Review: Turtles All the Way Down

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“I realized in the silence that followed that I hadn’t spoken since answering Davis’s compliment about my shirt. Davis, Daisy, and Mychal eventually went back to talking about Star Wars and the size of the universe and traveling faster than light. ‘Star Wars is the American religion,’ Davis said at one point, and Mychal said, ‘I think religion is the American religion,’ and even though I laughed with them, it felt like I was watching the whole thing from somewhere else, like I was watching a movie about my life instead of living it.”

S U M M A R Y

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is a novel that on the surface is about a girl named Aza who, with her friend Daisy, is searching for clues on the disappearance of Indianapolis billionaire Russel Pickett to claim the $100,000 reward. In actuality, this story is a character dive into an OCD sixteen-year-old and the intricacies of her relationships.

R E V I E W

★★★★☆

I was pretty conflicted about what to rate this book. To be fair, I’m not the target audience and I’m not a huge fan of books set in high school. However, I read many reviews that rated this book poorly due to the fantastical and unrealistic plot elements and in my opinion, Green set the story up like this on purpose. Aza’s mental disability causes her to experience life in third person. She seems to stumble through life and these spectacular events she experiences contrast against her preoccupied and uninterested behavior. That’s why this book isn’t really about the missing person investigation. It’s about living with OCD while trying to maintain relationships and handle the stress of daily life.

This is why I enjoyed Turtles. Aza felt so real and her anxieties hit way too close to home sometimes. The book normalizes therapy and emphasizes the importance of friendships over romantic relationships. It’s a character-driven story that I would definitely encourage young people to pick up. Just stay away from An Abundance of Katherines

The one major thing that irked me, though, was Green’s disdain for Indianapolis. Yeah, Indiana isn’t great, but Indy is this little liberal oasis in a sea of red. I can understand a teenager feeling disdain for anywhere they grow up, I just like my city and John Green got it all wrong, dang it! (Also it’s the Indy Star, not The Indianapolis Star; plus other details that probably make sense for readers from other places but annoy me).

All in all, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. Good job, Green. I may even pick up your next one whenever that happens.

Monthly Recommendations: Audiobooks

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Audiobooks are tricky for me. I know there are some people that listen to multiple audiobooks a month at double speed, but I am way too picky for that. If I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s mostly for the experience so I need it to be engaging and interesting enough for me to continue listening on my own time. I am lucky to have a very short commute to work every day, so most of my audiobook and podcast listening occurs when I’m at home doing chores (and I’m a bit lazy). At the moment I’m obsessed with The Adventure Zone podcast, a D&D playthrough, so I am not currently listening to an audiobook.

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters, and obviously this month’s topic is audiobooks. The following are the audiobooks I have listened to and adored, as well as a couple I plan to listen to in the future.

 

C U R R E N T   F A V E S

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (BBC Radio 4) | I absolutely love both of these authors and was obsessed with this book in high school. I listened to the BBC Radio show to see if it held up, and it didn’t matter anymore because the cast is fantastic. It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to this one, but the fact that it includes a cast of characters, sound effects, and music was fantastic.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | This is a recommendation for anything by David Sedaris, really. He has a dry voice which works perfectly with his dry, humorous essays. Here’s an example of a story about his French class attempting to explain Easter to a Moroccan student in their limited French. My words can’t do him justice, so just listen to that clip to get the full effect. His narration brings his stories to life and I can’t read his physical books anymore without hearing his voice.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | Oooh this audiobook, man. It’s narrated by January LaVoy who gives every single character their own unique voice in a way that sometimes I would forget it was all the same narrator. The story takes place in 1920’s New York City with a diverse cast of characters, and I found myself using 20’s slang and accents while I was listening to this one

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | I’m not gonna lie, I picked this one up solely because I heard it was narrated by Christian Coulson, who I found out was the kid who played Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. Such a cutie. And his voice worked perfectly for Monty.

 

P R E D I C T E D   L O V E S

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | I tried listening to one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections and got too busy to finish it. While I’ll probably go back to it eventually, I’ve been interested in mythology and Neil Gaimain also narrates this book. His book is so gravelly and nice and I love it.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I started this one last year and got too busy again, but here is another audiobook narrated by Carrie Fisher. The hour I listened to was extremely interesting, but pretty sad every time you remember it’s the last book she wrote before she and her mother died. I’m saving this one for a memoir day.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (BBC Radio Drama) | Who would’ve thunk, it’s another BBC Radio Dramatization! I just love the in depth productions, particularly for these epic fantasy stories. I’ve been in a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and would love to re-read The Hobbit in a new way because I’ve been wanting to actually finish the trilogy. As a kid I read to about halfway through the Return of the King.

 

So there you have it! I hope you’ve discovered some audiobooks that piqued your interest and if you see any of your favorites please let me know! As always, any recommendations you may have are gladly accepted.

 

Book Blog Newbie Tag

I’m back! It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. Oops! June is the busiest month and probably not the best time for a new blog. I have two weddings, my mom’s 50th birthday party, and a major cabin trip with friends. I literally have no weekends free until July. Is this what adulthood feels like? At any rate, I found this tag on hatterell’s blog. And on to the questions!

Why did you start this blog?

I would like to join the book community! I was in a major years-long reading slump and just last year discovered this amazing community. I’m falling back in love with reading and I’m trying to push myself into talking about it. Not very many of my irl friends read the same books I do, so here I am.

What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

My adorable cats! …I’m only partially joking. I hope to bring a fresh perspective on some amazing books, or at least to spread the love of reading and share my favorite books to my fellow bookworms

What are you most excited about for this new blog?

I am excited to build my corner of the internet. I have eventual personal plans (mostly dreams at this point) that I would like to work out on this blog. I’m also pumped to share my bookish art projects eventually!

Why do you love reading?

Why don’t I love reading? I love escaping and learning about people through reading.

What challenges about starting a book blog do you think will be the hardest to overcome?

Ugh, staying on schedule is definitely it. I’m trying to post at least once a week for now, but eventually I would like to set up a regular schedule and post on consistent days each week.

When did you start reading?

When I left the womb. My mother was always a huge reader and my father was the best storyteller. My dad had all the best voices and the best jokes. Most of the time he was too tired from his jobs to give us the full effect, but dad story night was the best night and that definitely shaped my love of reading.

Where do you read?

I don’t have a specific reading spot, but my favorite is to read in new places. I love to travel in the summer and I always have a book with me. Be prepared for some book/lake shots on Twitter! (I’m trying to do this whole social media thing)

What kind of books do you like to read?

Since I’ve been getting back into reading, this has changed quite a bit. My favorite genre will always be fantasy, it’s the closest to my heart. I’ve been trying to read more sci fi and I always end up reading raunchy romance instead. I also have the occcasional horror or thriller burst and do read the rare contemporary here and there. I have a soft spot for flowery language and genre-bending. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!

That’s it for the tag, but thank you for reading! I’m always welcome to any feedback or constructive criticism. Have a great day!