The Book List #18

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 }