In Modern Romance Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg has taken on the ever changing concept of romance in the 21st century with humor and wit and facts. I listened to the audiobook while walking to and from work and had to frequently stop walking to almost double over in laughter (and remembering that I was in public untying and retying my shoe so as to not draw attention to the silent laughs) or walk along with a stupid smile on my face and needing to overcompensate with an almost comical frown.
In this debut collection of short stories Lesley pulls the reader out of the world they are in and places them into the universe of each story so artfully that coming back to wherever you’re sitting and reading as you finish each story is almost upsetting. These stories focus on what binds us in relationships—parents and children, cousins, neighbors, lovers—and the places that we call home. And even at their darkest moments the world of these stories is compelling, magical, and demands to be read. Many of these short stories look at potential futures, near and distant and how these could affect out personal lives and relationships.
Exit West is a novel by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (which I’m only mentioning because I read it in a college English course and didn’t realize this was the same author, despite it being printed on the cover, because I listened to this book on audio, but more on that later), published by Riverhead Books in March of 2017, with the audio recorded by Penguin Random House Audio. The story follows lovers Saeed and Nadia as they flee from a war-ravaged city to become refugees in Greece, London, and California. This feels like a very timely story with the refugee crisis, and reactions to it among the global community if magical doors with no set destination were opening in places around the world. This reaction seems to be what I’m hearing about this book, and was all that I knew about it coming into the story.
Before I go under the cut and talk about what I thought of the writing, and this book in general I wanted to mention that this was the first book that I listened to on audio using the OverDrive app. I don’t think I could have asked for a more pleasant re-introduction to audiobooks. Often while listening to podcasts on walks I find my mind wandering and when my attention returns to the show I’ve missed something crucial (the real reason I’ve yet to finish Welcome to Nightvale). While listening to this book on my many walks across the city of Minneapolis it held my attention, and I could enjoy the story without any internal intrusion.
It’s hard to think that the Harry Potter books are 20-years-old today, but then I remember that I am almost 23 and that Harry Potter has been with me every step of the way. My tattered copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sits on the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom, surrounded by the next seven years of Hogwarts. As I try and think of a time when Harry wasn’t an important character in my life, nothing comes to mind. And because this is my blog I’m going to share some of the times that those books and the world that surrounds them gave me a place to call home.
As many of you may know June is national audio books month.
So, audiobooks. I remember when I was younger renting books on tape from the library and listening to them on drives to and from summer camp. And now that I’m living in a city and using my own two feet to get me around, I’ve been struggling to find a way to consume more books. Short of pulling a Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet and walking while reading, which seems safe in Netherfield Park during the early 1800s, but not as convenient in streets with other people and cars. It was as I was considering the best method to hold books while walking and how often I would need to look up, I fondly remembered listening to audiobooks when I was younger.
This blog has existed in the fringes of my mind for a little over a year now. It started as a place to occasionally talk about books that I enjoyed, and was created because of my college advisor. But now, a year out of college and struggling to find communities, I’ve discovered the power of book blogs. So here it is, an official introduction with a semi-promise to post regularly, to Another Bookish Blog. I hope to continue to post about books that I really enjoyed (hopefully on a more regular basis), talk about things going on in the book world, and join the greater bookish community.
I thought that before really getting into all of that I should introduce myself. My name is Cailin, I grew up in Northwest Michigan (lower peninsula), graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Professional Writing (focused in editing and publishing), and now I’m floating around the country doing unpaid internships, because they told me this is how to get your foot in the door. I’ve always found comfort between the covers of a book, my Ma likes to tell stories about sending me to my room because I did something wrong and finding me curled up in bed with a book; or the need to find series for me to tear through because I would finish individual books so quickly.
My reading tastes range from non-fiction essay collections to magical realism, memoirs to high-fantasy. I am super into books with multiple points-of-view, essays told in the second person, and short story collections with a through-line. I look forward to joining the book blogging community and talking about bookish things.
What is Not Yours is Not Yours was published in March of 2016 by Riverhead Books and came out in paperback March of 2017. Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, and I’m angry at myself for never having picked up her work before this collection of stories, if this is any indication of her talent—which I’m sure that it is—because this style of writing and the world that is created in each of these stories is something that I’ve been looking for for a long time. These stories take place in different times, places, but the main character in one story will be mentioned in passing in a later as a family member, or ex-lover. This leads the reader to meditate what worlds we’ve created around us and how we don’t always realize the intersections with other worlds and stories. These stories are each built around the idea of keys; keys to a home, to a heart, to a garden, a library, books, anything that could possibly need a key to open is in this collection.
Radtke’s graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This follows her as she becomes fascinated with ruins in college the book follows her through undergrad in Chicago, ruins in Italy and feeling alone, undergrad in Iowa City, difficult relationships, losing family members, and trying to feel at home in new places.
This is a collection of essays, by Amy Leach, about the beauty of the natural world and how it intersects with our everyday lives. It allows the reader to look at the world around them with wonder once again. The essays look at everything from the sea cucumber, to fainting goats, to the shapes we see in the space between stars. These essays take the reader to places deep in the ocean, on the highest mountain top, deep into space, asking the reader to take nature’s perspective from events into account. To think about how the things that we do affect nature; from assigning names to the shapes we see in the sky, to yelling at a sea cucumber, and always reminding the reader that no matter what nature needs us as much, if not more than, we need it.
“Whether people need nature or not, it was clear that nature needed people. But perhaps nature needs us like a hostage needs her captors: nature needs us not to annihilate her, not to run her over, not to cover her with cement, not to chop her down. We can hardly admire ourselves, then, when we stop to accommodate nature’s needs: we are dubious heroes who create peril and then save it’s victims, we who rescue the animals and the trees from ourselves.”
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not”
This is a story about magic, romance, and the power of stories, all set up in a vague competition requiring the two participants to hold everything in balance. Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair have been bound together as part of a game set on them by their enchanter mentors. They each are to maintain parts of the vast Night Circus while creating new exhibitions of magic and wonder, and they cannot know the rules of this game, or how the winner is decided. As the circus grows so do the pressures, Maro and Celia begin to seek each other out and fall in love, but time begins to work against them as they fight harder to finish the game and hold the circus in balance.