Monday, April 24, 2017

How To Be Both by Ali Smith

How To Be Both
by Ali Smith

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2014
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Literary
Hardback: 384 pages
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Consider this moral conundrum for a moment, George's mother says to George who's sitting in the front passenger seat.

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. A true original, she is a one-of-a-kind literary sensation. Her novels consistently attract serious acclaim and discussion—and have won her a dedicated readership who are drawn again and again to the warmth, humanity and humor of her voice.

How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

Who says stories reach everybody in the same order?
This novel can be read in two ways and this book provides you with both.
In half of all printed editions of the novel the narrative EYES comes before CAMERA.
In the other half of printed editions the narrative CAMERA precedes EYES.
The narratives are exactly the same in both versions, just in a different order.

The books are intentionally printed in two different ways, so that readers can randomly have different experiences reading the same text. So, depending on which edition you happen to receive, the book will be: EYES, CAMERA, or CAMERA, EYES. Enjoy the adventure.

My two-bits:

This is composed of two stories that make up one story that involve the world of art. Two different sections represent the past and the present with similarities and ties. But each have their set of characters that have perspectives of an artist and observer.

The running theme of two sides - things seen and unseen plays out throughout.

After discussion with my book group, I grew to appreciate this book better with an interest to re-read it.

Also, gained an interest in inspecting and looking at religious art a little more while at a museum.


* my copy starts off with George, the second version begins with Francescho

* part of Book Passage Literary Prize Book Group (here)


A Best Book of the Year: NPR, Financial Times

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Thousand Mornings

A Thousand Mornings
by Mary Oliver

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Poetry, Nature
Paperback: 96 pages
Rating: 5

In A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has come to define her life’s work, transporting us to the marshland and coastline of her beloved home, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Oliver is open to the teachings contained in the smallest of moments and explores with startling clarity, humor, and kindness the mysteries of our daily experience.

My two-bits:

So beautiful!

Seeing the beauty in these nature themed poems was immediate.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post - 4.22.17

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews (details)
Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer (details)


I am participating in an Art-a-thon today and spending most of the day working on my comic book journal. There will be music performances and artists of all ages joining in. If you are in the Bay area come by. All is welcome.

Please support arts education and give lower income children the tools to give form to their dreams. Visit Artseed Art-a-thon 2017 (here) for more details. It would mean a lot to me.



News of the World
by Paulette Jiles
-Historical, Western
Amazon | Goodreads

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
(To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)
by Jenny Han
-romance, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

P.S. I Still Love You
(To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)
by Jenny Han
Amazon | Goodreads

For Review:

MacArthur's Spies:
The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II

by Peter Eisner
-History, 1940s, WWII, Non-fiction
courtesy of Penguin's First Reads -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Independent Bookstore Day is coming, April 29. I have been visiting independent bookstores during the month. See the complete list of places I visited (here).

My latest visit was to...

#7 Alexander Book Company
San Francisco, CA (here)
with two books by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
P.S. I Still Love You

AND watched: in theatre - part of Cherry Blossom Japanese Film Festival (details)

Like Father, Like Son (2013)
Soshite chichi ni naru (original title)
Director/Screenplay: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, YĆ“ko Maki, Lily Franky
-Drama, Japan | imdb | my rating: 5

Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth, he must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own.

WHOA. Got me thinking of parenting and of the relationship between parents and their kids.

AND watched: in theatre

Colossal (2017)
Director/Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis
-Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 4

A woman discovers that severe catastrophic events are somehow connected to the mental breakdown from which she's suffering.

COOL monster and mental mashup concept.

I caught a preview screening of this which included a Q&A with the director. Nacho shared his love for the rock band, Queen which is something in common he has with Bear McCreary, the composer who did the soundtrack.

AND watched: on DVD

Allied (2016)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Steven Knight
Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
-Action, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 3

In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.

Oscar nominated for Costume Design

THIS romance/love story set during the war questions honesty and trust. The chemistry between the couple did not work for me.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
aka The Conscientious Objector
Director: Mel Gibson
Screenplay: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer
-Biography, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 5

WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

Oscar win for Sound Mixing and Film Editing

AMAZING story about an amazing person that everyone MUST get to know. Ahh, the wonders of the human spirit!

side note: if you have any hangups due to this being a Mel Gibson film, get over it, this story inspires


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Release: Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

Get It Together, Delilah!
by Erin Gough
Release date: April 4, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn't have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it's working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won't stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn't do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

I plan on reading my copy in June to celebrate Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Missing by Kelley Armstrong

by Kelley Armstrong

Find out more about this book and author:
Cafe Press

Just released: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA
Hardback: 384 pages
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Reeve's End is the kind of town every kid can't wait to escape. Each summer, a dozen kids leave and at least a quarter never come back. I don't blame them--I'll do the same in another year. We thought it was just something that happened in towns like ours.

We were wrong.

The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve's End is that soon she'll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There's nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They're better off taking a chance elsewhere.

What Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they're all missing?

My two-bits:

Felt this to be a slow burning mystery. But, the search for the missing held my attention.

The story covers the themes of the haves/have nots and romance of rich boy/poor girl.

Got me thinking of small town communities.


* review copy courtesy of tour

* part of Cloak & Dagger Challenge (here)

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu