Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Judging Books By Their Covers: School Books

Since it is nearing fall, which means I, like many others, am going back to school. As a final hoorah, I am going to judge school required reading from our class orders shelves.

DISCLAIMER: Most of these are pretty unknown because I've read a lot of the known ones. Darn school *shakes fist angrily at the sky.*

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

At first, when you look at the orange cover, it only shows a silhouette of a dog upside down. This makes me think the dog died, because that happens with tarantulas/spiders/and such. I open the little cover to the quotes (which I did not read) it showed a car. So the curious incident is the dog dying because it was hit by a car. I think the story is the main character (maybe a boy) decides to find out who did it and seek Clint-Eastwood-inspired revenge against the person who killed his dog.

Actual plot: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Was I close? I actually was! But how was I supposed to get "great with numbers" from that cover? And I also missed the fact it was actually the neighbor's dog. I'll give myself a 90%, which I consider a victory.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

If I wanted to be cheeky/flippant I'd say in a dramatic tone with numerous pauses for dramatic effect: "This is about... a house... on Mango Street." But since this is my last week, I'll put in more effort than that. There's a woman in the window, and she's probably the focus. In a wild guess, I'd have to say this is about a woman who owns a boarding house and lets in numerous people that help shape the way she sees the world.

Actual plot: Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Was I close? Not. At. All. I am a failure. 2%, because I completely missed the idea of this book haha. I laugh, but it's to cover up my pain.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

In this cover, it's a painting of a guy in a fancy hat (yay fancy hats!) being surrounded by people. He seems like a charismatic guy, and the art style and clothing in the painting tells me it's set in the 1800s. I saw some other covers as well along with the movie cover, and they included a woman. Plus, rumor has it that it's a romantic comedy. So I want to guess this is a comedy about a guy named Ernest who is "in need of a wife." And more fancy hats.

Actual Plot: Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack's ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack's country home on the same weekend the "rivals" to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the "Ernests" to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

Was I close? I respond with a resounding "Ehhh maybe". I didn't get any of the romantic entanglements, but I think I got the gist. And the gist is worth a solid 70.5%. It's about courting and suiting and deceit, but none of that showed in the cover IMHO. 

So this is my last post of the summer! Sadness. Thank you for reading through these year through year, I greatly appreciate it. I will try to post more this year, but it's my senior year. *gasp of simultaneous sadness and happiness*

Farewell for now!

Owyn the Intern

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Judging Books By Their Covers: Part 4

Hello, welcome back to the fourth installment of "Judging Books By Their Covers." This time, we're delving deep into the world of romance. Wish me luck!

The Summer House by Santa Montefiore

The cover features a woman wearing a fancy straw hat and fancy shirt, implying this is a romance between rich people. Especially since many rich people have summer houses, which is the title. One of the blurbs says it's a romance, so I'm going to say it's an affair, whether actual or emotional, between two rich people in a place like the Hampton's filled with romance and deceit and more fancy hats and a really pretty house.

Actually About: When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral—claiming to be the Lord’s illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires to this interloper, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow. Eventually, however, Phaedra’s sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette Frampton never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an attraction grows between Phaedra and the eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love—blocked by their blood connection and by the fury of one family member who is determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud.

Was I close: Kind of. I got the affair and deceit part, but in a different situation. But the people having the affair (or at least sexual tension) are potentially related. Which is gross. And the deceit is whether or not Phaedra is lying about being related to the Lord. I give myself 85%, since I got the major things. (And how was I supposed to guess a relationship between maybe half-siblings? My mind doesn't go to that place.)

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay

The cover is of a woman wearing a red rain jacket holding a instrument case that I'm going to say houses a violin. The title Sight Reading is definitely a music term I've heard before, but I have forgotten what it means. I think it has something to do with how you read the music, but more spontaneously. But don't hold me to that. My formal guess is this is about a classically-trained musician woman who falls for some reckless boy who teaches her how to let loose and have fun.

Actual plot: It has been twenty years since Remy, a conservatory student whose ambition may outstrip her talent; Nicholas, a wunderkind suddenly struggling with a masterwork he cannot fully realize; and his wife, beautiful and fragile Hazel, first came together and tipped their collective world on its axis. Over the decades, each has buried disappointments and betrayals that now threaten to undermine their happiness. But as their entwined stories unfold from 1987 to 2007, from Europe to America, from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, each will discover the surprising ways in which the quest to create something real and true--be it a work of art or one's own life--can lead to the most personal of revelations, including the unearthing of secrets we keep, even from ourselves.

Was I close?: Sorta. It is about violinists, but instead of letting loose and having fun, it's a love triangle like situation where two old friends meet after a while but one is married to the other's old crush. Being kind, I'll give myself a 55.9%. But I'm giving myself a 2% bonus since I remembered the fact "sight reading" is a music term. 57.9%!

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

The cover has a man and a woman, hand in hand, running on top of old-fashioned pedestals. Plus, it has these accents of boxes that remind me of a Greek Mythology book I read when I was younger, so I'm going to say this is set in Greece. Given the title, I'm going to guess that it's about a couple going on an adventure of hilarious and crazy proportions on the honeymoon in Greece.

Actual plot: Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad—not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

Was I close?: Again, I was close enough and got the basic plot. It does feature a wacky marriage in Greece, but in a different context. The context being a girl obsessed with getting married so she marries an old flame instead, with wacky consequences. I hereby give myself 80%. Yay!

Wow, I'm surprised I did so well. As we can recall, I usually fall flat on my face with at least one of these. But all these were above 50%. Victory!

See you in the next post!

Owyn the Intern