December 2016 Reading Wrap Up

This month I discovered a great library nearby that made it possible to pick up a lot of books on my TBR, which I really, really appreciated.
In total I read 15 books this month:

Books I decided to DNF:
Here I Am by Jonathan Safran

I picked this one up after I had a weird dream about an earthquake, which is a central plot-point in here. And Here I Am started off promising enough, but the more I read, the more I kept thinking, “Where is this going? What point is this book trying to make?”
I’m generally fine with not having a specific plot at the beginning, but I have to be committed enough to the characters and their lives for that to work. With Here I Am that wasn’t the case. The book kept jumping from one point of view to the other so that I didn’t feel fully engaged or attached to one character. Also, it took me awhile to get used to how the dialogue was written. So 150 pages into this book I was struggling with wanting to pick it up again.

But on a positive note, I did love the pop cultural references — from Percy Jackson fanfiction to Rihanna lyrics, which I never thought I’d see in a literary fiction novel. Here I Am was an unfortunate DNF because it had so much promise to be a favorite of mine.

Honorable Mention:
I started a show called Skam after seeing this brilliant conversation shared online:cxpui0yxuaaqurjcxpujx-xcaamisecxpukucwqaehz5ecxpukz8wqaeipuiAnd just like that this show literally took over my life during the holidays. I mean, not even seven minutes into the first episode, and I was already obsessed. This rarely happens to me. But I quickly came to realize that Skam breaks all boundaries… The love I have for this show is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

In case you’re unaware of the main themes, here’s a run-down of the ones I personally loved:

  • realistic and fleshed-out characters. In this case, Noora Sætre and Sana Bakkoush are like gold in my eyes. (“She’s completely raw.”)
  • witty as hell dialogue.
  • the soundtrack is fucking incredible.
  • LGBTQIA+ ships.
  • feminism, girl power, sex positivity and self-love are all greatly discussed.
  • embodies all the teenage angst and fun, and ugh, I just love it so much.
  • these girls are my pride and joy.
  • the hype for this show is real. So damn real.

Just… Skam is the epitome of everything I’ve been looking for. Who was I before this??? My life seems and feels truly bleak without these characters. Oh, and speaking of, they kind of reminded me of the ones in Radio Silence, which is one of my favorite contemporary novels. There were even London Grammar songs featured in both, just saying.

I also want to take a minute to discuss my favorite character: Noora Sætre.

The minute she was introduced, I knew she’d be a new favorite of mine from the one and a half sentences she uttered. It goes without saying that season two (and the end of season one) was my favorite. And so I have to share this next video that compiled my favorite moments of Noora into one:

And those moments when she sings are fucking MAGIC:

“I know. I know what you’re playing, other than girls.” — I love her so much.

Also, when she started singing this next song to cheer up Eva… THE BEST:

My cheeks literally hurt from smiling. Never has a show made me care so much about every single character as much as Skam has.

And I’m still perplexed as to why it took me so long to pick up this legendary, life-changing show?? The minute I was invested (aka seven minutes into the first episode), I had to continue on until I was finished with the first season… and then the second season (stayed up until 4am for that one)… and then the third one finished the very next day after I started season one. Dammit, am I glad I picked this up on a weekend because to quote Fangirl“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.” Every minute that wasn’t spent watching this show, was spent obsessing over what would happen next. It’s seriously been the only thing I can think about.
tumblr_inline_oa6tkkvo7p1s2wyks_500And so I think it goes without saying that Skam has skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. Truly one of the best ways to end the year of 2016.

That was my December wrap-up, thank you for reading!


Review: Second Generation by Michel Kichka

This is an autobiographical tale in which Michel Kichka goes back over the significant moments of a childhood, an adolescence, and a life overshadowed by the Holocaust, from Belgium to The Promised Land, from nightmares to funny anecdotes, moments of joy and liberation.

Second Generation hit unexpectedly home at multiple parts for me, especially regarding Kichka’s childhood growing up in Belgium. It’s quite funny because I had just talked with my mother about how my school experience in Belgium went. And then I pick this graphic novel up a few hours later, and I see my reality depicted nearly the same through someone else’s eyes… Crazy how the world works sometimes.

So it goes without saying that Second Generation has taken a special part in my heart. But regardless of my sentimental values, this was also a genuinely great graphic novel that filled in a lot of blank spaces I had about the Holocaust, Judaism, and even life in general. Also, the humor thrown in here was so unexpected but greatly appreciated.

Here are some of the moments that made me either cry, laugh or something in-between:






















second-generation-13-bookspoilsMaus was mentioned here!!




The only negative thing being that the pacing was a bit difficult to keep up with because of the time jumping, but other than that Second Generation was a spectacular take on family and intertwining histories that I’ll continue to reference (especially to my mom) and treasure for quite some time.

4.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Second Generation, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

On the island of Here, livin’s easy. Conduct is orderly. Lawns are neat. Citizens are clean shaven-and Dave is the most fastidious of them all. Dave is bald, but for a single hair. He loves drawing, his desk job, and the Bangles. But on one fateful day, his life is upended…by an unstoppable (yet pretty impressive) beard growing on Dave’s face.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil was a book easy to get lost in, and was promptly finished in a couple of hours. However, after taking some time to think about it, the story wasn’t quite as fascinating as I was anticipating going into this. And I felt indifferent to what was happening for most of the time.
The art, on the other hand, was fantastic. It reminded me in some ways of Shaun Tan’s wondrous The Arrival.the-gigantic-beard-that-was-evil-1-bookspoils











the-gigantic-beard-that-was-evil-16-bookspoilsOverall, I’m extremely glad I took the time to read The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil for its gorgeous drawings. Though it was a quick read, the storyline ended up lacking a bit for me, so that’s why I lowered my rating.

3.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!