September wrap-up

It’s not late for a September wrap up, is it?

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The Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl #2 by Eoin Colfer
rating4
I’m trying to keep up with this series I didn’t have the luck to stumble upon when I was a kid. I’m enjoying it like I’m 8 years old nonetheless. I honestly found this specific part of the story not that interesting, but Colfer’s writing is so good I could read the decline and fall of the Roman empire if he wrote that.

All The Birds in The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
rating5

I’m so glad I bought and read this book. Both magic and science are part of this near-future world, incarnated by the two protagonists: a young witch who can talk to animals and a young scientist who found the blueprints for the two-secs time machine.
The story follows the friendship they form in school and later, their lives as adults in a world that is going to be destroyed by pollution and humanity’s exploitation.
The story does get a bit slow in the second half of the book, but I particularly love the writing style. This book has a lot of it.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
rating3
I’ve seen this around for a while, and then bought a copy of the Italian edition at a library sale. I enjoyed the story, with its eerie atmosphere, and the characters – they’re not that rounded, but the focus is on the narration and the magical happenings, so it isn’t in any way an impediment. Pleasant writing, as well, although I found it a bit flat at times.

In Altre Parole (In Other Words) by Jhumpa Lahiri
rating3
I initially intended to read both the Italian and English version of this book (for pretentious scholarly purposes, ok?), but decided to stick only with the former. The author recounts her experience with Italian, a language she fell in love with, but that she struggles to learn. It is her battle against a language she longs for, but it is also a reflection on language and on what it can mean to us.

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dear diary,

The pressure of everything that has happened in the past three weeks left me with a sense of detachment from myself. I feel like I’m thinking about everything and nothing at the same time, like I want to do everything but do not know how to start. In moments such as this, it is like my entire being is trying to escape my body so anxiously and in such a hurry, that it gets stuck at the exit. Pressing at whatever hole there might be.
I’m glad that it does, because imagine if I were left with nothing, but I am lucky enough to know that this feeling means I forgot to be in contact with my true self and that I need to take cover and rest. Be with myself.
University does not help. I have a lot of work to do, and my life became again so frenetic that I can barely keep up with the (light) shadow work that I was doing and that was helping me so much. I can barely hear my thoughts, let alone dig into them.

There are not only bad things, though. It’s October. I love October, with its chill hair and crispy leaves.
The rains started last week and I have this strong impression that the Cailleach has put her veil onto the world – it’s not white snow, but it’s that grey of the rains announcing November and colder temperatures. Like a promise, something to look forward to.
I feel the world became so quite, and I marvel at the silence and the calmness that I perceive. I’d like to feel that peace, too.
I have to let my leaves fall. As always, though, I start over-thinking about what I should do and that does not allow me to see what I can do.

I need to go outside. Yesterday I wanted to, but the rain was so thick I couldn’t see an inch from my nose. I crave nature, that I once again left behind.

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REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

October is the month of spoopy things and I couldn’t help but add at least one spoopy book to my reading list for this month.
Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark by Alvin Schwartz is a collection of horror stories for younger readers, but it will make adults shiver as well. It’s a super short book and I found it entertaining and yes, a bit creepy.

Ghosts, monsters and strange creatures are hidden in this book ready to scare the readers who will venture through its pages. I found the stories rather creative and, although I’m not a reader of the genres, I don’t think they play too much on horror tropes even though you can definitely see them here and there (i.e. the girl’s ghost who seeks revenge for her death). The narration is quite simple and direct, but still hooks you up. Suffice to say I found myself staying up to read until 1am, so I would describe it as “rather addicting”. And yes, I was reading the book in the dark (well, with a little light to see obviously!). There are also some “stage directions” telling you when to stop or when to scream if you’re reading the book out loud, maybe to your children or your friends. It’s a detail that makes this book a nice guest at a Halloween party or a sleepover.

illustration by Stephen Gammel

The illustrations by Stephen Gammel are a great addition to the mix and 80% of what drawn me to this book in the first place. They are beautifully grotesque and scary enough, especially for a children’s book. Nothing too horrible, however, just the right mix to make your blood chill in your veins. I actually got scared when flipping the page during the story of the already mentioned ghost girl, when the illustration unexpectedly popped up!

Pleasantly scary, it is the perfect book to get into that Halloween mood!