Book-of-the-Month.

Big Time.

A short critique of Meg Elison’s Big Girl and other works

Yes Girl, 2021.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Hooray! Snap actually finished a book!

(smiles contentedly)

And I am very pleased with this one!

In fact, I think I’ve found a new writer to love!

Which, of course, means more books to add to my ever-growing list.

But so be it.

‘Cuz this girl’s got it, yo.

. . .

Big Girl* by Meg Elison (2020)

*Okay! So, I should begin by saying this is a short anthology of some of Elison’s work, published by PM Press. It’s Number 25 in their Outspoken Authors series. In addition to the titular story, there are six other excellent pieces of hers to enjoy.

Oh. And you should definitely check out PM Press.

Yes? Good? On we go!

. . .

In the spirit of this short collection (It’s 111 pages) I’ll keep this review short and sweet.

Meg Elison is friggin’ awesome.

She’s a good writer. Very good.

Her fiction is bizarre, yet eerily not-so-outlandish.

Her work is carefully constructed, with descriptions that made me wish I had written them.

And as the name Big Girl suggests, the selections in this volume artfully explore the absolutely fucked-up, we’ll-do-anything-not-to-be-fat culture in which we live.

As I read this book, I was reminded to live my friggin’ life.

Favorite passage?

“Katya looked as beautiful as ever. She wore her blonde hair up and out of her face in the frank privilege of her own home. She used the same mandated cosmetics as any woman Omar had seen in recent months, but she seemed more skilled with it. A few times, Omar had glimpsed faces through the windows of women’s motorpools, their mouths like sore pink slashes, their eyes buttered in black. Almost as if they used their requirements with menace rather than compliance” (Elison, 2020).

Dude. Read this book.

And meanwhile, I’ll just be ordering all of her other work!

Happy Reading, friends.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and non-gum chewer.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for all kinds of craziness.

Book-of-the-Month.

Ball Dropped, Yo.

Howdy, 2015. Walt Disney World. Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

Umm, how is it the end of May already?

Woah.

Normally I would be excited to draft up the latest Book-of-the-Month post, but, um. . .

Snap dropped the ball, yo.

I know!

(she shrinks away in shame, like a vampire repulsed by the sun)

For whatever reason, I could not finish a book this month.

I did try, though!

(clears throat)

SnapDragon’s Failed Attempts at This Month’s Novel Reading & Why She Gave Up:

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985)

I started reading this as sort of a little book-club assignment with a friend of mine. The descriptions were beautiful. But my frazzled mind could not focus, and everyday I failed to read made me feel like a loser. It felt even worse to back out, despite my friend’s reassurance that truly, it’s like not a big deal.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017)

I loved this book. I was very much into it, until I got about halfway through, and there was a NICU scene. Nope. #PTSD.

The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha (1999)

Another good start. Riveting first-person narration. Then there was a Game-of-Thrones-style brother/sister thing, described in far too much detail. Yeah, done.

Three strikes*, and Snap is out of the Book-of-the-Month ballgame!

(For May, anyway.)

But of course, Dear Reader, she’ll be back.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and dedicated cat-mom.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

. . .

* Oh yeah. I also started A Clockwork Orange. I even highlighted the slang terms and wrote the definitions in the margins. I do appreciate it, but again, will have to revisit it another time. (You know. Frazzled mind, and all. . .)

Book-of-the-Month.

Kindred Spirits.

It’s Book-of-the-Month Day, yo!

A short critique of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables

Lovely Little Morning, 2020. Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

Good morning, Dear Reader!

As usual, I intend to keep this review short and sweet.

Very sweet.

Because that is exactly how I would describe this absolutely lovely piece of literature.

. . .

I’m not really sure how this one escaped me all these years. As a white girl from the northeastern suburbs of the US of A, you’d think this novel would have stumbled into my backpack somewhere along the lines.

Anyway, you may know that Anne was one of the 100 selected for my 100 Classics Reading Challenge.

And this one’s a keeper, friends.

. . .

For those of you who’ve never actually met me, you need to understand something:

While I am very much an opinionated, embracer of curse words and rock n’ roll, I’d say 75% of me is a combination of librarian, Mother Goose, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Hot, I know.

I absolutely love “innocent” things, and Anne has a delightfully-innocent appreciation for. . . well, pretty much everything.

She gets excited about the weather. The trees. The possibility that each day brings.

She reminds me of everything I hope to be:

Optimistic. Loving. A gentle spirit.

And she has vibrant red hair.

. . .

Favorite passage?

“But Anne, with her elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth’s own optimism. All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years–each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet” (Montgomery).

(hugs herself and smiles thoughtfully)

Yes, Anne. Yes.

. . .

SnapDragon is a woman who refuses to live life in fear.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Want more Book Reviews? Check it out, yo.

Book-of-the-Month.

Girl, I Wanna Be Your Friend.

A short critique of Ash Ambirge’s The Middle Finger Project

All of the Above, 2020. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Good morning, Dear Reader!

I hope this day finds you well: perhaps with an iced coffee before you, a furry friend at your ankles, and the comforting tick-tock of the cuckoo clock on the wall.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, it’s time for Book-of-the-Month here at Snippets of SnapDragon!

And you’d better hang on to your top knot– ‘cuz this one’s fucking dope.

. . .

The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge (2020)

I find myself not even knowing where to begin, friend.

Because I. love. this. book.

She nails it.

Nails it!

In a masterful blend of humor and humility, wit and wisdom, Ash reminds us that we can do it.

No caveats. No excuses. Just a bucket of ice water to the face, to let us know that life is passing us by. That it’s about damn time we live the life that makes us truly happy.

Her book is brilliantly organized. It’s a pep-talk, sprinkled with anecdotes both hilarious and heart-wrenching.

And oh, Dear Reader! Her analogies are nothing shy of delicious.

You finish this book feeling like she’s your big sister. She’s your oldest friend who shakes you out of your self-pitying wine-buzz cry and makes you believe in yourself.

Because no matter who we are, or where we’ve been, each of us has something beautiful to offer this world.

My favorite passage?

I knew you would ask.

(starts nervously flipping through the dog-eared pages, wondering why she didn’t just have the nerve to use a highlighter on her own goddamn copy of the book)

Okay, here we go:

What if you left the job you hate, despite not knowing what you’ll do next? What if you tried something new, despite not knowing if it’ll work out? What if you explored your interests, despite feeling stupid? What if you sought help from others, despite being embarrassed? And what if you said NOT TODAY, BITCH to anything that doesn’t feel good, despite it feeling like a radical and dangerous decision to make?

Sometimes the most radical and dangerous decisions are the best ones of all (Ambirge).

Well done, Ash. She’s a vibrant, beautiful work of art.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist who never met a piano she didn’t like.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

. . .

Want more book reviews?

Snap’s got your back, love.

Book-of-the-Month.

Curl on Up.

A short critique of Kate Jacobs’ The Friday Night Knitting Club

Get Cozy, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Greetings, Fellow Bookworms!

Now that I’m back from my little hiatus, it’s time to resume our Book-of-the-Month feature.

It’s true, since my last BOTM post (August) I’ve read about six books and counting (go me!).

So while I usually just focus on my most recent read for these posts, I had to actually choose which book was worthy of my BOTM designation. (Yikes!)

Okay. As usual, I’m making too much of things. On with the review, Snap.

. . .

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (2007)

I suppose I chose to read this book because:

A) It was a part of a bag sale at my local used book store and

B) Its title comforted me. While I don’t knit, I do tend to spend my Friday nights curled up with the fur babies and/or some other Grandma-like activity. That’s me, yo.

Simply put, I enjoyed this one.

It wasn’t mind-blowing or even “impossible to put down” as the back cover proclaimed.

Some of the dialogue was, well, a bit amateur at times.

But it was entertaining.

I felt connected to the characters by the story’s end.

The analogous ties between knitting and relationships was solid, even poetic.

And to be completely fair, when I finished the last page, I found myself Googling the sequel. (There are two, in fact. I added them both to my ever-growing shelf, so that says something all on its own.)

So should you rush out and find this, ASAP?

Certainly not.

But if you’re looking for a simple, feel-good read, then this one’s for you.

Favorite passage: (scans through dog-eared pages, eyes darting about)

knit and purl

These stitches are the fundamentals of knitting and are the basis of every garment. The knit stitch is a series of flat, vertical loops that produces a knitted fabric face and the purl stitch is its reverse. One side is smooth, the other bumpy. Knit is what you show the world; purl is the soft, nubbly underside you keep close to the skin (Jacobs).

So there we have it!

Happy reading, friends.

And happy knitting, if that’s your thing.

Book-of-the-Month.

A Delightful Little Surprise.

A short critique of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies

Sweet-Baby Fiction, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I’m not gonna lie, Dear Reader.

I bought this book for two reasons:

1. It was in the discount bin.

2. Stephen King called it “A hell of a good book”.

And, despite popular opinion of King, and the fact that IT might be his worst publication ever, he’s my literary god.

So I gave it a whirl.

And, let me say, I was extremely satisfied with this piece of fiction.

In fact, I have that rare, extraordinarily-giddy feeling of discovering a new favorite author.

. . .

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (2014)

Big Little Lies provided the perfect blend of plot and character; I seamlessly flipped through the pages, genuinely eager to find out what happened next.

The combination of abuse, a murder mystery, and ridiculous gossip and game playing among elementary school parents, kept me invested.

I hope the television series lives up to the book. (But, who are we kidding. You know bookworms like me wear pins on my lapel exclaiming The Book was Better or other such literary snobbery.) Anyway, one can still hope.

Favorite passage? Hmm. This is another paperback now filled with dog-eared selections of delight.

How about this one:

“It wasn’t beautiful people like Celeste who were drawing Jane’s eyes, but ordinary people and the beautiful ordinariness of their bodies. A tanned forearm with a tattoo of the sun reaching out across the counter at the service station. The back of an older man’s neck in a queue at the supermarket. Calf muscles and collarbones. It was the strangest thing” (Moriarty).

Ahh. Fiction at its finest.

I’ll be picking up another book of yours, Liane.

Well done.

Two-Bit Musings.

Happy Habit-ing.

A short critique of Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before

New Day, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before (2015)

Hi friends!

For my nonfictional read this past month I decided to explore the psychology behind habit formation in Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. This book had been perched on my shelf for awhile, and as I found myself on the cusp of starting back to work, it seemed like a perfect time to crack it open.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve read some of Rubin’s other works. The Happiness Project helped me through one of my most difficult years of teaching; Happier at Home was an enjoyable read as well. While her subject matter may appear prosaic, Rubin has a way of organizing and articulating the quirks of human personality that I always appreciate. Her books always leave me with a healthy dose of self-reflection.

This book did not disappoint.

Rubin begins by separating human habit into “The Four Tendencies”, which are assigned to four distinct types of people, in regard to their habit formation:

Upholder: Meets outer expectations; meets inner expectations

Rebel: Resists outer expectations; resists inner expectations

Questioner: Resists outer expectations; meets inner expectations

Obliger: Meets outer expectations; resists inner expectations

(Rubin)

The rest of the book explores these personality types, and the many pitfalls each one encounters.

All too frequently I found myself thinking, “Me too!” when I read about how we justify our bad habits (Don’t I deserve a treat?) and delay the good ones (I already ate a donut today, so I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow).

Anyway, it’s worth a read. It’ll leave you scrutinizing your own habits, and call into question how you spend your time.

How can I improve? How can I achieve my goals?

These are questions worthy of asking.

Once again, Rubin encourages us to keep searching for a healthier, happier life.

And who doesn’t appreciate that?

🙂