Tag Archives: nerd

Why You Should Always Read the Book First

the giver bookWhen I was in elementary and middle school I was the level reader snob that competed in an annual competition called “Battle of the Books.” For thos unfamiliar, BoB as we affectionately called it, was a competition where students had the entire school year to read a list of 20 or so books, or as many of them as they could. Then they would compete in a team against other schools in their district by answering questions that always began with “In which book…” Three points if you could correctly identify which of the 20 books and the author the questioned event came from. Two points if you only got the title correct or answered the question after the first team didn’t give the right answer. The team with the highest cumulative total of points at the end of the day wins. It’s basically a wet dream for library rats who have a penchant for trivia.

Battle of the Books is responsible for me discovering many of my childhood favorite books, some of which are sitting on the book shelf next to me because I couldn’t bear to part with them even during a 3,000 mile move away from my parents’ house. Ella Enchanted, Lily’s Crossing, Trumpet of the Swan all top the list. And then there was The Giver. The Giver is a book by Lois Lowry (Number the Stars) set in the future when humans have created a way to eliminate suffering by basically suppressing all basic human emotion. People are assigned their role in the Community when they are 12 years old and are to accept it without question. When Tobias is assigned to be the Receiver of Memory he learns the truth about human history and how to feel – and it begins to make him question things in the Community. Soon his probing begins to unravel the very fabric of the existence he’s known his entire life.

I was in 4th grade when it was first put on the list. It’s insane now to think about reading that book at 9 years old considering how it grapples with death, sex and that bit at the end (spoiler alert) about forced abortions. I read it again in middle school when my ability to comprehend the underlying messages of the book was a little more advanced. I re-purchased it recently when I heard they were turning it into a film. The trailer for that film premiered today:

And it concerns me. It’s not just a feeling of “Oh god, the movie is never going to live up to the book.” (Please see: The DaVinci Code, most Stephen King novels etc). I know why The Giver was finally produced now despite being around for a couple decades. The time is ripe for dystopian young adult literature. ‘Sup The Hunger Games and Divergent. I see you hanging out over there too, The Maze Runner. The difference is that TGH, Divergent and The Maze Runner work on a broader scope – their worlds are so large they demanded cinematic attention. And, not to put any of them down because they are all great series (Okay, The Maze Runner has some sexism issues but that’s another blog entirely), but their messages are pretty direct. The Hunger Games is separate but equal isn’t equal with a bit of commentary on the inevitable corruption of oligarchies (There could also be another blog on the essential facts that were left out of the first film that dulled Suzanne Collins brilliant writing, but again that’s another blog). Divergent is about finding your identity and the freedom to be more than one thing. The Maze Runner focuses on the importance of working together and finding yourself in the face of adversity.

The Giver’s message is more opaque though. It’s hidden in the memories that Tobias receives from his mentor. The fact that the first half of the film isn’t shot in black and white and then transitions to color as Tobias learns more about the Community’s shared history is a big red flag. That’s a huge part of the novel – that being emotionless may lead to a more colorful life but also a grey one. As Tobias starts to fill in the colors, that’s also how he begins to find the truth. The trailer seems to focus more on the adventure aspect of the book – which is really only the last couple of chapters. Can you really show Eric from True Blood killing babies to a young adult audience and maintain a PG-13 rating? Are you going to be able to do it in a way the depravity of this way of life despite it being founded in the name of human preservation? Despite my high hopes with actors like Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep backing this, the fact there’s an alien like space ship chasing Tobias to close out the trailer doesn’t make me that optimistic anymore. (Did I mention that Taylor Swift is making a cameo in this movie? Yeah, that’s a thing.) It seems to me that film companies were just trying to cash in on the Young Adult angst craze making crazy tons of money at the box office these days at the sake of great literary works of art.

The movie junkie in me is hoping that they do it right. The cautious book nerd is saying don’t take any chances – read the book first.

Celebrate Pi Day with These Recipes

pi dayAs a self-proclaimed and nerd and person of the internet there are three days of the year that make my soul so so happy. There’s May 4, or “May the Fourth” – as in May the Force Be With You. Then there’s October 3 because any self-respecting person that’s seen Mean Girls knows “On October 3, he asked me what day it is. It’s October 3.” (It makes more sense in the context of the movie…)  But the of these in the calendar year is today – 3.14 – Pi Day

I went to a nerd magnet school for my last two years of high school. Our rally chant at school sporting events (or mathlete tournaments) was the following: “Secant, tangent, cosin, sin / 3.14159 / Physics, Bio, Polymer Chem / Give ’em hell / Go S&M.” First of all, yes we stole it from MIT, shh. Secondly, it was the North Carolina School of Science and Math, hence the S&M. It wasn’t some weird sexual thing, in case you were worried. Back then I thought that I was going to grow up to be some sort of mathematician (What do people who major in math actually do when they grow up? NASA?). I did Calculus homework as stress relief. Before graduation I realized that my real talents lay in creative fields, but the nerd alert alarms within me sound off on special occasions. Pi day is one of those occasions.

The best part of Pi day is not just celebrating one of the best irrational numbers around – it’s about dessert. Oh, that’s right. What better use of Pi than to figure out the area of a delicious berry filled pastry from heaven? To help you celebrate and indulge your sweet tooth we’ve rounded up some of the best pie recipes from around the web. Treat yourself today!

The Food Network Pie Recipe Collection – Obviously, the best channel on television. Of course they’d have an entire selection of pie recipes ready for your perusal  – from apple to coconut to chocolate swirl. There’s something here for everyone’s pastry preferences.

Country Living’s Favorite Pies – Since I’m from the south I can’t imagine any doctor’s office or waiting room that didn’t have a copy of Country Loving. After looking through these I can tell you I already started drooling over their pecan (pronounced pee-can if you want to get in the spirit) pie recipe.

Martha Stewart’s 25 Perfect Pies – Maybe you prefer an artisan approach to your pie making. I can dig it. Let’s turn to the mother of all things beautiful and domestic then – Martha Stewart. Just the names of some of these give me shivers of delight. Triple chocolate pumpkin pie? Count. me. in.

Huffington Post American Author Pies – The Huffington Post won my heart when they combined their own celebration of Pi day with classic American authors. My math nerd with my book nerd self can celebrate as one! From Jack Kerouac apple pie to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry pie – American literature has never sounded so delicious!

Mental Floss 10 Pies for Pi Day – Leave it to the folks at Mental Floss to create the list of nerdiest pies. The digits apple pie looks way too impressive to eat but I think I could take out those mini pi-pies in just one bite. If you’re good at carving apples and want to take your Pi day love to the next level then this is definitely the list for you.

Are there any “nerd” days of the year that get you excited? How do you celebrate them? And if you plan to make a pie today be sure to tell us which ones in the comments below! 

 

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