I Live in Many Worlds

I'm not one to talk about myself. I will say that I love to read and study languages. I have strong opinions about the things I read. Stick around if you'd like to hear them. :)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing: A novel - Yaa Gyasi

How do I even review this book? I fell in love with it the moment I started reading it. The language is so rich and beautiful. The story itself is incredible. It spans multiple generations of the same family tree, telling you what became of this family from the beginning when they started off in what is to become Ghana to the modern day.

 

The story follows two half-sisters. One is sold off to a wealthy white general where she is treated relatively well and bores him a son. The other is sold off into slavery and is treated so poorly... as if she were nothing but dirt... then she is taken to America where things just get worse.

 

I'll leave it there because this book is so incredible. Gyasi lets you know the raw, emotional details of what many people had to go through during the time when slavery was at an all time high. But her way of weaving these tales together to end up in the modern day, where things are better but far from perfect, eats away at you. She tells the reader that there is still plenty left to do and I agree. So much left to do.

 

Please read this book. It's an experience. A learning experience. And if you've ever wondered what life is like for others who are not as fortune as you are, read this book. It's an eye-opener.

 

I know this review is all over the place, but I don't want to spoil it at all. As I've said, this is an experience and it's best if you go in knowing very little of what is happening. It's an amazing book and I hope you give it a read!

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Vegetarian: A Novel - Han Kang

This book really is quite the read. I finished it a while ago and I had to take some time upon finishing it to sort out my thoughts and feelings. First, let me start off by saying I almost gave up on this book. The book is split into three sections and there's a horrible event that takes place in the first section that made me feel really uncomfortable. The incident involved animal abuse and I am very sensitive when it comes to hurting animals. (I lost a dog a couple of years back and I never quite got over it.) So when I read about this poor dog being abused, I nearly put the book down for good. However, something told me to persevere. I pushed through those parts and read the book and I am so glad I did.

 

This book is smart. Incredibly so. It depicts what life is like for many people who go against the "status quo" in Korea and how tragic it can truly be. This book is supposed to shock you and make you feel uncomfortable. It's meant to make you sick in some places. It's detailing the very real and terrible events that can happen if you decide to break the mold.

 

The writing is absolutely breath-taking. It's as if you're reading poetry. Han Kang has a very lyrical way of writing and Deborah Smith, the translator, did an excellent job in conveying that in English. 

 

None of the characters are really likable but that's the point to the story. We never get the story from Yeong-hye's. the main character, point-of-view. It's always through someone else. Like her husband (who's a bit of a prick and needs to be slapped), her brother-in-law (who is also scum), and her sister (who isn't so bad, just needed to open her mind more). It's hard to like anyone from this story but their inclusion is important in order for Kang to tell the story.

 

I am really impressed by the risks Han Kang took to write such a harrowing novel. It's not an easy read, by no means. There's quite a bit of violence and sexual assault throughout the novel, but if you can stomach it, it's worth it for the beautiful writing and for the knowledge you'd gain from reading about Yeong-hye's life.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh

I grew up watching the Harriet the Spy movie that was made by Nickelodeon and I loved that movie. I love all the morals and lessons it taught kids. I even loved how Harriet grew as a character. I especially loved how Harriet always loved to write. In fact, she inspired me to keep my own personal journal when I was six and I've been keeping one ever since. So, naturally, I've always wanted to read the source material and see how they compare. Because, usually, I tend to enjoy the book more than the movie. However, this is one of those rare cases where I enjoyed the movie way more than the book.

 

In fact, I hated the book! There's nothing about this book that I enjoyed. The writing is not for me at all. I felt it was very bland. Fitzhugh fell victim to telling the reader what was happening instead of showing. I was not taken in by the writing at all. The characters were horrendous because they could be. Harriet, throughout the entire book, is a rotten brat only because she could be. The amount of times she said she wishes for someone's death is astronomical! She was completely horrible to people, even to her best friends, because she wanted to be. No reasons were given for her horrible behavior. She just felt like being a jerk. And the story is no better. Where I felt in the movie gave Harriet a goal, and hardships where she learned her lesson and she was genuinely sorry for the things she did, the book contained none of that. She never once felt bad for what she did and she continued to be horrible to the very end.

 

This book really frustrated me because it went no where. There was no character development, no story that moved forward, nothing. I was bored and angry and disgusted whilst I read this. This is a book I can't recommend. It's not the kind of "story" I enjoy reading and if you're going to read this or if you know a child who is going to read this, make sure you take into consideration the nastiness that's within this book and it's made clear to whoever is reading this that this is no way to act in life. Kindness, generosity, and caring gets you a lot further in life than being mean-spirited because it's the "truth." ...I really didn't like this book.

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time - Arianna Huffington

I was really excited to read this book. I first saw that Rosanna Pansino of Nerdy Nummies was reading it and it looked intriguing. I haven't read a non-fiction book in years and I wanted to get back into it. So when I saw this at my library and I remember how Ro said she was enjoying it, I thought it was about time I read a bit of non-fiction about sleep. Sleep has always been an interesting topic for me since I rarely got any when I was younger and now I just crash on certain days. I wanted to know the science behind sleep and the history of it, too. And this book provides that... for the first half anyway.

 

I really liked the amount of effort and research Arianna Huffington put into this book. You might know her from the Huffington Post. She is an incredibly smart woman and I enjoyed reading this book by her. However, I started to lose interest when it came to the anecdotes by various celebrities. I mean, when it started to get repetitive, when each celebrity interviewed kept saying, "I was a mess without sleep but now I feel great," I couldn't help but roll my eyes because at this point, we ALL know how important sleep is. What I wanted was what happens to the brain when you sleep or don't sleep and how, in some cultures, sleeping is used as a means to reach "another world." The History of Sleep! That's what I wanted to read, and like I said, I got that in the first half of the book. Not so much the second half.

 

Another problem I had with this book was how general it was. Separating people into "the rich, straight" category. To the "men and women" category. I wasn't too keen on how Huffington talked as if everyone had money and everyone was in a straight relationship. So a lot of the studies only included couples of men and women. But what about those in homosexual relationships or those who can't afford expensive sleep treatment? *Sighs* As much as I can tell she did a lot of research for this book, it was very much catered to a specific audience, which really bothered me.

 

I do appreciate Huffington for including all her resources and articles where she found out all this information so if you wanted to continue learning about the topic, you can. I really did like this book and if you want to learn more about sleep and don't mind having celebrities telling you what you already know then I recommend you give this a shot. Might learn a bit more about your own sleeping patterns in the process.

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest - Neil Gaiman, Terri Windling, Ellen Datlow, Charles Vess

My partner has loved anthologies and short story collections for as long as I've known her. And it's because of her that I've been reading more of them myself. This one is a collection she has adored ever since she read it and I've been meaning to read it for quite a while. Well, I finally did and I really liked it.

 

Obviously, I didn't love ever single story in it. It's difficult to find a short story collection where you adore every story that's in it where there are so many different authors and writing styles. However, I loved the majority of the stories in this collection. Especially that of Katherine Vaz, M. Shayne Bell, and Tanith Lee. Their stories really pulled me in and created a world of intrigue and whimsy. I wish their stories were longer just so I could be in their worlds longer! Great writing all around!

 

If you like fairy tales, folklore, and fantasy, I really think you'll like this. Especially if you know the origins or the lore of The Green Man. And even if you don't, pick this collection up! The introduction at the beginning of the book tells you the story about the Green Man. It's really fascinating and educational!

Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

Days with Frog and Toad - Arnold Lobel

I really liked this book of short stories of the friendship between Frog and Toad. This book really focuses on what it means to be a friend and what you can do when you have a friend that's having a difficult time. The artwork is super sweet, too, and I think the morals laid out throughout the stories are good for children to learn.

 

If you have a little or are curious yourself, please give this a read. It's short, it's sweet, and it has good moral lessons. I recommend it!

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear (I Can Read Book Series: A Level 1 Book) -  Maurice Sendak (Illustrator), Else Holmelund Minarik

Reading this book was a trip down memory lane for me. I first read this book when I was really young. I think I was around eight or so. And I loved this book so much! I even fell in love with the television show. I was such a huge fan of Little Bear. I loved seeing him go on many adventures through the power of his imagination and that inspired me to go on my own "adventures" when I was younger.

 

I adore this book. It's very simple and any child will be able to read it on their own and learn to expand their imaginations. Maurice Sendak's illustrations just adds to the charm that is Little Bear. If you have a little one of your own in your life or just want to experience an adventure through imagination yourself, I highly recommend you pick this classic children's tale up!

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Stellaluna - Janell Cannon

When I was younger, I used to watch Reading Rainbow all the time. I adored that show! It's a show that teaches kids how to have a love for reading, and it introduced a lot of books with many diverse topics of people and culture. I LOVED, and still do, that show for opening up my mind whilst I was a young child. It was on that show I first heard about Stellaluna. And now, I finally read it in physical form for the first time today! (The first time I "read" it was when it was being read on the show.)

 

I love this book. This book is beautiful in every aspect of the word. Janell Cannon's writing is so sweet in talking about this young bat's life. I love how she explains in an easy to understand tone how we are all different but that doesn't mean we cannot get along with our peers. The artwork is BEAUTIFUL! I fell in love with the look of the animals in it instantly. I don't even know what else to say about this book! It's so fantastic and helps kids understand the beauty of diversity and love and acceptance.

 

If you have not read this book, please read it. If you have a child in your life, please encourage them to pick this book up. They can learn so much from this book and I thank LeVar Burton for introducing this to so many kids, myself included, to learn how beautiful it is to be yourself whilst accepting others for being who they are. A lovely book that I am so glad to have read a second time as an adult.

The Complete Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Pickles to Pittsburgh by Judi Barrett

The Complete Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Pickles to Pittsburgh - Ron Barrett, Judi Barrett

I quite enjoyed this book. A lot of you are probably familiar with the movie version of this story. However, I have never seen the movie. So when I saw this book at the library, I had to pick it up. This version of the book contains both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh. I enjoyed both stories. 

 

Judi Barrett has a love for the bizarre and that made this duology fun to read. A lot of it doesn't make sense, there's no logic as to why the weather produces food instead of rain or snow, but it doesn't have to. Chewandswallow is a logic-less city and it's about the "what-ifs" instead of the "whys." She really knows how to tell a goofy tale and I love that it shows how much she had fun writing these books through her writing.

 

The artwork is done by Ron Barrett and it was really lovely to look at. Especially the food "landscapes." I wasn't a huge fan with how he drew people, but that's mostly personal preference. Everything else was stunning and gorgeous and looked so delicious!

 

If you love bizarre, wacky stories, give this children's classic a read. You might enjoy it. I know that I am going to check out the movie and I hope I enjoy it just as much as the book!

Jumping Off Library Shelves selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Jumping Off Library Shelves - Jane Manning, Lee Bennett Hopkins

This was a fun, quick little book of poetry written by different authors and selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. It's about books, libraries, and why reading is important for any and every child. Each poem is accompanied by beautiful artwork that fits the poem in question. If you have a child in your life or you just love reading poetry about books, then I highly recommend you check this out. It was quite charming and I really enjoyed reading it.

Red Unicorn (Unicorn, #3) by Tanith Lee

Red Unicorn - Tanith Lee

And with Red Unicorn concludes this trilogy. To sum up my feelings on this trilogy, I liked it. It was pretty good. I do recommend this series. However, I did have some problems with this last book. That problem being the plot.

 

The entire plot of this book is centered around Tanaquil being depressed because she couldn't be with a man... that upsets me because it's sending the messaged that if you can't be with a man then you have no meaning in life. That you might as well curl up into a little ball and cry yourself to sleep. And seeing how strong and intelligent Tanaquil was in the first book reduced to a whiny, selfish, "Why doesn't anyone love me?" character in this book really left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not saying she shouldn't have someone. I am okay with her finding a boyfriend and them being in love. The problem I have was with how crippled she became once she couldn't have Honj, who was her sister's lover in the first place! (All this is not spoilers seeing as how this all happened in book two.) So not only is she belittling herself for some guy, she is also stealing her sister's lover from her. And Honj is not even that great of a person anyway! He is a harsh, cold, little jerk! He got his kicks by making Tanaquil feel like dirt by saying demeaning comments about who she is and what she does as a sorceress. I just don't see the appeal to him as a character, let along a potential lover. What in the hell does Tanaquil see in him?

 

It just really upsets me when I see a strong and capable person throw away all her morals for some asshole who doesn't even care about her. Not in the way a person should care for another anyway.

 

All that being said, the magic and concepts to this book is quite fascinating. I love the different worlds and unicorns. How they are all distinct and well-thought out. I am in love with this world and its magic. 

 

Not so much the plot and the characters... except the peeve. I really love the peeve. X3

 

Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. If you like the idea of traveling to distant worlds with their own rules and the unicorns taking different forms, then I think you might like this trilogy. If, however, the way the "romance" sounds doesn't appeal to you, then you should probably just read the first book since that one focuses more on the magic. 

Gold Unicorn (Unicorn, #2) by Tanith Lee

Gold Unicorn - Tanith Lee, Mark Zug

After having read Black Unicorn, and how much I enjoyed it, I had to get my hands on the next installment in the trilogy. Gold Unicorn carries a much darker tone than its predecessor, however, that does not mean it was less enjoyable.

 

I love how dark the world and the characters became. I enjoyed seeing the behemoth that was the Gold Unicorn. In fact, this book introduced a new concept that a unicorn could be! But that's all I will say about that. I went in not knowing that concept and I feel like it's best if everyone else did, too. It was something I have never read before about unicorns and it was a refreshing idea to read about.

 

My one complaint about this book was how taken Tanaquil was with Honj. I did not see the appeal to Honj. To me, he was rather patronizing and someone who enjoyed belittling others. But, for some reason, Tanaquil, a smart and capable woman with her own strengths, was infatuated with him... and it made no sense to me. I would have enjoyed the story just fine if that aspect was not added in. But oh well.

 

It was still a fascinating story to read about and the "other worlds" are just as incredible to explore. If you like magic, adventure, and unicorns that are powerful creatures that can strike fear into those who gaze upon it, then I highly recommend you pick up this series! 

 

I only have one more left to read! I'm excited to see how all of this will conclude.

Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee

Black Unicorn - Tanith Lee

This is another one of those books I've been meaning read for a long time. My partner has told me about this series since we were kids. She's mentioned how much this book has influenced her as a person and as a writer and now that I've finally read it, I can see why.

 

This book is filled with so much magic in the traditional sense. It's what I like to call "old magic" and it takes me away to distant lands that I could never have imagined on my own. I love the characters and how distinct they are from one another. I love how certain sorcery is manifested in different sorceresses. I love the writing and how easy it is to get lost in this book. Basically, I love everything about this book.

 

If you love fantasy, magic, adventure, lore, then I can highly recommend this book. I know that I fell in love with it and I cannot wait to read the next two books in the trilogy.

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls: A Novel - Emma Cline

The Girls was a very interesting read for me. I want to start out by saying I know very little about the Manson Murder case so I was going into this book not knowing what to expect. What I got was quite interesting. We follow a girl named Evie and how she gets involved with these people who, eventually, become the murderers.

 

Emma Cline an incredible job in writing such a "quiet" yet frustrating tale about a girl growing up during the 1960s and how different it was from the way it is now. I won't lie, there were at times throughout the novel where I was frustrated with Evie's character. She made so many poor decisions which grated on me a bit. However, I also understand that she's only fourteen. She's only just learning what life is like so mistakes are bound to happen. 

 

The story itself covered just a small portion of the murders. It's much more about Evie's life and how she grew to become her own person by discovering her sexuality and embracing herself for who she is and not some facade she had created for herself.

 

This book is truly fascinating and if you like coming-of-age stories then I recommend this one! There is sex, violence, swearing, drugs, and murder involved so keep that in mind when reading this book in case that's not your type of read.

Locke & Key, Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill

Locke & Key, Vol. 2: Head Games  - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez

This second volume was a lot calmer than the first, but I enjoyed it all the same. The story continues on in a very intriguing manner. Some of the characters' motivations annoyed me and I felt it was slightly stereotypical for "the guy does stupid things to get with the girl" but it didn't bother me to the point that it hindered my enjoyment on the book. I have four more volumes to read to find out what Dodge's end-goal is and I am really looking forward to seeing why he wants all these keys.

 

So far, I am really liking this series. I can recommend reading these first two novels seeing as how they are entertaining. I really hope the rest of the series continues to be so as well.

Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft  - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez

This is an incredible introduction to this series by Joe Hill. The story is intriguing. The characters are unique. And I am in LOVE with the art style Gabriel Rodriguez did a fantastic job in bringing this horrifying story to life. I won't say too much about this series because I feel like saying anything will spoil the story, as I believe you should go into this graphic novel knowing very little, so I will keep my reviews very brief. All I will say is that I think this is a great way to start off the series and I can't wait to see what is going to happen next.

Currently reading

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Miyuki Miyabe, Alexander O. Smith
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Donna Tartt
Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris
Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners: First Steps to Mastering the Japanese Writing System (CD-ROM Included)
Timothy G. Stout