Monday, July 28, 2014

Cinder Review

Cinder by Melissa Meyer has been on my radar for a while now.  If you frequent any book blogs focusing on young adult fiction you will have undoubtably encountered this book. You've probably also read it by now, but I thought I'd share my opinion just in case you haven't gotten your hands on this gem quite yet.

Cinder is a cyborg living in the futuristic New Beijing where cyborgs and robots are treated as second-class citizens.  She lives with her stepmother, who basically owns her, and her two stepsisters (sound familiar yet?).  As a skilled mechanic, she dreams of earning enough money to some day escape.  This all changes when the details of her mysterious past begin to surface, and she suddenly finds that her life is threatened by a horrible secret. As you probably guessed there is also a handsome prince and a fair amount of drama associated with him.

Now before you start rolling your eyes behind your computer screen let me ask you one question. How much do you really hate Cinderella stories?

I feel like we go around saying Cinderella stories are so cliched, but then we keep writing and reading  them. No matter how much we are tired of the cliche we also love its familiarity.  We love to hear stories about the underdog who manages to make her dreams come true.  We also love pretty dresses and princes on white horses.  Put these two things together and you have a Cinderella story!

But really, the pretty dress is important!
If you like a dash of sci-fi with your (not so) pretty dress and handsome prince, Cinder is the book for you.  Not only is Cinder a cool, bad-ass version of our favorite blonde Disney princess, but her story deals with issues much more important then going to the ball.  Cinder looks at a world in which a whole class of humans are given fewer rights than others simply because they are different (in this case half robotic).  If you haven't noticed, society continues to have issues with inequality.  Reading books from the point of view of the disenfranchized allows those who are privileged understand how inequality effects everyone.  Because of this, books like Cinder allow us to escape our current world while still allowing us to apply what we've read to our own lives.

So, in some ways Cinder is just another Cinderella stories, but it is also highlights important issues that will follow human society.  Plus let's be honest, cyborgs are so cool.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Five People You Find in a College Dorm Kitchen

You would think the first thing your mother would teach you before leaving the house was how to properly nourish yourself.  Feeding and clothing oneself should be the more important thing our parents teach you, with basic hygiene and manners coming in at a close second.  However, you only need to spend a day in a college dorm kitchen over the summer to realize that the eating habits of 18-21 is strange and probably quite a bit unhealthy.  

Now maybe I just have unreasonably high standards.  My mom has always provided my sister and I with good meals.  Even during the breakfast skipping days of high school she made sure we shoved something into our still sleeping stomachs before heading out the door.  So it was strange for me to come into a house where the kitchen that was rarely visited by people.  

Over this summer I have deduced that there are many types of people you will meet in your college dorm kitchen.  Each of them, including yourself, will have questionable eating habit but you will undeniably judge each other no matter what.  Here are the five most common people I encountered.

Number 1: The humus eaters.  These people can somehow manage to survive solely on humus and carrots.  They will show up around meal times, haul out their family sized tub of humus from the fridge, and proceed to eat a few carrots before putting it all back and heading out the door.  How they manage to survive on mashed chickpeas and carrots without going insane is beyond me. 

Number 2: The microwaver.  He's the kid that goes home every weekend and magically comes back with a weeks worth of mom's best food.  You will envy his endless supply of home cooked meals. It will make you question why you decided to go to school so far away from home.  No matter how much you hate leftovers, you probably hate cooking for yourself more. 

Number 3: The take-out grabber.  Between the microwaver and the take-out grabber, you will never be able to use the microwave to defrost your frozen veggies.  Rather than being annoyed, though, you will be in constant wonder.  Where does this kid get the money to buy all this food?  All those five dollar foot longs and pizza deliveries must add up.  

Number 4: The popper.  You swear she only eats popcorn.  If you wondered how the humus eater survived you will undoubtably question how the popper hasn't waisted away to nothing at this point.  You will probably never understand her, but you will hate her because while she is taking in minimum calories the seductive smell of her eating habits has tempted you every night this week.  Damn you Orville and your buttery goodness!

Number 5:  The real cooker.  These people are slaving away in the kitchen from 5 to 8 every night with the hope of reaping the rewards of a home cooked meal.  Of course this is their first time cooking so failure is imminent.  They will likely set off the fire alarm at least once a week, forcing you out of the house when all your wanted was to take a nice nap.  This will surely ruin your plans to go out and party with your friends.  (Although let's face it, you were probably going to watch Netflix anyway).