thealbapoems's reviews
93 reviews

The Forward Book of Poetry 2024 by Various Poets

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emotional inspiring reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

4.0

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

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informative reflective medium-paced

3.0

I am not usually one for non-fiction, but seeing as I am interested in the environment, and this book got a Pullitzer, I decided to bite. For those who, like me, are in an exclusive relationship with fiction, let me preface by saying this Kolbert’s writing style makes complex, dull historical and scientific explanations easy to understand and even entertaining. As proof, let me say that at some point in the book there is mention of a crow handjob, and no, it is not metaphorical. I enjoyed this book (despite the time it took me to get through it), it’s informative, but it doesn’t lecture. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the environment and how we are changing the world and all the animals living in it. 
The Forward Book of Poetry 2023 by Various Poets

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dark reflective relaxing slow-paced

3.0

As always a good map for poetry now
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

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adventurous reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

The last book of the trilogy. I’m happy with the way it ended, but I am a little disappointed. I know there are more books in the Dune collection but I don’t think I’ll read them. It’s frustrating because some characters deserved better, but I guess this frustration is what Herbert wanted. As always the world building is fantastic, but it feels slightly less calculated than in the first two books. Something that bothered me from the first time I watched the movie is the contradiction between the Fremen and their unity with the dessert, the way they flow with its natural rhythm, and their longing for a green paradise.
I’m happy that the last two books talk about the return to the old ways, and I guess that now that I think about it, the Fremen only wanted this in theory, and once they see the sea off-world they realize it’s not their way. What made me very sad is the way that Herbert treats his female characters, Chani, Jessica, Irulan, Ghanima, but most of all poor Alia. I think all of them are presented as being extremely powerful, but only in theory, and once they face their male counterparts they are overshadowed. I think Alia’s character arc was rushed and a little unjustified, and Ghanima’s development once she and Leto II fakes his death is awful. The justification Herbert gives at the end that Leto II was always the strongest one feels a little on the nose. Part of me wants to believe that Leto II is doing what Paul couldn't and protecting Ghani as Paul would have liked to protect Chani, but I’m unsure.
Overall, I am very happy with the trilogy, and recommend it to everyone; just take somethings with a pinch of salt. 
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

It is difficult to write a second part for a book like Dune, and this book proves it. Full of vision-passages and the uncertainties of prescience, Dune Messiah is a harder read than Dune. It starts out slowly, but it leaves the reader with a sense of fulfillment. There’s beautiful symbolism, interesting character dynamics, and always the subtext of socio-political developments.
Paul’s love for Channi is depicted in a way that rings true, as does their death and the fall of his moon
Very much worth the read, even if it isn’t as stunning as the first one. 
Dune by Frank Herbert

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adventurous mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

I had been putting off reading this book for a while, but after watching Dune II I decided to give it a go. I am very glad I did. It has been a long time since I read a science fiction book (although this feels more like fantasy if I’m being honest) and this has restored my love for the genre. The world building is exquisit, the characters complex and strong and the plot wonderfully opaque. I can’t predict how this is going to end and I couldn’t be happier. The chorus of voices, the use of quotes from Irulan’s books to mark the different sections, and the interpersonal relationships make this a fantastic read. The real world implications of colonialism, environmentalism, familial relationships, and religion give this book a depth that make it well worth reading even for readers who don’t usually delve into the genre. Cannot recommend it enough if you have enjoyed the movies. Looking forward to reading the next ones. 
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I finally got around to reading this and I am so happy I did. What a fantastic book. The structure is brilliant, and though it might be a but hard to wrap your head around at the beginning, it’s worth the effort. Such an interesting depiction of life and death and grief and mourning. Beautiful in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t want to say anything else because it might spoil it, but I throughly recommend it. 

Willie Lincoln finds himself in a limbo, surrounded by ghosts who marvel at the fact that his father has visited him and cried and hugged his sick form. No one’s visited them. How is he special? But this place doesn’t seem to be good for children, and Willie refusing to leave and miss his father’s return is in grave danger.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75

Hm, this was… a read. I bought this book after seeing it everywhere, and because I felt like after my back surgery it could maybe resonate with me a little more? Having to stay inside, lay down, sleep, etc. But it did not resonate with me at all. I don’t know I didn’t analyze it very much, but it all just felt very sensationalist, it’s a story I feel like I’ve read before, only the main character hibernates for a year. I found it unsettling how much focus there was on the main character’s appearance, how pretty she is, how thin and blonde and rich. Maybe it was done on purpose to showcase how much she had internalized what other people thought of her upon meeting her. Not sure. I didn’t find the relationships between the characters believable, and the plot left me somewhat indifferent. That being said, if there is something that surprised me about this book is the voice. How well constructed it is, how well it carries the readers through the life of this frankly unlikeable person. It felt like a personification of intrusive thoughts. Now that I think about it I couldn't name the main character if I wanted. Might have been a bit of a Rebecca moment. Anyway, read it if you would like to explore what it would be like to give in to your intrusive thoughts. 

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My Body by Emily Ratajkowski

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dark emotional reflective fast-paced

4.0

I read one of the essays from this book online back in 2020?2021? and I remember thinking how much I liked her writing. How happy I was that more and more women were speaking up and calling out their aggressors, name, last name and occupation. Ratajkowski’s style is pithy, and beautiful in its vulnerable power. It is the first time in a while that I read a book this long in one sitting, but I just wanted to keep going. From the moment I saw Berger’s quote in the prelims I knew this was going to be a good read. I was right. She explores childhood, her relationship with her family, her fame, and of course her body (and those who have attacked it) as well as how she has managed to claim it back. I remember reading at some point that she was postponing becoming a mother because the way the world views women once they become mothers. So I am glad she has found a haven in it (as far as I understand). I will be giving this book to a lot of my friends. Thanks for writing it Emily. 

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A sangre y fuego: Héroes, bestias y mártires de España by Manuel Chaves Nogales

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dark emotional informative fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

I have been meaning to read more about the Spanish Civil War, and this is a brilliant example of literature on that subject. Gifted to me by my godmother, it is a heartbreaking overview of the pain and cruelty of this conflict. Composed of several short stories that allow the author to explore events from different sides of the conflict and occurring at different times and locations, this book is a wonderful read. There are no heroes, there are plenty of villains, and too many victims to count. While some stories are better than the others, El Refugio makes the entire book worth the read. Heart wrenching and informative, I would definitely recommend this book. 

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