The Book List #18

August 13, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
year: 2000 | pages: 320 | rating: 1/5

Even though I know this book is for "Young Adults" and even though I should probably bear that in mind when writing this review, I cannot bring myself to say "oh well yes, it was very good for a Young Adult book." For me, really great books are accessible to all ages, whether they fall into an age-specific genre or not; a really great book supersedes genre boundaries, which is something Fangirl does not do. It might be a fantastic read for "Young Adults" but it does nothing to step outside those boundaries; I am not a young adult and so this book had nothing to offer me.

What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] by Zoë Heller
year: 2003 | pages: 258 | rating: 4/5

What is most intriguing about this book is how what was supposed to be a rather controversial story turns itself into something altogether quite different. Barbara Covett meets Sheba Hart, a new art teacher, and as their friendship develops, Sheba begins an affair with one of her underage male pupils. Our narrator Barbara begins to write an account in her friend's defense, recounting what happened and when, but ends up revealing far more of her own secrets than anyone else's. Acute observations and fine writing with a bleak twist; What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] is a poignant psychological masterpiece well worth reading.

Modern Baptists by James Wilcox
year: 1983 | pages: 239 | rating: 4/5

Modern Baptists is a comic satire set in Tula Springs, Louisiana. We follow Mr Bobby Pickens, a middle-aged bachelor diagnosed with malignant cancer, through a chain of unfortunate events riddled with social faux pas, as he allows his drug-dealing ex-con of a brother, FX, to move into the family home. Modern Baptists is subtle and off-beat, the plot is charming and amusing although, at times, tinged with sadness. I absolutely adored this book and the good old Mr Pickens.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
year: 2012 | pages: 160 | rating: 5/5

This is, by far, the best book I have ever read on "being creative." In 2011, Kleon originally wrote a simple list of things he wished he had known when he was younger, Kleon later expanded this list into an illustrated manifesto called Steal Like an Artist. Practical lessons for creatives types - writers, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, musicians, and anyone who just likes making nice things - this book serves as a gentle and supportive reminder of what is important.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei
year: 2013 | pages: 253 | rating: 4/5

Collating the knowledge of 20 leading creatives, Manage Your Day-to-Day provides pragmatic advice on how to create more effectively and produce better work. Clearly defined sections with useful summaries that tie everything together neatly, Manage Your Day-to-Day guides the reader through suggestions on how to build routines, stay focused, and ways to manage time. The cross-section of advice on offer alongside practical ways to implement it, makes this book exceptionally useful not only to creative types but to anyone seeking tips on productivity and time management.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
year: 2013 | pages: 240 | rating: 3/5

The One Thing offers a simple yet effective habit that will help us achieve success, stop us wasting time, and boost productivity.. and it's ridiculously simple. Unfortunately, that "one thing" is something I already do and while I think the book could be super useful for anyone unfamiliar with this "success habit," it simply covers ground I am already familiar with. A worthwhile read to keep around for when you need reminding of the most important time management advice.

Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo
year: 1955 | pages: 128 | rating: 2/5

Pedro Páramo is about a man named Juan Preciado who travels to his deceased mother's hometown, Comala, to find his father and reclaim his patrimony. Rapid industrilisation of early 20th-century Mexico left ghost towns scattered throughout the rural south's dustbowls. What Juan discovers is a literal ghost town, populated by spectral figures. Pedro Páramo is disjointed; the book's structure is fragmented with no clear plot-line, no character development, and no coherence. The writing is sparse, vivid, and there is always this sense of gloom hanging over the text leaving the reader with a dislocation and uncertainty. Pedro Páramo has undoubtedly inspired many authors over the past 50 years of literature, however, Pedro Páramo in itself is too elusive and fragmented.

{ the book list #1-17 }

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  1. I adored Fangirl, but then I'm fifteen years old! It was what gave me the kick to start writing my own stories/fanfiction again after a long confidence drop. The Steal Like An Artist book looks great; I'll have to find that somewhere :) x

  2. Thanks for the tips! I'll give Steal like an Artist a try soon :)

  3. I love Steal Like An Artist, it's probably the best book I've read all year. Great insightful reviews!

  4. I recently read Fangirl and I was so disappointed. In no means is it a bad book but it's just not... all that good. I was super excited about it being relatable to me or being a guilty pleasure but it all just seemed a bit meh.

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  6. I loved Notes On A Scandal (the film) and I'm really looking forward to checking out the novel! Thanks for the recommendation x

  7. Loved Steal Like an Artist. Off to check out Fangirl and Notes on a scandal.

  8. Will have to write some of these down for later- I'm currently knee deep in the Game of Thrones books!

  9. I really recommend the book Ishamel by Daniel Quinn! We were assigned to read it for class and it's an incredibly intriguing read.

  10. I agree with you on all books classed as 'Young Adult' - being described as such is not an excuse for poor writing or plot. When I was a 'young adult' I certainly wouldn't have wanted to read something that fell into those categories...Not saying that Rowell's work is poor at all, just get miffed at books published as 'Young Adult' that are unrelatable, inaccessible and badly written!

  11. YA is so popular right now yet I don't see why a specific genre should be praised over others.. there are good and bad books in all categories that appeal to all ages.

  12. I think it might be down to me preferring more adult fiction like Cormac McCarthy - I often like pretty bleak, dark books and I definitely do not like fluffy fiction. But you're right, each to their own :))

  13. I will check it out, thanks!

  14. I think I am going to quit with those.. I just don't think they are as good as they are made out to be. Plus I was under the impression the series was finished.. but now I feel like the author is dragging them out to make $$$ on the films.

  15. I love Steal Like an Artist - it has put a lot of things into perspective for me!

  16. I haven't seen the film but I think I would like to - the novel is SO GOOD.

  17. It just isn't good, is it? Really disappointing considering the hype.. I know it's supposed to be Young Adult fiction but c'mon, a good book is a good book regardless of the age it is aimed at!

  18. Absolutely! Ignore Everybody is exceptional too!

  19. Please do, it's amazing.

  20. I just feel a good book is a good book regardless of the age group it is written for.. I don't feel Fangirl did much for anyone other than young adults.

  21. It's going straight into my shopping cart then! The film was amazing - great cast and great execution of the story.

  22. Thanks for the reviews! I saw Steal Like An Artist in a bookshop not long ago when I was hurrying past. You've just inspired me to give it a proper look. Those time management/productivity books are right up my alley, too.


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