Category Archives: Books

Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places Embraces Uncertainty

Hello, everyone! Another day, another book review, another book about people whose last name is Day. That book is Dark Places, Gillian Flynn’s second novel between Sharp Places and Gone Girl. I’m a big of fan of Flynn’s other two novels, but while Dark Places kept me entertained and contains some fantastic, insightful writing, it wasn’t as successful an effort as Flynn’s other works. So, what are the best parts of Dark Places and what are the worst?

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Death and Art Intertwine in Peony in Love

Hello, everyone! Today I want to discuss one of my favorite novels, Lisa See’s Peony in Love. If you read my last review on The Blood of Flowers, you might think that I have a thing for historical fiction about female artists and I can’t say you’re wrong 🙂 I also wrote another review on Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls duology which you can read herePeony in Love was the first Lisa See novel I ever read, and her insightful glimpse into the intersection between femininity and traditional Chinese culture led me to read and love many of her other novels. But while See’s other novels focus more on the realistic trials of women in China, Peony in Love dares to go beyond, diving into 16th century Chinese opera and the Chinese afterlife. She also challenges the traditional role and value of women in traditional China without rendering judgment. With so many ideas to balance, See’s novel might have become unwieldy, but she manages to write a thoughtful novel with delicate prose.

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The Blood of Flowers Is A Gorgeous Read

Hello, everyone! Sorry it’s been such a long time since I last posted on this blog. My sophomore year of college has been sucking up all my energy and I’m directing my first real film! You can check out the film at my Indiegogo page here and even donate if you want! But enough of all that shameless plugging! I’ve been re-reading a lot of my favorite books lately and I’ve just finished Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers (for like the 6th time). This book is phenomenal, written in gorgeous prose, featuring a truly dynamic protagonist, and set in a fascinating historical period. But what I love most about this book is how it grows with the reader and their experiences. When I first read TBOF, I was probably about eleven or twelve, and I didn’t understand the character’s often frustrating life choices. Now, as an adult (or as much of an adult as a 19 year old can be) I find myself sympathizing with the main character a lot more. With that in mind, let’s get started!

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You Will Know Me Dives Deep Into the Dark World of Gymnastics

Hello, everyone! The price of perfection is not a novel theme in literature, but through the lenses of innocence, sex, and parenthood, Megan Abbott’s newest novel You Will Know Me spins a tired premise into a tense, grim look at the world of competitive gymnastics. Though I took issue with the Abbott’s writing style, the book won me over in the end due to its frank take on the often exploitative relationship between parents and their champion children. In a youth-driven sport like gymnastics, kids become legends in their teens and fade only a few years later. Abbott’s novel pokes at this phenomenon by questioning the ethics of a sport that pushes kids to their physical limits in an often futile quest for stardom.

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Sixteen-year-old Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez

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The Girl On The Train Fails To Thrill

Hello, everyone! If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably stumbled across the forked tongue beast of the book world: the overhyped novel. These books spread like wildfire across the nation, appearing on every book lover’s nightstand, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about. It’s the allure of the New York Times Best Sellers List that convinced me, two years after the initial publication, to give Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train a try. So what do you get when you combine “the next Gone Girl” with two years of expectation? A healthy dose of disappointment.

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My face while reading this book

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Emma Cline’s The Girls Is Diverting, But Derivative

Hello, everyone! I recently finished Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls, a tale of one girl’s summer in a Manson-inspired cult which apparently sold for a cool $2 million advance. I gave up on reading books about bored, apathetic teenage girls around 9th grade, but I was suckered in by the punchy, cool-girl cover design. Readers, don’t be fooled. The Girls is a trashy teen lit book dressed up as a sophisticated thriller, mired with angst, female self-hatred, dangerously sexy older girls, and men so uniformly despicable that they belong in a treatise on misandry. The prose is entertaining, but overworked. Worst of all, the whole thing is tiresome. Everything from the plot to the characters to Evie’s individual thoughts have been done before. But Cline’s fatal flaw is in her protagonist: Evie is a Nick Carraway with no Gatsby to make up for it.

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How can I resist a cover like this?

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Lisa See Explores the Concept of Love in Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy

Hello, everyone! In summer you can usually find me curled up on the weekends, re-reading a book for the fourth or fifth time. This summer is no different and I’ve returned to one of my favorite authors, Lisa See, a Chinese-American author whose novels Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan reveal the lives of Chinese women during the 17th and 19th centuries, when they were cloistered in compounds, isolated and uneducated, and restricted by the morals of a strict, repressive Confucian society. See’s Shanghai Girls series jumps forward into the 20th century, yet still focuses on the lives and relationships of Chinese women as they move from China to the United States and back again. Although the protagonists Pearl, May and Joy may live in a more modern world than their peers in See’s other novels, See’s key theme remains the same: in a culture in which women are restricted in thought, behavior, and expression, the most important link between women can be faith in a shared secret life.

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Revolutionary Road Review

 

Hello, everyone! For my 100th blog post, I’m reviewing Revolutionary Road, a phenomenal book and a keystone in the suburban disillusionment genre, which includes icons like American Beauty and Mad Men. Chances are, if you’ve viewed either of these works, the fundamental themes and character beats in Richard Yate’s Revolutionary Road won’t be, well, revolutionary, but their timeliness and sincerity is what makes the novel a must-read. Looking back on the Fifties from our lofty pedestals, it’s clear to see the stifling role that traditional society played in the lives of young Americans, but writing this novel in the wave of traditionalism, Yates’ novel was an urgent voice against the dangers of complacency.

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The Trespasser Book Review

Hello, everyone! I want to start by apologizing for the massive screw up with gifs on my blog over the past 2 weeks. I didn’t realize that if I deleted gifs from my media library, they would also be deleted from the posts. That seems like something that shouldn’t need to happen, but anyway, PSA: do not delete images from your media library! Don’t do it! It took me five hours to fix everything. Again, I repeat, don’t do it! This has been a PSA.

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Let’s Talk About Fairytales #5: The Girl Without Hands

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve enjoyed your last few weeks of summer and are ready to dive into fall! Today I wanted to take a break from reviewing horror movies and talk about my favorite subject: crazy fairytales. I’ve read my “King Thrushbeards” and “The Goose Girl” and even “The Three Little Men in the Wood,” but while all of them are twisted, none quite hold a candle to the special act of cruelty embodied in the Grimm Brother’s tale “The Girl Without Hands.” Even the title is a doozy.

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