Category: Book Reviews

Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! Taught Me 16 New Things about Blogging

show your work

This is part of my Summer Reading 2.0 series.

I have a special place in my heart for the books that Urban Outfitters sells. I can buy ~4 books for the price of 1 skirt.

While I was there, I picked up Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work!, a bright yellow book that could fit into my tiny cross-body purse.

This book is intended for writers, artists, and anyone who has some sort of creative passion but feels trapped in an amateurish state. It’s a concise work that states simple truths in ways unconsidered.

For me, it eliminated many doubts and boundaries that my mind had constructed about getting myself out there.

It made me realize that a journal is not just a journal, but rather a sketchpad for portraying, or a drawing board for brainstorming. Continue reading

Never Just About A Boy: Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More

birdy

This is part of my Summer Reading 2.0 series

I’ve always been a fan of Sarah Dessen; she puts out a bunch of thick novels dubbed as teenage romance. In my early days of high school I saw them as just that, teenage romance novels. But ever since English teachers started pushing me to dissect literature and find deeper meanings, I’ve started to do that, the practice leaking into my leisure reading. Continue reading

What is Success? Alfred Lansing’s Endurance Helps Answer the Question

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This is part of my Summer Reading 2.0 series.

—mild spoilers ahead—

Alfred Lansing’s account of the 28 men aboard the ship Endurance headed for Antarctica is captured vividly in his non-fiction book Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.

It tells the story of the explorer Ernest Shackleton with an oddball crew of men who make their way south first by ship, by boat, by sledge, and even, by foot. Pushed to the brink of death by extreme nature, their survival can leave an impression on individuals whose lives are exactly the polar opposite (mine!)

This book was recommended to me, and an extremely difficult read at first. I slugged through the first portion, wanting to quit, but once I neared the middle, I found myself following along, page by page by page.

Fun fact: Lansing graduated from Northwestern. #purpleswag

Continue reading

John Green’s TFIOS: A Book FOR Everyone, ABOUT Everyone

tfios

This is part of my Summer Reading 2.0 series.

—spoiler alerts ahead—

So much hype has been aroused concerning John Green’s literary genius, and much has been said about his most explosive novel, The Fault in Our Stars. The excitement has finally bubbled up and spilled over into the film industry, as his book turns into a movie, which is already breaking records.

The question burning in my mind: is the hype worth it?

I sat with the hardcover  in my hand, looking at the title and cover as the question echoed through my head. I dove in, and finished the book in less than 24 hours. Continue reading

Get Cultured With Me: Summer Reading 2.0

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I’m going to read a bunch of books this summer, and I intend to blog about as many as I possibly can. Think not so much full-length literary reviews, but rather, reflections and personal revelations that arrive as actions progress, characters develop, and plots thicken.

It’s like summer reading, but I’m in charge of the list. Continue reading

Fangirl, a novel that resonates strongly with my life

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012

When I rediscovered my love for fiction, the second book that I picked up, after Why We Broke Upwas Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell.

My first impression of it was that OMG! Her name’s Cath! I can connect with her somehow, until towards the middle of the book it’s revealed that there’s a much deeper underlying meaning behind her name being Cath, as opposed to Catherine.

As I read, I was sucked in immediately. This story recounts the first year of Cath, a freshman in college. Her twin sister, Wren, is starting to grow apart, moving on from their favorite pasttime, writing fan-fiction for Simon Snow novels (basically a play on Harry Potter).  Continue reading

“Why We Broke Up,” the story of a heartbreak that may remind you of your own

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It’s been a while since I’ve actually picked up a book and read it. While on Winter Break, I brought A Tree Grows in Brooklyn with me on vacation, the only book I’ll read during the school year.

This week, however, my schoolwork was overwhelming me and I missed reading for fun so badly that I decided to stop by the library. In the midst of all of this college stuff, I pushed reading off to the side, which is just a real shame, because it has major therapeutic value for me.

The librarian there, my homeroom teacher from last year, recommended four books to me; I told her that I was in the mood for girly novels, and she did not disappoint.

The first book that I picked up was Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler.

y we broke up

First impression? I wasn’t very impressed. Maybe it was the writing or maybe it was the hustle-bustle pace of my life for the past few months, but I found myself skipping lines and not appreciating the writing in deep detail.

Eventually, however, Continue reading