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. 

My Unread Bookcase: Summer 2023

9 months ago

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

1 year ago

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

10 months ago

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

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

Angels And Demons And Vampires And Ghosts

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

1 year ago

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

2 years ago

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

10 months ago

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.

A Sorta Fairy Tale: Retold and Revitalized

3 years ago

Whether you are a kid, a teenager, or an adult, fairy tales possess an irresistible allure. Some frighten and moralize. Others enchant and engage with real world issues in long ago or far into the future. All of them are for someone, though not every one is for everyone. 

When the villain gets the chance to speak his piece, the shift in perspective can change everything.
A far stranger "Sleeping Beauty" than Walt Disney imagined. Definitely for older teens and adults.
This retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" looks at weaving, parental deception, and the importance of knowing your true name. It has a sequel named (what else?) "West" that fans of the first volume will want to check out, too.
Steampunk, romance, vampires, and fairy tales mash up in this first book in an ongoing series.

Long Story Short: Short Stories For Long Winter Days

1 month ago

C. S. Lewis wrote that you couldn't get him a book long enough or a cup of tea big enough. I see where he was coming from, but during the busy holiday season, and the slow aftermath, there are moments when nothing but a short story will do. Not every story in these collections worked for me, but the ones that did keep me rereading them and looking for more from these excellent writers.…

<p>"Midnights," "The Fox and the Lady," and "Jenny Han's" story are my favorites in this holiday themed collection of short love stories, but there are several other great ones herein.</p>
<p>One of my favorite things about Gaiman's story collections is that he writes a story in the introduction, and in this collection, that story, "The Wedding Present," is my favorite of his ever. So far. Some of these should be handled with care, and some shouldn't be read by those sensitive to graphic material. Don't say I didn't warn you.</p>
<p>"Kissing Dead Boys," by Annette Curtis Klaus, is just one of the excellent and scary stories in this collection.</p>
<p>From three great writers of dark fantasy and horror, this story collection also features author notes on each story about how the stories came to be, as well as the authors comments on one another's work.</p>