The girl and 15 Books (Part 2)

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A couple of days ago I shared with you 5 of my 15 most favorite books, which included wonderful gems such as Of Scars and Star Dust by Andrea Hannah and Before you sleep by the ever wonderful Linn Ullmann.

Tell me, my sweethearts, have you had the chance to read any of my previous suggestions?

This is Part two of my fabulous list.

The Ponicorn’s 15 favorite books

(books that changed, defined and facinated me)

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  1. Virgin Suicides -Jeffrey Eugenides
    virgin-suicidesI was fascinated by the story ever since I first watch the movie in the early 2000’s. I was even obsessed with Air – Playground love for a while. The book is mesmerizing and I think movie perfectly portrays all the emotions conveyed by the story. I felt it, I felt the times, I felt the sadness, I fell in love with the Lisbon girls as much as the neighborhood guys did, and I felt the sadness and long-lasting memory of their death (Spoiler alert? I don’t know, the title itself talks about suicide, it’s barely a surprise). Real Story? When I was a teen I was surrounded by suicide. I had several friend who attempted it, a distant relative committed it, even I flirted with it; so the story hit close to home.
  2. Delirio – Laura Restrepodelirio
    If you hadn’t notice yet, a lot of my favorite books have characters dealing with mental illness. Either depression, or something else. This is a story dealing with “Something Else”. You never really fully understand what happens to Agustina, or at least it’s never explicitly stated, but this is a sort of more modern tale of magical-realism, developing during Pablo Escobar’s Colombia. It tells the story of Aguilar, an older man  married to Agustina, a very emotionally and mentally troubled woman, the way they live and chose to face her struggle. I enjoy the way all the characters are portrayed, how honest they are on their perspective of their particular circumstances, how helpless they seem when faced with situations they can’t control, how overwhelming those are.
  3. The painter of the modern life and other essays – Charles Baudalaire
    9780306802799-uk-300I read this as an assignment when I was studying in college about 7 years ago, and I fell in love with it. Of course, the intrinsically poetic style used by Baudelaire is entirely responsible for it. This essay deals with the general notion of dandism, in a way that is humane, unapologetic, sensualist and provocatively astute. I’ve always said that I don’t really enjoy being forced to read, so whenever I’ve been in that place, I tend to skip it, or If i can’t, at least just skim through it (I’m not an example to follow), however, this might be the only one I’ve actually taken the time to read and actually enjoyed. If I had to translate the whole documentative experience that this essay entails to a more modern narrative, I think it would keep its fresh approach, while at the same time fitting perfectly as a description of the millennial generation. Time is cyclic, my friends.
  4. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austenpride_and_prejudice_book_cover_by_fourblackbirds-d533108
    I’ve always been into Pride and Prejudice in its many different representations, whether it’s YouTube series, movie, book or even as an influence for other stories (Hello Bridget Jones), and I think I’ve talked about it extensively in the past. This is a beautiful story, told in a simple and clean way, you can completely see the time’s idea of romance, what a woman’s life was like, and you can even perceive a proto-feminism in Elizabeth (though the time is not right for it to be called proto-feminism, but still, I think it was too avant-garde for the time), and I even think, Elizabeth mirrored Jane Austen’s own ideas of what a virtuous woman should be to, first get self-respect, and then, social status, not because of her social position or wealth, but because of her intelligence and bravery.
  5. Memnoch, the devil – Anne Rice
    memnochthedevilWhen I was barely starting into the whole blog thing, there was this huge wave of girls who found (as I did) the idea of keeping an online journal very appealing, around that time, for a reason i’ve never quite understood, one of the books that was really in style to read, was Interview with the Vampire. I read it (of course) even though I casually read it about 1 month before getting into the whole blogging thing, and not only that, I actually continued reading the whole saga (I think I might have missed a couple of the most recent ones). Anyway, my favorite one of the whole collection was Memnoch, the Devil; the story deals with Lestat, Vampire Chronicles’ golden prince, and its encounter with the devil (THE actual devil), and how through a kind of biblical reinterpretation. Biblical Fanfiction If you prefer to call it like that, the story ends with a big public unveiling of the powers that be, that kind of threw me off, but

The choice for Part 2 is a little less Young Adult, and a little more varied; though, as I’ve said in the past post, don’t be fooled just because something is marketed as YA, there are good stories to be told there.

Speaking of telling stories, NaNoWriMo is currently running (It’s november guys!) Are you taking part of it? I might be a little behind and I’m actually not thinking about winning, but I’m writing a very weird story. I might share a bit in the future, if I feel it moves in the right direction.

Love,

Firma

The girl and 15 Books (Part 1)

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At work we have a thing we do, when we have a new member of the staff. Since We are a lot, and it takes a while for us to complete introductions, we do it in a pretty simple way:

  1. Name
  2. Position
  3. How long have we been on the company
  4. Say something that you like (to do, to eat, to whatever)

These are usually my responses:

  1. Kourai (yes, people in real life actually know me with that name)
  2. Director
  3. 11 years, I started in the company since I was really young
  4. I like to read.

Yes. I read. That’s my defining feature. I may not have a lot of time to do it anymore, or even this year in general, but I like to do it as often as I can and I like to set myself unrealistic goals pertaining the amount of books I intent to read on a given year. This year it’s 15, and even though I hadn’t had time to do it much, I actually intend to carry it out. I am a reader.

The Last few weeks I’ve been tagged in a lot of “20 books to whatever”, “Famous person’s list of favorite books” kind of articles, and actually found some really interesting additions for my wish list, which got me thinking of my list of favorite, life-changing books. I’ve read a fair share of famous and non-famous books and even though you can easily access it through my Goodreads account, I decided it was about time to share it here, so, without further ado, here you have:

The Ponicorn’s 15 favorite books

(books that changed, defined and facinated me)

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These up here are my favorite books, in no particular order, and I’m going to tell you why.

  1. Of scars and star dust – Andrea Hannah
    heridasI picked this book, merely because I liked the cover, and it turned out to be a surprise. First thing you have to know it’s that it’s YA (for the uninitiated, that means Young Adult) which means, there’s a good deal of teenage drama, angst, snowflakey thoughts and the like; it even plays a little with the idea of something supernatural going on, but don’t be fooled, this is not a twilight story, it’s not the Fault in our stars romance; it’s something else. The narrator is unbelievably unreliable in a way that plays with the tropes commonly associated with YA stories, to deliver an ending that changes everything you understand about the story.
  2. Welcome to Night Vale – Joseph Finknightvale
    I’ve been into Nightvale for about 2 years, I got into it last year, when I found a post on tumblr talking about Sext from the Void, saying that’s the way someone imagined sexting working on Nightvale, it caught my attention. The story itself is not really focused on the podcast, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s something you can fully enjoy if you don’t have at least a minimum knowledge of how the Podcast story goes. Nightvale has its own intricacies, and even though the protagonists of the book are barely mentioned on the podcast, the mere workings of the town play a relevant role.
  3. Ready Player one – Ernest Cline
    readyThis was recommended by my boyfriend last year and I hold very fond memories of it. I was reading it a little before we decided to finally be together, and when I think of the book I remember how I felt in that moment. Yes, I’m sappy like that. But I digress, we’re kind of into 80’s-90’s nostalgia so this book was super fun to read. If you’re into old school video games, 80’s movies, music, series and internet in general, this book is fun, super-entertaining and well written. It’s not a masterpiece, but i enjoyed it a lot and will read it again very soon. It’s being made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018.
  4. Before you sleep – Linn Ullmannbefore
    I read this book when I was about 15 and going through a very strange moment in my life, I was struggling with depression, on a new city, with barely any friends (which, to be honest was not really surprising, cause that’s me, but together with everything else was kind of heavy). The story itself moves between really adult topics, like adultery, mental illness, etc., while presenting fascinatingly charming characters. I felt very touched by the way the story was presented, and read it multiple times in the future. Years later, I even found another book written by Ullmann (She’s a Norwegian writer, so it’s kind of hard to find her books in spanish -I don’t like to reading English), the name was The Cold Song, and even though I was kind of scared to read it and end up disappointed by the weight of the idol I’ve built in my head, I ended up really pleased. No one portrays family realities the way Ullmann does.
  5. Paper Towns – John Green
    paperYes. I have John Green here. I know there’s a huge stigma attached to very representative YA authors and novels, and if the book was made into a movie, god forbid you ever like it, cause your intellect will be in question. But I love Paper Towns, I once read somewhere about John Green saying that Margo Roth Spiegelman is the deconstruction of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and I couldn’t agree more. Besides, reading Paper Towns after reading Looking for Alaska brings a sort of emotional closure that even though it’s not meant to, made me feel better. I like the happy ending that is not a happy ending in the traditional sense. I like the feeling that some things are not meant to be, and still, life goes on, and you learn and live through.

So that’s it for Part 1 of my list. The First 5 books. It takes a little to give you my impressions on books guys and I really don’t want to bore you with super long posts.

What’s coming in part 2 or 3? Some Existentialism, Magical Realism, Erotica and more. Very, very soon, like probably this weekend. On the mean time, tell me if you’ve read any of the ones I’ve mentioned here, in this particular list you can find some relatively new titles. and I you did, what did you think of them? Are you planning on reading any?

Tell me!

Firma

The Wish Room: Horror and the Pony

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I am a closet horror-reader. I say I don’t like it, and to be perfectly honest, I get scared easily, but as with almost anyone who is into the genre, I find it alluring and fascinating in ways I can’t scape.

Last year I became acquainted with Christopher Bloodworth thanks to Sixpenceee’s tumblr, and I devoured all the initial No Sleep collection in a day. I have to admit I had trouble sleeping after The Soul Game, but overall, I loved every story in the collection (If you’re interested in reading them, consider this a Trigger Warning for just about anything you can consider Triggering).

Anyway, a while back I found out he was releasing a novel named The Wish Room, and I had to read it. Well, my babes, I finished it last night.

*There might be spoilers ahead, so… yeah, you know*
The Wish Room is the story of a married couple, Nora and Harold, they move to a new house in a new city, trying to leave the struggles they faced together in the past and start all over again. Everything looks quite promising until they find a closet they can’t open. Eventually strange things begin to happen straining their relationship. They start being consumed by obsessions they develop, until they are broken down. As you can expect, they ultimately open the closet, and things go bad… or worst for that matter.

Last night, as I finished reading, I wrote a short review about it on Goodreads, based on a couple of questions my boyfriend asked about the book and my perception of it. I wrote about how the stories that scare me the most are the ones that speak about my fears, and this one is like that. I may have mention this before, but I am quite scared of the dark, and since the story develops a lot through the darkness and dark spaces, it made me feel constantly uneasy.

And that’s the thing with Christopher Bloodworth’s stories, they make you feel like that, they disturb you and make you think of the horrible things you didn’t want to imagine, but they leave you wanting more, you need to know more, you need to find out what happens; and of course, The Wish Room is no exception…

Even though at the end you understand how it all happened, and why it happened within the limits of their story, there’s bigger “why” that still lingers, a deeper questioning that makes me want to know more. You never really understand why is the closet like that, why does it inspire the obsessions and violence it inspires; but when you think about it, it doesn’t really matter all that much. The closet is what it is, and hopefully, we will eventually get to see it on a different story.

After all, there’s a faint connection to Handbook for a Teenage Antichrist. And just guess what I’m going to start reading next.

Firma

Welcome to Night Vale… And my thoughts.

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A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.

For a while I kind of refused to write about this, ’cause, I am aware that there’s a huge fan base, and even though I guess I am part of several fandoms, I refuse to get involved in fan-conversations… Unless It’s Sailor Moon or Utena, cause there is a lot to talk about on those…

Anyway, I think I’ve mentioned before that around this time last year I got really into Welcome to Night Vale, and I even posted a weather song that I was really into back then.

Welcome to Night Vale is a Podcast narrating the adventures and misadventures of Night Vale, a town in the middle of the American Desert, a Town where (To quote something I might have read somewhere a long time ago) “all conspiracy theories are real”, Is the government controlling our thoughts? Yes they are. Did a certain celebrity fake their death and is living now a low-key life? Out in the open! Are mountains real? Oh honey, of course not! Is the government spying on our conversations? Speak louder to your nearest door knob so they can hear better! And of course, All Hail The Glow Cloud!

Night Vale is a mix of comedy and horror. A relatable Dystopia, to give it a name.

Last year I decided to read the Novel (yes, there’s a novel) and it quickly became one of my favorite books, not only of the year, but in general.

The novel deals with Diane Crayton and Jackie Fierro, residents of Night Vale, as they try to uncover a mystery that, you don’t know, (but yes, you know) has been ever-present in the story since pretty much the beginning. To say it differently, you get to know what’s the deal with The Man in the Tan Jacket  It generally has a different tone and narrative than the usual podcasts. I’m not going to spoil the story for you guys, give it a read, or even better, listen to the podcast, and then read the novel.

Anyway, after reading the novel, I decided it was time to listen to the podcast from scratch again, and so I did, and while doing it I started noticing how well constructed the whole story is, not just in the sense of the podcast, but also, how well intertwines with the narrative in the novel, how everything traces back to the very beginning.

I don’t know guys. Last week I received my printed copy on the mail, and I felt this strange nostalgia, cause I really wanted to read it again. To say the book is strange is an understatement, however, given that the book deals a lot with family relationships, I felt it so close to my heart. So close. I could see my mother reflected on  Diane Crayton, and even sometimes myself in Jackie.

Night Vale has this thing, this amazing eloquence to explain things that are normally so difficult to put into words, in such a clear and relatable way, ideas so clearly composed that unambiguously narrate the most intrusive thought… The feelings that closely encompasses the void that comes with human existence, put out there in simple words…

And I guess that’s what I’m trying to say… A Town with mystical properties such as Night Vale, speaks so deeply to me, cause, its residents, even those who are forever 19, are deeply, deeply human… doing the best they can with their circumstances…

Just read it guys… or Listen to it…

 

Firma

Asylum… I finished it

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A few days ago I talked about me reading Asylum and how much of a big deal it was for me and all that. Well, I finished reading it two days ago, and I have some thoughts to share.

*Spoilers, my ponies!*

I’ve already read some reviews online, and yes, pretty much everyone thinks it sucks. And it does! I always feel like there are no bad stories, only poorly written plots. This, of course, was the case. I’m not going to attempt to review it, I am terrible at it, but I just need to vent some ideas, I can’t say I didn’t like it, cause I did, and it was a great way to tackle a lot of my fears, but character and plot wise, it was kind of a disappointment.

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First of all, yes, suspension of disbelief. Did I really believe everything that happened could actually happen, even within the universe? No. Seriously, they are 16-17 years old, Don’t they have parents concerned about them? Aren’t they afraid there’s a murderer somewhere in the school? As I said in my review, this would have been a thousand times some enjoyable if they were in college, living in a building that happened to be a former asylum, that at least would have given them a believable agenda.

What happened to Jordan on his psychotic break? If everyone, or at least the characters that start acting crazy are being “possessed” or at least connected to someone in the past. Who is possessing him? And why?

Why is it suddenly irrelevant that Yi was attacked? Why didn’t we ever hear from him? Or his parents? Or Joe’s parents for that matter? Why does a teenager, in a sort of summer camp, dies, and everyone just accepts it?

What’s the deal with Miss Reyes? Did she locked them in the basement? And even if she didn’t, why is the police so contempt by having just caught the murderer when it’s pretty clear there’s at least another person involved?

And speaking of… What’s the deal with the police? How are they implicated? It is mentioned constantly that they are nowhere to be found at key points of the story: when Dan finds Yi, when he goes to the vending machine, when they receive the last note asking them to go to the basement, when he’s trying to find a police officer to go find Felix together, when Jordan is looking for help at the end. And the worst part is that it’s never mentioned how guilty they look, they only ever hint at Miss Reyes.

I know this is not a standalone book, (which btw kind of annoys me a little bit, cause I’m a little tired of everything coming in sagas, and having to read book after book just to have real conclusions, and I really wanted to enjoy something that could be concluded within a book) but I can’t help but feeling they were lacking a lot to actually conclude the story developed in this one. What’s going to happen to Felix? What’s his connection to everything? What’s Daniel’s past? Who were his parents? They constantly mention him going to therapists, but, what’s really happening to him?

I don’t know… So many loose ends, and it’s not really about me, not enjoying the mystery leading up to the next book; I have no problem with cliffhangers, or saga-long mysteries (for God’s sake, I read – and enjoyed – Harry Potter), but when the loose ends seem more like a sign of a poorly written story, rather than mystery to build upon on the next book, they just strike me as lazy.

Anyway guys… I’m not going to say it was a bad book, as I said at the beginning, it was mainly disappointing, but I’m going to keep on reading the sequels to see if any of this becomes clearer with time… Though I actually doubt it.

What’s next on my reading list? I don’t really know… I left Allegiant 20 pages into it, and I am in no hurry of going back to it, but I’ve been hearing a lot about Rainbow Rowell, so I might give Eleanor & Park a chance…

…Or maybe I’ll finally start with The Cold Song, I’ve been avoiding that book like the plague, cause I have a big image of Linn Ullman in my head, given that Before you sleep is one of my favorite books ever, and I’m afraid it might not live up to my hype…

We’ll see

Firma

Love List for the Ponicorn Soul: Asylum, Utena, Journaling and more

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Things have happened in my life in recent weeks, good and bad. I don’t think I’ll ever say much about the bad things (if I ever do at all) But let’s focus on the good ones, shall we? It’s been a while since the last time I actually did one of this, so let’s take it as a general update on my life.

  • I have more books and I actually became level 2 shopper at my local bookstore (that means, I get double the points for my purchases, which is good cause I can change them for more books, which is how I got Lena Dunham’s Not that kind of girl)
  • Speaking of books, I’m reading Asylum by Madeleine Roux, which is actually a big issue for me. I have a big problem with fear, and being easily scared, so reading this book, as absurd as it may sound, it’s actually a huge accomplishment for me, cause I am kind of exposing myself to something that scares me, and trying to control my responses. Those of you who might have read Asylum, maybe thinking I’m over reacting and the book is not as scary, and you may be right, but you guys don’t understand my struggle and how big of a deal this is for me; so I’m happy and all.
  • I know I have not really been here actively writing, but I’ve been Journaling a lot. I am actually holding two journals, my permanent one, and a journal on the go. I’ve been using my permanent Journal for a while now (picture below) It’s a regular hard cover notebook that I decorated and since I feel it is so personal, I really don’t think I’ll stop using it anytime soon. However, a week ago, I found a notebook that I really liked and I decided to use it as an On-the-go journal trying to document some thought and emotions I’ve been experiencing.

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  • Instagram! I’ve been a lot on Instagram lately! I’ve met some amazing people there, and it has help me get more into the Filofaxing/Journaling community. A long, long time ago, I read an article on Hello Giggles called How Scrapbooking stopped me from running away, and it really resonated with me, cause for a long time in my teenage years I kind of used my journals as scrapbooks, time passed, I started blogging and I eventually stopped using them at all. Now that I am into Filofaxing, I can tell you that it has a little bit of scrapbooking to it and I’m really enjoying it.

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  • Utena! I recently re-watched Utena with a friend and yes, I know I always say I love it and it’s one of my favorite animes ever, but now that I finally re-watched from start to end, I can very clearly remember why. It’s so amazing!! I don’t really like to talk too much about it here, but if you feel compelled to watch it and get your mind blow while you try to understand what is going on, be my guess, you won’t regret it at all.
  • I’m thinking about changing this site a bit. I’m not even sure, it comes and goes. For a while I thought I wanted to make some posts private cause I kinda wanted to hide things from my sight, then I figured I didn’t really care that much for it, but I wanted to change the general feeling of the site, so I don’t know. I might be changing things around soon. The least I can say is that it’s been in my head for a while, so it’s quite possible that it will happen.
  • Paleo Diet! For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to clean my eating habits, I’ve talked about it before, but candies and sweets are a big problem for me, so much that I always feel addicted to them, so, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to cut them from my life, and start eating a little better. So far it’s been 29 days since the last time I ate candies (I’ve had sweets from time to time, like birthdays and unavoidable situations) and I’m really happy. I’m trying to eat mostly paleo, but it’s really hard cause I have a Selective Eating Disorder that affects my consumption of fruits, so there’s that. But I’m not whipping myself because of it, I’m trying to actually enjoy it and all.
  • Guys, I seriously can’t stop listening to Chandelier. Send help.

I’m sure there are more updates my babes, but I’ll try to come back sooner to make actual posts about it, rather than lists with chunks of information.

Love,

Firma

P.S. Did you see Katy Parry tonight at the Super Bowl? Girl!!!! and Missy Elliot?? Amazing ladies being Amazing!!!

How Paper Towns Changed Me…

Whose art is this?

Whose art is this?

I guess It’s not a secret I am a John Green Fan. I bought Looking for Alaska about a year ago, and before I even had the chance to read it, I started The Fault in Our Stars and I was doomed.

That book ruined me for other books. It ruined me so much, I hadn’t even recovered from it.

But about a week ago I read Paper Towns. I have so many mixed feelings, I feel happy and sad, and overwhelmed. But what a magnificent book.

I’ve followed John Green everywhere I am capable of (that is to say, I do follow some of his tumblrs, but no all of them). He even has a specific tumblr dedicated to answering questions about Looking for Alaska, and one of his answers struck me as a lightening:

Books Belong to Their Readers

If books belong to their readers, Paper Towns is about my absolute inability to see others, to see past my imagination… I am encased in this person, I can’t see beyond myself…

And I am not even sure if it’s sad, or incredibly liberating…

Firma

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