& Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Fiction. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Fiction. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

**I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

The Book Itself: There’s no doubt that this is a romance! And also no doubt that it has just a little bit to do with a certain, real life, royal wedding.

My Review: American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

I loved this lovely book. Seriously, I finished it around one in the morning, tears in my eyes, and as soon as I woke up the next morning, it was in my mind again. It’s cheesy, even hokey at times, and it’s definitely a storyline you’ve seen or heard of in books and movies before, but it’s done so, so well here.

The Prince & Me, The Princess Diaries, What a Girl Wants: all stories about women happening upon royalty. In The Royal We, Bex Porter gets the chance to achieve that lifelong, little-girl dream: becoming a princess. But of course, there are Strings. Like estrangement from one’s twin. Having to give up passions, jobs, and friendships to better serve the monarchy. Dealing with the constant absence of a prince-in-training, who is also, one believes, the love of one’s life. And really mean people on the Internet. Gotta hate the really mean people on the Internet. How Bex deals with these issues is believable and heartbreaking.

It’s pure wish fulfillment, this book. And you get to really like Bex. Nick. Their friends and confidantes. From the very beginning of the book, we know that it’s the day before their wedding, and Something Big has happened that just might cancel said wedding. So we know that 1.) They stay together, get engaged, plan a wedding. And 2.) All the backstory that makes up the bulk of the book is leading up to the Something Big, because it’s the crux on which the whole book, and our two main characters’ relationship, hinges on.

But here’s the thing: even though you know that they stay together long enough to get to the night before their wedding, it still guts you when they have problems. The self-doubt, the people that come in between them…I kept flipping pages to see how they’d get through it, even though I already knew they would!

It’s not without its little issues. Both Bex and Nick come off as a little too unrealistically good sometimes. Nick, especially. I mean, sure, he’s been drilled on manners from a young age, trained to be a gentleman and rehearsed in royalty since diapers. And while he contributes to some of the relationship problems, he’s overall just a little too dreamy. Bex, the flawed American, does the lion share of the mistakes. And both of them are eloquent to the point that even in a fight, they say just the right thing. It’s a nice thing to read, but perhaps not super realistic.

And the secondary characters do feel a little 2D. Gaz, Cilla, Bea, Gemma…most of them are just there to be Bex’s support group (she literally hires half of them to coach her once she’s a royal fiance). They’re excellent friends, but not overly complex.

But I think those are very minor gripes. It’s a superb, escapist read. It played out like the best romantic comedy, and I fell in love with the people in it. I will reread this book, and I don’t usually do that (I find it hard to re-experience something I already know all the secrets to). And I’m jealous for all the people who get to read it for the first time! If you like the occasional romance, read this one, as it’s excellently built and might just make you shed a tear or two.

My Grade: A

& Fridays: The Things You Hear at Bookstores…

As I’m sure anyone in a customer service position would agree, you get some weird questions. At a bookstore, it’s not any different.

Here are a few strange questions and problems I’ve had to recently solve:

Customer: I’m looking for a book.
(They ALWAYS pause right here. It’s a bookstore, folks…)

 

[Phone call]
Me: Thank you for calling ____. This is Sarah, how may I help you?
Customer: Yes, I’m looking for a book. I don’t know the author, but I know the cover is blue and the title is “Maui.”
Me: Are you looking for travel guides on Hawaii?
Customer: No, it’s a book that tells you places to go when you’re in Maui.
Me: Okay, we have quite a few books on Hawaii in our travel section, and several specifically on Maui. The one that just popped up on my search does has a blue cover.
Customer: Great. Is that one there in the store?
Me: Yes, we have this one on our shelf. Now, most books on Maui will be blue, because it’s an island.
Customer: Sounds good. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.

 

Customer: I’m looking for a book. The details of it are slipping my mind. But I do know the author has three last names, and one of them is Smith.
Me: That’s going to come up with a lot of results. Do you remember anything else about the book or author?
Customer: No….I think it might be Science Fiction?
Me: Okay…I’ll search authors names “Smith” in Science Fiction…
Customer: Most of these authors only have two names.
Me: Unfortunately, I cannot limit the search by number of names.
[Ten minutes later, after combing through over 150 results]
Customer: Hang on, “Clark” sounds familiar. Maybe “Clark” is in the name?
Me: Do you think the author is “Clark Smith?”
Customer: No….I’m thinking it was “Something Something Clark”
Me:…It isn’t Mary Higgins Clark, is it?
Customer: That’s it!!
[Note: Mary Higgins Clark is shelved in our Fiction Section. Not Sci-Fi…]

& Review: In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen

In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen. Fiction. Publisher: St. Martin's Press.

In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen. Fiction. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press.

The Book Itself: Pastel, watercolor title, silhouetted people…the only reason I read the description of this book was that the cover caught my attention. I think it’s a solid title, too. Made me read it!

My Review: In November 1992, three groups of teenagers in three separate cities head to the movie theater to see the film version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. For Adam, it’s a last ditch effort to connect with something (actually, someone, the girl he’s had a crush on for years) in his sleepy Florida town before he leaves for good. Passionate fan Sharon, on the other hand, skips school so she can fully appreciate the flick without interruption from her vapid friends (well, the friends of her only friend)—a seemingly silly indiscretion with shockingly dark consequences. And in suburban Chicago, Phoebe and Ollie just want to have a nice first-date (and maybe fool around in the dark)—if their friends and family could just stop getting in the way. Over the next two decades, this unforgettable cast of characters moves through Hollywood, New York, and the greener spaces between as they become intertwined by friendship, love, sex, ambition, and tragedy. A razor-sharp, darkly comic page-turner, In Some Other World, Maybe sheds light on what it means to grow up in modern America.

On the surface, it doesn’t sound like such a remarkable book. Meet a few young people, and see how they grow (or don’t grow) throughout the decades of their lives. Tragedies happen: people die, couples break up, sicknesses hit. And triumphs occur: couples get together, get engaged, characters get promotions, and find success in their careers. So what makes this book, which essentially tells you about handful of character’s lives, better than all the other books out there that tell you about a handful of character’s lives?

This one is just so darn good. Which sounds like a lame recommendation. But I was excited to return to this book every time I found time to read. It’s the strong relationships, and the unifying forces that make this book stand out. In the end, I truly cared about all of them. I wanted them to do well, and every character arc ended in a way that I felt it should.

Every character has a strong tie to the others. They date one another (there’s a bit of couple-swapping involved here), they’re siblings, they’re best friends…and those ties are so defining, so human, that it makes even the serial daters and the whining wannabes endearing.

Adam and Phoebe have the closest bond throughout the novel. They’re best friends/lovers/a couple/each others closest confidante. And even when Phoebe is too goody-two-shoes, too shiny, too perfect, it is her dependence on Adam that makes her relatable. He is her weakness, and it helps her arc as a character. Adam is a bit of a womanizer, and his dependence and soft spot for Phoebe endears him to the reader. This relationship isn’t his weakness; this relationship is his redeeming quality. Phoebe makes him better, and helped me like him more.

I also loved the unifying theme of the Eons & Empires “franchise” throughout the character’s stories. The title is a reference to the concept of the comics: a trio of heroes travels between worlds, destroying or saving lives in each. You get the sense that each of these characters could have different outcomes in “some other world.” Maybe some characters get together and stay together. Maybe this person doesn’t die. Maybe this one finds happiness and success.

One character gets involved in a TV adaptation of the comics. One character’s obsession with the comics as a teenager resurfaces years later in his/her career. It’s a nice, strong, unifying thread that the story/fantasy geek in me loved. I do wish that the world of Eons & Empires were fleshed out more. I wish it were a real set of stories! But I wish the characters and plot were given a little more time.

There’s quite a bit of sex, so if that might bother you, keep it in mind. But I found the characters and story heart-breaking, joyous, funny, well done, and satisfying. Please pick this one up!

My Grade: B+

& Fridays: Trying to Read with Cats

Every have someone in your life who was really needy? A friend? An old boyfriend or girlfriend who called you all the time, asked you how your day was (even if they’d spent the entire day with you), showed up again and again asking for attention?

Yeah, that’s what living with three cats is like.

"I'm sorry, you cannot read this book right now. I am hungry, and you need to feed me first." Amber, my old girl. Started life as a barn cat.

“I’m sorry, you cannot read this book right now. I am hungry, and you need to feed me first.”
Amber, my old girl. Started life as a barn cat.

Growing up, my family always had cats. Both of my parents had dogs growing up, but we had too small of a yard to feasibly entertain a dog, large or small.

So it was cats. I rode horses as a kid, and a couple of the barn cats had kittens. Amber was one of them. She’s a weirdo, and somehow only meows with volume at 6 AM, when she wants breakfast. She is fourteen years old, waddles when she walks, but still huffs it up the stairs every night to drink from the water dish in my bathroom.

 

"You wanted to open this box? Yeah, that's not going to happen." Roscoe, our "mountain lion"

“You wanted to open this box? Yeah, that’s not going to happen.” Roscoe, our “mountain lion”

When we moved into the house we live in now, Roscoe wandered onto our property as skin and bones. We took pity on the friendly guy (and didn’t want him to get eaten by coyotes), and made him part of the household. He’s an awesome mouser, has captured the occasional mole, and is the size of a small dog.

No joke. He’s huge. At his last check up, the vet took one look at him and said: “That is the healthiest looking fourteen pound cat I’ve ever seen.”

I think he’s to blame for the book-sitting. Any papers you have out? He sits on them. And he makes sure to cover ALLLLL the things in front of you. Because, you know, then you have to pay attention to him.

I wish I could say we don’t positively reinforce that bad behavior by petting him. But…let’s be honest. Look at that face…

"I'm learning fast. And you will NOT be reading tonight." Cheshire, the baby of the family.

“I’m learning fast. And you will NOT be reading tonight.” Cheshire, the baby of the family.

And finally, the newest addition: Cheshire, aka Chess, aka Chessie. She’s a little less than a year old, and torments Roscoe like no other. She’s deceptively fast, and hates it when people prepare stuff in the kitchen because she can’t see what they’re doing (she meows at my feet until I acknowledge her tiny presence).

She doesn’t meow. She squeaks.

And she’s learning the book-sitting technique.

Now that I’ve proved that I’m a crazy cat person, how about you? Do your pets interrupt your reading habits? A squawking bird? A needy puppy? Cats that sit on books?

& Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig. Publisher: Gallery Books.

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig. Publisher: Gallery Books.

*I received this book as an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest, unpaid for opinion. It has not influenced the content of my review.*

The Book Itself: Really ominous and eye-catching. I’m not sure if this will be the cover when the book is really released, but this looks awesome. The brand-like detail is very eerie (In the story, Omegas are branded with this symbol on their forehead).

My Review: Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

Ah, good old dystopian. End of the world backstory, new caste systems, futuristic characters to get to know, world building, ahhhh the old Ampersand Read hat trick. The premise of this one sounded interesting: twins who are subject to the other’s discomfort. So you can’t really let the Omegas waste away without allowing their Alpha counterparts to waste away as well. Poetic justice.

The problem is, this dystopian follows too in line with so many other dystopians. The world before the “nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature” is just called…Before. There’s a journey, a mysterious partner (who conveniently remembers nothing about his past…which will inevitably come to a head near the end of the novel), an unearthing of lies that the government aka the Alphas have fed to their Omega twins, and a “twist” that I predicted from the beginning.

Our main character, Cass, is kind of a wimp. She is subjected to physical and mental hardships. For a brief portion of the novel, she is imprisoned for 5-ish years. There is always the possibility, as a seer, that apocalyptic visions and visions of unknown futures will drive her insane. Plus, she’s on the run for the whole story. So lack of food, water, the physical toll on the body…she’s pretty beaten up.

But nerve-wise, she’s a chicken. She LOVES her twin, Zach. Even though, you know, he tries to imprison her, hunt her down, and injure/kill anyone who gets in the way of that, including a resistance that builds in a far off section of the world. She’s a champion of the Alpha cause, in a way. She reminds others that not just one person died. Two people did: the Omega and his/her Alpha twin. She recognizes that the solution is not to kill all the Alpha oppressors. She wants that perfect world image where everyone works together and lives in harmony.

In a way, this is frustrating, but it’s also kind of refreshing. She’s the opposite of bitter, and she’s a peacekeeper to a fault. But in a way it makes her too goodI want her to get a little bit nasty about something. I want her to snarl at someone, get angry.

Because it’s a dystopian, with so many examples ahead of it, I found the plot predictable. The Omega she meets up with is an amnesiac. But I knew what his past was going to be, knew who his twin was, before any hints were dropped (I just went with the most dramatic option, and was proven correct). They develop a predictable, kind of passionless romance. Their method to fight the system does not seem big enough. The prose itself is unremarkable, even wooden at times.

It could have also really benefited from a map. I can only picture landmasses so far. Saying a location is north of this rock and west from this river…it bogs down the description.

This is slated to become a movie. And maybe that will change the events, make the whole thing more visual, dramatic, cinematic for viewers. But as a book, I did not find it quite unique enough, compelling enough to fly me through the pages.

My Grade: C

& Fridays: Temptation Bookstore

As an avid bookworm, I should have known it would be dangerous for me to work in a bookstore. When I ring people up, I find books I want to read. When I’m setting out books on Monday nights for their Tuesday morning releases, I find books I want to read. And finally, when I tidy up a section of the store, I find books I want to read.

That last one happened most recently. In moving the art sections over to make room for another music bay, I came across a book of photos that I remembered finding on Pinterest a while back.

Follow Me To by Murad Osmann and Nataly Zakharova. Photography. Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Follow Me To by Murad Osmann and Nataly Zakharova. Photography. Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Follow Me To depicts a couple of travelers as they explore the world. The girl leads the guy by the hand, and gorgeous cityscapes and landscapes sprawl out before them. The pictures are fantastic. It made this bookworm want to go to all of the places that they did, from Disneyland (let’s face it, I always want to go to Disneyland…), to Dubai to Hong Kong.

My personal favorite, though, is photograph of the guy proposing atop a roof in Russia. If that was truly the moment he proposed, that’s a pretty nifty souvenir for the two of them to have!

 

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by  Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. Fiction. Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. Fiction. Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books.

 

 

I found this gem in a list of “Must Reads” on my eReader. What does it involve? Secret writing societies, a “disease” that starts rearranging the words in classic literature, mysterious abound…just the description had me hooked!

 

 

 

 

Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg. Fiction. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg. Fiction. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

 

My best friend texted me with an image of this cover saying “THIS SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING YOU’D READ!” It is, of course, a dystopia. But it’s got a little bit of that Walking Dead eerie sanctuary deal going on. Our protagonist lives in a hospital because she is somehow immune from the epidemic killing off thousands of people (and, you know, doctors can examine her and the others to see if they can develop a cure). But things get a little controlling at said hospital, and our protagonist eventually sets off in search of her birth mother across an apocalyptic America.

 

 

So those have been my recent, spontaneous book purchases! Look for some of these reviews coming down the pipeline! And have a marvelous Friday!!

& Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

The Book Itself: I like the space-y background! I’m just not always a fan of the use of pretty models to sell YA books. Kind of forces you to imagine the characters this way, when this is not how I would choose to see them. I think the cover would be awesome were it just the watercolor stained space landscape.

My Review: Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

Ah, the sequel. I said just a few weeks ago that Golden Son (review here) was one of the best sequels in a series that I’d read. And if you remember, I looooved this series’ first book, These Broken Stars (review here). Unfortunately, This Shattered World did not fare so well.

Give me a moment to gripe about a character name. Jubilee. Jubilee. The fact that she’s just sixteen and somehow deemed mature enough to be a captain in a branch of the military in this fictional world (which she proves she’s not…she falls in love with a fugitive, after all…), but that name is 1: annoying. Any time Flynn says her name in a bout of wistfullness or luuurve, I cringe. Just say it out loud. JUBILEE. Ick. and 2: is inappropriate? Is that the word I want? The definition of the word jubilee is “a special anniversary of an event, especially one celebrating twenty-five or fifty years of a reign or activity” (thank you Dictionary.com). So…why is that her name? Why can’t she have a regular name, what is the point of naming her after a celebration, when nowhere in the book is the tone one of celebration?

Okay, sorry. The name really distracted me at times. So…Jubilee, who I will refuse to call that, and will from now on call “Lee,” meets Flynn at a bar where actually much of the story takes place. They flirt, he turns out to be in disguise (although later he needs to change his entire appearance – skin tone AND hair color, in order to walk onto the base…so how did he just walk on before in a soldier’s uniform? Does he or does he not need to look completely different to go unrecognized?), he takes her hostage and takes her back to the rebel base, deep in this swampy marshland supposedly difficult for the soldiers on the base to navigate (although at several points in the book, they make it to key places just fine…). There’s a rebel who is trying to usurp Flynn and use violence to solve the problems between them and the soldiers. Underneath all this, a sickness of a sort called the Fury tends to take over only the soldiers, and not the rebels. It takes over their mind and causes them to kill anyone around them, regardless of them being allies or enemies. Victims of the Fury are simply shipped off the base for a desk job. Everyone stationed at Avon (the swamp planet we find our story on) eventually succumbs to the Fury. The goal? Find out what the Fury is, and why Flynn seems to think an entire base slips in and out of existence on some faraway island.

It’s a meandering story path. Characters die, Lilac and Tarver (why do the girls in this series get stupid names?!) from the first book play a big role, but honestly, it feels a little like the same story as its first installment.

I don’t want to spoil things. But what originally seemed like a completely separate story turns out to merely be a lackluster continuation. Lilac and Tarver play a bigger role, it seems, than Lee and Flynn. The same powers are at play, similar culprits, similar stakes. I wished it would be more unique than this.

This book is also more romance than action/sci-fi in tone. There are a lot of sweeping declarations, a lot of aching to touch each other, conflicted feelings because of the opposite sides of the battle they supposedly fight. And yet….not a lot of romance truly happens. They make out a couple of times. But even at the end of the book, there’s no conclusion with them. Are they in luuurve? Lee is so standoffish throughout the whole book (because of that whole being a teenage officer thing), that you don’t even know if she wants to be with him! It’s all sexual tension and teenage hormones, and nothing really real. In These Broken Stars, at least the teenage characters had to grow up fast because of that whole stranded-on-a-deserted-planet thing. They seemed more mature, even though they were roughly the same age.

Overall, it’s unsatisfactory, as sequels go. Unfortunately, if you want to read the whole series, you’ll need to read this one to make sense of the events. But this one really feels like it’s merely a bridge to the final chapter. Maybe the last one will go back to Lilac and Tarver. They seemed to have just as much, if not more spark than the main characters in this one.

My Grade: C

& Fridays: Books for the Sick

Reading in bed: the only activity I was able to do yesterday... Found here on tumblr

Reading in bed: the only activity I was able to do yesterday…
Found here on tumblr

I’m sick, you guys 😦

Well, I was when I wrote this post, on a Thursday. Luckily, it was my day off (although sad that I had to spend a day off napping away the hours). But seriously: no fun. The waking up three times in the middle of the night because of my sore throat, the total lack of energy (I got up to take some meds, then had to take a nap afterwards to recuperate), the headache. Ugh.

BUT. I got to spend a lot of time doing some of my favorite past-times: reading and writing 🙂 I caught up on a couple blog posts here (I was almost completely out of Friday material, and five books behind on reviews!), I read a good chunk of my current book (spoiler alert: it’s actually a book intended for “Young Readers.” aka children. And I like it), and I held up my New Years Resolution (aka “Guideline”), of writing every day, which is still going strong!

What kind of books do YOU like to read on a sick day? The novel you’re currently reading? A childhood favorite, a comfort food, if you will? Poetry? Comics? Do you build a book fort out of sheets and pillows to keep the midday sun out of your eyes? Do you have a comfy sweater that you curl up in when the going gets tough?

Plus, I got to binge watch Boy Meets World. Anybody else think Corey, Shawn, and Topanga were the original Harry, Ron, and Hermione?

& Review: Here by Richard McGuire

Here by Richard McGuire. Graphic Novel. Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

Here by Richard McGuire. Graphic Novel. Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

The Book Itself: Rather an ominous window for a book that isn’t in itself, incredibly spooky or ominous. But it’s certainly eye catching in its minimalism!

My Review: Richard McGuire’s groundbreaking comic strip Here was published under Art Spiegelman’s editorship at RAW in 1989.

Built in six pages of interlocking panels, dated by year, it collapsed time and space to tell the story of the corner of a room – and its inhabitants – between the years 500, 957, 406, 073 BC and 2033 AD.

The strip remains one of the most influential and widely discussed contributions to the medium, and it has now been developed, expanded and reimagined by the artist into this full-length, full-colour graphic novel – a must for any fan of the genre.

Note: this book makes no sense if you just open it randomly without reading the description. I did this a couple of times at the store, where it just looked like a completely random selection of sketchy people and landscapes and interior shots.

Fun fact: knowing what a book is about really helps you enjoy it.

Now that my brain has truly been expanded, let me tell you why you should “read” a book full of pictures of the same corner of a room over thousands and thousands of years.

Answer? Because it’s actually really awesome.

One of the six original pages of "Here" From this blog.

One of the six original pages of “Here”
From this blog.

Here is just that: the corner of a living room, in its many forms from prehistoric times (in 80,000,000 BCE, a T-Rex stomps through the jungle that will one day become said room), to far in the future (an android tour guide gives a tour of the former site of the room in the year 2213).

And it’s still a story. Multiple stories, actually. Several pages are dedicated to a picnic on the lawn in 1870. In the first few pages, a joke about a doctor, told from the couch in 1989, takes a twisted turn. In 1986, a historical society announces connections to a Native American past, while on the same page, a panel depicting tribe members seems to observe them from a forest in 1622.

It’s a study of the lives that touch a room, and the life of the room itself, even before it’s constructed (in 1907, in case you’re curious). You can tell the thought and attention that went into this collection of art, and it’s truly impressive. You have a portfolio of beautiful hard work in your hands when you hold onto this book.

And a page from Here as it is today. Image credit here.

And a page from Here as it is today. Image credit here.

It could take you the space of one short afternoon to read it. After all, there aren’t very many words. It could take you as long as turning each of its 304 pages to read it cover to cover. But hopefully, you’ll pause like I did, admiring the sunset on the horizon in 1307, or the family gathered to watch a projected movie in 1973. I found myself simply grinning, going through this book, thinking about what an awesome idea it was, and how cool it was to read.

My Grade: A