September 2018: All the Books I (Re-)Read this Month & Am I Joining BookTube?

The month of Tishri (or, September) was full of Jewish holidays, from Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot to the Fast of Gedaliah and Yom Kippur, granting me all the rest days to just sit down and devour these books in single sittings. Surprisingly enough, I delved mostly into rereads this month, save for three, given that those are all my physical copies of books. In total, I read and reviewed seven books:

Movies that made my month:

This was pretty much the month of being in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before universe. From watching the Netflix film adaption and reviewing it in detail here, to rereading the trilogy after craving more and more of the same cute, contemporary vibe.

My Patreon:

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After much deliberation, and upon watching Ariel Bissett’s vulnerable video on the topic, I decided to create a Patreon with the goal in mind to start creating BookTube videos in the near future. I’ve had the thought circling in my head for the past year, and I’m hyped that the idea is starting to formulate itself into a more concrete shape. I’ve already started noting down any exciting book-related topics to feature that I personally haven’t seen discussed before (aka the Jewish side of BookTube).

Before all that can happen, however, I need help in making this a stable reality. If you would like to participate in this creation, join me on this exciting new road and make a pledge through my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bookspoils

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That was my reading wrap-up for September, thank you for reading! Let me know your thoughts down below in the comments. How was your reading month?

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Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell, or Fate, Time, Television and True Love

The funny thing with Landline is that I didn’t even fully mean to reread it, I just started the first few pages and then bang I was flying through it in true Rainbow Rowell fashion (see: Why I Fangirl over Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (Spoilers: Levi)). I felt like I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet, filling myself with one more page, one more…

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless.

TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past; all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. And hope he picks up — because once Georgie realizes she has a magic phone that calls into the past, all she wants is make things right with her husband, Neal.

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over. . . . Does Georgie want to start over?

A heart-wrenching—and hilarious—take on fate, time, television and true love, Landline asks if two people are ever really on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway.

Also funny is the fact when I first read Landline, back in 2015, I came out of it thinking it was my least favorite Rowell book, simply because at that time in my life I couldn’t have cared less about married people. But with this reread now, coming after three years, I can’t get enough of family-based stories. So I was delighted to discover how with time my perspective had changed and matured to the point of gobbling up every little detail concerning the marriage chronicled in here.

It’s so hard to capture all that I loved (because there’s so many specifics) but I tried my best by including it all below:

  • Rainbow Rowell’s signature humor is ever-present and on-point.

“It was so rare to make Neal laugh. . . .
Georgie used to tease him about being a waste of dimples. “Your face is like an O. Henry story. The world’s sweetest dimples and the boy who never laughs.”
“I laugh.”
“When? When you’re alone?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Every night when I’m sure everyone is asleep, I sit on my bed and laugh maniacally.”

I was trying to find the best way to describe the humor, when I stumbled upon this interview between Rainbow Rowell and her audio narrator Rebecca Lowman, discussing the book:

Rowell: “…You know what, I don’t like punchline, sort of zingy humor. So I’m not drawn to comedians who are very big. I like people who are just sort of talking and they’re funny when they’re talking. …”

This. This is exactly it.

As well as this quote from the book on savoring what we hold precious:

“I put it in my Save Box,” she said.
“What’s that?”
“It’s actually just a box. I, uh . . . I hate that feeling, you know, when you’re thinking about something you’ve read or heard, and you thought it was so smart at the time, but now you can’t remember it. I save things I don’t want to lose track of.”

This right here hits the core on why I write such extensive notes during my reading.

  • Georgie’s office scenes with Seth (and Scotty) reminded me then why I had such a hard reading this book the first time. They weren’t my favorite scenes since no one was shining or bringing anything new to the table. In particular, Seth threw me off my game at the end because I feel like he was flexing, what Reagan in Fangirl so lovingly calls, his best friend muscles just to remind everyone that he came first. I’m not a fan. Also: He can’t write anything decent down without Georgie around, which makes him a true Nick.

“They were supposed to end up together, Seth and Georgie.
Well, technically, they had ended up together. They’d talked every day since that first day they met.
But they were supposed to end up together-together. Everyone thought it would happen—Georgie had thought it would happen.
Just as soon as Seth exhausted his other possibilities, as soon as he worked through his queue of admirers. He hadn’t been in any hurry, and Georgie didn’t have a say in the matter. She’d taken a number. She was waiting patiently.
And then, one day, she wasn’t.”

  • And since we’re on the topic of my favorite Rowell book, I was so keen on reading about Neal and Georgie together because it felt like we were seeing Cath and Levi chronicled from Levi’s perspective. Georgie is the one initiating all contact with Neal, making sure she can get a laugh out him (at least one), whereas “solid, stolid” Neal is a tough nut to crack, similar to Cath with their difficulty establishing eye contact and needing a barrier between them, such as drawing cartoons (in Cath’s case, reading fanfiction out loud) to distract. And lucky for him, Georgie doesn’t want the easy thing. To paraphrase Attachments, she likes to work a little harder to get the thing she really wants.

“He’s the guy in the Life cereal commercial who hates everything. If Mikey likes you, you know you’re good. If Mikey likes you, it means something.”

  • The concept behind ‘once we notice something, we see it everywhere’ is beyond fascinating to me, so I liked how subtly Rainbow Rowell incorporated that shift between the two:

“How had she missed Neal until junior year? He’d started working at The Spoon as a freshman, same as her. Georgie must have seen him, without really seeing him, dozens of times. Was she that sucked in by Seth? Seth was extra sucky—pushy and loud, always demanding Georgie’s attention. . . .
But once Georgie noticed Neal, she saw him around the office constantly. She’d try not to stare when he walked past her desk on his way to the production room. Sometimes, if she was lucky, he’d look her way and nod.”

Rowell excels at procuring real authentic moments.

“Can we go back and start over?”
“How far back?” Georgie tried to fold her arms, but she was still holding that stupid Zima.
“Back to the wall,” he said. “Back to you walking across the living room toward me. To you saying, ‘I’m surprised to see you here.’”
“Are you saying you want to go back to the living room?”
“No. Just go ahead, say it again now.”
Georgie rolled her eyes, but she said it: “I’m surprised to see you here.”
“You shouldn’t be,” Neal said. He lifted his chin and looked directly in her eyes. For the second time in five minutes. For the second time ever. “I’m here because I knew you’d be here. Because I hoped you would be.”

That moment when people stop playing games (Gemma Collins echo) with one another and just present their real selves… Showing someone you’re keen on them and having it reciprocated is a grand gesture.

I equally loved those tiny, intimate moments sprinkled throughout their married life:

“Stop. You’re blowing my mind.”
“Oh, I’ll blow your mind. Girlie.”
“Are you flirting with me?”
He’d turned to her then, pen cap in mouth, and cocked his head. “Yeah. I think so.”
Georgie looked down at her old sweatshirt. At her threadbare yoga pants. “This is what does it for you?”
Neal smiled most of a smile, and the cap fell out of his mouth. “So far.”
Neal . . .”

As well as featuring really beautiful metaphors with flowers, like: “Pizza girl’s name was Alison, and Heather’s face followed her around the room like a sunflower chasing daylight.”

And: “(Neal’s face was like a flower blooming—you’d need time-lapse photography to really see it in action. But Georgie’d become such a student of his face, she could read most of the twitches.)”

  • Regarding the major plot line of the magic telephone, I could only think of this:

To give some background, this quote led me to it: “Georgie exhaled when she heard Neal’s voice, then resisted the urge to ask him who the president was.”

  • I’ve been holding off, but I really have to end on the most epic cameo to appear in this book, featuring my all-time favorite couple: Cath & Levi. I really thought before starting that it wouldn’t hit me as hard because I’ve already read it before. But it’s been so long and LEVI’S STILL SO GOOD.

“Can we help you find something?” someone said.
Georgie turned. It was the ecstatic young couple. Still hanging on each other, as if neither of them could quite believe the other was finally here.
“Taxi stand?” Georgie said.
“You’re looking for a taxi?” the boy asked. The man. She should probably call him a man. He must be twenty-two, twenty-three; his hair was already thinning.”

My boy is all grown up. bookspoils“Wait a minute.” The boy got out of the truck, then hopped back inside thirty seconds later with his duffel bag. He unzipped it, and clothes spilled out. He started heaping them in the girl’s lap. “Here,” he said, pulling out a thick, gray wool sweater. “Take this.”
“I can’t take your sweater,” Georgie said.
“Take it. You can mail it back to me—my mom sews my address inside everything. Take it, it’s no big deal.”

LEVI GOES OUT OF HIS WAY TO MAKE SURE GEORGIE GETS SAFELY TO HER DESTINATION (on top of the snowy hill).

And Cath caught up with Levi’s good habits along the way because when they notice Georgie’s shoes not having foolproof cover from the Omaha snow, this happens:

“Oh for Christ’s sake,” the girl said. “You can wear my boots.” She reached for the floor. Georgie noticed she was wearing a small engagement ring. “You can have them. I don’t even like them.”
“Absolutely not,” Georgie said. “What if you get stuck in the snow?”
“I’ll be fine,” she said. “He’d carry me across the city before he let me get my feet wet.”

Levi would do it in a heartbeat!! Cue my tears.

I really thought that time would pass and one day I would be ready to move on. But these characters are my home, and I’m never going to stop missing them.

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Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55I’ll close off by sharing this beautiful alternate cover for Landline, which has the best details from the book; the Polaroid!!

Source

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Landlinejust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Cute Boys, Late Summer Nights, and Blossoming Friendships

My umpteenth reread of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl made me realize how compulsively readable the contemporary books that made my 2014/’15 were. So the queen of the genre, aka Sarah Dessen, had to make a comeback for my next reread.

They just don’t make them like this anymore. I’ve yet to experience a new summer contemporary read that receives the surrounding hype of Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss, Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, and Dessen’s The Truth About Forever. Reading this made me recall how I achingly miss that feeling of fun and ease those iconic books that scream of summer provided when I needed it the most. I mean, remembering my reading experience of these books now feels like sifting through teen memories, and even though I didn’t encounter the described events personally, I experienced so much joy reading them that they simply feel like mine. And it’s exactly this rush of emotion that I haven’t felt in a while with a YA book.

Now, I definitely feel the keen need to revisit more of the kind in the near future. But in the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of things I adored within this reread:

  • The tiny random moments of resemblance Fangirl shares with The Truth About Forever (I had to note it down with the former book still so fresh in my mind): Wes’s pickup truck coming to save the day (Levi’s red truck), Macy’s denying invitations (Cath), Bert pushing the doors with too much gusto (Reagan’s quirk).
  • My favorite catering crew to exist in fiction, aka Wish Catering, with their tiny mishaps somehow always solved before the night is done. I definitely had to rearrange my expectations when it came to them since I recalled the dynamics between the crew a tad different, but still, they were so good.

“They honestly seemed to believe that things would just work out. And the weirdest thing was, they did. Somehow. Eventually. Although even when I was standing right there I couldn’t say how.”

  • One of my favorite scenes arose out of Macy sharing with Kristy her experience of being in a relationship with Jason, whose constant need for perfection makes her fall short again and again in his eyes and consequently makes her doubt her every move… So Kristy makes sure to pass onto Macy her confidence.

“—would totally want to hear say she loved him. You’re smart, you’re gorgeous, you’re a good person. I mean, what makes him such a catch, anyway? Who is he to judge?”
“He’s Jason,” I said, for lack of a better argument.
“Well, he’s a fuckhead.” She sucked down the rest of her beer. “And if I were you, I’d be glad to be rid of him. Because anyone that can make you feel that bad about yourself is toxic, you know?”
“He doesn’t make me feel bad about myself,” I said, knowing even as my lips formed the words this was exactly what he did. Or what I let him do. It was hard to say.
“What you need,” Kristy said, “what you deserve, is a guy who adores you for what you are. Who doesn’t see you as a project, but a prize. You know?”
“I’m no prize,” I said, shaking my head.
“Yes,” she said, and she sounded so sure it startled me: like she could be so positive while hardly knowing me at all. “You are. What sucks is how you can’t even see it.”

It brought to mind this empowering exchange from Skam

  • The ongoing “gotcha” scare game shared between the two brothers, Wes and Bert, reminded me of the trailer for the upcoming film Tag and the true story behind it, titled: I’ve played a game of tag for 23 years. The game came from a bad period in life that later blossomed into a more concrete focal point for the brothers.

“Truthfully, it’s just this dumb thing we started about a year ago. It pretty much came from us living alone in the house after my mom died. It was really quiet, so it was easy to sneak around.”

“Plus,” Wes continued, “there’s just something fun, every once in a while, about getting the shit scared out of you. You know?”

  • Speaking of, seeing Wes care for his younger brother, Bert, who’s beyond nervous to go to a very important engagement (…Armageddon club), was a huge sa-woon worthy moment for me.

“Calm down,” Wes said, stepping around me into the room and walking up to Bert. He untangled the tie, smoothing the ends. “Stand still.” Then Bert and I both stood and watched as, with one cross, a twist, and a yank, he tied the knot perfectly.
“Wow,” Bert said, looking down at it as Wes stepped back, examining his handiwork. “When did you learn that?”
“When I had to go to court,” Wes told him. He reached up, plucking the piece of tissue off his brother’s face, then straightened the tie again. “Do you have enough money?”
Bert snorted. “I prebought my ticket way back in March. There’s a chicken dinner and dessert. It’s all paid for.”
Wes pulled out his wallet and slid out a twenty, tucking it into Bert’s pocket. “No more cologne, okay?”

  • I do have to mention, though, that after the initial excitement slipped away, I couldn’t help but notice the few irks that came to bother me: the way Macy’s mother was characterized, Kristy barely appearing after Macy and Wes grow closer, Wes himself not being given enough character building so that he essentially resembled a mirror image to Macy (both have lost a parent, both have a bf/gf on hold, both can’t accept a compliment, etc.), and it was too unequivocally convient to feel real. And then it also hit a bit of a rut when the catering crew, who were one of the biggest highlights for me, didn’t appear in the following scenes.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55Overall, I had a nice walk down memory lane by rereading The Truth About Forever, but the memory of the book still holds more appeal for me than the actual book.

I did, however, really enjoy this Rex Orange County song that gets the mood of this read:

I’ll find a spot that’s just for me and see if I can cope without An ounce of pain, without an ounce of pain Said the likelihood just frightens me and it’s easier to hide But I can’t ignore it endlessly, eventually things die

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Truth About Foreverjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!