“The Humans” Review

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“I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal life form of midrange intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small, waterlogged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe.”

 

S U M M A R Y

The Humans by Matt Haig is an interesting blend of science fiction and contemporary, about an alien that takes over a human’s identity to stop a mathematical principle called the Riemann Hypothesis from being solved. This hypothesis is essentially the solution to the pattern at which prime numbers occur, and according to the aliens, it would lead to catastrophe in human hands. Our main protagonist takes over the life of Professor Andrew Martin, an extraordinarily intelligent mathematician with a very poor relationship with his wife and son.

R E V I E W

★★★★★

This book is quirky, tongue-in-cheek, deep, and entrancing. It’s an interesting blend of sci-fi and contemporary. It deals with aliens and strange powers, but reads like a contemporary and has many themes commonly found in contemporary novels.

I have to say while reading the first few chapters, I almost put this down and didn’t pick it back up again. Reading about an alien with no previous knowledge of humanity trying to live as a human, I could barely deal with the secondhand embarrassment. Just keep that in mind if you decide to read this (which you should). It only takes a few chapters and it gets there. I ended up using so many tabs, I had to restrain myself from marking every single page.

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The writing is beautiful and incorporates math concepts and imagery to connect and compare the alien race to humanity. Haig expertly transitions from more calculated, scientific language to a more poetic and “human” language as the story progresses and as our main character begins to understand humanity.

Towards the beginning, he listens to Holst’s The Planets (an album I was tickled to realize I owned) and his interaction with music and art are important turning points for his character.

“Listening to music, I realized, was simply the pleasure of counting without realizing you were counting. As the electrical impulses were transported from the neurons in my ear through my body, I felt–I don’t know–calm.”

One of the joys I experienced while reading was listening to the music our main character mentioned.

“There was a Talking Heads song called ‘This Must Be the Place,’ which I played over and over again, even though doing so made me feel melancholy and crave to hear her voice again, or to hear Gulliver’s footsteps on the stairs.”

In conclusion, read this book. It’s a story about love and loss, repairing relationships, and familial bonds. It will make you cry and laugh and think about stuff. If you’re just done with humanity and its bullshit, this book may or may not change your mind.

Teach Me How To Make Internet Friends

Growing up I was a voracious reader, I would have to convince my mom to take me to the library so I could stock up on a stack of books to take with me everywhere. Thankfully she was easily convinced. I would read constantly, and I vividly remember my young self racing through tests so I could turn in my work and read about dragons and interesting ladies with swords. I performed decently in school because I had a good motivaotr.

Then, one day, I went to college. I bought my first laptop, then my first smart phone. It became so easy to distract myself with screens and social media and streaming services. I did worse in school because it was so easy to find another cheap distraction. Even now I keep opening a new tab to check Reddit or whatever. Technology is amazing, but also… fuck fast media. Re-learning how to sit and read the same story for hours at a time is so difficult when you’ve been trained to rapidly consume snippets of information.

This recent realization has cemented my resolve to take things slow and revisit old ideals. Last year around August I discovered BookTube and decided to start reading again. I discovered the analog film community and fell down the rabbit hole of analog photography. I have my collection of records and tapes and physical media that force me to slow down and enjoy an album (and pay artists for their work). I started ordering things on Amazon at the slowest shipping rate and also slowed my online ordering so I started buying things in store instead. It’s 2018 and I love being able to Google the number of children Angelina Jolie has on a device that lives in my pocket, but sometimes you have to relearn how to have patience.

All that to say this: I never learned how to make friends on the internet. I regularly visit online communities, but barely participate. Early 2000’s Sarah was a timid little nerd that still knew how to chat on Neopets forums about Harry Potter theories and favorite Pokemon, but 2018 Sarahjane is clueless. I have created and deactivated my personal Twitter account more times than I can count. How does it even work? You just…reply to Tweets? You talk to people? Yikes. These things have legitimately terrified me, but no longer! This is my blog post about making an effort. Do you have a blog (or a Twitter account)? What do you do with these platforms?

Book Lover’s Tag

I’m not sure where this tag came from, but I found it on this deserted blog. Let’s see how it goes.

Do you have a specific place for reading?

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Sort of! I created a cozy little reading nook near my bookshelves, but if I’m home I’m usually just reading in bed. My cats are super needy and this chair isn’t big enough for all of us.

Bookmarks or a random piece of paper?

A little bit of both. Sometimes I’ll use ticket stubs or flyers and keep them shoved in the book when I’m done. I have a mini collection of my mother’s old mass market paperbacks and there’s almost always a discarded piece of her history in each one.

Can you just stop anywhere or do you need to finish a chapter?

Anywhere. Doesn’t bother me where I stop and pick up.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

I’ll drink tea or water, but I’m not really a read and snack kinda girl. I’m usually too engrossed and forget I have a snack if I try. Also unless I’m using my eReader, I’m not coordinated enough to eat and prop open my book at the same time.

Music or TV while reading?

Do people watch TV while they read? I would get far too distracted. Music, yes. In fact, I like to create themed playlists based on the book I’m reading and whatever time period or mood it evokes.

One book at a time or several?

This also depends on my mood, though usually I have a novel, an eBook, and a graphic novel at the ready, depending on my mood/convenience factors. However, lately I’ve had a problem where I pick up and put down books far too easily, so I’ve been trying to crank through them instead. Pffft. Reading slumps.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I do my most sustained bouts of reading while traveling. I love to travel, but I’m a homebody, so books help me deal with the stress associated with travel. I like to read in different places so I can associate that book with those places.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently, though some poetry I do read out loud because it’s more helpful.

Do you read ahead or skip the pages?

I try not to unless I’m hating a book and want to check if it’s worth it to continue. Usually it’s not.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

How do people read without breaking the spine? I can’t get comfortable if my book isn’t flopped open in front of me. Anyway, I’m not too worried about keeping my books in absolutely pristine condition. I like them to have some love lines.

Do you write in your books?

Yes! I love personalized books. I want to get a traveling book going with my friends, but who knows if that will work out. I just love the idea of putting down your ideas and thoughts as you’re reading, which will then make your next reading experience different. And, as I’ve already established with the bookmarks, books are time capsules for me. They’re memories that you can share.

 

Yay! You made it to the end! Let me know what your answers are and whether you do this tag! Also if you know who originally created this tag, let me know. I could not for the life of me figure it out with my Google powers.

BookTube Made Me Read

Let’s kick this off with a Goodreads prompt! Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group that posts different topics to recommend books. This month, as per the title, concerns books that you picked up because of BookTube. I became a bit obsessed with BookTube once I found out it existed last year, so I devoured many books I recognized and could get my hands on. Here are a few of the books that I read and loved:

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T H E   R E G U L A R   N O V E L S

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore | This book was my first introduction to magical realism, which I decided I loved; or at least I decided I loved McLemore’s interpretation of it. I need more magical realism recommendations myself. This book lead me to devour her other book, The Weight of Feathers, and currently I have her newest, Wild Beauty, in my Book Outlet cart. That reminds me, I have some books to buy…

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcook| This book caused me to realize I love stories that tie a diverse cast of characters together. I love jumping between different character’s heads to understand what each one is experiencing.

T H E   G R A P H I C   N O V E L S

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | BookTube made me fall back in love with graphic novels. This one, in particular, was the first one I picked up. It’s cute, funny, and perfect.

Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples | This series is a crowd favorite on BookTube and it makes sense. I’ve only read the first two volumes, but they’re addicting. The only thing preventing me from continuing is my need to have all the rest of the volumes available through my library so I can just binge the rest of the series.

Rat Queens by … | Now this one I’m not sure I recommend… even though it’s on a recommendations list. I love the first three volumes, but there’s a whole thing with the former artist who’s a douche-canoe and then they shadily fired his replacement… The fourth volume is lacking, to say the least. Maybe read this if you can get it from your library, and only the first three volumes.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris | Emil Ferris is a fucking queen. This graphic novel is a gorgeous story surrounding a kid in the 60s who is obsessed with pulp horror and goes on an adventure to solve a mystery; this is a very dumbed down summary. The art is beautiful and is made to look like the kid’s journal. 5/5 stars, totally recommend. This is the only book I actually remember the BookTuber who recommended it, so here’s Possibly Literate’s review that is probably more convincing than mine. Now go read it.

T H E   B O O K T U B E R S

Here are just a few BookTubers I consistently follow that may or may not have influenced this list. I will probably create a list in the future of all my favorite internet book people, so stay tuned.

Hello!

Welcome to my brand new blog and my first ever blog post. Phew! Things are about to get mediocre with a touch of insanity as a 24-year-old woman figures out how to maintain a blog. My only experience with this might be my Neopets website back in elementary school, so it’s been a while. I’ve always been that weird lurker that occasionally builds up the courage to communicate with other people on the internet to little success. This blog is just going to be a little slice of me on the internet to keep me accountable for myself. I suppose I’m not particularly loquacious or terribly interesting, so… *coughs* ANYWAY

Plans:

      • Write more book reviews! With potential added bonuses to be figured out
      • Capture my book hauls because who doesn’t love watching a good haul video in text format? …right?
      • Post my exploits in analog film! My second roll of film (the first failed) is on its way to the developers and  I’m so excited!
      • Establish my name in a creative spot in the internet for future creative endeavors. The aforementioned endeavors will probably be announced within the next few years.