Three Mini Book Reviews: March 2018

3 mini book reviews march 2018
Although I haven’t posted much this month, I’ll be posting everyday this week up until Friday! So to start off this week of blog posts, I thought I would do a few mini reviews of books I’ve read this year. I have made a few blog posts at the beginning of my blog all about mini book reviews. It allows me to write what I want to say about these books without writing an essay about it. Sometimes my views on a book are not long enough to warrant a long single review, so this is what these posts are for! They’re short, and they’re to the point.

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The version of Love and Freindship that I read is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Austen when she was still a teenager. (I didn’t just read the story in which the collection is named after). The anthology is a really great collection of work, with added content from editors about Austen’s life, and her beginnings as a writer. I felt that the collection gave a great insight into how Austen wrote, and where her inspiration for story telling came from. None of the stories are edited to today’s standard of editing, so a lot of the time, things were choppy and awkward. Sometimes her stories felt incomplete. However, since this is a collection of her first writings, it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t her best work. I gave this anthology a 4/5 because I thought it was an excellent collection of Austen’s early work, but not all of the stories impressed me.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I can confidently say that this novel was the biggest let down of the year (so far). The story isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks a lot of things that I find important in a novel. For example, there’s this huge mystery about why this bookstore exists, and why it appeals to certain customers. Once the reason is revealed, it seemed like the plot was going to become suspenseful, and adventerous. However, the twist at the end of the novel is extremely anticlimatic. So anticlimatic that I literally felt like Sloan wasted an opportunity to shock his readers. I’m sure to some, the plot twist is great the way it is, but for such a fun book, it should have had a better ending.

Another thing I was disappointed about was the love story in the novel. The relationship between Clay and Kate lacks chemistry. They seem to have a pretty normal relationship considering what the book is about, but nothing they do seems naturally human. I know that sounds strange but imagine if a robot was trying to express its feelings toward someone. That’s how their dialogue and relationship felt. It was cute, but didn’t feel natural at all. Whenever Clay and Kate had dialogue, or when Clay was thinking about her, I always wanted to skip those pages. That is when I know that the book might become a miss for me.

Although I was very disappointed with this novel, I still gave it a 3.5/5 because I thought the novel was funny and unpredictable. I never read a book like this, and the good parts about this book were good. So, if you like books about books, or books that are not predictable, definitely check this one out.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I originally read the first half of this book in university, but I never gotten around to finishing it. You know how it is. During school, how often do you have time to finish a book completely? I usually was able to, but not all the time, especially when it was my final year in school. The book was assigned in my class where literautre and pyschology intersect. It was a really amazing course, and definitely gave me a different perspective on this book.

H is for Hawk is, to put it simply, a memoir about Macdonald training a goshawk. However the memoir is more than that. It is structured around the goshawk, but delves into how she coped with her father’s death, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. The way Macdonald weaves these stories together allows the reader to see how she copes with things, and how it has an effect on the mind. She also relates a lot of her training and coping with the author T. H. White. He wrote the King Arthur books, but also wrote about goshawks. She acts like a psychologist and tries to understand White through his writing in fiction, and his diaries. It’s such an interesting read to see all of these things connect when you’re reading about one person training a hawk. I feel like if you have background knowledge of psychology, you might enjoy this book more than the average reader. I think you need to have that bit of base knowledge to truly appreciate what is going on in her memoir. I also think a love of the literary tradition will be a bonus too.  I gave this memoir a 4/5.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know if I should do more of these mini reviews.

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February TBR and January Wrap-Up

February TBR 2018

I’m really happy with my reading habits so far this year. At this point last year, I felt overwhelmed by my reading goals, that I didn’t know if I was going to actually complete them. However, now I feel very accomplished in my reading, and I feel satisfied. I’m giving the books I’m reading the time they deserve. Since I’ve been reading like this, I was able to read 3 really large books this month. I’m so happy about that.
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My Favourite Books of 2017

My Favourite Books of 2017
The year is finally over, and with that, I accumulated a lot of new favourite books. In 2017, I intended to read 60 books, but that didn’t happen. For many months, I felt like I was rushing through books, and picking books I didn’t want to read, just to meet my goal. It was frustrating reading books only to get to a large number of books read. That’s why I changed it to 52 books closer to the end of the year. Although I did feel rushed with a lot of the books I read, I still found many books that I loved. Here are my 10 favourite books of 2017:

1. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
I loved this collection of poems. It felt very personal, and intelligently thought out. Every poem was meaningful, and moved me greatly. If you want a more in depth review of this book, I have a review here.
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
When I first started reading this book, I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did. The book really develops the world, and science, behind the plot brilliantly. Its plot was captivating, which kept me glued to my book for hours. I didn’t want to put it down. Every part of the book was amazing, and I know for sure I’ll reread this book many times in the future.
3. Books For Living by Will Schwelbe
I love to read, and what’s better than reading a book about reading? The whole premise of the book centres around the lessons we learn from reading. Every chapter is about a book that changed the life of Schwelbe, and just how important reading is in someone’s everyday life. As an avid reader, I felt this book really demonstrated the power books can have on people’s lives.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
I haven’t read many historical fiction books in my life, but this one wants me to read more. This books was amazing from start to finish. I became attached to the two main characters, and loved following their story develop throughout the years. Although the story takes place in WWII, it showed the resilience of people during this horrific time.
5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
I think this was one of the more creative books I’ve read this year. The story weaved together Dominican culture, magical realism, and nerd culture. It was hilarious to read, and just an overall delightful read. I really want to read more books by Díaz, because the way he writes is so unique and fresh.
6. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
I would probably say this was my favourite book of 2017. I loved Mara Wilson growing up, and once I discovered she had a book, and a twitter, I was super excited. While reading the book, I felt like I was talking to a friend describing their life story to me. There were also parts of the book I related to a lot, and made me feel less alone in the world. This book has a special place in my heart, and will stick with me forever.
7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I love Mindy Kaling in general, so reading one of her books is almost instantly going to become a favourite. I found this book a bit more enjoyable compared to her first book. I felt she was a lot more personal and relaxed while writing this book. I also laughed a lot more with this book.
8. Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
Although it didn’t end up winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize, it’s still one of my favourites of the year. I would say this story is closely similar to Oscar Wao, but centres around First Nations people in Canada. The novel is absolutely hilarious, yet also brings important topics about the treatment of First Nations people to the forefront.
9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I think Atwood created a dystopian world that can really strike fear into anyone. The novel left me shocked and fearful of the society she created with Gilead. Atwood writes many classic Canadian literature, and I feel like I need to read more of her work in the upcoming years. Her writing is enviable, and creative.
10. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen 
I follow Sarah Anderson on Instagram, so naturally I was going to love this book. Her comics are very relatable, and really funny. I laughed a lot with this book. I love having this book to look back on some of my favourite comics when I feel like having a good laugh.

Those are all of my favourite books of 2017. Although this year felt like a rushed reading year, I definitely found a lot of new favourite authors and books. I know that 2018 will probably bring me a lot of other books that I’ll love, and rave about. What were some of your favourite books in 2017?

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Books For Living Review

IMG_0190When I started reading Books for Living by Will Schwalbe, I immediately knew I was going to love it. The book is about reading, and the books that Schwalbe read that have taught him lessons throughout his life. Amazing concept right? The book was addicting from the start, and made me start to really think about the importance of reading in my life. What books would I consider to be the ones that influenced me?

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