Summer Catch-Up

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After disappearing for a summer far too packed with work, I’ve returned with more reviews! I thought I’d kick things off with some mini reviews of what I’ve been reading in my absence. While being less prolific than usual, my choices have run the gamut from non-fiction to comic books and I’m happy I’ve kept to my goal of stepping outside my YA comfort zone.

milk and honey

I’ve never been much of a poetry reader, but I greatly enjoyed this collection. While I wouldn’t categorize Kaur’s work as traditional poetry, it resonated deeply with me. I felt a kinship with many of the experiences she alluded to, and I’ll certainly be revisiting it when I’m in a pensive mood or I need a good cry in the bath.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman

A book with this title was too intriguing to pass up, and it turned out to be a quick and easy read. While enjoyable enough, I found the essays to be a mixed bag. My favourites in the collection were those speaking of Serena Williams, Nicki Minaj, and Hillary Clinton. Still, even in my favourites there was a lot of repetition of ideas and regurgitation of source information. The author spent more time quoting other sources than she did forming her own ideas.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Centered around a teenage Diana, this novel was supremely enjoyable. While not a part of any current DC canon it was a great story with lots of fun and feeling! Diana was a greatly sympathetic character, but she was also a very believable teenage girl. The friendship she forges with Alia was really moving – and their distinct personalities and lives complemented each other. The supporting cast of characters was well developed and Bardugo sets an adventurous pace that makes it easy to read through without stopping. I can’t wait to read more of the DC Icons series and of Bardugo’s work as well!

 The First Bad Man

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and it was utterly bizarre. I found all the characters unlikable and strange. Everyone is clearly dealing with their own issues. The protagonist is clearly suffering from a mental illness, and an unusual one at that. It was interesting to see the world from her perspective. I spent a lot of the novel being frustrated with her, and yet I still wanted to know how the story would turn out. Still, it isn’t something I would re-read.

 That’s all for now, but I’ll be posting more regular content from here on out. What have you been reading this summer?

Bad Memoir, Good Memoir

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I’m generally a fiction reader, but it so happened that I’ve started the year reading quite a bit of non-fiction, specifically memoirs. One I really enjoyed, and the other I really didn’t.

While reading, I couldn’t help but wonder what makes a good memoir. Do you have to like or empathize with the subject of the narrative? I don’t believe that’s necessary in every case. However, unlike a biography, there is no separation between the author and the story. They’re writing about their own lives, so if you have a personal problem with someone, best to stay away from their memoir!

Some people have very interesting lives, but aren’t good storytellers. If someone’s memoir is badly written its probably not worth the trouble – you might as well just read their Wikipedia page instead.

So, on to the mini reviews.

the-hungry-years

Let me sum up The Hungry Years to save you the trouble of reading it. A man gains weight. The man has a problem with overeating, alcohol, and cocaine. It takes this man an entire book to come to the conclusion that his problems stem from a psychological place.

This was a rather tiring read, the author’s own loathing of his fat self brought up constantly. It is vaguely linear, with many inserts disturbing the timeline enough to be irritating. Are you telling me a story or regurgitating past interview and facts from other sources?

Honestly this book felt a lot like a self-pitying and self-loathing life story that I didn’t sign up to read. I was hoping for a deeper insight into overeating, but I certainly didn’t get it.

a-three-dog-life

On the other hand, A Three Dog Life was an immensely enjoyable read. It’s a small book that spans five years, the aftermath of an accident that changed lives. A man undergoes permanent brain trauma, and his wife learns how to live with it.

This is a sad, funny, and insightful read about coping with loss. It’s a book about learning to be happy with circumstances out of your control. Most of all, it’s a beautifully narrated story. The author’s voice is consistent and interesting – you just want to keep reading.

The narrative is linear, at times providing flashbacks to juxtapose the past with the present. Context is always given, and you’re never lost wondering what’s going on.

I would definitely recommend this memoir to anyone even remotely interested in the subject. It’s an unassuming little book that turned out to be absolutely wonderful.

Do you read memoirs? What are some of the best and the worst you’ve come across? What do you think makes a good memoir? Let me know in the comments below!