Every once and a while, it happens to the best of us. A reading slump. It’s not something we want to happen, but it almost always does. I’m an avid reader, and I usually read about 50 books a year. So how do I get in a reading slump? There’s many reasons, actually. I sometimes become bored with the books I read, or I’m just not in the mood to read at all. GASP! I know, shocking. Although this happens, there’s always ways to jump back into reading. After a little bit of thinking, I gathered a few tips and tricks to get back on the reading train. Continue reading 13 Ways to Get Out of a Reading Slump
After a little break from my blog, I am back to regular posting again. Woohoo! To start things off, I created my November TBR pile which I really want to complete this month. With only 2 months until the end of the year, I really need to take the time to read if I want to succeed in my reading goal. Continue reading November TBR and October Wrap-Up
I didn’t end up reading a lot of books in August, which I am disappointed about. I only managed to read three books, which is a bad month for me in terms of reading. I typically like to read 5 books a month, but August was one of those summer months where I spent more time outside than in. Here are the books I read, and a mini review for each: Continue reading What I Read in August
May 2017 was a very Star Wars month for me. Not only was it May the 4th, but also the 40th anniversary of the franchise. I guess I picked the perfect month to read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has recently become someone I look up to, and I really wanted to read her books.
In her memoir, she recounts her time filming Star Wars, and addresses a rumour that followed her throughout her career. Throughout the memoir, Fisher’s sense of humour is palpable, and infectious. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times reading her memoir.
The one thing I kept thinking about while reading her memoir was, how have the cast responded to her writing. To be more specific, what does Harrison Ford think of her spilling the beans on their affair? It is quite a story, but it is done tastefully and with respect for Ford. I don’t know how others feel about her revealing their affair, but I think Carrie Fisher has the right to be honest and share her truth if she felt like it. She was very respectful in her account of the events, and I think that’s the best anyone could ask for.
I am giving the memoir a 5/5. It was funny from start to finish, and it gave me insight to how one of the only female actors felt at the beginning of the Star Wars mania. I would 100% recommend this memoir if you enjoy Star Wars, Carrie Fisher, or celebrity memoirs.
I just finished moving to my new home, and now I can finally sit down and focus on my blog and Instagram. It’s been a hectic few months, and it’s nice to finally be settled. I was looking through my drafts, and noticed I never posted my review on All Our Wrong Todays. So to kickstart my return to blogging, here is my review!
In February, I read Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays. The story follows Tom Baron in a futuristic Toronto in the year 2016. You might be wondering how is 2016 futuristic? Well, in this novel, the future everyone dreamed of actually happened. Flying cars, and teleportation rule this 2016. Pretty cool right?
The story centres around a time travelling expedition that goes wrong, and Tom Baron is then brought to our 2016 — a dystopia to him. The expedition is meant to bring time travellers, called “chrononauts,” to the point in the past where a great energy source was first turned on. However the chrononaut to lead the expedition, Penelope, is not biologically able to go to the past, and Tom decides to take her place. Though a series of mistakes, Tom Barren changes the future, into our future. The rest of the novel centres around Tom Barren’s new life, and how he can create the right future again.
What the novel does flawlessly is humour. I laughed hysterically while reading this novel, especially at the point where Tom meets Penelope in our 2016. Tom’s awkwardness is amusing to read, and can be quite relatable at times. The funniest part of the novel is when Tom explains to his parents that he’s from a different timeline. Trust me, you’ll get a good kick out of it.
The novel’s explanation of time travel and science were well thought out. There were no times in the novel where I thought anything sounded far-fetched or unbelievable. The novel kept me entranced with its story that my suspension of disbelief was never broken — a major plus when reading about science fiction. Although the novel doesn’t have aliens, or space wars, it has a lot of action happening because of the time travel. It also makes you question how time travel would work, and how it can be very different than what we have previously conceived.
Although I loved the book, there is one critique I have with it. I didn’t like the “other” Tom, or should I say John. I won’t spoil it, but this John is abusive and manipulative, especially to women. I hate how this was written to create a turning point in the novel, and I wish John could have been different. Maybe John could have just been clueless, or a jerk in other ways. John’s actions toward the end of the novel were quite cringey and I wish it was written differently in that one chapter. Alas, I can’t change what happens.
Overall, I would still give this novel a 5/5. I loved 95% of this novel, and would definitely reread it. The novel made me think of a lot of things, not just personal, but scientific as well. It made me think of the human condition as well, and how people think of themselves as “less-than” through comparing themselves to others. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction, or wants to step out of their comfort zone in terms of genre.
(I read an ARC of the novel, so there may be a few differences in the final edition).
In March, I was inspired to read Middlemarch by George Eliot, all thanks to the wonderful people I follow on Instagram. During March, @hotcocoareads hosted a Middlemarch reading challenge that I, and other bookstagrammers, joined in on. I was a little hesitant to read a 900 page novel, but having other people reading it too encouraged me to try.
The best way for me to describe this novel, is that it is a novelized television series set in the 1800s. The book is incredibly long, and follows the lives of the many residents of Middlemarch. Each storyline is complex, and rich with detail about the many characters living in the town. The whole novel is well-written, and often makes subtle jabs at the way society works. My favourite character was Dorothea because she was relatable and often spoke her mind on issues. Since the novel is so long, it felt like I was reading a television series, and each chapter was a new episode of the show. There are 87 chapters, so it really could be turned into a miniseries one day. How cool would that be? I think it’s a great classic to read, even with the long page count. If you like classics, and want to read more classics written by women, I think this would be the perfect book to check out next.
I would give Middlemarch a 4/5. I really liked it, and I would read it again, but it’s not one of the best novels I ever read. Does that make sense? Overall, it was a good read for March. Since I read this brick of a book, I am incredibly behind in my reading challenge for 2017. I only read Middlemarch this month, so I really need to catch up in April and May.
On a side note, I am officially back to blogging! I’ve had a busy few months during my internship at Penguin Random House Canada, and I just didn’t have a lot of time to blog. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post a few times a week now, and get to talk about many different books and topics with you all! My first read of April will be American War by Omar El Akkad.
In the past few weeks, I was able to finish Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Both books I really enjoyed reading, and they are quite easy reads. Although I enjoyed them very much, both I had a few issues with.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classic gothic novel, that for whatever reason I never read before. The novel follows the life of Jane Eyre from infancy to adulthood, and the troubles she goes through as the years go by. Her aunt is terribly abusive to her, she goes to a school that doesn’t appreciate her, and eventually starts to work as a governess for a man named Rochester, whom she falls in love with. The novel depicts amazing feminist ideals for the time it was written, and I found it quite inspiring for what it had to offer. Bronte writes so eloquently, and is so relatable, that you can’t help but to root for Jane Eyre. Although there were many themes in this novel that I loved, there was one thing I absolutely hated.If you haven’t read Jane Eyre, I would skip the next two paragraph to avoid spoilers.
Towards the middle of the novel, Jane Eyre falls in love with Rochester, and they both eventually tell how they feel. Rochester asks Jane to marry him, and it all seems like it’s going to be a perfect happily ever after for them. Except, it’s not. Jane is then visited in the night by Bertha. Bertha is the Creole woman Rochester has been confining in the attic for years. Not only was he locking her up, Bertha is his wife! What a shocker to poor Jane. (On a side note, I heard this spoiler in a class at university, so I knew it was coming). After Jane finds out about this, she cannot be with Rochester anymore, and decides to leave, and live a life without him. At this point I’m disgusted by Rochester’s actions toward Bertha, but happy Jane left him. But…it doesn’t end up like this. After leaving Rochester for a year, and finally meeting some family members, she decides to go back to Rochester. While finding his old home, she finds it completely burnt and in ruins. She later finds out that Bertha set fire to the house, and threw herself off the house committing suicide. Once she finds out about this, she then decides to marrying Rochester, and then they living happily ever after.
Reader, this is when I became disappointed with the book. For a novel that promotes some wonderful themes about love, family, surviving abuse, and feminism, I did not think it was going to end like this. I was hoping Jane would find another man, and tell her readers that Rochester was an evil man. However, she went back to him as soon as his wife died. It just sounds so gross. The treatment of Bertha is horrendous, and also mentioned in a rather casual tone by Bronte. I feel like Bronte didn’t know how to reconcile the issue of the maltreatment of Bertha, that she decided Bertha will kill herself to let Jane and Rochester be together. I hated this part. From an almost perfect book in my eyes, it was quite a let down. The only woman of colour in this novel is depicted to be “crazy” and is later killed off.
If you are a fan of gothic literature, the classics, and female writers, I would 100% recommend this novel. However, keep in mind that the representation of women of colour is minimal and sometimes horrendous. Since Bertha’s story line was horrible in my eyes, I couldn’t give this novel a 5/5 rating. Instead, I’m giving it a 3.5/5 because it was a good novel except for what I mentioned above.
In regard to Agatha Christie’s A Murder at the Vicarage, I have less of a rant for this novel. The novel centres around the murder of Mr. Potheroe, which happens at the Vicarage in a small town. Everyone in town is a suspect, and one of the main people to help solve it is Miss Marple, an old woman. I particularly loved this book, and how all these men are trying to figure it out, while Miss Marple just rolls her eyes and tells them point blank who she think it is. The novel is funny, and a good mystery. I wasn’t expecting the ending, which is perfect for a mystery. The only thing I really didn’t enjoy about the novel was that it was very slow paced. I feel like it took a quite a few chapters for it to start going. Sure, it needed to develop its style and the characters, but I feel like the stakes could have been higher at the beginning.
For A Murder at the Vicarage, I am giving it a 4/5. I think Christie writes in quite a clever manner, and she can create an unexpected twist. If you like mystery or crime novels, this is a book you need to pick up!
A few days ago I finally finished reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I was surprisingly impressed with it. At first, I didn’t think I would like it based on the narrative voice. I felt that the narrator was something I had to get used to, but overall it was an excellent read.
The story centres around the suicides of five teenage girls, named the Lisbon sisters. Throughout the novel, the narrator provides moments, and evidence, regarding the girls suicides and how they were like in their short lives. From my reading, I’m guessing that the time period the events take place are around the 1960s or 1970s. I may be wrong, but the way the narrator speaks, how they describe historical events, and how they describe people of colour, it must be close to that time period.
What I really loved about this novel was the prose. Eugenides provides such vivid and life-like imagery to the novel, making the story almost come to life. I could really imagine the Lisbon girls, and the boys that would obsess over them. There was never a moment in the novel where I was bored, or couldn’t vividly imagine the events that occurred. At first, I was a taken aback by the obsessive nature of the boy narrators. There was this ambiguous “we” amongst the narrators, never really stating who they were. The boys’s uncomfortable obsession with the girls felt creepy, and over the top at times. Although I felt like this, I think it is a good depiction of male mentality during that era. Eventually the boys grow up, and lose their obsession for the girls, at least in romantic terms. The boys’s investigation of the suicides becomes more of an investigation of the girls’s humanity that they never realized when they were younger.
The Lisbon girls were another thing I loved about this novel. Each girl had her own unique characteristics and identity. Although the girls were often spoken about as a group, neither of them were a flat or lifeless character. What Eugenides does so perfectly in this novel is giving these female characters life. Each girl has her own life separate from her sisters, making each girl incredibly interesting to read about. I was happy to see that the girls were given identities in this novel, opposed to being characters without a soul.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who loves literary fiction or who has seen the Sofia Coppola film adaptation. This novel is not for someone who is looking for a light and fluffy read. The novel requires critical thinking, and
Final rating: 5/5
Goodreads link: The Virgin Suicides
Books can be read any time of the year, but reading them at a certain time just elevates the experience to another level. I decided to pick ten books that I think are excellent reads for the fall, and will intrigue any type of reader.Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs
I read the first book in the series during a class in university, and it is delightfully creepy. The novel is YA, which I hardly read, but this is too good to pass up. I recently just bought the sequel, and can’t wait to finish reading this series. This series is suited for those who like creepy stories, photography.
The Troop by Nick Cutter and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The Troop is a horror novel which is both scary, and eloquently written. I would have to take breaks from reading it because it was written so realistically and filled me with so many life-like images. The story centres around a group of boy scouts going to an island, when a terrifying and mysterious man comes arrives. The novel is full of plot twists, so it is never a dull moment.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is an amazing science fiction novel that pictures a futuristic world where humans and androids cannot be differentiated. The novel often asks the question of what it means to be human.
Dracula by Bram Stoker and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I have yet to read either of these novels, yet both are classics. Dracula is more of a horror novel, whereas Jane Eyre falls under the gothic novel category. If you’re a fan of classics, these will be good novels to read this fall.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Both of these series were a staple in my childhood. A Series of Unfortunate Events centres around three orphans going from relative to relative looking for a home. As they go along their journey, Count Olaf attempts to steal their fortune. A Series of Unfortunate Events is suited more for those who are interested in mystery and crime. Harry Potter is about a young boy who finds out he is a wizard, and is then brought to a wizarding school, with lots of action and adventure. Harry Potter is more suited for those who liked fantasy. Both novels are perfect for a younger reader.
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
I have yet to read this novel, but it is suited towards those who love a good mystery novel.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
For those who do not like horror, mystery, or fantasy, there are other options to read this fall. A Raisin in the Sun is a play that centres around a family that is being forced to leave their home because they are black. It is a brilliant play, which I have talked about in a previous post. Another option is Milk and Honey which is a poetry book centring around love, and abuse. Although both are not typical fall reads, they are just as amazing to read.
From time to time, we all encounter a book we just didn’t like. I usually like most of the books I read, and some I even love. So when I read a book that I don’t like, I always feel very disappointed, especially if the book was hyped. If I don’t like a book, I tend to donate it. Since I didn’t donate these two books yet, I thought I would talk about what I didn’t like.
The first book I’ll be talking about is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. This book has been so hyped over the past year, that I just had to buy it to see what it was all about. When I bought it, I really didn’t have too much knowledge about the novel except that it was a romance, and one of the characters was disabled. After purchasing the novel, the movie was about to be released in theatres in a few months. When the movie came out, there were a lot of articles about the movie, so I had to see what the movie was like. I read the movie reviews, which were full of spoilers, and I could see what was so wrong about this novel before reading it.
If you do not want any spoilers, I say skip to the next book I didn’t like.
Me Before You centres around a girl who begins to take care of a man who is quadriplegic, and they fall in love. Although the idea of a love story not centring around abled couples was refreshing, the novel destroyed this potential. The man who is quadriplegic is someone who is wealthy, handsome, and a bit snobbish at the beginning of the book, and then he becomes disabled. From reading spoilers online, I learned that he wishes to have assisted suicide because he cannot live his life being disabled. I found this greatly offensive because I am someone who was related to someone with disabilities, and never was their life demeaned because of their disability. People with disabilities matter and deserve a happy and healthy life, just as much as abled people. From reading online articles, I learned that other people were unhappy with this novel, and started the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia to show that disabled people’s lives matter.
I couldn’t find all the articles I read a few months ago about the novel and film, but here are two articles that are probably what I did read.
The other thing I disliked about the novel was how generic it was. I only read 30 pages of this book, and it read like Twilight to me, except for the plot that I somewhat described above. The female protagonist is a brown haired, quirky girl, who is “not like other girls.” It was incredibly boring having to read something I’ve read in bad YA novels years ago. If this is a contemporary adult novel, I shouldn’t be reminded of Twilight. I honestly would skip reading this book because it is overhyped, offensive, and poorly written. I couldn’t even finish it, and I’m thankful for those articles I read a few months ago for saving me a couple hours of my life.
The second book I didn’t like was Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris. Technically, this isn’t a novel, it’s a play. This particular play centres around race and housing, and how where one lives can greatly effect their social status. In the play’s two parts, it focuses on a black families being forced to move from their homes because they’re in a white neighbourhood. Now, if you have no knowledge of the incredible play A Raisin in the Sun, you might think: “What’s so wrong with Clybourne Park?” Well, my issue is that this play is written by a white man. That’s right, a white man. A Raisin in the Sun was written in the 50s (which is the inspiration for Clybourne Park) and was written by a black woman named Lorraine Hansberry. After learning that Clybourne Park was written by a white man, the effectiveness of the writing was lost to me. It lost all meaning, and I honestly couldn’t finish the rest of the play.
I read both of these plays in university, and I know why my professor made us read both plays on the syllabus. Suffice to say, comparing the two made me like A Raisin in the Sun so much more. I would suggest skipping Clybourne Park, and instead read A Raisin in the Sun. A Raisin in the Sun is a beautifully written play, that eloquently and effectively reveals the intersection of race, class, and the impact of gentrification. If you are a fan of plays, or want to read more works written by people of colour, I suggest picking up A Raisin in the Sun.
Here are Goodreads links to the books mentioned above: