Book Haul #2

I rarely buy books, compared to a lot of book blogs. But finally I’ve gathered enough recent buys. Also I just bullet-pointed the interesting parts to me of those synopsis because some make them way too long.

These shallow graves by Jennifer Donnelly

  • Mystery; main character’s dad is murdered and she investigates

A brief history of time by Stephen King

  • Physics <3<3

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

  • I love Murakami’s writing usually
  • Magical realism ❤
  • Set in Tokyo
  • I cannot decipher everything that the synopsis says happen in this book, only that it follows a lot of people, including a writer, a cult, a private investigator, a bodyguard and a women’s shelter?? Is that right? Sounds like Murakami

The body in pain by Elaine Scarry

  • One of my goals of 2019 was to find out how to describe pain, which might sound strange, but makes sense I promise. This was the place to start, according to a lot of sources.

Ebooks:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

  • Set in Dublin
  • Murder investigation following a detective
  • Promising lots of mystery

Demons Lie (A Girl’s Guide To Witchcraft And Demon Hunting #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin

  • Main character out for revenge on mother’s murder
  • Killing demons
  • High school graduation a big thing??
  • Hinting at main character turning darker

A very large expanse of sea by Tahereh Mafi

  • Main character is a muslim girl who’s sixteen living in the US after 9/11 dealing with harassment

NetGalley:

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen

  • About Audrey Hepburn during the Nazi occupation in Netherlands, which I’ve never considered
  • Parents was pro-nazi from what I see from the synopsis
  • Story of how she suceeded as a ballerina

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

  • Rewritten fairy tales

Have you read any of these books? Or bought any other books you’re excited about?

Secrets for the Mad by dodie | Audiobook Review

 

Genre: memoir 

Rating out of five stars:

fire

who is dodie?

Dodie Clark, often just dodie, is a musician and youtuber I follow. Her music is lovely and relatable, her honesty refreshing and she makes videos on topics like mental health and depersonalization, bisexuality and just being a young adult.

the audiobook

I wasn’t rushing to read this book when it was released, which is why I only got to it now. It didn’t feel like a book I needed to read from what I gathered, but it got good reviews and when I found the audiobook I was sold. dodie’s voice is lovely and calms me, which is weird to admit. Her phrasing of thoughts is good as well.

The audiobook is great! I highly recommend to listen to memoirs this way, especially if the author is narrating it like this one, and you like their voice. It’s the person telling their story, with all the emotion they have about it visible. 10/10 audiobook, especially as some chapters include songs that fits with the times and ideas she’s talking about. It was my favourite parts and reminded me why I love her music. Also it was nice that all her friends voiced their parts in the audiobook, giving another perspective on dodie’s life.

what it’s about

The book felt aimed at teenage girls especially, as dodie takes a lot from her own experiences and those she is told from fans. The first chapter, one I really liked, is about how she was writing and a girl found her, told dodie her story of struggles and anxiety and dodie gave some advice, shared some experiences. I think that’s very transferrable to the content of the rest of the book.

I loved the song-parts and when she described them. I realize that I’m more interested in how she thinks about the world as a young adult in the business she’s in, something I get through her youtube videos and songs. In many ways this feels like a book that is written too soon, but at the same time it might be people out there that really needs it, if only for the idea that everything, every situation is temporary, much more temporary than it feels when you’re fourteen and not in control of your daily life. And for that alone I’m glad this book exist and is out there spreading that message.

Comparing this book to other memoirs I’ve read, it has a lot less to say and less new information or personal experiences to share, because dodie is already an online personality. Lately, after the book was published, she’s openly questioned how much to share, but I feel it’s a real thing in this book as well. She doesn’t seem to pour herself into it, like her music lyrics. But it fulfills the role of comforting and giving advice to young people, along with other smaller things like giving a bit of backstories to songs or times in dodie’s life. It’s a book that I expect is important for certain people, which is why I give it a good rating, but I didn’t personally gain a lot from it. It could also be that I felt like she was telling a story I in many ways already know, between having followed her casually and having been a teenage girl. 

My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey | Audiobook Review

“If you can’t dream big, ridiculous dreams, what’s the point in dreaming at all?”

This book was ridiculously inspiring.

Genre: memoir

Rating out of five:

fire

My thoughts

This book is a lot about fighting, about Ronda’s routine, mindset and training, which I expected, but also about her background in judo and life growing up, dealing with struggles like her dad’s accident and then suicide, and all setbacks she’s had fighting and in life in general. Have in mind that it was released before she lost her champion title, I’m just late reading it.

 

Things I learned about Ronda Rousey:

(I already knew she was a strong superhuman)

She can tell a story. I listened to the audiobook, which might’ve increased this even more, but there’s so much power behind her words and looking over the writing afterwards it’s written just how she would express herself. It feels like a nine hour motivational speech/documentary, with tough as well as good times, and it was amazing. I mean –

“The kind of hope I’m talking about is the belief that something good will come. That everything you’re going through and everything you’ve gone through will be worth the struggles and frustrations. The kind of hope I’m talking about is a deep belief that the world can be changed, that the impossible is possible.”

I never realized how emotional Ronda is, even if she clearly says so at the beginning. She cries a lot, and with each time my respect for her grows. It must be difficult to cry in a room with fighters, and then say it to the world with such confidence.

She’s had some shitty boyfriends. Not all shitty, some just with their own alcohol/drug problems, but I wanted to punch most of them. Telling her to be more feminine? Get the fuck out. Who did they think they were dating? Another ex-boyfriend took nude photos of her without permission, which is all kinds of fucked up. Not wanting to let him have that control of her, never knowing if he really deleted them in the end, she did a nude photoshoot.

 

– her backstory –

There has also been some very bad times in Rousey’s life. At one point she had walked out from home while everyone was sleeping, was between gyms and eventually thrown out from friend’s house, without much money. All after being in the olympics. How the fuck can’t olympic athletes earn money to sustain themselves?

When I all of a sudden realized how alone she was, without real possibilities to turn to or even work towards, it was heartwrenching. Had to remind myself it would get better, obviously knowing she ends up in the ufc someday. That’s what Ronda seems to focus on too looking back, that she’s earned good things out of the bad times. She’s never complaining or bitter, but still emotional about certain things.

“You have to fight because you can’t count on anyone else fighting for you. And you have to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. To get anything of real value, you have to fight for it.”

– MMA career –

Other things I noticed was how much anger, or maybe agressiveness, is shown at times, and I certainly understood why she’s a fighter. I’ve always wondered how much of the focus in her mma career was on the sport and being the best fighter she could be and how much was show and entertainment.

Turns out she already had more experience than I thought fighting in judo, and she also was aware it also was about giving a show and personality people that people could be captivated by and cheer for. A good mix, then. She was the first female champion in the ufc, and the one who opened up a lot of possibilities for others.

It’s interesting listening to her future plans and movie roles, from the future knowing she lost the way she did. But in the book she even admits it all might end some day, in an instant. And how she describes every other loss she’s had through her career, I don’t doubt that losing the champion title was extremely hard for her as well.

 

– fighting and bulimia –

In many ways this book is made for a broad audience, but also fighters, becase she describes in detail her pre-fight routines, food and weight loss. She’s quite open about her problems with bulimia early on in her career, but with the more professional team in ufc she got an expert on food around her, which made her realize she could eat nearly normal and still make weight.

She doesn’t say it outright, but there’s clearly tension on the contsraint and unprofessionalism fighting in judo, in comparison to mma. Which makes sense because it’s where the attention and money lies, but it’s still weird.

“Once you give them the power to tell you you’re great, you’ve also given them the power to tell you you’re unworthy. Once you start caring about people’s opinions of you, you give up control.”

– final thoughts –

It’s a book I would recommend to everyone interesting in fighters and sport, or just looking for inspiration to work hard to achieve something. The audiobook was the best kind, a memoir told by the person it’s about, and I would completely recommend that as well, I can imagine it would be great listening to it while working out.

 

 

 

 

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Synopsis

What does it take for a well-off young man to donate all his money and wander into the Alaskan wilderness (north of Mt. McKinley) with minimal equipment prepared? August of 1992 his body was found, four months later. After the author wrote an article on him, he chose to continue investigating what had happened and who Christopher McCandless was. It leads to this book about the events leading up to the event, how McCandless took the name Alexander Supertramp and it wasn’t his first trip alone. He had gone to Mexico and back in a kayak and wandered the US for years, meeting people who mostly got a good impression of him. It’s strange how he affected certain people, even if it’s looked at with the lense of his death becoming a nation-wide story. Alexander himself wrote about his months in the wilderness and took picture of the place, he underlined thoughtful philosophical quotes in books like anyone. But not everyone meets such an unfortunate end all alone, after having eaten something toxic or simply starving to death.

“I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong… to measure yourself at least once.”

My thoughts

to

I didn’t get as much out of this book as I was looking for. Mostly because it’s not Alexander/Christophers story. Obviously, since he’s ufortunately dead. His notes was the most interesting part of this book, along with the interviews of the people who met him. The author adds other similiar stories, some more interesting than others, as well as own experiences. It comes in an odd place that makes it seem more like filler than if it had been towards the end, as an extra information. There’s not enough material to justify the length of the book, which makes the middle part more boring than necessary. Other than that, the authors writing was good. There’s no romanticizing the events that occurred, but at the same time there’s given reasons for why people choose to live solitary, off the grid that way or want to be in the wilderness.

who was this person?

Personally I don’t agree with the voices claiming Christopher to have a death-wish, had overly romaticized the trip or that he’s a hero for doing something so daring and breaking out of the average life. There certainly seems to be elements of all three, he was too unprepared in the end, he seemed to be escaping and he seemed to be spontaneous. He’d already travelled a lot and been on the road, so he wasn’t straight out from normalcy and college. The last person who saw Christopher alive warned him about the dangers as he noticed he didn’t have much gear, even gave him some, but figured he wouldn’t stay out there that long. This is the part of the story where I question how in his right mind Christopher was, and what his plans were originally. But even with this there wasn’t one personality trait or fault that automatically lead to his death. He got unlucky, in the end. I think that’s the main idea I’ve gotten from this book that I wouldn’t have from articles that claim he was one thing or another. People have done stupid shit and survived, even in the wilderness of Alaska, but McCandless got unlucky.

I wonder if Christopher would’ve liked the book himself. Maybe not. I wanted to know what lead to him wanting to spend time alone out there, as well as what went wrong, and could’ve liked a more direct layout of the theories when it became obvious there were no final answer. I would recommend the book if you’re very interested, if not I think articles online or even the wiki page would be a great place to start. I haven’t yet seen the movie “into the wild”, but I’ll keep you updated when I do. I’m expecting that to give a much more “McCandless as a daring hero” vibe than this book, but maybe not.

Have you ever wanted to spend time alone in the wilderness? Can you imagine what would lead a person to do what McCandless did? I’m still wondering why he changed his name, any ideas?