With summer almost upon us and school winding down, we will soon be faced with a lot of free time. Whether on a plane, car, boat, or train, traveling lends itself to the perfect time to crack open a new book. Below I've included 5 of my favorite books from the past year, all of them varying in genre and length. Enjoy!
The first book on my list is my absolute favorite. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir of her crazy childhood, chalk full of experience and life lessons, as well as inspiration. Even though it's a memoir, it reads like a novel, and I promise you that a couple pages in you'll forget that it's a true story.
Second only to The Fault in Our Stars, The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder (yes i's her real name) is one of my favorite books that revolves around the main character having cancer. The main character is the perfect mix of wit, sarcasm, and cynicism, all of which make you love her even more.
Changing it up from the YA genre, I included Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. If you liked Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, then you'll easily enjoy this book. The cover art alone is enough to buy it.
You may know B.J. Novak from playing the favorite temp Ryan, but in this book of short stories Novak shows that his true strength is writing. The stories vary from 5 liners to page turners, almost all of which are funny.
While this book isn't one of my absolute favorites, I included it because it will be soon coming to a screen near you (with Dylan O'Brien playing the lead. Yum). The story is compelling enough that it's easy to get through, although not interesting enough to continue the series.
For every muggle living in the human world, the unveiling of Universal Orlando Studios’ The World of Harry Potter back in 2010 gave the chance to explore a world only seen in books and movies. This expansion of the Islands of Adventure theme park truly did JK Rowling’s Harry Potter justice, and since then, people have flooded into Orlando, Florida to experience the park first hand. Tourists were able to savor the taste of a cold, icy, butterbeer and discover what lied behind every corner in the Hogwarts castle. No one expected that Universal Orlando Studios would be able to out do themselves, but this summer, a completely new and magical world will take over the hearts of all Harry Potter loving fans. This expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found at Universal Studios, which neighbors Islands of Adventure. Fans will be able to walk around a full scale street replica of London just before entering the King’s Cross Station. They then can ride the Hogwarts Express which serves as a connecting path between the park in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. While on this famous train, tourists can expect the same realistic experience as Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their way to Hogwarts. The train gets off at Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, found in Islands of Adventure. Back in Universal Studios, however, a secret entrance to Diagon Alley can be found in the Leaky Cauldron, a wizards only pub mention in JK Rowling's books. From there, tourists can enter the well known stores of Diagon Alley, buy their very own wand at Ollivander's, and even visit Gringotts Bank, where an out of this world ride, “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts”, awaits. Fans can then find themselves up to no good when entering Knockturn Alley, infamous for housing dark wizards and selling dark objects. This enchanting new world opens at Universal Orlando Studios in Orlando, Florida this summer!
After the monstrosity that was "Cinderella" on Broadway, I was hesitant to watch "Matilda" at a different theater whose name escapes me. My class and I walked into a fairly small theater to find our seats at the very top row (which were still not too far away from the stage). The show started only to hear British accents and right away my friend Vivian and I were holding on to our seats hoping this play would not be completely terrible. After a short singing and dancing number, I could say I was hooked. The small girl who played Matilda, Ripley Sobo, automatically won my heart. Her small yet impactful voice merged with the whimsical and well written script had me crying one minute and laughing the next. Miss Trunchbull's character, though unexpected, was geniously casted and played by a man, Ben Thompson. Mr. and Mrs.Wormwood's characters were brought to life by Lesli Margherita and Matt Harrington. The two on the stage shared the perfect amount of chemistry and brought a large amount of laughter into the audience. Now, the children in this production of "Matilda" were something else. Both their amazing dancing and singing skills were displayed during their roles in the majority of the play. I am telling you, these kids each demanded the stage, and when put together, they made the most impressive child cast I have ever seen. They say music really determines whether or not a movie or play has the power to control the watcher's emotions. Well, the music in "Matilda" was phenomenal and achieved just that. In each musical scene, the orchestra was able to set the mood perfectly, whether it be through heart racing pieces or sad, emotional ones. At curtain call, I feel as thought they got the loudest claps from the audience!
The totality of the play owned a very fun and whimsical feel to it. The lights were so compelling as well as the special effects throughout the production. The sets were detailed enough so the audience could tell where they were. Surround sound and spots in the theater where cast members would appear during the plot aided the production in making the audience feel as though they were really in the play. I bet you're thinking, "how could 'Matilda' the play possibly be so exciting and suspenseful?" Well, the people at Broadway smartly changed up the story in a subtle yet noticeable way. They added small parts to Roald Dahl's Classic children's novel. In conclusion, watching this play made it seem as though I was watching history in the making. I personally think "Matilda" is a classic, and the best play Broadway has put on since "Annie."
Whenever a new movie comes out based on a book, viewers flock to the theater with raised expectations and hopes. They buy the stale popcorn and cram into theaters to see actors portray favorite characters of theirs, and then are disappointed with the portrayal because it didn't fit the exact image they had in their mind. They throw away the half eaten popcorn on the way out, disillusioned by the movie that failed to meet expectations. And in that lies the problem with movies based on books.
I have to admit, I've done this same exact thing. I'll read a book, get excited for the movie, and then be disappointed because the actors weren't the ones I pictured or didn't have the same exact mannerisms as the character in my head. Every person walks into that movie theater with a different actor in mind, a different setting, a different idea of what the movie should and shouldn't be. What we have to realize is that with all of these differing perspectives, only two will be shown: the director's and the screenwriter's. We can't all be the screen writer or director, and they can't include every single minute detail. All they can do is represent their preferences for actors, settings, and what should and shouldn't be included.