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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-17 23:51
Penguin Minis: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

I think this a book that reads very differently depending on where you are in life. If you're young and in love, or in love with the idea of love, Hazel and Gus could make an attractive couple: witty, spontaneous, and bursting with emotion.

 

But for me, an older reader and a parent, the best part of the book was the final third, when Gus is gone and Hazel is left with a clearer understanding of what her parents will one day go through. Throughout the book, in fact, it was Hazel's relationship with her parents, and not her fleeting love story, that seemed to be written best. Otherwise, as I mentioned in earlier posts, I found Hazel and Gus' dialogue unnatural and tiring.

 

I could also have done without the Peter Van Houten subplot. For me, it added nothing to the story, other than to prove the old adage about not meeting your idols. And his reappearance near the end of the novel felt forced and just terrible. I was much more interested in his assistant, and the friendship she developed with Hazel.

 

As I also wrote in an earlier post, I bought this set of Green novels because they're the first foray Penguin makes into its new collection of Minis. This is a popular format in the Netherlands, and Penguin has done a fantastic job in adapting it to their offerings. The books are read horizontally, and the pages can be comfortably flipped up with your thumb while the rest of the hand supports the book. It made for perfect lunchtime reading. The pages are thin but very sturdy, and I loved the experience. Hopefully, more authors will be added to the collection soon.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-17 22:00
Book Review : The poet x Elizabeth agevedo
the poet x - elizabeth agevedo

Jan 4-12

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent


Review : I loved this book I highly reccomend the audiobook . Xiomara is a teenager who is going through a lot her body has changed a lot her mother has all these religious views and xiomara doesn't know what she believes anymore she meets this guy who she really likes but shit goes real when her mom finds out . this book is told in verse and I love verse books and the audiobook is read by the author and it was a beautifully written book . Xiomara finds out her twin brother is gay . Xiomara joins the poetry club where she gets to let out her emotions . after a big blow up with her family Xiomara calls the guy again and they start talking again . And she has her family priest help with her family to help them all talk this out . Xiomara finally performs her poem at the slam event . I believe everyone she read this book .

Quotes :And I think about all the things we could be 
if we were told our bodies were not built for them


When your body takes up more room than your voice you are always the target of well-aimed rumors,

“And isn't that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.

 

 

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review 2019-01-16 17:50
Review: "Bound Gods: Chained" (Bound Gods, #2) by Adrienne Wilder
Bound Gods: Chained - Adrienne Wilder

Truly not for the faint of heart, and I really, REALLY hate everything about sounding *cringes and screams internally* and especially reading about it in excruciating detail. SO not my kink. And yet I can't stop reading this series. 

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2019-01-16 16:02
Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
Unbowed - Wangari Maathai
I loved the first 50 pages of this memoir, covering the author’s childhood. Later on, though, it becomes more of a catalog of the many campaigns she was involved in and all her accomplishments – this is more an autobiography than a memoir – and it becomes rather impersonal and at times even a little self-righteous. Dr. Wangari Maathai seems like an amazing but complicated person, and I think I might have gotten more out of a third-party biography of her.

Born to a polygamous Kikuyu family in Kenya during British rule, Maathai grew up growing her own food and listening to stories around the fire at night. She was fortunately enrolled in a local school, and later went away to boarding school and then to college in Kansas. On returning home with her Master’s in biology, she proceeded to get a university job, marry, have three children, and become the first woman in East Africa to earn a Ph.D. She was heavily involved in women’s organizations as a young professional, which led to her founding the Green Belt Movement, meant to combat both deforestation and poverty by planting trees. She saw the two issues as intimately connected: Kenya’s loss of trees meant a loss of clean water and firewood, which meant health issues and the impoverishment of farmers who struggled to feed their families, as well as more landslides, poorer soil, and a host of other ills. Ultimately she devoted herself to the Green Belt Movement full-time – even having staff work out of her home when one of many run-ins with the government meant a loss of office space. She led campaigns to preserve parks and forests in Kenya, but also to free political prisoners, allow meaningful opposition in government, and more. At the time she wrote this book, she had become a member of parliament and government minister herself, as well as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. But she didn’t get there without facing a lot of opposition throughout her life, including arrests, harassment and beatings by the police, and a nasty public divorce in which she was criticized for not being sufficiently submissive.

All of which is to say that Maathai was clearly an extraordinary person. And I loved the way she wrote about her childhood; take this passage for instance, set during her adolescence:

Three months later, when I returned home for the next holiday, it was time to harvest the red kidney beans I had planted earlier. I borrowed a donkey from a neighbor and went to our farm in the Gura valley. The harvesting and thrashing took most of the day and by late afternoon I had harvested about one and a half sacks of beans. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I’m strong and the donkey looks sturdy enough,” so one sack went onto the donkey’s back and the remaining half sack I took for my own. Off we went, two beasts of burden crawling up and down the hills on narrow paths, bent over trying to carry these heavy loads. By the time we reached the Tucha River, it was getting dark and I was very tired. I may not have guided the donkey properly and before I knew it she slipped and rolled down the slope.

I didn’t have a clue what to do. Gathering my senses, I found a place to leave my load of beans and rushed to assist the donkey, who luckily had not been hurt in the fall. I helped her up, loaded the bag of beans onto her back again, and encouraged her back onto the path. I heaved my own sack onto my back and off we trudged again. As we neared our homestead at Ihithe village, we both had had enough and collapsed in a heap. My mother ran out of the house and could not believe what she saw: a donkey and her daughter lying exhausted next to each other. “How did you make it?” she cried. “These are enormous sacks of beans! I never expected you to carry so many beans. You shouldn’t do that.” The donkey and I were too tired to reply.


I love that: her humor, and the passion and pride she finds in subsistence farming, which most readers are likely to dismiss as a miserable, empty existence. She portrays a full emotional life in what we would consider abject poverty. And with grace and humor to boot.

That said, as the book goes on, it becomes much more about her public life. Her many campaigns certainly deserve the attention they receive, and readers will learn a fair bit about modern Kenyan history from it. Maathai clearly had a lot of courage, as well as dedication and perseverance; she refused to let setbacks and failures stop her, whether this meant continuing to agitate after a protest was violently dispersed, pushing on after losing a job, or running for office three times before finally winning. I think activists looking for inspiration will find plenty here.

However, unsurprisingly from a politician, her candor about her adult life is limited. After her divorce as a young mother, the book is very focused on her public life. And whether bullheadedness was simply required to succeed in the ways that she did, or whether she had political reasons to not doubt herself in print, there’s not a lot of self-reflection. She never questions, for instance, whether becoming the head of a woman’s organization despite government opposition – ultimately causing the organization to splinter in two and her half to lose much of its funding – was the right move, or whether perhaps succumbing to pressure to withdraw her candidacy and working through a consensus candidate might have done more good. She glosses over the bit where she drops her kids off at their father’s for six months with no advance warning (it’s unclear whether the kids know how long they’ll be staying, but her ex definitely doesn’t). And I had my doubts about the bit where all the Green Belt Movement staff go on strike over their pay, supposedly all because of the agitation of her treacherous assistant and despite the fact that they’d all understood and accepted the organization’s precarious financial situation. They are grown adults who presumably would need a reason to strike beyond the fact that somebody suggested it.

I don’t actually mean this as a criticism of Maathai: everybody has their flaws, which tend to make people more interesting and certainly more human. However, by the end I felt that an objective biography would present a more complete view of her as both a person and an activist, and without the limitations inherent in Maathai’s public position when she wrote this book. Nevertheless, she seems like an incredible person and I do think this book is worth reading.
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review 2019-01-16 04:37
Vintage: A Ghost Story
Vintage: A Ghost Story - Berman, Steve,Steve Berman

This was interesting enough to keep my attention, and it thankfully wasn't a ghost love story, because that concept is just weird. What else is weird is that the MC is never named. Not once. So I'll call him Melindo (Gordon) because why not. 

 

Melindo is 17 and lives with his aunt after his parents kicked him out of the home for being gay. He stumbles upon a ghost one night while walking home, only to find out the ghost is his town's very own urban legend. Josh was killed in the 50s on that stretch of road and has been seen walking it ever since. Melindo is actually able to talk to Josh. Josh is hot and Melindo is horny and desperate, so why not see where this goes, right?

 

Um...because Josh is a ghost. That might be a reason. IJS.

 

It was a little strange for Melindo and his best friend Trace to be so blasé about Melindo's ghost whispering abilities. Sure, they're into the macabre and they crash funerals for funsies, but at some point, I'd have expected them to step back and question reality just a little. 

 

I liked that Trace wasn't the overbearing girl friend so typical of M/M (probably helps that this isn't actually M/M) and that the ghost story doesn't go in quite the direction I expected. Melindo's aunt was pretty cool, and I liked Second Mike a lot. Still, I never felt like I connected with any of the characters or really cared about what would happen in the end. It was a quick read though, and the writing flowed well, so it was a nice way to spend a couple of days.

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