Tag: opinions

Barnes & Noble Union Square

Save Barnes & Noble! Chain Bookstore In Danger of Closing

An opinion piece was released in The New York Times on Sunday entitled Save Barnes & Noble! which detailed the financial distress the bookstore chain is currently in and how, if we don’t speak out now, the entire company could go under and we could lose Barnes & Noble for good.

 

This prompted a slew of response pieces, along with the Twitter trend Save Barnes & Noble. Many Twitter users were quick to protect the bookstore chain, leaping to it’s defense:

 

 

Other users, however, were quick to point out that, at the end of the day, Barnes & Noble is still a Fortune 500 corporation. And that back in the 1970s and 1980s, the expansion of the chain, along with the discounted prices they began to heavily advertise, put thousands of independent and mom & pop bookstores out of business.

 

 

Personally, I feel pretty torn about this on so many levels. I do believe that it is vital for us as a society to protect and support independent booksellers, as opposed to the large capitalist corporations that already sort of run the world. And, as the author points out in this opposing article hereB&N being out-sold by a corporation as big as Amazon isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On Amazon, consumers are purchasing items through independent sources that then go through the Amazon website, resulting in a profit for both. So in a way, Barnes & Noble is actually losing out to the very bookstores they ran out of town years ago.

 

Still, it’d be hypocritical of me to say I don’t appreciate Barnes & Noble, corporation and all. I love B&N. It’s been my home away from home for so many different points in my life. When I lived wifi-less for six months, the B&N cafe was where I went to work. When I’ve needed a restroom, fast, while running around out in the world, I could always find a Barnes & Noble nearby. I met my favorite author there once and greeted him through a mess of shaky tears and nervous gyrating.

 

Whenever I’ve been in the mood to just wander around somewhere that smells like books, (mmmmmm… booksBarnes & Noble has been right where I needed it.

 

The loss of Barnes & Noble could potentially result in bookstores no longer being readily available in certain areas and that is both heartbreaking and nauseating on so many levels. People need books. People need bookstores. Bookstores will always act as a safe haven for many and we should ensure that they are easily accessible for all.

 

It is immensely important that everyone has equal access to books; books are essential to us as a society. And, without Barnes & Noble, they may be in danger.

 

It’s a tough situation for all. Still, if I had to choose, I think I’d risk being owned by a Fortune 500 company for the sake of keeping 600 bookstores afloat.

 

Featured Image via Mitzie Mee Blog

Books

8 of My Must-Reads Books From Different Genres

A friend recently asked me what my go-to genre of book is and I drew a complete and total blank. Had someone asked me in elementary school, I might’ve said anything non-fiction à la Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. In middle school I would’ve said Sarah Dessen’s romance novels without missing a beat. High-school me might’ve said “Salinger is my genre,” before moodily sliding back into marching band practice. 

 

But grownup me can’t even pretend to have any sort of clue. My favorite genre changes hourly, or more realistically, depending on my mood. Sometimes I want an easy breezy book of comedic short stories. Sometimes I want only the classics. 

 

So I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my go-to books under some different genres:

 

Classic: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Lolita

via Amazon

 

This novel still sparks an immense amount of controversy, as it should. Still, there’s something so eerily haunting about the humanization and empathy you begin to feel for protagonist Humbert Humbert, despite knowing everything he’s doing is wrong, so very wrong. The story never fails to keep me hooked while making me dizzy and uncomfortable in a way I’ve never felt before, and I think that’s something books were meant to do. Also, it’s so beautifully well-written it contains some of my favorite lines in literature of all time:

 

This then is my story. I have reread it. It has bits of marrow sticking to it, and blood, and beautiful bright-green flies.

 

Science Fiction: Under the Skin by Michel Faber

 

Under the Skin

via Amazon

 

I’m not really sure how to describe this story without revealing too much. Even if you’ve seen the adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson (which was incredible in it’s own, completely independent way) you can trust that, although similar, the two plots are very, very different. The first time I read this novel I went into it completely blind, which made watching the story unfold as Isserley learns more and more about herself, this new planet she inhabits, and the humans she sees a journey in itself. I would (and usually do) recommend this book to any and everyone. It’s one of the most unique and heartbreakingly stunning novels I have ever read. 

 

The past was dwindling, like something shrinking to a speck in the rear-view mirror, and the future was shining through the windscreen, demanding her full attention.

 

Comedy: Talk by Linda Rosenkrantz

 

Talk

via Amazon

 

This novel is unique because the entire storyline unfolds within dialogue between three friends, Emily, Vincent, and Marsha. The three thirty-something painfully narcissistic-yet-loving artists go through the trials and tribulations of money, sex, love, gossip, and friendship while lounging at their beach house in The Hamptons during the summer of 1965. It’s hilarious, charming, and relatable in the most unflattering of ways.

 

I don’t think novels can be written without the very sad and pitiful knowledge that they are totally self-conscious and ridiculous and untrue. I’m curious to see what Marsha does with hers. At least it’ll be true.

 

Memoir: Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

 

Running with Scissors

via Amazon

 

When I was fourteen, my older sister bought this book at a Target because she thought the cover was cool, leant it to me, and my life was forever changed. Burroughs’s story of being legally adopted by his delusional mother’s unorthodox (and completely insane) psychiatrist is hilarious and heartbreaking all at once. This book is so addicting it’s impossible to put down (or even just read once). And, another very cool thing is that Burroughs has gone on to release a slew of other memoirs that are just as incredible, making him one of my favorite authors of all time. I recommend anything he has ever written.

 

My mother began to go crazy. Not in a ‘Let’s paint the kitchen red!’ sort of way. But crazy in a ‘gas oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God’ sort of way.

 

Dark/Suspense: Girls on Fire: A Novel by Robin Wasserman

 

Girls on Fire

 

This story centers around two teenage girls who form a friendship that quickly becomes co-dependent and destructive as they navigate high-school and girlhood in the 1990’s. It all sounds simple enough, until it begins to unravel down a dark and chilling path that will leave any reader disturbed. I’m not really sure what I can even say to do this novel justice. This is a book that (seriously) messed me up for a long time. I had nightmares for weeks. Still, it’s haunting in all the right ways, illuminates the power and vulnerability of youth, and shows how far people will go to keep their friendships intact. I think it’s something everyone should read.

 

Girls had to believe in anything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.

 

Romance: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

 

Norwegian Wood

via Goodreads

 

This stunning story centers on Toru, a college student in Tokyo, and his relationship (and near-obsessive love) with his old friend, Naoko, as she struggles more and more with her own mental health and emotional well-being. The story is so honest, relatable, and tragic in the most beautiful way. I’m not sure I’d even call it a romance novel (I mostly just wanted to put it on this list) because, at the core, it’s really just a story about humanity, growth, and what it means to mourn.

 

If you’re in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.

 

Essays: Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

via Amazon

 

Didion is one of the most iconic writers of all time, and for good reason. This was her first nonfiction release and contains her greatest Vogue essays (ie On Self-Respect) and more. Each piece is comforting, educational, and unique. Didion will make you think about the own ways in which you move about the world. She’ll also take you back to the sixties so you can witness the birth of the hippy movement and the shifts in music, drugs, and culture. This collection is never not exciting to read. 

 

Janis Joplin is singing with Big Brother in the Panhandle and almost everybody is high and it is a pretty nice Sunday afternoon.

 

Non-Fiction: The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth

 

The Mole People

via Amazon

 

This book is a collection of photographs, interviews, and first-hand accounts from a young reporter’s journey into the subway tunnels of New York City in 1993 and the communities that resided there. It’s an incredible look at homelessness that will educate you, crush any biases you may have, and break your heart all at once. It should be required reading. 

 

The tunnels comfort me, I guess, because they’re mine. They know what’s inside me and they feel the way I do. Always. Like, you know, when you bomb a test but it’s sunny outside? Well, that doesn’t happen in the tunnels,” she laughs. “They’re always dark inside, like me, but inside, I’m like the tunnel—dark, winding, and twisting.

 

Featured Image via Matthew Remski.

It

I Didn’t like the New ‘It’ Movie and Here’s Why

I’ve no doubt that the opinion I’m about to put forth is going to be an unpopular one, but I did not particularly care for the new movie based on the Stephen King novel, ITI was fully prepared to love it to pieces, after all, IT was the first Stephen King novel I ever read way back when in 2010. I was so excited about the new movie that I bought the book again, and delved into its pages and the sewer systems of Derry, Maine once more. But…I did not care for the movie.

 

via GIPHY

 

The novel itself is a 1,000+ page story of the history of Derry and of seven little losers who stand up to a great, big, evil, spidery entity they refer to as IT. While I was a major fan of the casting choices for the children, I thought that the movie focused far too much on a select few of the Loser’s Club (specifically Bill, Beverly, and Eddie). The novel does paint Bill Denbrough as the main protagonist (for it is his tiny brother’s death at the hands of IT that vaults the characters in motion), but King also makes it perfectly clear that each and every one of the kids is important; without one of them, their cosmically magical circle would be nothing. I felt as though the film totally missed the mark when it came to valuing each of the character’s importance. 

 

via GIPHY

 

I understand the necessity of updating the time frame of the events of the story (in the novel, the children’s timeline is set in the 1950s and their adult counterparts are living in the 1980s), because the original novel was published in 1986, but I still don’t know if I’m a fan of that direction. The first movie takes place in the 1980s, so a lot of the events that are supposed to happen in the 1950s translate well to the 80s, but my question is how this will translate in the modern-day sense when the characters are adults.

 

It seems almost too difficult to stage any horror story in our 21st century because of the advent of technology: cellphones, computers, the internet, etc, and a lot of the quirks that impact the characters in adulthood seem like they would be more difficult to accomplish in 2018. 

 

via GIPHY

 

I grew up watching the original miniseries as a kid so when I picture Pennywise the Clown, I either have my own interpretation of him imagined from reading the book, or I envision Tim Curry in the slot. This isn’t to say that I didn’t care for Bill Skarsgård in the role-I did. I thought his acting was top-notch, but I also despised the makeup used on him. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t find the makeup to be scary as much as I found it sort of silly (that opinion wasn’t helped during one of the final scenes when Beverly watches him do this mad dance for upwards of thirty seconds). And even some of the fears that the children have didn’t seem to have the same effect on me as they did in the book. 

 

via GIPHY

 

Finally, I thought that the director of the film was clearly a big fan of the book. That was obvious from the way he chose to include minor details that didn’t really have a place in the movie. Those minor details could have been much nicer if they didn’t throw the entire film off, pacing-wise. Some of the inclusions seem to have been unnecessary because of the way they were handled. Why include Eddie-the-Bully if you’re just going to kill him off when they’re still children?

 

I felt like the movie was too long-and not in a good way. I did enjoy some of the tiny details and nods made towards The Turtle (every time a turtle was onscreen I squealed a bit), and I am excited to see how that is incorporated into the second movie. While it would have been nice to have seen him introduced more in the first one, I hope they flashback to it in the second one.

 

via GIPHY

 

That all being said, I’m hoping that the sequel movie will touch upon more of the horrors and information that the book provides. I’m anticipating tons of flashbacks, because a lot of integral details from the Loser’s Club’s childhood was totally left out (the smoke-house scene!). The movie itself wasn’t terrible, and I’m not usually one of those people who screams through the streets, “The book was better!” I just think that this adaptation would have worked so much better as a Netflix miniseries. But if you find yourself in need of a good book recommendation, and you haven’t read this one? Then what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

 

via GIPHY

 

 

Feature Image Via NerdGeekFeelings