The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:
I put a hold on this book on Overdrive way back in August, and I finally got the e-mail saying it was available this week! Needless to say, I downloaded the book right away and started reading it. I’d heard such great things about this book, and I was hoping it was as good as all the hype.
In case you haven’t read the book yet, it stars Hazel Grace, a teenager living with terminal cancer. Hazel is intelligent and witty. She attends community college since she completed her GED already, but she also likes to binge watch America’s Next Top Model. But besides support group and attending her classes, Hazel leads a sheltered life. Her parents are her best friends. One day at support group, she meets a boy named Augustus Waters and everything changes. Augustus had a leg removed to get rid of the cancer in his body. Augustus is full of life and immediately takes to Hazel. Hazel doesn’t want Augustus to become too attached to her because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she passes away. She calls herself a grenade since she is living on borrowed time. Augustus cares for Hazel so much that he uses his Wish (a cancer perk) to take her to Amsterdam to meet an author she idolizes. I don’t want to give away any more of the story than that. What you need to know, however, is that you will both laugh and cry while reading this book.
So did the book live up to its hype? Sort of! I enjoyed the book and gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. I’m not oohing and ahhing over it. I preferred Eleanor & Park and plenty of other books over this one. But does it take on an interesting and complex topic and spin it in a new way? Yes. It was a smart, well-written book with plenty of vocab words I was glad my Kindle Fire could help me out with! Hazel was a well-developed character and I feel like we had some things in common—like watching ANTM marathons and wanting to visit your favorite authors to demand answers from them! Will I go see the movie, coming out this June, starring Shailene Woodley? Perhaps! Not sure if I could manage to drag my husband to this one—I might have to catch it on video instead. Are you a Fault in Our Stars lover? What drew you to the book?
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel:
This was another book I had been waiting for on Overdrive. You may remember seeing trailers for the film version which was in theaters this past February. The film, starring the impressive cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville, had me intrigued because WWII is such a fascinating time period. I decided to skip seeing the movie until I had read the book, but perhaps I didn’t make the right decision there…
The book explains how Adolf Hitler began hoarding Europe’s art treasures. He catalogued the art pieces he wanted—intending to create a new cultural center—as well as the art work he wanted destroyed. A special force of American and British museum directors, curators, and art historians was formed to prevent the further destruction of art pieces, and to search for and reclaim the missing art work. These Monuments Men were not properly equipped, dealt with time-wasting bureaucracy, and sometimes weren’t even armed, yet they passionately strove to preserve thousands of years of culture.
The book, written by Robert M. Edsel, was more historically based than any novel I had ever read. WWII was always one of my favorite units in school and I’ve read several books that take place during the time period, but I had never heard of the Monuments Men. I was interested to find out more about these men and the work they did. Edsel included massive amounts of footnotes, actual photographs, and copies of war-time documents. But one thing the book was sorely missing? Dialogue! I’m assuming the film’s screenwriter took a lot of creative liberties when turning the book into a script. There was no dialogue in the book, and the characters all had their own chapters—rarely were they seen in the same place at the same time. The Monuments Men were really working on their own, mainly relying on the locals to get work done. Without dialogue, the book was dull and slow moving. Here’s my take on what the book sounded like:
George was a tidy man who somehow managed to keep clean, even while living through a war. He looked around at the village in front of him, ripped apart by bullets and looting. He gazed up at the old church. Bullet holes were scattered throughout the pale stone. The wooden front door was miraculously intact, but a large hole exposed the building’s interior. George put up a sign in front of the building to make sure people knew to keep out of the ruins.
Sad to say, the book’s seven day loan expired well before I had completed reading the book. I have no intentions of checking the book out again to finish it, and I’m not so sure I want to see the film anymore either. Has anyone watched the film? What did you think of it?