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Book/Literature Reviews (April 10, 2015)

Here are some book recs of the books I’ve read and enjoyed in the last two or three months. I wrote each of the reviews (well, commentaries) immediately after I finished the book so it would be fresh. Hope they’re alright!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

 

Just finished this novel-and the first word that comes to mind is- “powerful.” This is such an emotionally raw, beautifully crafted, incredibly heart jerking story. It deals with a lot of issues such as suicide, racism, families-though that barely scrapes the surface of the depth of this story-so it’s definitely not a light hearted happy novel to read. But I’d definitely recommend it, it’s just that you probably need a lot of time and energy to digest everything that happens in this book and everything it deals with. I had to take a break in between just to gather my thoughts and what I was feeling, as it’s such a serious and honest exploration of this one family and its past, present, and future, revolving around the death of Lydia, who is one of the daughters. I think what is so impactful is how at home it can hit-everything that happens and is explored isn’t a foreign fantasy, it could be things that affect almost anyone.

 

If you’re interested, read it, and read it again-more slowly the second time because the first time you might be rushing through it, just to find answers, to find out what will happen, what did happen-because this really is a powerfully raw story that will leave its mark in some way or another no matter what.

 

The emotions are still sinking in, and I know that the impact this story has is not going away any time soon.

 

 

An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield

 

I absolutely adored this book. It’s jam packed with incredibly relevant, witty, intelligent wisdom from an experienced astronaut about work, ethics-life in general, really. It turns out space is more down to earth than what anyone would expect. I’ve learned a lot from this book and some of his words have rung true very much-in fact a few of the philosophies and tid-bits I’ve already applied to parts of my own life as well. Even if you don’t read it for the wisdom (and there is plenty!), read it for the information about space travel, astronauts, science, NASA, and just a ton of stories in general about Chris Hadfield’s life-an inspiring one, and now you can experience it too. This book has taught me a lot and is just really fun and interesting at the same time as being intelligent and bursting with information.

 

 

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

 

This was a joy to read and had so many elements I loved and appreciated- a very interesting insight into a career I didn’t know much about before hand (the main character, Emi, is a set designer), great characters, engrossing plot, and last but definitely not least, a wonderful healthy portrayal of two girls falling in love. Oh, and it has a happy ending too, which is very appreciated.

 

It’s quite an easy and interesting read-the plot isn’t too complicated, but it’s well done enough to make this story a cozy one that I really enjoyed going through, though there were heart jerking moments too. I’d recommend this to almost anyone- it’s not a particular set genre, rather quite a few genres intertwined. It’s a sweet novel. 

 

 

Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey

 

I was recommended this book and I’m very glad I decided, almost spontaneously, to pick it up last night and start reading. It’s now 12:53 pm the very next day and I just finished reading what was an incredibly challenging but thought provoking and emotional novel. It’s written in the narrative voice of a woman who has run away from her home and her husband, and most of the novel was a train of thought, a speculative, metaphorical, winding, intelligent, at times powerfully emotional, monologue. The style of this novel was quite unique; it was almost completely a monologue overlapping the unfolding of the story of this woman. Some sentences get very long-like I said, it is, a lot of the time, a train of thought, that really forces the reader to drift this gray area between reality and delusion. So it’s not exactly a light hearted story to read and laugh at while drinking morning coffee. I was nearly in tears at one point, at other points I was sitting there completely re-evaluating everything, or feeling a powerful intimacy between the narrator’s thoughts and my own that left me feeling like every bit of me had just been dissected inside and out.

 

It was challenging, not in a technical way but in an emotional way. It’ll challenge you to think about and look at your life and yourself and at points it took my emotions and consciousness, send them through a washing machine, wrung them out passionately, and left them to dry out in the wind.

 

That’s the best metaphor I can come up with at the moment. I would definitely recommend this novel, it’s quite heavy and a lot of the time the narrator’s train of thought can get really pretty personal and you might feel it ring sensitive chords in your own life as well, but it is a unique and brilliant piece of writing. It really is an experience best experienced in a few consecutive hours of frenzied intense page flipping, thinking, and feeling. It is bleak, it is intelligent, it’s packed full of brilliance and takes you on a reality-transcending introspective journey that will leave you rightfully exhausted at the end.