Hi friends! I’m so excited for today’s post because it combines two of my favourite things: my love for reading and crafting. I’ve had my Kindle for almost two years now, and as I’ve been using it more and more, I’ve noticed that the case I bought for it is starting to wear down. I bought my first case at Chapters/Indigo (it was originally designed for Kobo readers -oops!) but now that a few years have passed, I wasn’t able to find anything of the same dimensions in store. I briefly considered ordering a case off of Etsy, but in the end I figured I could make my own for a fraction of the price. 😉 The full project took me just around 4 hours (and that’s without instructions), so I think it’ll be quite easy for you to do too!
Lena Dunham has been someone I’ve admired for quite a while. I think that she’s an important public figure in that she seems like a pretty down-to-earth person with a lot of interesting things to say, especially about gender relations and mental health. I am a huge fan of her show GIRLS and I devoured her newly-released memoir Not That Kind of Girl in two days (in my opinion, I read it a little too quickly, but that’s what re-reads are for, right?). So, when I managed to snag tickets to see her in Toronto, I was over the moon.
When I watched GIRLS for the first time, I was in a place in my life where I felt like I was getting it together but also not really getting it. I found a lot of myself (and my friends) in the girls in the show, and the honesty with which it portrayed women (or, at least, a group of women) really impressed me. I finally felt like there was a show that was real; it wasn’t sugar-coated or tied up neatly. I could relate to it. Oh, and did I mention that on top of that it’s also funny and thought-provoking? Because it’s both of those things too.
I’m happy to report that Lena in person is just as impressive as Lena on screen or Lena in writing. Her answers to interviewer Johanna Schneller’s questions were smart, humorous, and honest. She was very articulate and charming and I agreed with a lot of the things she said. Since I was basically in awe the whole time I was at the event (honestly, it felt like such a surreal night), I didn’t think to write down any quotes; luckily, Jessica from Paper Trail Diary has a wonderful re-cap that I urge you to check out.
After her on-stage interview, Lena signed copies of her book. She was incredibly friendly and really took the time to talk to each of her fans. She even personalized each book, which I wasn’t expecting her to do since the line up was so long. I was a jumble of nerves when talking to her but I managed to get a few words out and I’m glad I got the chance to tell her how much I love her work. It was truly a magical night.
Now, here’s the fun part! I want to share my love for Lena Dunham with YOU! I was able to get an extra copy of the book signed, so I’m giving it away to one lucky reader!
1. No purchase necessary.
2. Open to residents of Canada + the United States only.
3. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again.
I want the winner to genuinely enjoy these books!
4. Have fun and good luck!
Are you a fan of Lena Dunham? Will you be checking out (or have you read) Not That Kind of Girl?
[I received a copy of Virgin by Radhika Sanghani in ebook format from the publisher via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book in any way.]
First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lack of Monday Musing today. August is a huge month for new books and I want to be able to review them all in a timely matter, so unfortunately it had to take a break this week. The good news is I had a LOT of thoughts about this book, so read on!
When I first read the synopsis for Virgin, Radihka Sanghani’s debut novel, I’ll admit that I was reluctant to read it. Ellie, a 21 year-old virgin is sick and tired of being the only one in her age group that hasn’t done the deed yet and decides to go on a mission to lose her “V-plates” (is this the English version of “V-card”?) and Virgin chronicles her (mis)adventures. As I read this synopsis I wanted to shake Ellie and say, “You don’t have to do that! Just embrace who you are! Your time will come when the time is right!” and so, I’ll admit, my judgment almost made me not read this book. But you know what? I did end up reading it and belatedly realized that, at one point, I felt exactly how Ellie did.
The thing that is so delightful about this book is how realistically it’s written. It is a light-hearted read and it reminds me of the many talks I had with my girlfriends in university. It had me laughing and cringing and nodding in agreement. The best part about it is that Virgin is very non-judgmental. It doesn’t slut-shame. It doesn’t care if you’re waiting for marriage. It doesn’t judge if all you want to do is lose your virginity to whoever will take it. But it does have a message, one that takes time for the characters to understand on their own, after many amusing and enlightening encounters.
As a character, Ellie is very relatable. She’s not always the most selfless person and she does tend to be self-pitying but that’s all part of her character development. Her friends are always there to call her out when she’s being unreasonable and they’re there to support her when she needs them. Ellie’s adventures are just so entertaining that you can’t help but be drawn to them. Let’s face it: sex is weird and how the hell are we supposed to miraculously know what to do?!
Overall, this is an engrossing book that I devoured in two days. As someone who is 2 years older than Ellie I kept thinking “Nooooo, don’t do that!” at parts of the novel but I think that the things she learns throughout the book are very educational and informative for a younger audience. My sister is 6 years younger than me and, if she ever feels the way Ellie does, this book will definitely be making its way to her and I hope she will finish reading the final pages of the book feeling like a confident, self-assured, young woman. I would confidently recommend this to anyone, my peers included.
Verdict: A non-judgmental book with a very positive attitude towards sex. Basically, it’s the sex-ed you wish you’d gotten in high school. It’s super funny, relatable, and cringe-worthy at times but definitely worth a read, especially if you’ve ever been down on yourself. Chapters 31 and 32 are gold and I’m so, so happy that they’re there as I was waiting for them the whole way through.
Read if: You’ve ever gone through the pain of a Brazillian wax (great dedication by Sanghani), you’ve ever felt a need to conform to fit in, feel (or felt) the same way Ellie does, want an entertaining but positive book that will entertain you from beginning to end.
Have you read Virgin? Do you think you’ll be picking it up?
*Virgin will be published by Penguin Canada on August 5th, 2014*
This is one snarky book.
I first heard of Willy Yonker’s Tic Tac Tome from Twitter, where Sabrina was talking about how frustrating it is (even her friends couldn’t beat it!). Naturally, being the curious person that I am, I was interested. A book that thinks it can beat people at Tic Tac Toe? I wasn’t convinced. I was lucky enough to receive this book from Quirk Books to review before its publication date on June 10th, 2014, so I had extra time to show the book who’s boss! The bad news for me is that I still haven’t won once.
The instructions are easy enough: choose a square you’d like to play on, then flip the page to the number in that square. Repeat until the game is over. Apparently there is only one way to win against the book, so it makes for many hours of playing time – especially if you’re playing with friends! It is interactive and entertaining and held my attention for longer than I’d like to admit. It would be perfect for long road trips or to pass around at get-togethers. I know that I will be sharing this game with many of my friends!
Just for fun, here is another video of me stalemated against the book:
Verdict: A cheeky book that is really, really good at Tic Tac Toe.
Read/play if: You think you’re a tic tac toe master, want a fun one-person game to play, love puzzles and brain teasers.
Do you think you could beat this book at Tic Tac Toe?
Ps. Thank you to Sabrina for the idea of filming a video with this review! Check out her review here!
“Think you’re pretty smart? Turn the pages to play your moves and watch as Tic Tac Tome beats you forward, backward, and diagonally. Tic Tac Tome features more than 1,400 pages, hundreds of draws and losses, and just one way for a clever reader to win. No apps, batteries, or touch screens required—Tic Tac Tome is powered by good old-fashioned book smarts. It’s deceptively simple, endlessly addictive, and (nearly) impossible to defeat. Complete with introduction and FAQs for the unfamiliar and unsure, Tic Tac Tome is the smartest book you’ll ever cross.”
Guys, this book by Willy Yonkers claims that it will beat you at Tic-Tac-Toe. What? With no electricity needed, this huge book thinks it can beat you at a game you’ve probably been playing since you could hold a pen. Apparently there’s only one way to beat it in this book. I know that this isn’t the type of literature that I usually review on my blog, but ever since I found out about it I’ve been obsessed with it. It’s not on sale yet, but I’m dying to give it a shot! As I mentioned in my last blog, I have a tendency to be competitive and this sounds like the perfect thing to expend some of that competitive energy on!
Do you think you could beat Tic Tac Tome at Tic-Tac-Toe? Do you think you’ll give it a shot when it comes out? Did you add anything to your wishlist this week?
Tic Tac Tome will be published by Quirk Books on June 10th, 2014.
“GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
Using the voices of four characters deeply affected by a high-school shooting, though in remarkably different ways, Douglas Coupland explores the lingering aftermath of one horrifying event, and questions what it means to come through grief – and to survive.”
This book broke my heart. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how – was it reading about a high school massacre that did it? Or watching one of the survivors struggle through his adult life dealing with the aftermath the reason? Was it because I found it difficult to watch a well-meaning (though however delusional) father be cast off by his family due to his uncompromisingly religious yet hypocritical views?
I guess the answer is all of the above. Whatever the specific reason was, this four-part book affected me more than I initially thought it would.
The four parts are narrated by Cheryl, Jason, Heather, and Reg respectively. They are all told from the narrators’ perspective, and this really helps draw the readers into the story. Throughout the book, the characters grapple with religion: Cheryl has recently converted; Jason grew up in a religious and sometimes frustrating household; Heather is not so tied to the religious plot but her beliefs are tested when she meets a psychic; and Reg thinks he’s doing the best for himself and his family by being extremely devout only to have them shun and reject him. The novel is not so concerned with telling the readers what’s right and what’s wrong; instead, it’s a platform for readers to understand that beliefs are beliefs and it’s impossible to be perfect and know the full “truth”.
I really enjoyed this book overall. I like that Coupland decided to focus more on the aftermath of the massacre than on the event itself. The process of handling a tragedy is a much more universal and relatable subject for readers and, if I’m being honest, I’m often wary of books that chronicle tragedies as they often come off as exploitative. I felt like this book was well-handled and rose above being just a book about a high school massacre as the event was merely a catalyst for everything else to happen. Ultimately, Hey Nostradamus! is about beliefs, what is real and what isn’t, and how we can always get close but never really know the truth.
Verdict: A strong book with a point of view that doesn’t come off as preachy or judgemental. A heart-wrenching book that deals with difficult issues.
Read if: You are drawn to stories of survival, books that deal with the aftermath of tragedies, and intellectually stimulating discussions.
Have you read Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostradamus!? Are there any similar stories that I should check out? I would love to hear from you!