March was unseasonably snowy, which was shitty for life in general, but not bad for reading because I had unexpected free time.

I also worked on an upcoming writing project, which I’m excited to share with all of you very soon.

Without further ado:

Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running a Business without Losing Your Values by Caroline Moore

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I really enjoyed reading a business-focused book that placed value on integrity and community while offering sound advice on entrepreneurship.

Everything about this small book, from the art to the writing style, was sincere. A lot of “punk” branded work is clearly created by a bunch of marketers who did a focus group on those pesky young people. You can smell the contempt a mile away with those pieces.

Punk Rock Entrepreneur was clearly not engineered by marketers. Moore even includes a handy guide on the back cover that helps a potential buyer decide if the book is for them.

Among the questions on the back cover guide: “Are you tired of cliched platitudes being presented as business advice?” with the answer options “No way, I love those” (conclusion: “Nope. Can’t help ya. Sorry”) and “I wish they’d follow their bliss into traffic.”

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

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This was a heartbreaking read, knowing that it is not just Fisher’s latest book, but also her last.

Her modern musings and Star Wars-era recollections are beautifully blended. Don’t read it for Hollywood gossip about her relationship with Harrison Ford. You won’t find it.

Instead you’ll find beautiful passages like this:

“George [Lucas] says that if you look at the person someone chooses to have ‘a relationship’ with, you’ll see what they think of themselves. So Harrison is what I think of myself. It’s hardly a relationship, but nevertheless, he is a choice. I examined all the options and chose the most likely to leave. No emotional investments. Never love for me– only obsession. Someone has to stand still for you to love them. My choices are always on the run.”

I sure couldn’t write like that when I was nineteen, slash now, slash probably ever. She was so brilliant; we have really lost so much with her passing.

“I must be who I am and people adjust to it. Don’t try to rush or influence the decision. Do not let what you think they think of you make you stop and question everything you are. Surely between the various yous, you can find that you not only have enough going for you to keep you going, but to ‘take you far.’ Maybe even to Alderaan and back.”

 

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

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So I knew this would be creepy, but I didn’t know that it would also be lush and oddly gorgeous in parts. If you like immersive books that give you a beautiful setting and seduce you with description, definitely pick this up (and scare the living shit out of yourself). Also, parts of it are completely disgusting, disturbing, and emotionally distressing. If you’ve seen the movie, know that it was a very faithful adaptation… so yeah.

If you’ve somehow made it this far without reading or seeing The Exorcist, it’s the story of a young girl named Reagan, told from her film actress mother’s point of view.

And something is very wrong with Reagan.

At first the signs are subtle: Reagan is cursing at the doctor’s office, complaining that her bed is shaking and that her furniture is moving. And she’s using a toy Ouiji board to talk to someone named Captain Howdy.

As Reagan’s mother, Chris, dutifully rules out neurological and psychological causes, Reagan’s behavior becomes more and more disturbing, finally necessitating her confinement (throwback to Victorian-era conceptions of feminine madness, ex. Jane Eyre and The Yellow Wallpaper). Eventually, a desperate Chris tries to enlist the help of a Catholic priest who is haunted by ghosts of his own. Loved reading this as a follow-up to A Head Full of Ghosts, you can really see that Paul Tremblay loved The Exorcist. As did I.

The Good House by Tananarive Due

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I loved this, I wished it was a thousand pages longer. It’s very creepy and upsetting, but also fascinating, thrilling, and pretty sexy.

The Good House is very Practical Magic meets vodou and other black magical traditions (fictionalized of course, with a list of non-fiction resources for further reading).

Houses carry so many memories. Whether you believe in hauntings or not, a person or an act which indelibly marks the land is a compelling literary concept.

After two years away following an unspeakable tragedy, Angela Toussaint returns to her childhood home, The Good House. The house has been marked by her tragedy and past events that she needs to uncover while the house claims more victims.

Other books:

I (re)discovered Overdrive, the library e-book/audiobook app.

Audiobooks are often prohibitively expensive. I fully understand that there are substantial costs to producing them.

I hope that buying an audiobook translates to fair compensation for the audio engineers, directors, and voice artists and not just another huge cut to someone in an executive office.

I should probably shut up if I ever want to work in publishing. Hire me, guys. I’ll help you market yourselves to disenfranchised millennials.

My point is, Overdrive is great. You can temporarily download audiobooks (as they become available) and they’re free, because: library.

God only knows what’s going to happen to all of our libraries and wonderful taxpayer-funded programs under the interim CEO styling himself as president.

Jesus, just talk about the books, Veronica.

I listened to Watership Down by Richard Adams, read by Ralph Cosham.76620

I almost didn’t admit that I’ve never read Watership Down, because of its iconic status. But that’s just another weird internal shamey thing that I need to get over.

It turns out that getting an English degree makes me feel like I have to perform being well-read when there’s some “classic” that I haven’t consumed. There are so many classics that I haven’t read. I never read Moby Dick, no one is going to knock on my door to take my degree. If you feel this shame, I hope that my admission helps you.

I started reading the print copy of Watership Down a few times, but the audio format turned out to be a better avenue of approach for me (same experience I had with The Goldfinch). This was so beautiful and scary and haunting. Because the book is about rabbits, I was expecting something like the Redwall Abbey books, with which I was obsessed as a child.

As it turns out, this book is not just “about rabbits.” It’s about bravery and friendship. It’s about defying the false safety of conformity. It’s about trusting yourself and knowing that your instincts are worth listening to. I’m glad I read it now, but I think I have a better appreciation for those themes as an adult.

Also, it has some moments of incredible violence that would have really messed me up as a child.

TWs for The Exorcist: religion, abuse, mental illness shaming, violent pre-adolescent sexuality

TWs for The Good House: Huge TW for suicide with a gun in the first few chapters, rape, domestic violence, violence towards animals

TWs for Watership Down: Graphic violence to animals

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One thought on “52 Books Project: March Reviews

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