Nicole Reads

Nicole Reads

Consumed with wanderlust. Dreams of writing her own novel. Devours books. Fluent in Spanglish. Intersectional feminist.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

 

I am in desperate need to get back on the writing wagon. I don't know why I've been so out of it this year, maybe it was graduating from my undergrad in May and immediately starting my graduate degree this week. Maybe it's something else that I can't think of at the moment, so I needed to get into the mind of a writer and read about her thoughts on writing.

 

Dillard intertwines her daily life and her writing life with ease, sweeping in and out of metaphors with incredible ease. Her thoughts on what writing is and how it impacts your life, how a novel takes years (not months) to be written and many other things resonated with me. However, I expected to find more writerly musings and fewer essays about her life in Washington state. It was easy for me to be distracted at certain points, even if she did paint a riveting picture of the mountains and the fury of Mother Nature.

 

Still, her wisdom on writing is solid and it's worth reading for that alone.

Reading progress update: I've read 68 out of 111 pages.
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

The writer studies literature, not the world. [...] He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.

 

This speaks to me on so many levels. I can't remember when I started to be so picky with what I read, for fear of how it would influence my writing.

Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 111 pages.
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. [...] Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you.

Reading progress update: I've read 31 out of 111 pages.
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

Dreamy prose that is at times difficult to read and live in. Nonetheless, she captures what I associate with the state of writing with incredible accuracy.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] What Did You Eat Yesterday? #2 by Fumi Yoshinaga
What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 2[WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY V02][Paperback] - FumiYoshinaga

This manga series is my perfect place to hide from the world. I buy a volume whenever I feel I deserve a treat or accomplished a big thing.

 

I loved the recipes in this volume and would like to try a few of them. In this case, I was introduced to Nikujaga (肉じゃが) and I want to have this dish ASAP. It sounds like the ultimate comfort dish for the coming fall nights.

 

I also enjoyed learning more about how Shiro and Kenji met and how they came to live together.

Reblogged
#4 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Nicole Reads

 

Say Hello to Nicole in Follow Friday interview session!

 

Follow Nicole Reads: http://lapetite.booklikes.com

 

Let’s start with the question about a book that took your breath away and made you a bookaholic. What was it?

 

White Fang - Jack London The book that took my breath away and made me a bookaholic was Jack London’s White Fang. I remember finding it in a bookstore; I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, where my mom left me for five minutes while she went to a store next door. I sat down in a corner and started reading it. My mom came back to get me, and I made her buy me the book. After that, I followed her around the mall with my nose in the book, hooked by the world of literature from that moment forward.

 

On your BookLikes blog you mention that you know English, Español, Spanglish, Français (un petit peu), Italiano (un po'). Do you read in these languages as well?

 

Yes! I mostly read in English because I’m living in the United States, but lately, I’ve been trying to read in Italian ever since I started learning it in 2015. That’s one of the reasons I got In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. Ms. Lahiri wrote it in Italian, but it has the English translation right next to it. I also try to read in Spanish—my mother tongue—but it hasn't been as often as I would like.

 

You’ve mentioned having a travel bug :) Tell us more about your travels. Do they inspire your book picks?

 

Most definitely! I find there is no better way to get the feel of where I am going than to read the literature of that country. When I went to India, I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Last summer I traveled to Italy and read Letters to Juliet by Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman. I also make it a goal to visit local bookstores and buy books from local authors. 

 

In Other Words - Jhumpa Lahiri,Ann Goldstein The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri Letters to Juliet - Lise Friedman, Ceil Friedman

 

What are your favorite book covers?

 

Sweetbitter: A novel - Stephanie Danler The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi,Priya Ayyar  

Wild Beauty - Anna-Marie McLemore Tell The Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt

 

You mention that your favorite genres are Romance (Contemporary and Historical), Young Adult, Erotica, Travel, Food. Nice mixture! How do you choose the next book to read?

 

It all depends on what’s going on in my life. Am I feeling bogged down by university or life? I need something light and fluffy like my beloved romance novels. Is my wanderlust on overdrive? Best grab a travel memoir. I also like reading books that might be similar to what I'm writing, that way I can get a sense of what has been done and what might be missing.

 

 

What made you start writing about books/book blogging?

 

I started as a way to keep track of what I’m reading. Later I realized that there was an entire community of fellow book lovers who loved sharing suggestions on what to read next while also talking endlessly about the stories they read and the characters they loved. I finally felt I had found my corner on the Internet.

 

Did blogging have an impact on your reading life?

 

Certainly. It has made me more judicious when it comes to choosing what I will invest my time in reading. It also made me want to become a more voracious reader, reading beyond the genres I usually enjoy.

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I get excited recommending the books that made me stay up way past midnight reading, the ones that turned me into an antisocial being that refuses to interact with her fellow humans until she finishes the book, but mostly, I like recommending books that emotionally affected me. It’s always a special kind of thrill to see other people feel as strongly as you did about a book.

 

What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :)

 

I don’t have a particular spot per se. I read anywhere. My only requirement: it must be a plush, comfy seat.

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

This is a tough question because there is nothing that can compare to the thrill of holding a paper book in your hands and feeling that comforting weight on your hands, but I am going to say that I prefer e-books. As someone who travels a lot, there is nothing like the comfort of having a wide variety of books readily available in one place. Plus, I don’t have to pay extra for overweight luggage!

 

Three titles for a dessert island?

 

  • The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas because that’s a lengthy tome and I have never gotten around to reading it because of its size.
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto because it’s a touching, beautiful book.

Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone by J.K. Rowling because I would need a little magic in my life if I’m stuck on an island alone.

The Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre Dumas Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto,Megan Backus Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone - J.K. Rowling

 

A book that changed your life?

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,Katherine Woods   

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I try to re-read it every five years, and I always feel that I learned something new. It was the first book that broke my heart and then, with subsequent re-reads, made it whole again.

 

Favorite quote?

 

‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,’ said by Albus Dumbledore in J.K Rowling’s first book of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.”

 

 

If you could meet one literary character, who would it be?

 

Just one? That feels like an impossible choice! If I had to choose, it would be the vampire Lestat from Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles.” The Brat Prince looks like he knows how to have fun.

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

 

You can also find Nicole here:

BookLikes: http://lapetite.booklikes.com

 

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Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:

 

 

See you next Friday!

 

Reblogged from BookLikes
Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) - Lauren Graham

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did then again, who am I kidding? I love Gilmore Girls (even if I'm still upset about that revival).

Ms. Graham is just so charming! I stopped doing things during the day so that I could listen to her. I love her voice, her fast talk, her candor. I love that she sings in the recording and talks openly about her time in Gilmore Girls, her writing (she's adapting 'The Royal We' for the film!) and her methods (which I plan to revisit once I'm back in the writing saddle), her acting career and her love life. I legit teared up when she spoke about Edward Herrmann, you could tell she and everyone in the cast really loved him.

The only reason I docked a star is because she makes a lot of references to pictures that are clearly in the print book and it got frustrating that I couldn't see them because, duh, this is an audiobook.

Beyond that, this audiobook was a delight to listen to and I truly recommend it.

Review
3.5 Stars
[REVIEW] Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti
What it feels like to see a stranger smiling while rubbing himself or know that this is the price of doing business while female. That public spaces are not really public for you, but a series of surprise private moments that you can't prevent or erase. 
Pg. 65



This book is hard to rate. It was incredibly easy to read, but it also contains extremely uncomfortable subjects: date rape, sexual harassment, molestation, and many other issues.

Ms. Valenti tries to understand how she survives and functions in a world that is hell-bent on shaming her for existing, for having a body, for having an opinion and sharing it.

For the most part, the essays are uncomfortably honest and raw. They make you angry, they make you sad, they make you think what sort of experiences you've gone through that you've refused to talk about because you don't want to take space or make anyone uncomfortable. This book isn't uplifting. It's melancholic, detached but it makes you think.

Reading progress update: I've read 140 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

[...] because for a feminist, anger is forbidden.

 

JFC, this is so true and so infuriating to me.

Reading progress update: I've read 107 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

Being treated nicely felt wrong somehow, as if we were acting out what a relationship should be rather than being in it. For men who hate women, an admission like this one is proof that see, women want a guy who treats them like shit but that's not true either. What is closer to the truth is that when confronted with the love you deserve, it is easier to mock it than accept it.

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

This is super easy to read, even if it makes me uncomfortable at times.

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 205 pages.
Sex Object - Jessica Valenti

Naming what is happening to us, telling the truth about it--as ugly and uncomfortable as it can be--means that we want it to change.

 

Oh boy, I can tell this is going to be a difficult read for me.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) - Lisa Cron

This will be a complicated review to write.

I took the Story Genius workshop. It’s not for the faint of heart or those, who like me at the time, are juggling their final semester at the university plus grad school applications. Regardless, I gave it a go, and it did help me a lot. Having a deadline and a book coach that is following you along and helping you with your story was something I had never done before. It both helped and frustrated me.

Back to the book.

When I borrowed this from my friend, I thought this was the end-all-be-all of writing books. I seriously considered never buying another craft book again because Story Genius made me think of different things for once. It didn’t spew the usual spiel that other craft books do. It made me focus on the character: their backstory, how they became the person they are at the start of the novel, the specifics of who they are as a person (what secrets they keep, why do they keep them, etc. ). It’s very sound advice. However, after a certain point, it becomes too convoluted, and the book slows to a crawl. It’s too much information, too much repetition of that same information.

I did like that instead of crowding examples from well-known tv shows or movies, we experienced a writer building a novel from the ground up along with us (the reader), so we have a frame of reference.

If you take the time to do the exercises, the book takes forever to finish. Doing the scene cards was nothing short of a nightmare for me. I have never considered myself to be a plotter, but I do know that I benefit from having at least a clue of where the story is going, but the amount of detail that is required for the scene cards is just too much for me.

After a while, I got bored and dropped the book altogether for very long stretches of time. Whenever I picked it back up, it was because a NaNoWriMo event was just around the corner (which is ironic because the author HATES NaNoWriMo with a passion). Also, I am guilty of skimming the last 20 pages.

It does have its good points and invaluable advice but sometimes the book gets lost in its message.

Review
3 Stars
[REVIEW] Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Spring - Lisa Kleypas

What a sweet, fluffy read that went into wtf territory as soon as we hit the 75% mark. 

Is there a need for Ms. Kleypas to add a terrorist conspiracy near the end of the book? because it made no sense to me and it seemed tacked on.

(show spoiler)


First things first, Gabriel (the hero) is not a rake, so I have no idea why it says in the blurb that he is. That threw me off completely. He's a good enough hero, but he is easily overshadowed by his father, who appears many times in this book. Pandora (the heroine) is annoying but still, manages to be endearing at times. As a couple, they are just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary or memorable but fluffy enough to make me sigh in happiness a few times. I did love how patient he was with her (because believe you me, she can test anyone's patience) and how he tried to help her overcome difficulties with his support. Their relationship really felt like a partnership and I appreciated that.

Beware, the insta-lust/love is strong on this one. Blink, and you'll miss when the hero suddenly had to possess her with all his might.

The dialogue was fast-paced and smart, the easy humor is there. I kept giggling out loud at some lines.

Assuming the next book in the series is between Ethan and Garrett, I'm calling it now: Ethan is a Ravenel, probably Pandora's mother's love child.

(show spoiler)
Review
5 Stars
[REVIEW] Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Loved this book. How wonderful it is, how educational and how enlightening to read something like this. It helped me realize my own shortcomings as a feminist and how I will hopefully overcome these things and improve.

It's definitely another must-read by Ms. Adichie.

Review
4 Stars
[REVIEW] Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice -  Jane Austen

I finally finished this book! YAY! My goodness, it took me forever to do so. It's as romantic as I had expected but also very difficult to keep track of all the Miss Bennetts. Lindsey Duncan's narration was delightful and she infused it with a lot of emotion.

Before reading/listening

I have tried many times to read this but I have failed each and every one. Hopefully, an audiobook will make the experience easier on me.

currently reading

Progress: 20/234pages