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Recently Read: “Boy Meets Depression” by Kevin Breel

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Some memoirs are fascinating accounts of deep introspection, providing great insight into an author’s life and mindset. Others are simply an example of one of the most self-serving forms of art. I have never experienced the latter; every memoir I’ve ever has been an engrossing, intimate look into the author’s emotional life and intellectual processes. Unfortunately, Kevin Breel’s Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Die Live, finally fulfilled that unfortunate stereotype that memoirs, when not carefully handled, make for dreadful reading.

I wanted to like this book. I am passionate about its subject matter and think that, when done well, firsthand accounts of depression and suicidal thoughts can be life changing. They grant insight to readers who might never have felt that way, and understanding breeds empathy, allowing those readers to connect with and support people in their lives who may struggle with depression themselves. Likewise, talking about those issues lessens the sense of isolation for those experiencing it themselves, and that in itself is powerful. Continue reading

All The Light We Cannot See

Recently Read: “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

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Some people do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Some people also do not believe in Santa Claus or eating after 6 p.m. and I say boo on both of those things.

I happen to believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I make them every year and I rarely break them, because I make resolutions that I can actually keep. If that’s cheating then oh well, I guess I’m a New Year’s Resolutions cheater.

This year I’m planning to read 52 books. I couldn’t believe it’s been three years since I kicked off the year I read 100 books, and I’m not quite ready to take on a challenge of that intensity for this year, so I’ll stick with one that will stretch me but not completely overwhelm me. One book per week it is. Continue reading

Recently Read: “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

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If you’ve been stuck under a literary rock somewhere for months and haven’t heard all the buzz surrounding Go Set a Watchman, let me fill you in:

One-hit-wonder-authoress Harper Lee has published a “new” book (i.e. something she wrote in the fifties but is just now being released). For those of us who are fans of To Kill a Mockingbird (i.e. everyone ever), this is great news.

…or is it? (Ominous ellipsis, dun dun DUNNN.)

Some say it never should have been published, and there has been great debate concerning the book’s origins.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet and don’t want your opinion of the book at all influenced by others’ reviews, get a copy and read it first. I read it knowing only that some people were saying it SUCKED AND THE WORST EVER AND THEY HATED IT AND COULD BARELY GET THROUGH IT AND SHE RUINED ATTICUS but had no spoilers or indications about the plot’s direction other than the sensationalist media coverage, and I liked it that way, thank you very much.

If it doesn’t matter to you and you’re going to read it anyway, great. If you weren’t planning on reading it in the first place and you just like reading people’s conflicting opinions, by all means, read on.

Continue reading

The Second Annual Margo Awards

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Welcome back for the Second Annual Margo Awards!

If you need a refresher on the origin of the awards, you can check out the original post here.

Before we begin, I have a few notes about the first awards. Last year I was very on top of things. I had read 100 books in 2013, which was actually what prompted the idea of a books-awards-show-type post in the first place. I had plenty of material to choose from, and I had the post written and ready to go on the night of the actual Academy Awards. I posted it after I finished watching the show start to finish. What a champ.

Unlike 2013, however, I did not read 100 books in 2014.

I read 17.

Yes. That is all. I am sad about it.
Continue reading

And the Award Goes To…

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When I was in first grade, I read 100 books.

It was some school thing and we had all year to do it. I finished early, thereby validating my misguided perception (consistently encouraged by my parents) that I was smarter and better than the rest of the unwashed miscreants with whom I was forced to receive my education.

Just kidding. Kind of. But I was pretty proud of it.

Photographic evidence of my tragically unattractive childhood.

I still have that t-shirt somewhere, but the butterflies are peeling themselves away from the fabric, trying to flutter to freedom, and going through puberty has effectively prevented me from ever being able to wear it again and subsequently funding the bra industry for the past twelve years. (You’re welcome, Victoria’s Secret.)

I am considering making a new one (size-appropriate and sans butterflies), however, because guess what?

I’VE DONE IT AGAIN.

Yeah, you read it right. In 2013, I read 100 books. I’m not talking about The Atlantic Monthly, whose articles I read in about eight sittings to better myself, or all those Cosmo articles I slorped down while I was couch-ridden and flying high on Percocet after I had my wisdom teeth removed. News articles, magazines, blogs, etc. didn’t count for the purpose of this nerdacious challenge I gave myself last January. (Audiobooks were, however, included.  You can’t put 22,000 miles on your car and still have time to read 100 books unless you have a chauffeur. Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

So in honor of Oscar weekend, I am doing my own fake awards show. I am calling it the Margos, because Oscar is a funny name and so is Margo and it’s fun to say. I’m not as funny as Ellen DeGeneres, and I can’t order pizza and feed it to Jennifer Lawrence, but we’re gonna give it a whirl anyway. There will be a bonus picture after each category.

Here we go!

Margo award Continue reading