The younger generation. Can you believe them? They don’t even know what a book is. These Millennial snowflakes will see a goddamn book—paper of glorious smell and touch and taste—and they will try to click the book.
Father, I cannot click the book, they likely say, looking utterly bewildered at this ye olde extinct relic of the olden days.
Is it an iPad? Where is a joystick? Where are the pocket monster creatures? What do I plug it into? Where do the batteries go? How do I turn it on?
The wisened member of the Older Generation knows better. They grew up with the three R’s—reading, riting and rithmetic—so obviously this repository of wisdom and genius and pure big brained 1000 IQ knowledge, will be able to point the dumb, gadgets ‘n gizmos obsessed child in the right direction. After all, absolutely no child has read a book since I was a child. Get off my lawn!
So…that’s it. Another year done and dusted. Not just a year. A new decade. The 2010s are over. Can you believe it? It still feels like 2000 was only ten years ago. Bring on the roaring ’20s! I haven’t read any F. Scott Fitzgerald, but maybe it’s time to read The Great Gatsby or The Beautiful and Damned. But the year 2019 is over, and my main hope heading into 2020 is that people will finally say the much easier “twenty-twenty” over the long, drawn-out “two-thousand-and…” trend that should have died a whole decade ago. Wow. Can you believe 2010 was a whole decade ago? I expect great memes in 2020. Cue the jokes about 20/20 vision! Insert bottom text.
2019, much like the years before it, had a lot of exciting stuff happen. For once, people were less focused on Donald Trump, except when they were, because…wait, is he gonna get impeached? Any second. Any millisecond. The entire dramatic shitshow that is U.S. politics never ceases to be exactly like reality TV. Scott Morrison was re-elected in Australia, and no-one cared, except when he did a Harold Holt and vanished during the horrific bushfires, simply because he’s in denial about the reality that is climate change. To him and his supporters, it’s totally normal to have raging bushfires in the middle of spring. On the other hand, a specific subset of the population, headed by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, seems to think the world will end in the next decade. Brings on a whole new meaning to the “roaring” ’20s. Any other Australians looking forward to 50 degree summers? If you want a thorough wrap-up of 2019, you can watch YouTube’s WatchMojo list. Or don’t. It’s pretty forgettable, according to that sentient collective known as the internet.
Another month, another book review. And this month’s book review comes to you from the fascinating genre of true crime. Everyone and their kitchen sink has been obsessed with true crime for years now. Podcasts, Netflix originals, retellings, you name it. A new generation was introduced to serial killers like Ted Bundy in the creepy Netflix documentary, Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. But there’s one true crime case, that to this day is still majority unsolved, that hasn’t been getting a lot of press.
That case is the Reign of Terror, better known as the Killer of the Flowers Moon. The case that lead to the FBI becoming the Federal Bureau it is today. Most people (myself included) assumed that the FBI was made into a federal entity in the United States as a result of the public enemies sensation that swept the United States around the Great Depression. I was introduced to this due to the Johnny Depp-led movie, Public Enemies, about the life and death of gangster John Dillinger. But this is a common misconception. It was actually the Reign of Terror, involving the slow and systematic murder of the Osage tribe of Native Americans in Oklahoma, that lead to the FBI’s almost-mythical status in American folklore. And this is what is explored in David Grann’s true crime nonfiction, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
Today’s the day.
Today’s the day you buy the gorgeous hardcover of the book you’ve been wanting to buy for an eon and a half.
There’s a 10 per cent off sale on Book Depository. Maybe you just want to head into your local bookstore and gaze off into the abyss that is the Vintage Classics. Perhaps you’re picking up a book (or four) from the library and you wander over to the discount rack. Forty cent books! you exclaim—internally, of course, since you are in a public library.
You’re on your Kindle, or Nook, or your Canadian knockoff Kinnook, and you see a couple more books that were on your TBR (the To-Be-Read list, for the unaware), and a couple that aren’t, but who can resist the allure of 99 cent cheesy romances or Gutenberg classics downloaded straight into the neverending book bag that is an eReader? Your mother comes over. She knows you love books, and she found a couple while she was decluttering the spare room after watching Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. You scoff. Chucking out books! you sneer derisively. Books are sacred. Books are good. All other forms of media are EVIL. What is this—a Ray Bradbury dystopia?
That’s it. 2018 is over. If you thought last year was fast, then this year passed in little over a blink.
2018 was yet another year where people online couldn’t stop talking about Donald Trump. For once, they spoke about someone else connected to Trump and forgot about him for a few brief moments. The bliss on the internet from lack of references to DJT was comparable to peace on earth. Politics became more divisive than ever.
Everyone was obsessed with Netflix originals. I discovered one I really enjoyed: The End of the F***ing World. Go watch it. It’s amazing. Rostered On, an Australian show, is also an underappreciated gem. YouTube kept trying to be TV and failing. Its 2018 incarnation of YouTube Rewind was the most embarrassing yet.
It was the year Meghan and Harry tied the knot. Social media, in particular Facebook and Google, became more creepy in their attempts to swindle all info they could from us for advertising bucks. Is Mark Zuckerberg even a human being? #AndroidsCanManipulatePeopleToo. Celebrities had careers destroyed over tweets and comments they made years ago. There were more shooting in the United States. Because of course. Musicians Aretha Franklin and Avicii, Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg, Stephen Hawking, Stan Lee and meme legend Stefan Karl Stefansson all passed on.
From the author of the Girl on a Train-esque The One Who Got Away comes an all-new, nail-baiting novel: The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington. Emma Cardwell is a bit-celebrity and the host of a morning show called Cuppa, and is living the life while juggling her successful career and being a mum of three. That all changes one fine October day when her daughter (the ridiculously named Fox-Piper) disappears from her fancy daycare centre. Many questions are asked, relationships questioned, but one thing remains: who is the woman captured on CCTV near the daycare and what happened to Fox-Piper?
I was a bit apprehensive coming into this novel. My first Caroline Overington novel left a bit of a bad taste. The One Who Got Away was clearly capitalising on the Gone Girl trend, didn’t feel set in the U.S. at all, and it had a confusingly ridiculous ending. However, I saw an ad on Twitter, and I was intrigued. So I decided to give Overington a second chance. Was it worth it? Perhaps.
Masih Alinejad is a brave woman. She is a child of the Iranian Revolution, raised in a tiny village in northern Iran, only knowing one major rule: that she must keep hijab on at all times. After being arrested as a teenager for innocently producing political pamphlets with her friends, Alinejad rose to success as a political journalist until she was forced into exile in the West because of her exposes on said politicians. I discovered her via the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom by chance one day, and was delighted when I discovered Alinejad was publishing an English-language memoir.
The Wind in my Hair is Masih Alinejad’s first English language nonfiction, and her fifth book overall, and was released in May of this year. It was an unforgettable read, and though it took me a few weeks to read this 400-page tome, I was eagerly awaiting the next time I would read every time I was away from it. There are two reasons for this. One: The writing style employed by Alinejad and her co-writer/husband Kambiz Foroohar is striking and memorable, and easily readable. I read the entire Amazon sample hurriedly while waiting for it to arrive at my library. Second: Her story is so different from most other memoirs you have likely read. It will leave you feeling a whole gamut of emotions: sadness at the treatment of women in Iran, disappointment at the regime’s treatment of its citizens, disbelief at the state of Iranian journalism, joy as she finally finds love and the satisfying conclusion with her son, only for shock to appear as that all comes tearing down with U.S President Trump’s travel ban.
We start with Alinejad recalling her childhood in Ghomikola, a tiny village in northern Iran, and her life with her many family members: her supportive yet oblivious brother Ali, her serious yet wise father AghaJan, her loving mother, ultra-conservative sister Mina, plus a host of others. It starts off innocently enough until Alinejad first enters the schooling system, where we become aware that things are not alright. Her childhood is interspersed with the history of the Iranian Revolution, including the fall of the Shah and his family and the rise of Ayatollah Khomenei and his successor Khamenei.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A month and a half later, I’ve finally finished this book! *does a happy dance*
If you’ve ever wondered what The Room of novels is, you’ve come to the right place for the answer. Like Jenny Nicholson below, you might have thought you’ve found the worst book you could possibly ever read:
You were wrong.
Ten strangers, apparently with very little in common, are invited to a mysterious mansion off the coast of Devon, England, by a mysterious couple who both share the initials U.N. Owen. Once they’re all on Soldier Island, away from the rest of civilisation, they enjoy a dinner together. After dinner, that’s when the fun begins. A gramophone record accuses all of the ten that they have skeletons in their closets. And that’s when they start being killed off… one by one.
And then there were nine
And Then There Were None is Agatha Christie’s most famous novel, even more famous than her Hercule Poirot series. It was published in the United Kingdom in 1939, and in the United States a few months later. While the UK version was originally named after a blackface song, the United States realized the problems in publishing a book with this title, hence it was named And Then There Were None after the last line in the song. However, some of the lines in the book still reference the original title, such as when Vera Claythorne reacts hysterically after Miss Emily Brent refers to “our black brothers” when talking about the natives Captain Lombard murdered in the past.
Can you believe it’s 2018? Well it is, and you’re not the only one amazed at the passage of time. I think this tweet from 2016 sums it up perfectly:
2017 was the year where people talked about Donald Trump, compared 2017 to 2016, and Hollywood was finally able to get itself back into the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons. We lost a whole slew of celebrities such as Roger Moore, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Adam West, John Hurt, George Romero, and Dexter composer Daniel Licht. Prince Harry got engaged. There were far too many lives lost to both international and domestic terrorists. Donald Trump held glasses of water and it was reported as Breaking News around the world. People complained. People were happy. People were sad. It was yet another year.