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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n


The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

For years, I thought The Shadow of the Wind was a standalone novel. When I learned that wasn鈥檛 the case, I ignored that information for more years. I thought The Shadow of the Wind was pretty nearly perfect on its own, and didn鈥檛 need expanded upon. I鈥檝e read some marvelous books that should have been left alone, that had further books tacked on later that didn鈥檛 measure up to the first, and somehow manage to tarnish that first book. I didn鈥檛 want that to happen to my magical experience with The Shadow of the Wind, so I just ignored the rest of the series for a long time. But then, I found a gorgeous copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits, the last of the quartet, on sale. I had to buy it for the cover alone, because it just captivated me. But I still didn鈥檛 think I intended to read it, or the two books between it and that first novel I had so loved.

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Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very much on the fence about picking up this book. I loved A Man Called Ove and Beartown, but I wasn鈥檛 sure I cared to read about a hostage drama. I鈥檓 so glad I took the plunge, because Anxious People was incredible. Brilliantly written. It doesn鈥檛 quite have the charm of A Man Called Ove or the emotional weight of Beartown, but it鈥檚 a pretty great marriage of both. The prose managed to be both amusing and deeply philosophical in the same sentence, which I found incredibly impressive.

鈥淭hey say that a person鈥檚 personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn鈥檛 true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we鈥檇 never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we鈥檙e more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.鈥

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Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

鈥淭here are worse prisons than words.鈥

The planet lost an incredible talent today. Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n, the author of this truly magnificent book, lost his battle with cancer, at the age of 55. Zaf贸n had a brilliant, gorgeous way with words, and told stories in a way that sink into your bones and stay with you long after you read the last pages. Though he left the world too soon, he left behind him an amazing legacy in the novels that have touched countless readers across our world, which have been translated into more than 40 languages. I鈥檓 so thankful to have read and been touched by The Shadow of the Wind, and I鈥檓 grateful to have the rest of his catalogue in my future.

鈥淲ell, this is a story about books.鈥
鈥淎bout books?鈥
鈥淎bout accuse books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about ta betrayal and a lost friendship. It鈥檚 a story of love, of hatred, and of dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.鈥

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Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata


Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can鈥檛 remember the last time I read a book from cover to cover in a single sitting. I found Convenience Store Woman such a compelling mix of heartbreaking and enraging and delightful. Keiko Furukura is a woman in her late thirties who is completely fulfilled by her part-time job as a convenience store worker. However, everyone in her life is deeply concerned by the fact that she has no relationship to speak of, much less a marriage, and no real career. Keiko isn鈥檛 quite normal and, though she tries her best to mimic those she believes she should emulate, it never seems to be enough.

鈥淵ou eliminate the parts of your life that others find strange–maybe that’s what everyone means when they say they want to ‘cure” me.鈥

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Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman


Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

鈥淗ate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.鈥

I would鈥檝e never picked up this book had I not enjoyed another book of Backman鈥檚 so much. But Beartown couldn鈥檛 have been more different from A Man Called Ove; honestly, I wouldn鈥檛 have even guessed they were by the same author. That being said, they were both masterfully done. A Man Called Ove made my heart swollen and tender in the best way. Beartown shattered my heart and sharpened the fragments into deadly shrapnel that threatened to rip into those I love. It absolutely wrecked me. And not at all in a healthy, cathartic way. No, I wasn鈥檛 myself the entire time I was reading this. I was barely suppressed rage.

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Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I remember when A Man Called Ove first took the book world by storm as a book in translation that everyone should read. Judging from the cover and synopsis, it didn鈥檛 at all seem like it would interest me. I鈥檓 not normally a lover of contemporary slice-of-life fiction. Give me dragons and magical libraries and quests to save the world from imminent doom any day of the week. As with everything, there have been notable exceptions, but A Man Called Ove didn鈥檛 strike me as a contender for that role. I can鈥檛 believe how wrong I was. This is a book that I loved so fervently that I honestly don鈥檛 have much to say about it. My words won鈥檛 be able to do it justice.

鈥淢en are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.鈥

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