The Girls of Riyadh

By Signe

A couple of weeks ago I found myself at the bookstore. I’m often there, although I don’t always buy something I always browse around, look at frontpages and read blurbs. Sometimes I put the book back on its shelf, and other times I simply have to buy it. This was the case of Rajaa al-Sanea’s, “The Girls of Riyadh” (2007). My interest in this book began because it seemed like a forbidden glimpse into a world that I know nothing of, and I found that to be almost addictive, and I just had to turn another page (don’t you love that feeling as well?)

The book is about four Saudi girls. However, the form of the book suggests that the reader is not merely reading a story, but rather that this story is real. One unnamed narrator, starts an e-mail service in which she depicts the everyday life and struggles of her four friends. She talks about university, parents, clothes and men, but instead of falling victim to the ever-famous stereotypical female stories (we all now them), the writer manages to tell truly honest stories about life. I think what is important to emphasise here is that these stories are apparent in all societies, and I know that I can certainly identify myself with these women, but it’s also crucial to understand that we, and especially being western females, must not fall victims of universalism. Thus, the fours girls’ stories are very much part of Saudi society, and so they cannot be directly translated to a more western idea or notion.

al-Sanea also translated the book originally published in Arabic to English, which gives an indication of just how important it is to translate stories correctly. I also have a vested interest in this subject because I’m writing my bachelor thesis on Orientalism, and so for me personally, the book opened my eyes in quite different ways, I suppose. Have you guys ever read something for fun, and then realised how it could be applied in social theories? I love when that happens!

My favourite part of the book was the description of sex and relationships (and for the naughty, I don’t mean actual descriptions of sexual acts–I find that they’re often hard to translate on paper …). First of all, al-Sanea describes how because of technology, men almost track down women to get their phone numbers and how chatrooms are blooming, and so, for the Saudi girls it’s not only important to find a man, but it’s also important to flirt and to talk. It’s interesting how these technologies become such a huge part of finding a partner, and although everybody does it, it’s still presented as a secretive thing. As these relationships emerge, it’s apparent that many of the girls marry young, but none of them are particularly happy and they all struggle in these re-defined relationships. Arguably, because it’s so easy to pose as another through mediums of communication rather than meeting people in real life, and because of the structure of the society the latter is not an option unless there’s a clear intention of marriage. So, I find that al-Sanea does something rather amazing, as she touches upon these relationships and how they’re formed and how they turn out, as a response to the sex segregation. I also found the idea of sex interesting. One character (I will not name her) legally marries a man (there’s a tradition for a legal marriage, a period of waiting and then the official wedding) and has sex with him because she wants to and she can’t stop, and afterwards the ‘husband’ leaves her, divorces her, but more importantly enables her to overcome this divorce-taboo. Thus, she emerges as an incredibly strong woman, and I think this is a pattern that we can all identify with on one level or another as readers, and so, I found the following quote to be especially poignant:

“Apparently, all men were the same. It was like God had given them different faces just so that women would be able to tell them apart.”

* * * *

I give this book a four out of five stars. I loved the format, the stories, the mysteries, the relationships, the travels, the glimpse of an unknown world, but more importantly, I loved the characters and how they were described each with their own little flaws and characteristics, which made the book colourful and come alive in a different way than I’ve experienced before.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles

Okay, so The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Doyle’s four novels about Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson and their extraordinarily exciting adventures. Furthermore, it is the third and longest novel about Sherlock Holmes that I have yet to read. I have read a few (more like half) of the 56 short stories so I was interested to see whether I would find this longer novel to be too long. It wasn’t.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes is met with a seemingly sinister and supernatural case. The late Charles Baskerville is believed to have been killed by a devil-beast in the form of a hound. There is a legend among the Baskervilles about the hound and all descendants are warned never to venture out into the moor when dark outside. Now, after the death of Charles Baskerville, his only heir seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty right hand man, Watson.

What I really liked about this novel is that I had no idea of what to expect from the plot and storyline. There were things that I found to be fishy but it wasn’t one of those novels where you already know the ending two chapters in. What really held my interest was the hound. Having read a quite a few of the Sherlock Holmes stories resulted in me thinking “But it can’t be an actual supernatural beast! I mean, it’s Sherlock Holmes!”. However, during most of the book, I was truly in doubt. Now, I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that I found it to be well thought of and to be pulled off well.
One of my only complaints of this particular Sherlock Holmes novel was the absence of Sherlock Holmes in the middle of the novel. But I loved the way in which he reentered the story! Holmes is such an interesting and amusing character and I just love the dynamic between him and Watson! So, for me, a bit of this dynamic was lacking (just automatically as Holmes wasn’t there) but even thought Holmes didn’t join Watson in the countryside, we still see signs of the dynamic:

“I am certainly developing the wisdom of the serpent, for when Mortimer pressed his questions to an inconvenient extent I asked him casually to what type Frankland’s skull belonged, and so heard nothing but craniology for the rest of our drive. I have not lived for years with Sherlock Holmes for nothing.”

Something about this made me laugh—out loud. I think it’s the though of Watson being all sneaky and distracting Holmes by something as simple as asking him a question about something he finds interesting. Anyhow, even though I would have liked a bit more Watson-Holmes comedy, I really liked the novel! There was a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue, some horror and grit. As always, not all was as it appeared (obviously a pretty standard feature in a mystery novel) but it was very fun to figure it all out.

****

I give this novel four stars. If it had had a little bit more of Sherlock Holmes, it probably would have been 4.5 stars but there’s no use crying over spilled milk (And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is way too far away to care). It’s just a really great read! So if you’re thinking about reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I would definitely recommend it! Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories or novels? Which was your favorite? Let me know!

–Dzenana

 

Gone Girl (and the Cool Girl)

By Signe

Gone Girl (2012), a thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn, is possibly her most famous novel. I’ve read multiple of her other titles, but none have moved me as much as Gone Girl. Admittedly, I do find myself ambiguously loving and loathing (although loathing might be too strong a word to use here) this book, but, in retrospect, Gone Girl was also one of the books that I’ve read the fastest because I simply couldn’t put it away. Let’s be honest—any book lovers out there—is there really a better feeling than that? As I finished the book, I also physically threw it across the floor (possibly scaring my then-roommate a bit) because that seemed like the only rational reaction after reading that ending. Now, I won’t spoil too much of the book (admittedly, I probably will), as I’ve decided to focus this review on the function, notion and concept of the “Cool Girl”.

Amy and Nick Dunne are a dysfunctionally married couple. None of them are supposed to be reliable sources (the book is divided into three—Amy, Nick and the truth), and so when the perfect wife Amy disappears the reader automatically believes that Nick killed her. However, when Nick tells his side, we learn that he cheated on her and so our picture of him crumples, and I found myself asking—did he really do it?

  What is at the epitome of this novel, however, is why Amy disappeared. She lived a seemingly perfect life in a perfect suburb with a perfect man, and I realised that maybe this perfection drew her to commit such a crime. Because in truth, framing your husband for the murder of yourself is one of the cruellest acts (especially if we consider how she did it—for instance, she wrote a fake journal depicting her life with a violent man), and so, nobody believed Nick when he said he didn’t kill her. This might propose that what Flynn is actually trying to say is that when marriages or relationships fall apart we might resort to crazy things to keep up appearances or get out of it as the superior one. However, if you’ve read the book, you’ll also know that nobody gets away from this marriage. And why is that?

Perfectionist Amy is obsessed with being a “Cool Girl” (and this is also my absolute favourite quote from the book!):

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’)”

And although I deeply apologise for such a long quote, it’s also important. Thus, Amy’s obsession with being a “Cool Girl” is a result of the direct opposite—she’s tired of being a “Cool Girl” because there’s no substance to it. As much as she tries to be, her husband doesn’t value her efforts (or doesn’t care), and so a “Cool Girl” is the reflection and performance of being a perfect female. And so, I think we ought to look at bit more at Amy’s actions and try to abandon the manipulative aspect—because she herself was manipulated into being someone that she’s not.

Amy Dunne grew up as “Amazing Amy”. Her parents wrote a children’s novel based on her, and so, for all her life she’s been fictionalized and an object, and so, when her marriage to Nick reached a critical point and a realization that her objectification was inescapable, she decided to write her own story and give up the “Cool Girl” act—because she no longer found herself willing to put up with Nick.

As mentioned in the introduction, this is such an ambiguous book to me because I really loved it (although I hated the ending—which to be honest, I probably shouldn’t—and so maybe I’ll revisit it after this post). But what I loved most was how on-edge Flynn puts her readers and it’s almost like I was an active part of telling this story, and I find that to be very unique and I cannot recall if I’ve ever had that sensation or experience after finishing Gone Girl again. As such, I’ll give this book four out of five stars.

****

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Written by Dzenana

Cath and her twin sister Wren are starting their freshman year of college. The problem is Wren has reached that stage in her life where she wants independence, adventure and not to be part of a duo so Cath is pretty much alone. Well, not totally alone though. From Goodreads: “She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

I’m not entire sure where to begin… So let’s begin with the cover! I mean, come on! I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’ll admit that the purchase of this book was mainly based on the simple, cute and gorgeous greenish cover.

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I loved the color of the cover, the color of the title and especially the drawn characters. This cover just screamed “fun light read!” with its pastel coloring.

However, do not let the pastels fool you! Yes, this is a fun, light and quick read, but it’s also really well balanced. It has a lightness to it while dealing with real life problems and realistic characters that are absolutely relatable. One the one hand we have a snarky, door banging roommate, gay fanfiction, a hubba-hubba super friendly guy and on the other hand we have social anxiety, abandonment and manic depression. The fact that this novel can still be considered a light and fun read is a feat in itself. The balance of being light and fun while dealing with serious issues is also reflected in the way it has drama in it without becoming downright dramatic. I really liked Cath’s character development and I found it really interesting to see her open up despite her social anxiety and to learn to deal with being herself in a place; to see the process of her opening up to new people (Levi and Reagan), new situations (her writing assignment) and simply learning to accept herself and push beyond her (rather limited) limits.

 

Just to mention a few of my favorite passages and parts:

“Walking to class, Cath couldn’t shake the feeling that she was pretending to be a college student in a coming-of-age movie.”

This was the part that really drew me in! It was just SO relatable – I mean, I literally felt the same way my two first semesters of freshman year!

Then there’s Reagan – the roommate who’s out all hours, has about a dozen different boyfriends (or so Cath thinks) and has a habit of slamming doors and kicking them open:

“Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.”

“I can’t help it,” Reagan said. “You’re really pathetic.”

“I am not.”

“You are. You don’t have any friends, your sister dumped you, you’re a freaky eater … and you’ve got some weird thing about Simon Snow.”

 

I just adored this moment. Cath and Reagan’s heart-to-heart. Or you know, the closest thing to it. I love Reagan’s honesty. She’s a cool, collected, no shit-honest.

 

Relatable characters and snarky (somewhat bitchy) roomates are all good, but let’s be honest. My favorite part of Fangirl was Levi. How could it not be? He’s so amazingly friendly! So outgoing – exactly the kind of person that makes you go “I like that guy. I want to be friends with that guy.” within ten minutes of meeting him. But my abslute favorite thing about Levi, other than the eternal smile plastered on his face, his knight in shining armor attitude and the fact that he really is interested in Cath’s gay fanfiction, is the fact that he had a receding hairline. That was just a little quirky attribute that I loved (absolutely adored). And to be honest, please don’t judge me too much, I kind of liked the fact that he kissed another girl. Levi is seriously in danger of being too close to perfect.

 

Last but not least, the fanfiction. As a (former) avid Harry Potter fanfiction reader, this part of the book totally hit home with me. And I actually read Carry On and really liked it. Even though the magic was kind of weak and parody-like.

 

                          ****

 

I gave Fangirl four stars because I really liked it. It was so good and I would definitely read it again (even though this was actually a reread). And I would recommend it to anyone liking: books, fun and light books, romance, fantasy, fanfiction, coming-of-age stories, snarky roomates, adorable too perfect love interests etc. Just read it

What did you think of Fangirl? Have you read it? Did you like the Carry On, Simon parts? Have you read anything else by Rainbow Rowell? (Awesome pen name, btb.)

The Devil Wears Prada and the Portrayal of Women.

By Signe.

Hello, Bad Book Bitches (or Beautiful Booklovers, if you don’t feel quite comfortable with our name yet).

I have the honour of posting the first ever book review on Bad Book Bitches (I’m forever grateful, Dzenana), and I have to admit that I’m equally existed and scared. I’m thrilled because it’s finally happening (we’re finally posting real content), but scared because I don’t know what’s going to happen and where this will take us. And so, this review is the culmination of weeks of hard work and meetings, immeasurable amounts of chai latte, discussions and frustrations as we’re finally ready to go live.

With this honour of being the first, I contemplated for a long time of what to post. The first is always the most anticipated (at least for me), and so, I wanted to choose a book with characters that most of us could identify with. I wrote a review of a great book that’s important to me, but re-read it and felt like something was not quite right. Not right now, at least. With this initial disappointment, I thought long and hard about which book to choose, and I kept returning to one title that formed me growing up. First, I displaced this thought because I thought it was too easy just to choose something that I’ve always loved, but then I realised that this is actually what Bad Book Bitches is about—honest reviews of books that we love. The chosen book is one that I’ve kept returning to: I’ve re-read the yellow pages, I’ve felt the pink cover and traced my fingers along the title The Devil Wears Prada ever since I was maybe thirteen years old. But most importantly, I’ve been inspired by the main protagonist, and I’ve always wanted to be her—Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine—even before I understood that her mean attitude was not a personality trait, but a tension between how we perceive men and females in chief positions.

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I’m not sure which is more famous: The movie version from 2006 starring Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt, or the book from 2003 written by Lauren Weisberger—a somewhat true tale of her time as a personal assistant to Vogue-boss-lady Anna Wintour.

The book opens with Andrea “Andy” “Ahn-drea” Sachs, a recent Brown University graduate who moves to New York City in the hopes of creating a career in publishing. She aspires to work for The New Yorker, but is nevertheless hired as Miranda Priestly’s personal assistant and doesn’t care about the superficial world of fashion. Much of the book is reserved for Miranda’s dragon-like attitude, her way-too-high expectations and how much Andy works to gain just a little bit of respect—but somehow always fails to. For example, Andy questions the choice of a “blue” item, and Miranda Priestly delivers, possibly, the best comeback ever written.

“… This … stuff? I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and select out—oh, I don’t, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? … And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic, casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.”

With this, the reader realises that “this stuff” is not just fashion or a piece of clothing, but part of making sense of the world. More importantly, “this stuff” represents how vital Miranda Priestly is, and what crucial world she plays in fictional New York City.

What I’ve always found to be interesting about this book is the portrayal of Miranda. On the one hand, she is cynical and not especially sympathetic towards her assistant. On the contrary, she is an extremely strong leader (I mean, come on, she runs Vogue … or, “Runway” I mean). Honestly, I think that Weisberger’s portrayal of Miranda as a dragon and witch is not fair. I find it ironic that women are still unable to be portrayed as leaders and therefore, the writer’s resort to less appealing characteristics. But maybe Weisberger did in fact what to comment on this societal issue by portraying Miranda as a cold-hearted woman. It’s interesting because when we look at the portrayal of men as leaders, they’re not cold-hearted, mean, evil or over-the-top demanding. Why is it that the female protagonist has to be portrayed like this?

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Throughout the book, Miranda demands that Andy picks up the right cup of coffee (obviously the right temperature as well). The right steak (that’s thrown out because Miranda didn’t feel like eating it anyways). That Andy’s always available (Miranda calls her whenever she wants or feels like it). And, of course, that Andy gets a copy of the newest Harry Potter book (not even published yet). And we see how Miranda (remember, female boss, the emperor of fashion capital) is still defined in relation to her husband, who wants a divorce. Miranda is diminishing—and I find this portrayal so wrong.

Weisberger actually had a chance of portraying a strong woman, but yet she fails to escape stereotypes and more importantly, men. Nevertheless, it’s still my favourite book because I’m aware of this issue of representation, and because I can recognise how strong Miranda is, and I think we should all strive to be her.

I find it difficult to rate this book because I’m ambivalent towards it. On one side, I love the characters and what they represent, but on other hand, I don’t particularly love how it’s written or what Weisberger focuses on. Therefore, I’ve landed on three stars because my overall impression was that I liked it.

***

OUR TBR FOR 2017

Hey Bad Book Bitches!

Another day, another post (are we allowed to write this, considering the fact that we only have two posts on the blog?!). Anyhow, this is our TBR for 2017! These are the books that we want to read because they sound awesome or interesting. Now, we won’t necessarily read all of them and we won’t necessarily only read the books on this list! (Actually, we’re currently both reading books that aren’t on the list). But these are books we soooo do want to read!

Since we have different literary interest, this list will be divided into two:

Signe:

  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  • A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
  • Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
  • Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

 

Dzenana:

  • Raven’s Shadow Trilogy by Anthony Ryan
    • Blood Song
    • The Tower Lord
    • The Queen of Fire
  • The Hounds of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
    • The Assassin’s Apprentice
    • Royal Assassin
    • Assassin’s Quest
  • The Riyria Revelations Trilogy by Michael J. Sullivan
    • Theft of Swords
    • Rise of Empire
    • Heir of Novron
  • The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (The Dark Tower #2)
  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)
  • The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin
    • The Passage
    • The Twelve
    • The City of Mirrors
  • Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #3)
  • Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger #2)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzin

 

What are you guys reading? What is on your TBR? What is just THE book of the year for you?

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TOP 5 BOOKS WE READ IN 2016

It’s a new year (not a new us) and before going into all the books we’re looking forward to read, and have already read in 2017, we’ve decided to make a little top 5 of the books we read in 2016 and simply LOVED (maybe not in capital, but we did quite like them).

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma 

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Set in the 1990s in Akure, Nigeria, The Fishermen, is about four brothers. After an accidental meeting with a local madman, they’re lives are changed forever, as they one by one have to face death in one sense or another.

I loved the book because Obioma is an extremely good writer, and because the story depicts something that we all have to go through at some point–the inevitability of death.

The Merman by Carl-Johan Vallgren

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The Merman takes place in Sweden and centers around a girl called Nella. Nella’s mother is an alcoholic, her father is in prison and her little brother is bullied at school. Nella’s best friend Tommy and his brothers have a secret, and when she figures the secret out, she faces a mind-blowing and ruthless reality.

This book was above and beyond anything I ever expected from a book featuring merpeople. I picked it up in a library in Normal-Bloomington, IL on a whim, thinking it would be a fun summer read (also I’m hugely into mermaids.)
This book was absolutely horrible: the unbelievable cruelty of Gerard and his never ending game of cat and mouse was simply stomach churning. I loved the merman; the description of him, his kindness, his vulnerability – I particularly liked the fact that he was luminous. It is probably the most cruel book I have read. However, I did not much care for the translation of the book (too much british slang) as it interfered with my enjoyment of the book but the story definitely made up for it.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

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The Final Empire is about Vin, who joins a thieving crew and their ploy to overthrow the Lord Ruler. This book has everything: a thieving crew, a heist, a rebellion, an undercover mission into the heart of court, romance, magic, death, a cruel dictator/magic emporer and so much move. Brandon Sanderson creates a magical world with a new magic system: alomancy. Alomancy is a form of magic that is utilized by the consumption of various metals and “burning them” from within.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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This is a common favorite (recommended to Signe by Dzenana – she’s eternally grateful, btw.) The Name of the Wind is an amazing fantasy novel about Kvothe. The book is divided into two narratives: 1. Current time: Kvothe tells the story of his life and how he fucked everything up. 2. Kvothe fucks everything up.

The fantasy world in The Name of the Wind is an adult magical world with a lot of adult content. We experience death and loss, we experience the harsh reality of living in complete poverty and we experience a man who has lost all will to live and has given completely up on himself. But the book isn’t all sad and serious. It also features magic lessons, a magic school, good friends who are up to no good i.e. drinking, gambling, lady chasing and everything else that has to do with being a teenager.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

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Kindred is a science-fiction novel set in both the 1970s California and 1810s Maryland. The main character, Dana, has to face her African-American heritage, and question if she’s truly no longer enslaved by white patriarchy.

I loved the book because it is new take on the slave-narrative. The time-travel dimension offers the reader a closer connection to the character, because we see her as both a contemporary woman (like us!) and as a slave trying to survive and become free (and literally loosing limbs in the process). Something that is still relevant to consider in this day and age.

*Disclaimer: All cover photos are taken from amazon.com.

Who would have thought it was so hard to set up a blog?

Yes. This is a blog about books, and yes, it should have tons of reviews. But before we get to that, we have to set up the blog. That is proving to be exceptionally hard. Why, you ask, are we having such a hard time doing something that any 12-year old can do?

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First off: Where’s the tutorial? We thought setting up a blog would be much like a Facebook profile or an all-you-can-eat buffet! Follow these simple steps, choose what you want and boom – you’re done. But… apparently, it’s not. It’s more like clicking around frantically until you finally come across something that works—only to lose it again ten minutes later. For example: How do we find the categories? For some reason, they seem to disappear every time we need them. So, we just spent an hour frantically clicking through all the menus. We don’t even remember where we found them, and we hope that we’ll never have to look for them again!

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Overall, the process has been really long. And exhausting, and has included the best falafels in town, tons of Chai Latte and croissants. But it’s also really exciting, and we can’t wait to start writing (like, for real).