Friday, 27 February 2015

Mini-Reviews For Books I Can't Really Remember Anymore, Vol 1

So remember in October when my life exploded and I started a Masters in Shakespeare (of course you do, it's all I ever talk about here anymore) and I threatened to keep posting shit but never really did? And remember in January when my life imploded and I became incapable of doing things that I didn't absolutely HAVE to do? Well, in that time, I actually have (believe it or not) read some books that aren't Shakespeare, and also before that time I read a couple of books that I never fully reviewed. Here are some tiny things I have to say about them, in the spirit of getting shit up to date and actually writing about books again (I KNOW. Crazy.)

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

I've been trying to read more graphic novels, because I think they're awesome, they're totally fast to read, and if I get them out of the library, I don't feel guilty about having library books out, because, you know, they won't take long to read! A Drifting Life, however, is a brick. It's the memoir of a graphic novelist, which I thought I would love because remember how good non fiction graphic novels are (See: Persepolis, Fun Home, Maus...)?

However. Tatsumi is a graphic novelist who has basically always been a graphic novelist. What this means, in practical terms, is that this book is over 800 pages of personal history, and of the history of manga in Japan in the mid 20th Century. Whilst I'm sure this would have been awesome for a lot of people, I grew ever so slightly more bored with it until I had to force myself to pick it up again because I wanted to add its pages to my page count for the year (I know, I know).

So. Unless you're crazy interested in the history of manga, this might not be your cup of tea, either. But then again, it does have its moments of almost too true and too relevant reality...

I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant
Fun fact: Linda Grant is totally the name of one of my seminar leaders at uni. This is not the same person. I Murdered My Library is a Kindle Single that I believe I paid 99p for, and it's almost like a long essay where the author talks about her lifelong addiction to owning and acquiring books, and what happened when she downsized and got rid of most of her books and OH THE HUMANITY. I don' t remember much about it (this is going to be a common theme in this post...) but I have general good feelings about it like I do books that talk about books by people who just fucking love books.

Side note: I said to my uni friend the other day that basically all I want in the world is to touch a First Folio in my lifetime, and she didn't really get the book fetish thing. I KNOW, RIGHT?!

Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
I had actually half started a post about this book, but, let's face it, I'm never going to finish it so I'll just give you a mini-summary. I am kind of obsessed with Lena Dunham, so even though I had much Shakespeare-ing to do (I believe it was The Merchant of Venice week) I bought this, sat down with it on a Saturday afternoon and read for about 3 hours. It's pretty good! Some of the essays I related to way more than others, and of course this kind of thing is always hit and miss, but for me there were way more hits than misses and also I love that it is dedicated in part to Nora Ephron because now that we don't have her, we might need Lena, and many many other women to write funny and insightful and interesting essays, sometimes all at once. 

Did I just do a really good job of hiding the fact that I can basically remember the topics of about two essays? I think so!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I'm really struggling with Americanah because I literally don't remember how it ends. I remember how I wanted it to end, and I remember some themes and stuff, but I really don't remember how it ends. Regardless, it's a really good book- it took me about 10,000 years to finish because Shakespeare (this is how I justify all things, these days) but it had some really interesting things to say about racial politics, and women, and Nigeria and America AND all of these things were said in the context of a story that I cared about, and wanted to finish, and wanted to FUCKING REMEMBER HOW IT ENDED. But I'm sure it was good. All I know is that I can wholeheartedly recommend it, two enthusiastic thumbs up.


  1. Yay for mini reviews! These are my saving grace sometimes.

    Americanah didn't end the way I wanted it to end -- it had more of a love story ending -- but even with an ending I didn't much care for, that book was so much better than most of the things I was reading at the time.

    1. Ok, I think Americanah may have ended how I wanted it to, then... Love stories are good! I *think* I might be up to date for last year now, (apart from writing some things about Shakespeare, maybe) so I'm going to try and do actual reviews for books I've read more recently. Maybe. Until we get to like June and I haven't done that.

  2. I love mini reviews! That's the only kind of review I seem to do, haha.

    I really enjoyed Americanah too, and it ended the way that I wanted it to (sort of). I really need to read some of her other stuff!

    1. Mini-reviews are excellent for clearing the decks, I think. I don't usually do them, but I may well do for the next little while lol.

      I STILL CAN'T FULLY REMEMBER HOW AMERICANAH ENDED. But I think I liked it. I definitely have another one of her books on my kindle, will have to get to that at some point and try to remember the ending haha

    2. Maybe it shows that the ending isn't THAT important really, because the whole book is good! If you can't remember it but it isn't making you feel badly about the rest of the book, I think that's a win! I also have another of her books on my kindle, I'm just waiting until I actually have a chance to get to it (hopefully sometime this year?!?!?!).

    3. OR it shows I should write about stuff before it's been pushed out of my brain so I can't remember endings or character names or stuff like that haha!

  3. Good job w/ the mini-reviews!! Look at you, getting shit done. Even if you can't remember how things ended... :)

    1. Would probably be more effective if I could though, huh? Thanks Alley haha