Angola: A General Theory of Oblivion Review

Title: A General Theory of Oblivion
Author: Jose Eduardo Agualusa
Translator: Daniel Hahn
Publisher: Archipelago books

BlurbOn the eve of Angolan independence an agoraphobic woman named Ludo bricks herself into her apartment for 30 years, living off vegetables and the pigeons she lures in with diamonds, burning her furniture and books to stay alive and writing her story on the apartment’s walls.

Almost as if we’re eavesdropping, the history of Angola unfolds through the stories of those she sees from her window. As the country goes through various political upheavals from colony to socialist republic to civil war to peace and capitalism, the world outside seeps into Ludo’s life through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of someone peeing on a balcony, or a man fleeing his pursuers.

Me: Before anything else, hi! So sorry about the sudden disappearance - the last few months have been a time of a lot of change and just growth for me, and I've also been doing quite a bit of reading. I'm glad to be back!

I was completely blown away by this book. It's been a while since I've discovered such a gorgeous, thoughtful piece that also reads so easily.

Mini Reviews: Karate Chop (Denmark) and Savage Theories (Argentina)

Today I'm back with two books to share with you. After a little break from the Read the World challenge, I'm now feeling completely energized again to get on all these books. These two were from a huge stack I picked up at the library. 

The first is a collection of short stories from Danish author Dorthe Nors called Karate Chop, and the second is a grand sort-of novel by Argentinian author Pola Oloixarac. Here are my thoughts!

The Incendiaries Review: A Letter to R.O. Kwon

Title: The Incendiaries
Author: R.O. Kwon
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Blurb: Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe. 

Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe's Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he's tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.

Me: What did this book mean to me? I feel like I could best express everything in a letter to the author, R.O. Kwon. So here goes...

FEMLIT: The Power Review

This month for FemLIT, we decided to read a book that's been buzzed about a lot since last year: The Power by Naomi Alderman. Here's my review of it!

Talkin' About: Reading & Re-reading

Hey! Welcome back - today, I wanted to talk about a topic that's been increasingly relevant in my bookish world: re-reading. 

FemLIT: My Thoughts on Milk & Honey and "Insta-poetry"

This month for FemLIT, we finally caught up to the trend and read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I'd been aware of its categorization as a feminist work of poetry, and though I had my severe skepticism, I thought it was worth giving a read...possibly so I could critique it even more. 

I finished the book in two sittings, had some thoughts, then went on twitter and had a tiny angry rant. 

To put it simply, I cannot stand Rupi Kaur's poetry, or basically any "insta-poetry" for that matter. 

Just Kids Review

Title: Just Kids
Author: Patti Smith
Publisher: Ecco

Blurb: IJust Kids, Patti Smith's first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work--from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry. 

Me: The most stunning, inspiring, sincere memoir I've read.