Spring 2018 Book Reviews

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As I suspected in my Winter Book Reviews, I have, in fact, ended up in a reading slump. Not because my reading pace is slower (that, I don’t really mind), but because I just haven’t been feeling the motivation to read. I think my switch to primarily non-fiction may have something to do with it, so I want to read more fiction in the upcoming seasons to see if that helps.

I read 3 books in March, 2 books in April, and 2 books in May. Out of the 7 total books I read in spring, 2 were from the library, and 5 were books I bought, already owned, or received for review. Only 2 out of 7 were fiction, the rest non-fiction.

From Here to Eternity

by Caitlin Doughty

Let’s get the most morbid book out of the way first. From Here to Eternity is a book about death rituals around the world, written by mortician Caitlin Doughty, who you might know from her YouTube series Ask a Mortician.

This is one of those books that make me so glad I started reading more non-fiction about various topics. I learned a lot about different cultures, and about… well, death. I generally don’t really care about any sort of religion, but it was interesting to see what kind of (death) rituals people have.

Soon, I hope to pick up Caitlin Doughty’s other book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, about her time working in a crematory.
I’m totally identifying as #DeathPositive now.

Herding Cats

by Sarah Andersen

I’m not much of a comic person in the traditional sense, but I love Sarah’s Scribbles. Her comics are simple (in a good way), quick to read, and painfully relatable.

In 2016, I reviewed Sarah’s Scribbles first comic collection on my book blog, Lauren Reads YA. Herding Cats is her third collection. In this one, there is a lot of the relatable stuff we know & love, but I also noticed some themes: anxiety over politics, the news, and the environment; feminism and ‘the female experience’; and the struggles of being an artist.

I follow Sarah on Twitter, where she regularly posts comics, but somehow I don’t feel like I’ve already seen every comic in this collection. I don’t know if that’s because some were never posted online, or because they just stay great no matter how many times you’ve seen them.

The first half of the book is comics, and the second half of the book is a guide for young creatives titled ‘Making Stuff In The Modern Era’, which is text with a comic here and there about being an artist (or any type of creator). I’m not an artist but as a person who makes things, I could still relate.

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

by Kathy Hoopmann

Because it’s basically like a picture book, I read this in the library in about 10 minutes. It made me happy that there’s a book like this out there, but sad that it wasn’t around when I was a little girl, feeling misunderstood and obsessed with my special interest: cats.

This book seems like a fantastic tool to explain to kids (with and without autism) the basics of autism, comparing autistic traits to typical cat behavior.

I read the Dutch edition because it was the only edition available to me. Translation of the words in the photo above: “and sometimes they find solutions that others don’t think of”, continuing on the next page: “or they find new ways to do certain things”. I was glad to see that the book is generally positive about autism and its many traits.

Let’s Go Green 🇳🇱

by Susan Gerritsen-Overakker

I made good use of my library card this season! Let’s Go Green is a Dutch guide on living sustainably and ethically. I would read English books on these topics but I think Dutch ones are better for me personally because there are links to local stores and webshops that I can use in the future.

I got so many good tips out of it that I made a page in my bullet journal with just things to remember for future reference! It did sometimes feel like information overload though, which is why I only rated it 3 stars.

Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate

by Cynthia Kim

Cynthia Kim’s blog, Musings of an Aspie, is one of my favorite autism blogs out there. Her writing has really helped me when I was seeking diagnosis.

I’d recommend this book to all autistics, but especially women who were diagnosed late. I’d also recommend this to anyone who knows someone with autism, as it is by far the best non-fiction book on the autistic experience (Asperger’s to be specific), in my opinion.

In this book, Cynthia Kim writes about growing up undiagnosed, executive functioning, parenting as an autistic person (!! something a lot of autistic people are looking for information on). She discusses the topics that you only hear autistic people speak about but not professionals, which makes it a must-read.

The combination of personal anecdotes, information about autism, and tips on how to manage it made this book #1 on my list of autism non-fiction. Highly recommended!

Zondagskind 🇳🇱

by Judith Visser

Zondagskind is a novel about growing up with undiagnosed autism, heavily inspired by the author’s own childhood and adolescence. I have never related to a book more than when I read this one. I recognized so many things from my own childhood that it honestly felt like someone was watching me.

If you can read in Dutch, definitely pick this up. Although it’s nearly 500 pages, it’s a surprisingly quick read once you’ve gotten into it. The last couple of chapters took me a while because I didn’t want it to end.

The writing style is very simple and easy to comprehend, which is fantastic for those of us with concentration difficulties. It’s also surprisingly thrilling for a realistic novel. There were times when my heart was beating out of my chest because something was about to go very wrong (or so the author made me think).

Recommended for all people, whether autistic or not! I’m lending it to my mom and then my grandma and then my other grandma and then EVERYONE ELSE.

Publishers: get on an English translation of this IMMEDIATELY. Also a Dutch audiobook, please.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Stephen Fry

For the past few years, I’ve only been re-reading the Harry Potter books when a new Illustrated Edition came out (every October — so far they’ve released the first three). Then I discovered a wonderful thing named Potterless, a podcast about a twentysomething man reading the Harry Potter series for the first time.

I had recently read the illustrated edition of Prisoner of Azkaban, so I listened to the podcast episodes up until book 4, and then I started re-reading. First just with my hardcovers, but then I realized I could get much more reading done if, besides just reading in bed at night, I listened to the audiobook while I was vacuuming the house, cycling, or on public transport.

So if anyone was wondering why I haven’t been reading much else, Harry Potter has taken up all my time and energy. I’m not even sorry. This is the best way to re-read the series that I’ve found so far. Cannot wait to get to the dozen other Harry Potter podcasts I’ve saved.


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