“Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice” by Colum McCann

I told myself I wouldn’t buy another book about writing until I actually started to write. I don’t know what it is, if it’s fear or laziness, but I keep preventing myself from writing what I want to write. I’ll sit down with the intention to jot down the story in my head, but I either run away from the empty page, or write a few pages worth of stuff, get anxious, and run away. I don’t know what my problem is.

When I saw McCann’s Letters to a Young Writer in the bookstore, I couldn’t walk away from it. I was pulled toward it. I picked it up. I skipped the intro and read the first essay, I held it away from myself wondering if I should buy it, I walked around the store with it in hand, I paid and left with it. The title harkens to Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, which I read off and on one summer in New York, and that made McCann’s book seem promising. He will surely get me writing, I thought.

But McCann is frank about what he can’t do for us and what we can do for ourselves. He mentions in his introduction a statement he includes on his syllabus at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he teaches in the MFA program — that he can’t teach his students anything. He can’t teach us how to write (or make us write), but he can guide us and allow us to do what we most want to do. And in this book, he is sincere, though frank, as he advises us on writing.

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“Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah

It’s been such a long time since I’ve done a book review that I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to write one.

“Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”

I picked up Born a Crime in March and read it sporadically until I got hooked and completed it in a few days last month. I don’t often read celebrity bios, but this one caught my attention because there was a lot of buzz about it and it was featured in the New York Times Books section. Plus, Trevor Noah is cute. His winking dimples compelled me to read his book.

Noah is a comedian and the host of the Daily Show, a satirical news talk show that airs on Comedy Central. I hardly watch the show and haven’t seen it since Noah took over from its previous host Jon Stewart, but I’ve heard it’s great. Prior to the Daily Show, I did not know of Trevor Noah. The few times I’ve heard him speak, I assumed he was British. I never would have guessed that he’s from South Africa, which I learned by reading reviews of Born a Crime.

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Sunshine Blogger Award, Pt. 3

I’m in a happy mood and since it’s April, meaning rain and overcast weather because of Spring and her waters, I’ve decided to do this award post to brighten my blog. I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Green Onion, whose blog I love. Take a look at his crazy tea party post, which I’m sure got way outta hand very quickly.

To accept this award, I must:
  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.
Green’s questions:
Can you describe your ideal man-cave/woman-cave/library, and what kind of things we would find in there?

Hmm… let’s go with my ideal apartment, which I do not have. It would be situated in a city that’s easy to traverse on foot and by public transport (though public transport will sometimes be very crappy because of numerous delayed trains and other BS) and that has lots of museums that I can visit for free. My apartment will be a cozy place swathed in the colors of the sea. It will have books and art everywhere and will have a subtle scent of jasmine in the air. I doubt there will be a TV or many chairs, but there will be a laptop and cushions galore. And no matter the time of day, my apartment will be the best spot to watch the sun set or rise.

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“The Impossible Fortress” by Jason Rekulak

This isn’t the cover of the book. It’s the cover of the ARC I received, which is way more awesome than the book’s cover.

I was surprised that I enjoyed this one.

Goodreads summary:

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it. (Goodreads)

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“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

gone-girlThe movie for Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl was released in 2014. Everyone was reading it and/or talking about it back then, and my cousin, who had read the book, told me it was great. But I avoided it. Too much hype. Plus, I wasn’t interested in mystery novels. I have no patience for them.

Now it’s 2017. After watching the last half of the Gone Girl movie, I was so intrigued that I immediately downloaded the e-book from my library and was hooked on the story from its first sentence.

Though I knew how the story would end, I was still engrossed in it and curious to see how the events would unfold.

Goodreads summary:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears.

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“Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar” by Cheryl Strayed

tiny-beautiful-thingsI’ve been interested in reading one of Strayed’s books, namely Wild, since I first listened to a podcast episode featuring her on Longreads. The episode was inspiring and I thought her memoir would be also.

Though I bought Wild last year, I have yet to crack it open. However, at the start of this year, I decided to download Tiny Beautiful Things on my library’s Overdrive because it was available; but the electronic format made me sleepy.

I borrowed the book from the library and was so taken by it, that I found myself placing dots on almost every page (it’s my way of highlighting library books without being intrusive). Eventually, I decided to just get my own copy so I can highlight every damn thing.

Quick summary:

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.

Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond.  Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way. (Goodreads)

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“Gilded Cage” by Vic James

gilded-cageHave you ever read a book that’s so compelling you can hardly put it down but is so annoying that you wish you could? That’s how I felt over the 8 days I spent reading Gilded Cage. I was curious about some of its plot points, but I had so many issues with it that I was frustrated the entire time I read it.

Quick summary:

Gilded Cage is a young-adult fantasy novel set in the present day, where some people (the Equals) have magical abilities (the Skill) and enslave those who lack such abilities (the Commoners). Some countries have improved their policies and allowed equal opportunities for both Equals and Commoners; however, in the U.K., where the story is set, slavery is still in effect.

When the story begins, one of our protagonists, Abigail, and her family are about to begin their slave days. Commoners must dedicate 10 years of their lives to being a slave, however individuals can choose when to begin. Parents can choose for children under 18, but all Commoners must begin before they are 60.

Abigail is 18 and is studying to be a doctor. However, she is willing to set her aspirations aside to start her slave days with her family, which includes her mom and dad, her 15-year-old* (I forgot his age, but it’s about there) brother Luke, and her 10-year-old sister Daisy. Abigail plans for them all to have an easy time working their slave days at the Kyneston estate, one of the most powerful Equal families in the country that is managed by brothers Gavar, Jenner, and Silyen Jardine. However, her family is ripped apart when Luke is taken to Millmoor, the harsh factory town that mistreats its slaves.

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