Review: Note to Self by Connor Franta

I was quite excited going into this because the promise of short essays, original photography and poetry combined into one sounded right up my alley.

You might recognise Connor Franta from his popular YouTube channel, and in this diary-like look at his life since A Work In Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

“Our words, our firsthand experiences, our shared truths can form ladders. And bring hope to others.”

However good the above might sound, in the end it didn’t quite live up. And I was disappointed to find Franta’s writing style coming across as quite hollow and privileged. Also, his weird “I’m a special snow flake” complex rubbed me the wrong way multiple times:

“I’ve never been a big fan of attending awards shows. Most are pretentious, and few are truly entertaining. In theory, it sounds fun to witness the glamour and chaos of the red carpet firsthand. But the truth is that once you’re done up, looking fine, and immersed in such superficial gatherings . . . it’s not all that. The novelty soon wears thin.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me.”

I couldn’t help but think of this hilarious tweet about Artsy White Boys™:

Then the genericness of Franta’s thoughts and feelings didn’t help his case either. There wasn’t anything compelling enough for me to continue on where the writing’s considered, so I did skim-read a lot towards the end. And another thing I want to point out: the atmosphere. It just felt so cold and standoffish with a lot of telling with little to no showing. I mean: “This. Fucking. Sucks. I’ll repeat that until you believe it: This. Fucking. SUCKS.”
Here’s an idea: How about you show me why it fucking sucks instead of repeating it for emphasis…

To be frank, Note to Self felt a lot more fitting for the blog post format than something you’d expect to read in a book. Which leads me to the pretentious Tumblr-esque poems interspersed throughout:

Note to Self 10-- bookspoils

 

Note to Self 11-- bookspoils

There’s a lot more where that came from… I’m genuinely rattled that this made it into the final version of the book.

However, to end this review on a much brighter note, I have to mention the vibrant photographs. Not going to lie, they were the only reason I continued on with this book. But I quickly noticed that – save for a few – the pictures weren’t as eye-catching as I’d hoped. (You can just go on Connor Franta’s Instagram for the same effect.)

But still, here are a few of my favorite photos to brighten this ending a bit:

Note to Self 1-- bookspoilsNote to Self 9-- bookspoilsNote to Self 7-- bookspoils

Note to Self 8-- bookspoilsNote to Self 6-- bookspoils
2/5 stars

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

Review: Little Kids and Their Big Dogs by Andy Seliverstoff

Little Kids and Their Big Dogs remains to be one of the sweetest and most precious ensemble of photographs I’ve had the pleasure to browse. It’s also the perfect combination to make me end up in happy tears: little kids and their big dogs.

This is a must-read for anyone who has ever loved a dog. It’s such a deeply touching collection filled with so much heart and charm. Plus, it’s educating as well–I learned about so many new dog breeds I’d never encountered before.

However, what lowered a bit of my adoration was that each series of images in this book was accompanied by an fictionalized short story about the dogs and children featured in it. The additions of those stories weren’t exactly what I’d signed up for, and so it made the magic of the photographs disappear a bit for me. In the end, I decided to skip the short tales in order to fully enjoy the beauty encompassed in this photography collection.

On that note, here are some of the precious kids with their dogs that had me desperately fighting back my tears multiple times throughout:

Little Kids and Their Big Dogs 1-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 14-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 3-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 4-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 5-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 6-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 7-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 8-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 9-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 10-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 11-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 12-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 13-- bookspoils


Overall, I’d highly recommend you give this incredibly sweet collection capturing the special bond between little kids and their big dogs a go. (I found myself fighting tears more than once.) And I’ll always cherish photography collections that encompass the meaning of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And this was it… This was so it.

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

Publication Date: January 10th, 2017

4/5 stars

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

Review: Why I March by Abrams Books

I truly couldn’t have been more happier when I gracefully received my physical ARC of Why I March. In fact, I was so over the moon that my mom took notice and became curious when I showed her the beautiful book:Why I March 1-- bookspoils(I even painted my nails to match that gorgeous cover.)

We ended up browsing this powerful accumulation of photographs together, which made it that more precious for me. I’ll just never get tired of reading powerful collections about feminism and supporting immensely important causes (see: Why We March & Nasty Women).

On January 21, 2017, five million people in 82 countries and on all seven continents stood up with one voice. The Women’s March began with one cause, women’s rights, but quickly became a movement around the many issues that were hotly debated during the 2016 U.S. presidential race–immigration, health care, environmental protections, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights, among others.

Featuring images of people in snow gear in Antarctica; women holding “Love Trumps Hate” signs in Durban, South Africa; and little girls in the street of New York City; Why I March is organised by continent and showcases the recurring themes of inclusion and intersectionality that the March so embedded.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite pieces:

Why I March 2-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 3-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 4-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 5-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 7-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 8-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 9-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 10-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 11-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 12-- bookspoilsMy favorite, Uzo Aduba!!!

Why I March 13-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 14-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 15-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 17-- bookspoils


I think it goes without saying that I’ll cherish this book for a long time to come. And also, let’s be real, show it to anyone who’s in my near proximity. My love runs so deep that I wasn’t even mad when I received a painful paper cut from flipping a certain page wrongly…

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

Expected publication:  February 21st, 2017

5/5 stars

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