For my fifty-sixth Evangelion book review, here is Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Q E-conte Shuu (Evangelion New Theatrical Edition: Q Storyboards Collection), published by Groundworks.  This is a new book that just came out this week, and it is devoted to storyboards for the Evangelion: 3.0 movie.  (If you also want to see storyboards for the Evangelion: 1.0 and 2.0 movies, check out my fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth book reviews.  Or for storyboards from the original Evangelion TV series, take a look at my twenty-seventh review!)

This book is not available in English or French, but there are plenty of pictures.  It also has a removable dust jacket, however there isn’t any alternate cover art hidden underneath.  But that’s okay, because the book has plenty of interesting stuff inside, such as this lovely scene when Shinji sees Kaworu playing the piano:


The column on the left is for dialogue (or other sometimes other audio for the scene), the column in the middle is rough sketches of the visuals for the scene, and the column on the right has additional instructions such as camera directions.  However, as you can see above, sometimes the visuals are just too big to be contained in only one column… the topmost shot of Kaworu at the piano was so large that it extended into the left and right columns!

Keep reading for the rest of the book review, plus a few more pictures!

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[Book review] 그녀의 비행기 타는 법 (Cabin Crew)

When I posted my photos of my new books yesterday, @ohchickstudy commented that I should review the books. I thought that was a great idea, but of course, I haven’t read them yet. However, I do have a few other books that I have read, so I’ll start reviewing books that I’ve finished and get to those when I get to them. Thanks for the idea, @ohchickstudy !

My first review will be 그녀의 비행기 타는 법 by 전미애, 김소운, and 최보윤. My boyfriend actually let me borrow this copy of it, saying that he used to read it on his way to classes :) In this book, the three authors tell about their lives as flight attendants, including how they got their jobs, why they wanted to do it, places they have gone, people they have met, maintaining relationships while constantly on the go, crazy passenger stories, and just the little things that the cabin crew do before, during, and after the flight that those of us who only see it from the passenger side might not know about. Scattered throughout are cute drawings and photos of the places the ladies talk about and such.

I found this a pretty enjoyable read, getting insight into the lives of flight attendants while also learning a thing or two about the industry. Each chapter is an individual recollection from one of the authors, so you can sort of read it as a collection of short stories. You don’t even really have to keep up with which author is telling each chapter (I usually didn’t check, honestly; it was never really important); you can just read bit by bit and enjoy it that way.

As for difficulty, I didn’t find this to be a very burdensome read at all. If you’ve ever read a Korean novel (or a novel in any language, really) you’ll know that a lot of descriptors and other vocab that aren’t normally used when people talk naturally with each other tend to pepper the writing. However, this book’s format is a collection of stories told in first-person, so the writing style, including the vocabulary, is a bit less flowery. Sometimes industry-specific vocab will pop up, but in general, this is a fairly uncomplicated read. If you’ve got any interest in the life of flight attendants or travel or things of that nature, give this book a try :)

2

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

A bestseller in France and winner of Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, The Guest Cat, by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide, is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic but deeply felt ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife — the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens….

As Kenzaburo Oe has remarked, Takashi Hiraide’s work “really shines.” His poetry, which is remarkably cross-hatched with beauty, has been acclaimed here for “its seemingly endless string of shape-shifting objects and experiences,whose splintering effect is enacted via a unique combination of speed and minutiae.”

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

As you can probably tell from the synopsis, this is a bit of a different read for me. I usually read mostly YA, and I don’t think I’ve read more than ONE book of poetry in my entire life. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this beautiful little novel. Actually, it is more of a collection of essays, each chapter focusing on something different. This sets it apart from a traditional western novel. It was extremely refreshing. I can in no way claim to be an expert, but I think this is an example of how a traditional Japanese novel tends to be set up. It moves rather slowly and spends a lot of time describing different environments. The chapters do not always describe chronological events. There is very little dialogue, instead the focus lies with the narrator’s thoughts and inner musings. The thing that connects the different chapters together is the Cat, and how its appearance effects the narrator’s life. It was fascinating to see a novel built up in such a different way from the one I’m used to. It made me realize how much culture plays a part in shaping literature and our perspective on storytelling.

The Guest Cat was a beautiful story, made even more striking in that it could very well be a true story. It mixes poetry with storytelling in a lovely way. If this sounds at all like something you’d be interested in, please read it. Be ready for something different and refreshing.

//love from L

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews here

Bookmas Series: 23rd December 2016
A review my my lovely cousin Anna Reid all the way from Australia!

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 10/10

I know what you’re thinking, 10/10 surely thats a bit of an over statement. But I promise you if you’re a fan of fiction and you’ve got a bit of an imagination (and a love for the circus), you will absolutely love this book.

I was introduced to this book by one of my best friends, who explained the book as a written artwork. Erin Morgenstern is an artist as well as an author which definitely comes through her writing - I think the main reason I loved the book so much was because you can get completely lost in the world she creates. The colours, smells and characters become almost tangible and I often found myself reading for several hours at a time because I was completely transported.

The book is a bit of a fantasy/fairy tale, set in Victorian London centred around a circus - Le Cirque des Rêves (the Circus of Dreams). In the novel, the circus “appears without warning and leaves without notice”, only operating between sundown and sunrise. It centres around a few of the lives of both patrons and circus members, but in particular two young magicians, Celia Bowen and Marco Alistair, who discover that their performances matter just as much outside of circus hours as they do inside of them, questioning the future of the circus’s operation.

Enjoy!

Title: Freedom Swimmer

Rating: 4/5 sweet potatoes

Publisher: Allen&Unwin

Review: 

This book is amazing. I’ve been a fan of Historical Fiction for a while and never have I ever picked up a book that centres around China. I love how the author chooses to revolve the story around two boys. Li and Ming are the ideal duo to tell the tale of China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’. Their perspectives are so refreshing. The stories they tell are brutally honest and raw and it’s made me appreciate China and its culture even more.

Just like any other Historical Fiction, there are a bunch of references in the book and (I might be a tad bit bias here) but it feels great to read and actually understand the language that’s used in the book. In this case, the author includes Chinese characters and 'pinyins’ in the story to allow the readers to explore the minds of a true Chinese teen. This way, the readers not only learn as they read through the book, they get to understand the struggles that Ming and Li had to overcome and their journey as they advance from their lives on the fields to liberating freedom.

Ming and Li’s unlikely friendship is probably my favorite thing about this book. Literally nothing separates these two. Even in times where people are not to be trusted, no matter what, these two are always there for each other. It’s such a delight to watch these boys grow up together to become independent men despite being surrounded with danger and evil.

The ending tore my heart in two, but honestly it couldn’t have ended any better. Unlike most Historical Fiction novels, this one was light yet poignant. An intricate tale, but simple to follow through. Chim’s writing is mesmerising. The book is very small, but the author is able to construct a detailed, fictional piece of ancient history in about 200+ pages. Absolute brilliance.
Though it might be pretty short, I do find the book to be a bit passive at times. I would’ve finished this book in two sittings but it took me more than that because I had to put it down due to the lack of dynamics. But even so, the book was indeed truly enjoyable.

After reading this book, I now have this urge to pick up anything this author writes. Her writing is gets me so hooked! I’m in dire need of another Wai Chim original.

With that being said, do pick up this book! You don’t even have to be a fan of Historical Fiction. If you like coming of age stories, this book is it!

A huge thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending this book over in exchange for an honest review!

The Hidden Life of trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate

While I have long loved forests in all their forms, I had never understood them as deep a way until this book enriched me, giving me as close to an inside perspective on what life as a tree might be like as I’m likely to get. Written by a forester with over 30 years experience managing a communal forest in Germany, the first thing it taught me to do was to slow down my perspective on time, and perceive what life lived at a very different rhythm and in vastly varying constraints must be like. Unlike the events of deep geological time, trees still change on a human scale while remaining able to live for several millennia. The tree your grandfather planted remains but a youngster.

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10

Audrey: The 50s by David Wills

You may know David Wills from his previous book Audrey: The 60s.  A compilation of stunning, highly glossy photographs of Audrey Hepburn from the 1960s.  The cover featured a hypnotic and very mod Audrey photographed by Douglas Kirkland for the film How to Steal a Million.  Now, David Wills has published his second Audrey Hepburn book, Audrey: The 50s with beautifully rich photographs of Audrey from her movies throughout the 1950s. Think Roman Holiday, Funny Face, and Love in the Afternoon just to name a few.  It combines famous movie stills of Audrey as well as unfamiliar, rarely seen promotional photographs of Audrey from her earlier films (as shown above). This book is like dessert: sumptuous, eye-catching, and truly satisfying.  And just like dessert it’ll leave you wanting more!

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Emily Fridlund’s electrifying debut novel History of Wolves is a contemporary coming-of-age story about a young woman — but it avoids the familiar story arc so common to other novels in that genre.

Critic Michael Schaub says, “There’s no moment of revelation at the end; if anything, the protagonist ends up more confused than she was at the beginning. Fridlund refuses to obey the conventions that her sometimes hidebound colleagues do, and her novel is so much the better for it.”

Beautiful, Icy ‘History Of Wolves’ Transcends Genre

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

He is our greatest threat. And you are our greatest hope.

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, revolves around the ‘Chosen One’, Simon Snow, who lacks control over his magic, and shares a dorm with his rival, Baz, who he believes is a vampire. In his eighth year at Watford, while trying to organise his happy ending, and fight off the Insidious Humdrum, he finds help, love and courage in places he never dreamed of. A spin off on Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Fangirl, focusing on the novel Cath was such a fan of.

I actually read this before I read Fangirl, and it didn’t make a difference at all. It was a beautiful book, with a quirky mix of humor and angst, it was a great read. I have never been so thankful for my best friend’s book recommendations in my life. It’s almost a semi-AU of Harry Potter, with many similarities to the legendary series, but also enough difference for it to be a completely new novel. 

The novel challenged stereotypes, with the ‘worst chosen one to be chosen’, Ebb the powerful magician just wanting to tend to her goats, and Agatha Wellbelove, not wanting to be the princess in a fairy tale ending with Simon. There’s also the fact that two of the main characters are LGBT representatives, which makes the story more unique.

4.5/5 Stars.

I’m in awe of Roxane Gay. If this collection had gone on forever I would never grow tired of it. It contains the depths of the human condition in all its darkness, loneliness, quirkiness and indecency.

These are stories about people (mostly women) seeking to fill their hollow spaces however they can. They’re gritty and direct and real and utterly devoid of sentimentality. Gay’s characters accept life for what it is—all its ugliness, all its complexity—and there’s something strangely refreshing and comforting about that.

The subject matter is demanding and unrelenting; this is not a happy collection, though it’s by no means maudlin. Being human isn’t pretty, but there’s beauty in that. If that statement resonates with you, so too will these fierce, gutting stories.

Trying to decide which books to take on holiday is always such a struggle…

5

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:                                                this is the ideal life.”


There have been times this year where books felt unnecessary due to the increasingly familiar dystopian aspects of our changing societies, however, escaping into the pages of a good book is also a very good solution to this madness and I couldn’t recommend it more myself. 


Although the spare time I have in my life has reduced this year due to graduating and finally entering the adult world of work (Booooooooo!!!) it does not mean that I have enjoyed reading any less. I’ve read fewer books this year but I’ve still read a lot of great books and competition for a spot on this list was tough. Every book on this list is one I would recommend you to read if you have not done so already, regardless of their position on the list each book is fantastic in their own right.  

When I first read passenger this year I was convinced it would top my list, however, it’s been a long time since I’ve been blown away by a book to the degree I was by A Court of Mist and Fury. I might not have liked The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas, however, if this was The Great British Bake off ACOTAF is a stunning enough showstopper to still make her star baker and my favourite author of the year.


As always the list below shows my favourite quote from each book, links to more information and hashtags denoting key themes. 


10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe

“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get–and never would get.”

❄  MY REVIEW GOODREADS  ❄

#YA #COMING OF AGE #LGBT #ROMANCE #CONTEMPORY 


9.  Six of Crows

“No mourners. No funerals.”

❄  MY REVIEW GOODREADS  ❄

#FANTASY #YA #ROMANCE #SQUAD #MAGIC #LOVEABLE CROOKS


8. The Midnight Star

“You cannot harden your heart to the future just because of your past. You cannot use cruelty against yourself to justify cruelty to others.” 

❄  MY REVIEWGOODREADS  ❄

#YOUNG ELITES CONCLUSION #FANTASY #TRILOGY #YA #SQUAD #ANTI-HEROINE 


7.  The Long way to the Small and Angry Planet

“People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.”

❄  MY REVIEWGOODREADS  ❄

#FANTASY #SCI-FI #SPACE #FIREFLY #STRONG CHARACTERS


6.  Rebel of the Sands

“The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.”

❄  MY REVIEWGOODREADS  ❄

#FANTASY #YA #BADASS #ROMANCE #MYSTERY PRINCES #DESERTS


5. Salt to the Sea

“I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

❄  MY REVIEWGOODREADS  ❄

#HISTORY #SOMBER #WWII #SOVIET RUSSIA #HOMELANDS


4. The Girl with All the Gifts

“You can’t save people from the world. There’s nowhere else to take them.”

 MY REVIEWGOODREADS  ❄

#LOVE #SCI-FI #CHILDHOOD #HORROR #MYSTERY #DYSTOPIA


3. The Winner’s Curse

“He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.”

❄  MY REVIEW ❄ GOODREADS  ❄

#FANTASY #DYSTOPIA #YA #ROMANCE #REBELLION


2. Passenger

“So you’d keep me here against my will-“
"Know this pirate,” he said, his hands gripping the railing, “you are my passenger, and I will be damned before I let any harm come to you.”

❄  MY REVIEW GOODREADS  ❄

#TRAVEL #ADVENTURE #ROMANCE #HISTORY #FANTASY #YA #CIVIL RIGHTS


1. A Court of Mist and Fury

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

❄  MY REVIEW GOODREADS  ❄

#TRILOGY #ACOTAR SEQUEL #MAGIC #FAE #BADASS #YA #FANTASY #SHIPPING TILL I DIE #CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT #HEARTACHE #RECOVERY 


FAVOURITE QUOTE OF THE YEAR

“What a privilege it was to never feel like you had to take stock of your surroundings, or gauge everyone’s reactions to the color of your skin.”
Alexandra Bracken, Passenger

Where you can find me!

 MY REVIEWS GOODREADS  ❄ TWITTER

Book: Milk and Honey

Personal Rating: 4/5

Honestly speaking, I read this book in about an hour.  Not only is this book visually beautiful, but the stories that are held within this book make it mesmerizing.  Although Milk and Honey is a poetry book, it is structured as a collection of fragmented, personal stories the author has gained throughout life.  I may not relate to or agree with every poem in this book, but I personally thought the author was fearless, honest, and passionate in her rhetoric; all the while, giving a vivid representation of what is inside her mind, body, and soul.