Quick Reviews #4

  1. So Sad Today by Melissa Broder- I am not on Twitter, but I occasionally do check some of my favorite accounts, and one of them is @sosadtoday. I’d describe it the way I describe Morrissey’s lyrics: Wonderfully pathetic. For a long time no one knew who was behind this series of depressing, but relatable tweets, until Melissa Broder came forward. And when I heard that she’s publishing her personal essays, I was really excited. However I have to admit that the style of the essays has nothing to do with the style of the tweets. But that’s okay. Melissa Broder makes up for it with her raw honesty about sexuality, mental issues and feelings that we’d rather not talk about.

 

  1. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock- A book about teenagers living in Alaska in the 70s. They are all connected to each other in one way or another and they all deal with different issues such as: teen pregnancy, abusive families, fulfilling the expectation of parents… It was a relatively short but beautifully written novel.

 

  1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick- Leonard Peacock is like Holden Caulfield, except way more bitter, way more depressed, way more…murdery? Basically, it’s Leonard’s birthday and he has decided to kill his former best friend and commit suicide afterwards. We get to see everything from the perspective of the troubled teenager on that faithful day. This was a very emotional read for me and one of my favorite books I’ve read so far in 2016.

 

  1. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol- Anya is a girl from a family of Russian immigrants living in America. She has a trouble finding a balance between her heritage and American culture. She is desperate to have a friend, even if that friend is a ghost of a girl who has been dead for years.  At first everything is fun with the ghost girl helping Anya with school, love and friends, until things take a more sinister turn… The art was really cute and this was a fun graphic novel.

 

  1. Blankets by Craig Thompson- If you need a graphic novel to make you feel things, this is it. Craig Thompson’s memoir about growing up, brotherhood, first love and religion is just so emotional and it makes a lasting impression. He is so honest about the things he was feeling when he was a teenager: the guilt, the shame, the love. The art is lovely too, and perfectly represents the story. I cannot recommend this enough, please just go and read it.

 

  1. The Chocolate Lovers’ Club by Carole Matthews- I was craving some chocolate… and some chick-lit. So I decided to reread this book, which I really liked when I read it a few years ago. I regret to tell you that my feelings have changed. While it was a fun way to waste time, this book was also extremely judgmental, slut-shaming and it made it seem as if all women are clumsy, dumb and constantly thinking about men. So yeah. I don’t think I’ll crave this type of book again for a while.

 

  1. The Literature Book by DK Publishing- This is a nice look at the most important books in the history of literature. It manages to be very detailed, without being dry and boring. The books are divided based on a timeline and the book gives an overview of each period before focusing on individual books. Every book has a very helpful chart at the beginning, giving us context about the works or events that inspired it and the future books it inspired. A quick warning though: Your to-be-read list will explode after this book.

 

  1. The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries by Otto Penzler- Oh boy, where do I start with this amazing collection of mysteries. This huge book would satisfy even the most insatiable crime lover. There are many categories, starting from the classic locked-room mysteries and moving on to different methods of murder and theft. Though be careful, the ‘locked room’ part isn’t always a literal locked room. Some of the stories are just seemingly impossible crimes. I LOVED it! One thing I would complain about is that there were only a few stories written by women, even though there are many famous female crime writers.

 

  1. Tarnish by Katherine Longshore- I love me some Tudors books once in a while. And I of course love the controversial Anne Boleyn. But this book gives a refreshing view of her story. It doesn’t focus on Anne’s demise at all. Instead it shows Anne’s beginnings at court, portraying her as a smart, but somewhat confused girl. It shows how she slowly became THE Anne Boleyn as we know her. And it doesn’t blame her for her behavior, instead it’s shown how a big part of her destiny was out of her hands.

 

  1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore- A book in the same series as the previous one, but not exactly a sequel. It follows Kitty Tylney, Catherine Howard’s best friend. If you don’t know who Catherine Howard is, she was Anne Boleyn’s relative, she also married Henry VIII and she was also beheaded. But this is not a repetition of Tarnish. Gilt is a well-meaning girl’s struggle to help her reckless best friend stay alive. Kitty may not know the court manipulations and rules, but she knows that Catherine’s immature behavior is dangerous for a queen. Even though we know Catherine’s ultimate fate, this novel still manages to be exciting.

 

  1. The Heir & The Crown by Kiera Cass- I am sure that by now everyone has heard about the Selection series, where a prince has to find his future bride among a group of randomly picked women, just like in a reality show. These two books pick up around 20 years after these events and now the new princess has to choose a husband. But this time it’s more of a distraction for the people during a time of a political crisis. Princess Eadlyn is very different from her mother America, but she’s still a great protagonist. She may be bratty at times, but ultimately she’s very strong, independent and competent to be a queen. I am in the minority here when I say I didn’t like the romance a lot. I was more interested how Eadlyn would grow as a person. But I can say that a good part about the romance was that you just didn’t know who Eadlyn was going to end up with until the last few pages.

 

  1. In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent- I have rarely enjoyed a nonfiction book as much as I enjoyed this one. I think invented languages are a topic that would fascinate a lot of people, so don’t shy away if you are not into linguistics. Arika Okrent offers a very entertaining overview of the most famous invented languages and explains the basics of how they work and the people that use them. There is also quite a bit about why all of these languages have failed to become universally used, which was the aim of most of the people who created them. It’s an entertaining book on a really interesting topic.

 

  1. Defy the Dark by Saundra Mitchell- This is a YA anthology of stories centered around the subject of darkness. Some of them are horror, others are sci-fi and I think there was some fantasy too.  It was a nice anthology, with good stories and I enjoyed most of them. There was no story that stood out as being very bad, so that was great. But there was no story that stood out as being very good either. Overall an interesting anthology, but not something that leaves a lasting impression.

 

  1. Dream House by Marzia Bisognin- Yup, it’s Marzia Bisognin as in CutiePieMarzia. I really love her videos and I was really curious to see what kind of book she wrote. I was prepared for the worst though, because it seems as there are many bad reviews. Well I gotta say it was not that bad. Sure it wasn’t the best book ever, but it was short and entertaining. I already expected it to be eerie and melancholy and it did not disappoint. The plot twist was very predictable and the end left many questions to be answered, but I still had fun reading this and I hope to see Marzia writing more and improving in the future.

 

  1. The Wrath and the Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh- I don’t read many series, as I prefer standalones, but I do like this new trend of duologies. I like the fact that it’s slowly replacing trilogies, because most trilogies were one book too long. And these two wonderful books prove that. I was afraid to read the first one for a long time because it was so hyped that I was afraid it’d never fulfill the expectations. But when the second book came out a few days ago I got interested again, so I picked up the first book and I loved it. It’s a very well written book, unusually so for a YA, if I may say so. It’s a retelling of the 1001 nights story, but it’s also very unique. The romance was so believable that it satisfied even me, even though I find faults in almost every fictional love story. And the sequel had so many twists and turns, it was really exciting. I can’t wait to read the three companion short stories.

 

  1. How To Be a Person by The Staff of The Stranger- This is supposed to be a guide to college life, but if you are looking for serious and boring advice, you are searching at the wrong place. This book is pages and pages of hilarity and wit. I know it may not be for everyone depending on their political and social views, but I personally loved it and I disagree with the people that found it offensive. I really liked the Savage Love parts, which is the advice column of Dan Savage. He is so straightforward and open about every subject and every confused college freshman needs exactly that.

 

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