March: Book Two

Rating: ★★★★★

In the previous volume we got a small glimpse of America in the 1950s through early 1960s. We get major insight into John Lewis upbringing and his journey towards working with Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement. For the most part the first volume was an introduction and setting up the groundwork for this graphic novel. We as the readers get to see the sad reality of how our country was reacting towards these nonviolent protests. African-Americans were brilliant during these protests as they learned how to accept the reactions of others and yet not back down in the face of adversity. These nonviolence protest were effective in the sense of bringing attention to the millions of Americans who were in denial that segregation exist or rather choose to be in denial that racism exist in modern society. When people start to act like animals it becomes easier in our choices to fight back without reason.

Now that African-Americans around the south began this movement, it became a struggle for white supremacist to deal with this outbreak of resilience. Protestors are not fighting with their hands instead with their brains and it allowed the dialogue to change and showcase that the white supremacists are the true ruthless animals that are causing havoc. Segregation and racism was buried deep in our society and now thanks to Dr. King efforts it was bringing the darkness towards the light.

Change is a difficult process to accept and imagining that its possible for black people to be accepted as equals in their society makes it confusing, chaotic, and frightening for those who are not ready for change or has the misconception that segregation is the true way for our society to strive and survive.

John Lewis does not hold back to the atrocities that were committed by the police and civilians towards black people during the movement and it breaks my heart to witness how countless people were either murdered, and beaten to the point where their face was unrecognizable. The intention was to break peoples souls because if they feel pain then they will realize what are people capable of in terms of remaining segregated.

The courageous part that I noticed throughout this volume that we as Americans are lacking is not giving up in your beliefs and principals. There are moments that keep surfacing for John Lewis and Dr. King in the sense of quitting and yet they realized if they surrendered towards bigotry then that means they will never be free. I don’t know how long this has been happening in the 21st century but lately whenever people get outraged about something they use Facebook and other social media outlets to explain their outrage and then 5 mins later they move on towards something else and believe that will cause effective change.

People don’t know how to protest anymore or rather too afraid to stand up towards their belief and be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to tackle the awful dilemmas at hand. Just looking at the results of this election and the outrage reaction is a huge indicator that people need to learn how to effectively protest and not let anyone in power manipulate and abused us. The Civil Rights movement happen over 50 years ago and yet it struck a cord that is still relevant today and it has shown me that while we as Americans have overcome a lot we still have room for improvement and having our new President isn’t a big enough sign then I don’t know what is…

There are not enough words to describe the brilliance of this graphic novel series and I hope everyone grabs a copy and reads it. Educate yourself and know about your country’s history or we are doomed to repeat it. John Lewis graphic novel is my beacon of hope right now in January 2017.


March: Book One

Rating: ★★★★★

I remember randomly scrolling through the available graphic novel section of the Library online catalogue and randomly picked up this book. I knew from the cover that it was going to deal with the Civil Rights movement but I didn’t know at the time who was John Lewis and why he is an important figure for the African American community and politics in the 21st century. The story begins with John Lewis getting ready to attend the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. He decides to visit his congressional office before heading out and while he was catching up with fellow friends, a mother with her two sons have traveled far to not only witness history in the making but to meet Senator John Lewis.

With all the drama that has happen for the last few years and what’s going to come January 20th, it saddens me to read this graphic novel especially when talking about our President. I remember vividly back in 2009 how the air breathe with optimism. I knew the struggles that Obama would face would not be easy but at the end of the day with all the celebrations, the amount of people who went out and vote changed the course of history. I haven’t seen that sense of hope in years prior to the 2008 election and sadly I haven’t seen that since January 20th, 2009.

I have no idea where this country is heading because while its been clearly illustrated that the world is going to end for the most part I want to believe in the American people and how they will stand up and fight back when situations presents itself that could potential unravel all the basic principles that are the leading foundation of this country. I never want any of our President to fail because then we all fail as a nation. Leading back to the story…

This graphic novel is meant for all ages especially those who are clueless about the Civil Rights movement, why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was crucial towards overcoming segregation, and illustrate the obstacles African-American had to go through in order to live a brighter tomorrow. John Lewis gives you insight into his childhood living on the farm, how education was important to him and the idea of becoming a preacher opened the doors of opportunity for him to attend college.

While he attended college in Nashville, the Civil Rights movement were in the early phases waiting for the sparks to illuminate. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discovered Gandhi who used the forces of nonviolence to help revolt his people from an oppressive regime and decided to incorporate that philosophy towards dismantling segregation in the Deep South. It was frightening to stand up and fight because you were treated as the scum of the earth and the punishments that were waited to be rewarded are too gruesome to capture in words.

I believe the Civil Rights movement is one of the best examples to teach unto the American people how to protest effectively and not giving up when all hope seems to have vanished. The protest, boycotts, and the marches were not accomplished in a day in fact it took years before our government listened and made the appropriate measures to make sure the violence would finally end.

I am hooked on this series and I cannot wait to read the next two volumes. I always believe a book finds you not vice versa and this book found me again in a time where my hope for this nation is shrinking on a daily basis. I look forward towards reading more about John Lewis and getting insight into his relationship with Dr. King!

Can’t We Talk about Something Pleasant?

Rating: ★★★★★

Stop with what you are doing in your life and grab a copy of this phenomenal novel. I had no clue what I was getting myself into when reading Roz Chast life story dealing with her parents. I had no expectations entering this book and I believe that is the best format. At first I thought it was a complete graphic novel but then my opinion changed to a nonfiction novel with illustrations provided by the author. I have no idea who is Roz Chast when reading this book and I will gladly invest in her books in the mere future.

Roz Chast chronicles her relationship with her parents and its not a pretty picture. We get insight into her childhood but the main focus is dealing with her parents at the last stage of their life. It is a difficult subject to approach with your parents about whether they want a DNR, putting into a nursing home, their will, and their funeral arrangements. Roz parents are extremely stubborn particularly her mother and this type of conversation leads to major dead ends and frustrations for both parties.

I cannot even begin to think the amount of pressure, headache, and pain it takes to deal with this topic which is naturally uncomfortable because most children including myself believe their parents to be immortal. In particular with my mother, I worship her for the countless sacrifices she has made to help improve my life and there is nothing that I can do to repay her. Nothing. The further I ventured into this story, major red flags were popping up about information that I should know about when it comes to dealing with elderly parents and while I consider my mom to still be “young”, the dealing of anxiousness, discomfort, and stress crept over me which is a major sign I will not be reading this book for a long time.

Death is not an easy subject to touch and yet Roz Chast has this special gift for inserting comedy with perfect timing. I kid you not there were moments where I should be upset or in tears and yet I was laughing out loud to the point of tears and I kept questioning myself whether something internally is wrong with me?

I am glad that this was my final book for 2016! Reading it makes me appreciate the moments I share with my loved ones and offer new perspective on the future. I recommend this novel for everyone because not only will you laugh but you can find it relatable especially if your parents have the magical buttons that can easily trigger your anger every time they stop by and visit. In my opinion 2016 has been a shitty year for me and while I want to remain positive I can say that this book pretty much sums up my feelings about 2016 and I am ready to pull the plug and end it. Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017!!!

Holidays on Ice

Rating: ★★

DNF @57%. I love David Sedaris but I was disappointed overall with this novel because it was not what I expected. I thought the entirety of the novel would be whimsical autobiographical short stories but in the end it was a mix of true stories and fictional short stories. I checked this out from the library and decided to read one short story leading up to Christmas and yet I had no desire to continue it once I finished this ridiculous and sad story. Overall I guarantee you that everyone else will probably enjoy this book especially for his sarcasm but just know that it is mostly fictional with some elements that are autobiographical.

One of my favorite stories was David Sedaris experience as an Elf for Santaland at Macy’s because you get major insight into how awful parents can be during the holidays with their children. I have to give a round of applause for everyone who has to work in any field dealing with children because sometimes the parents are 100x worst than the children.

I debated for a long time whether I should finish this book or call it quits and since we are in a brand new year I want to start fresh and read books that I am interested about instead suffering through one novel for days only to have further disappointment by the time I complete it.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1)

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I have a long history in the making. I remember vividly renting the movie version in Blockbuster and I had no clue as to why I wanted to watch it. I found the movie to weird and bizarre did not get the gist of the story but I enjoyed the space adventure and Marvin. Shift many years later and I am in 10th Grade and my English teacher picks this book for us to read. I was slowly working my way up to enjoying books at the time (I was marathoning Harry Potter in that same school year) but still lacked the proper skills toward reading and completing my reading assignments for school. I had this bad habit where I would either A.) Read the beginning of the book and skip the rest until the ending or B.) Skip the beginning and read pieces of the book and get the rest from the class discussion. I was not a bad student but half of the time the class discussions would supply all the details I needed for the test and since I hated reading it made the process smoother for me when it came to my grades.

Unfortunately I skipped the introduction to this book and I believe that is the fetal error because the introduction sets the tone and notifies the reader that this book is both Science Fiction and full of Satire. I remember trying to read a few of the chapters and disliking the humor and never both finishing the book and luckily now I was able to read it and enjoy it throughly.

In this book we meet Arthur Dent who is about 30 years old, single, and gets drunk one night because he found out that the village is destroying his house the next day with a bulldozer to make way for a bypass. Arthur is furious and tries to defend his house but his friend Ford Prefect hypnotizes him to have a drink at the pub. You may think everything seems normal but Ford Prefect is actually an alien that has been residing on Earth for the last 15 years and has no way of communicating with anyone outside the planet to rescue him. Luckily he got the notification that a group of alien spaceships are coming to Earth and they are going to obliterate the world in 30 mins.

Ford Prefect remains honest and tells Arthur the truth and at first Arthur does not believe him until the Vogons descend down and prepares for obliteration. Ford is prepared for this occasion and rescues his friend to tag along in this crazy outer space adventure. I do not want to give anymore spoilers because this series is utterly brilliant and hilarious. I will definitely continue this series because it is quite possible that Douglas Adams has become one of my new favorite authors.

The comedy is spot on and I do not know how Douglas Adams does it but he is a genius when it comes to British comedy and filling up absurdity throughout the novel. One of my favorite lines is in the introduction when the narrator of the story is talking about Earth:

“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” 

My only complaint and it has nothing to do with the author and more of a pet peeve for me which is the invention of imaginary words. Douglas Adams writes countless chapters of galaxies that human beings have never heard of or wish to imagine and there were moments where I could not pronounce the words correctly. I am perfectly fine with it comes to inventing words but if there is no IPA to notify the reader how to correctly say the word then I find myself being frustrated and pulled out of the narration and it becomes extremely tedious and ruins the whole fun aspect of reading this whimsical book.

I am fortunate enough that the library has the entire series in audiobook format and I was able to check them all out now so I will definitely be listening to this series while reading the book so that way I am not lost in my confusion of imaginary words and planets. If I am able to listen to this story again in audiobook there is a major chance that instead of 4.5 stars it will become a perfect score come the second time around. Until next time…

P.S. Marvin is still one of my favorite characters on this series and Alan Rickman’s voice is perfect for Marvin!


Rating: ★★★★

I had to put some thought into how I would rate this book because I was thoroughly entertained yet had some major flaws and in the end I am satisfied that this is a true 4 star rating book. I have to read this book for school and I am excited to read a classic even though I had already seen the Hitchcock film and the Bates Motel television series. Psycho is a classic in both horror and cinema world and I never knew that the movie was based on a book until I saw the Hitchcock film with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. I do not know how it’s possible that there’s some people in this world who have never seen Psycho and I have to say you must live under a rock because the amount of pop-culture references deriving from the film alone is limitless.

We meet Norman Bates. A pudgy awkward man who is reading strange books and dealing with an ill mother. They start to argue and we can see how creepy and abusive their relationship is and the whole conversation ends when Norman gets the notification that someone has entered the motel complex. It’s strange for Norman because ever since they built the new highway, business has been slow and all the lights are out but he needs the money and good business so he leaves his house to take care of the client.

That lucky client is Mary Crane whose 27 years old, hates her secretary job, and has a lover who won’t marry her because he inherited his fathers business and the mortgages and doesn’t want to marry her until he is debt free. Time is in the essence and she doesn’t want to wait for 2 years to finally get married. Luckily for her an opportunity presents itself and with it comes the consequences of her actions.

One day at the job, a client comes to buy a house as a wedding present for his daughter and gives $40,000 to her boss. Money can make people do crazy things and sure enough Mary is given the task of taking the money to the bank. Simple task to accomplish and yet we find Mary packing her bags and steals the money to pay her boyfriend Sam Loomis debts and get hitched. She starts coming up with different scenarios as to how to avoid the cops, how she got the money, and the insanity of it all just keeps building without anyone to knock some sense into her… yet.

As she is driving up to Fairvale to see Sam it starts to rain heavily and she took the wrong turn and know needs to find a place to stay for the night and out of nowhere appears a Motel. She enters and parks her car and sees that there’s a house up the hill from the hotel and a man comes and knocks her door. She is taken care of by Norman and checks into Room 6. She’s hungry, wet, and wants some sleep and Norman convinces her to eat with him in the house.

The interaction seems harmless but Mrs. Bates overreacts about a woman entering her house and tells Norman not to allow her in because she is a whore and will take her son away and manipulate him. They get into a bitter argument and Norman locks her in. Mary Crane enters his dilapidated house and they have a nice meal for the first 5 mins and then Norman goes into a rant when Mary Crane suggest that Norman should put his mother in an institution. He’s never married, never traveled, and has lived in that house for decades which is clearly an indicator that something is not right with this man.

Surprisingly Norman puts some sense into Mary and she reconsiders her action and try to return home. She finishes her meal and heads off to her room to take a shower. Norman accompanies her to her room and enters his office and doesn’t tell anyone but he has a hole in the wall and it allows me to be a peeping tom for whoever is in room 6. You can add up the math and figure out what happens except for Mary getting brutally murder by Mrs. Bates.


Is this the first time that Mrs. Bates has murdered innocent people? We don’t know but I can guarantee you that it won’t be the last…

I would consider this book more suspense/thriller than horror because you are dealing with mystery and suspense around Norman Bates, his mother, and the murder of Mary Crane. Unfortunately I had seen the movie years ago so the big surprise wasn’t as impactful. Even if I hadn’t seen the movie I had some issues with this book.

The big surprise for me revealed itself within the first few pages of book and because of that Robert Bloch keeps pounding that detail throughout the book trying to make it a huge surprise and it becomes annoying after awhile. I believe Hitchcock was brilliant with shrouding Norman in mystery and avoiding the inner dialogue that runs in his head as he tries to cover his mothers crimes.

The other issue which docked this book from 5 stars to 4 is the constant back and forth in the plot. The main protagonist is Norman and we have chapters dedicated to his point of view which is perfectly fine. But then the next chapter would go into detail how this particular character entered the Bates Motel and character background and it would drive me nuts. I want the plot to move forward and see the chaos unravel itself, not going back in time and making me wait for 10 pages before I catch up where the previous chapter ended. That major issue pops up at the end.

Overall I have to admit that Hitchcock did a fabulous job at staying faithful to the book and enhance certain scenes especially the iconic shower scene. I love that Hitchcock casted Anthony Perkins as Norman because he brings out the innocent childlike behavior when talking to people. You want to trust Norman and cannot believe the truth of Mrs. Bates whereas in the book Norman is a fat old man who looks disturbed and not believable as a character.


The Lover’s Dictionary

Rating: ★★★★★

I cannot believe how phenomenal this book is and how the concept is simple and brilliant. Get words from the dictionary that could relate to all aspects of love and make a story out for the word and provide the definition as it weaves its way into the story. I cannot give this review any justice and I am not going to even try. You will laugh, cry, and relate to many of the stories regardless if you have been in a relationship or not. If you know the alphabet then you know the first letter starts with A and the book is written in chronological order so you will have many selections of words from A-Z that is fitted into this book. If you are in a reading slump then read this book. If you want to read a book on Valentine’s Day then read this book. If you are looking for a short book to read while you are preparing yourself to read an 800+ plus page book then reading this book. If you are bored and having nothing to do then read the book because you will definitely love it and will definitely want to read it again soon after you reach Zenith. The main point is READ THIS DAMN BOOK ALREADY!!

What I loved the most about this book is as the reader you decide the gender roles. There’s some instances where the story is clearly stated that the relationship is between a heterosexual couple or same-sex but that is only 0.01% of the entire book. The rest is up to you and I believe that is perfect and brilliant because love is universal and has no limits especially when it comes to race and gender. This thought didn’t come into my mind until half-way into the book when I read a story and pictured a guy in my head and saw that no where in the story did it mention a he or she.

I was also shocked that even though I haven’t been in a relationship I have experience similar moments as the characters or can definitely understand where the narrator is coming from whether it being heartbroken, nervous, or happy. I wanted to list every word that affected me whether it be good or bad but then I realize I would have to list the entire book so the words that truly impacted me were: Abstraction, Celibacy, Juxtaposition, and Livid.

Reading this book brought a ton of memories for me both good and bad. It reminded me who I was at the time and would I still repeat the same mistakes when it comes to love and relationships and I would say it depends. There’s some stories where it scared me how relatable it was and yet I am no longer that same person or rather I wouldn’t make the same mistake again because I’ve either learned my lesson or I’ve changed as a person. I believe people can change because the situations we face in life affects us all as human beings and the issues you may have suffered 5-10 years ago is no longer applicable now so you are not the same person that you were before because of xyz reasons.

I won’t reveal the source but there was one word that reminded me of someone that I cared about deeply as a friend and potentially more (at the time) and in the end it didn’t work out which was horrible back then but I understand the reasons why now and if I had to relive the experience again I would repeat my same mistakes because I cared deeply for this person and don’t regret my choices. For the word Abstraction, that story definitely felt like a sucker punch to the stomach and it hurt reading that story.

In the end I believe this book could be read a million times and still you would get something new out of it and I would love to read this again when I have forgotten most of the stories. One pet peeve I had with this book is when the author repeated some stories but added extra dialogue for the new word and I disliked that. With every new word I want a new story to go along with that new definition. I believe we need more X’s in our vocabulary. 😛

Easiest book to rate 5 out of 5 stars I’ve encountered for 2016.