[REVIEW] Nothing Holds Back the Night by Delphine de Vigan

I have had this book for more than two years now and I got it for under a dollar/pound/euro – brand new might I add! This was a period in my life where I wanted to get different genres of books to read. I have been reading memoirs and non-fiction (mental health) books for a while now and I cannot believe that I have read this book just now! I have to add that I got an ARC of ‘Based on a True Story’ by the same author and that pushed me to read ‘Nothing Holds Back the Night’ and I am so glad I read it. I just devoured this novel, it was fascinating and haunting and much more.

This is a memoir/non-fiction book about Delphine de Vigan’s mother, Lucile Poirier told from the authors perception of her (with the help of some people who I will mention at the end). The novel is told in three parts: first part is about Lucile’s childhood, the second part is Lucile as an adolescent and the third part is Lucile with her children all grown up and their relationships. You should know that this book begins on a sad note and the sadness weaves its hands through the whole novel. Delphine finds her mother unconscious in her apartment and with this we begin our journey through the life of Lucile and the way her child writes about her. Lucile (one of nine children) was a child model, she was doing photoshoots for ads and was always the pretty one in the family but behind that beauty was an introverted child who loved spending days reading books and watching people from a distance. At a very young age her father Georges noticed that she was different from his other children. As we slowly make progress into this book we learn that her family is cursed with tragedy. At the age of nineteen she had married twenty-one year old Gabriel, one of her fathers work colleagues’ son, and got Delphine – with this she began to drift away from her family –  she was now a woman who had to take care of her daughter. She was a young, beautiful mother who always turned heads and amazed anyone with whom she crossed paths with. I feel while writing this that I’m doing  a poor job describing this book for which I apologise because there’s a lot of happenings in this book. She had another child, Manon who is four years younger than Delphine. Her marriage with Gabriel didn’t work out (as do all rushed marriages) but she still had a few relationships after her split from her husband.  What we find out is that Lucile has a bipolar disorder (manic depression) and how it affects her life and the lives of her children. Her children had to witness her lows and highs at a very young age and in a way had their childhood taken away from them.  It was upsetting reading about how Lucile’s personality changed when she was having her episodes. Delphine de Vigan has written this book with the help of her sister’s recollection of their mother and the brothers and sisters of her mother –  this made the story more complete and raw because it painted a complex study of Lucile’s life and psyche. Saying anything further will just ruin your experience with this book.

I read this book fairly quickly because of the subject matter and because it was something that interested me. Delphine de Vigan also includes her struggles and worries about writing this book into this memoir which I appreciated. I also appreciate her sharing the story of Lucile who was a really interesting person and reading about her made me have a better outlook on life and family relationships. This novel is really powerful and it should be read by everyone.

My rating: 

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Delphine de Vigan is an award-winning French novelist. She has published several novels for adults. Her breakthrough work was the book No et moi (No and Me) that was awarded the Prix des Libraires (The Booksellers’ Prize) in France in 2008.
In 2011, she published a novel Rien ne s’oppose a la nuit (Nothing holds back the night) that is dealing with a family coping with their mother’s bipolar disorder. In her native France, the novel brought her a set of awards, including the prix du roman Fnac (the prize given by the Fnac bookstores) and the prix Renaudot des lycéens.

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[REVIEW] Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes

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I first stumbled upon this book on GoodReads last month and it intrigued me because I like New York. A few days have passed and I saw one of my GoodReads friend gave it a great rating and a review so I decided to give it a go when it comes out. I have to say that this book was so wonderful and full of wisdom (which you’d expect because it has Oliver Sacks in it – but I have to say that I found Bill to be rather intelligent and as interesting).

After a tragic loss of his partner Bill Hayes, at forty-eight moves to New York in order to escape from grieving thoughts which often occur after a loss of a loved one.  He gets to New York and becomes consoled by  –  it’s beauty, the New Yorkers, kind people with whom he crosses paths with and the capturing of it all with his camera. His friendship with Oliver begins in an inordinary way – by getting a letter in which Oliver said that he was supposed to blurb his book but only got around to it now. From that point on they began talking and going on dinners. Their relationship gets more intimate with time and they get to know one another better while socialising and most of all exchanging words and wisdom. Being a memoir, we see everything from Bill’s perspective – from the unusual encounters he has with strangers, to taking pictures of them, to walking through New York and just observing everything that he comes into contact with. We also experience the great wisdom and loss of a brilliant mind – Oliver Sacks.

This was a really warm and lovely memoir with almost every page shining with great quotes about life and other great things. I like how Oliver saw beauty and analysed things that most people don’t even think to look or think about. As I’ve said at the beginning I think that Bill was also quite intelligent and a good companion for Sacks. The conversations they’ve had were so brilliant and also funny! I like how Bill included photographs with each new chapter of the memoir. I have to say that I was surprised at how extroverted Bill is – approaching strangers, starting up conversations – but most of all I was surprised at how most people were friendly with him and agreed to have their picture taken by him. I also enjoyed Ilana and her ‘eye’ portrait of Bill, she really did capture his presence with just only his eye. There were tons of interesting people we meet through the pages. Bill is a very perceptive person and I really appreciated his stories.

Overall, a really great memoir about brilliance, loss and strange happenings in the city of New York.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

Add ‘Insomniac City’ to your TBR:   goodreads-logo-square

abtauthor

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Bill Hayes is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, Bill Hayes is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the author of several books.
A photographer as well as a writer, his photos have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Granta, New York Times, and on CBS Evening News. His portraits of his partner, the late Oliver Sacks, appear in the recent collection of Dr. Sacks’s suite of final essays Gratitude.
Hayes has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, the recipient of a Leon Levy Foundation grant, and a Resident Writer at Blue Mountain Center. He has also served as a guest lecturer at Stanford, NYU, UCSF, University of Virginia, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

Find him on:  Website,  Twitter

[DNF-REVIEW] See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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myre

This is the kind of book that didn’t pull me into its story. See What I Have Done is a fictionalised tale of the Borden murders and being familiar with it myself I got excited and wanted to read it. Sadly, this wasn’t the book for me – I’m not saying that it’s a bad book  but this one didn’t work for me. I rarely DNF books but SWIHD has put me into a reading slump for more than a week and trust me I tried to approach it a couple of times but again it wasn’t something that entertained me. I feel really bad for not liking this one but that’s how it goes.. you can’t like everything.

I found the narration to be quite weak and the novel itself was rather slow for my taste. I didn’t like the voices of the characters and they didn’t sound convincing to me even though the idea to hear from many other voices in this book sounds fascinating. The premise of the book sounded amazing and that’s the reason why I requested it through Edelweiss. I feel very grateful to have gotten a chance to read it ahead of its publication and I truly believe that just because it wasn’t my cup of tea – it will be someone elses. I encourage you to read this book and see for yourself because you might like it.

I would also like to note that I won’t be rating this book for obvious reasons but I stand by what I said – I urge anyone interested in this novel to give it a chance and read it! I feel like I’ll be the only one who didn’t like this one when more reviews of this book come up.

I would like to thank Edelweiss, the publisher Atlantic Monthly Press and the author Sarah Schmidt for providing me with a electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Add ‘See What I Have Done‘ to your TBR:  goodreads-logo-square

*Purchase ‘See What I Have Done‘ here:  amazoncom-inc-logo

*Purchase ‘See What I Have Done‘ with free worldwide shipping: the_book_depository-svg

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

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After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Editing), a Master of Arts (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma of Information Management, Sarah Schmidt currently works as a Reading & Literacy Coordinator (read: a fancy librarian) at a regional public library. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.
Find her on:  Website,  Twitter,  GoodReads

[TAG] HORROR MOVIE BOOK TAG

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Rules: 

  1.  Please credit Princess @RoyalReader (or just Royal Reader), as the creator of this tag, and add the rules.
  2. You can use the graphics provided in your post, or you’re welcome to make your own!
  3. Thank the person(s) who tagged you and let others know of their fabulous blogs.
  4. Tag as many people as you want, be it 1 or 20, it’s entirely up to you!

Thank you so much to Annie (themisstery) for tagging me! She’s one of my favourite bloggers and if you’re not following her blog then GO GO GO! Always has amazing reviews and books!

*I will also include adult fiction books because I read many genres.

*Also being a rebel I am I had to put two books instead of one :))

*

THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: A BOOK YOU WOULD SAVE WHEN CIVILIZATION ENDS?

 

One of the finest! Love them so much!

THE VAMPIRE: A BOOK YOU WOULD STAKE THROUGH THE HEART?

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I’d love to stake them for crushing my heart, you evil books! ❤

THE HAUNTED HOUSE: A BOOK THAT STILL HAUNTS YOU?

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Such an amazing book by Sylvia Plath. Definitely an important one which is still in my mind.

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: A BOOK WITH A TWIST YOU DID NOT SEE COMING?

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This one needs no explanation.

THE CREEPY DOLL: A BOOK THAT SEEMS INNOCENT BUT ISN’T?

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PAIN AND SUFFERING.

THE MONSTER: A BOOK YOU COULD BARELY TACKLE/DEFEAT?

I tried and tried but failed.

THE COMEDY-HORROR: A BOOK WITH MIXED GENRES THAT WORKED (OR DIDN’T)?

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It worked!

THE (CLICHED) TEEN HORROR: A BOOK YOU FOUND SUPER CLICHED/STEREOTYPICAL?

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It was like a regular story (detective, his past haunting him etc) in my opinion.

THE DEMONIC POSSESSION: A BOOK SO GRIPPING YOU NEEDED AN EXORCIST TO ESCAPE IT?

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It was very fast-paced and kept you focused on it.

THE SCIENCE FICTION: A PRECIOUS BOOK YOU WOULD PERMANENTLY SACRIFICE TO ALIENS FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND?

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We all know this one and it needs no explanation.

I Tag:

Janel,

Amy,

Renee,

Melissa,

Notsomoderngirl

And to everyone else:  feel free to tag yourself if you want!

[REVIEW] This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression by Daphne Merkin

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myre

I really enjoy reading books that deal with real issues (in this case: depression). I love getting a new perspective on this subject other than my own. Depression is quite common among people and it’s something that is hard to deal with and hard for others to understand so it’s really important for people to write books about depression and share their stories with the world.

At the beginning of her memoir Merkin writes: ‘’Although past two decades have seen a significant number of books that have taken up the issues of depression, both unipolar and bipolar, including Styron’s Darkness Visible, Susanna Kaysens’s Girl, Interrupted, and Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, it seems to me that these characterizations tend to bracket the episodes of breakdown or incapacitating depression within unimpeachable demonstrations of the writer’s otherwise hyperfunctioning existence.  (It is worth noting in this regard that Darkness Visible begins when Styron is on his way to Paris to receive a prestigious award and that the book’s subtitle is ‘a memoir of madness.’)’’  – by this Merkin capitalises that she wanted to write a book which shows a completely different perspective into the ‘scene’ casting a light onto the world of depression which occurs in most people with it’s cause not necessarily being genetic (but a source of trauma) and doesn’t mysticise this illness.

It’s taken the author more than a decade to write this memoir and you can see the reasons why by reading it. Daphne Merkin gives us a vivid insight into her life – from her childhood, her strange mother, to her twenties, forties and to where she is now by the end of the book. This isn’t just a  memoir per se, while it features stories of her life and her dive struggle with depression Merkin analyses other things such as views on depression from the psychological perspective whilst adding her agreement/disagreement,  she touches famous poets and  writers (e.g. Virginia Woolf) lives and their severe depressions.  This is a completely honest memoir where the author isn’t shy to share her life story – even the embarrassing  bits but also when she gets to her lowest points in her life long battle with depression. It gets hard reading Merkin’s journey from one psychologist’s office to the other, her hospitalisations and the crazy amount of medication she has to take in order to function in this world.  I wondered what the meaning of the cover of the book was but then I read the book and found it suiting. I have to say that Daphne Merkin is really brave for sharing her painfully honest story with the reader and I’m sure that this book will be some sort of solace and inspiration to sufferers of the same illness.

Truly a wonderful, honest and real account of depression which everyone who suffers from or is interested in should read.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

Add ‘This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression‘ to your TBR:  goodreads-logo-square

abtauthor

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Daphne Merkin is an American literary critic, essayist and novelist. Merkin is a graduate of Barnard College. She also attended Columbia University’s graduate program in English literature. She began her career as a book critic for Commentary magazine, The New Republic, and The New Leader, where she wrote a book column and later, a movie column.  In 1986, she became an editor with the publishing house of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. In 1997, after Tina Brown became editor of The New Yorker, Merkin became a film critic for the magazine. She also wrote extensively on books and became known for her frank forays into autobiography; her personal essays dealt with subjects ranging from her battle with depression, to her predilection for spanking, to the unacknowledged complexities of growing up rich on Park Avenue…,more

Find her on:  Twitter

[AWARD] The Liebster Award

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We were nominated by the awesome notsomoderngirl and we’d like to thank her so much! Also go check her blog out!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they wrote for you.
  3. Nominate 11 people.
  4. Give them your set of 11 questions to answer.

Notsomoderngirl’s questions:

  1. What three words best describe your reading habits?

    Hmm.. I don’t know why but I find it hard to answer this question.

    2. On average, how many books do you read a month?

    I don’t read that many books a month but if it’s a good month 5+ books.

    3. If you could visit any time in the past, where would you go and what would you do?

    1920’s New York – because I love NY and that period had jazz and flappers!

    4. Which character in a book has the same name as you?

    Haha yeah my name isn’t that popular and it’s foreign so..

    5. What is your best reading memory?

    I remember one time I was at my grandmother’s house and I was reading outside in the garden – the wind blowing, the birds chirping and that made me lose track of time and get sucked into the book I was reading.

    6. Who is your favourite classical author (if you have one!)?

    Sylvia Plath and Shirley Jackson came to my mind just now.

    7. If you could only have one type of weather forever, what would it be?

    Rainy days.

    8. If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

    Something comfortable like jammies haha.

    9. If you could swap places with one character from a book, which character would it be and from which book?

    This is a tough one – well it would have to be Harry Potter because being a wizard would be awesome!

    10. Have you ever borrowed a book and never given it back? Or has someone borrowed your book and not given it back?

    Oh my yeah when I was little and I still don’t know where that book is… Also yeah I lent a book to someone and they didn’t give it back to this day. No more lending books for me haha!

    11. Cats or dogs?

    Both.

WE NOMINATE:

littlebooknesslane ;

ifindoubtread ;

fireplacereadings ;

iwuvbooks ;

pageturnersnook

OUR 11 questions:

  1. Do you remember the first book you read?
  2. What are some of your favourite books?
  3. Do you have that one author that you’ll immediately read without hesitating?
  4. Do you know many people who read books just like you in real life?
  5. What is your favourite classic book?
  6. Can you read in bed or do you avoid it because of falling asleep?
  7. How often do you read?
  8. Which book to movie adaptation is your favourite?
  9. Which book to movie adaptation did you not enjoy/did poorly in your opinion?
  10. Do you prefer reading physical books or ebooks?
  11. Bookstores or online shopping for books?

Bending the rules and tagging only 5 people  (such rebels) + I just realised that we should’ve done both this award and the Blogger Recognition Award in one post  but oh well.

[AWARD] Blogger Recognition Award

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We were tagged by the amazing Melissa from thebookwormsfantasy. Go check her blog out!

Rules Of The Award

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

Blog origin story

This blog was initiated by me and I wanted to have Elizabeth on board because of her love for books and because she’s great. We started our blog two years ago and started posting reviews (not always regularly might I add) and then this year we began engaging with the book blogger community and became more known as reviewers (if I may say so). We each have a deep love for books so starting a book blog was the best idea. I also wanted to challenge myself and read and review more books and to broaden my vocabulary and get lost in amazing stories!

Advice for new bloggers

1)Don’t look at blogging as a chore – do it at your own pace. You have to realise that blogging is a fun thing and not make something stressful out of it. What’s important is that you’re reading books because you like reading books and not because you feel like you need to do it in order to post a review at a certain time.

2)Get better acquainted with fellow book bloggers – comment, share, like posts. You’ll feel more welcome knowing that there are amazing people who like to blog about books like you! ALSO Be careful with how many books you request as ARCs haha!

WE TAG

As far as I’ve seen almost everyone I follow has been tagged but we’ll tag:

knovelcafe ;

fictionophile ;

ireadnovels ;

crimeworm ;

thebelgianreviewer

[REVIEW] Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

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myre

I first heard of ‘Call Me by Your Name’ last year when the movie was announced. I saw that Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet were going to play main characters, but until recently I came upon the realisation that this movie was based on a book and decided to read it before the movie came out. I expected it to be cheesy but I was so wrong.

The book follows Elio, a seventeen year old boy who meets a twenty-four year old grad student named Oliver. Elio’s parents have their villa open in the summer for guests which they choose – usually the guests are all academics who are there to finish their drafts. Upon meeting the new guest Elio feels annoyed that yet another guest is coming to their home to take his room while he has too sleep somewhere else but this time his perception changes as he begins to know the guest. Right from the start of this novel we learn that Elio is narrating the happenings of that summer as he remembers it many many years ago. A long time has passed since then but he still has a good recollection of it. This book doesn’t have a happy ending even though you really want it to. That summer, a seventeen year old young man is like all seventeen year olds –  he is still learning about life and it’s mysterious ways. Oliver seems like a well lived person from whom Elio can learn more things, the things which cannot be read in books. They begin getting closer and closer and  Elio, like all people,  likes to over-analise every situation possible that they go through. What goes through his mind is so powerful and the reader has the chance to experience it along with him. This isn’t a novel that’s just about those explicit scenes, it’s more than that, it’s a love story which gets to you. You begin to care for both of the characters and yell at Elio to do what he wants to do and not just think it. From this friendship grows something bigger and more important. Then the ending comes and you want to scream because you don’t want it to end that way.

I wanted to read this because since ‘A Little Life’ I haven’t really read a book that explores the theme of love and sexuality. This book will throw you across the room and take your heart out of your chest. Now that I think about it, why did I even decide to read it? But then I remember that even though it causes pain – it’s still a good book which I enjoyed reading. I love the way Aciman characterised Elio because he feels like a real seventeen year old and the way he was over-thinking about things made him even more real.  Long after you finish this book it’ll still stay and create hollowness in you. I am honestly looking forward to the film and not looking forward to it because it will ruin me again. I have read a few reviews of the film and the critics seem to be very pleased with it.

If you’re looking for a heart-wrenching but still worth it book then this is the one for you. Give it a try because there’s such complexity to it and realness which make it a rewarding read.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

Add ‘Call Me by Your Name’ to your TBR:   goodreads-logo-square

abtauthor

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André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Condé Nast Traveler as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays. Aciman received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, has taught at Princeton and Bard and is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at The CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently chair of the Ph. D. Program in Comparative Literature and founder and director of The Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center.

Find him on:  Twitter, GoodReads