Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

Emma is probably most writer’s dream editor. She cares about her author as much as she cares about her author’s books, but does she understand her author as much as she understands her books? That understanding may be reserved for the author’s family. When the celebrated Brazilian author Beatriz Yagoda goes missing, Emma, Beatriz’s daughter & son, & even Emma’s poor boyfriend, are the most effected. There’s also some seedy publishers, some loan shark gangsters, & a team of confused hotel employees who get pulled into Beatriz’s disappearing act in amusing & even emotional ways. Continue reading

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Stiefvater, you sly minx. You’ve done it again. There’s just no way that I can’t love this.

IMG_5161I have a fear of spoiling absolutely anything, but I’ll just start with a disclaimer that I am an incredibly biased fangirl of this entire series. I want endless scenes of these characters doing nothing from day to day. I want to know where they are fifty years later, what they were like as babies, what their favorite movies/colors/songs are. (Nope. Wait. We already know. It’d be the Murder Squash Song.)

I love my copy of this book I received from Fountain Bookstore, located in Richmond, VA. Maggie signed each one with a cute skull king & it also came with a drawing from her &  bookmark.

I’ve reviewed the other three in this series, so if you’re new to The Raven Cycle then click here.

If not then read on, but be warned of SPOILERS. Continue reading

Twitterature: Black Box by Jennifer Egan

In computing, a black box is any device which can be viewed in terms of transferring information in & out, without any knowledge of its internal workings. Because of this broad definition, it has been said that almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistor, an algorithm, or even the human brain.

What originally started as an apology to her Twitter followers for accidental spam, turned into a popular spy-thriller. The story itself is deceivingly simple. It follows a beautiful female spy in the futuristic South of France. It manages to include patriotism, gender issues, racial prejudices, & more, without ever feeling like it’s jabbing opinions at you. Continue reading

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

William Silver is the school celebrity. He’s the teacher that all the students look up to, and all the faculty loves. His lessons are performances that ask philosophical life questions to kids in a way that make them feel like he’s their friend.

Gilad is the quiet student that’s smart enough to challenge this teacher, but too young to really feel confident doing it. He craves his approval and sees the best parts of him. He also suffers from a horrible home life and a nonexistent social life.

Marie is pretty much your average girl. She’s got a best frenemy, a judgmental mother, and an absent father. But toward her last year of school she gets into an illicit affair with Mr. Silver.

Set in modern day France, You Deserve Nothing follows these characters and the goings on at the International School of France. It touches on the protests of American’s invasion of Iraq, the implications about human responsibility, and the ability to exercise your own freedom. It does this without shying away out of guilt, but still maintaining a lyrical, soft tone. Continue reading

Condominium by Daniel Falatko

“Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” —Chuck Palahniuk

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.42.52 PM.pngCharles and Sarah are a typical New York creative class couple — he’s in finance, she works at a hipster small press, yet both are indie-rock East Village veterans who aren’t above snorting a little heroin on the weekends. But when they decide to take the logical next step and buy a condo in one of the glass-and-steel skyscrapers now dotting the waterfront of Williamsburg, their lives start to fall apart almost the moment after they sign their mortgage; and this is to say nothing of their creepy neighbors, their possibly haunted apartment, job crises in both their industries, and former friends still in Manhattan who are determined to pull them back into the debauchery. A touching ode to the a–holes ruining Brooklyn, this literary debut of “the Snake Person John Updike” is a funny yet wistful dramedy about young urban life during the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks, and you do not need to be a New Yorker yourself to enjoy his smart insights about city living and growing older…although that certainly doesn’t hurt.

Falatko’s Condominium takes place within the time span of just one week, with sections separated by day. Charles & Sarah have just moved in their new condo & it serves as a symbol of their semi-fucked up lives. The one thing they have in common is that they feel like the condo owns them instead of the other way around. In Bret Easton Ellis form, it’s a novel about materialism, existentialism, consumerism, & every other ism, but simultaneously about absolutely nothing. But unlike Bret Easton Ellis, it didn’t really have those stand-out sentences of epiphany. There was no “people are afraid to merge” type of sentence that really hits it home hard. However, there were incredible moments of clarity. Several scenes that were so unique, but also seemed almost like non-fiction. Continue reading

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.” ― Gilda Radner

As readers (or SNL sketch actors), we especially, can crave a complete ending. Clear storylines and plot points are ingrained into our heads like a map. But in certain stories as well as life, we have to deal with uncertainty. How to deal? Jamie Holmes has written over 200 pages on how people have been handling life’s confusion and ambiguity in every context imaginable. Continue reading

Top Five Literary Villains

Everybody loves a baddie. This was the hardest top five list I’ve had to narrow down yet. Villains are often more fun to read than the heroes. Just think about every actor interview you’ve ever seen where they say that it’s definitely more fun to play the bad guy. The same is true of reading. A villain done right is often more compelling than most of those one dimensional goody-goody heroes. Even as a kid, one of my favorite Disney characters was Hades. Also, I should note, these are villains in my sense of the word, some people may view some of these as merely antagonists. Continue reading

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

This was my second Franzen novel and I’m slowly becoming more & more of a fan.

The first few pages discouraged me. I didn’t find the characters interesting, I was impatient after finishing Freedom, the glorious, perfect read that it was. But I was reminded to remain focused. That the boring bits might be considered interesting later on & are sometimes necessary for a good read.

I started loving it because of one of the characters, Chip. If you don’t find the characters compelling after about the first 100 or 200 pages, you won’t like this entirely character focused story. The reader doesn’t have to like them, although I do, but there definitely needs to be an interest in their lives. Don’t judge the characters. Or do, but it’ll make for an awfully different read.

You get a peak into each of the family member’s life. Enid and Alfred live in the Midwest and their children, now grown, have spread toward the east. Continue reading

My Personal Life Update: semi-relevant if you care about books

Hello! So I never do posts like this, but I wanted to explain why I’ve been posting less lately. I know few people will care about this, so if you don’t, just skip this post, move on, & expect none of my future posts to be like this ever again.

For those who are interested, I started grad school! This is possibly relevant to my fellow readers because it’s NYU’s Publishing program. Continue reading

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab chronicles the tale of Eli & Victor, two best friends torn apart by an inhuman desire to be “special” & immortal. It shifts back & forth between present day & their college years for the first half of the book, before ultimately staying in the present. Many people have compared it to X-Men, but it could just as easily be related to basically any superhero origin story. Instead of mutants, there’s the possible existence of EO’s, or Extra-Ordinaries. Continue reading