May 2018: Books, Vines & TV Shows

Since I made it a reading goal of mine to be more meaningful and careful in the books I pick this year, the amount I read each month has been scaling down. Thankfully, May brought with it some much-needed binge-worthy books to consume. In total, I read six books:

Book Tags: 

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I jumped on the opportunity to answer the Vine book tag with its burning, must-know questions, and it resulted in experiencing THE MOST FUN doing so. Including my favorite combination of books and vine compilations with titles like: “ancient vines i watch with my grandfather,” “vines rarer than a good night’s sleep,” and “vines 2 trick you into feeling happiness.”

Check it out in full here.

BLANK:

After months and months of rewatching SKAM (season two, to be specific), watching all the reactions to said favorite season, and watching all the remakes (except for one*), I was beyond elated to find a new show that is genuinely on par with the iconic content produced in the aforementioned.

BLANK is a Norwegian online series that uses an identical format of releasing real-time clips throughout the week that are then gathered into a full episode on Sunday mornings, to quote from the site that translates the clips.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll start at the beginning by noting that I was a tad apprehensive when I was a couple of minutes into the show since there didn’t seem to be any driving point the main character was heading to. As well as having the plot follow nineteen-year-old Ella, unsure of her future after completing high school and letting life happen to her instead of participating, didn’t do any favors to the developing storyline.

The scenes oddly felt like I was watching one of those “A Week in my Life” videos with the everyday banal exchanges, like, getting home, sending emails, preheating the oven for pizza, accompanying a friend on a Tinder hook up, etc. But whereas those vlogs tend to end after ten-or-so minutes, this first episode was over forty… So just as I was wondering what this show had going on for itself, a certain hooded boy appeared on screen and changed the pace of Ella’s daily life.

Just… I AM SO HAPPY THIS SHOW EXIST, AND I’M KEEPING MYSELF FROM SCREAMING OF JOY.

(Accurate visual of finishing the second episode and realizing I’ve finally found a new favorite show after nearly two years of watching and rewatching SKAM.)

BLANK excels at zeroing in on startling realistic scenes between two people overtly in sync with each another’s presence because CRUSHES TAKE EVERYTHING FROM YOU. Simen and Ella’s exchanges are mostly all non-verbal and there’s just so much power in their glances. Like, watching their every move like a hawk but making sure they don’t catch you looking, or walking by them and sneaking a glance and then channeling all your inner strength to not look back over your shoulder … Just utter happiness at soaking in their presence, not even having to talk. It’s these little moments that make everything so damn real and I am l i v i n g for it. This is exactly what I’ve been seeking: a romantic relationship I can vicariously live through.

Also:

  • I finished the second episode and punched the air from utter joy, like Amy from B99 below, because it ended on Ella walking away like a cool girl while Simen admired her move as he stood by, watching her move away.
  • I haven’t even mentioned the meta moment when Ella’s watching Skam Austin and starts discussing the show with Mats and comparing it to the original… 

It’s just so nice to have a show that makes me feel passionate again because I was starting to feel terrified that it wasn’t going to happen again anytime soon. Same for the books I’ve been reading this year. But thankfully the month of May pulled through with both.

*Germany can piss off before I’d consider giving them views.Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

That was my May wrap-up, thank you for reading!

Review: 5,000 km Per Second by Manuele Fior

It was hard not to take immediate notice of the utterly beautiful cover of this book. When I then proceeded to check out Manuele Fior’s art style, I was completely blown away by his exuberantly-illustrated pages, his eye for color, and his passion quite visibly oozes from the book. 5,000 km Per Second 1-- bookspoils

5,000 Kilometers Per Second tells–or almost tells–the love story between Piero and Lucia, which begins with a casual glance exchanged by teenagers across the street through a window and ends with a last, desperate hook-up between two older, sadder one-time lovers. Executed in stunning watercolors and broken down into five chapters (set in Italy, Norway, Egypt, and Italy again), 5,000 Kilometers Per Second manages to refer to Piero and Lucia’s actual love story only obliquely, focusing instead on its first stirrings and then episodes in their life during which they are separated–a narrative twist that makes it even more poignant and heart-wrenching.

What originally caught my interest from the blurb was the fact that this collection explored the settings of Italy, Norway, and Egypt. I was beyond curious to see these places captured on page, especially with Fior’s talent for the hypnotic and ethereal. The artistry in here is simply phenomenal. I came to anticipate each bold brushstroke and surprising detail with every passing page.

What came to mind in particular when I saw the the color scheme was Lilli Carré’s Heads or Tails, which I’d recently read and loved. So similar to that collection, 5,000 Kilometers Per Second did not disappoint in the art department. The riotous color palette and watercolors were just out of this world stunning. I mean, so beautiful that words cannot even begin to encompass a tenth of it. In particular, it was the attention paid to the tiniest detail that really added depth to the overarching theme.

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Though I wish the story wouldn’t have been cut off so abruptly, since it would’ve given our characters more time to evolve and expand in their little universe, the art had me so wrapped around and (practically) hypnotized that I can’t even begin to delve into the minor negatives. All in all: I have Manuele Fior’s artwork on my radar from now on.

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying 5,000 Kilometers Per Second, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold

“…there’s getting to be less and less of me. Where will it end?”

I was originally drawn to this novella because of the peculiarity of “The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am.” I mean, how am I supposed to pass up a title like that?? And I went on to give it a shot when I saw that the novel was barely over 100 pages. However, I think I misread the blurb, thinking this would be about an old lady discovering something new about life. It wrote: The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am is a macabre twist on the notion that life “must be lived to the fullest.” So I read this and assumed that somewhere throughout this read we would have an adventure-esque trip.

What I got instead was the day to day of Mathea Martinsen, who’s almost a hundred, loves rhymes, and has social anxiety.

“There will be a community gathering next Sunday,” it reads. “All residents must attend!!!!” I gulp and read the rest of the flier as quickly as I can, just in case there’s something even worse there, but I don’t know what could be worse than what I’ve just read.”

And her talents include sorting cards and “also good at starting new rolls of toilet paper, I could unstick the first sheet without tearing it. ”

The trouble was that little to no captivating things occurred throughout, unless you consider it fascinating that Mathea’s tooth got stuck in the cucumber she was eating… Like, here’s literally everything that happened over the course of 100 pages: “I stole from the grocery store, gave Åge B. the time, buried a time capsule, baked rolls, turned up the hot plate, tried to plan my own funeral, tried to become a tree, and then the most difficult thing of all—I used the telephone, which was really too much for me—and yet I’m still sitting here in my apartment and I’m just as afraid of living life as I am of dying.” That’s the whole of it. There’s no exciting adventures, no meeting kindred spirits, no engaging dialogue. Nothing.

The stream of consciousness writing, similar to that of Suicide by Edouard Levé, was unfortunately another negative in my book. It came off as disjointed and difficult to get into. This read would’ve been more enjoyable as a short story than a novella, in my opinion.

Ultimately, The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am just wasn’t what I was expecting, and it didn’t surprise me for the better with it. However, I am glad to have read my first translated Norwegian fiction with this, since I’ve been wanting to check that box off my list for awhile now.

2.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!