A Bit Bookish

The name's Luna.
24/Los Angeles/wannabe blogger & researcher
Just another freak in the Freak Kingdom.
A place for me to ramble about books I love... also probably the only blog I'll ever have that will keep its theme. I don't want my page to be a mess so I'm only going to shelve books starting with what I've read in the past year.
I'm not always eloquent, and I'm certainly not pretentious. I am just a huge nerd who lurks in used bookstores and likes to read and do research for fun.
Geeks unite.

Hunger - Jackie Kessler

I just wanted to make a quick blurb about how important I think this book is. 
The story is about an anorexic teenager named Lisabeth who, on the brink of suicide, is interrupted by Death and summoned to be Famine, of Four Horsemen fame. Kessler has written an empathetic and authentic portrait of the psyche of those suffering from anorexia. She also addresses the mistakes that friends and family members can make while trying to help people like Lisabeth, and she accomplishes both of these difficult tasks without coming off as preachy or sappy. While Kessler doesn't shy away from harsh descriptions of starvation and bulimia, Lisabeth has a dark sense of humor and a witty sort of nihilism about her, which lessens the "emotional porn factor", as I call overly weepy and dramatic fiction (thanks, Russell Brand). By the time I finished, I was certain that this is a book every teenager should read.
What makes this book stand out to me is the interpretation of the Four Horsemen

(extremely original) and especially the ending (don't worry, no spoilers here). I'll admit I was at first wary of potential worn-out Christian tropes and a rushed and unrealistic ending. There was absolutely no need- the ending was excellent, and if there's any religious sort of undertone at all in this book, it is definitely Buddhist. 
Overall, a beautiful and important piece of YA fiction in the vein of It's Kind Of A Funny Story that deserves much more attention. 

 

xoLuna

 

 

From the back of the book: 

     "Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."
     Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
     Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?
     A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.

I know I've been gone a million years...

but I hope you guys are still down to be book pals!!! 

 

The past few months have been just lsdkfjaiwfja;sdlfk 

all kinds of craziness. 

We didn't have internet for almost 2 months, so I wasn't able to keep up with blogging at all. But now everything's sorted, we FINALLY have internet and I FINALLY have a new phone that actually functions like a phone in 2016 should, so let's just start over... 

 

 

Hi, my name is Luna, and I'm a booknerd!!  :D

 

 

How have you guys been!?!? 

""Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.""
Why We Can't Wait - Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Phonogram, Volume 1: Rue Britannia - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie

Phonogram is the type of graphic novel that you feel really cool reading. At first it's a little confusing- it does that thing that a lot of fantasy books do where it just sort of throws you into the characters' world without much explanation. Pretty much all you need to know is that it takes place in England in the early 2000's, and the explosive Britpop scene of the 90's has faded into memory for most. Phonomancers are music-obsessed, and their spells and magic always relate to the energy that they feel when they listen to their favorite band, or are a part of a great live show. David Kohl is the Phonomancer that we follow through this volume: snarky, opinionated, and a bit of an ass, he's nevertheless easy to relate to in his struggle to let go of the scene he lived and breathed a few years ago. Even though at first glance he's moved on, his personality is still "rooted there"- and someone is messing with his memories. In order to save his own personality and remain a Phonomancer, he'll have to look into his past and face his future. 

 

Even though I had never heard of most of the bands David and his friends talk about, I can definitely relate to their obsession with music, as I was obsessed with Nirvana and grunge/indie in early high school and part of a fairly active metal scene in the last couple years of high school. Of course, it was nothing compared to the scale of what the characters in Phonogram experienced, but no matter how small the crowd, that energy was always there. And I remember the in-depth discussions of albums, songs, line-ups, live shows we had gone to and long-ago concerts we'd never experience... but our scene faded pretty quickly, and we all sort of faded into our own worlds with it. 

If you've ever felt that skip in your heart upon hearing your favorite song, if you've ever danced or moshed until your whole body felt like jelly and you knew you'd be a pile of useless mush in the morning, if you've ever argued with your whole heart about how music can change your entire being... this graphic novel is for you. 

xoLuna

Today is bringing jazz, bookstagram, burning Sherlock audiobooks for Troy, and finally some in-depth LOTR discussion (gotta get in on that Tom Bombadil!)... now I just need like 4 more cups of coffee so the thinking part of my brain will catch up with the planning-the-day part of my brain. 

Cool things that have happened recently: 

-My boyfriend got a fancypants job selling solar panels! Today's only his second day but he says he thinks it's going to be a good fit. He's a great salesperson and he deserves a better sales job than dang Guitar Center, which is crap on crap on crap. 

-We got the cutest bookshelf ever! I'm going to take a shelfie soon I'm sure. $20 at the Goodwill (even though Goodwill is kind of evil and I try to avoid going there... we're poor, so what can ya do). We also got a Sony stereo, a really really nice one with an I-pod attachment that I'm sure was like $200+ new but that we got for only $10!! I haven't had a stereo in my room since high school and I'm so excited! Our little apartment finally feels homey.
-I recently brought home a whoooole bunch of cool books and went to The Iliad Bookshop and took pictures, so prepare for bookporn! 

 

Not so cool things that have happened recently: 
-I keep getting these weird quick eyeball headaches that hurt like hell then go away really fast- wtf is that? 

 

Hope everything is peachy with you lovely humans! Since the bf's working and I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, I'm going to work on making these my major blog days. :D So I'll be back later. <3

 

xoLuna

 

Phonogram Volume 3 comes out March 22nd!

— feeling excited

 

 

I'm in love with this series and I can't wait! 

Neither Bloody Nor Bowed - Dorothy Parker

They say of me, and so they should,
It's doubtful if I come to good.
I see acquaintances and friends 
Accumulating dividends,
And making enviable names 
In science, art, and parlor games. 
But I, despite expert advice, 
Keep doing things I think are nice,
And though to good I never come-- 
Inseparable my nose and thumb! 

 

Luna's Los Angeles Pt. 4

— feeling love

I was thinking about it and realized that I haven't posted one of these since September! This batch is from the trip my boyfriend and I took on Valentine's Day to the Griffith Observatory- best Valentine's Day ever! 

 

Me on the nature trail outside of the observatory, where we went to take pictures of the city laid out before us. :] 

Los Angeles, my city, my love. <3

The Hollywood sign is a lot closer than it looks in this picture.


The boyfriend taking a picture up on the observatory. :]


Inside the museum part of the observatory there's this beautiful mural on the ceiling above this huge pendulum, which was very difficult to get a picture of. 

Outside after the planetarium show. 

Hope you guys enjoyed these! All of these are filter free, I'm pretty sure. For more pics, follow my personal IG @beat_magic and my bookstagram @a_bit_bookish! 

xoLuna

An excerpt from Dr. E.B. Foote's Medical Common Sense
An excerpt from Dr. E.B. Foote's Medical Common Sense

I finished The Trouble With Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine and I want to write a long, quote filled review that will make you want to read it but I also want to get a post up! I might post a better review within the next week...
To keep it short for now, it's a book mostly about the generations directly following Paine's. Each of the people it profiles had their lives forever altered when they read Paine's work and most of them came in contact with his remains at some point, which were taken from his grave by an enemy turned admirer. It's both inspiring and disheartening to read about these men who were feminists, vegetarians, and who encouraged racial mixing at a time when racial marriages were illegal almost everywhere and even in more progressive places whites still didn't see blacks as their equals. Inspiring for obvious reasons and disheartening because this: 

 

"The very fact that men talk of allowing women this or that liberty is evidence that authority itself has been usurped. As well might a pickpocket talk of giving a port-monnaie to someone from whom he had clandestinely filched it. I tell you, reader, we men have no rights to give women; she possesses naturally the same rights as we do." 

 

...because THIS, written in 1870 in reference to women's work rights and rights to CHOOSE whether to have a child or use birth control is STILL controversial!!! (When I read that I almost yelled I was so excited. I want to go back and time and give this guy a hug... and then unfortunately disappoint him by telling him that we're still fighting for African American and women's rights.)


So all in all, this book got me riled up and excited and pissed off and hopeful and everything else a book should do. Highly recommended to anyone who likes reading about inspiring figures from the past and anyone who has any interest in Thomas Paine, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, or other American historical figures of a similar vein. 

 

xoLuna

The Mysterious Benedict Society  - Carson Ellis, Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society gave me hope for future generations in the way that Matilda probably gave adults hope for my generation. The story is told Harry Potter-style, through the eyes of Reynie Muldoon - a kind-hearted and intelligent kid who actually reminded me a little bit of Harry Potter. His loving tutor encourages him to answer an ad in the paper for “gifted children looking for special opportunities”. After making his way through questions and activities that test his logic and ingenuity and which prove that he values the truth, Reynie is introduced to the three other children who also managed to pass the tests and who eventually become The Mysterious Benedict Society.
The members of The Mysterious Benedict Society are kids that I would actually love to hang out with. They are all orphans, each clever in their own way. One of the main ideas of the book seems to be that there are different types of intelligence and that it takes a team of people who are smart in different ways to take on a big task. Reynie is very smart and well-read, but not encyclopedic- he’s good at solving riddles and puzzles. Sticky is the encyclopedia, an anxious kid with a photographic memory. Kate, abandoned as a baby, was raised by the circus and carries around “helpful” things in a red bucket tied at her waist. She is an adventurer, and her talent lies in her ability to go anywhere and do anything- as long as she has her trusty bucket. Constance is much younger than the other kids and a bit of a mystery- no one knows her backstory. She’s a brat, but she’s clever at it; she’s often composing “rude poems” and managed to pass her test with her snark and stubbornness. They meet the kindly Mr. Benedict and his makeshift family, who inform them that they are the only children out of the hundreds who were tested that have the heart and the mind to be able to take on a very dangerous adventure.
This is where it gets really cool, and where teenagers and adults will find their favorite aspects of the book.  (It’s also where spoilers happen, so I’ll hide this bit.)

 

 

The kids are sent undercover to investigate 'The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened', which seems to be using orphaned children- or rather, using their minds- to relay subliminal messages to the public. Only Reynie and his friends, with their passion for the truth, can solve the riddle of what’s going on at Nomansan Island and only they can stop the evil Mr. Ledroptha Curtain from using his machine to brainwash the world. Upon arriving, the kids happen upon “The Free Market Drill”- a classroom full of students droning:
"The free market must always be completely free.
The free market must be controlled in certain cases.
The free market must be free enough to control its freedom in certain cases.
The free market must have enough control to free itself in certain cases.
The free market…"

Reynie and his friends, with their innocent minds and their passion for truth see this and other drills for what they are-
“Sounds like nonsense to me,” said Constance.
“On a certain level everything sounds like nonsense, doesn’t it?” Jillson said as they continued their tour. “Precisely the kind of lesson you’ll learn at the Institute. Take the word ‘food’, for example. Ask yourself, ‘Why do we call it that?’ It’s an odd-sounding word, isn’t it? ‘Food.’ It could easily be considered nonsense. But in fact it’s extremely important. It’s the essential stuff of life!”
“It still sounds like nonsense,” Constance muttered.

The school is wretched but the children manage to stick to their plans. The other students are the exact opposite of the members of The Mysterious Benedict Society, who are smart, warm-hearted, and passionate about learning. The kids at the Institute all ignorant and below average- they don’t seem to care about one another at all. There are no cozy book-filled rooms like at Mr. Benedict’s – the school is sterile and the employees are robotic. It’s clear that here, children are not respected or valued at all beyond being kept for their eventual use in Mr. Curtain’s brainwashing scheme. Mr. Curtain has big plans for the world, for himself, and most disconcertingly, for those who resist him.
“…these poor souls [who resist the messages] would not only be unhappy – which certainly is tragic enough but might also… cause trouble? Am I right that brainsweeping will not only help them feel better, it will make them more manageable?”

(show spoiler)

 


This book had a lot to say about complacency and learning to think for yourself. The kids aren’t the only ones who are truth-seekers of course, but they are rare- Mr. Benedict goes through hundreds of kids to find them. Essentially, those who seek the truth are those who question everything and who don't automatically believe the media and authority figures just because they have the power. 
There was a bit toward the end that really struck me. Reynie is at the end of his rope and the instruments of Mr. Curtain are beginning to work on his mind. He’s the backbone of the group, but who is there to support him? Exhausted, growing disillusioned and losing confidence in himself, he sends a message to Mr. Benedict. 

Reynie would send one message, one message only. He had never been superstitious, but he decided now that if he received no response to help him, he would give up. Just give up and take an easier path. He wouldn’t have to try to be some kind of hero, wouldn’t have to fail – and soon it would be too late to matter. There would be nothing he could do, no point in trying. It would be out of his hands. Just thinking about it was so enticing Reynie almost didn’t send the message.

This moment reminded me of exactly how I have felt in the face of adulthood and in the face of the world with all its problems. I should be someone who’s out there protesting, not only working to support myself but also working to change the world, standing up for what I know is right and rallying for the cause... But it’s just so hopeless and exhausting and it’s so much easier to just accept that things are the way they are and move on in a daze of complacency. But that’s what the author is trying to get the young ones to understand- if you don’t stand up to people like Mr. Curtain, if you don’t stand up for people like the kids in that Institute who aren’t as naturally gifted and who were never given a chance to be decent human beings, who will? The strong-willed and strong-minded are rare, and if you’re one of them it’s pretty much your duty to stand up the evils of false hope and the distractions of complacency.

All that being said, the plot is fairly simple- it is a kids’ book, after all. There are quite a few points where you can figure out what’s about to happen before the kids do, especially if you’ve read Roald Dahl or Harry Potter. What makes the story so unique are the details, not the overall plot itself.
Anyway, if I was able to write a two page rambling review about how awesome this kids’ book is then you should probably put it on your list! 

xoLuna

 

So I did exactly what I told myself I wasn't going to do and started this book before I finished my other two... but I was just too stoked!! I've only read a couple chapters but it's great so far. Libba Bray definitely knows how to put you there and you can tell she read Fitzgerald and Co. nonstop to prepare. The whole vibe is just spot on. 
[summary]

audreybenjaminsen:

Happy Belated Birthday Harry and Jo! In the immortal words of Hagrid (ones that I live by)… “SORRY I’M LATE!” Wishing you all great big Hagrid hugs! &lt;3 

 

I can't remember if I already shared this this adorable drawing by Audrey Benjaminson, but oh well. I'm back on tumblr for the first time in forever and I just found it again. :] 

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!
xoLuna

Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 288 pages.

The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine - Paul  Collins

A journey through all the places that Thomas Paine's remains passed through. So far it's interesting and does a fairly decent job of using the story of what happened after his death to reveal what he was like in life, but a lot of it is focusing more on the people he was friends with. It's also extremely conversational, which sometimes works and sometimes not so much. Still, pretty enjoyable so far. 

One of my very favorites! 

 

 

Have a beautiful Monday, everybody! 

Paperback Treasure!

Found this at the warehouse- near perfect condition, 1979. I've never heard of these stories before, though I'm sure you long-time Tolkien...ists... Tolkien...ers... Tolkien...ators!! I'm sure you long-time Tolkienators have. :D

 

Reading progress update: I've read 106 out of 485 pages.

The Mysterious Benedict Society  - Carson Ellis, Trenton Lee Stewart

It's kind of crazy but this kids' book has bits that are sort of like... postmodern or whatever. (I guess mostly just because the "The Emergency" is making me think of "The Airborne Toxic Event" in Don Delillo's White Noise.) 
Things are getting a little trippy. I'm addicted, I can't wait to see where this goes! It's so awesome to know that kids are reading unique books like this. 

Currently reading

The Two Towers
J.R.R. Tolkien
Progress: 35 %
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë, Susan Ostrov Weisser
Progress: 126/608 pages
The Man in the High Castle
Philip K. Dick
Progress: 154/288 pages
The Complete Sherlock Holmes 2
Arthur Conan Doyle, Kyle Freeman
Progress: 433/709 pages