Book Review: Hunger by Roxane Gay

hunger

Reviewed by: Savannah
Genre: Biography
Format: Softcover
Page count: 320 Pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
In stock: Yes

Okay, as per usual lets start off with a Goodreads synopsis

“In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.”

I had had this book on my figurative TBR pile for a couple months, and then when it was released it was added to my literal TBRs. Bethany did not let me keep it sitting on my pile for long. She had read it right away and practically begged me to read it. And let me say it was SO good! I’m glad she didn’t let me put off reading this book. I actually devoured it, reading it all in one day. Even though I read it so fast it was still a really intense book. This is not at all an easy read by any means. It is the most intimate biography I have ever read. None of the stories were surface level; they all dug deep and were very emotional. This book will 100% make you feel feels. I really don’t know what to say about this book it was just so amazing and emotional and that’s really all that I can articulate. It’s pretty great how open this book is, Roxane Gay just lays everything out for everyone to read. I also find it important to note that I find that Roxanne Gay has just such a way with words that it made this book even more wonderful. Basically, you should read this book it was great. And now that I have finished, I feel like I have to go out and read all of her other work that I haven’t read. Added bonus for those who are into it but all of the chapters are short so that’s a cool thing. All in all, this book was amazing and I don’t know how to properly review it and give it justice but this is my attempt

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Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

every day david levithan

Reviewed by: Stephanie
Genre: Youth – Teen
Format: Softcover
Page count: 400 Pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
In stock: No

 

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.” – Goodreads

The idea behind this story is really what sucked me into this book – not knowing your history, or who you are, and waking up every day in a new body? That would give you some crazy perspective. However, I think it also denies “A” (the main character’s name that they gave themselves) the learning curve of how certain relationships and events can have long term effects and consequences.

The story itself was pretty much what you’d expect from a teen story – youth falls in crazy love with another youth and wonders why the world is against them. However, the very intriguing plot element here is that their relationship is far from typical – how do you get close to someone who is constantly changing who they are and have no control over? It’s a bit tragic in that regard, but I suppose the tragedy is another aspect that really drew me in.

Another important part I’d like to point out was the fact that the author picked a variety of characters for A to inhabit, and through this plot point, he got to shed a lot of light and perspective on a variety of lifestyles, including touching on things such as mental health and LGBT culture.

The only thing that I disliked about this book was the ending. It felt like that was the halfway point of the story for me, and that we were just about to learn and discover who A is and how A came to be. Instead, it ended at a cliffhanger, and I suppose that does leave your mind to interpret whatever ending you desire. Still, I have my fingers crossed that their will be a proper sequel (one that comes after Another Day, of course) and that the story takes a sci-fi/supernatural turn. I feel like the potential for a whole new world is there, and I can’t speak for everybody, but I feel like many people would love to get their hands on that type of sequel!

Overall, I feel like this was an easy read, with a really intriguing idea that has the potential to suck you in and rob you of your free time and give you something to think about. You’ve been warned.

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Book Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

girlboss

Reviewed by: Bethany
Genre: Business (but kind of more biography?)
Format: Softcover
Page count: 256 Pages
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
In stock: Yes

 

“At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.” – Goodreads

I don’t know what has come over me, but business books have been catching my eye lately. I just feel like leaning in, I guess. #GIRLBOSS was a very easy read and I don’t think this book is perfect, but it is ultimately well-intentioned and taught me a thing or two, which isn’t hard because I know almost nothing about business. I’m certain that there are books out there with better advice, though #GIRLBOSS was probably a good first business book for me. All right!

For the most part, I enjoyed Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS! It’s filled with a decent amount of solid, reasonable advice and multiple references to dumpster bagels. I also appreciated her acknowledgement that there isn’t one true way to become successful because school isn’t for everyone. It’s important to remember that Sophia Amoruso isn’t a writer, so you can’t fault #GIRLBOSS for not being a perfectly punctuated manifesto.

One of the things I did find a little nauseating was the constant plugging of the “#GIRLBOSS” throughout the book. In some chapters, it seemed the she was mentioning the “movement” every other word and it ended up detracting from the book a bit. I almost started a tally.

I find that in writing these book reviews, it helps me to realize how I genuinely feel about the book. It makes me think critically or something. Anyway, if you want a quick read with some amusing stories and a tiny bit of tangible advice, then you should read this book!

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Book Review: A New Model by Ashley Graham

new model

Reviewed by: Savannah
Genre: Biography
Format: Hardcover
Page count: 224 Pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
In stock: Yes

I haven’t really followed Ashley Graham much I just knew about her, but when I saw that we had her biography in store I knew that I had to read it. The little that I knew about Ashley Graham was just that she’s an extremely positive person. This book was pretty much what I had expected and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’ll let you read the Goodreads synopsis real quick:

“One of the most outspoken voices gracing the cover of magazines today encourages women to be their most confident selves, recognize their personal beauty, and reach for their highest dreams in this wise, warm, and inspiring memoir

Voluptuous beauty Ashley Graham has been modeling professionally since the age of thirteen. Discovered at a shopping mall in Nebraska, her stunning face and sexy curves have graced the covers of top magazines, including Cosmopolitan and British Vogue, and she was the first size 14 model to appear on the front of the wildly popular Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The face of brands such as H&M Studio, she is also a judge for the latest season of America’s Next Top Model. And that’s only the beginning for this extraordinary talent.

Ashley is leading a new generation of women breaking ground and demolishing stereotypes, transforming our ideals about body image and what is fashionable and beautiful. A woman who proves that when it comes to beauty, size is just a number, she is the voice for the body positivity movement today and a role model for all women—no matter their individual body type, shape, or weight.

In this collection of insightful, provocative essays illustrated with a dozen photos, Ashley shares her perspective on how ideas around body image are evolving—and how we still have work to do; the fun—and stress—of a career in the fashion world; her life before modeling; and her path to accepting her size without limiting her dreams—defying rigid industry standards and naysayers who told her it couldn’t be done. As she talks about her successes and setbacks, Ashley offers support for every woman coming to terms with who she is, bolster her self-confidence, and motivates her to be her strongest, healthiest, and most beautiful self.”

At times this book read a bit like a self help book because it is so body positive and gives such a realistic take on how everyone has ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days as to how they see themselves.

I also enjoyed how down to earth she comes across in the book. We all know the stereotype of models all being stuck up jerks, but Ashley Graham does not come across this way. She seems to be very genuine and caring. It seems to be very clear that fame and all of her success hasn’t gone to her head. She also seems to realize just how lucky she is and that not many people get the opportunities in life that she has had.

I will say however, if you are looking for a very deep tell all type of biography this book is not the right choice for you. Some of the anecdotes in this story are very ‘surface level’ I found at least, dealing more so with what happened and not too dramatic. Some of them did go a bit deeper. But nothing really shocked me like some biographies out there. All in all, I would recommend this book; it was a really fast light read. I managed to read it all in about a day.

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Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

furiously happy

Reviewed by: Steph
Genre: Biography
Format: Paperback
Page count: 304 Pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
In stock: Yes

As per the usual Bookland book review format, I’ll hook you guys up with a  Goodread’s synopsis of this exceptionally hilarious biography:

“In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, Furiously Happy, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.””

This book absolutely blew me away. I had been recommended this book by a few people, and to be honest, for no reason other than the fact that a book has never made me audibly laugh out loud, I had low expectations. I’m so furiously incredibly happy that this book exists to prove me wrong! I did listen to the audiobook, and I feel like that added a more hilarious aspect – Jenny Lawson, reading her own life stories, and adding the inflections at the right moments – especially when referring to her taxidermied raccoons, among other things.

The stories in this book are an eclectic collection – most are hilarious, involving Jenny dressing up her cats, or traversing the world and wanting to be social, but also equally wanting to stay indoors and hide from society (and I mean honestly, same). Other stories of hers explain the everyday struggles she faces with her mental illnesses, and while they may be dark, she discusses these struggles with unbelievable insight, and it’s very relatable from many aspects.

The main thing that I found extremely inspiring about Furiously Happy is that despite dealing with depression, anxiety, and so on, Jenny carries such optimism with her at all times, and pushes through that pain and is able to maintain her humour. The fact that she explains how hard it is some days to get out of bed, and socialize brings light and information to those mental illnesses, which I find equally as important.

Overall, this book is a must read for any age. Her humour is timeless and Jenny Lawson is applicable on so many levels. The only thing I would be wary of is if you’re reading this in public – you might laugh uncontrollably like a maniac, like I did (unless you want to follow Jenny Lawson’s and be furiously, and dangerously happy, then maybe you should just go for it).

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Book Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

 

romANCE

Reviewed by: Josie
Genre: Humour
Format: Softcover
Page count: 288 Pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
In stock: Yes

“Today we’ve become far more accepting of alternative lifestyles, and people move in and out of different situations: single with roommates, single and solo, single with partner, married, divorced, divorced and living with an iguana, remarried with iguana, then divorced with seven iguanas because your iguana obsession ruined your relationship, and, finally, single with six iguanas (Arturo was sadly run over by an ice cream truck).”
― Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance: An Investigation

This book is truly breath-taking. This book puts the entire subject of romance in a modern ways (As if you couldn’t tell that by the title). Azisi and his trusty team of sociologists, anthropologists, and cultrualists (is this a word? Well, it is now), examine the modernization of romance. From how technology has shaped it, apps have revolutionized it, and cultures embrace it (for the most part). This book isn’t exclusive to American culture, as it examines:  Japanese culture  and how most men are classifies as ‘herbivores’, French culture and the acceptance of mistresses, and lastly Buenos Aires, where men are encouraged to ‘hunt’ women, and as a game.

Azisi weaves together humor, science, and sociology into a beautiful picture: an understanding of what modern romance actually is. I would recommend this book to anyone, as an easy read, informational read, and humorous read. This book is truly enjoyable, and I would class it as a must read fiction for any die hard romantic, or anyone fallen victim to using online dating sites (no shame if you do). Aziz does a wonderful job to ensure the reader understands all sides of modern romance, thus making it an enjoyable read from start to finish.

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Book Review: Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

ghost boy

Reviewed by: Steph
Genre: Biography
Format: Softcover
Page count: 304 Pages
Rating: 3/5 stars
In stock: Yes

Before I dive into my thoughts on this biography, as per usual, here’s a summarized Goodread’s synopsis on the book:

“In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

[…]Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.”
What immediately piqued my interest about this book was Martin’s unexplainable illness, and the horrifying idea that he was trapped inside his own body. The thought of being trapped inside of your own body is terrifying. As the story goes on, you learn that Martin carries on through this journey with strength and passion. I admired his perseverance despite all of the large obstacles that had laid in front of him. His story gave you hope for his recovery, and every time Martin had a success or a failure, you really felt his struggles as if you were there experiencing it alongside him.

 

I also really enjoyed the fact that Martin didn’t cut out any details – some parts of this book were a bit graphic, but given the fact that he was wheelchair bound, sometimes the facts were, well, unavoidable. I can imagine that giving light to living with disabilities, degenerative diseases, or whatever one can deal with that leaves them mute and powerless to move, is nothing but helpful, educational, and very important for society to read and understand.

The only idea that I didn’t immediately click with in this biography was how Martin heavily relied on his faith to get him through his life challenges. However, despite my own personal views, he describes and talks about his faith in an incredible way; I would imagine that most, if not anybody of any faith could relate to Martin’s faith and how it helps and encourages him to push through the obstacles that lay before him.

 

All in all, if you want a powerful, motivating, and very personal read, then I would definitely recommend Ghost Boy. His journey explains in detail how he got from point A to point B; it is definitely very empowering. It allows us to feel as if our problems are null, and that anything is possible if you believe enough.

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