Tag Archives: John Green

‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green

29 Aug

Hey look, I can read a book fast, too! Seriously though, it only took me 3 nights to get through ‘Looking for Alaska’ and not because it was so easy to read or short but because it was enthralling. John Green really knows how to keep me interested and I am simply in love with the way he writes. That’s a totally legitimate think to be in love with, right? Good.

The novel is divided into before and after, each part covering  a span of 136 days. Granted, the before-part is a bit longer due to exposition and everything; one needs to know who is who and all, you know the drill. I won’t comment on what’s the event that breaks the lives of these boarding school students apart because that would ruin the story for those that haven’t read it yet.

I enjoyed ‘Looking for Alaska’ immensely, I understand Pudge’s interest in Alaska, I mean I would have most likely fallen for her as well… Somehow John Green even managed to not make me hate the characters for smoking because that’s something I judge most people by, at first. (If you happen to be a smoker, I’m sorry but I don’t condone your unhealthy habit and you don’t like me judging your life choices, this is like a vicious circle. Moving on.)

I am sure everything that could be said about this wonderful book was already said at some point, probably way more eloquently than I could ever do so. YA novels never interested me as a teenager but as an adult I quite enjoy them, not that I’ve read many but more than I did as a teenager.

Instead of trying to feign intellect and an ability to discuss books (I’m serious, if you’ve read any of my previous ‘book reviews’ you know that) and instead leave you with a couple of lovely quotes that particularly caught my eye:

(1) “You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” Especially the last sentence sums up my whole outlook on life. 

(2) “[…] if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.” This is probably one of the most famous John Green quotes. 

(3) “In today’s world, boys are much more likely to objectify girls’ bodies than the other way around.” I love you John Green!

I had two other passages marked but that would have given too much away in my opinion. Next stop, ‘An Abundance of Katherines’.

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I fell into a rabbit hole…

22 Aug

I fell into a rabbit hole and it is called Youtube. The side effect of VEDA and spending most of your free time on Youtube watching videos of fellow VEDAers means that your also stumble upon other videos. If not for VEDA I would not have known about Grace Helbig and her Daily Grace show. While I learned about the Vlogbroters on Tumblr I have only now gotten really into their videos. And Youtube, kind soul that it is, keeps recommending video after video once you clicked on any of those and there are many.

To be honest, I didn’t even realise there were famous Youtubers out there. For me, the site was always just music videos and snippets of TV shows, interviews and fan videos on a multitude of subjects. Now it’s like wearing new glasses for the first time, everything is so clear and new, it’s amazing.

Unknowingly, had someone told me about famous Youtubers before, I would have thought they were like Reality Stars on TV, unreal and trashy and not my thing at all but that’s not the case. I am actually amazed by these people. Obviously Hank and John Green are no idiots. Between them, they have various degrees and a Printz Award. Their videos are entertaining, informative and also very silly on occasion. They’re not too full of themselves to put a Happy Meal into the mixer and eat it in front of the camera.

And then there are also people like Grace Helbig, Hannah and Mamrie Hart and many many others. They’re far from dumb. Their comedy may not be everyone’s thing but it’s not dumb despite its oftentimes silliness they manage to convey messages to their followers. You can tell that there’s actual work going into creating the content I get to enjoy which is what amazes me. No trashy Reality TV that makes me want to pull my hair out but clever comedy and an understanding about the business that is still so new nobody seems to know entirely what to make of it.

I read somewhere on Tumblr that if Tina Fey were about the age she was when she wasfirst trying to break through in the comedy business that she would be on Youtube, doing her own thing, being her own boss instead of trying to work her way up as a writer for SNL and I have to agree with this. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and others would do the exact same thing that Grace Helbig, Hannah and Mamrie Hart are doing if they were about 20 years younger.

Youtube is an amazing platform that I am still exploring. It is so much more than shitty videos of live band performances recorded with the poor cell phone camera you were holding up. There are educational videos solely created to be on Youtube, like CrashCourse or SciShow. There are comedy shows like Your Drunk Kitchen and You Deserve a Drink or amazing things like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and so many more.

I never expected vlogging to be so interesting but it’s similar to blogging and grasping that concept took a while for me as well. Part of me wishes she could do a similar think like Brotherhood 2.0 with someone on the other side of the globe or so; mainly communicating through vlogs. Sure it would be lots of work but it’s also kind of amazing. On the other hand it’s not really a new idea and thus not cool. I guess I’ll just sit here, continue with the rest of VEDA and be amazed by what Youtube has to offer.

‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green

12 Jul

Since I started looking for John Green books in bookstores over here, this is the only one I have found so far. Apparently Germans are not that into his writing which is a shame. This was my first introduction to his writing and I was mesmerised. I couldn’t put the book down.

I’ve only been on the other side of cancer, the taking care of the sick person part which is hard but not as difficult as being a teenager with a terminal illness. I knew this book would make me cry ugly tears and it eventually did. It is raw and honest and I loved Hazel Grace’s point of view. Her obsession with this weird writer and her falling in love with Augustus Waters who is another teenager with cancer. To be honest, I didn’t expect the book to end as it did which is where the beauty lies. Nothing is worse than already knowing what happens and this book does a good job at striking down my anticipations.

There comes a great burden to any terminally sick person but especially when they are young, you leave behind your parents. It was never intended that way, children don’t die before their parents but of course they do sometimes. Hazel feels guilty for taking up so much time and money of her parents, especially her mother who is her caretaker. And I get that sentiment, I really do which is why the end made me happy because not everything has to end because one life was cut short. There are even opportunities that rise from such traumatic events that can be utilised. I like that. It will be terribly hard but the lives of the other people around you will eventually go on.

Cancer stories are difficult and I try to steer clear of them but I’ve made exceptions to this rule before and I’m glad I did. It is personal for me but so is it for millions of other people I don’t have to flatter myself in believing my point of view id special.

In short, I really, really enjoyed this book so I’ll be hunting down some more John Green books in the future.

The Problem with Living in Germany

13 May

I seem to not be conform with the German standard in more ways than one. For example, I haven’t watched real TV in at least half a year except for the snippets I get when I visit my grandma. Not that I don’t watch TV shows like there’s no tomorrow but I can’t do this the right way. German TV translates every show into German which delays their broadcasting to at least half a year or never. The West Wing for example was never broadcast on free TV over here and the show has been off the air for 7 years.

And I don’t want the translated version, I want the original voices and jokes and references. I don’t understand how we can live in the 21st century and not have found a way to allow broadcasting a show in two languages at once. Why is this not possible? I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. Maybe I could even deal with the time delay and I don’t care for add breaks but it just bothers me that the translation is thrown upon me. Not that they are all bad but it’s just not the same. Watching FRIENDS in German is a real challenge because the voices of Ross and Phoebe make me want to throw stuff at my TV.

The next big issue I have is finding english books in bookstores. Granted, I live in a city with about 120,000 inhabitants, not that big but I can be lucky to at least have an international section in most bookstores. Most of the books I read are written in English so why should I not read them in their original language? Not unreasonable right? But here’s the problem, the books I want to buy are not available there.

Every time I pass a bookstore I have to go in and take a look around because I really can’t help myself in that regard. The last couple of months I have taken it upon me to look for John Green’s books. I’ve been to 3 stores semi-regularly and I’ve never found one of his books, in German or English, until today. In bookstore number 3 I found two copies of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ in English. Huzzah!!

Still, this makes me sad because it has taken me many months to find this and the last time I was in the same store they didn’t have it. But hey, why would you even want a John Green book when you can have the Fifty Shades trilogy in both English and German wherever you look? There are enough of those books on display to last you as toilet paper for an entire year which is the most useful thing to do with them, really.

Not all of Germany is this terrible though, when you get to bigger cities the international sections expand. Last December when I was in Frankfurt I found a whole store with international and mostly English books. It was like walking into heaven. But the thing is, I cannot travel to Frankfurt any time I want to buy an English book. Sure I could order them at any local bookstore but then I’d have to go their first to order and another time to pick them up. Sorry, no, too much trouble. So I order most books and DVDs from Amazon. Hate me all you want for their destruction of the publishing world and whatnot. At least they have every book I want and I can also pick the format. (Yes, I am that person who checks the measurements of the books to see what size they are because some english publications come in very weird formats.)

There’s Amazon Germany and they ship my books free of charge no matter the size of the order. And if they don’t have the DVDs I want, or they are way too expensive I can go to Amazon UK and order my complete box-set of The West Wing or Doctor Who series 1-4 there and it’s almost as fast as ordering in Germany but usually much cheaper even with the added delivery charge.

I just seem to live in the wrong language for my own good. Why must I be this demanding? I have a couple of books and DVDs I tend to look for in the respective stores that allow me to rank them in my own little universe. Thanks for reading my ramblings as I am now done with my anger. Phew, it feels good getting things off my chest like this.

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