Lies About Books: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

April showers have brought us to the point of another wholly inaccurate review of a book I’ve read this month! During April, I read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sรกenz.

Salvador Silva is a prodigious logician. He can logic his way out of any problem. But when a physics experiment goes wrong at the nearby quantum facility, things start happening that don’t make any sense. Time runs backward. Objects appear or disappear. Dreams and memories become tangible.

The precious logic that Salvador has clung to all his life is starting to fail him in the face of all this entropy. And yet, that very logic may be the only thing that can save them all. The question is: can Salvador get his act together in time to logic his way out of this? Or will things keep unwinding until there’s nothing left?

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life will make you laugh. It will make you cry. And it will make you believe, once and for all, that if A equals B, and B equals C, then A truly does equal C. I recommend this novel to all fans of stories about found family, existential crises, or quantum experiments gone wrong.

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Lies About Books: All the Crooked Saints

As we approach another end of month which is definitely not a stressful time in any way, it is once again time for me to lie to my loyal readers about a book that I enjoyed this month.

This March, I read All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. All the Crooked Saints opens on a small, wintry, Canadian town. When a childhood snowball fight leads to unexpected disaster, Beatriz Soria sends herself down a different path in life, isolating herself from former friends and developing a fascination, which grows into a research interest and, eventually, several published books, with saints – stories of saints, hidden saints, forgotten saints.

But when an acquaintance who is intricately connected with that childhood disaster resurfaces in Beatriz’s life, now using the name Daniel Lupe and claiming to have the power to read minds, Beatriz is forced to revisit everything she left behind. Who was truly to blame for the results of that snowball fight? Why does Daniel Lupe bear an eerie resemblance to the twelfth-century forgotten saint she is currently researching? And can she ever truly escape her past?

All the Crooked Saints is a gem of a book, full of historical-religious tidbits and reflections on the Canadian countryside. I recommend it to all fans of magical realism, the power of guilt, and research projects.

Lies About Books: Who Run The World? Squirrels

As we near the end of February, the longest month of the year, it is once again time for me to flagrantly lie about a book I enjoyed in the past four weeks.

This February, I read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Who Run The World? Squirrels, by Ryan North.

Who Run The World? Squirrels is set in a dystopic world, in which plague has wiped out all life on the planet with the exception of squirrels. Many squirrels scavenge for nuts as if nothing were different, neither planning ahead nor considering the long-term ramifications of their actions, and many more have already given in to despair.

Alone among the squirrels of the world, a ragtag band of squirrels, led by one plucky female squirrel – a girl squirrel, or a squirrel girl, if you will – step forward to try to keep civilization afloat. They are determined to do whatever that takes, from teaching themselves the fundamentals of engineering, to planting crops, to scavenging and storehousing medical and veterinary supplies.

All the odds are stacked against her. But nothing has gotten her down yet. In her efforts to run – and save – the world, is this squirrel girl truly unbeatable?

Sweet and funny, informative and inspiring, I recommend The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Who Run the World? Squirrels to all fans of squirrels, girls, and combinations of the two.

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Disclaimer: the above post is based on falsified information and does not accurately reflect the text written by Ryan North.

Lies About Books: Who Could That Be At This Hour?

Reporting live from the Plant Kingdom today, we have reached the end of January, which means it’s time to give a misleading review of something I’ve read in the past four-and-a-half weeks.

This month, I read Who Could That Be At This Hour? by a Mr. Lemony Snicket.

This semi-autobiographical non-fiction book tells the story of one hour in the life of an entirely different and equally real individual, whose name also happens to be Lemony Snicket. This Snicket, in this hour, is plagued by an inordinate amount of unexpected visitors. (The book is semi-autobiographical because Mr. Snicket the author is one of the visitors who approaches Mr. Snicket the protagonist.)

Who Could That Be At This Hour? is divided into sixty chapters of perfectly even word count, and each chapter corresponds to both a different (and sequential) minute of the hour, and a different visitor at Mr. Snicket’s door. But the identities of the visitors are not all revealed…

Chilling in its veracity, fraughtness, danger, and more, Who Could That Be At This Hour? is a must-read for readers of non-fiction. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys uninvited guests, unsolved mysteries, and secret organizations.

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Disclaimer: this review is highly inaccurate, and does not betray any confidential information about any secret organizations affiliated with the book.

Lies About Books: William Shakespeare Punches A Friggin’ Shark And/Or Other Stories

As the chill of winter sets in all around us, the time has come around once more for a completely erroneous report on something I recently read and enjoyed! This month, I had the pleasure of reading Ryan North’s William Shakespeare Punches a Friggin Shark, And/Or Other Stories.

Although the byline is credited, bafflingly, to the renowned Ryan North, the book is actually an autobiography, written by the titular William Shakespeare – not the infamous playwright William Shakespeare, but rather an entirely different individual, also a writer of infamous plays, also coincidentally named William Shakespeare.

If this is not confusing enough, the book’s story is told through an additional confusing gimmick: 3-D. Equipped with 3-D glasses from the volume’s inside cover, the reader is taken on a three-dimensional journey through the harrowed life of this particular William Shakespeare. We feel his desperation as he takes out loan after loan that he will not be able to pay back, all to finance the ill-fated 3-D theatre in which he had wanted his plays to be performed; we feel his fury as he confronts the cruellest of his loan sharks; and we feel the sting on our knuckles as he shakes out his hand after finally punching out that evil shark.

Rife with adventure, difficult choices that we feel we are making alongside the narrator, and theatrical dreams that all amount to naught, this book was serious and moving. I recommend it to any and all fans of three-dimensional reading, Williams Shakespeare, or chooseable-path adventures.

 

 

Lies About Books: The Sixth Grade Nickname Game

There’s a sad sort of clanging from a clock in a hall, telling us that it is soon time to say goodbye to the month of November. On the bright side (in a dark season), this means it is time once more for some absurd and untrue words about a book I’ve read this month!

Last week, I had the pleasure of reading Gordon Korman’s The Sixth Grade Nickname Game.

In this dystopian novel, everyone on the planet is assigned a random nickname, which functions as their name in the simulation they log into for about eight hours each day. They learn, work, and play in this simulation – depending on their age and walk of life – with anonymous peers from all around the world, knowing one another by nothing but their nickname handles. Best friends Jeff and Wiley have never met in person, but they have shared a simulation group for almost all of their eleven years, interacting within the confines of their game.

But when Jeff is wrongly accused of a terrible crime, and faces execution, it is no longer a game. Wiley must somehow find his friend in real life, and prove his innocence – or discredit their entire world’s simulation-based legal system – before it’s too late. And he might discover, along the way, whether the aliases they have been assigned were really as random as they thought, or tied to something more sinister…

The Sixth Grade Nickname Game is a chilling portrait of an ever-more-realistic future, while preserving the genuine spirit of its young protagonists. I recommend it to any fans of harsh cyber dystopias, sixth grade students, and/or endangered species.

Lies About Books: The You I’ve Never Known

Do you feel a spooky something in the air? A chill or a whisper on the wind? October is winding its weary way to a close, and we all know what that means: time for more lies about a book I’ve recently read!

This month, I read The You I’ve Never Known, by Ellen Hopkins.

The You I’ve Never Known centres on Ariel, a young woman who is utterly bored. Fed up with the monotony of her life, she invents – or perhaps “theorizes” is a better word – a person. She calls this person Casey, and begins to write Casey letters.

Ariel has never heard of this person she invents, but she insists that Casey is, or at least might be, a real person. Her letters, which make up the lion’s share of the book, are witty and personable; they talk about Ariel’s days and feelings, yes, but even more often, they focus on her hypothetical correspondent, describing in realistic detail what she thinks might be going on in the life of the presumably-imaginary Casey.

Ariel goes so far as to even mail these letters to Casey: she puts a small fortune in stamps on one corner of the envelope, with her return address on the opposite corner, and writes “CASEY” in large block letters in the centre – without, of course, an address – and sticks them in the big red mailbox on the end of her street.

But when Ariel gets a letter in the mail claiming to be the real Casey, writing back, her world may be about to change forever…

Raw with emotion and inspiration, The You I’ve Never Known is a heavy book, but a worthwhile one. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of imaginary friends, letters, or difficult childhoods.

Lies About Books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sunny September is here again! Well, it’s near again, and soon will be over, which means it’s time for more lies about a book I’ve read this sunny month. Earlier this month, I finally got around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as the name suggests, tells the story of a happy-go-lucky flower. What is most out of the ordinary is that the book, despite its plant protagonist, is told in the first person, narrated in a series of supplicant letters to the Plant King.

The flower’s name is not Charlie, but it calls itself Charlie; as a flower, it has no name, but, after all, we as the readers must call it something. Over the course of the book, we never learn what type of flower it is: that is suggested to be unimportant in comparison to the flower’s lived experience. Rather than following a typical plot structure, The Perks of Being a Wallflower meanders in its narrative, describing the people “Charlie” sees from its vantage on the wall where it grows – the snatches of conversation, the noses that stop to inhale its sweet scent, the hands that caress its petals dangerously.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an unusual book to be sure, but no less a good one for all that. Charlie’s story has a tendency to grip the reader despite the lack of standard suspense or tension. I would recommend this book to any fans of plant life, epistolary novels, or childhood trauma.

Lies About Books: Of the Divine

It is absolutely still August, but while that lasts, it’s time for another round of Lies About Books, in which I provide absolutely insupportable falsehoods about a genuine book that I actually enjoyed this month! And in August, which is the month that it currently still is, I had the immense pleasure of reading Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ latest novel, Of the Divine.

Of the Divine chronicles the journey of Naples, a gourmet chef named for the town in which he has lived all his life. Naples has always known that he was born to bake great things. But when exotic travellers visit Naples – the city and the man – with stories and legends of delicacies that are truly divine, he is no longer satisfied with cooking truly excellent creme brulees and cherries jubilee.

No, Naples decides that he cannot rest until he can prepare the very food of the gods. He sets out on a journey to find the mystic and possibly dangerous ingredients to produce genuine ambrosia. But what he finds may rock the foundations of the entire cooking world… Are he and his fellow chefs ready for these revelations?

Of the Divine is a captivating story of cookery, herblore, and the human condition. Heartwarming to the very end, and jam-packed with recipes that will make your mouth water, this book is a true gem. I would recommend it to any fans of desserts, cataclysmic changes, and/or poor life decisions.

Lies About Books: Beanstalk

The summer is Most Definitely Not Over, but July basically is, which means it’s that time again – time for me to tell bald-faced lies about a book I genuinely enjoyed! In the month of July, it was my supreme pleasure to read the novel Beanstalk, by E. Jade Lomax, first book in her Leagues and Legends trilogy.

Beanstalk follows the life of one Jack Farris, budding botanist. Since he was first able to reach for a spade, Jack has been addicted to gardening. He grew potatoes before he said his first word. He was picking berries before he could walk. By the time he was fourteen, he was known to grow the best tomatoes in the district.

But Jack’s one failing, his greatest regret, is his inability to grow beans. He has tried everything; he has planted beans, grafted snippings; he has tried to grow them in new earth, old earth, in a greenhouse, in water, in flowerpots – nothing works.

So finally, he gathers up his watering can, a pouch full of assorted seeds and a backpack filled with earth, and a pair of gardening gloves, and he sets out on a quest to learn how to grow a beanstalk, or die trying. This is the story of Beanstalk.

Filled to the brim with gardening tips and recipes that use home-grown vegetables, Beanstalk is sweet and funny, by turns lighthearted and suspenseful, rich with Jack’s special brand of earthy wit and wisdom. I recommend this book wholeheartedly and without reservation, to all fans of all ages of the plant kingdom, adventures, and friendship.