Review: The Park Bench by Christophe Chabouté

The Park Bench is full of quiet, revealing, and intimate glances into everyday moments, capturing clever little details in the background. Including romantic couples both young and old, gossiping, people watching, and so much more. This silent graphic novel speaks volumes.

Marketing his English-language debut, The Park Bench is Chabouté’s beautiful and acclaimed story of a park bench and the lives it witnesses. At once intimate and universal, it is one of the most moving books you could hope to come across.
From its creation to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people.

I’ve had my eyes on this particular graphic novel for ages, so when it finally arrived in the mail I took my sweet time perusing the book. Letting the story sit with me for a while was certainly a wise way to go about Chabouté’s work. Though, I do have to say that for that second half I couldn’t help but read through it in a whirlwind. For anyone who loves to be deeply involved in their own thoughts, The Park Bench (both the book and the object) is a must.

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The above is a prime example of tiny details coming together to create a bigger picture.

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the park bench 5-- bookspoilsNo words need to describe how the above page is utterly heartbreaking.the park bench 6-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: July 6th, 2017

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

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Review: 200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World by Ruth Hobday, Geoff Blackwell

200 Women was the ultimate badass way to kick-off my reading of Nonfiction November.

Gloria Steinem once said, ‘You can’t empower women without listening to their stories.’ We agree. 

Interviews with 200 women from a variety of backgrounds provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Interviewees include:

· Jane Goodall, conservation and animal welfare activist
· Margaret Atwood, author and winner of The Booker Prize
· Roxane Gay, author and feminist
· Alicia Garza, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter
· Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund
· Dolores Huerta, labor activist, community organizer, and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association
· Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author and Macarthur Foundation fellow

Each woman shares her unique reply to the same five questions: What really matters to you?, What brings you happiness?, What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?, What would you change if you could?, and Which single word do you most identify with?

With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength-inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

I’ve been craving for a new feminist collection to release out into the world, ever since i finished Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. Upon seeing the above clip, I went into this expecting the perfect companion and follow-up to Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women. Though we have the same style of clean-cut portraits, 200 Women narrows down to having the same five-question structure apply to everyone, rather than a fitted question to each interviewee.

At first I was really welcoming of the unwavering question format presented, thinking how I didn’t want the book to feel like a Wikipedia-esque entry of each woman. But I grew tired overtime and wished they wouldn’t have stuck to it with every single interviewee. Unsurprisingly, having 200 women answer the same five questions, page after page, meant answers were repeated till the words lost all meaning to the reader. So I do wish they would’ve mixed it up a bit overtime to keep us on our toes.

But that’s my only minor inconvenience with the work; otherwise, reading this collection was a welcome reminder that all hope isn’t lost in today’s world with all the injustices that are engulfing us. It’s truly rewarding to know that there are these utterly incredible women out there in the world, fighting for what’s right and deserving. The bright light at the end of a hauntingly dark tunnel.

From talks of being a conscious consumer to the effect tiny gestures of kindness can have, the women in this diverse collection were able to shine a light on much-needed conversation starters. Also, getting introduced and familiarized with unknown and well-known faces, who all had something enlightening to add to the table on empowering girls and women, was as exciting as always.

Some of my personal highlights from the collection include:

#1 Inna Modja:

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#2 Eva McGauley:

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“… because I want to give more in life than I’ve taken.” 

#3 Gabourey Sidibe:

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#4 Sabila Khatun:

200 women 5-- bookspoilsI can’t stop thinking about Khatun’s life story and her children’s support system.

#5 Yassmin Abdel-Magied:200 women 6-- bookspoilsHer take on the question What brings you happiness? and answering with faith, spirituality and religion was fascinating:

I wonder if we sometimes conflate happiness with hedonism. Is doing something that makes you happy in a single moment – for the pure pleasure of it – actual happiness, or is it filling a hole that we don’t even realise we have?


ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: October 31, 2017

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying 200 Women, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

 

Review: #WeRateDogs by Matt Nelson

It’s rare to come across a book that I simply crave to share with everyone in my close surroundings, but I found it with #WeRateDogs.

Based on the social media sensation, #WeRateDogs features the most heroic, over-the-top adorable, wildly successful, all-around entertaining dogs the world has ever seen. It combines extraordinary photos with ridiculous captions to expand the knowledge and overall lives of its readers. It is not only an exceptionally reliable source for dog greatness, it is also a one stop shop for happiness.

“Simply here to make you smile. if you’re having a bad day, it is now less bad.”

I’ve been waiting for this beautifully crafted book to arrive in the mail for weeks and weeks now, and the wait became that more excruciating when I came across this utterly wholesome thread the other night:

https://twitter.com/holamikoo/status/920836231201808384

Also, being an avid follower of @dog_rates on Twitter didn’t help my situation in the meantime.

So when #WeRateDogs graciously arrived today in the mail, I read through it in a whirlwind, even though I desperately tried to make the reading experience last as much as possible.#WeRateDogs--bookspoilsI know I usually try to insert a few more coherent sentences of what I loved about the book I’m reviewing, but I’m just so h*ckin excited to share my favorite dogs that I’ll skip straight ahead to the pictures:

#WeRateDogs 17--bookspoilsI melted at the sight of this.

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#WeRateDogs 6--bookspoilsHow majestic are the two above???

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#WeRateDogs 8--bookspoils  (The captions actually make the pictures that more better, which is a rarity.)

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I needed this.


ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: September 14th, 2017

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