Novel Reactions: Children of the Moon

A short but compelling read, Anthony De Sa’s Children of the Moon follows the story of Po and Ezequiel, both outsiders in their society. The story is told through Po’s and Ezequiel’s flashbacks, with Po recalling her side to a reporter, Serafim.

It was hard to put down this book (I read it in a day), and even when I was finished reading it, I was thinking of what could have happened if so-and-so had happened instead. So it’s not the kind of read that you finish and (sort of) immediately forget about or move on from. No, I thought about Children of the Moon the next day still; I needed some time to decompress.

Pick up this book if you can.

PS, YES I do have a signed copy! (!!!) This was in Indigo Books’ “We the North” recommendations shelf. (“We the North” is the Toronto Raptors’ battle cry, and Anthony De Sa is a Canadian writer.) At first I was a bit hesitant to pick it up (I wasn’t in the mood for sad books), but now that I’ve finished the story I’m glad that I changed my mind and bought a copy.

Short Bites: Little Widow

The saga continues. I am halfway through What the #@&% is That?, which I only read in the daytime. Not all of the stories involve creepy ghosts—I’d say Those Gaddam Cookies was more extra-terrestrial—but I’m not taking any chances. (Never again. Not after that one creepy story I read.)

The other day, I read “Little Widow” by Maria Dahvana Headley. It’s about a girl and her sisters who used to be a part of a cult called “Heaven’s Avengers.” Unsurprisingly, there’s a creepy founder and weird rules involved, but because of the nature of the cult, its members are far from fragile. The sisters in the story even possessed a kind of wisdom.

“Little Widow” was particularly interesting for me to read because I watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. As I read the story, I noted which details were similar to the show and which were different. Comparing the two (yes, I know, they’re very different genres) allowed me to be slightly less creeped out by the story. I liked how it ended—the story, I mean.

Novel Reactions: Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager is a very good example of a book that communicates with its target audience really well. However, it’s also the kind of book that people outside of its target audience will might not appreciate.

So, who is the target audience of this book?

Clearly laid out in its title, this book is for informal project managers and newbies to the field. The book offers a big picture view of project management, so it tends to be very basic. And this is good. If the book became too technical, readers would be intimidated by it. The idea is it’s a great starting point for anyone curious about the topic. For more detail, readers can look into more technical material.

One thing I appreciated was that the authors of the book do not come off as condescending. (Since I read with feeling, I always pay attention to the tone of the writing.) Their overall writing style (and content) is very approachable, which makes for an easy and informative read.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who belongs to the target audience.

Novel Reactions: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I think I’ve just found my new favorite Murakami book: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’d been holding off on reading it for a while now because (1) I tend to feel overwhelmed whenever I read Murakami’s books; and (2) the book is 607 pages. But due to a self-imposed deadline (see Until Next Time, Books without Borders), I pushed myself to read and finish the book, so that I can pass it on.

And what a worthwhile read it was. I admit that I didn’t immediately get attached to the main character, but he grew on me. The world of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is very typical of Murakami (sort of out of this world), but it wasn’t as crazy as his other worlds. I think the length of the book (again, 607 pages!!!) allowed for this intricate world building. Additionally, the pace was well set, and the story did not feel long nor rushed at all.

I was also a bit hesitant to read this book at first because it’s about a man looking for his lost cat. …But that only starts off the plot, and there is really a lot more to the story. There was one character whose role I couldn’t quite grasp, and, in result, I didn’t like this character as much. That’s my only “eh” comment, and I’m thinking it might also be a personal preference kind of thing.

Story and world-wise, this book has made it to the top of my Murakami list. (In case you’re curious, the other two in my top three are Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.)

Short Bites: Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You

Not a traditional short story, “Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You” runs us through the thought process of someone who’s just received a lunch invite from someone s/he used to know. There are five what-if scenarios presented in this short piece, and the anxiety runs deep throughout the piece.

But I appreciate the candidness of it all. The story reflects what we would all be thinking should the same thing happen to us. I don’t blame this person has gone overboard analyzing one message—I can relate. Not everyone is perfect, and some of us have our neurotic moments.

Someone who will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a fun collection to read. It’s written by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the creator of Bojack Horseman, which explains the cloud of dark humor that envelopes the book. Another piece, “LIES WE TOLD EACH OTHER (a partial list),” is exactly what the title says, a list of things we have said that aren’t actually true. Not everything is in a short story format, but that makes the collection a more entertaining and refreshing read—if you’re a fan dark humor, that is.