Stateless: One Man’s Struggle for an Identity by Gerard van Leeuwen

I’ve never really been a fan of biographies. I’ve just not been able to connect with the idea of an author setting out to tell the story of another.  Biography is essentially written with the help of extensive research, both primary or secondary: the former involving talking directly to the source or subject of the work, and the latter being through exploring different documents to piece together a story.

This is something that has drastically shifted since reading Kamal’s story as told by Gerard van Leeuwen.

Van Leeuwen tells us right off the bat in the prologue where he met Kamal, the subject of this biography. We learn straight away how he came to learning the complex, sometimes unbelievable, details of Kamal’s life from birth until their meeting.

Continue reading Stateless: One Man’s Struggle for an Identity by Gerard van Leeuwen

The Heirs by Susan Rieger

Susan Rieger’s The Heirs shares the story of an Upper West Side New York family – the Falkes’ – in the wake of Rupert’s, their patriarch, passing.

It follows the widow, Eleanor, and her five adult children as they work through a strange, Vera, suing their father’s estate, claiming him as the father of her own adult children.

This complicates the grieving of the Falkes family as the image of the husband and father that they seem to have held on a pedestal begins to crumble. Through the progression of the novel, we watch the characters question who Rupert was and whether or not he had had the capacity to lead a secret life.

At first I thought that there were far too many characters – Rupert, Eleanor, their five children and significant others, Susanna, Vera, Hugh (Vera’s son)… I think that’s all – and was expecting to be incredibly confused. However, Rieger’s writing absolutely captivated me. Continue reading The Heirs by Susan Rieger

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

A historical novel, set in the English countryside

After having read Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, I was interested in dipping my toes a bit farther into the historical fiction waters. And, as I’d hoped, this debut novel by Jennifer Ryan was exactly what I needed.

This novel revolves around a (female!) choir.

I have spent all of my life singing: grade school choirs, church choirs, fronting my science teacher’s band in 10th grade, vocal music courses, regional chorus, and finally, classical operatic training. I’ve done it all!

This novel is written through diary entries and letters.

First person narration is my jam: even more exciting is when it is in the context of personal diaries and private letters.

With these things in mind, I chose not to look much more into it. Well, other than seeing a Goodreads rating of 4.08 when adding it to my currently-reading shelf.

Continue reading The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Everything You Need You Have by Gerad Kite

When I started reading this short, self-help guide I was looking forward to reading something new and innovative that would add to what I already know about finding peace within myself.

While I did not find anything new in his work his idea of being at home in one’s self, regardless of physical location or belongings, is an idea that really resonates with what I have learned through years of therapy and self-discovery.

For lack of better words, home really is where the heart is.

A few Goodreads reviews complain about Kite’s writing being a bit mundane and simply summarizing ideas of Great thinkers. I don’t see this as a bad thing, especially for readers who are new to the genre and perhaps not ready to delve into the Greats.

It was a quick and easy read, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a first step into the self-help genre.


A big thanks for this ebook from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear Mcbride: Book Review

When I set out to read a new work of fiction, I often choose
one of two ways:

  1. Straight up pick the book by its cover & blurb, which usually works out for me. Like the time I saw this edition of The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson and decided I needed it. That was a great read!
  2. Or I read what I “should” – by that I mean that I look to see what the book bloggers are reading and make my decision that way.

In the words of Austin Powers, this book was not my bag, baby. The book’s blurb caught my attention, and with some critical acclaim for this and Mcbride’s debut novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, I was convinced that I was making a good choice!

I was sadly mistaken.

I don’t think I got through more than 30 pages before I put it down because I just could not (and not in the good “OMG I JUST CAN’T” way).

Mcbride’s writing style has been described as a “stream of pre-consciousness”, which had me feeling very confused. It was very difficult to keep up with any of what was going on that I couldn’t even tell you what happened in the opening of this novel. It really felt like I was just reading groupings of a few words just pasted next to each other.

I thought it had to do with the concentration problems I’ve been experiencing through my recover and I had such a hard time figuring out what was even going on. I thought “hm if I continue another page or two maybe it will click… maybe it’s one of those books that’s dry at first but becomes unputdownable”.

……………I couldn’t even get myself to get through the first section of it. Even then, I wasn’t able to get anything from it.

My final verdict: Did not enjoy.


I was lucky enough to receive this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.