Overhyped Books I’ve Read

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. I hope you are all also finding ways to keep occupied as well. I can feel the boredom really getting to me. You know how you have stuff to keep you occupied but you don’t have the energy to engage? Yeah, that’s me right now. I’m still planning on giving you a book review of Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House soon. (I’m about halfway through. It’s a decently sized novel.) Besides that, I just finished a novel for a class of mine and it inspired me to talk about book I read because of the hype and felt let down. Keep in mind that this is my personal opinion. I don’t hate these books but I was disappointed after hearing so many good reviews. Let’s get on to my list.

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger – I read this novel for my YA literature course in undergrad. While I see why teens absolutely adore this novel, I just couldn’t get behind it reading it through adult eyes (even though I’m in my 20s). I can see the appeal behind Salinger’s most famous novel but I couldn’t stand Holden Caulfield. He was so condescending and “intellectual” in the way teen boys gets when they want to feel different. That could easily be a way to read the book, though. However, since it was through Holden’s point of view, I felt trapped by the pseudo-intellectual ramblings of a teen boy who doesn’t realize his own privilege. I just thought he was a brat at the end of the day.

The Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith: You all know that I love a good mystery novel. After finding out that JK Rowling has created a series under a pseudonym, I just had to give these a try. I read The Silk Worm and The Cuckoo’s Calling. I certainly enjoyed them but they just weren’t as good as other detective mysteries I have read. I felt the titular Cormoran Strike was too rough and the novel was too congratulatory whenever he was a decent human being to others, especially women. I’m all for a gruff character with a heart of gold but you never got to see the heart of gold part. They are good books for travel, if nothing else.

Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Achidie – This the novel that inspired this list. I just got done reading this for a special topics seminar I am currently taking. I knew nothing about this novel going in but I had seen it on many lists of lauded books. I was looking forward to reading this and was sadly let down. I did enjoy the way that the novel addresses the problems that modern immigrant faces as the main character immigrates from Nigeria to America. It has poignant moments and accurate commentary. My biggest issues (and my classmates agreed with me) was that the characters were too flat and a lot of the problems the characters face get “solved” or wrapped up too quickly. Also, the main romance in the novel felt pointless by the end. I just had a hard time enjoying this novel as the characters weren’t compelling enough for me.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – It has been years since I’ve read this one but I remember picking it up because of the movie adaptation. The book has an interesting premise but it takes a turn into creepy and uncomfortable. The initial plot of the book is about a young girl who was murdered and tries to find a way to move on to the afterlife. Like I said, it takes a bizarre turn when she begins possessing adults who were her childhood friends and takes part in…adult acts. It’s so bizarre and unnecessary. I wouldn’t recommend this novel.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous – I did a mini-review of this book a while back and I still stand by the fact that it is preachy and exaggerated. It does address important issues but it is so dated.

The Matched series by Ally Condie – I’m going to get a little contradictory here but I actually really enjoyed the first novel of this series. Matched wasn’t half bad but the sequel, Crossed, was incredibly boring. I didn’t even bother reading the last book in the trilogy.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – I did a review of this one already and it was a DNF. The writing was good but it was just so slow and took way too long to get to the most important plot points. Go read The Secret History instead.

The Vampire Diaries series LJ Smith – I loved these book as a pre-teen when I was going through my Twilight phase (ugh). These are longer and even more pretentious. I will give the novels credit as there was way more action, adventure, and magic than it Twilight but all of the characters were such Mary Sues. I didn’t even bother with the TV series when it came out.

The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller – I had to include at least one play on this list. I read this in high school and it was an incredibly frustrating read with characters that range from boring to unlikeable. Also, most of the play is just stage direction and the dialogue itself goes nowhere.

My Favorites of 2019

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc. (or you at least had some relaxing time off). I had a pretty eventful year in general and I mean that in a good way. It is now time for my annual list of favorites across all creative mediums. I got a bunch of new books over break that I will be reviewing soon. I hope for the best for all of my followers in 2020! (Note: these are probably not in chronological order. I know my book list is rather short but I did not consider everything my favorite. Also, leave me your favorites of 2019 in the comments.)

Books

  • The Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan
  • The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Villains duology by V.E. Schwab
  • Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Movies

  • Captain Marvel (dir. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
  • Avengers: Endgame (dir. Joe and Anthony Russo)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (dir. Jon Watts)
  • John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum (dir. Chad Stahelski)
  • Zombieland: Double Tap (dir. Ruben Fleischer)
  • Shazam! (dir. David Sandberg)
  • Polar (dir. Jonas Akerlund)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (dir. Jake Kasdan)
  • Frozen II (dir. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee)
  • Toy Story 4 (dir. Josh Cooley)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (dir. Dexter Fletcher)
  • Fyre Fest: The Party that Never Was (dir. Chris Smith)

TV Shows

  • The Mandarlorian, Season 1 (Disney +)
  • Stranger Things, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Doom Patrol, Season 1 (DC Universe)
  • Swamp Thing, Season 1 (DC Universe)
  • Supernatural, Season 15 (CW)
  • The Flash, Season 6 (CW)
  • Batwoman, Season 1 (CW)
  • Arrow, Season 8 (CW)
  • Supergirl, Season 5 (CW)
  • Black Lightning, Season 3 (CW)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths: Five Part Crossover (CW)
  • Nancy Drew, Season 1 (CW)
  • Good Omens, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  • The Boys, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  • The Witcher, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Jessica Jones, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Lucifer, Season 4 (Netflix)
  • The Punisher, Season 2 (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • His Dark Materials, Season 1 (HBO)
  • Russian Doll, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye, Season 4 (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • The Haunting of Hill House, Season 1 (Netflix)

Music

  • Norman F*cking Rockwell by Lana del Rey (album)
  • Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier (album)
  • WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish (album)
  • Beetlejuice: The Original Broadway Musical (album)
  • Six: The Musical (album)
  • Doom Days by Bastille (album)
  • Blinding Lights by The Weekend (single)
  • Nightmare by Halsey (single)
  • Graveyard by Halsey (single)
  • I’m Too Sensitive for this Sh*t by Hayley Kiyoko (EP)
  • Landfall by Claire Wyndham (single)
  • DEATH STRANDING: Timefall (Original Music from the World of Death Stranding) (album)
  • CHAMPION by Bishop Briggs (album)
  • Cheap Queen by King Princess (album)
  • Hallucinations by PVRIS (album)
  • Don’t Call Me Angel by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey (single)
  • Destroy Me by grandson (single)
  • FEVER DREAM by Of Monsters and Men (album)
  • Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers (album)
  • For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO series Game of Thrones) (album)
  • Free Spirit by Khalid (album)
  • Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt (album)
  • Hadestown: The Original Broadway Musical (album)
  • Truth Hurts by Lizzo (single)
  • Artemis by Lindsey Stirling (album)
  • K – 12 by Melanie Martinez (album)
  • The Birth of Violence by Chelsea Wolfe (album)
  • Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief: The Musical (album)

Podcasts

  • The Last Podcast on the Left
  • Red-Handed
  • Wolverine: The Lost Trail
  • Motherhacker
  • RNZ: The Worst Sitcom Ever Made
  • Queer as Fiction
  • Passenger List
  • My Favorite Murder
  • Behind the Bastards

Favorite Events of 2019

  • Seeing Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway where Lin-Manuel Miranda performed live (!!!!)
  • Getting floor seats to a Jonas Brothers concert and touching Nick Jonas (!!!!)
  • Starting (and surviving) fall semester of grad school
  • Visiting the Mansfield Reformatory (where they filmed the Shawshank Redemption)
  • Seeing my little sister graduate from high school and start college
  • Successfully working two jobs at once over the summer (I know a lot of people do that and don’t have the same luxury as I do of having an optional part-time job but I did not think I would be able to handle it as well as I did)
  • Successfully being a teaching assistant for two courses
  • Not crying that much over things (lol)

Grad School Update #2

Hello everyone! Sorry I have been MIA for a bit now. I just got back from an awesome weekend in NYC. I got to see Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway. To make things even more exciting, I got to see Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Jackson, and Wayne Brady perform live together! Yes, I screamed very loudly.

I thought I would give some general life updates. I have been way too behind on my leisure reading, but I am working on it. Right now, I’ve been occupying my time with shorter novels I have found online. For all of you frugal book lovers, I found an amazing site called BookBub (not sponsored, I swear). It’s free to sign up. You select your favorite book genres and you get deals on e-books every day. I highly recommend you check it out. Typically, I am not an e-book person but I am always down for a good deal.

Anyway, grad school has been challenging in the most enjoyable way. I have certainly stumbled, but it’s been all a part of the learning process. I’m pretty darn busy outside of my classes. I also work as a teaching assistant for two College Composition I classes and I tutor at the Writing Center. Nothing crazy has happened so far. I really enjoy meeting a wide variety of students and learning about better ways to teach people. I am due to teach a course by myself at some point in the near future. It’s a scary thought, I’m not going to lie. I am thankful, though, that I have plenty of back-up to help if something were to arise. I had to take classes about how to handle troubled students or deal with traumatic student writing. It is difficult to anticipate what might happen and who might be in your class. I do think that I am more well-prepared than I feel I am. Getting to know the students and watching them thrive is so gratifying. I want to show people my passions. Hopefully, I can teach them to appreciate writing if nothing else.

As for my classes, I wanted to share with you what I have currently read. In no particular order, I have studied: Shakespeare’s As You Like It, John Lyly’s Galatea, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Sprinkled amongst those, I have read some fascinating journal articles. Normally, I hated reading the outside material in undergrad but these have been incredibly interesting. I love being able to take my time to study the things I really care about. At the end of my two years, I have to put together a portfolio of my work. I’m dreading it while also being excited. I want to show off all of the skills I have acquired. I also want to talk about things I want to talk about and not things I am required to talk about. That’s the best part about grad school; being in a position to explore the possibilities and share your thoughts with others.

I hope you all enjoy this post. I am going to try to do something for Halloween but I currently don’t have any ideas. If anyone else is struggling with school, just know that you are doing the best you can and you should be proud of yourself.

Life Update: Grad School and Other Adventures in Academia

Hi everyone! I appreciate you all continuing to check out my blog, even when it gets a bit stagnant. Almost four hundred of you are willing to read my nonsense and I cannot thank you enough. I love checking out your stuff as well. Now, let’s get to the meat of this post: grad school.

I mentioned in previous post that I would be starting soon and I’m now on week three. Grad school presents its own set of challengers that I wasn’t entirely anticipating. I will say I do enjoy the company of my fellow grad students and the professors who are more understanding than they were in undergrad. Granted, I am just getting to know this whole new set of faculty. It is still nice having even less classes and having even more time to dedicate to my field of study. I’m also finding enjoyment in being a TA. My one class is very introverted and the other class is very extroverted. The professor I am working with has been nothing but understanding and given me many opportunities to do some teaching of my own. It has been a solid start to the semester.

As for the struggles of grad school, at the moment they are predominantly internal. Impostor Syndrome has been the hot topic when it comes to college. I’m sure many of you have felt that way too. It’s hard feeling like you’ve somehow cheated your way into the system when, in reality, you’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where you are at. It always feels like you’re one step behind everyone else, even the other people who are just as new as you. The cure to that is continuing to work hard and knowing that you’re doing your absolute best. Academia is not the most ideal career field to pursue. Then again, every professional field has its own challenges. I’ve learned to accept that it will be hard, but it will be satisfying and it will make me happy as opposed to draining me. Yeah, I’ll definitely cry but I’ll get over it and carry on.

Thanks if you have made it this far in the post. Obviously, not everyone cares for this and that is totally fine. You’re not obligated to read my non-review blogs. I should be coming at you with more book reviews soon. Hope you all have a good day.

Book Characters I Would Fight IRL

Hi all! I’m not here because I’ve finished a book. Instead, I have been inspired by BookTube. Several BookTubers I watch have made similar videos to this and I thought I would join in. Yes, I will talk smack about your favorite character. Feel free to fight back as I take down your favorite character or feel free to agree with me.

Severus Snape: “Hi, my name is Snape and my crush dumped me so I’m going to be a dick to children.” Ugh, this man pisses me off to no end. Allan Rickman gets all the kudos for giving us a great performance, but the character himself is such a douchebag. He had decades to get over Lily and accept her choices. They could have easily remained friends, but instead, Snape chose to be a bitter jerk who has thing for betraying people. I love a complex character as much as the next person, but we need to agree that Snape made bad life choices.

Sherlock Holmes: I’m a huge fan of the original Sherlock Holmes series. I’ve read all of those stories and spin-off novels. I’ve watched many live action adaptations. If I ever met Sherlock Holmes in real life, I would punch him in his smug face. The hubris of the man is ridiculous. If it weren’t for Watson, I would probably not enjoy those books at all. Holmes spends most of his time making people prove themselves to him for absolutely no reason. As much as I love the asshole genius trope, I also hate the asshole genius trope.

Amy and Nick Dunne: I thought Gone Girl was an interesting novel in the way it showcased two of the worst protagonists ever. Nick and Amy are both equally garbage human beings and I’m so glad they ended up together because they deserve each other. I get that they are supposed to be written that way and I truly found that interesting. It was also so incredibly frustrating to read too. They were both just horrible people in every way. It’s hard to read a book where you can’t root for anyone involved in the plot.

Bella Swan: I hated her when I was a Twilight fan and I still can’t stand her. Let’s ignore Edward and Jacob for a second because at least they had interesting characteristics. Bella had nothing going for her. She had no personality. She wasn’t unique in any way, shape, or form. No will power of her own. She never really comes out of her shell or opens up in any way. Let us not forget the time she flung herself off a cliff to get Jacob’s attention. I feel so bad for Kristen Stewart to this day.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish: Of all the scumbags in all of Westeros, I think Littlefinger takes the cake. While Joffery Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton were sadistic assholes, at least they were interesting to watch in the same way you would watch a slasher movie. Littlefinger, on the other hand, just showed up to pull some scummy, backhanded move that only provided something for himself. Every other person in Game of Thrones had some sort of solid alliance or something to fight for, but not Littlefinger. Like Snape, he also spends most of his time being bitter over a childhood crush that rejected him. He was just made me feel gross whenever he was on screen. (Also, I would have nominated Ramsay Bolton but, let’s be real, I would absolutely not fight him.)

Holden Caulfield: Oh my god, talk about being whiney. I couldn’t stand this kid. Don’t get me wrong: I understand that he was going through some stuff and he’s only a teenager. But, holy cow, nothing gets better if you just whine about it. Even as a teenager, I understood that. Also the kid thought way too highly of himself. I would absolutely punch out anyone who thought so highly of themselves for no real reason. Holden’s attitude is a classic case of “ugh I don’t want to be like everyone else. I’m different because I think.”

Humbert Humbert: Lolita is already such a hard book to read and to have such a garbage narrator makes the whole thing even worse. What else is there to say other than he preys on a young and vulnerable girl for a majority of her life? It’s disgusting and I would happily fight this guy in a back alley.

That’s all I of the characters I can think of for now. Maybe I’ll do a part two or I’ll do a list of movie and/or tv show characters I would fight. Hope you enjoyed this.

I too have an opinion on the final season of Game of Thrones

Hi everybody! Sorry but not sorry that it has been so long since I have last posted anything. I now have two jobs so, I hope you understand I have make that paper. I’m sure many of you on this website are fans of Game of Thrones. I read the books in high school around the time that the show started. It’s safe to say that I have been invested in the series as a whole for a while. This final season, which should have been incredibly epic and satisfying, has been anything but that. Before I go any farther, I do want to say that this is no shade towards the actors or the actual filming, as both are still great. I want to talk about the writing and some weird decisions that the writers seem to have made. BIG SPOILER WARNING! If you are not caught up, you may exit now. If you don’t care about spoilers and/or the show, then you may proceed.

The Character Development: Who needs consistency in their characters’ development, right? Honestly, this is my biggest gripe with the show currently, even though there is only one episode left. It’s really disheartening to see some of my favorite characters grow so much, only to be stopped for the plot. For an example, I shall direct you to Tyrion and Jaime Lannister. In my humble opinion, they have had some of the best personal development in this show. The Lannister brothers have fought so hard against their sister and we were all so proud when they finally broke away from Cersei. What happens next? Tyrion somehow becomes very convinced that she’s going to willingly surrender, even after we watched her blow up the Sept just to keep her crown. Jaime, even after he finally gets together with Brienne, decides to run back to Cersei for no reason other than he feels guilty. I’m sorry but what? You keep expecting for some sort of turn around but, then it doesn’t happen. They aren’t the only victims of this, though. Jon Snow and Daenerys aren’t much better off. Cersei even ended up being a bit of a letdown.

The Pacing: With a short run, the episodes can’t be too jam packed in order to draw out the suspense. I do normally love that but, in this case, the pacing of the show has just been off. From the battle with the Night King to the battle in Kings Landing everything feel like it should be in a different order. I don’t know how to explain it any better. Maybe some you know what I am trying to get at. I just feel like everything could be rearranged in a better order to make the story feel more cohesive. Honestly, I think that the battle for Kings Landing should have happened in the middle and the battle with the Night King should have happened at the end. I also think that the character deaths have been put in weird places as well.

The Treatment of Women: Let’s put on our feminist lens for just a moment. For starters, none of the episodes have been directed by or written by women. I’m going to call that a red flag. The female characters have not always been treated well in the show but, we have seen them bounce back and become triumphant. Unfortunately, these strong female characters have been devolved to pure emotion. Now, I’m not saying that female characters have to be perfect and strong all the time, but they do have to have development that sticks. In this season, it seems like all of that amazing characterization has been thrown out the window. (See character development above). The only female character whose development has stuck is Arya. (Honestly, she is my favorite this season). It seems like they’re going back to favoring the male characters.

The Forgotten Lore: As you all know, the show contains forms of magic that have been explored throughout the various seasons. They have helped to compose various plot points as well. Some of the biggest forms of magic have been in prophecies. Azor Ahai (aka The Prince who was Promised) and the Valonqar (Cersei’s prophecy) were huge points in the books and they were brought up in the show. It seems, however, that they have been tossed aside as well. I really liked the magical aspect of the show and I wish we could have explored it further. (By the way, I’m going to leave it to you to look up those prophecies. It leads into a lot of fan theories.)

Those were my gripes. Let me know in the comments if you have any other grievances that I may have forgotten.

The Weirdest TV Shows I’ve Watched

Hi everyone! So, as you all know at this point, I’m a tiny bit of a tv addict. I have a bunch of shows I like to keep up with and a lot of them are kind of strange. Much like the one about weird books, I do have some criteria for what I mean by “weird.” In this case, I’m talking about television shows that use strange narrative structures, bizarre visuals, or characters who have strange traits and/or powers. I’ll be excluding television shows that have weird elements like magic or time travel but still have relatively straight forward plot lines (i.e. Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, etc). I’ll also be excluding anime because I don’t watch anime nor do I know that much about it.

Legion: Based off of the the X-Men comics, Legion is about David Haller, a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who begins to realize that his mental illness might be more than just that. The show is set in the 1960s so there are a bunch of trippy visuals and strange lighting. The characters have weird powers, such as Sydney, who can swap bodies with other people. The show is constantly jumping around in time. The setting is constantly changing. There are main plots but there are subplots that are popping up throughout the show that are meant to confuse you. I am behind on the show but I do really enjoy it.

Preacher: This is another show based off of a comic book. It’s about Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town, who is given an unearthly power. He then goes on a mission to find God with his gun-toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy. This show begins out fairly straight forward then takes the turn for the bizarre as Heaven and Hell become involved in the story. The show is as funny as it is strange with its depictions of the afterlife and what God looks like. It is a very graphic show, so you have been warned. All in all, I have found it incredibly enjoyable. This is another one I definitely recommend.

Doom Patrol: Here’s yet another superhero show, but I still love them. In this one, Cliff Steele, a former race car driver, gets into a car accident and wakes up to find that his brain has been put into a robot and he is living with other “outcasts” like himself. When the Chief, who brought them together, goes missing, they must put aside their differences to find him and stop the villainous Mr. Nobody. The first thing I love about this show is that the characters are so weird yet so relatable as they are all really just dealing with their pasts. The show (so far) has involved a giant eye that disintegrates people, a donkey that’s a portal to a different world, and a nice healthy dose of magic. I have been absolutely loving this particular show and I’m surprised more people aren’t watching it.

Russian Doll: This one isn’t the weirdest but I’m still going to put it on this list because I love this show. Nadia died on her 36th birthday…but then she came back. Now, she must figure out how to break the cycle before her death becomes permanent. The show certainly isn’t afraid to get deep while still being absolutely hilarious. Natasha Lyonne is absolutely wonderful in this show. If you want a show with a strong female lead that, go watch this one on Netflix.

Black Mirror: If you love The Twilight Zone, then you will love Black Mirror. I initially thought this show was a bit overhyped but I got sucked in and ended up loving it. Here’s a few of my favorite episodes: “The USS Callister,” “Playtest,” “Nosedive,” and “Black Museum.” Go watch any of those and, I promise, you might change your mind.

American Gods: This show is based on one of my all-time favorite Neil Gaiman books. The second season came out and it is just as weird as I wanted it to be. For those of you who don’t know, the show is about Shadow Moon, who is released from prison early after learning his wife died. He soon meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday who draws him into a world that he won’t come back from the same. Obviously, the idea of the gods, both new and old, is already a weird concept and the show fully embraces this. The visuals are as beautiful as they are weird. It’s really cool how the show moves between regular America and the gods’ America. The show also has some powerful messages. I definitely recommend the book a bit more but go check out the show too.

The Weirdest Books I’ve Read

Hi everyone! This post is inspired by a BookTuber I follow called mynameismarines and I recommend you check out her channel. Her video inspired me so now I want to talk about the weirdest books I have encountered. Now, I know “weird” is a subjective term. I’m defining a “weird” book as one that has a narrative structure or plot/plots that stray from the norm. I’m not exactly talking about just fantasy elements because that would take forever to talk about. I am talking about novels that stray from any sort of tropes or flip them around in some unique way. I’m not saying any of these novels are bad but they are simply strange. I hope this becomes more clear as I talk about these books. 

Anthem by Ayn Rand: I read this one way back in my freshman year of high school. Though Rand is known for her lengthy novels, this one is a novella but weirded than the rest. The novel takes place in a dystopian future where everyone’s future is pre-planned and individuality has effectively been eliminated. In fact, the strangest part of this novel is that first person pronouns don’t exist so the narrator uses “us,” “we,” and “them,” even when he is just talking about one other person. Also, the characters have names like Liberty 2569 or Unity 8764. It’s definitely one of the darker dystopians I have read. If you are really into dystopian novels, then you should give this one a try.

Dubliners by James Joyce: This one is not a novel but I am still including it as it has a strange narrative structure. Joyce’s short stories are unique as they don’t really have a beginning or an ending. They are referred to as “slice of life” stories. You have to speculate a lot in order to figure out the main point of the stories are. Along with the that, the titles are only semi-relevant. Joyce is not there to tell you what to think and I really like that aspect of this collection of short stories. I’d go ahead and recommend it if Joyce’s other novels are too lengthy for you.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: I have discovered that this novel is one of the most divisive as people either love it or hate it. In case you have never read it, Wuthering Heights is a confusing combination of characters who have the same names and a story that is told mostly in flashback through another character’s point of view. There are some possible supernatural elements. The characters are insane. I did, however, come to appreciate this insanity. Just know what you are getting into before you read this one.

Redshirts by John Scalzi: I did a review on this one a while ago and I absolutely love this novel. It begins out as a Star Trek parody but then it takes a turn for the weird as the narrative becomes very meta. Scalzi does an excellent job bending tropes and creating an odd but cohesive plot. The book also becomes surprisingly touching towards the end. I highly recommend this one to any sci-fi or Star Trek fan.

The Golden Ass by Apuleius: Yes, that is the actual name of the novel. It is the only Ancient Roman novel to have survived in its entirety. I am a Latin minor so I had to read this one for a class. To summarize the plot, a man named Lucius gets turned into a donkey (or ass) after being accused of killing three men and then must escape various thieves and murderers in order to become human again. It is just as confusing as it sounds. There are stories within stories. The novel itself is super raunchy and does not pull punches when it comes to describing any “adult” activities between the characters. I hope the Romans are proud that this is their legacy.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman: I couldn’t finish off this list without talking about my favorite (and weirdest) writer, Neil Gaiman. My favorite thing about Gaiman is he is so weird in a very matter-of-fact manner. Good Omens is the best example of that. The humor, the quirky side characters, and the intersecting plots all make this novel one weird and wild ride. There are also footnotes sprinkled throughout the novel that only add to the weirdness. I highly recommend checking this one out before the Amazon Prime adaptation comes out.

Books That Made Me Cry

Hi everybody! Let’s talk about our literary feelings. Though I am not a huge crier when it comes to novels, some have certainly hit me in the direct me in the feelings. I’m sure all of you have had books like these. Maybe there are some books that you don’t want to read again because they hurt you so badly. Well, here are the books that tore my heart into a million little pieces. Obviously, there are going to be spoilers in this post.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling: We all cried at this book. I clearly remember having to set the book down multiple times in order to pull myself together. The moment we lost Hedwig, I knew it was all going to go downhill. I was thoroughly traumatized by this novel as a child and I still tear up during the movie. (Except when Snape dies because I can’t stand that bastard.)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is yet another book that traumatized me as a child. To begin out, this book is set during World War Two so it was due to be depressing. The details of the story are haunting and the characters go through such turmoil. I actually did cry at this book. It is still one of my favorites, though, and I would recommend it if you want a good cry.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: The saddest part about this novel was I went in knowing exactly what would happen. The novel is essentially a re-telling of The Illiad through Patroclus’ point of view. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Homer’s epic, Patroclus is Achilles’ charioteer and lover. The whole novel takes such an intimate look at the relationship between these two young men who are forced into a war that neither of them wants to fight. The ending is just so much more heart breaking. I’d highly recommend this novel.

Looking for Alaska by John Green: Green has been infamous for making many a teen girl cry at his novels and I was yet just another one. Though I did tear up during The Fault in Our Stars, I was genuinely shocked during Looking for Alaska. I had to flip back through the novel to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The book is more realistic in the sense that the loss is sudden and unexpected. I still have a hard time revisiting this novel.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: We all cried when Lenny died. Don’t even try to deny it. The whole book was just generally heart-breaking but the end gets me every time. It is one of those novels that was never going to have a happy ending.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Holy cow, did this book hurt my soul. I read this for a class I took and I had a hard time discussing it without getting outraged. Though the novel does have a happy ending, it still absolutely hurts me to read about children getting hurt in any way, shape, or form. With that being said, go read this book.

Current Favorites: Music Edition

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these Current Favorites posts and I realized I’ve never done one talking about music I listen to. I did do a writing playlist post before but I wanted to talk about individual artists I love. I’m not a huge music nerd. My taste in music is incredibly eclectic. I wanted to share my favorites, though, with you all. Feel free to leave me any suggestions in the comments as I’m always looking for new music to listen to. (Also, trust me when I say, this list is only the tip of the music iceberg.)

Florence + the Machine: I’ve been listening to Florence since I was in middle school. Her dreamy vocals and poetic lyrics are a truly a musical experience. Her music is just so imaginative and dynamic. If you are looking for a unique and powerful singer, I would highly recommend Florence + the Machine.

Panic! at the Disco: Some of you true blue emo kids from the ’00s have very distinct memories of jamming out to “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” Let me tell you that your emo dreams don’t have to die because Panic! at the Disco is still an amazing band. Brendon Urie has an amazingly powerful voice. The songs are so powerful and fun. The slower songs are still just as amazing. If you are not a Panic! fan, you ought to be because anybody can enjoy their music.

Billie Eilish: I love music that doesn’t conform to genre. Billie Eilish is one of those artists that just cares about the music. With breezy vocals and surprisingly dark lyrics, Eilish is absolutely an artist to look out for. I already love her music and can’t urge you more to go listen to her.

Hozier: If you like Florence, then I can guarantee that you will love Hozier. This Irish folk musician captured my attention with “Take Me to Church” and, after quite a long hiatus, is coming back with meaningful and soulful music. He always has this mischief in his lyrics that I love to read into. If you’re interested in folk music, go listen to Hozier.

Hayley Kiyoko: Lovingly referred to as “lesbian Jesus,” Kiyoko has brought a fresh new take on pop music that is as fun as it is powerful. She is completely unafraid to express her true self in her music. I love her pride as well as her vulnerability. I’m not a huge fan of pop music but Hayley definitely makes it so much more enjoyable.

Twenty One Pilots: Yet another band that can’t be boxed in with genre, Twenty One Pilots still has an indie feel while being so mainstream. Their lyrics are incredibly quotable and their music comes together to tell epic stories. Go beyond their mainstream stuff and listen to their albums. The way the combine multiple music styles is awesome.