Wednesday, August 5, 2015

what I read in july

I felt like I didn't read anything this month. I think my brain's been sort of mushy and distracted, but the last week found me with a greater sense of intention in setting aside some time to read... Which led me to finish three books (and an audio book) in one big productive swoop. 

I read some good stuff and some not so good stuff, all of which I've detailed here in this post for you! Let's get the stars and reviews started: 

I have to confess this before I even begin with a review: I couldn't finish this book. I picked the book up from the front shelf in our local library because the cover was gorgeous. I loved the bright colors and could only imagine the beauty that was held within it's pages. So, I brought it home and started it. Then set it down and didn't pick it back up for weeks on end. And it waited and waited and waited. Until I finally decided I needed to give it another go. 

By page 100 I just wasn't deeply engaged. This one walks along the same lines as Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl as well as The Fault in Our Stars in that the main character, ___, has cancer. It's different in the fact that he's English and living in a hospital wing for kid's with cancer undergoing treatment where he meets Amber. She's entertaining and he's precious, but the plot line crawls along. It crawls and crawls to the point where I can't maintain my attention. At page 150, I decided to give up and return the book to the library. No reading time should be dreaded and, truth be told, I was dreading to sit and read this novel. 
This doesn't hold any truths that you haven't already heard... Mostly because you can find pinnable images of these all over the internet. It's a book I took FAR too long to pick up and read, but I'm thankful I didn't write it off just because I'm late to the party. Now that I've zipped through it, I realize that it was permission to myself. It was wonderful to hear some simple encouragements about the creative process and growing up as a curator of your craft.

The pages have few words and are often decorated with fun, simple art, but the points Kleon makes are important reminders of who you are in your creative life. I found myself pleased at the way I am who I am at the place I'm at right now, even if it's not as far along or developed as the people I'm walking alongside. It has me motivated to work hard at being me, instead of working hard to impress others with myself. It's all a process -slow and rewarding and sometimes painful, but all important work.

I recommend buying this one. It's not expensive and the points are valuable. It's simple to pick up and flip through when you're feeling a creative block... THAT is worth the cost!

I picked this audio book as my ;listen for July because I was a huge fan of Girls' Next Door in high school. Kendra, Holly, and Bridgette were fascinating to me. I was most interested in Holly and the way she'd sit in the frame of the screen with glazed over eyes. I wondered if she was aloof or bored. I questioned the way she was portrayed, often wondering if she was more intelligent than a smiling blonde in lingerie. I wasn't devastated when her and Hugh broke up, but instead curious. 

When Madison went on to enjoy all kinds of success in Las Vegas, I knew there was more to her than her role on Girls' Next Door. So, when she announced the release of Down the Rabbit Hole, I was looking forward to checking it out. And I am glad I did. Madison is intelligent, she was vulnerable and immature in her time at the Playboy Mansion -something she's very honest about throughout her novel. I enjoyed the peek into the roles of the women in the mansion as well as the inner workings of Playboy politics. 

That all said, the content was long-winded. There were lots of minute details shared that were interesting, but there was a plethora more that I didn't have the slightest appreciation for. I guess my expectations might have been a little bit too high, but I longed for some connections between the deeper implications of her choices and the happenings within the mansion's walls. 

I'm conflicted about this book. I've been conflicted about it since I finished it last weekend. The conflict is this: I loved the conversation about addiction and Green's many revelations into the mind of addicts BUT I couldn't stand the way the book ended. Basically it was like this (SPOILER ALERT) ... and they all lived happily ever after. Green tackled a hard conversation in a beautiful way, but it felt like she sort of backed off as the novel came to a close. 

I know there are lives and stories that end happily ever after, but the twists and turns and tangles of this novel were many. Having friends who are living in the damages that lay in the wake of addiction, I found the fairy tale ending of Summer Secrets to be so different from what life often holds. I am a believer of the way that fiction can stand outside the confines of reality, but I also wanted Green to illustrate the way addiction can be damaging just as she did in the beginning of the novel. 

I read this for my #Collaboreads challenge. You can find the full review here, but these two words are what's important MUST READ. 

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If you'd like to join in next month's #Collaboreads challenge, the criteria is 

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