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review 2018-07-12 02:16
Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson 4.5 Star Review!!!
Know Not Why - Hannah Johnson

Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft's Arts 'N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what's more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and ... stuff? (Okay, so maybe it'd be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts 'n crafts store.) But things don't go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. Coworker #2 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?

… Right?

Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.

Pun intended.

 

Review

 

This book made me happy. I smiled and I laughed. We are in Howie's first person present tense as he discovers that maybe his problems with getting laid is that he doesn't really want to have sex with women.

 

The narrative here is snark, mixed with reflection and freak out and self deprecation. There is a large cast and a great deal going on and Johnson takes the time to craft each element and moment.

 

At first Howie, isn't very likable as he avoids himself because of grief and other rambles of young adulthood.

 

I love that he is at community college. I love his mom and that he has friends. His friends aren't perfect and the working out of new dynamics as they age and Howie incorporates more into his life (new job, friends, and love interest) are really well done.

 

Howie doesn't like Artie, his new boss, at first. He doesn't like much of anyone really. This is a slow burn and behind closed doors romance. Because we are so stuck in Howie's head, I would have liked those doors to be open so that we could get a better view of Arthur's interaction on an intimate level but there is good chemistry between them.

 

Artie is a bit of saint to put up with the hither and yon, dither and bolt, behavior that is Howie processing that is is gay despite all the internal time Howie has spent not thinking about who he is attracted too and trying to wedge himself into likely the opposite sex.

Artie grows as well and the joy these too find in each other is a delight.

 

I love the pacing of this book and the banter. The integrated life and all the dynamics of each characters is so well done. I like especially that a really kind and sweet character in Howie co worker Kristy instead of being made fun of is treasured and the same for Howie's brother's socially awkward girlfriend brought home for the holidays. And this valuing of all these different kinds of people (even a really bro dude) is what makes this book special.

 

I know I will reread this one!

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review 2018-07-11 01:38
bookshelf
Bookshelf - Alex Johnson

Based on Alex Johnson's blog about bookshelves (theblogonthebookshelf.blogspot.com), this is a collection of the myriad styles of bookshelves as traditional cases, single shelves, furniture, and everything in between.  The hardcover edition is nicely bound and chock full of beautiful full-colour images of every piece, each with a website address for the particular designer.  At the back of the book is a further reading section listing book titles, articles and website links to related reading.

 

As a design book, it's great.  For a serious bibliophile constantly struggling for creative ways to defy the laws of physics, it's a fun book to flip through but rarely does it offer practical ideas (though there are a few gems) for anyone but those that have small collections or extraordinarily large houses.

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review 2018-07-08 08:52
A Book of Book Lists
A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile's Compendium - Alex Johnson

This was a lot of fun.  Johnson has compiled book lists, but not the usual "you must read" sort.  These are lists like Darwin's TBR, Oscar Wilde's bookshelf at Reading Gaol, the books on Scott's Discovery bookshelves (he had them in every room of the ship), books seen to be on Sheldon and Leonard's living room bookshelves in Big Bang Theory.  Fun stuff like that.

 

Some of the titles listed are no longer to be found (Henry III's books, for example; probably hard to find if not impossible, and expensive to boot), some of them don't exist (books never written list - how did The Giant Rat of Sumatra not make this list?), some have yet to be written (the future library), and some of them are all to readily available and might be the death of any reader's TBR.  Personally, I was doing pretty well until the very end, where he includes a list of books about books.  My kryptonite!  Aaahhhh... 

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text 2018-07-08 04:54
Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 203 pages.
A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile's Compendium - Alex Johnson

Queen Mary's Doll House.  I can't even.

 

The author failed here a tiny bit because before he explained the thing of wonder this doll house's library is (and it is, I assure you) he stole his own thunder by explaining that the doll house has running hot and cold water and flushing toilets.  

 

Oh, and a wine cellar.  With wine of course.  What kinds?  There's a wine catalog in the library, along with around 200 tiny, Moroccan bound books containing mostly unique, never before published works by authors like Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (his has since been published), Kipling, Wharton and Hardy.  

 

I can't even.

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text 2018-07-07 11:36
Reading progress update: I've read 44 out of 203 pages.
A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile's Compendium - Alex Johnson

Ok, this book is cool.  It's not your typical book of 100 books to read kind of thing, but an eclectic collection of lists like Osama bin Laden's bookshelf (totally predictable, sadly), the books on Oscar Wilde's Reading Gaol bookshelf, Charles Darwin's To Be Read list.  You get the idea, but I'd like to focus on Darwin.  He had a TBR.  That he kept as a list and kept track of.  This book quotes his son Francis as saying:

 

"He had one shelf on which were piled up the books he had not yet read, and another to which they were transferred after having been read, and before being catalogued.  He would often grown over his unread books, because there were so many which he knew he should never read."

 

He also kept notes in his private journal about his TBR books, my favorite of those included in this book being:

 

"Read Aristotle to see whether any of my views are ancient."

 

I ❤️ Darwin.

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