Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Review: On the surface, The Night Circus seems like a book I’d love. It’s got some magic, a historical setting, a nonlinear structure, beautiful writing, and is heavy on description. But, is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Seriously, if I have to read one more long-winded description of a circus act, I’m going to lose my mind.

The Night Circus follows a group of characters who set up a magic circus. Two of these characters, Marco and Celia, are illusionists who have been trained since birth for a competition that will take place between them, but life becomes messy when they fall in love and try to end the competition.

“Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”  - The Night Circus

This is one of those books that leave you in awe of the writing. The author is massively talented and has a big imagination. Even though there is too much description, this book has the richest imagery I’ve come across in a long time. I actually reread pages because the writing is so detailed and atmospheric, and I wanted to know how the author did it.

But, I think the mysterious atmosphere turned out to be a double-edged sword. The atmosphere held my interest, but in order to create it, the author has to keep the reader very distant from the characters. The characters always know more than the reader, and we’re not allowed into their heads very often. I never felt like I knew them or connected with them. I never got invested in their lives.

The characters are kept mysterious, and the plot is, too. Actually, the book doesn’t have much of a plot. It meanders from event to event. Even the competition between Marco and Celia isn’t as suspenseful as the synopsis makes it seem. For most of the novel, the reader doesn’t know the stakes or rules of the contest. We’re expected to go along with what’s happening without knowing the reasons behind it.

The competition actually turns out to be kind of anticlimactic. There’s no head-to-head duel or dramatic action scenes. Basically, Marco and Celia have to keep making the circus bigger and more extravagant until one of them becomes exhausted and can’t do it anymore. They have to keep trying to out-pretty each other. Since magic can be done from a distance, Celia and Marco aren’t even on the same continent for most of the story.

“I am tired of trying to hold things together that cannot be held. Trying to control what cannot be controlled. I am tired of denying myself what I want for fear of breaking things I cannot fix. They will break no matter what we do.” – The Night Circus

I also questioned why the story is set in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I’m not a history expert, but some of the small details seem wrong, and the characters don’t observe the social etiquette of the time. The setting adds mystery, but it also distracted me.

I think the synopsis might be misleading because readers can interpret it in different ways. If you like slow-paced literary fiction with beautiful writing, then you’ll love this book. If you go into it expecting a fantasy story with bold characters and a lot of action, then you’ll probably find it flat and lacking suspense.

This book didn’t give me everything I wanted, but the writing kept me reading.

“I couldn't tell the difference between what was real and what I wanted to be real.” – The Night Circus

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Forced Reads That Weren’t (Too) Painful

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is anything back-to-school related. Basically, my entire life has been school. I’ve already written a lot about my college and grad school reading lists, so I’m going to focus on some books that I read as a younger person. Here are a few books I was forced to read in middle school and high school that I actually enjoyed.

Forced School Reads That Weren’t (Too) Painful

Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt (sixth grade language arts)

Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (seventh grade language arts)

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Summer of the Monkeys – Wilson Rawls (middle school book club)

A tree full of monkeys is the last thing fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee thought he'd find on one of his treks through Oklahoma's Cherokee Ozarks. Jay learns from his grandfather that the monkeys have escaped from a circus and there is a big reward for anyone who finds them. He knows how much his family needs the money. Jay is determined to catch the monkeys. It's a summer of thrills and dangers no one will ever forget.

Animal Farm – George Orwell (seventh grade language arts)

Revolution is in the air at Manor Farm after old Major, a prize boar, tells the other animals about his dream of freedom and teaches them to sing "Beasts of England." Mr Jones, the drunken farmer, is deposed of, and a committee of pigs takes over the running of the farm. The animals are taught to read and write, but the dream turns sour, the purges begin and those in charge come more and more to resemble their oppressors.

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton (seventh (or eighth?) grade language arts)

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers—until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

The Giver – Lois Lowry (eighth grade language arts)

This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he's given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli (eighth grade language arts)

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her—normal.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (ninth grade English)

Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream—a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.

Night Shift – Stephen King (tenth (or eleventh?) grade English)

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

The Stand – Stephen King (twelfth grade modern lit class)

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. 
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides—or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail—and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

What was the best book you were forced to read in school?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: A Long Way From Chicago: A Novel In Stories – Richard Peck

A Long Way From Chicago: A Novel In Stories – Richard Peck

Each summer Joey and his sister, Mary Alice—two city slickers from Chicago—visit Grandma Dowdel's seemingly sleepy Illinois town. Soon enough, they find that it's far from sleepy . . . and Grandma is far from your typical grandmother. From seeing their first corpse (and he isn't resting easy) to helping Grandma trespass, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry—all in one day—Joey and Mary Alice have nine summers they'll never forget!

Review: This was a forced read for me. I needed a middlegrade book with an unusual narrative structure for a lecture I’m working on, and my mentor suggested this one. I had never heard of it before. Honestly, I groaned when I looked it up online because I have a love/hate relationship with middlegrade fiction. Some of it is brilliant, but a lot of it is too silly for my adult brain. The cover of this book looks juvenile. The synopsis sounds extremely juvenile. I braced myself to grit my teeth and plow through it . . .

I’ve never been so surprised by a book.

A Long Way from Chicago is a composite novel. Each of the nine chapters is a linked short story about Joey, Mary Alice, and their eccentric grandmother. The book starts in 1929, when Joey is nine years old, and ends in 1942, when he’s eighteen. Each story is about an adventure he has when he leaves Chicago to spend a week in a rural town with Grandma.

“Adventure” again makes this book sound juvenile, but that’s the best word for it. The adventures are not unrealistic. Joey talks about the first time he sees a dead body, the first time he flies in a plane, and his desperate attempt to raise $2 for driving lessons. His grandmother helps him achieve his goals and learn important lessons—in her own bizarre way.

“‘Never trust an ugly woman. She's got a grudge against the world,’ said Grandma, who was no oil painting herself.” – A Long Way from Chicago

The narrator’s voice is what makes this book readable for adults. Joey is an old man looking back at his childhood, so the voice in all of the stories is mature. The author never talks down to the reader. Also, the stories have a very historical feel to them. Small-town 1930s life is captured in a vivid, believable way. The town is struggling with Depression-era poverty/alcoholism/trust issues, but the problems aren’t shoehorned into the stories for educational purposes. The setting feels very natural. I’ve been reading a ton of historical fiction lately, and this little book is one of the better middlegrade historical novels I’ve read.

“The years went by, and Mary Alice and I grew up, slower than we wanted to, faster than we realized.”  - A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma is eccentric, but never in a childlike, unrealistic way. She’s actually one of the most complex adult characters I’ve come across in children’s fiction. I totally believe a woman like Grandma could exist. She values her privacy and hates small-town gossip, but she’s not afraid to step in when something goes wrong. She’s a strong woman who has a unique way of solving problems. Basically, she’s an elderly, cantankerous, Depression-era Robin Hood.

I enjoyed every story in this book (which I don’t say often about short story collections), but these are the standouts:

In “Shotgun Cheatham’s Last Night Above Ground,” Grandma invents an impressive history for a man who died in poverty.

“The Day of Judgment” starts with Grandma reluctantly agreeing to enter a pie-making contest and ends with Grandma scamming her way onto an airplane.

In “A One-Woman Crime Wave,” Grandma commits a series of small crimes in order to prepare a feast for the homeless drifters who wander through town.

“I don’t think Grandma’s a very good influence on us.” – A Long Way from Chicago

I’m struggling to come up with something I didn’t like. I guess, for adult readers, the stories are a bit predictable and repetitive. They all follow the same basic outline: kids go to Grandma’s house; Grandma does something potentially deadly; the reader finds out that Grandma has a good reason for what she does. The repetition isn’t a criticism, though, because this is a children’s book, and I don’t think I would have noticed it as a child. 

A Long Way from Chicago is a quick, entertaining read. I guess the lesson here is “Don’t judge a book by its cover . . . or its synopsis.”

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Sunday Post #62

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, and share news. It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date. I get to tell you what I’ve read recently.

On The Blog Last Week

On The Blog This Week

  • On Monday I review A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck.
  • On Tuesday I show you some forced school reads that weren’t (too) painful.
  • On Wednesday I review The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
  • On Thursday I wrap up August.

In My Reading Life

Last week, I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I have many, many thoughts about it, so brace yourself for a huge, confusing, spoiler-filled discussion post. I also read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Right now, I’m reading Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. I bought books. This is mostly school’s fault, but I’m still excited.
  2. My school work is slowing down a little. This is both strange and wonderful. It’s been a long, intense summer.
  3. I filled out my graduation application. It's really happening, guys.
  4. Mexican food!
  5. Couch to 5k is back on track. (Well, except for all the Mexican food.) I ran on all the days I was supposed to run and didn’t half-ass the running.

I hope you had a great week! See you around the blogosphere!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August Currently . . .

Here’s what I’ve been doing in August.

I’m Currently . . .

Reading: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. It’s finally time to read the books that have been sitting on my TBR shelf for over a year.

Watching: 90 Day Fiancé and Bachelor in Paradise. Yes, I feel like trash for watching these shows. For some reason, their train-wreck-style drama entertains me.

Stalking: Shattering Stigmas on It Starts At Midnight. If you’re not reading these posts about mental illness representation in books, you totally need to. I kinda want to write my own Shattering Stigmas post, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to share my bizarre mental health history with the Internet. Maybe next year. (I’m not lying when I say it’s bizarre. You guys will seriously cringe at me.)

Discovering: Did you know there’s a calculator that will tell you how long it will take to read all the books on your TBR? If you’re brave enough, click here to go to the calculator. If I don’t add any new books, it’ll take me 3 months to get through all my unread ones.

Enjoying: New challenges. My grad school thesis is done (holy crap, guys), so now I get to experiment and try out some new types of writing I’ve never done before. I’m currently working on a lecture about nonlinear narrative structures.

Learning: That making videos is hard. I now have a whole lot more respect for YouTubers. I have to make a video of my lecture, and I’m way too self-conscious and awkward to do it. Once the lecture is done, I’m never making a video of myself again. Making videos is awful in every imaginable way.

Goal setting: Goals for the rest of 2016: read at least 30 more books, run 5k without dropping dead, acquire a master’s degree.

Thinking about: How much a person can change in 10 years. Also, how you can’t assume you know everything about a person’s life just by looking at it from the outside.

Wishing: I had time to reread all the Harry Potter books. I’m not sure if I’m feeling nostalgic, or if I just need to get the taste of Cursed Child out of my mouth.

Photographing: Books! I’m so envious of people who can take awesome bookish photos.

What did you do in August? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: A Love Like Blood – Marcus Sedgwick

A Love Like Blood – Marcus Sedgwick

In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars.

Seven years later he returns to the city—and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow . . .

Review: Charles Jackson is a British military doctor in Paris right after the liberation of the city during World War II. While exploring the newly freed streets, he peeks into an abandoned bunker and sees a man sucking the blood out of a corpse. Charles has no idea what he’s looking at. Is this a vampire? A murderer? A regular person driven crazy by war? Or something much, much worse? He devotes the rest of his life to finding out.

I have some mixed feelings about this one. It definitely reminded me of classic horror stories, so if you like the older stuff, you’ll probably enjoy this book. The writing style feels a bit old fashioned, but not overly old fashioned, which I enjoyed. The book is dark and filled with twists that the reader won’t see coming. The “vampire,” is pretty sinister. When he discovers that Charles is hunting him, he’ll do anything to get away, including sabotaging Charles’s career and murdering his friends. Charles can’t do anything about it because people question his sanity when he claims that a vampire is after him.

Charles is a strange character. He’s a little flat in the personality department, but he’s a classic horror antihero. He wants to do the right thing and sort out what he saw in the bunker in France, but he doesn’t always go about it in the right way. For example, he’s a creeper who will follow strangers across countries and have sex with suspicious women in allies. To get the information he wants, he’ll even resort to murder. As the novel progresses, his obsession with killing the vampire spirals out of control. Then, some odd things happen.

As always, Marcus Sedgwick’s writing style is engaging and quick to read. I finished most of this book in a day, and it was entertaining, but I still feel very “Meh” about it. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t leave a huge impression on me. I think I was underwhelmed because this book doesn’t do anything I haven’t seen before. Above all, the story is about obsession, which is a very common horror theme. The author explores the theme nicely, but I was expecting more. I wanted something a little different. This book is almost like a retelling of classic vampire stories, but it’s not quite a strict retelling.

I had a few other issues with the book. The plot takes a very long time to get going. Once it does get moving, it goes quickly, but I still spent a lot of the novel waiting for something to happen.

Also, there is a surprising amount of untranslated French dialogue. This makes sense because most of the story is set in France, and the narrator isn’t completely fluent in French, but I felt like I was missing something. I don’t know any French.

I guess I don’t have too much to say about this book. It’s a quick and entertaining way to spend a few hours, but I wish it had given me more to think about.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Benchwarmers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is books that have been on your to-be-read shelf since before you started blogging. I’ve been blogging for 3 years, and I’m fairly good at managing my TBR, so I don’t have any books from before I started blogging. But, these three books have been on my shelf for over a year. There’s no reason why. I just haven’t gotten to them yet.

TBR Benchwarmers

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.  
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. 

More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera

The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto—miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one-bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough. 
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.  

Astray – Amy Christine Parker

Lyla is caught between two worlds. The isolated Community that she grew up in and the outside world that she’s navigating for the very first time. The outsiders call the Community a cult, but Pioneer miraculously survived a shooting that should have killed him. Are the faithful members right to stay true to his message? Is this just a test of faith? One thing is for sure: the Community will do anything to bring Lyla back to the fold. Trapped in a spider’s web of deception, will Lyla detect the sticky threads tightening around her before it’s too late? She’ll have to unravel the mystery of what Pioneer and the Community are truly up to if she wants to survive.

What book has been sitting on your TBR shelf the longest?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: The Game Of Love And Death – Martha Brockenbrough

The Game Of Love And Death – Martha Brockenbrough

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora. 
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always. 
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance? 
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him. 
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Review: Can Ethan have his own book? Please? It’s not every day I come across an amazing secondary character, and the end of this book didn’t have enough Ethan. What happens to him next? I need to know! I finished this book a long time ago, but I’m still mildly obsessed with this character.

Now, with that out of the way, I can wonder why it took me so long to get around to reading The Game of Love and Death. It sat on my To-Be-Read shelf for over a year before I picked it up. I think there are two reasons for this:

1. It’s romance-heavy, which is not something I usually enjoy. 
2. A lot of people have compared it to The Book Thief, which is one of my favorite books ever, and I didn’t want to make comparisons and be unfair to The Game of Love and Death. Not much can top The Book Thief in my world.

I shouldn’t have hesitated with The Game of Love and Death. No, it’s not The Book Thief, but I really liked it.

This historical fantasy novel follows four characters, Henry, Flora, Love, and Death. Henry is a rich white boy whose adoptive family isn’t feeling the sting of the Great Depression. Flora is an African-American girl who dreams of flying airplanes but is struggling to make a living as a jazz singer. Henry and Flora are the players in Love and Death’s game. Love tries to bring them together while Death struggles to pull them apart. If Henry and Flora don’t fall in love by the end of the game, their lives could be in danger.

“We do not choose whom we love . . . We can only choose how well.” – The Game of Love and Death

This is one of those books I could blather about for days. I have way too many thoughts. This review is going to be all over the place because we need to discuss everything.

The characters have huge personalities. Henry’s bond with his adopted siblings, Ethan and Annabel, is very sweet. You get the sense they’d do anything for each other. Flora is much quieter than Henry, but she’s also a realistic character. Life has not always been kind to her. She’s a tough loner who gets scared when Henry’s charm starts breaking down her walls. Love and Death surprised me because the author took their characters in unexpected directions. Love is sometimes a massive jerk who will do anything to win the game. Death is not always as cold-hearted as she appears.

The dialogue—especially Henry and Ethan’s dialogue—is snappy. I actually laughed out loud a few times. Here’s a sample of its witty brilliance: 

“‘Are you thirsty?’ she asked. 
‘Like a camel,’ Henry said. 
She led him to a chair by the window. Then she went to the kitchen, wishing she had something better than water to serve. She filled a glass. 
‘Are you hungry?’ Food, she had. 
‘Like a camel that hasn’t eaten anything in days.’ 
‘Ham or casserole?’ 
‘No self-respecting camel eats casserole. It could contain a relative.’” - The Game of Love and Death    

The Game of Love and Death is a historical fiction book, and it manages to capture many issues of the 1930s without completely overwhelming the reader. It discusses Hoovervilles, corruption, poverty, racism, homophobia, and classism. If you’re leery of historical fiction, I’d recommend starting here. The plot and characters are gripping enough that you can learn some US history without feeling like you’re being force-fed a textbook.

I already want to reread this novel (mostly because I miss Ethan), but I do have quite a few issues with it. First, I don’t really understand Love and Death. They’re supposed to be mysterious mythical creatures, but I want to know more about them and why they’re playing this game. The rules of the game could be clearer.

My next issue might be an “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” problem. Since I’m a romance hater, the middle of the book is too long for me. It mostly consists of Henry saying, “Please love me!” and Flora saying, “No.” It gets repetitive.

Finally, the story lost me at the end. I know this is fantasy/magical realism, but it gets a bit too bizarre for my tastes. The characters easily believe things that real humans probably wouldn’t. The end also tries very, very hard to drive home the point of the story. The message is “Even though death always wins in the end, love makes life worth living.” That’s a simple and beautiful theme. I didn’t need all that weirdness to make me believe it.

“Game or no, she would someday die, as all living beings did. But that wasn't the tragedy. Nor was there tragedy in being a pawn. All souls are, if not of eternal beings, then as pawns of their own bodies. The game, whatever shape it takes, lasts only as long as the body holds out.” – The Game of Love and Death

Despite a few issues, I can see myself rereading this book in the future. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sunday Post #61

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, and share news. It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date. I get to tell you what I’ve read recently.

Public Service Announcement

Last week, someone I went to high school with committed suicide. Please take care of yourselves and be kind to each other.

On The Blog Last Week

On The Blog This Week

  • On Monday I review The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.
  • On Tuesday I show you some books I’ve failed to read.
  • On Wednesday I review A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick.
  • On Thursday I tell you what I did in August.

In My Reading Life

A whole lot of life happened last week, and most of it was unpleasant, so I didn’t get much reading done. I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Now I’m trying to work up the courage to read the new Harry Potter book. I’m scared, guys. What if I hate it?

In My Blogging Life

You may have noticed that my recent book reviews have been giant walls of text. I assume most people skim them, so I may start experimenting with ways to make them more skimmable (that’s totally a word). Don’t be alarmed if they start looking a bit different.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. A horse danced to Santana’s “Smooth” in the Olympics, and it was epic. For reasons I don’t understand, the horse wasn’t instantly awarded a gold medal.
  2. My grandpa bought me the new Harry Potter book.
  3. Cake!
  4. I wrote a lecture. I’ve never written one before and enjoyed figuring out how. My lecture is about nonlinear narrative structure, of course.
  5. It has been getting cooler at night. I sleep a lot better when I’m not sweating like a pig and angry about it.

I hope you had a great week! See you around the blogosphere!