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review 2017-07-17 18:35
Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie
Reservation Blues - Sherman Alexie

This is my first Alexie and not my last. I'm struggling with what to say about it and how because somehow this not-huge novel feels like it's packed in everything about Indian (as they refer to themselves) culture with its focus on a particular reservation and a rock band's steep rise and fall. It does so with deadpan humor and a mix of the fantastic and real that calls to mind magical realism but is distinctive. It's necessarily sad yet not depressing--there's the humor, and there's wonder and hope. There's not an insignificant or uncharismatic character in the book. I feel like I've taken a long, strange trip with them and wish them well.

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review 2017-07-12 15:02
The Book of Dahlia, by Elisa Albert
The Book of Dahlia - Elisa Albert

Dahlia Finger is kind of an asshole. She's 29 and spends her days sprawled out on her couch, smoking weed and watching movies, funded by her well-off father. One night she has a seizure and learns that she has a brain tumor. Though no one will actually say it, she doesn't have long to live.

 

This is not one of those novels of illness where there's redemption ahead or that's supposed to make you hopeful and grateful for life (beyond not having a brain tumor). For that reason, I appreciated and responded to it. Unlike all the books on cancer Dahlia and her parents buy in bulk that say "you can beat this thing" if only you have the right attitude, in effect making you responsible (and to blame) for your own illness, The Book of Dahlia illustrates how we as a culture fail to deal with mortality. Though it's not addressed specifically in the novel, I personally wonder how much that American idea of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is at play, which easily translates into victim-blaming when one can't.

 

One of the platitudes often given regarding illness and healing is that a sufferer must let go of old resentments and anger, that these can make or keep one sick. As Dahlia considers and recounts her past, it's clear she has almost nothing but resentments, from a mother who essentially abandoned her family to the older brother, once close, who took out his own pain on her in the cruelest ways. Throughout her life she's plainly asked for help and been ignored. Maybe it says something about me that I couldn't blame her for her stubbornness in forgiving and forgetting. It feels like the only way she's able to have any agency during her illness.

 

If this sounds grim, it's not, or not only! Dahlia's voice is often funny, enough to make me laugh out loud while reading. Her humor may be bitter, but that suits me fine. At the end of the book there was a reading group guide that asked more than one question about whether one is able to sympathize with her; I absolutely could. I often like female characters in popular culture that others find abrasive, though I often wonder how much it's about gender.

 

The toughest and most affecting aspect of this book was the relationship between Dahlia and her older brother. As a younger sister myself, I'm always interested in and more sensitive to depictions of that dynamic. It broke my heart to read about the turn their relationship takes, how long Dahlia holds out and has faith in him, even insulting herself to get ahead of his insulting her. I both wanted and did not want Dahlia to forgive him. It made me want to call my own brother and thank him for not being a dick!

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review 2017-06-19 08:26
Foundations of Drawing
Foundations of Drawing: A Practical Guide to Art History, Tools, Techniques, and Styles - Al Gury

I picked up Foundations of Drawing because I've always enjoyed casual doodling and am always interested in opportunites to improve my techniques. Foundations is a gorgeous book, with carefully chosen illustrations at least every other page. However, don't go into the book looking to learn basic drawing skills or improve your techniques. At its core, I think this is more of an art history/ art appreciation book. Only the last twenty pages or so, which are very high-level "walkthroughs" of still lives, portraits, figure studies, etc, were much in the direction of artistic instruction. The majority of the book delves deeply into the history of different materials and techniques as well as discussing various artistic schools and styles. While I didn't really learn anything to improve my art, I did learn a lot, from new artistic terms such as sfumato to the effects of different papers and brush materials. If you're interested in the history and logistics of art, or if you want a coffee table book full of gorgeous and thoughtfully-chosen artwork, then Foundations of Drawing may be worth a look.

~~I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, in exchange for my honest review.~~

Cross-posted on Goodreads.
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review 2017-06-13 07:37
'The Reluctant Highlander' by Amanda Scott
The Reluctant Highlander: A Highland Romance (The Highland Series) - Amanda Scott
The Reluctant HighlanderThe Reluctant Highlander by Amanda Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'The Reluctant Highlander' by Amanda Scott is the story of Lady Fiona Ormiston and Sir Adham MacFinlagh.
Fiona has been ordered by the King to Marry Adham. Fiona has been comfortable with the life she has but goes along with the Marriage. Although Adham is totally different than any one she is used to being around. Adham is finding that he is starting to have feelings for his new wife. This was a story of strangers marrying as requested and slowly starting to learn about the other as their days go on. Each thinking something of the other when meeting and going into this marriage...but then that previous preconception starting to change. Later though they are put to the test again when it is thought that Adham family might have ties to the enemy.
Overall found this book to be very good.
"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."



View all my reviews

 

Source: www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Highlander-Highland-Romance-ebook/dp/B01N3RTF83/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497205545&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Reluctant+Highlander+Amanda+Scott
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text 2017-04-24 11:28
Das Haupt der Welt
Das Haupt der Welt: Historischer Roman (Klassiker. Historischer Roman. Bastei Lübbe Taschenbücher) - Rebecca Gablé

Nur für kurze Zeit reduziert.

 

Am 27.4. erscheint der neue Titel von Bestseller-Autorin Rebecca Gablé: „Die fremde Königin“.

 

Um die Wartezeit zu verkürzen, gibt es den Titel „Das Haupt der Welt“ für nur 3,99 € – bis 27.4.2017.

 

„Der König der purpurnen Stadt“ ist noch bis zum 30.4. für 3,99 € erhältlich ist Das Haupt der Welt - Rebecca Gablé  

 

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