If you enjoy creepy short story collections then I think I might have found the perfect book for you. (Maybe this could be your Halloween read!) What makes this collection even more interesting is that it was compiled by 4 different children's authors. Claire Legrand, Emma Trevayne, Katherine Catmull, and Stefan Bachmann banded together to write The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister (the Internet has 36 and 40 which is thoroughly confusing even though I've read the book). This book has a little bit of everything and with the added benefit of different author's voices it is certainly never boring. There's magic, mystery, and straight up horror (just to name a few). The black and white illustrations that accompany each story are absolutely perfect (Great job, Alexander Jansson!) and were honestly one of the reasons why I picked up this book in the first place. They've laid out the narrative in a very unique way as they've styled the chapters like the different drawers and cubbies of a traditional cabinet of curiosities. The authors are the 'curators' of this unique cabinet and the stories are the background for each of the 'items' they've collected for the separate compartments. This helps to connect all of the disparate stories into one cohesive collection and keeps the pace moving. All in all, a solid collection that I might find myself drifting back to for the spooky season. 10/10
With recent events I wanted to learn more about socialism and why it appeals to so many. It's been years since I had to read 'The Communist Manifesto' and other similar works for school so I knew I was going to need something that was going to be a foundational, basic primer (or close to it). This sounded like a good fit: relatively short, supposedly funny and an approachable read for background.
The author takes the reader though what socialism is, what are the failure of capitalism, why capitalism has reached its limits and why we need a revolution for socialism, etc. Or something like that.
Honestly, I think this is a book that is for someone who is already very sympathetic or has socialist leanings. I really wanted to know the WHY and HOW. In retrospect, the how is much more difficult and probably not appropriate for this type of book. But the author seemed to spend a little too much time being against capitalism and not enough on being for socialism. There's nothing wrong in pointing out the problems and failures of capitalism for the sake of contrast but I just kept wanting to skip over those parts because I really wanted to know more about the positives of socialism.
I also didn't find the book very funny. As previously mentioned, I really didn't want to read a tedious textbook and knew that something basic was going to be better suited for my current needs. But the snark just didn't work for me.
And as an off-shoot regarding tone, the author admits that he may sound like he's romanticizing socialism. He was right. In a chapter called "Revolution!" (which really is titled quite aptly), he talks about events like the Arab Spring and the Russian Revolution but it's not clear if he understands the genuine costs: to human life, to mental health, to emotional well-being, to finances, etc. Revolutions aren't at all pretty and I couldn't help but sigh in exasperation at his sentence of on how "Socialists are hopeless romantics--or at least they should be." (pg 106)
Overall, the book didn't seem like all that much more informative than social media posts. Again, I suppose there was only so much in depth he could go for an introductory work but it just ended up frustrating me. I'm not saying there isn't room for hopeless romantics, but I needed something that had more in substance and the practicalities of the processes and hows than not.
For the right person, though, this is probably a work that will really speak to them. Just don't think it should be the only work to read, though.