Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

The following review will try to be as spoiler-free as possible about this book. Proceed with caution. Any major spoilers that may appear will be marked.

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Comic Review: Seconds

Everyone wants a do-over at some point in their lives. We’ve all had decisions we’ve made that we regret and want a second chance.

Seconds is one of those times where we get a peek at someone’s do-over, or rather do-overs. Bryan Lee O’Malley, famous for the Scott Pilgrim series, writes this unique take on one chef’s do-overs through the power of magical mushrooms from her dresser drawer.

Yup. Mushrooms.

75cd77559a8ce52d0211db98c0ddaae5Katie is a young, talented chef whose life spirals out of her control. All she wants is a second chance, and these mushrooms are going to give it to her. Suddenly her life is perfect.That’s where the story starts to get even wilder than it already is.

O’Malley’s characters are fun, and the world is immersive. I’ve always loved his art style because it is expressive and detailed. It was easy to disappear into this world he created and I wanted to befriend the characters.

Nathan Fairbairn’s colors for this book are fantastic and make O’Malley’s world come alive.

Reading Katie’s story made me wonder if I ever wanted a second chance with any of my decisions. What are the rules with second chances? The rules are where Seconds shines, and that’s an area that is often unexplored when it comes to plots like this.

O’Malley’s unique take on second chances with Seconds makes this well worth the read. If you’re looking for a fun graphic novel, I recommend this without any hesitation.


Comic Review: Storm

Storm has been part of the X-Men since 1975. She’s has quite the history that has taken her all over the world, and even to Asgard. Ororo has led the X-Men a time or two, and been a queen. In knowing that, I was excited to put her solo series on my list.

In the beginning of Storm: Make it Rain, Storm is out stopping a tsunami. Yup.

Hank McCoy is holding down the fort at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and Storm is saving a small village from a tsunami.

9e451d7c590cc593fe2a3bd19a76e55b-_sx640_ql80_ttd_And that speaks well to her character. She’s always been more of a doer for others. Ororo is all about getting her hands dirty instead of waiting for politics to sort themselves out. Cause that can take a while.

Storm is always striving for a better more peaceful way. Something that will stem any bloodshed; mutant, civilian, or otherwise. She wants peace for the world, and will do anything she can to achieve it for small communities, or big cities.

Remember that tsunami I mentioned before? Well, she stops it. And much of the action slows from there too. While there is action, its not page after page of fighting. A lot of the first volume is Storm working through past encounters, and past relationships. Which is important for overall character development.

The art changes hands a few times between Victor Ibanez and Matteo Buffagni, and sometimes it seems between pages and not just individual issues. Sometimes its pretty flawless, but others you’ll notice subtle differences.

Greg Pak did such an amazing job with writing Storm. While there isn’t as much action, instead there is a lot of character emotion and depth. Pak takes such a rich and vast history of the protagonist, and weaves it beautifully so that you don’t have to know everything to know what has made her into who you’re reading. Storm has weathered so much in her life, and that’s evident by how she handles a variety of interactions throughout the five issues collected in volume one.

If you’re interested in the X-Men and mutants, particularly about Storm, then Storm: Make it Rain is for you. There is so much depth with her character that is shown within the pages. Its well worth the read.


Comic Review: Persepolis

The vast majority of comics I’ve read and reviewed so far involve superheroes fighting off super villains in order to save their hometowns or possibly the world. Depends on the villain. Others involve fantasy worlds with colorful characters fighting some of the supernatural.

When Persepolis was suggested for my reading list, I remembered the title because it was always something friends felt I should read. While reading it I would post Instagram pictures of , I found a lot of friends mention that they read it for a class. Apparently I was behind in my required reading.

the-veilPersepolis is the memoir of Marjane Satrapi through the form of a comic. She catalogs her childhood growing up in Iran during the Revolution, followed by her time abroad in Vienna when her parents sent her away to finish her schooling. When her general education is complete, Satrapi returns to Iran and spends the rest of her time of the memoir in college readjusting to life in her home country.

This book gave me a lot of insight into a country I otherwise knew very little about except for the occasional news story and what I’ve looked up on my own. I’m ashamed that the United States’ education system does not teach about foreign countries very often, particularly those in the Middle East, other than to teach us about them as our enemy during different war periods.

Satrapi weaves such a beautiful story with her anecdotes that show the change Iran has during their revolution, and how those changes affect her childhood, education, and beyond. The country goes from having a lot of Western influence to closing itself off, and that change is evidenced by Satrapi’s memories.

It felt like such an honor and privilege to be taken along on the story of Satrapi’s life. There is so much to be learned from her experiences and surrounding support system. Whenever there was a poignant word of wisdom from Satrapi’s parents or grandmother, I always snapped a picture and put it on Instagram as a reminder of some of the lessons learned.

If you want to take a break from those superheroes and villain stories, and read a unique memoir, I recommend picking up a copy of Persepolis (look for the complete collection so that you have two volumes in one book).

Be the one you were made to be

I recently finished Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, and it got me thinking about a lot of things. Most importantly, how much I care, or not care, how others view me. Do I constantly act differently around certain people, making sure I’m always on a stage for them? Or am I proudly myself in all facets of my life?

Coming to college 3,000 miles from home has certainly taught me many things. And the lesson I struggle with is not being myself. I purposefully got tattoos on my arms to remind myself to be myself.

Maybe that’s a small portion of the problem. In about a year and a half of counseling, I’ve become a lot more confident (at least according to my counselor). There’s some things I can confidently do, but when it comes to a lot of things pertaining to my personal life, I had a tendency to fall off the wagon.

I don’t second-guess myself nearly as much. My wishy-washy tendencies only occur when I have to decide what to eat for dinner. I’ve started to make decisions about my life and I don’t have regrets about them. That’s been a slowly building habit ever since I moved to New Hampshire, and I haven’t regretted the choices I’ve made. There’s been more learning than train wrecks, so I’ll mark that in the books as a positive outcome.

A few weeks ago with a friend we discussed passing judgement on others and whether that immediate decision about someone was helpful or hurtful. Its impossible to deny that someone judges an acquaintance on their first encounter. We all do it. I’ll admit to doing that on multiple occasions.

But its whether or not you let those thoughts cloud your opinion of them later, that’s important.

I’ll admit to putting on an act. I could probably recount entire years of my life that were just a show. But that didn’t help me any. It hurt me more than anything.

I struggle with being myself. There’s moments where I’m a complete asshole, and others where I have this disgusting urge to show off (and occasions where I’ve followed that urge too). And I’m neither of those. Yeah, I’m snarky and lean closer to being an asshole sometimes, but I’m not a show off. I’ve always had a strong distaste for being flashy. A witty, potentially hurtful comment comes off my tongue, and I’m filled with guilt.

My friends know I’m a habitual apologizer. It’s raining out? I’ll apologize. They’re serving your least favorite food in the cafeteria? I’ll apologize. You lost your cat? I’ll apologize.

That’s who I am.

I’m a fiercely loyal friend who will stick up for anyone, and comes with a large extra plate of sarcasm, and a small side of geekery. I laugh when I shouldn’t; I dislike crying more than the average person dislikes the rain. And unfortunately I find myself to be a rather easy crier.

That’s the person I am. Not the one that I paraded around as through middle and high school. And who I occasionally bring out again at the worst times.

Its a terrible habit to slip in to. I’m mad at myself when that person makes a reappearance.

Maybe its time for another tattooed reminder.