mini book reviews & trying to move on

I recently had to close a brief, beloved chapter/dream. I was a bookseller. I loved it. Those five months were the happiest, most fulfilling I ever experienced. I am sad to see it end, but I’m sure I’ll find another job to love. I miss the staff but I can always visit.

Anyway, I accumulated some staff picks over the course of my time there. Some of which were never printed and put on display. So I’m gonna list them here with links to the bookstore so you can buy them. I loved writing these reviews and trying to be succinct in a 50-150 word threshold. I hope I succeeded and hope even more that these tomes connect with you as they have with me:

Invocation to Daughters
By Barbara Jane Reyes
Poetry
City Lights Publishers, October 2017

An intense and searing poetry book devoted to Filipina women and girls around the world, I felt such growing conviction, invigoration, and heart-wrenching pangs for the victims and warriors depicted here. Reyes grants a platform and a voice for those long-neglected, infusing English with Tagalog and Spanish, while crafting prayers and chants to encourage us all to rise despite harrowing circumstances. These are the eloquent, emotional, and brutal testimonies of those who would whisper #metoo and they deserve to be witnessed.

A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness
By Irene Smit, Astrid Van Der Hulst, Editors of Flow Magazine
Mindfulness & Papercrafts
Workman Publishing, October 2017

Prior to reading this enchanting book, I never heard of mindfulness, which teaches us to be present in our lives, no matter what we are doing. But after reading and absorbing each enlightening essay (like knowing when to quit or adopting a beginner’s mind) to playing with the surprising, beautifully crafted ephemera (stickers, mini journals, and so much more), I definitely wish to become more mindful in my life. Each page offers a lesson or a delightful exercise that would produce a present more joyous and slowed down, while combating the hectic chaos that is our modern daily life.

Sea of Strangers
By Lang Leav
Poetry
Andrews McMeel Publishing, January 2018

I have yet to fall in love, but I found myself aching and empathizing with Lang Leav’s understated, but immensely evocative metaphors. I felt the promise, love’s vitality, her anguish, and her recovery: all in one impactful sitting. There’s real power behind her succinct, carefully precise words and if you ever wondered about the gamut of love, take a dive into this gorgeous sea.

How to Stop Time
By Matt Haig
Fiction
Viking, February 2018

I never met a protagonist more charming than Tom Hazard. This seemingly 41 year old man is actually over 400 years old, continuously changing his identity, and ordered to never fall in love. It’s pure wonder to see his scope of the past and his deft insight of the present through his knowing eyes. I wish he was my history teacher; I would’ve hated the subject far less.

Things That Help: Healing Our Lives Through Feminism, Anarchism, Punk, & Adventure
By Cindy Crabb
Feminism & Zines
Microcosm Publishing, November 2017

Never before have I read a book with as many misspellings and typos as this title. And yet, I never had a more impassioned, vulnerable, and stirring read in these hands either. Keeping true to the zine spirit, Crabb maintains the urgent, cut & paste format with probing interviews, intimate comics, and openhearted essays. From A-Z, she introduces anarchism, feminism, activist groups, books, and more with flair, encouraging the reader to discover the world beyond this resource. She makes me want to create my own zine with a typewriter and some glue, if only to grow and stand tall like her.

Radiance
By Catherynne M. Valente
Speculative Fiction
Tor Books, October 2017

Told in a myriad of formats–such as radio play scripts, gossip magazines, and debriefing interviews–Valente conjures a spellbinding existence where Old Hollywood is set throughout the solar system. At the center of this experimental mystery is the disappearance of the striking documentarian Severin Unck, the lone daughter of a legendary director, where the reader explores loss, connection, and reality through Valente’s boundary pushing, bursting prose. This is what reading was built for: to imagine unfathomable, elegant wonders in an universe completely alien to us.

If you want to read other book reviews I’ve done, check out my section at Bored to Death Book Club. Now that I have more time, I want to write more book reviews and such. I have some ARCs that I haven’t read yet and a ton of bought books in my TBR, it’d be good to finally read them.

Honestly I feel like I never sighed more in my life. But maybe this is all a blessing in disguise. Maybe with time I’ll discover a role or an occurrence that proves it was worth losing something I loved this much.

My heart is heavy but I will get past this. I’ve been in much more worse situations. This sadness will fade, I know it.

Wait with me?

Eileen

 

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