So it is a pet peeve of mine when people feel that they need to read something more challenging than teen books. You have to be very intellectually advanced to get away with that excuse. I personally think that you can find a teen book to fulfill your needs if you look around. There’s no need to look down on a book just because it’s classified teen (although some teen books are HORRIBLE).
This book is one that I would recommend for someone looking for something “intellectually stimulating”. It’s basically a love story about teenagers with cancer but it also has words like “hamartia” (fatal flaw), “existentially fraught free throws” and “triumphantly digitized contemporaneity”.
The main character, Hazel, has been terminally diagnosed with cancer and the love interest, Augustus (which is a hilarious name for someone not overweight and not a dork), is an amputee fixated on how he’ll leave the world a better place. I would say that this is the third saddest book I have ever read in my life. If it hadn’t had it’s funny moments, I probably would have formed actual tears instead of just welling up.
I’m torn with what to think of this book. On one had, I truly love true love stories, even if the love has to transcend death (example; Snape and Lily). On the other hand, I don’t think that I can enjoy it the same way the second time around now knowing what I know. However, I also thought that about the fifth Harry Potter.
This was a really great book. Read it if you like sad books or need to expand your vocabulary, I suppose. After reading this book I need to read something like The Twits or Captain Underpants to get over the sadness though.
So I think that I’m going to use this blog to review books. But just Teen/9-12 books as I work in that section at Chapters. Because I’m pretty sure that people just sit around waiting for my opinions on things. Well people, here you go!!
I’m going to start with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book is really big right now, just ask any teenager. I read it a year or two ago and I personally liked it. It’s a dystopian fiction book, set in some not-so-far off future where civilization as we know it has ceased to exist. North America has been split into 12 (or maybe 13) districts and is ruled by an emperor (?) from the capital called Capitol. All the districts got together and rebelled and were quashed. To discourage them from ever rebelling again, the Capitol holds the hunger games, where one boy and one girl from every district has to go fight to the death. ANYWAYS. This is where the story starts, with Katniss and the selection ceremony.
I personally really liked this book. It was interesting enough and (at the time) I thought it was an original concept. The biggest problem that I have with this book is the casual deaths of the characters. In the first book, it’s not too bad. But as I read through the books, I was so confused as to what happened to all the characters! I’m an eternal optimist, so if the author doesn’t say the character died, I’m pretty sure they’re coming back sometime later in the book.
The general consensus on the trilogy is that the first book is really good, but they go downhill from there. I’d say it’s worth reading, it’s pretty short.
So my tumblr has sort of become neglected… I think it’s because every time I want to write a new post, I really just want to complain about something and I usually come to my senses before clicking create post.
I think it`s made even better by the fact that David Attenborough is narrating.
I feel sorry for the person who had to spend their twoonie necklace.
Really perplexed about this toonie. Feel like I’m expected to turn this into the world’s worst necklace.
Today we were off to a new hostel for the last time. It was time for our final move from Osaka to Tokyo to Josh’s old hostel. I had a hard time sleeping because I had a dream about losing my luggage and then I kept worrying that I had overslept. I woke up in time though and we were out of our beautiful hostel by the required check out time. We had lousy hostel coffee and croissants for breakfast and then made our way to the bullet train.
We got to the bullet train at about 11 but spent a little bit of time shopping for souvenirs. We ended up boarding a train that left at 11:40. I really like riding the Shinkansen but the motion puts me to sleep. Josh watched a little bit of tv on his laptop while I napped. We even saw Mount Fuji from the train, which was pretty neat. Mount Fuji is very elusive for a mountain.
We arrived in Tokyo at about 3. First we went to the Tokyo travel office to make a reservation on the Narita express for tomorrow, and then we found our train to the “new” hostel. It was ridiculously hot and we are undecided as to if it’s better to travel in the rain or in the heat. We dropped our stuff off at the hostel and bought some groceries. Josh made dinner and afterwards he did laundry and I bought my final souvenirs.
After laundry and shopping we went to Akihabara, the electric district. I really wanted new headphones to replace my old, fraying ones. I found some pretty cool ones in a duty free shop, and they even had a floor of other souvenirs! We completed our shopping there and went out to waste money on games. Josh spent a bit trying to win a key chain, but no luck. We left empty-handed.
My enrollment time was at 10 AM, June 17th Calgary time. Unfortunately this translated to 1 AM, June 18th Japan time. I decided to stay up late so I could quickly add all the classes I needed before they filled up. I managed to get Japanese luckily, but I couldn’t get into any other class I wanted. It was pretty stressful and aggravating so I gave up and went to bed. Leaving Japan tomorrow.
As I forgot to close the blinds last night, I woke up this morning to incredibly bright sunlight streaming through the windows. Apparently Josh had stayed up late watching Seinfeld so we slept in for a little bit. For breakfast we got coffee and croissants from the lobby. It was cheap, but the coffee was mediocre. I really miss milk from Calgary. Breakfast wasn’t all that filling so we went to a little cafe for more coffee. I had cake for breakfast and Josh had toast. We needed good fuel for the day, because we were heading out to the Osaka Aquarium!
The clerk at our hostel had given us really good directions to the aquarium so we found it without any trouble. The aquarium was 2000 yen to get in and I realized that I had a lot less money than I had originally thought. We had to hit an international ATM before the day was over.
We rode a gigantic escalator up to the top floor to begin our tour of the aquarium. There were so many little kids there! I guess it was school tour/take your baby to the aquarium day. We saw whale sharks, lion seals, penguins, manta rays, otters, turtles and lots and lots of fish. It was pretty cool. We reached the end pretty quickly and went back up for another round. I’m not a huge fan of fish, but these were pretty cool. I was still a little nervous when they swam up to me though.
After spending a couple of hours in the aquarium we moved on to a “food theme park”. We found a little shop with gyoza and a kimchi pork bowl with rice. It was pretty good, except for the fact that the cash register wasn’t working and the lady serving us had no change or math skills. After lunch we did a little shopping for souvenirs and Josh played a couple of ninja games. We decided to ride the ferris wheel because I’ve been to 3 different ferris wheels and not ridden them.
The ferris wheel ride completely cleaned me out. Josh paid for a lot of my ticket, but it was ok because I was paying for the more expensive hostel. There was no line and we got on immediately. Apparently this was one of the biggest ferris wheels either in Japan or the world. We could see Universal Studios and their fireworks. It was a pretty cool ride.
We returned to the hostel earlier than expected because I was out of money. We asked the clerk where the closest international ATM was and he directed us to a nearby station. The walk there was pretty pleasant, even though we’re in a shady looking neighborhood. With a little help from the help desk we found the ATM.
I’m finding that when I ask people if they know English usually they say no but then give me directions in English. People here are too modest. When I’m asking, I don’t need them to be fluent, just to know a couple of words.
After getting money out of the bank we went in search for dinner. In the basement of the station we found a little restaurant with hamburger and rice. I had never had it before so we decided to stop in. It was surprisingly good. It was a pretty late dinner and after we just returned to the hostel and watched Seinfeld until early morning.
Once again, today was a rainy travel day. I was a little relieved to be out of our sketchy hostel in the basement and moving onto a new one. We had checked out our next hostel and it looked really easy to get to. We were all packed up and ready to go out into the rain once more. There were a few people wanting for the bus so we had to wait for a couple to go by before we could get on. Luckily I got a seat.
Our first stop at the station was the post office so Josh could get some money out. I was a little annoyed because we were at the station yesterday without luggage or rain, but he didn’t want to go to the post office that day. I sat on a bench and guarded our luggage while Josh ran to the post office.
We stopped for a little bit of coffee at a little cafe in the station and checked the internet to make sure we knew where we were headed after we got off the train, because we didn’t want to have a repeat of last time. I wrote down the address and we went to get on the train.
The ride to Osaka was pretty ordinary. It was raining pretty hard, but our walk wasn’t long so we thought it would be ok. Thanks to a station attendant (or ekiin-san) we found the right line for our hostel. We ran through the rain to our hotel and tried to check in, but apparently there were 3 hotels of the same name all within 1 block. Of course our hostel wasn’t the one we were at or the one right next to us. Josh got new instructs and we went out into the rain again.
Our hostel wasn’t too far away. We crossed the street and walked through a little outdoor mall and we were there! The new hotel looked a lot nicer anyway, so it was worth the walk. Our room is so nice! It’s a traditional room, just like in Nara but bigger. We got settled in and then went out into the rain again to explore.
We had seen a roller coaster from the train so we tried to find it. We walked through a shady-looking road with a lot of food places and out into the rain again. We only had one umbrella so we got pretty soaked. We made it to where we thought the coaster was but we only found Spa-World, a giant hot spring theme park. The roller coaster was closed so we went back to the hostel for another umbrella.
After a quick tv break we were out again into the rain. To prevent myself from eating second dinner, I’ve been trying to eat dinner later. We managed to put off dinner until about 8, which was late enough for me. We both had yakisoba (grilled noodles) for dinner and Josh ordered this weird skewer of beef fat. It was good, but had a very weird texture. We decided to treat ourselves and get dessert (Although, as Josh has pointed out we eat ice cream almost everyday). I got ice cream (go figure) and Josh got maple tofu pudding. It was delicious, despite it’s name. We returned to the hostel, excited for tomorrow and a day at the aquarium.
Today we slept in pretty late because we didn’t have to be going anywhere too early. We started off the day with a quick trip to Gion for lunch and looking around. We found a little restaurant that only had one item on the menu, which made ordering really easy. It was pretty good, but I’m still not really sure what it was. We went exploring in a temple near Gion and bought some batteries for Josh’s camera and then made our way to the train station.
I decided today that I wanted to go to Fushimi Inari shrine. It’s the shrine on “Memoirs of a Geisha” with all the red gates. We found the train pretty easily and just rode it 2 stops. There was a really large group of stereotypical tourists ahead of us. One of them even had a perm and a grown son. It was pretty hilarious. We walked for a little bit and I bought a board to write my wish on. I wished that I would get good at Japanese. I hung it up on the hooks and then we continued on.
Apparently you can climb the whole mountain walking under these red gates. I didn’t really want to do it, but we started along the path. There were so many stairs! I was pretty exhausted and wanted to stop, but Josh insisted we go on. We made it all the way up to the top of the mountain and then made our way back down. It was a little slippery on the stone stairs and I slipped a little bit, but no injuries.
We were incredibly hot and hungry so we went and got some green tea ice cream. For some reason, I got twice as much ice cream as Josh. We sat and ate our ice cream and watched a sparrow feed it’s chicks a dragonfly. We went back to Kyoto station to look for some dinner. We wandered around a little before finding food in the basement. I got Takoyaki, Josh got a Lotteria burger and we both had waffles for dessert.
Back at the hostel we watched a movie and recovered from climbing the mountain. I turned on my computer and heard a horrible noise. It sounded like my computer was in a blender or something. Then it said that the hard drive couldn’t be found. Josh ran a few diagnostic tests, but I think my computer is finished for this trip.
At around 8 we set out for Gion and second dinner. We found a really neat traditional okonomiyaki place with pillows for seats. The okonomiyaki was ok, not the best I’ve ever had. For dessert we had green tea and mochi. I really have to stop eating second dinner, but I usually sleep in past breakfast so maybe that makes up for it.
After dinner we went back to the hostel. On the way we saw an actual geisha, with the white make-up and everything. It was really neat, but I didn’t take a picture because I worried about offending her. We went to bed at about 1 after watching some Seinfeld. Tomorrow, Osaka!
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