and I like it so far. Love the fact that it’s told in a fresh and unusual perspective. Will write a review on it once I’m done reading ^_^.
P.S. I Love You tells a life-affirming story about Holly, whose husband Gerry just passed away. Her life revolved around Gerry. Before she married Gerry, her life wasn’t about school or work or all that usual stuff, it was solely about going on dates with him. After she married him, her life was about being the perfect wife for him. But now that he died, she felt like there was no more purpose in life. Then came these envelopes which contained a series of letters Gerry wrote. With the help of these letters, Holly learned about moving on and living a life that had once seemed impossible to her by overcoming the challenges presented to her in each envelope.
I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I have a carry-around book besides the main book that I’m reading. I find that I spend most of my time waiting when I go outside; seems like the world loves to make people wait, so I try to take advantage of this by using the time to read. However, some books are too heavy to carry around, and some will make you lose the plot if you get interrupted every few pages or so, but this book is probably one of the best carry-around books that I’ve read. I can imagine it being a great beach read as well. You can quickly pick up the flow when you come back to it. Because of the great character developments, this book was really enjoyable as well.
It could also be one of those books for curling up on the comfy couch in a nice cozy blanket with a soft batch of cookies and a cup of steaming hot tea, while making you appreciate every little moment in your life at the same time:
“Nobody’s life is filled with perfect little moments. And if they were, they wouldn’t be perfect little moments. They would just be normal. How would you ever know happiness if you’d never experienced downs?”
This book reminded me that life is about turning curses into blessings and taking the days one at a time. Trying to achieve perfection is actually a defection in itself. Instead of setting your standard to perfection, complaining about what you don’t have, or grumbling about the people around you, have a grateful heart. You can never be sure about tomorrow, but you can be sure about this very second right now. Be thankful of what you have. Be thankful of the people around you. The saddest thing is not that your soul mate never arrived. The saddest thing is that this person has already left you. Life is a cycle of losing and gaining. So let’s have a grateful heart and appreciate every little moment in life. ^_^