I haven’t read a book that made me mad in a really long time. I’m glad that this book was the break from that. When I get mad at a book that’s really good, it’s because of how it all played out and what the outcome of everyone’s actions led to. It’s been a really long time since I felt this way and honestly, I appreciate the anger.
The American Dream. Many people talk about it, but no one really knows what it means. Some people work their entire lives to try and achieve it and some people succeed. Sadly, sometimes it takes death to figure out that not only you achieved the American Dream, but excelled beyond it.
When I first started reading this book, I honestly thought this was going to be one of those super YA stories about a young woman who is on the brink of growing up and falls in love. Yes, it is all those things, but there is so much more to this than just vapid annoyance.
Trigger warning. Please note that this book has themes of:
- Mental health issues
- Eating disorders
- Drug abuse
“Good Lord, why have you never taken me to that place before?” Alexa asked him. “I’ve never had pancakes that good.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of reading and eating. Whether it’s a small snack or a full on meal, I can always be found with a book in hand and a fork in the other.
So I wanted to share some of the culinary foods I love to make for my reads. Have you ever wanted to eat what your character was eating? Does the thought of something scrumptious in your book stir your cravings? Well, this is exactly what I want to do in this series.
“A novelist is a person who lives in other people’s skins.” – E. L. Doctorow
I didn’t know much about Forough Farrokhzad. I’ve actually never heard the name before, but when I received this book from Netgalley, I was interested in reading the life of a poet and how that life can be fictionalized to tell the tale. I didn’t know that fiction was really the only way you can tell her story.
My friend, Michaela, at The Ardent Biblio recently talked about reading War and Peace for the first time. If you aren’t aware, War and Peace is considered one of the best books of all time written by the most prolific writers, Leo Tolstoy.
However, it was originally written in Russian, is over 1400 pages long, and it takes place during the Franco-Russian War. Unless you’re actually studying the text, there aren’t many people who decide to pick this book and read it. And if you do decide to read it, there’s a lot of families, a lot of names, and a lot of important moments you have to remember.
But a copy of the book has been sitting on my shelf for years. I even dedicated some time to read Anna Karenina (Tolstoy’s other epic classic) a few years back only to stop reading it one day and never picked it back up.
When it comes to books like this, I’m immediately intimidated. I felt the same way about Game of Thrones when the show first came out. I was weary with reading the novel because of all the characters, the places, and the events you had to remember. I think this is one of the many reasons why I put off reading War and Peace.
Today just happened to be the day I decided I will read it. I know that some of this influence does come from Michaela, but the other part comes from the fact that I’m currently watching the TV adaptation of the book. Here’s a trailer below:
So you must be angry at me for watching the BBC version of this show rather than reading the actual novel. Don’t worry, I will definitely read the novel in time. I just would rather watch the show first before diving into the book.
I think we’ve come to a day and age where reading classics (or some more difficult fantasy novels) has become easier. Aside from the myriad of translations you can choose from (definitely check out The Ardent Biblio post about it above), many of the beloved classics from yesteryear are now available on TV. Movies and retellings and mini-series have been made in abundance for so many classic books. I remember the day I watched all of the BBC Pride and Prejudice and after watching the epic mini-series, I decided to read the book. I read Little Women after watching the 1995-film version with Winona Ryder for the millionth time.
Similarly to many other books I come across, I always have a tough time with visualizing characters and people. With a ton of names and events, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I always find myself flipping from the front of the book and the family tree and the index back to the page I was reading. God forbid the author doesn’t even give you that! Even when the novel is simpler, I always find myself using some actor or actress I feel is appropriate for the main character instead of dreaming up someone in my head. I should have gone into casting or something for these movies.
What watching the show does is allow me to visualize what may have been more difficult without. I’m able to see who exactly is Pierre and Andrei and Natasha and all the others. I can see them in my head and when I read the book I can use that to help shape the story. When I go to the book later on, I’ll be able to read with those characters in mind and be able to visualize the nuances of their emotions and reactions.
I’m also able to visualize the story. You may think that this will spoil a novel for me, but it doesn’t. When a book is as popularized to make a movie, I feel like the spoilers are gone. You already know what’s going to happen or you can read about them online. But the visualization of the story allows me to follow along and understand the bigger events that happen.
Of course you’re not going to get the whole book in the show. If anything, the shows and movies provide a bone structure for you to go back and read the book and fill in the muscle and the tissue. A movie without the book isn’t the same as the movie with the book. You get to a battle scene with its gore and guns and fighting and for some reason these scenes have always been really tough for me to envision in my head. Instead, I get this battle scene played out for me and I can go back later and fill in the gaps I missed about that scene.
The last added bonus of watching the movie before reading the book is that you’re never disappointed. I’ve read books before watching the movie and felt the upset of it not being true to the film. I’ve seen movies that were even better than the book and that annoys me to no end as well. Watching the movie before the book sets me up for good reading with well-crafted scenes and if the adaptation is really good, it can really blow the book out of the water (but that’s a post for another time).
Y’all probably hate me now because I do this weird method of watching the adaptation before reading the book, but for some reason it’s worked for me. I’ve been able to really enjoy some of my favorite classics because I was able to watch them played out like this. It’s also great when the people who made the movie put in the extra work to make it incredible. With an adaptation like War and Peace, there’s a lot of ground to cover in more than just three hours. I mean, look at what happened with the Lord of the Rings movies.
And the first month of the year is done and February is just along the way. I loved reading this month. Although I did have to catch up on a ton of books, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I was able to read all the ARCs I received from NetGalley to put me back on a good track with them. I was able to try a new regime with a lot of failures. It’s been a pretty trying month and on top of that, I turned 33!
But let’s go into the details.
I read 9 books
This is a new record. I don’t think I’ve read this many books in a month in my life except for maybe college. I wasn’t sure how much I read in college, but it was enough to burn me out at the end of it.
I’m finally going to start reading some books that interest me and approaching books that come my way thoughtfully. I think I’ll have to write a blog post about it because it’s been a process and a lot of telling people “no,” which I don’t do very well.
Without ado, here’s my list of reads from January 2018:
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – will be continuing this series soon, but I just wanted one fun read for myself this month!
The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller – This was an ARC I received from Simon Books and it was a pretty interesting fantasy novel! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and see how Robert will continue to fight against the Trenchers.
Haikantwithyou by Nicole Best – This was a pretty quick little poetry book about the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship. So many of the haikus in this book were so poignant and made me reflect on some relationships I had as a kid.
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko – This (as well as the next book) was one of the big reads for January. I loved this book and its dive in Native American culture, the experience of being Native American, and how this world needs to accept and nuture instead of turn people away.
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender – This one came in my Capsule Books box and was quite honestly the strangest book I ever read. While I wasn’t a true fan, I’m currently reading the second book from this box and I’m definitely seeing a theme here. I’ll chat about that more next month.
Indecent by Corinne Sullivan – This was another egalley that I was reading for review. While this wasn’t my favorite book of the bunch (and my first serious 1-star review in a really long time), perhaps there is something redeemable in the story that I missed. I was bored. I didn’t want to finish it, but maybe you will!
Catalina by Liska Jacobs – This was my final egalley to read for January and I loved it. I think I might have missed some bigger points here about drug abuse and depression, but honestly this read like some rom com or a dramedy that I’ll see adapted into a movie later this year.
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao – This was the last book I read this month and it’s the one still clinging to the spaces in my brain. I couldn’t put this book down and the way they describe the strength of the female friendship will make you wonder if your friendships are as strong as theirs.
I started life as a full-time blogger
January has been such a transition from being a full-time office worker to a full-time blogger. While I’m not making any money off of this (yet), I’m enjoying spending my time reading books and writing reviews and sharing my thoughts with you all. I do hope to get more done in the coming months.
I feel like January was the test month. Don’t commit to creating anything until you’ve got this whole staying at home and creating something for nothing down. I’ve been adjusting and re-adjusting to life living and working from home and being my own boss. It’s been tough. There’s a certain obligation to always be working, but some days lack inspiration and I feel like doing nothing. Some days I would rather watch TV or play video games than talk about the book I just read.
But after a month, I feel like I’ve put together a plan that will allow me to work and not have that sense of obligation to do work. I believe that I am able to generate enough work for myself to be busy all day long.
It’s easy to fall behind or become prey to procrastination. I’ll probably struggle with this my whole life, but I also carry within me the ability to stay strong and keep moving and strive forward.
I will be better. I think that’s the best I can do right now.
I hope you enjoyed this! What did you end up reading this month? Anything worth sharing?