Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a quirky read that takes into consideration most of the things we book lovers enjoy, we get the books, the trivia, the cozy beverages, the interesting characters, the intrigue, the romance, the cats, and many others. Everything about this book is carefully crafted for the enjoyment of bookworms, nerds and even meme aficionados; from the name of the chapters “In which Nina…”, an ode to the TV series Friends and their episode naming “The one where/with…”, to the meme references highlighting the famous Homer into the hedge.

Nina Hill is a loner, surrounded by her books and minimal interaction, she has it all under control. A tight schedule, with close to no room for surprises, is her guide through her many activities and lack thereof; yes, some people even plan the blanks on their planners, sometimes those blanks have more meaning than words.

And why is it that changes and bombshells always fall upon the ones that less desire them? Is it just perceived that way when people are a bit more inflexible? Well, Nina is going to get her fare share of disturbances and we will be the witnesses on how she manages them.

Waxman gave life to a wonderful set of characters in this book. Besides Nina, I really loved Clare and Peter. I don’t share the dreamy story of those who found reading at an early age, as a kid I knew I loved reading but to me books where these unattainable precious gems I’d just get as presents from family friends once in a blue moon. So I really enjoyed the characters’ affinity and easiness towards books, how smarter and more creative kids can be when their minds are further nurtured by reading.

Favorite Quote:

On Page 121: About life and plans.

“You know, You can’t always be ready. Life tends toward chaos, sadly. I thought I had my life all planned out nicely, and then… It’s all very well to have a plan—it’s a good idea— but you have to be able to walk away from it if you need to.”

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.

No doubt an enjoyable book, one that will feel like a cozy blanket wrapped around your bookish soul.

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Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

From Amazon.com – Audiobook Image.
One good decision I made last week: To adquire Daisy Jones & The Six on audio. After this experience, I honestly can’t imagine any other way to go about this book, it was a thrill to be told this story by the characters themselves. This format made it all very visual, there’s one scene in particular where someone is describing a bright pool and an angel floating in with a colorful dress, it sounded magical.

“Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.”

This is the interview of a lifetime, a most expected and incredible gathering of all of these people, voices, heroes to some, and one person made it possible for all of us. Now we will finally be able to understand what happened to this glorious band and why they just vanished when they were at the cuspid of their careers. We get a glimpse of their lives before they were this huge band, we get to meet and appreciate the members and the crew because of who they are and were. 

I loved every one of them, their unique tones and non-verbal expressions, every sigh, every breath was with intention. My personal favorite, without a doubt, was Camila. What an amazing, exemplary woman, she truly knew how to handle herself. Also Karen Karen, she is such a strong, secure woman.

The story touches and teaches so much. How our upbringing can influence our whole lives, it can both make us or destroy us, the world of Rock n’ Roll, the friends and the foes, the drugs, the 70s, the many personalities, the self absorbing truths of addiction and heartbreak, and many more.

I enjoyed how in-between the chaos, there also was balance. How some of them were able to realize that the important things should always come first, family and love over fleeting feelings and efimerous passion. How things don’t need to be perfect to be strong, the beauty within imperfection.

Also loved the dynamic between women that this book portrayed, it was beatiful to witness. Real friendship, strong support, sisterly love but most of all RESPECT. It is amazing to witness women treating each other with respect. Karen and Camila, Simone and Daisy, Camila and Daisy, etc. 

“You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet” – Camila to Daisy.

Taylor Jenkins Reid makes you wish you were a part of this world, that you were a Daisy Jones & The Six fan because if you weren’t you’d be missing out.

Here are the Audible specifications:

Listening Length: 9 hours and 3 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
Audible Release Date: March 5, 2019
Language: English, English

Cast List: 
1. Daisy Jones, read by Jennifer Beals; 
2. Billy Dunne, read by Pablo Schreiber; 
3. Graham Dunne, read by Benjamin Bratt; 
4. Eddie Loving, read by Fred Berman; 
5. Warren Rhodes, read by Ari Fliakos; 
6. Karen Karen, read by Judy Greer; 
7. Camila Dunne, read by January LaVoy; 
8. Simone Jackson, read by Robinne Lee; 
9. Narrator/Author, read by Julia Whelan; Jim Blades, read by Jonathan Davis; Rod Reyes, read by Henry Leyva; Artie Snyder, read by Oliver Wyman; Elaine Chang, read by Nancy Wu; Freddie Mendoza, read by P.J. Ochlan; Nick Harris, read by Arthur Bishop; Jonah Berg, read by Holter Graham; Greg McGuinness, read by Brendan Wayne; Pete Loving, read by Pete Larkin; Wyatt Stone, read by Alex Jenkins Reid; Hank Allen, read by Robert Petkoff; Opal Cunningham, read by Sara Arrington.
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One good decision I made last week: To acquire Daisy Jones & The Six on audio. After this experience, I honestly can't imagine any other way to go about this book, it was a thrill to be told this story by the characters themselves. This format made it all very visual. 🎛 "Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now." 🎚 This is the interview of a lifetime, a most expected and incredible gathering of all of these people, voices, heroes to some, and one person made it possible for all of us. Now we will finally be able to understand what happened to this glorious band and why they just vanished when they were at the cuspid of their careers. We get a glimpse of their lives before they were this huge band, we get to meet and appreciate the members and the crew because of who they are and were. 🎙 I loved every one of them, their unique tones and non-verbal expressions, every sigh, every breath was with intention. My personal favorite, without a doubt, was Camila. What an amazing, exemplary woman, she truly knew how to handle herself. 🎸 The story touches and teaches so much. How our upbringing can influence our whole lives, it can both make us or destroy us, the world of Rock n' Roll, the friends and the foes, the drugs, the 70s, the many personalities, the self absorbing truths of addiction and heartbreak, and many more. 🎹 I enjoyed how in-between the chaos, there also was balance. How some of them were able to realize that the important things should always come first, family and love over fleeting feelings and efimerous passion. How things don't need to be perfect to be strong, the beauty within imperfection. 🎧 Also loved the dynamic between women that this book portrayed, it was beatiful to witness. Real friendship, strong support, sisterly love but most of all RESPECT. It is amazing to witness women treating each other with respect. Karen and Camila, Simone and Daisy, Camila and Daisy, etc. 🎵 . . *Complete review on GR, including Audible specifications and cast* #DaisyJonesandTheSix #TaylorJenkinsReid #TJR

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Book Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

This is my first book by Morrison and I am utterly impressed by her writing. Considering her a new insta-buy, also a good thing I have material for days to catch up on. Lucky us the ones just finding Morrison, for we will be having these feelings, this joy, in the present.

Anyway, to the book, I had seen so many reviews out there that left me thinking this book was unreadable, packed with only tragedy, unnecessary details, the darkest of stories, something of that sort… All I saw here was truth, life itself, and so many things we need to work on as a society and as human beings.

Toni Morrison managed to capture the feelings of so many girls that grow up into a pre-set standard of beauty that society inflicts upon them through all means possible (magazines, television, toys, etc). She helped us understand how a life can bend under the eyes and influence of so many people, the turns our stories can take in the long run, how happiness and hope can wear off with time, how we can let a change of plans consume us, break us, how we ourselves can harm our own to favor strangers, and how we are guilty of misjudging everything more times than not.

This book is packed with so much!

It also made me think of myself, of my tender years. What if I’d have felt prey of bullying? If I’d have believed everything I was told or made fun of for? What if I’d have never grown out of most insecurities? What if I’d never found a way to love myself as I am? – Most girls don’t get to be this lucky, to find a way out of the lies and the constant “reminders” of how we should look or what we should strive for… I don’t even know how I managed, since everything/everyone around me was trying hard to break me when I was most vulnerable and self-conscious, as a teenage girl. When everyone from schoolmates to family (inadvertently, although you don’t know that as a kid/teen) is making fun of your looks, on how you should have a thinner nose, all about the tricks to pinch it several times a day and how they will work so hard to get you plastic surgery someday, on how your skin is such a mess and you are just 10-11 years old, girl you are already doomed!, on how your clothes are all unsuitable rags, even if you couldn’t care less about what you have on, and what you’re trying to call “your style” is just a lack of one, etc. The only thing I do remember throughout all of that is this little voice, that never faltered, telling me how everyone was missing out on how funny, creative, smart and witty this soul of mine was, and thanks heaven for that little voice. I wish no one would ever have the need for it, that voice, that the world was a kinder/safer place, but whilst we work on it I am hoping that voice to scream louder than the outside noise inside all of those girls and boys who are today facing these issues.

Someone is trying to make us forget about what is truly important, it is so easy to get caught up in the stuff you can see, so easy to dismiss someone based on looks over brains and personality, most times than not we humans are lazy like that. So let’s focus on the health of our inner selves and on improving our relationships with others and the world.

There’s still so many aspects of this book worth exploring, but I am leaving it at that. I do hope you guys pick this one up and discover those other elements that remain untouched by this already long attempt of a review 😋😅

Book Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini.

No review I could ever write will do justice to this beautiful tribute, inspired by the humanitarian crisis in Syria and surrounding countries, and on the refugee crisis of Europe that started in 2015 and is still ongoing.

I just read this book, right about now, it took me a few good minutes to compose myself because, believe me when I say this, waterfalls weren’t a match for what just happened to my face and soul.

Hosseini gives us a heartfelt story depicting the beauty of a place, the sweet simplicity that life offered there some time ago and how that has been tainted for those who cannot remember such days, for those whose lives have been changed so drastically and who can’t afford or find it impossible to look back in the face of so much pain and destruction. It is heartbreaking to think of the impotence felt by so many when it comes to war, of the impossible/difficult decisions some people have to make.

ink

“Let it be a reminder of the unfathomable despair that forces people to risk everything they have.”

The powerful words of Hosseini blended marvelously with the work of illustrator Dan Williams. The watercolor compositions included in the book were really on point, with a strong presence as if to try and match the words.

There is a short piece by the New York Times featuring some words of Hosseini and Dan Williams (illustrator) about the book.

Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Becoming was released on November 13 of the year 2018, and was dearly awaited by lots of us still craving some memories of those days filled with sanity and people trying to improve things in higher government. Yes, this is a memoir, a bibliographic piece that goes back to the earlier years of our most beloved First Lady.

Becoming

Opening up about who you are and exposing your roots are things that come naturally when you are proud and honest about yourself, it is not as easy to do when you are a public figure and need to protect your deepest thoughts and feelings about situations, subjects, and people; in this book Michelle Obama succeeds in showing us a broader picture of herself, her thoughts and mindset about stuff we could only see from the outside when they were happening.

When you are a public figure, people have expectations and it is clear that the way people perceive and think about you is usually not the way you are. I try to avoid this practice, I usually don’t follow big personalities and never obsess about anybody, but when it comes to politics and writers I am always interested. I can say that with Mrs. Obama I am guilty of having my own perception, which is why I was struggling with the book a bit before midway because I couldn’t reconcile the person in my mind with the one being portrayed in words.

I was reading this person that was coming across as closed-minded, rigid, goal oriented, change-resistant because I was comparing her with my warm, light-spirited, easy-going portrait of Michelle Obama, the one we all came to embrace. As I kept reading though, it became clear how facing personal doubts, meeting new people, experiencing new environments, exploring new ideas, getting to know some else’s issues and vicissitudes shaped a lot the mind, soul, and path of this wonderful woman. That is life, and that is the point of this title, we truly get to experience her Becoming and are left aware that she is not yet done.

Aside from getting to really see Michelle, we also get a view on a few inside rules and ways of politics, government, a glimpse of how things are done and get done, an idea of how our leaders process things before delivering it to the people, how they live and how difficult it is to be humans in a way, to be individuals. I am truly glad we had the opportunity to have such wonderful minds in charge for a while there, and even if we took a hundred steps back, I am confident we do know better.

If you admire the Obamas, appreciate the way they conducted themselves while in office, the light they provided and the intelligence with which they stirred, you will appreciate this book. If you saw Michelle Obama as a strong example for girls and woman everywhere, you will appreciate this book.

 

Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline.

The Girls was published in June of 2016 by Random House as Emma Cline‘s debut novel, it has had an acceptable welcoming, currently 3.6 stars on Goodreads. I went through this book in about a week or two as I decided to make it my companion on Audible during my bi-daily commutes.

26893819The truth is I was instantly caught by the narrative, even if it got a little confusing as we jumped through the different time lapses of our main character on the audio version, the story manages to take us along for an interesting ride, at least during the first chapters.

Evie Boyd is not a complicated person, it could be said she is rather the opposite of complicated, she is a big blank. I personally believe that this feature (her blankness) is probably what makes her so IMPRESSIONABLE -yes, with capital letters-. I don’t know if I was supposed to relate to her at some level but it was really difficult.

I was not alive during the 60’s and I haven’t talked much with people who were about those days… I am not sure if I am trying to use this as an excuse for my uneasiness with everyone in this book but maybe it is a good reason, not having the right mindset and context to place myself in those years has made me unable to relate with their mentality.

I have felt lonely, but I believe through this book we get to meet the highest degree of loneliness, of the needing to belong and the longing for approval. The sad thing is it all appears to grow exponentially with Evie’s age instead of the other way around.

I understand that personality and character are developed mostly in our teenage years, and that feeling left out could be dangerous and unpleasant. I understand young Evie, I tried to be most patient with her and her many discomforting actions; older Evie though, a grown woman and her need for acknowledgment, acceptance, appraisal… it was truly annoying. 

I wish I could say more, I had discontinued this review and decided to rescue it halfway through the black hole of my drafts. This will teach me to finish my ideas right after the book is fresh and sound. Anyway, did you read this book? What are your thoughts?

Reseña de Película: Song One (2014)

one-songEl filme se estrenó en el 2015 en los Estados Unidos, siendo diriguido y escrito por Kate Barker-Froyland. Basándose en la premisa de que todo lo que hace falta para recuperar miles de memorias es una canción, Franny (Anne Hathaway) hará todo lo posible para ayudar a su hermano Henry (Ben Rosenfield) a despertar de su presente estado de coma a través de la música, su más arraigada pasión.

Song One es un filme bastante inclinado a la música y a la poca apreciación de su pureza en el mundo artístico hoy en día. Pretende recordarnos el hecho de que estamos rodeados de talentosos artistas, que nos regalan su material diariamente en las estaciones de metro, en las aceras o en pequeños clubes.

Franny experimentará toda esta magia musical a traves de los gustos y diarios de su hermano en su intento de conocerlo más a fondo y sentirse más cerca de él. Así descubrirá al artista James Forrester (Johnny Flynn) y la belleza de sus canciones.

 

Admito que me encantaron algunas de las canciones del soundtrack, siendo tan a fin mi oido con el folk, quizá un poco obvio que mi favorita sea In April. Aquí les dejo el soundtrack.

 

El filme seguramente no estará en tu lista de favoritos o destacados pero, al catalogarse como un drama ligero que combina romance y música, es una muy buena opción para pasar un rato cuando nada está en plan, además de que un gran plus es ese talento femenino brilla en demasía.

Au Revoir!