A Touch of Jen: A Book Analysis

“What the f#*&?” was the phrase I uttered when I finished reading A Touch of Jen by Beth Morgan.

Theoretically, I understood what had happened, but I wasn’t sure I really understood what I had just spent the past few days reading. Scouring YouTube and Google for explanations of the book, I came away unsatisfied, with only an author interview between Kristen Arnett and Beth Morgan to help navigate the contents of this book.

And because I can’t stop thinking about it, I decided to break it down myself.

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Bookish Brains Issue 9

Letter from the Editor:

Lo and behold, it is nearly August! Hoping you fared well this July and enjoyed at least one quality book.

July brought many changes to my life, most notably my recent employment at a local library! After a year of time off and re-evaluating my career direction, I became a part-time circulation clerk at a gorgeous community library. Spending my time there has been lovely, and consequently I have taken home quite a number of stray books with me! Because of this tremendous resource, I’ve been able to indulge in more new release books and “sample” books I may be interested in.

Though I’ve been fostering a decent stack of books, I’ve only had time enough to read five books so far this month, including two short story collections and one brief manga. Compared to my ravenous reading habits of June, this is a decrease in quantity for me, though I’m perfectly satisfied with the literature I have managed to read. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading for an hour or two every morning during my cup of tea, which has helped me keep up with the books on my TBR despite the changes to my schedule. Plus, it’s the most pleasant way to start the day!

In this month’s issue of Bookish Brains, I share my reviews of Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor, Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia, Are You Enjoying? by Mira Sethi, Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi, and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary. Plus, what I’m currently reading, what I’d like to read next, and some new releases to keep an eye out for! Hope you enjoy!

Cheers!
-B.C.

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Disability Visibility: A Book Report

As I’ve recently discovered, July is Disability Pride Month. At the end of June, I finished a collection of essays entitled Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong, and having been quite moved by these articles, I would like to highlight some of the voices and encourage you to pick it up as well.

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Variations on the Body Review

Variations on the Body, written by María Ospina and translated by Heather Cleary, is a collection of short stories which primarily take place in Colombia and center on the female body. On July 6, 2021, Variations on the Body releases in the U.S. via Coffee House Press. This past month, I was sent an advanced review copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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Bookish Brains Issue 8

Letter from the Editor:

Greetings and salutations! Hopefully June has treated you well, both in reading and life. This month I have received some good news, which I look forward to sharing with you soon!

This month I managed to read seven books, and I am attempting to read at least a couple more before July. By my standards, seven is a lot though! I really enjoyed the variety of fiction and non-fiction I selected to read this month, and I recommend many of them!

This issue of Bookish Brains features mini-reviews of Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi, When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka, Feelings by Manjit Thapp, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Just Kids by Patti Smith, Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, and The Miracle of Water by Masaru Emoto. Additionally, I comment on some of the books I’m currently reading and some I plan to read going into the next month. Make sure you read until the end to catch what new releases are being published next month!

What was your favorite read from June? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers!
-B.C.

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Malibu Rising Review: My Reading Experience

Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest book, was recently released on May 25, 2021. Last week, I was able to borrow a copy from my local library and decided to review this book in a different format than usual– a reading log.

Thus, here I have documented my impressions of this book before reading, my thoughts and hopes halfway through the book, and my final opinions after finishing the book. And while this serves as a review of the book, this blog post contains no spoilers!

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Ace by Angela Chen: A Book Report

This Pride month, I am highlighting a book I read last month titled Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen.

Prior to reading this book, I did not realize that asexuality was as complex as it is. In fact, I believe that most people have a limited understanding of asexuality. What Angela Chen succeeds in with Ace, in addition to painting a broad portrait of asexuality, is commenting on the ways our society is inundated with sexuality, which I believe makes this a compelling read for not only aces and questioning aces, but for all members of our western society.

Ace is down-to-earth and informative, and an insightful book for almost all readers. I truly enjoyed my reading experience and gained a much wider perspective, and it is because of this that I would like to share some of its most important ideas and highly encourage you to read it as well.

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Bookish Brains Issue 7

Letter from the Editor:

May is always a hectic time of year for me, though I’m surprised to see it ending so quickly! This past month, I participated in Cindy’s Asian Readathon, and so for the month of May I primarily read books with Asian authors, including those with Chinese, Taiwanese, Indian, Iranian, and Vietnamese backgrounds. In this issue of Bookish Brains, I feature mini book reviews for Stargazing by Jen Wang, Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, Bestiary by K-Ming Chang, and Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi.

In other news, I also made a bookish Tumblr (a booklr, if you will), so if you would like to follow Slanted Spines on Tumblr, you can check out my page! So far, I mostly use it to post quotes from the books I read, cross-promote my website and YouTube channel, and post photos. It’s been a lot of fun and quite the throwback, as I spent a good deal of my adolescence on Tumblr–and it hasn’t changed much since then, thankfully.

This month, I also made a personal goal of donating to a charity or organization every time I buy books. I spent about $45 on books in May, so I donated the same amount to a GoFundMe for rebuilding Samir Mansour’s bookstore in Gaza. Not only will this motivate me to be cautious about buying books if it’s not in the budget, but it will also help me keep up with charitable practices throughout the entire year.

Hope you also had a quality reading month!

Cheers!
-B.C.

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