Book Review of Kenneth Oppel’s “The Nest”

Last weekend I did the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, a twice-yearly, one-day reading marathon. It was my first time participating, and I really didn’t know what to expect. But I needed some momentum with my reading, and I also wanted to show solidarity with fellow book bloggers, librarians, writers, and readers. I learned that the key was to have a huge pile of books pre-selected for the occasion so that once you finished a book, it required virtually no decision-making to find another one to read. It was simply a matter of looking at the pile and selecting a book you felt like reading at the time. In the end, I read four books. Four books in 24-hours. They included “Lumberjanes, Vol. 2”, “Wytches”,” “Audacity, and the novel I’m going to talk to you about today, “The Nest”. When I finished “The Nest” sometime before noon, I felt shaken, shattered with how much it teased out some of my secret fears and anxieties. As a person with a disability/chronic illness, its themes were immediate to issues I have with my identity as a “sick kid.” It was a nearly upsetting read, but ultimately, it made me feel hopeful and helped me...

Horror & Hormones | Book Review of Charles Burns’ “Black Hole”

It seems impossible to write a book review of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, a graphic novel compendium of a comics series from 1995-2005. While I was reading the novel, I fluctuated between  so many emotions—wonder, boredom, disgust, fascination, repulsion, transcendence. This is partially because Burns’ novel, now considered a landmark classic in the history of modern-day graphic novels and comics, truly defies categorization. It is almost a Rorschach ink blot where it means different things to everyone. Yet it is absolutely a must-read litmus test for your opinions on sexuality, medicine, infectious disease, love, and the suburban teen experience. Let me back up and try to give you a passable summary. Essentially, Black Hole is about a group of teens in the Seattle suburbs during the mid-1970s. The teens notice an outbreak of strange medical phenomena. For example, they pass out and hallucinate that they are falling into a black hole. Or they meet someone with a tail and don’t really see it as that unusual. People develop tiny mouths on their neck, feet, and back. Other teens have their facial features transformed into furry creature faces. At the same time, the comics focus on a small and select group of these...

“Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel” by William Ritter | Book Review

(First thank you to the publisher, Algonquin, for providing me with an advanced review copy. This did not in any way affect my review.) In Short: Beastly Bones, Ritter’s follow-up to 2014’s Jackaby is a lively, action-packed, and entertaining mystery-paranormal novel that will find many fans of all ages  who love Sherlock, Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Harry Potter. Plot Summary: The year is 1892, and the place is the New England city of New Fiddleham. Abigail Rook, a young British woman, has been living with her employer, the eccentric R. F. Jackaby, a detective of the paranormal. Abigail acts as Jackaby’s assistant, helping with paperwork and, increasingly, the investigative and deductive process. When the novel opens, Rook and Jackaby are called to the scene of a lady who has purchased shapeshifting cats. Later, the duo learn from assistant police commissioner Marlowe that this woman has been found dead with an unusual puncture mark on her neck similar to one found on a woman who has just died in the nearby village of Gad’s Valley in the countryside. Jackaby and Rook go there to join up with a former member of the police force, Charlie Cane (a werewolf love interest of Abigail’s), who has recently been exiled to...

Fiction that Revives: Books to Live for

I have recently taken strides to revive my personal journal writing. It’s hella cheap therapy and can be really revealing and healing to just do stream of conscious on a question that at first seems simple–“What is happiness to you? Do you consider yourself a happy person or an unhappy and stressed person? Describe a time when you felt happy and when you made someone else happy.”–but can actually reveal depths you never knew your soul was capable of unveiling. It’s kind of like an onion. For example I journaled on that question today and realized how hard it was to describe happiness in my life. But for me, happiness is kind of akin to feeling exuberance and an almost cosmic connection to life energy. I thought about the things that make me feel alive, and I thought about books that have made me feel that way. Books that I’ve put down profoundly changed. Here’s a list of earth shattering fiction. (Also, I’ve combined some books that are related.) To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Hours by Michael Cunningham I took an independent study in Virginia Woolf my senior year of college. I got a research grant to...

Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food & Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook Reviews

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I have been struggling with anxiety lately. One of the things that has always helped me “calm down” is throwing myself into an elaborate recipe. To that end, I have been cooking and baking up a storm in the last month. It helps that my roommates gave me carte blanche to cook whatever I want. You can see on my Pinterest page that I find almost all my recipes through Pinterest. However, for my recent birthday I purchased three cookbooks for myself. Indulge for sure. I have been using two of them quite extensively and felt it was time for my first ever cookbook reviews. How many recipes do you need to make from a cookbook before you can judge it? I’d say at least three, preferably four or five. But I feel like I can adequately review… Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook (2014) by Jamie Oliver And the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (2012) by Griffith and Cheryl Day First, the Jamie Oliver cookbook. I have cooked two recipes to-the-letter (almost) from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: German Coffee Cake, Amazing Apple Pie, and Ultimate Cornbread. Otherwise, I have used the dough from...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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