Rachael - Page

Born To Read (And Reread)

I learned to read well late (around age 8). I've been trying to catch up ever since. I read to visit far off places, to learn about language, culture, and how people think. I read to argue until I better understand where I'm coming from and why I believe what I believe. I read to fall in love and to learn what I want in relationships. I read to learn how to write better. 

Essentially, I read to learn how to live outside the pages of books. 

Summer Time Sadness: Books for Bawling at the Beach

Summer time, and the living isn't easy for everyone. If you count yourself among the heartbroken, the over heated, or those prone to serious sunburns, try one of these books on for size and stay indoors or in the shade. Stay hydrated, my friends.

<p>This powerful graphic novel asks the question: what was Christ doing those three days before the Resurrection? But this book packs many other questions into its brief page count. Be prepared to look deeply at yourself. Be prepared for tears.</p>
<p>The author's only novel, The Bell Jar tells the semi-autobiographical story of Esther Greenwood. She wants to be a writer, but also feels strongly the responsibility of becoming a wife and mother. Add to this that she's dating an absolute drip of a guy, and feels her life unraveling, and you have a recipie for the great American novel of depression. For all this, the writing comes across as conversational, even humorous. Don't eat avacados with crab salad (trust me) as you read/listen to this classic that feels contemporary even decades after it's publication.</p>
<p>Imagine someone came up with a way to remove pain from our lives. What would be the cost to those who had the procedure? What would cost would befall those who didn't undergo it? And what if the procedure had unanticipated consequences? Definitely a great one for a day when the pool gets rained out. &nbsp;</p>

My Unread Shelf Part 2: What I Actually Read In Summer 2023

TBR, more like TBD. In Summer 2023, I was prepared. I had a list of books to read. And then, I didn't finish any of them. Will I? Someday, maybe. 

Here's what I actually read last summer. 

<p>A bachelor uncle takes the young folks in his family on a hike to the makeshift museum he began years ago. He looks back at his life, he relates with his nieces and nephews, great-and great-great. What he discovers when they reach their destination surprised me, pleasantly.</p>
<p>As a curly haired little girl, the frustration of trying to tame my curls resonates. Even combing was a trial. The protagonist of this middle grade graphic novel gets it. Every Sunday, her mom makes her go to the salon to have her hair chemically straightened. How she comes to care for and even learn to love her hair and what it represents unfurls with verve and compassion.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Dan Santat's award winning graphic novel, based on his trip in the summer after middle school to Europe, has everything. First love, museums, first heartbreak, unfamiliar Fanta varieties, and more.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Feeling out of place, wanting to be an artist rather than a musician, and disappointing her mother while also contemplating whether or not she wants eye fold surgery as a graduation present, the heroine of this semi-autobiographical graphic work brings life to every page.&nbsp;</p>

My Unread Bookcase: Summer 2023

There are two kinds of book people: those who read in an orderly fashion and those who have a bunker list. I fall into the latter camp. I collect books. New, used, reissues; I love them all. But so many  of them catch my eye that I have a long list of back catalogue and of coming soon I want to read. This list contains some of the old and some of the new ones I look forward to…

I've been slowly making my way through this classic of 20th century fantasy. This summer, I plan to finish the trilogy. Gotta get through this one first.
In Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, the main character, Catherine reads this book at the suggestion of a friend. I considered that recommendation one for me, too.
Her book On Immunization injected my mind with information that never got boring. I think this one might also be great.
I adore Elantris. I dig Legion. I need this book in my head.

This Book Contains A Book

Authors frequently reference their favorite books, but these novels contain books that don't exist in the world outside of their pages. 

Reading this, I wanted to read the book the characters read.
Even if you've seen the movie (which I suggest if it's your jam), the novel and the relationship the protagonists and the author of the book within the book shine on the page.
In this book, the work within it is a graphic novel, unfinished but beloved by a very cult fanbase.

Beyond Stone Soup

I don't know what to say here, but I want to click save. 

<p>The individuals and families that live in an apartment building in Paris make a modern and decidedly French variation of stone soup.</p>

Angels And Demons And Vampires And Ghosts

When the leaves start turning and the air grows cold, enjoy a shiver, whether new or old. Whether out of fright or delight. 

When a young boy's sister is born, complications endanger her life. They've also recently moved house and so in addition to worried, he's lonely. While exploring the old shed on the property, he discovers a man. With wings.
One Halloween night changes the lives of a group of friends forever.
Romantic, gothic, autumnal in the extreme; this book full of magic, fandom, and love.
A vampire road trip, a trip into the protagonist's personal past, and one of the darkest love stories to ever hold me spellbound.

But, Have You Read: Lesser Known Works of Well-Known Authors

For every "Pride and Prejudice," there's a "Lady Susan," a work maybe from early in an author's career, maybe long lost and later published after the author's death, maybe just not made into a Hollywood blockbuster or made into a flop. If the book's not known by everyone yet, it makes it so much cooler when you meet another reader who loves it. These books are some I love that I rarely…

Sally Lockhart (yes, this is where Rowling got the name from) is a young woman out of step with her time. Not raised by her father to run a house and raise a family, she's good at math and solving mysteries that would stump Nancy Drew.
Lady Susan Vernon is a worse person and better villain than Mrs. Norris of Mansfield Park. A conniving widow, determined to marry off her daughter to a silly man and to marry very well herself, this early work of Jane Austen offers a glimpse of the shape of things to come.
A teenage girl who loves walking at night becomes a DJ. In the process she learns that love and music don't always mix well, as well as important lessons about trust and dedication. Read with a soundtrack that makes you want to dance.
Graham, perhaps best known for her work on "Gilmore Girls," also writes a coming of age novel with élan. Romantic, but not a romance, funny but not quite a comedy, this novel asks the question: how long is too long to spend on your dream?

Bang Your Head: Mental Health in Fiction and Non-Fiction

Whether it's inherited or the result of trauma, or a mix of both, mental illness and mental health matter more than ever. Some of these stories are from the perspective of friends or family; some are in first person. What connects them all is a need for help, the knowledge that help doesn't always come, and, if and when it does, it doesn't always look like you might suppose.…

Famous people get depressed. The elderly get depressed. Mismedication hurts. Depression hurts. As the title says, the award-winning novelist makes the darkness visible and also tangible in this slender volume.
I read this for the first time when I was in high school. It cracked open my world and my heart.
Eye-opening, thought provoking, funny, and strange. This book also taught me how to recognize the symptoms of an anxiety attack. From the author of The Men Who Stare At Goats.
When people commit heinous acts, it's easy to brand them monsters. In this graphic memoir, Backderf recalls (and researches) his time as a high school friend/bully of the notorious serial killer Jeffery Dahmer. Thought provoking, painful, and at times deeply uncomfortable, it is nevertheless humane.

Judging Books by Their Titles

These books aren't all the most heavily awarded or lauded. Most will never be assigned in school. What they have in common are great ideas, characters you'll wish you could invite over, and titles that are clever, mysterious, or just weird enough that you have to know what they mean. The only way to find out is to open them up and read. 

It's been said that if you're not worried, you aren't paying enough attention. This book by acclaimed author Matt Haig looks at our very nervous time and says, maybe we are paying too much attention to the wrong things. Maybe the stress we are feeling is affecting the world we live on. And, maybe we can change that for the better.
Normandy and her friends form a Truth Commission. They want to ask the questions no one asks and find out the truth about their classmates. The consequences reach farther and deeper than any of them expected.
In addition to being a book of poetry made by crossing out the words on a page of newsprint that don't make a poem, this volume contains a brief and fascinating history of this poetic form.
When their horrid headmistress's Sunday dinner leaves the students of Prickwillow Academy unsupervised and concerned for what will happen to them next, devious plots (yes, more than one) spring up to keep them together and alive.

Hey Baby, It's Christmas All Over Again

Christmas isn't just a time of year. It's a feeling. It's a story we get to live in, a movie we watch that changes the air around us for the better. 

Every so often a new classic of the season arrives. This slender volume gets my world-weary heart in the Christmas spirit.
When Death takes over as the Santa Claus of the Disc, he needs his granddaughter Susan's help to keep the world as they know it from falling apart. And you thought your Christmas was stressful.
A holiday classic for young and old with Marley and Marley, Charles Dickens, and Rizzo the Rat. Is it really Christmas without "A Christmas Carol?"
A bearded gentleman steps in after a drunken Santa gets fired. The classic and still best version of this film, it just gets everything right.