Archive for the ‘Books With Movies’ Category

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

It was a hot and sunny day out on the endless ocean, but he definitely wasn’t enjoying it. It had been over a month since he had seen anyone besides the men with him. He had been drifting on his life raft for thousands of miles, and he was weak, starving, and helpless.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner and later airman who served in World War II. Now I know you’re thinking, “Ugh, Bella’s buzzing about another World War II book, here we go…” and yes, I am obsessed with the World War II era, however if you do not read any of the other WWII books I have buzzed about, PLEASE read this one!

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When Louis was at his peak in his running career, he was drafted for World War II, and became a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Unfortunately, on one of his bomb squad’s missions, their plane was downed and most of the crew died, except for Louis and two of his crew members. The men drifted for almost two months, with little to no food or water. They were finally captured by the Japanese and taken to POW camp after POW camp, and were tortured by various Japanese generals. It wasn’t until after two years of endless labor and torture that the POW camp that Louis was located at was finally liberated.

louis zamperini

This book was pretty hard to keep reading at some points, just because of how gruesome and awful it was. Some of you will not want to read this book for this reason. However, if I may ease your conscience ever so slightly, you can read the original version, but then Laura Hillenbrand wrote a second version that was adapted for young adults. I read the adapted version, and I am glad I stuck with that. Based on what you think you can handle, you can choose your version.

unbroken young adult

One of my favorite parts of the book is Louis Zamperini’s perspective of D-Day. After hearing about the two years of endless torture that Louis and his friends endured, I almost felt like I was the one being rescued alongside Louis.

Unbroken is a really amazing book, and I really encourage everyone to read it at some point in their life. However, it’s pretty mature content, so I would have to recommend it to ages 11 and up, just because of the intensity of the torture and abuse at the Japanese POW camps. But overall it is an amazing story and has really given me strength and courage to face each day. It also really gave me perspective on my problems. If Louis can get through two whole years of torture, then I can overcome the challenges that I am faced with each day.

There is also a movie that is awesome that I also encourage you to watch AFTER you read the book!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

She was in shock. Her mother was gone. Her brother was dead. And she was in a strange place that scared her.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak describes the compelling story of Liesel Meminger, and her hardships of living in the slums of Munich, Germany during World War II. When her mother is unable to take care of her, Liesel must travel to new parents that will take care of her- Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Hans is a kind old man with watery gray eyes, and Rosa is a gruff, plump, rock of a woman. This story tells of how Liesel adjusts to this new, rough life, and the people that cross her path. Then, a strange man, Max Vandenburg, comes into their lives. He is a Jew, running from the Gestapo, and looking for  a place to hide from the Nazis. As Liesel gets to know this strange man, she realizes how much they they have in common. They have both lost so much in their lives, and they find both themselves both in this same unfamiliar place.

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Some of my favorite parts are when Liesel is actually stealing books, or when she is with her hilarious best friend, Rudy Steiner. Their relationship is the heart of the story.  This quote from the book is one of my favorites:

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

I also love the line when Death says, “The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.”

But really the whole book is amazing.

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I loved this book! Of course, I love all things related to WWII and the Holocaust, but the story itself is quite compelling, and it’s interesting to get the perspective of the average German people during the war. This book does include some mature content, so I wouldn’t suggest that anyone under 10 read it. It is also strange in the sense that it is written from the perspective of Death, so obviously it isn’t the happiest book in the world. Again, for those of you that aren’t a big fan of books without happy endings, this isn’t the book for you. But through all of this, it is an incredible, POWERFUL story, and I highly recommend it. Also, there is a movie, The Book Thief, which you don’t want to miss- AFTER you finish the book!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Boom! Boom! Boom! A cannon fires. And then another. And then another! More tributes dead. This is all good for Katniss Everdeen, who is competing for victory in the 74th Hunger Games held in the country of Panem.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem. In Panem there are 12 districts, and Katniss lives in District 12. This district is known for coal-mining, and is universally recognized as very poor. The people are starving, and when Katniss’ father dies in a mining accident, her mother sinks into deep depression, and Katniss must learn to hunt in order to keep her family alive. Winning the games will mean riches beyond compare for her and her family, and glory for her unpopular district. Will she make it back to her family alive? Will the odds be in her favor? Travel with Katniss on her action-packed journey through the Hunger Games as she struggles to survive.

Katniss
Some of the universal themes that are portrayed in this book are love, family, courage, oppression, and tyranny. But, because some of these things are very mature, I would recommend this book to kids ages 12 and up.
My favorite parts in this book are whenever Cinna, Katniss’ stylist describes different costumes that Katniss wears to her interviews, training, and other public appearances. And, of course, my favorite character is Katniss.
In addition to to this book, there are two others in the series: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. If you do end up reading the first book, be sure to check out the next two! Also, there are movies for all of them, and Mockingjay Part Two is coming out in November 2015. I hope that these books keep you on the edge of your seat like they did for me!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins thought he was the least likely candidate to be fighting the most evil forces in the world. He was perfectly comfortable in his hobbit hole, drinking his tea and taking naps every few hours. Until, that is, Gandalf the Grey sends several unruly dwarves to wreck his home, destroy his peace, and devour all of his food. This is the start of the journey that ends up forcing Bilbo to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that will change the course of his life forever and make him into a legend in Middle Earth.

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Middle Earth, a fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien is inhabited by many people and creature groups, such as Dwarves, Elves, Wizards, Hobbits, Orcs, Men, Animals, Giants, Trolls, Dragons, and Talking Trees, to name a few. This story is primarily about the Dwarves and the Hobbits, with a couple of wizards thrown in to help and guide the other two groups. Many years before The Hobbit begins, a dragon had stolen the Dwarves’s gold and retreated into the Lonely Mountain to hoard the treasure until the original owners muster the courage to steal it back. The reason they enlist Bilbo to join them on their quest is because, unlike the dwarves, he is small, nimble, and quick, which are some necessary qualities for stealing something from a dragon. Because of this, Bilbo is given the nickname ‘Burglar’. Not necessarily something Bilbo is comfortable with.

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This book touches on many universal themes, which may be one of the reasons why The Hobbit is so enduringly popular. Some of these themes include Good vs. Evil, the Power of Friendship, Courage in the face of danger, and Triumph over adversity.

If you’re someone who enjoys a good, challenging fantasy story, then this is a great book for you! In terms of age level, I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up. Also, there is a great movie that came out two years ago based on this book. Be sure to check it out!

 

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is a gripping story set during World War II, as the Nazis are killing the Jews by the thousands. Most of the German civilians are oblivious to what is going on, including Bruno, a nine-year-old boy whose father is a Nazi officer stationed at a concentration camp. To him, the Third Reich is saving the world from disaster. When his father gets promoted, Bruno and his family move to Out-With, a very dreary, desolate and boring place. When Bruno first arrives there, he sees many people in the distance, behind a very tall and sharp-looking fence. Who all have one thing in common: They are all wearing what Bruno thinks are striped pajamas. Bruno doesn’t know what’s really going on until he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who opens his eyes to things that he never could’ve dreamed of. Things like discrimination, injustice and concentration camps. Bruno discovers the problems of the real world, and they’re shocking.

bruno

My recommended age group to read this book is ages ten and up because although Bruno is nine years old in the beginning of the book, there are still some pretty tough elements that can be hard to comprehend in this book. Also, The Boy in The Striped Pajamas has a very unexpected ending, so if you’re one of those people who always need happy endings, this is not a book for you. I, on the other hand, thought it was very powerful, and I thought that the ‘unexpected ending’ made the whole conflict seem more real and appalling to me.

My favorite character in this book was Shmuel, because his situation is very pitiful, but he’s also very mature, and he is a lot different from Bruno because he knows so much more about how the Jews are suffering.

If you are intrigued by Holocaust/WWII literature, this would be a good book to add to your reading list.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you’ve been living in America or Europe for the last decade, you probably heard of Harry Potter before. Many people had suggested these books to me to read, but I always resisted and said that they were just for fantasy-lovers. Boy, was I wrong.

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The first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, is about an 11-year-old boy, Harry Potter, who has been living with his horrible aunt and uncle, and their spoiled, bratty son, Dudley, ever since his parents died. He hates it there, because he is very different from the Dursley’s. While Mr. and Mrs. Dursley live very ordinary lives, and are very ordinary people, Harry, (though he doesn’t know it) is a wizard. So when a letter arrives from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry sets off on the Hogwarts Express, not knowing what awaits him there.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is about a boy who finds out his true identity, and realizes that he has a big role to play in the huge battle of Good vs. Evil in the Wizard world. Will Harry rise to meet the challenges before him, or will the dark side prevail? There are so many things to love about this book:  mystery, adventure, and friendship. Even the descriptions of life at a boarding school are interesting.

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The only reason this book may not be for you, is if you strongly dislike anything to do with witchcraft or wizardry, even if it is harmless. Also, I wouldn’t recommend Harry Potter to younger children, because if you end up liking the first book, and want to read the rest of the series, the story can get pretty intense and violent toward the end. There are 7 books in this series:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- Year 1
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- Year 2
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- Year 3
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Year 4
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Year 5
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- Year 6
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows- Year 7

I hope that, if you read this book, you love it as much as I do.

War Horse

While we’re in war zone, let’s time travel back to World War I. This post is about a book called War Horse, by Micheal Morpurgo.

Joey is just an ordinary horse working on a farm with his best friend, Albert. (Albert is a human) But when Joey goes to war, Albert doesn’t get to go with him! Will they ever see each other again?

joey and albert

My favorite part of the book is when Joey and his horse friend, Topthorn get a break from the war and go to live with a little girl named Emily and her grandfather. A sweet friendship develops and they become fast friends. There is a bit of gore in this book, and if you aren’t interested in World War I,  you might not like this book. But other than that, I think you will! War Horse is fairly advanced reading, so I’d recommend it for girls (or boys) 10 and up. Once you finish the book, there is also a movie out based on the book, but your parents might not let you watch it because it’s PG-13. I hope you enjoy reading this book!

war horse