Conversations with Friends: Book vs. TV Show

I love doing post where I compare books and their adaptations, so welcome Conversations with Friends into the fold. This is the second time I’m doing this for a Sally Rooney story, so I might have a lot of … thoughts.

General Plot

College students and former lovers Frances and Bobbi get swept up in the (romantic) life of married couple Nick and Melissa. Can they find themselves and the relationships they seek or will it all end in sorrow?

CW: adultery, self-harm, depression, blood, endometriosis, mention of miscarriage, alcoholism (+for the show especially: graphic nude scenes)

Book

I have an odd relationship with Sally Rooney‘s books. I love their impact on me, but I don’t always enjoy the content. This time, knowing at least a little bit of what I would be getting into with her style of writing, I felt more prepared to face it all. Reading it was still emotionally taxing and I don’t think that this is a story that’s necessarily for everyone.

Generally, an entire book about adultery with somewhat unlikable characters isn’t exactly a tale with universal appeal. That fact alone has put some people off reading it and I can’t blame them. However, as I mentioned, I felt much more ready when I started Conversations with Friends and found it flowing easier than Normal People. It could potentially be connected to the fact that this was one continuous story from one sole POV, that of Frances, instead of something that spanned ages with multiple time jumps.

Even if one can overlook the theme of “adultery” though, which is fairly easy if you approach this as an exploration of what “commitment” can mean to any one person and whether open relationships might even be for the better at times, there’s still the issue of it being incredibly hard to root for the characters. We are “trapped” in Frances’ head and while I could see some relatable traits in her, she is extremely self-absorbed and doesn’t always cast the people in her life in the best light – despite idolizing quite a few of them. She completely misjudged the way she feels inside and how different the things that she conveys to the outside world are. I still don’t know what it is she really wants, because sometimes I doubt that she truly understands that her actions have an impact/consequenes.
A lot of what drove me, as a reader, nuts was the simple fact that every single person in this novel was terrible at communication. If they had just openly shared their emotions and concerns, a lot of trouble could have been prevented, but in the end, you can barely blame them? They feel human, real and authentic. There’s things I don’t want to talk about or where I feel like I don’t want to burden someone else with what I’m going through, there could be so many reasons.

Ultimately I know that reading a Sally Rooney book will always leave me with nervous tension and a tightness in my chest. It seems so simple, but there is so much complexity hidden in seemingly plain sentences. The emotions of everyone go so deep and are so layered, but like many people in real life, they struggle to express themselves correctly. Adding to that the fact that a Rooney book always has an open end, ready to be interpreted in a million different ways by each reader, you can’t help but have the story be a lingering companion long after the last page has been turned.

Rating: 4/5 stars! I cannot explain why I gave it such a high ranking, it’s mostly just the amount of inner turmoil Rooney causes in me.

Page count: 323
Publisher: Faber & Faber

*For more information on the book, head over to Goodreads or Storygraph!*

TV Show

Normal People was one of the most accurate adaptations I had ever experienced – be it in terms of story, dialogue or just sheer vibes – and Conversations with Friends is definitely up there in terms of faithfulness to the source material as well. Seen as the shows were helmed by a close to identical creative team, I know that expectations were really high, but also suspect that people were bound to be let down because of them.

I understand that people wanted it to be more Irish, but I thought that the different accents made sense in the context of the TV show. I personally was really happy with all the cast choices. Everyone looked the part, fit the age group and helped in creating the awkward tension that is so key to the production. (Also, Joe Alwyn’s voice is just divine. I could listen to him talk all day long.) These shows live off of vibes and I thought they were captured perfectly again, giving each interaction meaning and weight, even if it doesn’t go smoothly or the way you want it to at all.

Something I have to criticize though and that felt a bit hindering for my enjoyment was the pacing. While it has the same number of episodes as Normal People (12 in total) and only a run time of 30 minutes each, it felt incredibly slow. I ascribe that to the numerous exposition and silent, lingering shots on Frances. Yes, she is our main character and I could fill the silences with the inner monologue I remembered from the book almost word by word, but I only just read the book. Had it been longer, had I forgotten more of the details, these scenes would have often felt pointless.

In general, I noticed that I often filled in the meaning of certain interactions by remembering what Frances’ thoughts were in that moment in the book. While I think that a lot of scenes were softened and maybe even lightened a little bit because of that, I couldn’t help but wonder what my experience as a non-reader would have looked like. I feel like some of the vast complexity might have gone out the window and not translated to just the visuals.

They also completely missed the opportunity to have a cameo of Normal People‘s Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne on the show. In the book, there’s a friend of Frances and Bobbi called Marianne, who they meet up with to chat about her trip to Brooklyn. I just *know* in my heart that a lot of Normal People fans would have appreciated that nod to the previous show, even if it’s not confirmed that the books are connected.

Lastly, I feel like I should praise the music coordinator again. Some excellent choices once more and I’m not just saying that because they got Phoebe Bridgers to do a song (and she feels connected to the Rooney universe by dating Paul Mescal).

Conclusion

While Conversations with Friends didn’t stack up to the phenomenon that was the Normal People adaptation, I still don’t think there is a clear winner or loser. The two go hand in hand and each medium enriches the other.


Previous book to adaptation comparisons:


Have your read or watched Conversations with Friends yet? Let’s talk about that!

Are Harry Styles and I compatible (readers)?

Disclaimer: I do NOT know Harry Styles. All the information is taken from various social media posts, articles and interviews and could potentially be outdated.

A black and white picture of artist Harry Styles and the blogger Kat Impossible with the headline "Are Harry Styles and I compatible readers?"

The most popular feature on this blog is back with yet another installment of the reader compatibility series or celeb book club, as I like to call it! In case you missed the previous ones, which there are quite a few of by now, don’t hesitate to check out the following posts:
Are Tom Hiddleston and I compatible (readers)?
Are Chris Evans and I compatible (readers)?
Are Sebastian Stan and I compatible (readers)?
Are Pedro Pascal and I compatible (readers)?
Are Lupita Nyong’o and I compatible (readers)?

And here comes the obligatory reminder that this is done with the sole intention of it being fun and not taken too seriously. I’m comparing my taste in books with that of actors and artists to see if we would be “compatible” on the basis of those reading tastes alone. There’s really no world in which my pseudo analysis holds any scientific value.


Read More »

Along for the Ride: Book vs. Movie

Movie poster of Along for the Ride with the text "book vs. movie"

What is better – the book or the movie? It’s an age old question that we bookworms ask ourselves and I’m happy to share my perspective on the novel Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen as well as its Netflix adaptation. It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this, but I hope you’ll love diving into this as much as I did reading, watching and now writing the post for it.

General Plot

Ever since her parents started fighting and eventually divorced, Auden hasn’t had a full night of sleep. She did, however, do everything that was expected of her. Got good grades, excelled in academics, attended her mother’s soirees rather than hang out with people her own age … forgetting to be a kid/teen in the process. Now, it’s the summer before college and Auden decides to spend it with her father and stepmother in a quaint beach town. What promises to be a carefree summer proves to have more challenges in store for her, especially after meeting fellow insomniac Eli.

Book

Some of you already know this, but Along for the Ride was my first foray into the writing of Sarah Dessen. My expectations were pretty high, just because so many of my friends and fellow bloggers have gotten lost in and fallen in love with her stories. I can confidently say that I devoured and enjoyed the book, but that I was also painfully aware that this was written more than a decade ago.

The way “girly” things were constantly put down and judged, even after some growth on several characters parts, just really nagged me. A lot of Auden’s POV was very much along the lines of “I’m not like other girls” and that was honestly quite frustrating. I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen in books today at all, but I think we’re more aware of that kind of internalized misogyny and try to avoid it.

Auden was hard to love at first, but it made sense in the context of the story and how she was raised. I loved seeing her warm to the people in her life and while her love story with Eli was cute, I preferred her interactions with her stepmother, Heidi (I did not and probably never will like her biological parents in the book). I also appreciated that Auden’s friendship played a huge role in the book. In general, the teen romance came second to the parental struggles for me. I don’t know if that has something to do with my age or because I thought that these conflicts were better developed, but those were definitely the emotionally hard-hitting scenes. Complex family structures will forever be my jam.

Still, Eli is a big part of the picture and something about their late night adventures just really appealed to me. I wasn’t a very adventurous kid myself, even though I’m sure a couple people would like to disagree on that, but something about the way their relationship came to be satisfied a yearning within me. Nonetheless, I kept wishing to know more about Eli. To maybe follow his perspective every once in a while to truly understand his pain.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! True to the story, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish reading it.

Page count: 383
Publisher: Viking Books

*For more information on the book, head over to Goodreads or Storygraph!*

Movie

When the movie started, for the first ten minutes or so, I was certain this was going to be a super faithful adaptation and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I liked the book alright, but I knew that it wouldn’t hurt to update a lot of the material. The longer I watched though, the more changes I noted and … I think most of them are for the better?

The main story still stays completely the same, barely anything major differs from the source material, but a movie only gives you a limited amount of time to tell a story and Along for the Ride is on the longer side of YA fiction. There had to be some decisions made and I’m on board with most of them. Here are the most notable ones:

  • In the book, Auden has an older brother, which is not the case in the movie. He is the kind of boy, who can seemingly do no wrong and does all the carefree and irresponsible activities Auden never dared to. While I think he was an interesting counterpart in the book, I think it would have diluted what they were trying to tell here. He also tended to jetset around the globe and it would have just been too complicated to incorporate for not a very big payoff.
  • When Auden first arrives, she goes to The Tip, a place where all the youth comes to party. She ends up making out with this guy, Jake, which sparks a lot of drama. That does happen in both stories, but felt way less annoying in the movie because of one big change – Jake is never mentioned to be Eli’s brother. I’m not saying this never happens in real life, but it did make things unnecessarily uncomfortable, when there was plenty of Jake-drama to be had without that little detail.
  • The entire third act conflict – which is one of my most dreaded elements of romantic storylines – was handled so much better. By cutting some characters and instead using already established ones, they tightened up the relationships and even made some people more likable to me. It also wasn’t dragged out over weeks, but rather quickly resolved through some internal reflection. I was here for that!

I really loved this movie. It made me miss being by the ocean, which is a general state of being for me, but was amplified here. It made me want to go on adventures with strangers in the night and made me reminisce when I did some stupid stuff when I was younger.  Due to the time constraints, there wasn’t as much depth and exploration of the family troubles, but I think that Eli got a better third act instead, which was maybe also necessary.

I still would have liked to dig deeper on some parts. I don’t want to say that relationships were rushed, but I definitely felt like I was connected more to the characters because of my knowledge from the books rather than what I learned through the movie. Maggie, for example, is beautiful and warm in the movie, but I think that I knew her even better in the books. She’s a key figure, but we definitely don’t harp on her story as much. I’d still watch it again in a heartbeat though!

As a last note, I just have to say that this was some really perfect casting! Everyone was exactly how I envisioned them to be, down to little mannerisms. Kudos to the casting director!

Conclusion

For me, the movie is a winner. I missed some of the deeper emotional bits from the book, but much of the things that annoyed me were changed for the better and I have to give credit for that. Sofia Alvarez (who adapted the book for the screenplay and directed the movie, but was also involved with TATBILB) knows how to transform books into lovely movies.

Dance party in the movie Along for the Ride
credit: Netflix


Previous book to adaptation comparisons:


Do you agree with my assessment? Have you read and/or watched Along for the Ride? Let’s talk about that!

April 2022 Wrap-Up

April, true to its name, was a wild month for me. I really surprised myself with the amount of books I read, even though I’m still a couple books behind what I wanted to achieve. I’ve been working hard on getting ready for the next installment in the reading experiment series and I think hope you will all love it! Let’s take a look at some books I devoured:

  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4 stars)
  • In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan (1 star)
    Utter nonesense.
  • For Every One by Jason Reynolds (5 stars)
    So beautiful and timely for me, I broke out into tears.
  • Notes on Camp by Susan Sontag (3 stars)
    Not entirely applicable today anymore, but still interesting enough.
  • You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski (2 stars)
    A reread that didn’t work any better the second time around.
  • Essays in Love by Alain de Botton (2 stars)
    As much as I like de Botton’s style of writing, I do not vibe with his statements.
  • Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (4 stars)
    A really beautiful tribute to a loved one.
  • My Policeman by Bethan Roberts (2.5 stars)
    Pretty iffy for the most part.

One True Loves In Watermelon Sugar For Every One Notes on Camp You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense Essays In Love Love Is a Mix Tape: Life, Loss, and What I Listened To My Policeman

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I’m more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

In terms of stats, I’m really on top of my reading goals and even have some leeway. However, and this is my predicament, I’m quite on a time crunch with three more books, which I sort of have to finish by May 15. I don’t know if I took on too much, but I’m going to try my best to get it done. Maybe the above list partly gives away who the reading experiment will be about, but I just cannot wait to actually share it with you!

Reading stats taken from The Storygraph App for my progress on my yearly reading goals

 

I’ve complained a lot these past months and you know what? I just don’t wanna do that anymore. April was full of surprises – some good, some bad – and that’s just how life goes sometimes. It wasn’t my most creative month in terms of blogging, writing or drawing, but I can feel that hunger coming back. That need to write down a story or capture an image in my own style. I’d say that’s a good sign and maybe if things calm down a little over the summer, I’ll get a chance to do more again.

Speaking of summer – I’ve made quite the plans for myself. I want to teach myself how to rollerskate! I know how to iceskate … in theory. I haven’t done it in a really long time, but I need to get back into finding activities to do outside. And while I really enjoy my regular trips to the zoo, as soon as the weather gets better it’s just packed and I have no desire to be among the masses. So … now I just need to find a shop that sells rollerskates here (harder than you might think), because I don’t want to order them online and gamble on the size fitting.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF APRIL 2022

I hope you won’t mind that I’m continuing to share the top posts of the month, but I just want to thank everyone for hyping up archive posts and giving my content some longevity.

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    I’d really love to know what makes this such an evergreen review, but I’m alright with it either way.
  2. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    (originally posted March 2022)
    It brings me so much joy that this post helps people decide whether The Atlas Six is a good fit for them!
  3. Are Sebastian Stan and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted August 2021)
    I’m assuming this is still an aftereffect of all the press for Pam & Tommy and Fresh?
  4. Something Different: Duskwood (Game)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    We’re all just patiently waiting for the release of the final chapter
  5. Are Pedro Pascal and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted December 2021)
    I think every time an actor has a new project out (taking a wild guess at it being “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent“), it brings more people to these kind of posts.

MY FAVORITES OF THE MONTH

This VERY clearly has to go to Heartstopper! I cannot remember the last time I was so enarmored with a show and felt so happy watching it. At first, I was a bit worried that I might be too old for it and that it might hinder me from really getting into it, but I ended up just falling head over heels for the entire thing.

The main cast of the show Heartstopper
credit: Netflix

A lot of the time these days, queer representation in media is either super traumatic, dark and gritty or glorifies the coming out experience that is rare for most people in real life. With Hearstopper, it really felt like they balanced genuine struggles with wholesome and positive vibes. You knew not everything was going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but simultaneously, it had a precious and uplifting message. I’m glad kids growing up now get to see content like it. Also, I have officially adopted Nick Nelson as my fictional son. I’m sure his brother August Flynn will be happy to welcome him in the family.

Nick Nelson portrayed by Kit Connor
credit: Netflix, he’s just my fave!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Please also visit some fellow bloggers and share the love! Here are some posts I enjoyed in the past month:

MY OTHER POSTS

MOON KNIGHT REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you all a lovely and not too wild April! Here’s to a brilliant May ahead of us!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Book Review)

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Page Count
: 302

CW: loss of a loved one, suppressed trauma

I’m slowly making my way through Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bibliography, albeit in reverse order. I just wanted to make sure that I read everything before their respective adaptations released (yes, that means The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is next. I will actually get to it. Don’t worry!) and I haven’t been mad at any of her books yet. Quite the opposite – I found everything I’ve read by TJR really human and easy to relate to – even if I did enjoy some stories more than others.
So far, I think I might like One True Loves best!? Malibu Rising hit some great notes for me and you all know that Daisy Jones & The Six won’t ever be my favorite, but I felt strangely connected to Emma’s struggle in this book, despite never having been in anything even remotely similar to her situation.

One True Loves is told with a Before and After, with POV shifts and at quite a fast pace. In the beginning, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect to some of the more emotional parts, simply because we were rushing through her love stories at an exorbitant speed, but I massively enjoyed the pace and never felt like I missed out on anything important. When we started, I thought that this woman was faced with an impossible choice and I had no idea who she was going to pick, if she was going to pick any of them, but the conclusion made sense and I loved that for her. This was just a simple “love triangle”, but rather an emotional tornado that held so much truth, honesty and vulnerability. I was in awe of the communication skills of the characters, because bad communication is a pet peeve of mine, but they articulated their needs, wants and fears so well. Of course, sometimes that wasn’t easy and/or well received, but the openness with which this hardship was approached was beautiful and heart-breaking at the same time.

“It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? That every single person on this planet could lose their one true love and live to love again? It means the one you love could love again if they lost you.”

It’s difficult for me to put into words what this book accomplished to evoke in me. It asks the question: What is true love? Something so slippery and hard to define, but something that felt so clear and easy here. It also dealt with change, how we don’t stay the same and therefore our partners and surroundings don’t either. Nothing, if you really think about it, ever does stay the same and this book made it okay. It doesn’t mean that what happened before has to be tarnished or bad somehow, you can still love and cherish it and appreciate it for getting you to where you are and who you are now. Even at the danger of repeating myself, that was such a beautiful gift from this book!

“I have changed over time. That’s what people do. People aren’t stagnant. We evolve in reaction to our pleasures and our pains.”

Lastly, you know how I am when it comes to grief – I seek these books like a bloodhound, relishing in the tears I’m about to shed and One True Loves? Such great grief rep. Obviously losing a loved one is different for everyone and not even my own approach is the same every time something devastating happens, but I felt this was such a good approach to the topic and I really enjoyed the pain that came with diving into the matter.

Big shout out to the family in this book especially, because they did the best they could, which is so hard sometimes.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Highly recommend this if you are into complex love stories and just really human explorations of relationships (not even just romantic ones).


As I’ve mentioned previously, One True Loves has been adapted as a movie, starring Phillipa Soo, Luke Bracey and Simu Liu in the lead roles. There’s unfortunately no trailer yet, but I can already see everything unfold before my inner eye with these cast members. I’m genuinely excited for it and hope that the film will capture the same emotions, vulnerability and torn feeling. Not much more can be said for now, especially since there’s no official release date other than it being in 2022 and only one still has made it onto my timeline so far. I’m genuinely excited though! The cast seems fantastic either way.

One True Loves movie still of Phillipa Soo as Emma and Simu Liu as Sam


Have you read this TJR book? Do you want to? Where would it fall in your ranking? Let’s chat!

March 2022 Wrap-Up

March didn’t really go according to plan. Not that I had an actual plan, but, you know … I thought it would go by with a couple less hiccups. For the most part, I was in a massive reading slump and only rereading one of my favorites from last year got me back into the mood to pick up more stories. Here’s what I ultimately got to:

  • The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (5 stars, reread)
    While I’ve read the self-published version last year, I took it upon myself to annotate and highlight the traditionally published edition this past month to create a post telling YOU if the book is something you might enjoy. I hope you’ll find the post enlightening.
  • All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie (2.5 stars)
    As far as novellas go, I’ve read better. It’s historical with elements of magic, but it just felt so clinical and detached.
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (3.5 stars)
    I’m going to review the book on here eventually, I just want to combine it with my thoughts on the movie, which will release on April 22.

The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1) All the Horses of Iceland Along for the Ride

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I’m more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

For the most part of the last month, I was massively behind on all my reading goals, but I’m doing alright at the moment and have a mini-buffer even. I have not made much progress with The Ten Thousand Doors of January (still only about 24% into the story), but I’ve been flying through One True Loves (66%) and think I’ll finish it easily this weekend. After that I want to focus on a new reading experiment, which to the dismay of some, won’t be the Henry Cavill one just yet. You’ll see what I’ve chosen instead soon!

storygraph reading challenge progress update for March

 

I’m exhausted! I’ve had the worst couple of weeks of insomnia and constant headaches and I have no idea why (I say that like there hasn’t been an onslaught of things going on in my private life that have stressed me out). All of *that* has contributed to me not being at my blogging best and I downgraded from 3-4 posts per week to just 2 for most of March. It might not seem like it to you, but for me, that’s almost a mini-hiatus. I legit did the bare minimum.

On a more pleasant note, after months of not doing anything, I actually picked up a brush again did a couple drawings! I did a couple things, which you can check out on my art insta, but here’s a little taste of me drawing Jonathan Bailey (yes, the very Bridgerton one).

watercolor drawing by Kat Impossible of actor Jonathan Bailey

I also went ahead and got myself an annual pass for the local zoo and I’ve only gone twice so far, but I’m loving it. Truly, it’s the perfect way to go outside and spend some time wandering around in the fresh air and seeing some great animals. As always, I’m drawn to the jellyfish in the aquarium, but I also love visiting “my” bird.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF FEBRUARY 2022

I’ve done it these past couple of months and I will continue to do it to show the longevity of blog posts. It never ceases to amaze me which posts people are drawn to even after such a long time.

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    Are Sebastian Stan and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted August 2021)
    The two posts actually have the exact same amount of views. I will never quite understand what draws people to that specific book review, but I know VERY well why the Sebastian Stan post has blown up once again. There’s the release of Fresh, but also him mentioning Alain de Botton in many an interview for the movie and me having picked that author for the reading experiment with him.
  2. Something Different: Duskwood (Game)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    I genuinely hope that the last chapter will release soon, because I can see how many people click on the episode tracker when they visit.
  3. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    It’s the only new post and I’m glad it’s so well received. That book means a lot to me and I know it’s not for everyone, so I hope this post will help people figure out if it’s for them.
  4. Are Pedro Pascal and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted December 2021)
    Today his movie The Bubble released on Netflix, but I think the increase in popularity is due to the Nicholas Cage movie releasing this year. The trailers and interviews looked hilarious.
  5. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (Book Review)
    (originally posted September 2021)
    The traditionally published version of the book released this past month, so I guess people were just curious. I think it’s funny that my book reviews are performing so well, when those are notoriously the posts that are supposed to be the least traction gaining ones.

MY FAVORITES OF THE MONTH

Obviously, my love for The Atlas Six was reawakened big time, but I think it’s fair to say that my mind was mostly occupied by the anticipation for the new Bridgerton season and then actually getting to watch it. Surprisingly, I was also delighted at the new season of Sanditon. I’m very attached to Mr. Colbourne and think it’s hilarious that Theo James was replaced by someone who was also in the Divergent franchise (although with a much smaller part). It’s a true win for my regency love story yearning heart!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I was not as active this past month and apologize for that, but here are some posts I loved.

MY OTHER POSTS

MARVEL REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you’ve had a better March than me. Let’s talk!

Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’ve read The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake when it was still a self-published book sometime last year. I immediately fell in love with the characters and the world and was craving more. I “only” had a digital copy of the book, so, when it was traditionally published this year, I went to the shop and grabbed a copy to do something I usually never do – reread, annotate and highlight the entire thing! To my utter surprise, I loved it even more the second time around, but I also know that opinions on the book vary quite a bit.

With this post, I intend to highlight some aspects of the book (don’t worry, no spoilers!) to help you determine whether The Atlas Six is the right read for YOU or not. It’s not a traditional review by any means, so if that’s something you’re more interested in, I recommend you visit my post from last year here. While there were some slight edits made for the newly published version, the majority of what I said still rings true and is an accurate depiction of my feelings towards the story.

Now, let’s get started on me rambling on for way too long!

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Blurb according to the publisher:
The world’s best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.
Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few . . .
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

REASONS YOU MIGHT LOVE/HATE THE ATLAS SIX

The Writing

First things first, this is the opening volume to a  dark academia/fantasy trilogy. I want to point this out, because sometimes I wonder if people think it’s a self-contained story, when it’s very much not. In other words, it is to be expected that The Atlas Six does not give you answers to all your questions, might even leave you confused on some subjects and definitely has a grueling cliffhanger.

Other than that, the story is told in third person and from multiple POVs. There’s quite a big cast of characters, but more on that later on. Something that’s very much notable in Olivie Blake’s writing is that everything sounds flowery, yet incredibly sophisticated, but even more so, she heavily focuses on dialogue. This can be both, actual conversations between certain people, or inner turmoil. There will be entire pages of discussions on matters of philosophy and science, which to me felt invigorating, while I can see others struggling to the see the point or importance of it. But that’s the thing, while I read it, I felt like there was a purpose to everything and we learned many things along with the characters. Also, it’s balanced well with humor!

“We study the realm of consciousness because we understand that to decide something, to weigh a cost and accept its consequences, is to forcibly alter the world in some tangible way. That is a magic as true and as real as any other.”

What I struggled with a bit reading it for the first time, but not so much on my reread, was figuring out how much time had passed between certain scenes. This book covers a lot of ground and not always linearly, so that’s something to keep in mind.

It’s definitely written in a witty and clever way with lots of turns and twists. Something I will admit though, is that it felt frustrating to me that the characters didn’t realize one of the biggest (in my opinion *obvious*) turn of events for the majority of the book. Ultimately, in this volume, w get eased into a world. We are meant to hopefully fall in love with who the story is about and to care deeply about what happens next. Because there will be a definite shift in The Atlas Paradox.

The Characters

Did you ever want a cast of characters where every. single. one of them is morally grey and (probably) also not straight? I present to you: Libby Rhodes, Nico de Varona, Reina Mori, Tristan Caine, Parisa Kamali and Callum Nova

“No one here is good. Knowledge is carnage. You can’t have it without sacrifice.”

There’s actually more characters in the book that aren’t exactly unimportant, but these six, they really are the backbone of the story! You won’t like all of them, I sure didn’t, but you will appreciate every single one of them for what they bring to the table. There are almost limitless possibilities for shipping, there’s even a threesome somewhere in there, but the bonds are so complex that it goes beyond just romantic attachment.

I think a lot of whether the reader enjoys The Atlas Six hinges on how many characters fascinate them. I personally loved three characters with my entire being, was intrigued by one more, felt disappointed at the lack of page time for a certain someone and just despised the last. That one’s a literal psycho and I cannot. (I was just referring to the above mentioned six leads here.)
It’s easy to sense a certain kind of favoritism the author has, in my opinion, as some characters either got just more chapters in general or the more interesting (to me) plotlines. I don’t know if that will be consistent throughout the entire series, or whether there’s more “to do” for certain characters in the later books. Either way, that favoritism might also make the reader lean more towards those figures.

Something that can definitely go one of two ways were the ample illustrations of the characters between parts of the book. I, for one, adored them! They were done by Little Chmura in the indie version as well as the traditional one, although they are different (yet both gorgeous). I know that certain people prefer to imagine the appearance themselves and not get a certain look “forced” on them. Here’s a taste of what the portraits approximately look like, although I’ll forever be salty we don’t have colored versions in the printed books:

The World-Building

This is probably the point I heard the most criticism about since the traditional release. If you are looking for a book with a very strict and structural magical system, this might not be it for you! Honestly, I love when magic is just woven into the fabric of every day life, when there’s hints of otherness around every corner and you can see that there lies a certain power within some and not others, but it is never explicitly mentioned why that is. In a way, magic is common in this world and if you have it and can monetize it, you’re on top of the food chain. Power is everything and knowledge is power, which is why the Alexandrian Society is so secretive and competitive.

Those who can practice magic as more than just a spell or charm are called “medeians” and they usually have a specialty or tendency in which their power develops. Those powers can present phyiscally (being able to set fire to things, grow plants, etc.) or in a non-physical way (empathy, telepathy, illusions, …), giving each person a completely unique and individual experience with their magical gift.

Aside from people who can do magic, there also exist “creatures” in this world. That’s a point that could have definitely been expanded on and it’s something that regularly took me out of the story a little bit, as there’s only one POV that deals with the matter. “Creatures” (think satyrs, mermaids, etc.) are looked down upon in the magical society and if don’t fit into a pre-classified system, you are forgotten about altogether. I can imagine this being dealt with more in the future, but it was a bit of a lackluster point.

To sum it up, I adore books that just live off of vibes, never-ending philosophical and moral dilemmas with a little science thrown in. To me, that is heaven, but I understand that some people need more. They need certain charms or spells that only work when done just so, which The Atlas Six also has, but definitely doesn’t focus on. This is more of a trial and error way of using magic.

“The problem with knowledge, is its inexhaustible craving. the more of it you have, the less you feel you know.”


Have you made up your mind and did this help you? Did you already read the book? What are your thoughts? Let’s talk!

February 2022 Wrap-Up

Despite February having been a lot and me choosing to repress some stuff that is happening in reality (I know, it’s a kind of privilege), it was actually a pretty decent reading month for me. I got to everything I had set my eyes on and even a little more. So, at least in that department, I genuinely can’t complain much right now, even if most of the books wer only mediocre. Here’s what I read:

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Prosper's Demon by K.J. Parker

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I’m more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

As I’ve now said a lot, I’m using Storygraph really regularly now and it’s growing on me. I’m also low-key crushing my reading challenges and it’s making me happy. For a while there, I thought I had aimed too high with 15K words for this year, but it’s looking good. I’m now reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January (about 6% into the story) and even though it had mixed reviews, I’m enjoying it. I’m not even going to attempt to start a new reading experiment in March, I will try to alternate those.

I think it’s fairly understandable to say that I’m on edge right now. The Ukrainian border is closer to where I live than the other side of my own (very tiny) country. Geographically, this is probably one of the closest wars I have had to witness and I feel like I live in a 24/7 news cycle. At the same time, I’m confused and angered by some of the rhetoric used in media and by politicians alike, especially when it comes to refugees in comparison to coverage about previous countries that needed aid. I wish I could share some good resources here, but the ones I trust are all in German so … please, just be aware that there’s a lot of misinformation going around and be careful. Take care of yourselves!

Other than that, there’s things going on in my private life I want to talk about even less, BUT the weather is getting better. Yes, this is what it has come to. I’m talking about the weather … I can really feel it lift my spirits though and I’m hoping to get out more. I miss having places to go to, especially since I’ve been working from home in my one room apartment since mid-November now. So, this is honestly a good sign!

It also sort of started me imagining going on vacation for the first time in forever this year. I refuse to go on a plane or anywhere that is difficult to reach, but maybe a Berlin visit is due! I miss my second (or third or fourth) home. If I go, I want to go by train, because it’s such a nice deceleration to life and without the stress of how much luggage you can take in a carry on for a flight and such. I’m not sure when I’ll go, but I’m making all the plans for 2022.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF FEBRUARY 2022

When I’m on other platforms and judging by my stats page, blogging has changed a lot over the years. I feel like it’s more of a second platform for many, next to video or image content on socials. Still, I’m dedicating this year to showing how valuable and kind of long term blogging as a medium is by sharing my top performing posts each month. (Hint: they are rarely ever the new ones!)

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    Do I know why this is the most popular book review I’ve ever written? Heck no. I wish I did, but I’m glad it’s doing so well and finding an audience. Even if I wasn’t 100% convinced by the book …
  2. Something Different: Duskwood (Game)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    This game, I wish more people would play it so that I could talk about it with them. And also, that they’ll finally release the final chapter.
  3. Are Sebastian Stan and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted August 2021)
    Look, with Pam & Tommy releasing, I just think a lot of people are rediscovering Sebastian Stan.
  4. Are Chris Evans and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted July 2021)
    Interest for Chris always remains in waves.
  5. Are Tom Hiddleston and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted June 2021)
    He almost got beat by Pedro Pascal for 5th place. It as SO close. But the reading experiments are just a huge draw to the blog.

MY FAVORITES OF THE MONTH

Speaking of reading experiments, while I love doing them, I love publishing them even more! There’s just something so very satisfying about getting all the necessary reading done, comparing tastes and trying to find common ground with strangers based on nothing other than books. One of my favorite parts is also trying to find the thing that connects all the books, to dive into the psyche of the celebs a little and see what draws them to the material. It’s such a joy! I know I posted the latest installment with Lupita Nyong’o at an inopportune time, but I hope it doesn’t flop.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I love this community, so please share that love by also checking out the posts of fellow bloggers!

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

WRITING LIFE

TRAILER POSTS


Hope February was kind to you and that March will treat you well! Let’s chat in the comments!

Are Lupita Nyong’o and I compatible (readers)?

Disclaimer: I do NOT know Lupita Nyong’o. All the information is taken from various social media posts and interviews and could potentially be outdated.


Here we are once again with a new installment of the reader compatibility feature or celeb book club, as I like to call it! In case you missed the previous ones, don’t hesitate to check out the following posts:
Are Tom Hiddleston and I compatible (readers)?
Are Chris Evans and I compatible (readers)?
Are Sebastian Stan and I compatible (readers)?
Are Pedro Pascal and I compatible (readers)?

And here comes once again the reminder that this is done with the sole intention of it being fun and not taken too seriously. I’m comparing my taste in books with that of actors and actresses to see if we would be “compatible” on the basis of those reading taste alone. How could you ever take that seriously?


Read More »

This or That: Comparing English/American & German Book Covers!

A while ago, I saw a post over at Lais @The Bookish Skies comparing Brazilian and American book covers and I was super intrigued by the idea. Somehow, I forgot about it though, or other things just became more pressing, until I watched Jack Edwards and Steph Bohrer compare UK and US book covers over on booktube. I just knew, I had to do this for German covers (and titles? Cause they often change them?) before I’d forget it again. So, in short, we’re going to compare UK and US book covers with those published on the German market! I don’t know who does it better, but this post might give us an indication.

(This was really inspired by all the people above, please check out their content!)

ROUND #1

       

I don’t remember if the left cover is the British or the US version, but whichever one it is, but I fully intend to finally read the book this year and that’s the version I own (I think).

For once, they did not actually change the title, but I legit couldn’t find a cover image without the silly “BookTok sensation” sticker. When they’re not actual stickers and cannot be removed from the book, I often feel like they might just become my villain origin story.

In general, there’s just something more mysterious, luxurious and enticing about the English language cover. This round clearly goes to the US/UK!

ROUND #2

       

Okay, where do I even start? They stuck to translating the title correctly, but that’s about where I stop liking the German cover.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a very slow paced, atmospheric book. It’s about prejudice and perseverance. It’s about love and life and family. There’s a lot of harsh realities and even a murder mystery, but I feel like the German cover leaned into that last bit way too hard. Somehow, the darker color scheme makes it reminiscent of crime and thriller books rather than the celebration of nature and societal commentary it is. Again, points go to the English language cover.

Read my review of the book here.

ROUND #3

        

There are a couple different variants of the English language cover, but they’re mostly in the realm of what is shown above. Please, do get ready for the translation of the German title though – I still can’t believe they called it that: “Destiny is a lousy traitor

While I think the German title sort of relates to the story, I just don’t know where they got that particular phrase from. It feels clunky (in German) and I would have never guessed it’s supposed to be TFIOS. The rest of the German cover is also just so random. 1) they ignore the stars in the OG title, but put them on the cover, 2) there’s a random city skyline? and 3) Is that a dandelion floating about?

The English cover isn’t particularly creative, but I feel calmer looking at it. English language covers keep winning.

ROUND #4

        

I chose the blue cover, because it’s the one I own. I know there are different versions out there, but it’s what’s on my shelf, so it’s what I’m going to judge it on.

I kind of like the German one more, but wish the head wasn’t part of it? I’m just confused, is that supposed to be Achilles? Either way, it looks a little more exciting than the blue cover, which is just very plain. So, while I don’t feel compelled to give either one a point, this one reluctantly goes to the German cover.

Read my review of the book here.

ROUND #5

        

They tried to do entirely too much with the German cover! Why do they always want to pack half the plot into the imagery, when a nice understated font can be so much more enticing. I don’t even know if the person in the crystal ball (where is that even coming from) is supposed to be Addie or Luc. I feel like this just leads you astray, because so much of the story actually takes place in the now. This is a disaster … English language cover wins again!

Read my review of the book here!


That’s it for today! The UK/US covers easily won with 4-1 points! If I ever do this again (should I?), I will have to make sure that I do a better job at finding nice German covers. Although … there are several reasons I don’t own many German editions and it’s apparently not just the language …


What did you think of this post? Would you like to see more comparisons? Let’s chat!