comments 23

Capsule Book Reviews No. 1

I’ve been slowly, manually re-uploading some of the entries I managed to save via Google Cache and the Wayback. Some of the posts are only partially saved, though, and I can’t recreate the comments, which are the only two things that I am pretty bummed about. In any case, I’m really happy that at least some of the posts I’ve made over the years survived The Great Server Crash of 2014. I know you can’t blame Mercury Retrograde for everything, but I kind of want to chalk it up to that.

Anyway, books. I used to write (sporadically) about my reads at a subsite of Nothing Spaces called Book Report. I figured it made more sense to just write book reviews here because I so rarely updated that place anyway. Here are tiny reviews of my 2014 Reads so far. (Add me on GoodReads if you’re tackling a reading challenge, too!) It hasn’t been a pretty year, to be honest, but we’ve all got to start somewhere.


The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
After Ned Vizzini passed away late last year, I took it upon myself to read the rest of his books that I hadn’t yet. This was one of them. To be honest, I don’t think I’m part of the demographic. If I read it as a kid, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As an adult, it was a bit hard to visualize this new world and I didn’t develop any attachment to it.
Read on my Kindle


The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (re-read)

The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman (re-read)

The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman
The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman

I began my Sandman journey in grade school, I think, when a friend of mine who had a brother who loved comic books and graphic novels lent the first two to me. It is, at turns, kind of boring and utterly spectacular—I guess I just like some arcs and stories better than the others. As expected. I’m currently in the middle of Fables and Reflections, or Vol. 6 and I’m a little disinterested right now. On the whole, I do like it, though, and I plan to finish the series before the year ends.
Read on my iPad Mini


The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
I had a really long review typed out of this—which I have yet to look for—but it disappeared into the ether when my blog died. Anyway, I really struggled with this book, but I haven’t met a lot of experimental fiction. It was a struggle, but it was hard to put down. Ultimately, this book—this difficult, harrowing, frustrating book—shook me out of my reading rut.

Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley
This was a really lovely book and it—for the lack of a better word—resonated with me. I have been feeling really down lately… for a long time; that’s not really a secret. And I felt like this sort of put it a bit in perspective for me. There wasn’t really a solution for anything—at least, none that I could apply to my current situation, but it made me feel less alone, and most importantly, understood.


Looking For Alaska by John Green (re-read)
I had a strange desire to re-read all of John Green’s books when The Fault in Our Stars came out. This is the first of his work that I’ve read, and it remains my favorite. Admittedly, this re-read proved that it doesn’t hold as much weight for me, as it used to, but I do think that it is still important and should be read by a wide range of people.

I Love You More Than You Know by Jonathan Ames
It took me a while to finish this, but that is no indication of my deep love for it. This book is fucking hilarious and it made me miss Bored to Death even though the events of that show seem much tamer than the events of this book—which all happened to the real Jonathan Ames. His voice is so distinct and so funny, so unapologetically funny. Reading this on the train feels like torture because you want to laugh out loud like a maniac, and you don’t want to look like a maniac on a public train. Unless you do, in which case, this book is for you.

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
Once upon a time, I interviewed The National’s Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner for a broad sheet (thank you, infinitely, Young Star!) and I got to ask Matt B. about literature, and he spoke about being so in love with this book by Joan Didion. Naturally, I picked it up. And got disoriented while reading it that I put it down for a few months before picking it up again. And then I loved it. Because it’s beautiful. I didn’t much like Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, but this one had similar themes and I absolutely loved it. Not just because Matt Berninger did, obviously.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Hmm, this book. This practically just came out and I devoured it. Such is Rowell’s writing—it compels you to move forward and drives you to want to know what comes of her characters. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I loved all her other titles. It felt so rushed and internal… as though you were living in the main character’s (whose name is Georgie McCool) eternal internal monologue. I just wish that there was more to this book that propelled it forward because a bulk of it was recounting past memories. Also, magic phone? I don’t know if I can play along with that. Does that make me a boring old coot? Probably.

Capsule Reviews 1 - Books - 2

In Progress

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (re-read, still)
The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (never finished it, I don’t think)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (pretty close to being abandoned, to be honest)
Adverbs by Daniel Handler (not super into this, though it has some beautiful moments)

Capsule Reviews 1 - Books - 3

Recently Purchased

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak
We Were Liars by E Lockhart
Abangan: The Best Philippine Komiks 2014 edited by Rob Cham, Adam David, Carljoe Javier and Elbert Or

What have you been reading lately? Any titles you think I should try? I recently asked on Twitter and Facebook for other people’s favorite books, and I just might go and read some of them soon.

This post contains affiliate links for Book Depository, my favorite online resource for books. They ship worldwide for free!