We tell stories about stories: celebrating one year of The Wind-Up Books Chronicle

We tell stories about stories when we talk about books. We say things like, “I was in the airport bookstore and the cover just caught my eye,” or “I cried when Gus told Hazel,” or “I was so scared! Cujo made me terrified of dogs!”

Books invite us to know each other better. When my friends rave about good dialogue or terrible representation, they’re telling me about themselves. Your impressions of a book reveal what you think is normal, what is fair, what is beautiful, and what thrills you.

Thanks to Lauren Lola for pointing this out: The Wind-Up Books Chronicle crossed its first birthday! Lauren’s reflection on this past year: Continue reading

“Armada” and “Ready Player One”: A Tale of Two Teen Protagonists

Smash hit “Ready Player One” and recent release “Armada” both feature teen male protagonists: Wade, aka Parzival, in “RPO,” and Zack in “Armada.” Ernest Cline’s two stars have both lost parents, are obsessed with video games and geek culture, and are high school seniors. I related with them in different ways: Wade for how he finds refuge online despite not being an elite gamer, and Zack for how he wishes he could have known his father.

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“Ready Player One” Group Review: A Virtual World and an Addicting Read

Ready Player One” is being developed into a Steven Spielberg-directed movie, has inhabited the New York Times Best Sellers list since its 2011 release, and earned the author a seven-figure book deal. It takes place in the 2040s when the creator of a massive online video game/virtual world (the “OASIS”) dies and leaves his $240 billion fortune to the first OASIS user who can solve clues based on 1980s pop culture references to find the treasure in-game. Christa Stephens, Lauren Lola, and loudlysilent share their thoughts after reading “RPO”: Continue reading

“The Whale Rider” Group Review: Cultures and Gender Roles Clash in a Thought-Provoking Story


The Whale Rider” by Witi Ihimaera wasn’t what I was expecting: it deals with many more cultural, gender, and environmental issues than the average children’s book. The setting is a Maori village in New Zealand where Kahu has just been born. She’s the first great-grandchild in her extended family, and her great-grandfather, Koro, is not happy about it. Koro is the tribal chief, and he wanted a boy heir. As Kahu grows up from a toddler to a young child, it’s heartbreaking to see her unswerving devotion to her great-grandfather, despite his perpetual rejection of her. Continue reading

“Paper Towns” by John Green: breakneck-paced mystery and high school upheaval

John Green wrote “Paper Towns” in 2008, before #TFIOS blew up Tumblr, YouTube, and our hearts with @AnselElgort’s adorkable face. I finally picked “PT” up on Saturday afternoon, and just finished it this morning (Monday) at 5:11 AM. “Paper Towns” is not a love story. It’s about a boy named Q (Quentin, but no one calls him that) who’s lived next door for half his life to Margo Roth Spiegelman, his best friendships with Ben and Radar, and discovering who he is as he discovers who Margo is and is not. The book spans the characters’ last month of high school, and Green snapshots the social chaos of that time without being sentimental. Continue reading

“Less Than Zero”: Sex, Drugs, and Los Angeles in the ’80s

One of the universal experiences of post-teen young adulthood is coming back to your hometown and feeling like nothing’s changed. Whether you’ve been away for a summer, or college, or just moved over two towns, it feels strange and amusing to visit your teen stomping grounds.

Less Than Zero” is written in first-person from the perspective of Clay, a college student who returns to Los Angeles after some time at his bohemian, New England liberal arts college. Clay reunites with cocaine-addicted friends, his dealer, and hazy, listless days of lounging by the pool. It’s a story of rich kids with too much money and not enough to do. Continue reading