Monthly To Be Read List: March 2018

It’s the third month of the @theunreadshelf Project 2018, and my reading month has started out… slowly. Especially considering that I read 13 books in February and 23 books in January. So far in March I’ve finished two books. Two. I’m not kidding. It’s the 12th.

This is partly why I’ve decided to still post my March TBR even though we’re already a third of the way through the month. I’m hoping it will give me some motivation to get out of my reading slump.

However, there is some good reason for my drastic slowdown:

  • report cards
  • report cards
  • report cards
  • report cards

You get the gist.

Also, I’ve committed to a couple of different reading challenges this month which I think are actually slowing me down and not keeping me motivated. The first is part of the Unread Shelf Project 2018 – Whitney, the creator, sets a challenge each month. This month, she challenged project participants to read a book that’s been on their unread shelf for a really long time, and if you don’t finish it by March 31st, you have to give it away.

I chose Robinson Crusoe for the March challenge.

I got it from my Mom as part of my 18th birthday gift of tons of books she loved alongside a bunch of classics. I’ve meant to read it for ages, so I figured no was as good a time as ever. However, it’s taking me a really long time to get into it, and I’m now about 50 pages in, so I’m fifty pages behind (my edition is ~300 pages and March is 31 days long).

I also decided to take part in my first readalong.

@theperksofbeingnoura is doing a March readalong for City of Bones, the first book in Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” series. I have meant to try this series for a while now, and I serendipitously picked it up at a used book store early in March and then saw the announcement about the readalong. It was perfect! The pace of the readathon is about 1 chapter per day, and as it’s YA, I can easily keep up with that.

However, between reading City of Bones and trying to keep up with Robinson Crusoe, I haven’t been reading anything else, except briefly reading The Bad Beginning, which didn’t take very long as it’s children’s lit. I find that I read a lot slower if I have to divide my attention between more than one book at once. Anyone else feel like that?

Hopefully, now that report cards are complete (good riddance!), I think I can get back on track. Plus, I’m going to Cuba with my mom for the last week of March and that’s pretty much going to be sand, sun, ocean, and reading!

So, without further ado, here’s my March TBR.


Where I’m at, and what I’m looking forward to!

The one book I’ve finished so far this month is The Sisters Brothers. It was the Breakfast Book Club pick for February, and we met on the first weekend of this month to talk about it. I really loved it!

I think I’m most excited to read Furiously Happy and The Female of the Species this month. Also, my most anticipated 2018 release, Obsidio,  comes out this month. It’s the last installment in the Illuminae trilogy. Oh, and by this month, I mean the 13th, TOMORROW! It’s so close I can taste it!

I highly doubt I’ll finish all these books, but…

I’ve really been enjoying setting huge TBRs and picking from them based on my mood. We’ll see how it goes moving forward!

Time to get cracking on some more reading and blogging!

Happy reading, book badgers!

– Paperback Patronus

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: February 2018

My January Wrap-Up was probably my most amazing ever, and February had a lot to live up to. I ended up reading 13 3/4 books, which doesn’t come close to January’s 23. However, the month did have 3 fewer days and no weeks off work like I had in January. Either way, I’m still proud of reading more than my target of 10 books per month, because it means that I’m still on pace to achieve my 2018 reading goal of 110 books!

So, here it is, my February Wrap-Up!

Descender Volume 5 – Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Saga Volume 8 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mirror in the Sky – Aditi Khorana ⭐⭐
I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Talking as Fast as I Can – Lauren Graham ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In a Dark, Dark, Wood – Ruth Ware ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab ⭐⭐⭐⭐
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fairest – Marissa Meyer ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Winter – Marissa Meyer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Child Finder – Rene Denfeld ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (This book I didn’t quite finish, hence the 3/4).

Again, that’s a total of 13 3/4 books!

Did I Meet My TBR Expectations?

I once again didn’t read everything I had planned to. I didn’t get around to posting a February TBR here on the blog, but I did post a photo of it on Bookstagram, so here it is:

I put 17 books on my TBR and ended up reading 8 of them, so it was pretty good I think! I’ve started really enjoying setting a huge TBR not only to see if I can meet a big goal, but also because I like to have a lot of choices so that I can pick my next read by mood. It’s worked well for me so far.

The Unread Shelf Project 2018 February Challenge

Over at theunreadshelf, the February challenge was to look into the diversity of your unread shelf. I discovered, unsurprisingly, that most of the books I own, and the books on my unread shelf, are by white people. I hope to make it a focus to read more diversely in the future!

Notable Reads This Month

Overall, my favourite books of this month were Winter and I’ll Give You the Sun. Shoutout to The Invention of Wings for also being awesome and for being the second book by Monk Kidd that I’ve absolutely loved (I’m looking at you, The Secret Life of Bees). Shoutout also to The Child Finder for being absolutely haunting.

As for ratings, this month was a pretty mixed bag as well!

What’s Next?

I’m hoping to be back on the blogging train pretty solidly for the next couple of weeks, so expect some reviews ASAP! Plus, I’m headed to Cuba for the last week of March with my mom and I’ll have little to no internet access, so I’ve got to be ultra productive before I go! Hopefully, on April 1st when I get home, I’ll be posting an even more impressive wrap-up than I did in January, thanks to my two-week Spring Break away from work!

Happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2018

In December my wrap-up was pretty impressive. I read 15 books, which I think was a record for me. Consider that record smashed, in fact, annihilated, this January. Again, I had a week off work just like I did in December, which helped. I also participated in my first read-a-thon, and several of the books were poetry anthologies, but I’m still very proud of coming in hot with 23 books read in the first month of 2018.

Without further ado, here’s my January Wrap-Up! Kicking ass and taking names!

Harry Potter: A History of Magic – The British Library ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Journey Through A History of Magic – British Library ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Caraval  – Stephanie Garber ⭐⭐⭐
Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Chasers of the Light – Tyler Knott Gregson ⭐⭐⭐
Our Numbered Days – Neil Hilborn ⭐⭐⭐
Helium – Rudy Francisco ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown ⭐⭐
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Graduate – Charles Webb ⭐⭐
Depression & Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim ⭐⭐⭐
Adultolescence – Gabbie Hanna ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Just Little Things – Nancy Vu ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
whiskey words & a shovel volume I – R. H. Sin ⭐⭐⭐⭐
whiskey words & a shovel volumes II-III – R. H. Sin ⭐⭐⭐
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Commonwealth – Ann Patchett ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sara J.  Maas ⭐⭐⭐
Lily and the Octopus – Steven Rowley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In total, that’s 23 books! Also, I didn’t read everything I’d planned, as usual (see my January TBR). However, I did read far more books than I expected!

2018 Challenge:

This year I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge goal to 110 books, 10 more than last year’s 100, which I beat by 5.

Overall, my favourite books of this month were Station Eleven and The Hate U Give. Shoutout to Lily and the Octopus for also being awesome and making me ugly cry.

Compared to last month, this one was a bit of a mixed bag as far as how much I enjoyed everything I read. It’s doing my string of 5-star reviews some good!

Stay tuned for some upcoming reviews, and finally, happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus

Where Have I Been + 24in48 Read-a-Thon

So, Paperback Patronus, where have you been?!?!

Good question.

Since I started book blogging, I’ve never been away for this long!

It’s been about three weeks since I last posted, and a lot has happened since then (and a lot of reading)!!

Unsurprisingly, I’m behind on my reviews. So first, I’d like to give you a list of what’s for sure coming up on the blog in the next couple of weeks!

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sara J.  Maas
whiskey words & a shovel volumes I-III – R. H. Sin
Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
Lily and the Octopus – Steven Rowley
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg
In a Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware
Talking as Fast as I Can – Lauren Graham
I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

Yes, I’ve read that many books since I last posted!! More on that soon!

Now, where have you been?

Short answer: reading!

Long answer: I have been hunkered down in a partly SAD-induced hibernation period (as much as is possible when you have a full-time job). It’s now day 24 in a row here in Vancouver that it has rained. It has been dark, grey, and sad. I have generalized anxiety disorder and am very prone to depression in the winter, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The way it manifests itself for me is usually the following: I essentially wake up in the morning, struggle to get out of bed, head to work, do my day, and then head home. I go for my run, get soaked in the rain and come home feeling like a drowned rat (although it does help my mood). Hot shower, snack, and then bam! I’m in my pj’s, back in bed with a coffee and a book.

A typical scene from my slew of rainy runs this past month.
A typical scene from my month of spending my time at home exclusively in my pjs, reading and drinking coffee.

Thanks to SAD…

My reading hibernation has done wonders for my TBR pile. I’m definitely not complaining about that! But I have been much less motivated and enthusiastic than usual about my job, my activities, and life in general. This too shall pass, but I’d like the sun to come out sooner rather than later, thanks!

On a happier note, my next post will be my January Wrap-Up, where I’ll be detailing the twenty-three books I read in last month. That’s right, 23!! Proud reader, right here. 

But I just haven’t been wanting to sit up and write on my laptop about reading. I just want to read!!!

There’s another thing that did wonders for my TBR pile, and that’s what I’m going to tell you about next!

The 24in48 Read-a-Thon

I participated in my first read-a-thon in January, and loved it. So, when I discovered the 24in48 read-a-thon and realized it would  be happening in January, I had to sign up! The premise is that in a period of 48 hours, you try to read for 24 hours, which is no small feat.

They have lots of challenges running through their website, and you can win prizes if you take part. You can also win rewards if you read for 24 hours!

I had a busy weekend planned for the weekend of this read-a-thon, so my goal was simply to read as much as possible, knowing that it was unlikely that I would achieve 24 hours of reading. In the end, I made it to just over 13 hours! Not too shabby. The next one that they’re running will be in July, so I’m hoping to take part in that one and beat my current record of 13 hours.


Soon, in another post, I’ll be talking about The Unread Shelf Project, which is something that has really improved my reading and Bookstagram experience this year!

Stay tuned, and happy reading!

Alongside the post about The Unread Shelf Project, I’ve got tons of blog posts lined up and coming soon!

– Paperback Patronus

Book Review: Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone is the fifth non-fiction book by qualitative researcher and writer Brené Brown.

A couple of years ago, a friend lent me Rising Strong, another of Brené Brown’s books. I was having a tough time. That book pulled me out of the depths of my despair page by page. It was transcendent. Thus, I’ve been collecting Brown’s other work. I got Daring Greatly at a book swap, and I got this one from Indigo on Black Friday. The pretty cover didn’t hurt!

Here’s the cover of Braving the Wilderness:

I love it! Simple but perfect.

Here is the synopsis of Braving the Wilderness from Amazon:

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”

Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

Finally, here’s my review of Braving the Wilderness!

This book was a disappointment. For most of it I couldn’t even grasp the concept Brown is getting at. This is the idea of “true belonging.” It could be that this book didn’t touch on things I want to improve on now. Or that I’m just disappointed because Rising Strong hit such a strong sweet spot of good writing and research + exactly what I needed at the time. I don’t know. However, what I do know is that I didn’t enjoy it. It almost felt like Brown just wanted to make some more money from another book. So, she just wrote some stuff that she’d been thinking about recently, put a pretty cover on it, and called it done.

Something else to note:

I found Rising Strong to be super believable and motivational. I think this was because so much of it was based on research. Braving the Wilderness felt a lot more like a story that she thought of that made sense. But it wasn’t really backed up with facts or figures or even anecdotal evidence. By the time I finished the book, I wasn’t sure what I’d read, or why.

Overall, 2/5 stars.

After Rising Strong, this was a disappointment with little substance. I don’t think I’m any better off from having read it.  And that’s usually my goal when reading books in this realm.

Enjoy the interesting read!

– Paperback Patronus

Book Review: Just Little Things by Nancy Vu

Just Little Things: A Celebration of Life’s Simple Pleasures is a lovely little book by Nancy Vu.

First, how did I discover this book?

I bought it as part of my Boxing Week haul. Indigo had a lot of graphically-based books, like Adultolescence and Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, on sale. This book was one of the ones in that class, and it caught my eye. Partly because of the title, and partly because of the colour.

Here’s the cover of Just Little Things:

Pretty cute! I love the small bar of colours — the inside of the book is also very colourful.

Here is the synopsis of Just Little Things from Amazon:

“Seeing a baby yawn

Drawing on a foggy window

Finding a curly fry mixed in with your regular fries

These and 247 other little things that make everyday life a joy are collected in this delightful, surprising, and heartfelt book. Based on the popular website, this book will strike a chord in anyone who is open to celebrating the little moments of greatness all around us.”

Finally, here’s my review of Just Little Things!

This was a really lovely book. It’s a quick read: I devoured it in one relatively short sitting. The whole time I was reading it, I just felt incredibly content. I found myself looking around the room, smiling at all the small things in my home and in my heart that make me feel warm and happy every day.

I find that especially in the winter, I often become overcome by the darkness and the wet, and I just wish I could sleep my days away under three duvets. This book really helped me remember all the things I love about my life, even when I haven’t seen the sun in days (if you needed a reminder, I live in the Pacific Northwest in a temperate rainforest).

Other awesome stuff about this book:

I really liked the formatting. In case you haven’t noticed yet from my earlier reviews, the physical feel, smell, look, and formatting of books can make or break my opinions about them. Also, I love pretty covers, and I love inventive and creative designs inside them.

Accordingly, this book does really well on the visual front. Each page has a full-colour background, and all of them are in varied colours. Then the “little thing” is written in big type, centered on the page. It’s simple, bright, and easy to read.

Overall, 5/5 stars.

This was a quick, super-enjoyable read that really helped me to get back to regularly thinking about all the awesome little things in my life and how happy they make me. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!

Definitely happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus

My First Read-A-Thon!

This past Saturday, the 13th, my friend on Bookstagram, @yannesreads, hosted a 24-hour read-a-thon.

What’s a read-a-thon, you ask?

You’re asking the right person! Essentially, it’s a set time on a set date in which participants who sign up read as much as they possibly can. In this case, the read-a-thon was 24 hours long. People usually decide between two types of participation.

Type A: Full-Tilt

This type of participant will attempt to read for the entire 24-hours without stopping for sleep. Props to them, I could never do it. I’ve only pulled three all-nighters in my entire almost-27-year lifetime, and each of them destroyed me physically for about a week.

Type B: Passive

This type of participant, aka me, will attempt to read as much as possible during the 24-hour period while still sleeping and doing other regular life activities.

So, how’d it go?

I really enjoyed this. I often have weekend plans to read. However, I more often just get cozy with my face in my phone most of the time. Having the extra motivation of a read-a-thon and posting about it on my Bookstagram really gave me that kick I needed to get off my phone and in between some pages. Here’s what I read!

Books I read during the read-a-thon:

The Graduate – Charles Webb

I started this book on Friday evening and finished it on Saturday, the day of the read-a-thon. My review of this one appeared a few days ago. I won’t spoil it, but it wasn’t very good.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story – Debbie Tung

I’ll be posting my review of this graphic novel soon! I LOVED IT. Story of my life.

Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown

I’ve also read Rising Strong by Brené Brown, and compared to that, this book was a disappointment. Review coming shortly!

Just Little Things – Nancy Vu

This was a lovely little “break book” in between finishing Braving the Wilderness and starting Astrophysics…. It was such a sweet little reminder of all that is good about life. Short review coming soon!

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson

I read about half of this book on the read-a-thon day. I finished it two days ago and will be posting a review soon, it was pretty great!

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

This one I barely started in the evening, but so far it seems like it’s going to be amazing!!!

What’s Next?

I’m glad you asked!! I really enjoyed participating in this read-a-thon, so now I’m planning to host my own! I’m not sure when, because I’ve got a very busy few weeks coming up (hello, parent-teacher!), but all you lovely people who read this blog will be the first to know!

Happy Reading!

– Paperback Patronus


Book Haul: Boxing Week 2017!

This is my first blog Book Haul post, so here’s the deal:

Bookstagram members are, once again, likely pretty familiar with these. However, for those of you who aren’t, any time we get books in the mail, which we call Book Mail, we like to share what we’ve gotten. Usually, if it’s at the end of the month,  or for a particular event or time period (like Black Friday or Boxing Week), we call it a Haul.

So, without further ado, here’s my Boxing Week Book Haul, which I’m over the moon about!

It was so big, it came in three different packages, the last of which arrived Monday this week.

Now, here’s a list of all the titles and links to their Amazon pages (and my blog reviews, if they’re up already):

Dark Tower 1-3 Boxed Set – Stephen King
Sapiens & Homo Deus Boxed Set – Yuval Noah Harari
Journey Through A History of Magic – British Library
Just Little Things – Nancy Vu
Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
The Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis
Talking as Fast as I Can – Lauren Graham
Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sara J.  Maas
Fierce Kingdom – Gin Phillips
Helium – Rudy Francisco
Depression & Other Magic Tricks
Our Numbered Days – Neil Hilborn
Adultolescence – Gabbie Hanna
Chasers of the Light – Tyler Knott Gregson
The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Hardcover House Editions) – J. K. Rowling
The Child Finder – Rene Denfield
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
whiskey words & a shovel volumes I-III – R. H. Sin
Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – Mark Lukach
Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over – Bleuel

Evidently, I dove into this haul pretty quickly!

I have already read Dear Ijeawele…, Astrophysics for People in a Hurrywhiskey words & a shovel IQuiet Girl in a Noisy WorldAdultolescenceHeliumOur Numbered DaysDepression & Other Magic TricksChasers of the LightJust Little Things, and Journey Through A History of Magic. Phew!

I think that the next book I’ll be reading from this haul is The Child Finder. It’s been all over Bookstagram, and I’m in the mood for a bit of suspense.

Finally, other things I’m really excited about:

I’ve never read any Stephen King before. However, I saw the Dark Tower movie and really enjoyed (a lot to do with Idris Elba, but also to do with the storyline!), so I think the Dark Tower books might be my gateway into reading Stephen King!

Also, I’ve never read any Agatha Christie books either. I didn’t particularly want to see the movie, because it wasn’t rated very highly. And it has Johnny Depp in it. But the story really intrigued me, so I’m excited to read the book! Maybe it will make me want to read more Christie mysteries, too!


Now that I’ve shared this with you, I’m off to start a reading-filled weekend!

Happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus

Book Review: The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Graduate is a novel by Charles Webb.

This was an interesting purchase for me. When I was a first-year in university, I took a Film Studies course. In it, we watched the scene in the movie The Graduate in which the song “The Sound of Silence” plays for some educational purpose about a type of shot or something. I loved the scene, and wanted to watch the movie.

Then I found out it was based on a book.

There went all thoughts of seeing the movie until I’d read the book. Years passed. Then I discovered Book Outlet, and as I was scrolling through looking for great deals one day, I saw The Graduate.

Obviously, since I’m writing this blog post, I bought it. The rest is history.

Here’s the cover of The Graduate:


Here is the synopsis of The Graduate from Amazon:

“When Benjamin Braddock graduates from a small Eastern college and moves home to his parents’ house, everyone wants to know what he’s going to do with his life. Embittered by the emptiness of his college education and indifferent to his grim prospects — grad school? a career in plastics? — Benjamin falls haplessly into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the relentlessly seductive wife of his father’s business partner. It’s only when beautiful coed Elaine Robinson comes home to visit her parents that Benjamin, now smitten, thinks he might have found some kind of direction in his life. Unfortunately for Benjamin, Mrs. Robinson plays the role of protective mother as well as she does the one of mistress. A wondrously fierce and absurd battle of wills ensues, with love and idealism triumphing over the forces of corruption and conformity.”

Finally, here’s my review of The Graduate!

I’m going to be up front: I did not like this book.

Although the young-adult angst the main character experiences upon completing his undergraduate degree seems realistic, he is a wholly unlikable character. As are most of the other characters in the story.

Benjamin’s response to his existential crisis seems natural as well. But it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to read, and I can’t say that the point of reading this novel would be to learn something. Normally, I can take a lot of very interesting life lessons or things to ponder from stories I dislike. Not so from The Graduate. All I took away was frustration at the characters and at the fact that I spent a few hours reading it.

However, it did have some redeeming qualities:

The dialogue in this book was very skillful. It felt true to the characters, and really illustrated the awkwardness in the relationships between the characters. It felt awkward to read it, which I imagine was the point.

Overall, 2/5 stars.

This was a strange, largely unenjoyable read that I wouldn’t recommend. I think that’s a first.

Happy? Reading?

– Paperback Patronus

Book Review: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is the first novel by author Angie Thomas.

This book was definitely a recommendation buy. Everyone on my Bookstagram has been talking about it for a while. I also don’t read enough diverse books, so I felt that this was a good place to start.

Here’s the cover:

Here is the synopsis of The Hate U Give from Amazon:

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

Finally, here’s my review of The Hate U Give!

This is a difficult one for me to talk about. Not because I didn’t like it. I adored it.

However, it talks about a lot of things that I don’t feel that I can speak to. That I don’t think I have the right to speak about. Racism. Police brutality. Race in general.

I could say that it felt authentic to me, that it felt like a realistic and fair portrayal of the community it is based in. I could say that it must be because Angie Thomas is black. But as a white woman, what right do I have to say what is authentic to a community other than my own? None.

Yes, I can have an opinion on those things. I am not a racist. I think that police have been too strongly racially profiling people and that even if it’s subconscious, they often target people of colour. However, I am not a person who can speak for communities of people of colour.

What I can talk about is how it affected me. And it affected me deeply. This book made me uncomfortable. Good uncomfortable. Uncomfortable that I don’t know how to talk about these issues without seeming like I’m trying to speak for people.  It made me angry. Angry about the injustice that people in these communities experience daily. It made me sad. I felt motivated to act, but also terrified about making a choice to act with the wrong intentions.

This book definitely left me with a lot to think about.

Other Awesome Stuff

This book had great characters. Some were likeable, some were not. And that was a good thing. The characters that were not so nice were great examples of the things that non-marginalized groups can do unintentionally that are harmful.

This book was also suspenseful. I’m not going to spoil the major conflicts in the story, but they’re very interesting, seem realistic, and are not easily resolved.

Overall, 5/5 stars.

This was an amazing read, and I highly recommend it for readers in their teens and up.

Happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus