It’s been super long since I last updated my blog, I know, and even longer since I last updated my YouTube channel. That being said, I finally managed to film a new video where I talk about all the books I read at the end of the year. Hope you enjoy, and I wish you all the best for 2018!
Don’t give up on me just yet, I’m still trying to post on here from time to time, and today I am here with a book review! I have read all the John Green books and really enjoyed them, so of course I was really anticipating his new book Turtles all the way down. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect because I grew a lot since his previous releases, and I wasn’t sure I would like this one quite as much. However, when I learnt that it was going to deal with mental illness, I knew I had to pick it up.
Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Release: October 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery
My rating: ★★★★★
What the book is about:
The main character, Aza, deals with OCD and doesn’t know how to get out of her spirals of thoughts. When millionaire Russell Pickett disappears, leaving his two sons and his tuatara behind in his mansion, Aza’s best friend decides that they have to reconnect with Davis, Russell’s oldest son who used to be friend with Aza, and the two girls try to pierce the mystery of his disappearance.
Honestly, the story didn’t sound like much, but I did love the book.
The first thing I noticed is how much John Green’s style has matured, and I’m so glad it has. The book is extremely well-written, and therefore really enjoyable to read.
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I also liked how it dealt with money issues. Aza lives alone with her mom, after her father died in an accident, but they do have money. However, her best friend Daisy comes from a family with several kids, works a part-time job and is worried about her college fund, so when the reward is announced for any information concerning Pickett’s disappearance, she wants to go for it. But not just for fun, she wants to use the money to go to college. Now that’s an issue I’m not really familiar with, on the one hand because college education isn’t that expensive in my country, and on the other hand because it has never really been an issue with my family. However, I know it’s a problem for a lot of people, and it’s unfortunately something I don’t get to see a lot in books, so I’m glad John Green decided to address it here.
And of course, I loved the mental illness aspect of the book. What makes it powerful in my opinion is the fact that John Green also has OCD, and it’s the first time he addressed this very important issue in a book. No wonder it took him so long to publish a new story. And I’m so glad he decided to write it. I don’t have OCD but I do have depression and anxiety, and you have no idea how much I could recognize myself in Aza’s spirals of thoughts. And it feels to good to be able to read such a relatable character.
I definitely appreciate that we didn’t get a “love saves it all” ending because falling in love doesn’t cure mental illness, and I will never say that enough. I think the romance aspect of the story was well-executed and very realistic. Turtles all the way down feels like a coming of age story, and more than this, it feels like my kind of coming of age stories, and we need more books like this.
In addition, and this is something I like more and more in books, was the way it dealt with friendships and family. Aza and Daisy’s friendship is not perfect. They are very different though complete each other. They have their fights, they make up, and I think that in the fight with mental illness, friendship can be your best ally. Of course, that’s not all you need. But I loved that aspect of the story.
And finally, I couldn’t conclude this review without talking a little bit more about how Aza deals with her OCD. She sees a therapist, and doesn’t see how it helps. She is scared of taking her meds because she is afraid it will make her not her anymore. And I have those fears myself sometimes. Dealing with mental illness is a restless fight day after day. But I promise that seeing a therapist and taking your meds can help.
Meanwhile, I definitely recommend you check out Turtles all the way down, because it’s a fantastic book. And if you liked it, I can also recommend A Quiet Kind of Thunder because it also deals with similar issues and it’s a very wonderful book (review here).
I read milk and honey by Rupi Kaur earlier this year, after hearing so many great things about it, and I absolutely loved it. It’s actually a book that convinced me that I should read more poetry. So of course, when I saw that Rupi Kaur was releasing another collection, I knew I had to pick it up. Even the cover is gorgeous, and I think that I may have liked it even more than the previous one. But let me get a little deeper, because this book deserves all the praise in the world.
Title: the sun and her flowers
Author: Rupi Kaur
Release: October 2017
My rating: ★★★★★
Rupi Kaur’s poetry deals with the contemporary issues of our society such as abuse, feminism and what it’s like to be a Brown Woman today. It talks about one’s roots, about immigration, about being hurt and healing. The sun and her flowers is divided between several evolving chapters, one of them talking about rape, something that moved me a lot. But don’t worry, it also includes some topics that are much more bright and positive! It talks about accepting and loving yourself for who you really are. It is also an ode for Kaur’s mother, whom she admires a lot. I just want to give this book a giant hug. For some reason, it speaks to me on a very deep level. I just want more and I can’t get enough.
Most poems are short. Some are long. It doesn’t matter. I could just read them over and over again. And it’s exactly the kind of book that makes me want to read poetry as well.
This was a short post, but I truly adored this book. If you have read it as well, I would love to talk about it with you in the comments!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and eventually decided to write it down. I wanted to say #metoo, and yet I didn’t feel legitimate enough. Some of you have been through so much more, why should I complain? I haven’t been beaten up, I haven’t been raped. Some part of me does not feel legitimate enough, and yet I also realised that some things that happened to me shouldn’t have happened, and shouldn’t be deemed normal.
One day, it was summer, maybe five years ago, and it was hot like hell, I was wearing a t-shirt and a skirt – and why should it matter? – just walking home from the train station, minding my own business, and as I passed some random guy, I heard him mutter “prostitute”. For no reason. I didn’t look at him, didn’t talk to him, I was wearing my headphones, and yet after all these years I can still hear him saying this. I cannot unhear this simple word. It was ridiculous and unjustified. And this guy should not have said them.
So me too, I have been harassed.
Me too, I had random guys catcall me in the street, and even in my own dorm last year, once, when I was in my kitchen, in my pyjamas, minding my own business while baking cookies for my friends.
Me too, I had strangers touch me inappropriately in the commute, just because they felt that if it was too crowded, it would go unnoticed, it was permitted.
When I was in the ninth grade, I was bullied by this guy sitting in front of me in class (we had assigned seats). No one really knew about it, except the people who heard him and just joked around, thinking it didn’t matter. I talked about it with my best friend, but I couldn’t bear to tell her the extent of it. This guy kept making sexual propositions to me – we were fourteen or fifteen, mind you – and asking to “buy my virginity for 20 cents” and continued though I didn’t find it funny, didn’t laugh at all, almost cried and asked him to stop talking to me many times. At some point, I went to see our homeroom teacher, who was probably the professor I trusted the most because she was one of the kindest people I had ever met. I went to see her and asked to change seats because that guy was harassing me, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. But she told me that it wasn’t a problem, he had problems in his family with his brother and parents, and I should be nice to him. Though that was not the problem, and he was the problem and his actions shouldn’t be excused. I felt betrayed by this teacher, who didn’t take my pain seriously.
And here I am, years later, thinking that his actions probably partly led to my depression. Here I stand, and I can say “me too”. Me too, I have been harassed, by people I knew, and by people I didn’t know. There are one time occasions and repetitive ones, and none of them should be minimised. It is still harassment even if it’s just a one time thing. Flirting and harassing people are very different things. It plays in the tone of the words, and it plays in the words spoken. Yes, I do like it when people pay attention to me. But harassment is not paying attention to me. It is unwelcome and unwanted. It makes me uncomfortable. And that’s just a natural reaction.
People go minimising harassment because it’s not as bad as rape. But the same people will tell you that “she was asking for it, come on, have you seen what she was wearing?”. The same people will go tell you that the victim is exaggerating the situation and so on. Don’t listen to them. If someone by their actions towards you makes you feel uncomfortable, you should speak up, and even seek protection if you think it’s necessary.
This is all parts of what makes me a person, what makes me who I am, and I wish it didn’t have to be.
Ps: I recommend you to read this article which expresses my thoughts even better than everthing I just shared https://totalsororitymove.com/literally-why-cant-i-say-metoo/
Before I start I wanted to thank the super awesome Norah for tagging me to do this super awesome booktag! Check out her post here. This tag was created by KimberlyFayeReads who is also the one who made the gorgeous designs!!
1. AN UPCOMING RELEASE YOU WISH YOU COULD GET YOUR HANDS ON RIGHT NOW
I absolutely loved her first poetry book the princess saves herself in this one and when I heard she was publishing a new one, I got really excited. It will be released in March 2018, and I can’t wait!!
2. FAVOURITE SERIES STARTER
I think I’ll go with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan because I remember falling in love with this series as soon as I started it, and also because it is the first book in the series, and also the first book in a whole universe which I really love.
3. A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU ALL THE WARM FUZZIES
Before I fall by Lauren Olliver. I don’t talk about this book a lot but I absolutely loved it, and I will always remember feeling butterflies in my stomach while reading it.
4. A BOOK THAT MADE YOU UGLY CRY
For this one (and though I know it’s not a very original choice) I have to go with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because I clearly remember crying in my bed at 2am while finishing this book the first time I read it.
5. BOOKISH HERO OR HEROINE YOU WANT AROUND TO PROTECT YOU IN REAL LIFE
Can I have my own Edmund Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia) please? He is a very realistic character with an incredible character development, who in the end, will do anything for the people he cares about.
6. A BOOK YOU INTENTIONALLY SPOILED FOR YOURSELF
I do that so often while skimming through the pages and then hate myself. To be honest, I can’t pick a book in particular ^^
7. A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD MAKE EVERYONE READ BECAUSE YOU LOVED IT SO MUCH
Can I pick three? I’m going to pick three. The first one is my all time favourite One Day by David Nicholls, which is beautiful, realistic and heartbreaking at the same time. The second time is a 2017 release which I absolutely loved and believe everyone should read because it is a very good representation of anxiety. I’m talking about A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. And I can’t not talk about one of my new favourites, The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, a non fiction that deals with artists, loneliness and social media. If there is one thing you have to remember from this post, it’s that you should read those books.
8. A BOOK SERIES YOU WISH NEVER ENDED
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This universe had so much more potential, I could read about it forever.
9. A BOOK WITH AN UPLIFTING ENDING OR MESSAGE
The Up Side of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Such a bright and positive book, about accepting yourself. It has fantastic and beautiful charcter. The perfect example of an uplifting book!
10. A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD FORGET YOU EVER READ
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. It was my least favourite book in the series and honestly broke my heart way too much. Get this heartbreak away from me please.
11. AN AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A SLUMP
For this one I’m picking something a little bit different as the author is a comic book artist and illustrator. She is French, she’s an amazing feminist and relatable badass lady. Her name is Pénélope Bagieu.
12. A SWOON-WORTHY HERO OR HEROINE
Kelsea from The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. I love her so much. She is a complex, relatable and well-written character, and honestly one of my biggest bookish crushes. I need to talk about this series more, by the way.
13. A BOOK THAT CAUSED YOU TO STOP DOING ALL OTHER THINGS UNTIL YOU FINISHED IT
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I remember I read this one after my exams in my second year. I didn’t have much to do and I just loved it so much, I couldn’t put it down.
14. A BOOK THAT WAS PAINFUL TO READ (FOR WHATEVER REASON) OR BROKE YOU
Allegiant by Veronica Roth. All the not-trusting-each-other between Tris and Four was plain annoying and extremely frustrating and all I could ask myself was WHY. This book was so painful to read.
15. A BOOK THAT HAD YOU LAUGHING OUT LOUD
Introvert Doodles by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson. This one is also one of my recent reads, I loved it so much because of how relatable and cute it is. And also really hilarious.
16. A BOOK THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SEND IT (OR YOUR EREADER) FLYING
Night and Day by Virginia Woolf. Sadly, I’m not a huge Virginia Woolf fan, and the only reason I finished this book is because I had to read it for one of my classes. I found it extremely frustrating. I was sold a book about feminism and suffragettes, and what I actually got was a bland imitation of Jane Austen. And clearly, if I hadn’t been reading it on my kindle, I would have thrown it out of the window.
17. BOOKISH WORLD YOU WISH YOU COULD VISIT
Narnia. My answer for this question will always be Narnia. (Or Hogwarts. How am I supposed to pick?)
18. A BOOK WITH A SCHOCKING TWIST OR ENDING
One Day by David Nicholls. I totally did not see that coming. How dare you, David Nicholls? How could you do this to me? (But seriously, go read this book.)
19. A CHARACTER DEATH THAT DESTROYED YOU
I have an endless list for that. From Shade Barrow (Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard) to Fred Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling) to Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins). And so many more.
20. BEST SERIES CONCLUSION
A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab. I’m pretty sure this was my favourite in the whole trilogy.
And that’s it for today! I tried to be more or less original in my answers, depending on the questions. I’m not tagging anyone but feel free to do it as well! If you want, consider yourself tagged, and know that I had a lot of fun doing this! Have a wonderful day!
I hadn’t done a book review – or a post here actually – in quite some time, so I thought it was time to say hey, I’m still there. This book was lent to me by a friend because she thought I would like it, and let me tell you she was absolutely right: I loved it.
Full title: The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of being Alone
Author: Olivia Laing
Publication: March 2016
Genre: Non Fiction, Art, Memoir
My rating: ★★★★★
What this book is about:
In The Lonely City, Olivia Laing talks about her experience living in New York, about being alone and feeling lonely, about how social media can make you feel alive, and even more imortantly, about the lives of many artists – including Andy Warhol – who lived and struggled in New York.
Why I loved it so much:
What I really love about big cities (I’m thinking about Paris and Berlin, because I have lived there, and the situation can compare to New York in many aspects), is how you can be anonymous when you move there. I don’t mind being alone, I sometimes love it, and I love feeling that the city belongs to me in many aspects. And this is something I found in this book and could relate to. A city like New York is full of opportunities, but also full of loneliness and lonely people, and I believe Olivia Laing perfectly caputured this in her book.
Another reason I really loved this book is that I learnt a lot about various artists, including Warhol, Solanas and Wojnarowicz. Some artists I had never heard of, some I had, and all had something fascinating to tell through this book. Laing chose to talk about artists who suffered of social exclusion because of various affects of their lives (poverty, AIDS, mental illness among those reasons) and she does it in a very fascinating and beautiful way. Every chapter deals with differents artists and different aspects of loneliness, and reasing this book is a wonderful journey.
And finally, something else I can’t not mention when talking about this book, because it was probably the most relatable aspect of it: Laing’s relationship to social media. In several occurences, she mentioned how important it is in her life, and how she could spend days only talking to people online. She makes the internet feel like home, and she shows how social media can help in situations of loneliness, and this is honestly the kind of talk I live for. I grew up with parents and professors telling me how bad and dangerous the Internet was, and how social media should be avoided. But I have met many amazing people online, I have found a platform to express myself, and just like Laing, I could spend days not going out and only talking to people online. Social media can have a very big impact in the lives of introverts (and other people) and I believe this is something we could talk about more, so thank you Olivia Laing for that aspect and every other aspect of The Lonely City.
This review grew a lot more personal than I thought it would be, but thank you for reading if you came this far! I can only recommend this book, it was absolutely fantastic, and definitely one of my favourite reads this year.
This is about the books I read between mid-September and now. Honestly my overall life schedule is so messy and busy I have entirely given up on proper monthly wrap-ups however I still want to do some reading updates on what I have read, what I’m reading, and what I will hopefully be reading soon! Let’s be real, the next one will most likely be at the end of the year, but here we go for now, and if I did my thing properly, I hopefully didnt forgot to mention anything!