Books About Books · Reviews

“Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew J. Sullivan

I started reading Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan with Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore in mind. Let’s just say that I was in for a surprise.

Lydia Smith, a bookseller at Bright Ideas, has a traumatizing past she would like to forget. Joey Molina, one of the lost and lonely souls that meanders through the bookstore on a daily basis, is living a traumatizing present. He kills himself, she finds him, it all unravels.

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Books We Should Be Talking About · LGBTQA+ · Reviews

“This Child of Ours” by Sadie Pearse

That’s where you start; looking through a window at a family that feels just about right, that seems just about perfect. There’s a small voice though, a small voice that grows louder and bolder, making it impossible to ignore.

Riley is a seven-year-old child who is becoming. Riley is a self-aware seven-year-old child who feels out of place. Something is obviously not right, but could it be just a phase? “This Child of Ours” by Sadie Pearse takes a brave leap of faith into the world of Riley, Sally and Theo, a family trying to make sense of their world.

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Books That Came Out This Month · LGBTQA+ · Reviews

“She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy” by Jill Soloway

I am always late to the party – metaphorically speaking, I mean. I am usually early for everything else because I do not know how to negotiate a late entrance. I feel like at some point in these last few years I fell into a deep sleep from which I remember… well, nothing.

Finding my way back into the real world has been difficult. I keep being reminded that I have missed lifetimes of content and there are stimuli all around, surrounding me, enfolding me, suffocating me. I end up catching glimpses, not having enough mental space to go through wholeness. Then I found Transparent.

It did not demand attention. Instead, it offered itself to me in the most unreserved of ways. I felt like I was gaining time instead of wasting it, gaining life. It had, it has, a soul, and that is why I just finished reading She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy.

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Dear friends*,

How are you? What is new?

I come back to you with a revelation: settling down in London is not something one does (or at least it’s not something someone like me does). It has been almost two years now and I have yet to feel like I have landed. Even though I have bought and put together furniture, it’s still… fleeting. Perhaps a rug will help, I have been thinking of purchasing one ever since I moved to the place I am currently at (third move is, or has been, the charm).

London is one of the most anxious cities I have ever lived in. I am always catching my breath, running left and right for no particular reason. The city has so much to offer that I have many times caught myself negotiating guilt over not having left the house for twenty four hours.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

Sylvia Plath says it all. There is something highly addictive about all this offer, about all this freedom to be whoever you are, whoever you want to be at any given time. It can be overwhelming, but that’s when Matt Haig comes to the rescue – I think his latest “Notes on a Nervous Planet” retaught me how to breathe. And speaking of books…

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“Jessica Jones: Alias [Vol.4]” by Brian Bendis & Michael Gaydos

I only realised I had no clue about how exactly Jessica had obtained her powers the moment I opened this last volume. It was a first step down a memory lane that grew into quite an experience. Again, they managed to create an emotional balance that had its peaks without ever being too much of anything. There was time, and space, for the whole spectrum to play out.

That said, I must confess I shuddered when Killgrave was first mentioned. I believe he was disturbingly well portrayed throughout the TV series, having left quite a dent behind, and was certainly not expecting his written version to feel even creepier. It was one of those surprises that I could have lived without, but that I am now embracing.

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“Nothing” by Janne Teller

Pierre Anthon announced, on his first day as a seventh-grader, that there was no meaning to life. After professing his truth, he abandoned the classroom and found refuge on a plum tree. As his classmates walked by on their way to school, Pierre Anthon reminded them of the lack of meaning in their stride, setting them on a frenzy to prove him wrong.

“I’m sitting here in nothing. And better to be sitting in nothing than in something that isn’t anything.”

Nothing by Janne Teller had me immediately thinking of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The mood seems quite similar, but I believe Nothing takes a step further into the abyss. To be quite honest, I am still trying to figure out what exactly that entails.

I should start by mentioning the writing style as it’s probably the most tangible thing about this book. There is something incredibly peculiar about it. It feels raw, like over-scrubbed skin, making every single ghost of an emotion grow into something immeasurable. There are also the overpowering silences. Having read the whole book out loud, it is impossible to label them chance or even coincidence. I believe this book was skillfully designed to create a sort of emotional echo that feels claustrophobic at times.

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“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

“The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation.”

Tennessee Williams astounds me with his ethereal plays. He creates, designs, these scenes, these people, and they seem to float across time and space, endlessly relevant. It all happens within walls, within transparent curtains of humanity, the surroundings at times blurry beyond general contextualization, but was there ever any more truth?

“The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”

There is an unbelievable amount of detail in The Glass Menagerie, more than enough to effortlessly outshine the delicate figures that Laura all but worships.

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“Jessica Jones: Alias [Vol. 3]” by Brian Bendis & Michael Gaydos

“I hate buildings.”
“You hate buildings?”
“And yet I live in New York City. So imagine how it is to be me.”

I never thought I would end up finding such a relatable character in the superhero universe. That said, please do bear with me, I haven’t been this excited about a character in quite a long time. You see, I tend to read my way into novels, their characters becoming like distant family, faces that you can’t quite picture, but voices that you would recognize just about anywhere. I believe this particular medium, the way the writing is combined with the art and spread across the page, dilutes the barrier between where the reader stands and where the text exists, blending them into one final composition that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Mind you, I think this event is valid for any relationship between reader and text, the latter assuming many different forms, but there is something magical about this one in particular.

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“The Sound of Seas” by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

I remember having mentioned a certain turbulence when reviewing A Dream of Ice. I was referring to the process of getting back into the storyline after a rather long intermission. I am pleased to announce that nothing of the sort happened when starting The Sound of Seas. To be quite honest, it surprised me how quickly I fell back into it, as if we had never truly parted ways. For such a dense novel, in the sense of being incredibly rich in detail, I find that to be extraordinary.

“Either everything matters or nothing does.”

I am in awe of how Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin managed to tie such an immense amount of loose ends in less than three hundred pages. It does feel condensed, perhaps even slightly rushed, but I believe it wouldn’t work any other way. It’s as if all the information gathered becomes this one point of energy that then expands into everything.

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