Hi, Book Chewers!

It's always difficult for us to keep the blog rolling during the start of the school year, so we've opted to go on hiatus. I recently started new classes and a job, so I haven't had time to make my usual contributions. I know some of the other staff members would also appreciate some extra time to adjust to their new schedules. But don't worry . . . we will back in a month! Look for new posts starting the week of October 12th.

Until then, you can stop by and see what's happening at our personal blogs. Some of them are a little quiet at the moment, but Cait and MV both post pretty regularly.

Staff Blogs
Lydia: Planet Lydia
Cait: Notebook Sisters
MV: The Magic Violinist 
Charley: Charley R's Leaning Tower of Plot
Kristin: Tightrope to the Sun

See you in October,


Group Post: Characters We Could So Totally Be BFFs With

by all of us

I'm pretty sure all of us have wanted to pluck a character out of a book before and be best friends with them. We Book Chewers sure have. Sometimes you just find those characters that seem like they'd be awesome friends. If they were...you know...real. But let's not dwell on details!

When I started writing this little paragraph, my first thought was HERMIONE!!! Of course my best friend would be Hermione! But I'm sure you've all heard enough about my Harry Potter obsession, so I'm going to say other than Hermione, my literary friend would probably be Hazel Grace Lancaster, from The Fault In Our Stars. Hazel is somewhat pessimistic and very sarcastic. She's snarky, in a funny way, and she's super smart (seriously, her vocabulary is incredible). We would probably spend most of our time together fangirling over books and our "Augustus Waters fetishes." I could totally see us hanging out at a coffee shop.

It probably won't come as much of a surprise that the literary character that would be my best friend is Meg Murry from the Wrinkle in Time series. As I've said before, the two of us really aren't that different. We both have similar insecurities, and I have a feeling she could teach me a lot about overcoming them. She could help me with my math homework, too ;) Especially in Middle School and early High School, I know we would've hit it off. Her life was such a big part of mine (I can't tell you how many times I've read those books) I can't help but feel that we're already kindred spirits. 

Funny, caring, optimistic, loyal, intelligent - and did I mention he's got wings made of fire? 

Hazeal the seraph, from Laini Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" trilogy, was far and away one of my favourite characters in the series. Despite being an all-too-literal pawn in a grinding, endless war led by his uncaring rapist father, Hazeal's sense of identity, independence and fun is unflappable. Even in the pits of war itself, he never surrenders to the idea that he is anything less than himself, and won't let even the worst atrocities stop him smiling. 

I, too, tend to have a proclivity toward optimism, and love nothing more than going out and doing things simply because they are nice things to do. I can quite easily imagine the pair of us perched somewhere irresponsible, probably with an armful of fish and chips, comparing views on current events and having a good laugh before going off to divebomb some unsuspecting pigeons for kicks and giggles.

After all, what good's a flaming sword if you don't use it to roast sausages every now and again?

As soon as I started Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and met the main character, Cath, I knew I'd found my literary BFF. Cath is so extremely shy and awkward and depends on her sister and can live exclusively on peanut butter. ME TOO. I related to her so much I could barely shut the book. (Well, except for the fanfic part. I don't write fanfic, but I do write, so we have that in common too!)

There is a small and delicate issue of Cath being an extreme introvert. We would probably stare at each other and never ever talk. We'd probably actually be too similar, which could create conversation problems. But who needs small talk?! We would talk about writing! And have Emergency Dance Parties! And eat delicious food. And be silent in our compatible introvertedness. 

Maddie Brodatt from Code Name Verity. She is practical, down-to-earth, loyal, and gutsy. We have similar values, and I think we'd have an easy, wonderful friendship for that reason. 

I'm not a tomboy or a pilot like her. However, I grew up around planes and pilots, and I grew up with three brothers. As such, drama bewilders me, and I'm just plain ignorant about most girly things (I suspect Maddie is too). So even if we aren't entirely similar, I think I would instinctively understand and like her. And we could be no-drama buddies, which is a good thing to have in this dramatic world.

Also, I have an enormous amount of admiration for women who go into aviation, and Maddie kicks butt at it. 

tell us who YOU would be bestest of best friends with?!!


Book vs Movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by Cait

Usually we have a specific format for our Book vs. Movies...but...BUT I'M BREAKING THE PATTERN TODAY. Keep calm. We'll be fine.

This list contains SPOILERS for book and movie. Proceed at your own risk.

10 Interesting Facts About Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

1. Oskar Schell is 9-years-old in the book and 12-years-old in the movie

I'm not entirely sure why they changed his age. It didn't make much of a difference. Would you let your twelve or nine year old run around a big city by themselves? Oskar is still a genius in both movie and book. I suspect he's on the Asperger's spectrum, too, but the book didn't explicitly say.

2. The Renter didn't go around the city with Oskar

This one really surprised me! In the book, Oskar is trying to meet all the people named Black. He ends up taking Mr. Black, a very old man who had his hearing-aid turned off for several decades.

In the movie, Oskar takes The Renter (who is his grandfather). I totally understand why the movie chose to use The Renter. It tied in brilliantly, and gave Oskar time with his grandfather. In the book the grandfather is actually a narrator and writes long letters to his unborn son. In both movie and the book, The Renter can't speak.

3. The book mentions Tom Hanks.

I just thought it was ironic! At one stage, the book mentions Tom Hanks in relation to being an actor who stood in a particular spot in the city. And then Tom Hanks goes on to play Thomas Schell, Oskar's father who died in the bombing of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.

4. The book is narrate by Oskar, the grandmother and The Renter

This also surprised me while I was reading the book! (Okay, okay...I was surprised a lot. Intelligent me.) The Renter writes long letters to his "unborn child" and the grandmother writes long letters to Oskar. The letters are about their pasts and how dysfunctional they were. Seriously! If you ever thought you were a bit weird, read this. You're probably not. The grandfather didn't even love the grandmother! He was in love with her sister, who died in a bombing, so he married the grandmother because she reminded him of her sister. That. is. warped.

This is why it's an adult book. The bulk of the narration is from 9-year-old Oskar...but the grandparents cover the heavier aspects.

5. Abby Black isn't the first person Oskar visits.

In the book it's Aaron Black who Oskar sees first. He doesn't even come face to face with him...he just talks to him through an intercom. I kind of like the book's version better, because it seems more probably that the first person Oskar meets wouldn't be the answer.

6. Oskar doesn't have a thing for oxymorons. 

Nope the movie made that up completely. It fits with his personality though. Instead, in the book, Oskar has a thing for:

- wanting to be an epidemiologist
- writing letters to famous people (like Stephen Hawkins)
- inventing things
- making jewellery
- grave digging
- elephant research

7. In the book, Oskar and The Renter dig up the father's grave

The book ends with The Renter and Oskar digging up the empty coffin of Thomas Schell and filling it with The Renter's letters he never sent. It's really sad, kind of morbid, and the movie skipped it. Again, I understand. I thought the movie's emotional climax was fine without the grave digging.

8. The book and movie completely disagree on all the different Blacks. 

Obviously the book and movie don't go through every single Black Oskar visited. But none of them are the same! I thought that was weird.

In the book, some of the Black's Oskar meets are:
- an old lady who doesn't speak English
- a guy in a wheelchair who can't come downstairs
- an 103 year old man who hasn't turned on his hearing aid for decades
- a man and woman who keep little museums of their lives
- a lady who lives in the Empire State Building

In the movie, some of the Black's Oskar meets are:
- a lady who prays and sings Gospel music
- a family with lots of kids
- a guy who hugs everyone
- an incredibly rich lady
- an artist
- an actor

The only person who was the same was: Abby Black, the answer. I wonder why?

9. The book is formatted in a very (weird) unique way.

I listened to an audio and I'm so glad I did! I borrowed the book as well, so I had it sitting by me while I listened (except I was, you know, flitting around making paper airplanes while I listened).

See how hard this would be to read?! No paragraphs between the dialogue!

This is how Thomas Schell read the New York Times:

Sometimes there were pictures, and see the word spacing on the opposite page?

I was interested in how they'd narrate this. They just didn't. I was expecting...static? Heh...

And then...you know, just one sentence a page is totally normal as well:

10. Both book and movie are 5-stars in my opinion. 

They might be completely different but I was absolutely engaged in both of them. And all that sobbing stuff, yes, that was there too. They're so incredibly sad. The writing is so powerful. The characters are so real. The only downfall is the absence of cake. But there was mention of frozen ice cream so we won't mark it too hardly.

have you read or watched extremely loud and incredibly close? plans to? 9/11 stories are always horrific and sad...have you read any other books that deal with it?