The Future by Neil Hilborn | Review

Genre: poetry

Pages: 100

Rating out of five stars:

fire

I’ve long wanted to read Neil Hilborn’s first collection of poems “Our Numbered Days” after first watching his slam poems or spoken word pieces a few years ago. I was taken with how honest and passionate he seemed like, often talking about mental illness, being diagnosed with OCD and bipolar disorder. This second collection of poems contains much of the same subjects, as Neil draws from his everyday life.

From the first poem “How do you sleep with an IV in?” I was completely here for it. I started reading this book while I was in the hospital with a lot of pain, perhaps not on accident as I knew Neil would talk about his own struggles and I needed something to connect with. I’ve read this book again afterwards, to be sure I liked it and was surprised by how much I marked and highlighted passages. Here’s the first sentences of “How do you sleep with an IV in?”:

It’s just for dehydration, the nurse

says. She hangs up this alien bladder

full of fluid so clear that it couldn’t

possibly be from anywhere but space.

The poems are often looking forward, as the title “The Future” might give away. But it looks forward by talking about the past. It wonders what would happen if this one thing was different. It’s about people, about journeys, about love (of course), about being on the road. Overall I find myself really liking Neil’s voice, how he thinks and his phrasing and that’s overall what holds on to me more than the subject of the poems.

Now I tried to pick out a part of a poem, to give examples of how good they are. But my favourites are a couple pages long and you need to read the whole thing to fully get it, so just trust me and get the book, thanks. 

Favourite poems (for now): “How do you sleep with an IV in?”, “LAKE”, “I’m back, not for good”, “Blood in my sock”, “As much wind as possible”, “psalm 12, in which the author alienate his audience”, “The Future” – this one deserves an extra note as I was highlighting whole pages, Neil talks about his brain and suicide, about why he haven’t killed himself yet. He describes killing himself as a “glowing exit sign at a show that’s never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave”. There’s lots of reasons and ways people are suicidal, so many I don’t yet know and of course poems like this doesn’t give you that complete understanding, but they’re an important step in seeing other’s experiences. It feels good to see thoughts like these expressed so well on a page.

Did I forgot to mention I love the poem titles? For those who feel like poems are difficult or lack self-irony, Neil Hilborn’s poems are the oposite of that. I would completely recommend this collection and I wish him all the best. I’m going to read “Our Numbered Days” soon.

 

Thanks for receiving this copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Long Summer Days & Chronic Illness Trying to Ruin Them

I’ve just spent almost two weeks in a cabin on an island, without internet for the most part. Here’s what I learned: I miss the internet only when it’s cloudy and I am bored and need to occupy myself. Which was like two days, because it was thirthy degrees celcius outside and I am not used to this heat. There was only blue sky and blue calm water, nothing I had to remember or worry about. Lots of bathing, catching and then releasing butterflies with my cousin, seeing family I hadn’t in a long time and nostalgia of being reunited with my older brothers. They also lured me up on some mountain in just slippers before they also managed to get lost, but that gave me nostalgia too so I can’t really complain much.

A couple days ago I also got my head back enough for the first time in over a month to start reading Oatbringer by Brandon Sanderson. When I read a hundred pages in one sitting the first time, at 2 am, I was ecstatic.  I’m sure it sounds obvious, but I didn’t realize just how much morphine pain killers fucks with my head until I stopped them. I almost forgot baking lemon cake, fishing, driving boats at high speed and relaxing. It was a dream.

Here’s the recipe to the best glutenfree lemon cake I have ever made, before this post takes a darker turn. 

I hope this all sounds as lovely as it was, but then there’s the part where I just spent almost two weeks in a cabin on an island because one night three days into my stay I could not breathe. *brief pause as I notice a spider on my leg and kill it with my hands, I want credit for that* Anyway, I woke up and noticed something was wrong, an hour later I could not breathe, the tightness in my chest didn’t stop. I was just hospitalized for a lung infection and gallbladder surgery, not to forget I had misplaced my glasses, so I took a weird choice – woke up no one and wandered out of the cabin to get some fresh air. With the phone camera in front of me I then saw the shrubs move and a badger walk out, a distance away from me. I’ve met these badgers before, they are very cute and will also bite your leg until it hears a crack, so I ran for my life. Which looks more like walking slowly, hunched over, when you already can’t breathe.

So the day after I spent eight hours in emergency rooms and then three awful days in the third hospital of the month. The first hospital visit had been a ten days stay on the other side of the country, where I live, the second one for my minor gallbladder surgery I had just days before. This third hospital I had been to before, but I was nowhere near prepared for how awful it would be. I was in less pain than before. The people I shared room with however were very sick, and looking back there’s no way they got enough pain treatment.

One old lady barely stopped crying the twentyfour hours I was with her, both in pain and because she didn’t know where she was. She kept asking me to help her, confusing me with a nurse because of my young age and I couldn’t get up from my bed. That was the first time I lost it completely and broke down crying. Another lady was just bones, she got worse until the final morning she was swatting the nurses hands away, begging and yelling for them to let her just die, why couldn’t they let her just die. The nurses were nice to me, but acted like this was okay. Maybe it was normal to them, but in no way was that okay. Having been stuck unmoving in another hospital bed weeks earlier, waking up crying from pain that lasted hours, even with morphine, something in me could relate too much. I felt so bad for them, and there was nothing I could do. And also at this point, my situation wasn’t getting better either. So I broke down for a second time. I did not stop crying for hours until I had gotten out of that hospital, feeling mentally much worse than when I arrived. They hopefully got rid of my infection though. Don’t think it was worth it.

I also had to go back for a colonoscopy  (google it), where you have to take laxatives which was a minor nightmare as they didn’t work properly. No inflammation in my intestines this time, which means my ulcerative colitis isn’t flaring on top of everything else so that’s some good luck.

I don’t know if one should focus on the good or the bad. On the fact that I still barely can’t walk some evenings because the hospitals never had time or resources to figure out why my joints are swelling, or that I cannot laugh without wheezing in pain. At least I notice very much how often I have laughed these days. But last week I could finally be in the ocean without my body hurting, two days later I could submerge myself in water completely without lungs burning, a day later I could swim! It sucks to be in pain, to so much need a break from illness and having to fight to only halfway get there. This last year, I could probably sit down and count the times I’ve cried. Until now, because I don’t seem to be done no matter how many lovely days I fight to put between me and those hospital stays.

I’ll be back with book reviews soon, I’m so excited to be reading again.

Also I can’t leave my books at my dad’s house, they won’t survive long without rain damage –

Hospitalization & Collecting Books and Never Getting a Chance To Read Them | Bookhaul #1

Hi again! There is this thing I really struggle to write about, for many reasons. And then I always wonder, do anyone care to read it anyway? But I am also on painkillers and bored so here we go-

I am chronically ill, and sometimes it really defines what I am able to do. For instance I dropped one grade in all my classes because I got worse towards the end of the year, The moment exam season finished I got really sick, and turns out I had a lung infection. And then we realized my gallbladder bile duct was enlarged and today I had surgery to fix it. I’m terrified of hospitals yet I have been in one for two weeks, before I got to fly to the biggest hospital in the country for the surgery thing today.

Pain is extremely difficult to describe, and I am not in a condition to make a good attempt at it right now. But I want to share that I’ve had three different mothers tell me gall stones are way worse than giving birth – “I have three kids and I would rather give birth to them again, all in a row”. So while it’s not certain I have gallstones, it’s been a lot of pain. Which is why I haven’t been able to read.

Which bring me back to the books- This is going to be a weird post. I had been looking forward to reading these books for months, I just had to get through exams and end of schoolyear. Now I am looking forward to reading them on a beach somewhere if I ever get out of this hospital.

Physical books

The Lake House by Kate Morton 

The Complete Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I have to admit I bought it only because of the cover, I mean look at it)

Ebooks

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson includes a lot of short stories and novellas from the Cosmere universe like Edgedancer, which I read before starting Oatbringer.

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky was bought because it was cheap.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu was also cheap, oops.

Books from NetGalley

The Future by Neil Hilborn, a poet I’ve followed for a while, but never read his collections.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett, a well-received fantasy, with “industrialized magic” and thieves.

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, magic and a lovely cover.

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara, with pirates!

Summer TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

Why not just post my summer TBR? I am horrible at following tbr’s and do not feel any need to, but most of these books are chosen because I have access to them in the library of the city I am visiting and so this one is more likely than the rest.

 

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

This is a gigantic book, like when I saw the hardcover I laughed out loud in a bookstore. It’s gigantic even for being over a thousand pages. Then I saw the paperback and sighed, it was no smaller and felt like a brick as I carried it around me. I’m so excited to finally start it now after exam season!

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

It’s science fiction, which I’m trying to read more of this summer. The main character Jason are knocked out and wakes up with a life and family he’s never known. Many of my goodreads friends (and then Hank Green!) has recommended it.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

By an author I’ve read and liked, this book hopefully is a intelligent and cute fairytale fantasy for middle schoolers. Am I anywhere close, to those who has read it?

 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Young adult with queer characters and university life and dreams from an author in her twenties. I’m very excited (it also has an average of 4.3 on goodreads).

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Do I really want to read this after reading mixed reactions reviews? Not really. Let me go on a rant about what first put me off this book: it’s a novella of 229 pages exactly. The price in the store was that of two and a half normal-sized books! The reviews came out and that price dropped fast, but if I can get it without paying for it I will read it, just to have an opinion. This series is the only one by Sarah I haven’t given up on yet, so a lot is on the line I feel like.  

 

Wolf Island (The Demonata #8) by Darren Shan

I started reading this series as a kid, and as I am going back to my childhood library I hope to finish it! It’s really fantastic and filled with demons.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I love reading Murakami’s books in the summer, the magical realism always fits and gives a good and mysterious mood. I don’t really want to know much about the books before starting them, just let them surprise me.

 

 

Einstein by Walter Isaacson

I started reading this a year ago and had to put it down one fourth in to start reading my actual physics syllabus. Now it’s summer and hopefully more time for it again!

Six Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman

Speaking of physics, I have it next year as well. I feel like we rush through a lot and the teacher we’ve had until now is good, but he comes from an engineering background and it’s been very focused on appliance instead of theories themselves, if that makes sense. Just trying to get better myself, I guess.

A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I also have more history classes next year. I am going to suffer through it, maybe this book will give me some interest.

 

 

Rare or New Books? | Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Every week there’s a new book-themed question to be answered!

 

June 15th – 21st – You have just won a $100.00 Visa gift card. Will you spend the entire amount on a rare collector’s edition you have always wanted, or buy several newly-published books? 

 

I’m young and would spend it on newly-published books that I wanted to read. I want so badly to one day have a library with all the books close to my heart, but before that I am hopefully moving around, especially to university, and it would be hard bringing everything with me. While I have things I love, I am very aware that I don’t want to collect too many things. Who knows, in the next years I suddenly decide to just travel.

That gift card would be a dream though, it’s free books that I can pick out myself!

Books That Makes Me Want to Travel | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

I am very excited too read others lists this week, because I want to get more recs of “travel” books. I looked through books I’ve read and found few, except for with fantasy worlds, that made me want to travel. So here’s a few unusual ones –

 

Upstream by Mary Oliver

All of Mary Oliver’s poems about nature makes me want to run out and find it (which wouldn’t be too difficult since I live in a little valley village). It also makes me want to never return though.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I don’t enjoy travel photography as much as actually travelling  there and seeing it myself, which I think can be compared to reading about travels. But I really enjoy books like this, where the main characters has to leave abruptly, with little things, because while it’s often not in the best circumstances, it seems like a weirdly freeing feeling.  

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

All of Haruki Murakami’s books makes me want to travel to the places, often in Japan. Here he also writes from a time living in Hawaii and you get to read descriptions from all his good running routes, along with a marathon in Europe somewhere (Greece, was it?).

 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Ok, I tried to leave out fantasy books, but this had a journey that I so wanted to go on when I read it the first time. I might not have been so worried about the danger either if I had Katsa’s skill with fighting.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente 

I mostly added this to the list as a joke, but I would go to space had there been proven other sentient species on other planets. Perhaps not by force, like in this book, but it did make me excited about the future and space travel.

Most Read Authors | Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Every week there’s a new book-themed question to be answered. They seemed really original, short and fun, so I wanted to try it out!

 

June 8th – 14th: What author have you read the most in the past two years?

 

Questions like these makes me very relieved that I’m using goodreads to track everything. Let’s see – I think Mary Oliver and Brandon Sanderson is the authors I’ve read most books from. But since Oliver writes poetry and Sanderson long epic fantasy books, I’ve definitely read most Sanderson in total. He’s such a great fantasy writer that also produces so many books, I’ve listened to him explain how he writes pretty straight forward, with little editing (except when rewriting early books) and it’s almost unbelievable. I’ve also read a couple Haruki Murakami books the last two years, as I just discovered him and I love how he uses magical realism to tell stories. I also found out I tend to spread out what kind of books and genres I read in a year pretty well, it’s not as much fantasy or “just” young adult as I thought.

 

Quote of the Week #4

It’s time for the quote of the week! It feels like cheating to use a quote I’ve definitely posted here in a whole review before. And I don’t know if I should do this on this nice & lighthearted blog, but I want to talk a bit about anger. These quotes of the week are getting darker and darker, all because of Holly Black. Not at all, but I’ve had periods where I’ve been very angry. Basically I’m angry all the time, in varying degrees. Mostly I’m angry at my own body, for not working properly #chronicillnessproblems. Like you got to be able to be angry at yourself for not being able to walk all of a sudden one day, and that’s me this whole week.

*This blog post is brought to you by another heavy week of trying to find out if I have arthritis or another connective tissue disorder, you are warned*

Also, I was at the hospital two times this week and they had made an (half-hearted possibly) initiative for patients and their families to write notes with “things they considered important at the hospital” to better it. I wrote two of my own, and hanging mine up I noticed so many of the others also saying “to be listened to” that I got angry right there. 

This is a good point to say that I am in real life a calm and collected person, if a bit introverted. I am nineteen years old and really aware of how I interact with people and trying not to bring so much negativity and anger into that. Anger isn’t good, but it does get you to act and think (in that order), it’s better than absoloutly nothing which too often seem to be the alternative. In the quote the main character soon walks out and makes choices that leads to a lot of deaths, so I want to distance myself from that thoughtprocess. But I’ve definitely been there with “fuck consequences, I am done caring about how you see me right now”.

I really relate to people not realizing how angry I am, which is good most of the time. Until I am angry in a doctors office and they continue to talk down to me. When I get angry I get tears in my eyes from holding it all back, like all muscles are tense from not running or yelling and I am literally crying. Confuses a lot of adults, my whole life. Where were I going with this? Sometimes you have to be careful who the anger gets released at, maybe this doctor isn’t the doctor/person that deserves it. I think here’s where the “give up on regrets” comes in. I rarely let my anger out at people randomly, but the few times it happens I’ve wondered how I was able to get back from being in that state of pure fury. I am not sure I was able to before I had some kind of closure with the problem behind it. Maybe that’s why I am angry now, I let myself be angry at things I cannot change or figure out right now.

In the end, anger is what has gotten me places the fastest, which I find disheartening. As a nineteen year old I can come with as fitting arguments as I please, but if a mind is made up, I am usually too easy to brush off with no consequences to that person. And when it’s in a doctors office, it’s even worse, because it will have detrimental effects to me and I know it. I’m good at arguing, in debates at school and outside, because I’ve had to since being a sick kid in doctors and teacher offices, always with a lot on the line. And if you care enough, at some point anger seems to be expected. I hope not, because I find it sad and the recipe for turning people bitter, but I’ve seen people yelling getting so much further than playing nice. At the same time I am in too many of these hospital offices each month to lose it at every one and still stay sane.

Why do people react to anger so weirdly? I guess it makes sense that you don’t want to see a person sad, but you definitely don’t want them angry because then it might have consequences for them. So then things get solved. I have a love hate relationship with that quiet anger that can be a driving force behind things, and I think I will continue to have it for a while.

blog

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes | Review

Pages: 450

Genre: young adult fantasy

Synopsis

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.
But what if death finds him first?
Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.
The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.
The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.
No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back

My thoughts

Rating three out of five:

I enjoyed this book for the most part, especially in the beginning as Thomas are thrown out of magic school and seeks his father Guy Fawkes to get his mask he needs to connect to a colour and get his magical abilities. As he gets dragged into the gunpowder plot to assassinate the king, we learn with him as readers, and I thought it was well-done without too heavy information dumps. Then the middle part arrived and I started to get bored, and confused.

the characters 

The interactions between Emma and Thomas lead to them both learning and one wasn’t there just for the others behalf. Emma is very determined, which I liked, and it’s obvious what kind of girl the author did not want her to be, even if she’s under the care of wealthy people and without measures to get free. We get to see a lot of Thomas’ journey in the middle part of the book, and there were some moments of clarity I really liked. Emma could show him another perspective, his father showed him the gravity of the situation and the Gunpowder plot, he himself saw the conditions “his people” the Keepers were under as they were executed. The moral dilemmas he went through really had something to say for the ending of the book and it was interesting seeing that journey he took.

That said, I had a few things that didn’t sit right with me in this book. As much as I liked Emma’s determination and strong will, it made her very predictable as a character. I’ve read other fierce female characters who avoided this, and when you know she’s going to follow, or eventually break out of other’s control, it makes her plotline very obvious. Still, her fighting people and Thomas standing there silently cheering her and being impressed was awesome. 

 

The author really spelled out what she wanted to include in this book, like literally on the last pages or afterword. I would not mention this had it not also been very obvious throughout the book. She wanted to show a historical fiction where a female character finds her independence, with moral dilemmas over those in power and including and raising questions around slavery and treatment of people of colour. And all that’s great, but those things had a very streamlined, straight-forward and predictable route even as the plot itself had its twists and was interesting done. It felt too one-dimensional in comparison to the rest of the book, perhaps to make sure the points were clear enough.

the stone plague

Through the whole book I realized Thomas being plagued was like a portrayal of illness/injury and how it can change identity and be an insecurity. Emma talks to him about not letting her darker skin define her, and that conversation was really good. At the same time, with the exception when he’s stabbed and plagued for the second time, he doesn’t seem to really feel it physically. Like he’s worried about people’s thoughts, obviously as it makes him a target, but he’s not in pain and when it’s mentioned how his skin turns to stone it’s more like the skin is a bit tight which sounds so unbelievable. I don’t think the author did anything wrong, it’s just one of these smaller things that doesn’t make sense to me. Let me tell you, as I’m typing this my fingers are hurting because of joint problems, you cannot have a plague turning you into stone and not be in constant pain or uncomfortable, if that’s not explicitly stated. 

 

the damn White Light

Then it’s White Light as a concept. I’ve read enough Sanderson books to consider it a god in this world (not that I’m comparing books here). But do you want a Light who is able to talk to and know everyone? How the hell would we have the plague in the first place if White Light could guide people like he did with Thomas? The moment I realized Thomas was supposed to have as much power as Dee who had studied it for so many years, when the Light could give him (and possibly others) its god-sized ability, that reduces the credibility drastically. It’s a known trap in fantasy, like that moment made it obvious whatever side Thomas was on would win and ruined the whole finale. Like Thomas could’ve gotten his father out of prison, definitely. The Light could have a whole army of teen boys out there doing its bidding. Also did it want the Keepers dead? I’m confused.

Everything else is so spelled out that I need an explanation to why you have a god with such powers and ability to bend others to his will basically, who knows enough about people to be witty about Emma’s determination, and it comes down to the ending this book has. The characters never questions its intention.

the ending

The ending really didn’t work personally, it was apparent that the gunpowder plot would not go down in the book either, the fact that Thomas didn’t tell his dad about Dee’s bad intention made barely sense in the beginning and the characters went out of character for the whole ending, the way I see it. Thomas could have flipped a switch and become very secure in the White Light, fine, but the rest of them … I was done.

The feeling this book gave me: intrigued, but never satisfied with a big finale or explanations

Thanks to publisher Thomas Nelson for receiving this copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books I DNF Recently | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

Before I didn’t usually stop reading books, but then I realized it was limiting what books I chose to pick up and give a chance. I read to get something positive out of a book, if it’s not for me I won’t go through another two hundred pages of that. So here’s some books I recently put down before finishing.

 

 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

I did not give this book a fair shot. Something about the writing made me understand that I would not think about anything else than how much it got on my nerves. I do not remember what I expected starting this book, but vikings are close to my heart and home and I just went “nope, this seems like the tv version, not for me”. DNF at 10%

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The writing was very lovely with carefully phrased sentences and some mystery behind it, then the plot never takes off, neither does the characters. They see a snow child in the forest outside the house. Wife finally believes man, wife goes slowly crazy or into a depression? And then nothing happens forever, which was why I was out of there. Hope they have a good life afterwards, but it did not seem like that were the way they were heading. DNF at 30%

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is great. And I could not finish it. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s books, I loved the details in this one, but I could not follow the plot where they’re just wandering the desert and it seemed like there’s some bigger thing I am missing. Will perhaps give it another try. DNF at 70%

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

Do not read this young adult book unless you want to give up on young adult books, is the opinion of a person who reads and likes a lot of them. Good concept, horrible execution, why is it popular. DNF at 25%

Fahrenheit 451

I tried so hard and spent so much time getting through this book, but halfway I was bored out of my mind. I got the concept and the ideas behind it, it might be one of those books that I’ve heard about too much and know just enough about it that it feels like I’ve read it before. Excited for the movie though, I’m sure they’re going to fuck it up even with Michael B. Jordan as the lead. DNF at 50%