4
Aug
music: Rolling Stones - Beast of Burden
rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review of ‘Radiance of Tomorrow’ by Ishmael Beah

What happens after a war? What happens after events occur that are so traumatic that they are unspeakable? 

In “Radiance of Tomorrow” that question is answered: people move on. But ‘moving on’ is not simple or just a cliche. There is government corruption, corporate greed and irresponsibility, the loss of family, friends, and sacred land, and just…more tragedy. At several points in the book I had to stop and ask myself when the unfortunate events end but even that consideration begs the question. The tragedy never ends, because war is of itself a horrific act whose repercussions never stop. People are forever damaged, countries whose infrastructure was shaky to begin with never gain a proper foothold. 

I liked every page of this book. The storytelling element was never forgotten, as it allowed the novel to unfold in a special way that other books lack. Every character of this book spoke to me, every section was necessary. Not one word was wasted. Loved this!

music: Rolling Stones - Beast of Burden
rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review of ‘Radiance of Tomorrow’ by Ishmael Beah

What happens after a war? What happens after events occur that are so traumatic that they are unspeakable?

In “Radiance of Tomorrow” that question is answered: people move on. But ‘moving on’ is not simple or just a cliche. There is government corruption, corporate greed and irresponsibility, the loss of family, friends, and sacred land, and just…more tragedy. At several points in the book I had to stop and ask myself when the unfortunate events end but even that consideration begs the question. The tragedy never ends, because war is of itself a horrific act whose repercussions never stop. People are forever damaged, countries whose infrastructure was shaky to begin with never gain a proper foothold.

I liked every page of this book. The storytelling element was never forgotten, as it allowed the novel to unfold in a special way that other books lack. Every character of this book spoke to me, every section was necessary. Not one word was wasted. Loved this!

26
Jul
music: matchbox 20 - back 2 good
rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review for “True Things About Me” - Deborah Kay Davies

Fuuuuuuucccckkkk…lemme collect my thoughts for a minute.

Whew.

Ok…

This is a simple read, but a hard one. The chapters are short, there’s even a healthy dose of black humor. There were times that I found I could read on and on and relate wholeheartedly to the main character (she’s never given a name, btw) but there were other times that I was so disgusted by what was occurring that I just had to collect my bearings and walk away from her for a bit. This book is disturbing but engrossing, you’re immediately swept up in the tale of a normal woman who, over the course of just a few meetings, becomes completely obsessed with Mr. Wrong. And when I say Mr. Wrong, I literally mean the worse man possible: a criminal who steals from her, abuses her physically, abandons her, and manages to destroy everything in her life in the process—her relationships with family, friends, her sanity, her job.

This book is an uncomfortable read, but a necessary one. In reading some of the reviews online, it makes perfect sense that some people hate this book. Reading about a physically and emotionally abusive relationship doesn’t make for the most delightful reading experience. At so many times in the book you want to grab this girl and shake her and scream for her to come back to her senses, leave this guy, to run (not walk!) away. But she doesn’t. The writing is lovely and shows how easily blurred the lines are between sanity and insanity, healthy and unhealthy relationships. 

I would recommend this book. But, be warned…

music: matchbox 20 - back 2 good
rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review for “True Things About Me” - Deborah Kay Davies

Fuuuuuuucccckkkk…lemme collect my thoughts for a minute.

Whew.

Ok…

This is a simple read, but a hard one. The chapters are short, there’s even a healthy dose of black humor. There were times that I found I could read on and on and relate wholeheartedly to the main character (she’s never given a name, btw) but there were other times that I was so disgusted by what was occurring that I just had to collect my bearings and walk away from her for a bit. This book is disturbing but engrossing, you’re immediately swept up in the tale of a normal woman who, over the course of just a few meetings, becomes completely obsessed with Mr. Wrong. And when I say Mr. Wrong, I literally mean the worse man possible: a criminal who steals from her, abuses her physically, abandons her, and manages to destroy everything in her life in the process—her relationships with family, friends, her sanity, her job.

This book is an uncomfortable read, but a necessary one. In reading some of the reviews online, it makes perfect sense that some people hate this book. Reading about a physically and emotionally abusive relationship doesn’t make for the most delightful reading experience. At so many times in the book you want to grab this girl and shake her and scream for her to come back to her senses, leave this guy, to run (not walk!) away. But she doesn’t. The writing is lovely and shows how easily blurred the lines are between sanity and insanity, healthy and unhealthy relationships.

I would recommend this book. But, be warned…

23
Jul
music: nicki minaj - pills n potions
rating: 2 of 5 stars

Review for ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ by Kimberly McCreight

This book reads kinda like a cross between Gossip Girl, an episode of Law and Order, and a Lifetime movie. In a nutshell this book is all about rich kids behaving very very badly at an exclusive New York City prep school (as if you didn’t know that already). At the heart of the story is Kate, a single mom who, in my opinion, has so few redeeming qualities and is so detached from her own daughter that I found I couldn’t really sympathize with her. Little by little you get a picture of the circumstances that surrounded her now-dead daughter, Amelia, who, if mommy had paid more attention, might not have ever been in the situation she was in to begin with. Although I liked its format (partly told through texts and emails), it had so many ridiculous twists and turns and loose ends that weren’t resolved that I was glad it ended at nearly 400 pages (way too long, btw, it could have been 250 pages and not suffered for lack of substance). All of the characters here were thin and melodramatic, and seemed to behave in exactly the way they were “supposed” to (the psycho boy crazed sex starved best friend, the burned out cop, etc). Very irritating.

music: nicki minaj - pills n potions
rating: 2 of 5 stars

Review for ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ by Kimberly McCreight

This book reads kinda like a cross between Gossip Girl, an episode of Law and Order, and a Lifetime movie. In a nutshell this book is all about rich kids behaving very very badly at an exclusive New York City prep school (as if you didn’t know that already). At the heart of the story is Kate, a single mom who, in my opinion, has so few redeeming qualities and is so detached from her own daughter that I found I couldn’t really sympathize with her. Little by little you get a picture of the circumstances that surrounded her now-dead daughter, Amelia, who, if mommy had paid more attention, might not have ever been in the situation she was in to begin with. Although I liked its format (partly told through texts and emails), it had so many ridiculous twists and turns and loose ends that weren’t resolved that I was glad it ended at nearly 400 pages (way too long, btw, it could have been 250 pages and not suffered for lack of substance). All of the characters here were thin and melodramatic, and seemed to behave in exactly the way they were “supposed” to (the psycho boy crazed sex starved best friend, the burned out cop, etc). Very irritating.

14
Jul
A sated belly gave Americans the luxury of praising themselves for being good parents, as if caring for one’s child were the exception rather than the rule. It used to amuse Kamara, watching women on television talk about how much they loved their children, what sacrifices they made for them. Now, it annoyed her. Now that her periods insisted on coming month after month, she resented those manicured women with their effortlessly conceived babies and their breezy expressions like “healthy parenting.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, The Thing Around Your Neck, “On Monday of Last Week”
5
Jul
Hearts torn out for the sun God in Mexico. Wretches ritually strangled and buried with their masters in ancient Britain. Simple people accused of witchcraft, pressed under stones and set alight pyres of dry kindling. Commuters gassed in the Tokyo subway. Passengers flown through the side of buildings in jets full of fuel. If only we could all stand up. All of us who have died unjustly for the Gods of the insane. There would be so many of us.
— The Ritual, Adam Nevill