The Most Depressing Post Ever

So obviously the best thing to do when the world gets you down is to talk about depression… Okay- this is clearly not the best thing to do, but who says I am good at judging what the best thing to do is? If you want answers, look to your nearest pope/politician/prat, they’ll be happy to oblige- me, I just recommend books and give occasionally sage advice:

“Life’s a joke and tragedy is the punchline” – Chris Ray Gun

Now I know what you’re thinking- hasn’t mental health week been already? Well, yeah, but I’m far too doolally to keep track of these things. And I thought I’d just jump on the bandwagon cos when it comes to mental health “everybody is talking about how nobody is talking about it” (Freddy Gray)- so what difference does it make when I add to the white noise?

Alright- serious-face on. I do actually care about mental health. Yada yada *insert personal experience* yada yada… Let’s just cut the crap and get to the books before my dark humour completely takes over. These are, in my totally subjective opinion, some of the best books you will find on mental health out there:

  1. Jude the Obscure – Fair warning, this is not a book to perk up your mood. It is, however, brutally realistic and the most honest reflection of the human condition I have ever seen. There is also a lot more to this book than mental health, so if you are looking for a deep story that will imprint itself on your soul forever- than this is the book for you!

jude

  1. All the Bright Places – the jury is out on this one and as many people that seem to love it as loathe it. Me, I was firmly in the love it camp. Again, this is totally subjective, but this was one of those rare books that had me crying in public because it felt so raw and real.

all the bright places

  1. The Bell Jar – I bloody love this book. Sylvia Plath’s writing is exquisite. I don’t normally fall for a lot of literary fiction, but man if this book doesn’t hit you like a tonne of bricks, your old ticker can’t be totally switched on when you read it.

the bell jar

  1. Titus Alone – this is most definitely the most peculiar choice on this list. Firstly, because I wasn’t a fan of the rest of the series, secondly because this is generally viewed as the weakest one in the trilogy and thirdly because it’s just an odd book. But I was strangely wooed by it. Perhaps it is because I am such a huge fan of imperfections in books in general- especially when those imperfections perfectly coincide with the message and tone of the book. To put it simply, the book was totally mad, the author was supposedly losing his mind while writing it and the overall effect is, well, mad. You’d be hard pushed to find anything more poetic than that.

titus alone

  1. The Yellow Wallpaper – it’s slightly spoilery to even put this on the list, so look away now if you haven’t read it, but I couldn’t fail to include this quintessential look at female hysteria. While I’ve met academics who wish to diagnose the main character as suffering exclusively from patriarchal control, I truly believe this applies more broadly to mental health in general. Again, there is more than just the mental health to this story, but I think in today’s climate we can find a great deal of universality in looking at the intriguing psychological aspects of this book.

yellow wallpaper

So perhaps an odd list- but this is just my personal take on which books I feel tackle this topic in the most authentic and beautiful manner. Now I want to know- which books on this topic do you have an affinity for? Let me know in the comments!

And because it’s Friday and I want to end on a happy note, this trailer just came out and I am so excited!!

Series I Won’t Be Finishing #noguilt (okay a little bit of guilt…)

Hello, my name is the Orangutan Librarian and I am a series-finisher (sounds like I’m starting an AA meeting). But after starting a couple of series recently I wasn’t too keen on, I want to make a commitment to myself *not to* continue reading the rest of the series- no matter what!!

but it is not this day2.jpg

Because there are plenty more fish in the sea and there are books crammed into every bookshelf/library/shop/orifice and OH MY GOD I AM DROWNING UNDER A NEVERENDING TBR!!!

  1. Killables– arghhh I could not think of a single reason to recommend this book to anyone. The only problem is that they have this book in the library to tempt me. But no- I WILL BE STRONG!!!

stay strong.gif

  1. Caraval– it had its moments, but that ending made me just give up on it. I just can’t bring myself to read the sequel- I’m out.

I'm out.gif

  1. Outlander– as you may remember from my posts months ago, I rage quit this series- I won’t be picking up another one.

Abandon

  1. Long Way To A Small Angry Planet– hahahaha I had to put this one on here- but it’s actually hilarious to think about reading the second one when I only finished the first so that I could rage review it. I think my thoughts about this book can be summed up thusly:

laugh cry.gif

  1. Bronze Horseman– nope, just nope. I’m not gonna read any more of this because *YEUCH*.

yuck.gif

  1. Knife of Never Letting Go- okay, so unpopular opinion here, but I hated the style of this one. The Grammar Nazi in me just could not deal.

leaving.gif

  1. Thief’s Magic– I have a love-hate relationship with Canavan- and even though they have copies in all the libraries I frequent I have no desire to carry on with this series. I just did not connect with any of the characters in this- not a-one.

I'm done.gif

  1. Queen of the Tearling– what makes me feel better about this one- aside from being bored stiff with the first one- is that I’ve heard a lot of people didn’t like the finale and said it wasn’t worth finishing anyway.

Im out.gif

  1. An Ember in the Ashes– another unpopular opinion, but I really wasn’t sold on this series and have no desire to read the second.

nope

  1. Talon– okay, I’ll admit I read the second one, even though I hated the first one, because it had a scaly cover and I love dragons. Buuut no more!! I will not read another whiny book about non-dragons masquerading as mythical wyrms. I just cannot.

bye.gif

Annd on that note it’s time to say goodbye for today! (Yes, yes this post was just an excuse for a million goodbye gifs). Did you agree or disagree with my choices? What series have you quit? Let me know in the comments!

To Not To Read Tag

Hello all!! Now I’m really rubbish at DNF’ing books- but there are more than a few books I wish I hadn’t finished, so I thought it would be fun to do this tag anyway!

Thank you so much to the awesome Rivermoose Reads for tagging me to do this one!!

Rules:

Thank the person that tagged you (See above!)

Include ping-back to creator of tag (Icebreaker694)

Answer questions (See below!)

Tag other poor souls to do this (Trust me, I won’t)

Easy right?

Oh and only use books that you DNF as your answer hence the “to not to read” part

What book would you be willing to finish?

gulag archipelago

Well I could go with the rest of the book I’m currently reading, but I’m going to say the Gulag Archipelago, because I have read the first two volumes and have five more to go. It’s quite an undertaking- but I think it will be well worth it in the end.

A dystopian book that you put down.

testing

I rarely put books down! I wish I’d given up on the Testing series though!!

A book that you just didn’t want to finish at all.

I wish Id dnf

A sequel.

twilight

There didn’t have to be a sequel to Twilight

A book you’ll never again pick up.

lolita

A book with too much hype.

The_Bone_Season_cover

The Bone Season was called the “next Harry Potter”- I think we can all agree that’s just setting it up for failure.

A haunting read.

I don’t think I read enough scary books to think of an answer- I guess I could have done without reading the Accident Season

A contemporary.

99 days

Totally not worth finishing

A book you were unsure of.

wicked

Boy did I struggle to get to the end of this!! I DNF’d it a million times before finishing it. I even lent it out to someone while I was still “reading” it to get another opinion (unfortunately this book did find its way back to me). Totally not worth it in the end.

I TAG:

A Novel Glimpse

Sophie @ Blame Chocolate

A Back of the Envelope Calculation

Angelica @ The Book Cover Girls

Book Bum

Lost Art of Reading

Tiana @ The Book Raven

That was fun! What book do you wish you had DNF’d? Let me know in the comments below!

Caraval Was A Bit Like A Victorian Freakshow

Caraval-150x225

You know- where you can’t look away, even though it’s a bloody mess and there’s body bits all over the joint… Okay, I might be being a bit theatrical, but I can tell you that you’re in for a bit of a show today, because *drumroll please* I’m here with my good friend Trang from Bookidote!!

TADAA ! You didn’t expect that huh? Trang and Orang-Utan Librarian together is like a death bomb for excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked so fast with any blogger before (YAS!!!!) LOL Our conversations were very… animated, but mostly full of laughter and cramps. So now be prepared for this bitter truth about Caraval.

First off rid your brain of Night Circus comparisons- THIS IS NOT NIGHT CIRCUS!!!

Nothing is like the Night Circus. I think we should just ban Night Circus comparisons in book marketing now. One of the most beautiful things about TNC is the exquisite and classy writing. But in Caraval? It was so ordinary and childish.

The writing was so peculiar, what with the obsession with wax metaphors (I didn’t notice it until you make the remark LOL ) and other cringey comparisons. For about half the book- literally till page 200!- I was bored. It didn’t help that the plot was virtually signposted throughout the book- from the exposition letter at the start to the bullet point instructions.

Bullet point instructions ? Really Legend ? Why don’t you give us a Power Point presentation as well? For the first half of the book we were stuck with a main character who’s indecisive af. Half wanting to desperately find her sister half wanting to kiss her wanna be fiancé.

Plenty of other things were signposted too- like who to like and who to hate. The love interest was signalled through his eyelashes. The villain… well he wasn’t literally twirling his moustache but he may as well have done.

*another obvious clue from the author*

But then the plot started getting somersaulting all over the place with plot twist after plot twist. I will happily say I didn’t see *any* of them coming. And when the twists started coming in, I was impressed. It just kept getting twistier and twistier… if only it hadn’t gone for that one last twist! You know- the one that broke the spine of the story with a sickening crunch? Maybe the acrobatics should have ended earlier. Because gah- that ending was what I call an “it was all a dream ending”.

What was that pace though? 200 pages in, nothing really happens, and then BAM BAM BAM 3-4-5 PLOT TWISTS ONE AFTER ANOTHER. The last twist ruins everything for me too. The Magic powers were disappointing, we don’t have any details on how it works, the descriptions were minimalist.

Oh yes, agree, it was disappointing all round- the only thing that wasn’t disappointing was how A-W-E-S-O-M-E this collab has been!! The only question left is how do you rate a book like this? After wayyy too much deliberation…

My Rating: 2½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahalf-a-hand-drawn-banana

(I’m being stingy with my bananas)

Trang’s Rating: 3/5 stars

starstarstar

So hope you enjoyed this *magical* collab! Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Honest YA Dystopian Book Blurb

(Un)inspired by the subject of my last review, I decided to write my own Honest YA Dystopian book blurb- enjoy!

This is one hundred percent about important issues- sort of…

I mean there will be an end of the world plot… even though the world already ended before this book began… But who cares? The world can end twice, right?

dystopian world.gif

Plus- get excited cos we have not one, but several oppressive governments nested inside each other like a Russian doll (really this book is a bargain- that’s why it’s £9.99 for a kindle edition)

And don’t worry about Instalove- IT WILL BE INCLUDED- we know how much you love it. And expect plenty of staring at the main love interest to- *lots and lots of stares*- to convey all the *emotions*. We wouldn’t want this “love at first sight” thing to be subtle. Also, we know this is important to you as a reader, so THERE WILL BE NO LOVE TRIANGLE (until book 2)…

LOVE triangle of doom

You’ve probably read about ten (better) versions of this before- but ho hum, what’s an eleventh gonna hurt? So sit up and take notice- cos I swear this will not be as exciting as the Hunger Games or Divergent (nor will the protagonist be nearly as kickass, but the narrator will tell you she is on countless occasions)

Also, if this blurb makes you *in any way* afraid for the main character, don’t be! We all know corrupt systems of government are totally useless at stopping teenage girls and their hunky boyfriend(s).

look at my knife.gif

Annd that’s it- you’ll have to read the “book” to know more  😉 Hope you enjoyed that! 

Oh Kill Me It’s The Killables

killablesC’mon, doesn’t that name sound like the worst boy band ever? I should have known what this book was gonna be like from just that title. But I gave it a chance… Why? I hear you ask…

Well once upon a time, before dystopias became a popular thing (aka before the Hunger Games) there was this great series called The Declaration. It was original, clever and had a strong voice. The series, unfortunately, went the way so many of its kind go- to the world resetting to its original state and basically undoing all the work of the story. But the fundamentals were still halfway decent, even if it did make that error of recapping too much in the sequels. So, in answer to the question I posed, I picked this book up to see what an author I had already been impressed with could recreate the magic she had made so long ago. Would she though?

Short answer is no. Not even slightly. This book sucked. The premise was something we’ve all seen before- evil society tries to eradicate evil… therefore becoming evil. The twist on this was totally lousy. Spoiler alert: they haven’t really eradicated evil, who’d have thunk it. And the conclusion was just plain dumb. There’s no such thing as evil… Ye wot?!

Add to that some lame ass characters and *surprise surprise* a love triangle and I am left wondering what on earth possessed the author. I mean, seriously? Why the hell would anyone think, after writing a successful series that wasn’t jam packed with tropes, that what they needed to do next was write the most cliché copycat tropeish nonsense imaginable? I just don’t get this one.

Conclusion: if you get the desire to read a decent dystopia pick up The Declaration, this isn’t worth your time. I gave it one measly banana.

hand-drawn-banana

Sincerely,

The Orangutan Librarian- reading shit books since 2015 so you don’t have to…

*Okay I’ve been reading rubbish books a lot longer than that- this was just my way to shoehorn in that it’s my bloggiversary- my blog is 2 today!!

 bloggiversary 2

It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been 2 years (partly cos this is actually just the anniversary of my domain name 😉 ) but I just wanted to say a *MASSIVE THANK YOU* to everyone that’s been following along- whether for a day or for the whole shebang!!

Alright, now back to the book- let’s face it, you’re not gonna read this one… So I’ll ask a different question- what’s your least favourite dystopia? Let me know in the comments!

Isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood? Well no…

norwegian woodSo I’ve just realised I have *23* books to review!! Quite scary! Naturally, I decided to start with a book I had rather lacklustre opinions about, because I’m grouchy that way 😉

First off, the prose is pretty colourless, while serviceable. Now I wanted to start with this because I want to be as fair as possible to the author and say this *could* be one of those “lost in translation” cases. Therefore take (most) of what I’m saying with a pinch of salt.

Now, if I can let the writing off the hook, the one thing I can’t let go is that I didn’t relate to or like any of the characters. I found them utterly unrelatable and suicide being a central issue (not a spoiler- it’s on the blurb), I wasn’t emotionally impacted in the slightest. I didn’t blink once at any of the drama that went down, because I just didn’t care.

Part of this issue stemmed from how little I connected with the main character. Part of this was due to him having what I like to call “uncool cool-guy syndrome”. There’s this weird and awfully random phenomenon in fiction of the uncool main character being invited into the cool circle, so that they can get an insight into some “alien” lifestyle, whilst all the while being aloof to it. Ultimately I find characters like this a little hard to relate to, because I just don’t find this setup all that realistic. It also brings up a ton of questions for me- like why is the dork invited in the first place, cos “cool kids” aren’t generally known for their generosity of spirit or inviting randomers to come play? And now that he’s been initiated into this circle, have they not gained insider status and are they just posturing as an outsider? Now since this was most of his character make-up, along with mild depression and an almost magical way with women (in the bedroom and elsewhere) I did not think he was especially well drawn.

And let’s talk about sex (baby…). Everyone in this book was having unsexy sex all the time (or at least that’s what it felt like). There’s always a very specific kind of sex in literary books. You know the sort: mechanical smut, that always seems to say “if you don’t like this you’re a prude” but at the same time “this literature is too high brow to be erotic”. To be utterly crude, it has the same sex appeal as reading about someone using the lavatory. I’ve never understood why this style of sexual writing always finds its way into these books- maybe I’m just not intellectual enough to understand the “deeper meaning” behind all the frickin details of normal bodily functions.

I’ve heard a lot of people have a problem with the ending, but as you can probably tell, I had a problem with the beginning and middle. I just couldn’t see the point to any of it.

On the plus side this book got this song stuck in my head:

But even a Beatles song couldn’t save this book for me. I hope if you read this you have more luck than me:

Rating: 2/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

So have you read this? Do you plan to? And am I the only one super behind on reviews?! Let me know in the comments!