Posts

Showing posts from 2023

nonfiction book review: Anna by Amy Odell

Image
Anna  by Amy Odell Overall: 4.5  I've always been intrigued by the world of magazines and editorial – the glamour that's marred by long hours and strong personalities and grueling steps to prove yourself. I've read articles here and there and fictional interpretations of that world but never anything as comprehensive as this book. This is a biography of Anna Wintour for sure, but more than that, it's a great overview of a specific lens on the evolution of media from its heyday to the trials of recessions and the bumpy road of transitioning from print to the web. Honestly, it's a bleak picture, and there isn't exactly an uplifting note at the end about the fate of the industry. This downward spiral of sorts runs a parallel narrative to Anna Wintour's iconic rise.       I don't tend to like biographies. They're often dense and struggle to find a compelling thread to offer the reader that emphasizes why this person is important beyond the titles they ac

Supper Club by Lara Williams: book review

Image
Supper Club  by Lara Williams Overview: The supper club is a chance to reclaim power. It's permission to take up space in every way, to be loud and obnoxious, to gorge on all of life's pleasures without guilt. It's a framework 30-year-old Roberta desperately needs to cope with her past. In a narrative that bounces between the present day and Roberta's university life, we see how deeply the people and events of her college years impact her sense of self and the ways she interfaces with the world. Overall: 4 Characters: 5 It's the characters that make this book, which makes sense considering that it is more than anything an epic character study. Roberta is unfolded in many layers from flashbacks to bad past encounters and relationships that shaped her complex feelings around love and sex to the insecurities that cling to her friendships. She's also very much framed within the contexts of different worlds. Compared to Stevie, a painter and devout artist , Roberta c

A Night Discussing The Fraud: Zadie Smith at the Aratani Theatre

Image
It's been way too long since I've been to a proper book event. If I'm being super honest, I was lured into this because I was interested in going but also because I'd get extra credit in my English class this semester for going to a literary event. I love books, but I'm also a homebody, so sometimes I need the extra push. After being introduced to Zadie Smith's work through an essay we read in class and then picking up her novel Swing Time , it felt like fait that Skylight Books was hosting an event with her a short walk away in Little Tokyo.  I got to the theater almost an hour early because, much to my surprise, Smith was doing a signing after the event, and your place in line was determined by how early you checked in. So many authors that have big, ticketed events at theaters just pre-sign books for attendees, which is totally understandable, but it was cool to see Smith take a different approach. There were pre-signed books at check-in, and it being Los Ang

My Reading Habits Tag: what I'm reading, genres I avoid, bad reading habits, and more

Image
I've been trying to think about some posts that will fit in my schedule but be different than the book reviews I'm always posting an be a little more fun and personal. I came across @ readwithlindsey_' s post on Instagram responding to the My Reading Habits tag, and I loved the questions, so I decided to do the tag on here to have a little more space to elaborate on some of my current reading habits as a 20 year old college senior almost 7 years into book blogging.  my current read:  This is a particularly funny question at the moment because I'm taking an English class at university for the first time. Sure, I've taken a writing class but not an English class where it's centered around reading books. So that's greatly inflated the number of books I'm reading at the moment.  Normally, I read two books at a time – a "print" fiction book, whether it's on my Kindle or actually in print, and a nonfiction audiobook. Two totally different worlds.

book review: Old Enough by Haley Jakobson

Image
Old Enough  by Haley Jakobson Overview: Sav is forming a new identity at her arts school. She's found a queer community after coming out as bi, and she's constructed a life and a sense of self that she's actually proud of. The only issue is that her childhood best friend, Izzie, is always ready to remind her of her drunk, party girl high school past and a trauma they all want to forget. When Izzie announces she's getting married, Sav is pulled back into her old world more intensely than ever and forces her to confront realities of her past in a way she's spent years avoiding. Overall: 3.5 Characters: 3.5  I like Sav. She's clearly trying her best even during the moments she fumbles and hurts herself and those around her. It's obvious from the start that she's coping with a lot, and what exactly happened to her is slowly revealed throughout the book. She's grappling with how to reconcile the person she wants to be and the person she's been in the

The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir: Short Story Collection Review

Image
The Woman Destroyed  by Simone de Beauvoir  Overview: The book was first published in 1967, so it's by far the oldest book I've read by choice since I read Jane Austen in middle school. Classics assigned in grade school largely left a bad taste in my mouth, and I've never figured out how to decipher which ones actually deserve to stand the test of time. (If you'd like to give me more recommendations, I liked Rebecca , Pride and Prejudice , and Frankenstein  most). I have a weird relationship with things made before the '90s unless they're from the 1800s because I have no real context for what I think they'll sound like or feel like. A serious failure of the education system is that every history class I've ever taken stopped around 1900 and never covered any recent history besides random, isolated events. Since The Woman Destroyed  has suddenly become trendy amongst the lit fic online communities, I figured I'd hop on the bandwagon and give it a try.

book review: This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

Image
This Time Tomorrow  by Emma Straub  Overview: On Alice's 40th birthday, she falls into a time loop. She goes from being a single woman with her own apartment and a job at her old high school to waking up in her childhood bedroom 16 again. Most importantly, when she wakes up, her dad is younger again too. Instead of in the hospital, attached to a million wires and unconscious, he's vibrant and wacky and the dad she remembers again. As she falls somewhere between Freaky Friday  and Groundhog Day , Alice becomes determined to wrinkle time enough to avoid her father still being in the hospital when she makes it back to the present day. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 Alice is the protagonist of the novel, but Alice is almost multiple characters within the novel. She's her 40 year old consciousness through all the ups and downs, but as she encounters new situations both as her kid self and the different possibilities she bounces into as an adult, her sensibilities shift. She's able

hope, romance, confusion, fragility: defining the Sally Rooney novel and growing up

Image
Since this is a bit different than what I  typically share on here, I wanted to write a preamble. I wrote this piece about Sally Rooney for a unique assignment in one of my writing classes a year ago. As any young adult, I feel like I've lived many lifetimes since then, but my mind comes back to this piece quite a bit, and I wanted to share it. I think it's sat on my computer long enough. So this is long and more formal than what I normally post, but if you're not sick of thinking about Sally Rooney, this is a bit about my view of Rooney's writing devices as well as a comment on how criticism often has more to do with you than the art itself.  At sixteen, I stumbled upon Sally Rooney’s books nestled on a shelf in the library. I was wandering away from YA novels for the first time, and the main library was still a relatively new, confusing place. I grabbed the slim hardcover with two impressionistically drawn faces over blocks of blue and green sufficiently intrigued. In

book review: Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Image
Intimacies  by Katie Kitamura  Overview:  While the main character steps into a difficult role as a court interpreter in The Hague, she adapts to a new country, a strained romantic relationship, tentative friendships, and a lack of belonging. In The Netherlands, she is rootless and unsure of her direction as she bounces between various worlds, none of which fit entirely right. She goes weeks between speaking to the best friend she has in the country. Her boyfriend happens to be in a strained marriage and have teenage children. Her job forces her to granularly translate and speak to atrocities on a global scale. Though none of these things feel right, she doesn't have a clear path towards what would be better. Instead, she clings to the granular details of the interactions of the people around her, the same way that she takes her job one precise word at a time.  Overall: 4.5  Characters: 4  You come to inhabit the main character so deeply in the novel that it struck me as strange th

book review: The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley

Image
The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise  by Colleen Oakley Overview: Louise took a fall on the edge of a rug, and to avoid being sent to a nursing home, she agrees to have someone move in to assist her. Tanner took a fall off a balcony at Northwestern resulting in the loss of her soccer scholarship that lands her back in Atlanta and in Louise's house. Though Tanner isn't a nurse or particularly enthusiastic about her live-in job, she doesn't have much of a choice. While they're an odd pair for a while, when Louise ropes Tanner into driving her on a cross-country mission, they become closer with every passing mile. Hilarious and full of heart, this book is well worth the read. Overall: 5  Characters: 5 Colleen Oakley knows how to write characters that pop. Louise is a particular old lady who has quite the snarky, spunky spirit. She has great quips and a real regal sense about her which clashes with Tanner's depressed affect towards life immediately. She's a un

A Belated Mid-Year Freakout Tag 2023 + Catch Up

Image
I know, I know, the mid-year freakout tag is for the end of June not the end of August, but I had an extremely busy summer, so sorry for falling a bit behind. I do this tag most years, and since I don't write as many lists and personal posts anymore, I figured I'd make it a priority to do it again and check in with everyone. It's wild that in the chaos of school in March I missed my 6 year blog anniversary! Time is truly flying, but I've found in the last year that I love books more than ever.  This is a general tag that I'm adapting, but I did directly reference the questions and get a refresher from Talk Nerdy Book Blog if you also want to read that post as well!  Reading Goal Check In: I'm actually super happy with where I'm at with my reading in 2023, which hasn't always been true in my college career. I was super excited that I finished my reading goal back in June. To be fair, it was a very modest goal of 50 books, but given that I barely scraped