The Vintage Coloring Book: Gorgeous Vintage Designs to Make Your Own by Editors of Thunder Bay Press


Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Thunder Bay Press
Source: Raincoast books

 I was sent a copy of this for review purposes and while I’m not sure how exactly one reviews a colouring book, let me just talk about the designs present in the book. There’s a nice mix of detailed work juxtaposed with less detailed drawings to colour. So there is something for every mood. If you feel like doing meticulous work, there are pages that will cater to this desire. And if you feel like just colouring without being bothered by detail, there are pages for that too.

All drawings are blank on the other side so if you want to detach it from the book either to frame or give away, you can do so without harming the book or other pages. All in all, though the book lacks the cohesiveness of a Johanna Basford colouring book, it does offer hours of colouring entertainment.

The Reading Forecast

Last week was a busy one and one in which I didn’t much feel like reading. I did get some books read but nowhere near the number I thought I would. I also DNFed two that I thought I’d like. Here are the ones I did get read:

  1. The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan
    It was so excellent to read a book that I could relate to. That was written by an Indian. It’s an amazing experience to have books directed at you. I stress that because most of the times I am a peripheral target for all the books I read. More on this in a later post.
  2. The Swing – Robert Louis Stevenson, Julie Morstad
    Beautifully done.
  3. We’ll Never Be Apart – Emiko Jean
    More on this at The Book Wars soon.
  4. Owls See Clearly At Night – Julie Flett
  5. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
    Ahhhhh. So many feels. I’ll be talking about this on The Book Wars in November.
  6. Fable Comics edited by Chris Duffy
    Funny. Some more than others. I liked this collection quite a bit.
  7. The Book of Words – Jenny Erpenbeck
    I may review this or at least just talk about it. It was a strange book. Short but so dense.

Currently Reading:

Soundless by Richelle Mead
I should be done with this one by the end of today. It’s pretty short and fast-paced which honestly seems a bit considering the worldbuilding ought to be more but I’m enjoying it so that’s saying something, right?

To Read in the Coming Week:

  1. The Uninvited by Cat Winters
    I need to read this one before the 7th because the library wants it back then. Fingers crossed.
  2. Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
    I have the 14th to read it but since I’m slow with contemps, I may as well get an early start.
  3. Ash and Bramble – Sarah Prineas
  4. Hilo book 1 – Judd Winnick
  5. The Lightning Dreamer – Margarita Engle

September Wrap-up and Book Haul

First, the delicious book haul:


19 books in total this month. Not pictured is Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling which I have lent out to a friend. I bought The Vegetarian by Han Kang cuz I came upon it in a charity shop and I am always looking to add titles to my growing diverse bookshelf. The rest were either gifts or for review.

Now for the books I read last month. I read 48 titles, mainly graphic novels and manga. Some picturebooks and a lot of children’s lit as usual. I also finished The Luminaries which only took me 5 months to read. -_- Here’s the list:

  1. The Wolf Wilder – Katherine Rundell
  2. Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 – Haruki Murakami
  3. The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy – Marie Jaskulka
  4. Marbles – Ellen Forney
  5. In the Forests of the Night – Kersten Hamilton
  6. Monkey High! vol 2-8 – Akira Shouko
  7. The Diabolical Miss Hyde – Viola Carr
  8. City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett
  9. When the Stars Threw Down their Spears – Kersten Hamilton
  10. Untwine – Edwidge Danticat
  11. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures – Jackon Pearce
  12. All the Rage – Courtney Summers
  13. I Wish… vol. 3-7 – Hyun-Joo Seo
  14. My Family Tree and Me – Dusan Petricic
  15. Amelia’s Middle-School Graduation Year Book – Marissa Moss
  16. Ravengirl – Audrey Niffenegger
  17. Lumberjanes vol. 1 – Noelle Stevenson
  18. The Storm Witch – Violette Malan
  19. Ms. Marvel vol. 2 – G. Willow Wilson
  20. Little Robot – Ben Hatke
  21. Advice to Little Girls – Mark Twain
  22. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  23. Secret Coders – Gene Luen Yang
  24. Gotham Academy vol. 1 – Becky Cloonan
  25. In the Afterlight – Alexandra Bracken
  26. The Private Lives of Trees – Alejandro Zambra
  27. The Night of the Moon – Hena Khan
  28. The Missing Piece – Shel Silverstein
  29. Baby Pie – Tom Macrae
  30. Nooks & Crannies – Jessica Lawson
  31. Air vol. 1 – G. Willow Wilson
  32. The Zoya Factor – Anuja Chaun
  33. The Swing – Robert Louis Stevenson
  34. We’ll Never Be Apart – Emiko Jean
  35. Owls See Clearly At Night – Julie Flett

Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling


Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Crown Archetype
Source: Publisher

I have been wanting to write a review for this book for a while now but for some reason, putting words to the experience of reading this book has been more difficult than I had initially supposed it would be.

Reading this book was like having a conversation with Mindy Kaling. I believe I said that in a reading forecast post and I reiterate that right now. Though the narrative is designed to be comic and the overall tone is funny and Mindy does invite you to laugh at her for her actions and words at various points in the book, I came away feeling that writing this book gives you a very intimate look into her psyche. Wow, long sentence is long. The book is funny but making it so took extreme courage. Mindy Kaling puts herself out there without knowing for certain whether people would laugh at her, with her, or call her unkind names while hiding behind computer screens.

She doesn’t confess everything, of course, there are things she doesn’t go into like the grief she must have felt at her mother’s passing and I loved her for that. She dignified her grief by not talking about it when she could have so easily commodified it. I respect her for that.

I also love what she says about the direct correlation between entitlement and hard work. You can only feel entitled to something (all the good stuff) when/if you work hard for it. If you don’t work hard, you are not entitled to anything. I absolutely loved this because knowing how the world works and knowing what I do about cultural reproduction (some other post, some other time), having someone reiterate the old age “hard work pays off” was awesome. And coming from someone who has worked hard to be where she is at this moment? The advice is even more invaluable.

I haven’t watched any of Mindy’s TV shows and I don’t know if I will, American shows are really not my thing. But I do know that I respect her as a person, as a woman, and she is someone I’d like to emulate. I don’t know if I could ever strip myself bare for the world to see and lay my vulnerabilities for everyone to comment on, but I do know that I’d like to have the same confidence in my self as she does in herself.

I enjoyed this memoir tremendously and recommend it to anyone who likes reading.

The Reading Forecast

I’m going to be writing two reviews this week. I hope too anyway. I have the intention to anyway. Let’s hope it all pans out because I have reviews to write!

But first, here’s what I read last week:

  1. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
    YES! I finished this!! And I do have things to say about this. This is one of the books I hope to review by the end of this week.
  2. Secret Coders – Gene Luen Yang
    I’m going to be reviewing this too but on the Book Wars.
  3. Gotham Academy vol. 1 – Becky Cloonan
    Olive and Maps forEVA. Seriously.
  4. In the Afterlight – Alexandra Bracken
    Tremendously satisfying. Whoo.
  5. The Private Lives of Trees by Alejandro Zambra
    This was an experience. A good one but not one I’m certain I want to ever repeat.
  6. The Night of the Moon – Hena Khan
    Ramadan story for the curious and the young.
  7. The Missing Piece – Shel Silverstein
  8. Baby Pie – Tom Macrae
    Could have been gruesome but was thankfully saved from being gory.
  9. Nooks & Crannies – Jessica Lawson
    Excellent book. I must read the other book Lawson has written.

Currently Reading:

  1. The Book of Works – Jenny Erpenbeck
    This book is only 98 pages but it’s taking me forever to read because it’s so dense and subtle.
  2. The Zoya Factor – Anuja Chauhan
    Guilty pleasure. Chicklit set in India with a backdrop of cricket and samosas…okay not samosas but there totally could be samosas. I’m tired.

To Read in the Coming Week:

  1. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
  2. We’ll Never Be Apart – Emiko Jean
  3. Air vol. 1 – G. Willow Wilson
  4. The Drafter – Kim Harrison

The Reading Forecast

I had a raging reading week. I read mostly graphic novels but that counts right? I’m making it count. Because I’m cool like that. I read:

  1. All the Rage – Courtney Summers
    Fantastic. I loved it.
  2. I Wish… vols 2-8 – Seo Hyun-Joo
    So very good. This manhwa was really well done.
  3. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
    Loved this one as well.
  4. My Family Tree and Me – Dusan Petricic
    I really liked this picturebook.
  5. Amelia’s Middle School Graduation Yearbook – Marissa Moss
    Too young for me.
  6. Raven Girl – Audrey Niffenegger
  7. Lumberjanes: vol 1. : Beware the Kitten Holy – Noelle Stevenson
  8. The Storm Witch – Violette Malan
  9. Ms. Marvel vol 2: Generation Why: G. Willow Wilson
  10. Little Robot – Ben Hatke
    All the love.
  11. Advice to Little Girls – Mark Twain
    This was the best thing ever.

Currently Read:

  1. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
    564 pages in and things are happening! I’m actually enjoying the book quite a lot now.
  2. In the Afterlight – Alexandra Bracken
    I’m 175 pages in and at this moment, feeling quite anxious for everyone. I hope no one else dies because neither Ruby nor I can handle it. I mean, I’ll be okay if Ruby dies because she’s prepared for it but anyone else? Ergh.

To Read in the Coming Week:

  1. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
  2. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
  3. Gotham Academy – Becky Cloon
  4. The Private Lives of Trees – Alejandro Zambra

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 (The Rat #1-2) by Haruki Murakami, Ted Goossen (Translation)


Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Bond Street Books
Source: Publisher

As a preface to Hear the Wind Sing, Murakami the narrator says:

If it’s art of literature you are interested in, I suggest you read the Greeks. Pure art exists only in slave-owning societies. The Greeks has slaves to till their fields, prepare their meals, and row their galleys while they lay about on sun-splashed Mediterranean beaches, composing poems and grappling with mathematical equations. That’s what art is.

If you’re the sort of guy who raids the refrigerators of kitchens at three o’clock in the morning, you can only write accordingly.

That’s who I am.

This bind-up of Haruki’s first two novellas gives readers the chance to experience for themselves the wordsmithery of a young and (one supposes) more idealistic Murakami. There is an irreverence in his work that is dazzling. His refusal to pander to previously set standards of ‘literature’ is also intoxicating. As the above excerpt proves, Murakami set out to write a story in a way that only he could tell and with Hear the Wind Sing he succeeded. There is an energy to the work that his later work lacks. At this point in his career, he has no idea what writing is and he’s playing by the ear and writing largely for his own self and this comes across loud and clear.

“So you don’t read books by living writers?”

“No, I don’t see the point.”

“Why not?”

“I guess because I feel like I can forgive dead people,” I said.

Murakami’s two characters gain flesh and meaning in Hear the Wind Sing. Murakami captures the fleeting essence of the friendship between the two men and their bartender who seems to have as much of a role as they do. I loved how simple the story is. Perhaps it is this very quality of the story that makes it have a more profound impact that something more complicated and convoluted.

Pinball 1973 didn’t resonate with me as much Hear the Wind SIng because the pacing is slower and the focus more determinedly trained on the unnamed narrator’s dead lover. Even the pinball obsession comes in largely as an afterthought. However, the story did speak to the transience of life and the people who populate yours. I appreciated this look into Murakami’s psyche. I feel like these two stories are largely responsible for the kind of writer he has become in his later years and if one were to analyze these stories in any depth, we’d see seedlings of his future stories planted here and there among the narrative.

This is a good place to start for those new to Murakami. The weird factor is there but it was in its nascent stage at this point, it won’t weird out the newer reader. Happy reading.