It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

IMG_3184“Could it be this easy, after a lifetime of doggy paddling, to jump in the deep end, and swim?”

While in search of a book that fit my mood, I came across It’s Not Me, It’s You.  It instantly appealed, and although I tend to be a bit weary of books that may be put under the chick-lit category, I felt it was worth a read.  I am so very glad I did.

Delia Moss’ life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers her boyfriend of ten years, has been unfaithful.  Her world as she saw it is flipped upside down, and everything about who she is and what she wants is challenged.  She soon finds herself in a new city and on a new adventure, slowly discovering the Delia she neglected in the past.

My standoffishness when it comes to chick-lit, romance type books is that they very often come across as overly silly and dramatic.  A couple of chapters in, I realized that this was not the case whatsoever.  Instead I found myself immersed in a book that is funny, smart, and that approached relationships with depth and nuance.  Delia Moss is a lovely, strong character, and I loved following her on her journey.   Continue reading “It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane”

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

BLOG“The person who interviewed her had no face.  Under other circumstances – if the job market hadn’t been so bleak for so long, if the summer hadn’t been so glum and muggy – this might have discouraged Josephine from stepping through the door of that office in the first place.  But as things were, her initial thought was: Oh, perfect, the interviewer’s appearance probably deterred other applicants!”  

Josephine has gone through a difficult period of unemployment and hopelessness.  The big move to the city was meant to be an exciting new start for her and her husband, but it proves to be more of a challenge than anything.  So when Josephine is hired as another bureaucrat entering an endless amount of numbers into something only known as “The Database,” she accepts it and sets aside the many unanswered questions.  But her new position and her husband’s increasingly odd behaviour begins to take its toll, leading to an unsettling discovery.

Intriguing indeed.  The Beautiful Bureaucrat has a surreal, almost dream-like feel to it.  It’s well written and quite odd, in a way that works.  I felt Josephine’s struggle and the blandness and desperation of her life.  There is nothing outside Josephine’s world that is explored, so we get immersed in her experience.  I wouldn’t consider this to be a thriller and it’s not a book that is action packed, rather it focuses more on the individual frustrations and emotions.  Many of the mysterious aspects of the book I found to be easily guessed before they occurred, however it was still interesting nonetheless.  If you enjoy a weird and off-beat story, The Beautiful Bureaucrat is just that.

Check out the book trailer for The Beautiful Bureaucrat here.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

BLOG“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

Victor and Eli were college roommates, close friends, and top students.  Their shared research and fascination with the possible existence of EOs (Extra-Ordinaries), leads them to experiments with serious consequences and a break in their friendship.  Ten years later, Victor is out of jail and set on revenge against his now enemy, Eli.  With each man set on destroying the other, only one can come out on top.

“All Eli had to do was smile.  All Victor had to do was lie.  Both proved frighteningly effective.”  Continue reading “Vicious by V.E. Schwab”

After You by Jojo Moyes

bookcover“You don’t have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you.”

The follow up to the popular Me Before You, After You explores Louisa Clark’s life after Will.  It is eighteen months later and Louisa is still coping with the loss.  A number of new people enter her life along with one in particular that she never saw coming.

This is one of those follow ups that I was not really sure about as Me Before You truly stands as a good stand-alone read.  I was really curious about what After You would have to offer as there was potential for an interesting story.  After reading it, however, it just feels… unnecessary. Continue reading “After You by Jojo Moyes”

Outline by Rachel Cusk

IMG_3123“And of those two ways of living – living in the moment and living outside of it – which was the more real?”

Rachel Cusk’s Outline is best described as “a novel in ten conversations.”  It follows a writer named Faye on her trip to Athens where she is to teach a course in creative writing.  The novel consists of the conversations and outlines of lives of the people she meets and encounters.  Faye listens to the stories of others, sometimes challenging them, sometimes providing stories of her own.  It is philosophical in its thoughts and perceptions of life and love.

That’s all this novel is, a collection of conversations.  Rachel Cusk makes this work with wonderful writing and presents it in a way that is engaging and thought-provoking.  I found myself bookmarking many passages and stopping at times to really process the meaning and the feeling of what a character was expressing.  So many passages capture feelings that are all too relatable, and they are written and composed beautifully.  I enjoyed this slow stroll through Faye’s trip and the conversations throughout her journey.  This book is for those that like a slower pace, enjoy a good conversation and are okay with not having a distinct plot line.

“I felt that I could swim for miles, out into the ocean: a desire for freedom, an impulse to move, tugged at me as though it were a thread fastened to my chest.  It was an impulse I knew well, and I had learned that it was not the summons from a larger world I used to believe it to be.  It was simply a desire to escape from what I had.  The thread led nowhere, except into ever expanding wastes of anonymity.  I could swim out into the sea as far as I liked, if what I wanted was to drown.  Yet this impulse, this desire to be free, was still compelling to me: I still, somehow, believed in it, despite having proved that everything about it was illusory.”

BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.

img_3316“I have a shelf of comfort books, which I read when the world closes in on me or something untoward happens.”

There are a number of reasons we gravitate towards certain books.  Something appeals, something clicks, something draws us in.  Certain books we end up going back to because they take us back to a certain time or a different world, or they make us smile and laugh.  Each in its own way brings us some form of comfort.  These are the books on my shelf that I would consider my comfort books: Continue reading “BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.”

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day

BLOG“There will be video game references galore, and at one point you may say to yourself, ‘This book might be too nerdy even for ME.’  But the heart of my story is that the world opened up for me once I decided to embrace who I am – unapologetically.”

Felicia Day rose to fame with her internet show The Guild and has found tremendous success online with her shows as well as in her acting career.  She is an actor, a producer, a director, a writer, a violinist, a math genius, a gamer… I may be missing at least five more.  She is one accomplished individual.

“It’s hard being weird. No—it’s hard living in a culture that makes it hard.”

I wasn’t familiar with Felicia Day before reading her book so I was not sure what to expect.  During the time You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) was being released, I watched an interview with her and she just came across as a very charming, funny, and quirky person.  Who doesn’t love charming, funny, and quirky?  All of these qualities translate into her memoir, which is such a fun read.  She takes us through her “hippie” upbringing, interesting childhood stories, the mastering of violin and mathematics, her acting career, and of course the evolution of her relationship with gaming and how she created her own success in the online world.  With humour and the awesome use of Photoshop (A+ use of images), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) is a memoir that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you are a gamer or not.  And if you don’t know Felicia Day yet, you should!

“My story demonstrates that there’s no better time in history to have a dream and be able to reach an audience with your art.  Or just be as weird as you want to be and not have to be ashamed.  That lesson’s just as legit.”