November 2015 archive

Review: Carry On

From GoodreadsSimon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Erin’s Thoughts: I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t just dying to get my hands on this book.  I mean, I adore Rainbow Rowell, and I ADORE Fangirl.  So a book, THE BOOK, that the fanfic in Fangirl is based on? Sign me up!

The first fifty pages or so had me nervous.  Really nervous.  My brain was shouting, “THIS IS HARRY POTTER” the whole time I was reading.  Then, suddenly, I was sucked in to this delightfully quirky world that Rowell created. While Carry On certainly is a well-crafted “Chosen One” tale, it’s the strength of Rowell’s characters, her sense of humor, and her witty storytelling that make this book the gem it is.  Also…the Baz/Simon romantic scenes? Um…steamy.

Like many of Rowell’s works, I don’t think this will wow everyone.  There always seems to be debate around her titles.  For me, this was such a winner.  If you loved Fangirl, I would definitely pick this one up.  Such a fun way to connect two books together.  And really, if you’ve ever enjoyed any of Rowell’s writing, pick this up.  It’s fun, quirky, and basically everything you could expect from a Rainbow Rowell Chosen One motif!

Review: HONY: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

From Goodreads: In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over twelve million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty-five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.

Jennie’s Thoughts: If you aren’t following HONY somewhere in the social media conglomerate, please start now. This review will wait, go and click that like or follow or whatever button it is that you need to see these amazing stories every day.

This book is very similar to the daily posts featured on HONY’s pages each day. Some of the stories in the book were past posts, actually. But, seeing the photos in person and reading their words on print…it’s even more powerful.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience a glimpse in another’s shoes, or get your heart broken and then reglued and then rebroken over and over, read this. It will destroy and restore your faith in humanity again and again. But I think it’s a thing we all need to see; a chance to hear stories we otherwise wouldn’t know and to see that our lives aren’t the only struggles and successes to be lived.

On Audio Reading

I’ve reviewed several audio books here at We Still Read, so it might surprise you to know that I’ve only recently become an audio book reader. Other than a few books on tape we listened to on long car rides and my beloved Harry Potter audio, I haven’t done much reading via audio.  I have a great love for paper books, and I wasn’t sure I had the attention span to listen to audio.  My mind tends to wander, so I figured I’d struggle to pay attention.

Then, this past spring I decided to listen to As You Wish by Cary Elwes.  His excellent storytelling and narration made paying attention a breeze, and I quickly became hooked on audio reading. My worry about audio keeping my attention was unfounded.  In fact, I have found that listening to audio books helps me zone out in exactly the right way.  A huge component of my job is having conversations with people.  I spend a lot of time carefully considering what I will say and how I will say it.  After coaching sessions, I reflect on how those conversations have gone and plan for the next conversation.  But…sometimes (ok, pretty much all the time), I start to over analyze the conversation and I cannot turn my brain off.  Audio books draw enough of my attention so that I can focus on the story and not on replaying conversations over in my head.

I’ve also found audio books to be a great way to enjoy genres I may not normally choose.  Celebrity biographies, for example.  Not my usual cup of tea when it comes to reading, but they make for fantastic listening!  I’ve also discovered the joy of rereading via audio.  Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy stole my heart when I read it, and getting to enjoy it again on audio was amazing. I’m so glad that I finally gave audio a chance!

Are you an audio book reader? What are some of your favorite books to listen to?