Books, Poetry, Review

Book Review: The Princess Saves Herself In This One – Amanda Lovelace ****

“a
world
where all

human beings
are taken care of

shouldn’t be called

a “revolutionary”
way of life

& yet
it is.

burn

review the princess saves herself in this one amanda lovelace

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. The princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while ‘you’ serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

To say that this poetry collection takes you on a journey is a serious understatement. I loved this book, got swept away, cried (several times) and laughed (several times). Of course, some poems spoke to me more than others but overall I was touched. I recognized a lot of feelings I’ve felt myself growing up.

Some of my favorite poems had references to Harry Potter. Like this one:

“The little girl
isn’t listening to you-

she’s way too busy
staring out the window,

fantasizing about
a world of

magical accidents,
flying envelopes,

screeching owls,
adoring giants,

brooms that
do more than sweep,

friends who are
always loyal,

& a train
that will take her

to an enchanted place
far far far

away from
here.”

Put under a lifelong spell.

This poetry collection talks about a wide variety of things such as abuse, grief, loss but also self-discovery, love and acceptance.

If you’re new to poetry, this might be a good place to start. It’s pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

If you’re a seasoned poetry-reader, you might enjoy the style, the messages, the story linking all the poems together.

In short, I believe this is a collection for everyone. I will pick it up again soon, to see if I’ve missed anything. I read it over the course of an evening so it doesn’t take up a lot of time. I want to dive back in and mark all my favorite poems so that I can just pick them up whenever I feel like it.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s interested in poetry!

Books, Review

Book review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood ****

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”  

handmaids tale margaret atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

What really struck me in this book was the truth that radiated from the pages. There were so many sentences that just struck me.

Like this one:

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

This story takes place in a future so close to ours that our main character still remembers a life, her life before everything went wrong. Image your life where everything is taken from you. Your money, your rights, your freedom, your body. That’s what this story is about and it’s painfully believable.

Our world is changing. You only have to turn on the tv or radio or read the papers to notice this change. The world my children will inherit won’t be the same one I got from my parents.

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

There were many moments in this book where I saw my own reflection in the pages. When she’s attending the birth she says:

“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”

And ow my god, yes. This. This right here. It just tore at my heart because it’s so perfectly 100% me. Sometimes, writing is so on point that it hurts.

I think everyone will take something different from this book. You will mirror your own self to these characters. Maybe the male characters will say something that someone once said to you. (Yup. There were several sentences that sounded familiar.) Or they will share their thoughts or feelings and you’ll feel understood.

In the end, I think this is an important book and I’m glad that I read it. I felt a bit let down by the end (I just don’t like that sort of endings so I know that it’s just me) but I’m sure it’ll stay on my mind.

Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale?
Did you like it?

Books, Review

Book Review: Nutshell – Ian McEwan ****

Book review Nutshell Ian McEwan

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

In this retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a nine-month-old foetus discovers that his mother is cheating on his father. Even more, his mother and the man she’s with are talking about some rather disturbing plans.

Now wait a minute, I can see you thinking and I’m going to stop you right there. This… this is BRILLIANT. I know that the idea of a story told from the point of view of an unborn child may sound weird but just trust me on this one, it’s absolutely amazing.

This baby is one of the best POV’s I’ve read in a long time. He’s so sarcastic and I LOVED it. He reminded me a lot of Stewie from Family Guy.
At times he’s hilarious, other times he’s more philosophical. There’s really not a lot he can do about what’s happening outside, but he’s always listening and sharing his opinion.

The story itself is rather straightforward but there still are some twists and turns. I have never read Hamlet, I only know a little bit about it so I can’t really compare the book to the source. I don’t know if the stories are really that similar. I only know that I really enjoyed this one.

The writing is beautiful. There were whole sentences, paragraphs that I read again and again because they were so perfect.

And example:

“It’s already clear to me how much of life is forgotten even as it happens. Most of it. The unregarded present spooling away from us, the soft tumble of unremarkable thoughts, the long-neglected miracle of existence.”

Not bad huh?

Go ahead.

Read it.

 

Books, Review

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – John Tiffany *

Harry Potter and the cursed child John Tiffany Jack Thorne JK Rowling

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I did not want to read this book when it came out.. so I didn’t. I heard bad review after bad review and was glad that I had just let it pass me by. But then I saw a copy at my library and I started doubting my decision. So I picked it up.

I went into this book with super low expectations and it’s best that I did because this story is absolutely awful.

I’ll try to explain without giving anything away. The people who have read it will understand anyway.

Plotholes

The story is as saintlike as George is. They invent someone’s pregnancy (she was not pregnant in the original story, she just wasn’t), they change brewing times for potions and they change (or have forgotten) details in the original storyline. These are mistakes you just can’t make with a franchise like Harry Potter. If you want to write a continuation, you do your research.

Characters

I only liked Scorpius, that’s it… Everyone else was either very unlikable or completely different from the original characters. Ron has become a filler character, Hermione changes many times throughout the story (one change more laughable than the other), Harry pffff don’t even get me started on Harry. And then there’s Draco, my favorite character, who has his good moments in this play, but at other times he barely resembles the Draco Malfoy I had gotten to love. There are others that I can’t talk about but the all just became charicatures of themselves.

 

I liked how short and fast is was. I liked the play format and it would probably be great on stage. But seriously, how did JK Rowling agree to this?

Harry Potter means so much to a lot of people, I wish they could have done it justice. Some people call it bad fanfiction and I see their point. I’ve read fanfiction that was a hundred times better than this. When you get your hands on something that’s loved by so many people, you should treat it with respect. And that’s what I was missing the whole time.

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Books, Review

Book Review: Public Library and Other Stories – Ali Smith

public library and other stories Ali Smith

A richly inventive new collection of stories from Ali Smith, author of How to be both, winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize and the Costa Novel Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Why are books so very powerful?

What do the books we’ve read over our lives – our own personal libraries – make of us?

What does the unravelling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us?

The stories in Ali Smith’s new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make.

Public libraries are places of joy, freedom, community and discovery – and right now they are under threat from funding cuts and widespread closures across the UK and further afield. With this brilliantly inventive collection, Ali Smith joins the campaign to save our public libraries and celebrate their true place in our culture and history.

It took me a while to really get into these stories. As with all short story collections, you always like some stories more than others. (I really liked the one about the woman turning into a tree.)

Here it was more a matter of getting into the writing style since Ali Smith has a very specific way of writing. She’s very whimsical, jumps from subject to subject and at times it was a bit much for my tired brain. But no matter how lost I sometimes felt, I always found my way back and that made me love it even more.

I liked the intermezzos from other authors, telling us what public libraries mean to them and I couldn’t help but feel connected. My public library was my friend growing up. There were so many great stories to discover and I look back on that time with a smile on my face. I remember exactly what it looked like even though I haven’t been back there in about ten years. Those books made me into the person I am today.

I guess it’s a bit contagious, sharing stories about libraries. Once you start, you can’t seem to stop. I’m sure you all have your own story to tell. Do feel free to share them in the comments.

And if you’re looking for a short story collection or if you want to read something by Ali Smith but you don’t know where to start, pick this one up. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s just an overall great read.

Love

Ellen

 

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