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iamtoddseal

iamtoddseal

Joined September 2017

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Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz
review
iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

In each story, Reynolds‘s writing comes to life to make things compelling. From capturing the humor in the tone of voice characters use to setting you up for one outcome just as things turn out differently, this is such a joy to read. If you‘re a writer, you‘ll see traits of Reynolds‘s craft all over the place. If you‘re not a writer, you‘ll simply get lost in each character‘s tale. Some are funny, some are sad, but all of them are worth reading.

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iamtoddseal
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“He looked back at her. And in a way that only grandfather and granddaughter could do, together Cynthia and Cinder split open and laughter poured out of them. A laughter free enough to make the bottle (of giggles) on the table rattle.”

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iamtoddseal
Get Jiro! | Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
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Pickpick

As part of final torture, chefs are fed meat substitute and rice-a-rhino. Awesome. This is a dark view of culinary rivalry, likely based on a shred of metaphoric truth. Some food snobbery might look frighteningly accurate. There are moments when you feel Bourdain‘s Inner Ring knowledge - that is what makes the grain of truth stand out. The full circle of the taco cart and California roll jokes is a nice nod to things Bourdain has hinted elsewhere.

1 like1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
One of Us Is Lying | Karen M. Mcmanus
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Pickpick

I keep hearing this compared to Breakfast Club and I get it, but it‘s not quite that easy. This is a murder mystery that gets you caught up in those stereotypes and how they sometimes define someone more than their actual actions. Whether you figure out who did it or not, this should be a fun ride that has you rooting for all the reasons you didn‘t think you would at the outset. All that AND McManus manages to figure out how to have a cute ending.

19 likes1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
One of Us Is Lying | Karen M. Mcmanus
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“You find out who your real friends are when stuff like this happens. Turns out I didn‘t have any, but I‘m glad Cooper does.”

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iamtoddseal
One of Us Is Lying | Karen M. Mcmanus
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“We‘re part of the news cycle now, though, so things won‘t stay quiet for long.”

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iamtoddseal
Fletch | Gregory Mcdonald
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Pickpick

Told mostly through dialogue, this detective tale moves quickly, leaving you frantically trying to keep up with solving at least two main problems: drugs and murder. His methods would not hold up in today‘s world so it‘s an interesting bit of time travel. This Fletch is a bit more serious than the one in the film. There‘s an awareness in both characters that‘s similar, though, a sense that Fletch knows more than he should and more than he lets on.

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iamtoddseal
Fletch | Gregory Mcdonald
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“Then he drove to the main gate of Collins Aviation and waited.”

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This quickly launches into a kind of detective story, with Julia as a modern YA Sam Spade. Julia‘s attitude makes all of this easy to read and you root for her throughout. Things take a turn for her mental health; we see hints of problems manifest in an awful way. As secrets pile up, Julia wrestles with how she fits into her culture, how she can handle it all while still being true to herself. The last half of the book covers a lot worth covering.

9 likes1 stack add
blurb
iamtoddseal
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This feels like a detective story, as if it‘s a YA hardboiled tale. Opening with the death of the protagonists sister, it‘s easy to wonder where the story might go. Julia is trying to get some answers. “Why does it always feel like life is a stupid puzzle I‘ll never figure out?”

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iamtoddseal
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“I wish I knew the right thing to say, but I don‘t. I never do.”

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iamtoddseal
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas
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Pickpick

These characters come alive and you get a sense you are part of their group. Bri‘s struggle feels relatable quickly for so many different reasons and that brings you into the story, too. The social, gang, and family dynamics all give the story weight and you want to see things resolved. How do we follow our passions AND our responsibilities? Humor mixed in makes this something worth sharing. That ending... that ending hits nearly the perfect note.

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iamtoddseal
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas
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“They‘ll just see an angry black girl from the ghetto, acting like they expect me to act.”

10 likes1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas
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“I guess it‘s easy to say you love Jesus and harder to act like him.”

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iamtoddseal
On the Come Up | Angie Thomas
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Within just the first 10 pages, I found three passages I absolutely *had* to share with someone else. Great character development already!

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This has elements of lots of other stories, giving something for everyone. Adeyemi‘s knack for chapter endings just makes you want to keep reading, like binging your favorite show; I mostly read this book in 2 days. There are some too-convenient plot points I wish she figured out other ways to resolve, but you still care about the outcome. By the time you‘re 300 pages in, Adeyemi‘s true intentions with the story crystallize (see her Author‘s Note)

iamtoddseal This book has its problems that I hope improve with her next book in the series, but it‘s certainly worth reading, especially if you‘re looking for YA titles to recommend or for sci-fi from a different background. 6mo
11 likes1 comment
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iamtoddseal
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“What do you need us to do?”

Adeyemi really has a knack for chapter ending quotations!

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iamtoddseal
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“‘This stone.‘ She lowers her voice. ‘What does it look like?‘”

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iamtoddseal
Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts | Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
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Pickpick

Bringing together so many things I love, this checks a lot of boxes: Bourdain, Japan, horror, art, food, etc. The stories are about as scary as you could expect, falling short of true terror, disturbing while remaining a fun, visually-entertaining read. I wish Bourdain had allowed himself more time to develop these tales, maybe making the original run 6 issues instead of only 4. Of course, I also simply wish Bourdain had allowed himself more time.

3 likes1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
The Dreamer | Pam Munoz Ryan
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Pickpick

Neftalí‘s journey is inspiring and heart breaking, thrilling and oppressive, hopeful and ultimately uplifting. There are common conflicts we can all see ourselves in - family politics, bully assignments, self loathing, just to name a few. The way Neftalí navigates all of those struggles makes you worry at times. But it also makes you happy at times. The seemingly simple prose is the perfect backdrop for all of the sophisticated issues dealt with.

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iamtoddseal
The Dreamer | Pam Munoz Ryan
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I love this defiant little boy.

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iamtoddseal
The Dreamer | Pam Munoz Ryan
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“Frantically, Neftalí waved. And the boy waved back.”

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iamtoddseal
The Dreamer | Pam Munoz Ryan
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Something about this reminds me of Haroun and the Sea of Stories or maybe even The Alchemist, seemingly simple storytelling that is trying to communicate so much more...

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iamtoddseal
Hope In The Dark | Rebecca Solnit
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Pickpick

For someone feeling acutely hopeless these days, this was a tough read at times. The ending chapters, though, provide significant light at the end of the tunnel. Solnit makes the case for hope, even or especially in troubled times. She encourages the notion that two conflicting things can coexist. Hope does not mean it‘s all sunshine and roses, but it‘s also not all darkness and terror. Since either view discourages action, let‘s see it both ways.

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iamtoddseal
Stitches: A Memoir | David Small
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Pickpick

You feel the struggle bubbling beneath all of the interactions with adults, each is about far more than surface conflict, even before young David realizes it. And his later seething feels justified, so bad is the family drama that causes it. The art‘s stunning, adding to the tension, making you feel ill at ease at just the right spots. Whether or not your relationship with your parents is similar, this might help you understand family dysfunction.

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iamtoddseal
Stitches: A Memoir | David Small
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“I didn‘t.”

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iamtoddseal
Stitches: A Memoir | David Small
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“Mama says people who say ‘ain‘t‘ are stupid!”

“Mm? Well... you all must think I‘m real stupid, then!”

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This compelling story communicates the fact that there is a human being behind all the stories we see, that there is a reason people move from country to country illegally. Ebo‘s struggle rings with truth because it‘s based on what happens to refugees all around the world. The trip isn‘t always about where the refugees are going as much as what they are leaving behind. The art is not in typical comic style, making this feel like a day-in-the-life.

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This presents further depth to a narrative a lot of us think we already know. This isn‘t slavery as told by Douglass or Equiano, but rather a look at where Kossola came from and where he went. It sheds some new (at least for me) light on life before, during, and after the slave trade, rounding out the pain as more than simply physical, more than just in one moment. The losses Kossola suffered add to an already horrible history that makes you ache.

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

The story is incredibly compelling and there are moments you simply won‘t believe this story went that far and had such a wide reach. The writing style, though, is a struggle at times. This comes from several police reports and that is obvious, with writing that‘s sometimes stilted, repetitive, and dry. That makes this less fun to read in those moments. The narrative itself keeps you wanting to know more and that is what drives you through it all.

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iamtoddseal
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“Our history is always in our present.”

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iamtoddseal
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“The day after the Corner Pocket Lounge meeting I had my first telephone conversation with the Grand Wizard himself.”

2 likes1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
Bossypants | Tina Fey
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Pickpick

Being familiar with 30 Rock makes this an even more interesting read. You see the origin of many characters and plot points of the show in things Fey has experienced. And this book is funny, with just about every 2 pages containing a line or 2 that made me chuckle out loud. Reading it this far after publication, there‘s not a lot of dated stuff, though it certainly is a book from a different time in a lot of ways. This‘s a nice, quick, funny read.

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iamtoddseal
Bossypants | Tina Fey
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“There are never fewer than eight Tracey Ullman characters in any NYC nail salon at any given time.”

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iamtoddseal
Fight Club 2 (Graphic Novel) | Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, David Mack
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Mehso-so

Returning to this world and these characters is something I was looking forward to, but there‘s a lot unexpected here. The revelation of Durden‘s origin and motivation is classic Palahniuk, reminiscent of Rant. This story has parallels to the original, sort of flipped, so that is a nod that was fun to follow. Lots of writing that you come to this looking for, quick one liners and retorts you wish you could have come up with. That ending, though...

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iamtoddseal
Fight Club 2 (Graphic Novel) | Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, David Mack
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“Tyler survives across time by infecting one generation after another.”

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

There‘s a lot going on here, even skipping racial and political discussions (those alone will keep you thinking for a long time and you should think about them). Past, present, and future. Love, lust, and uncertainty. A desire to live longer matched with a desire to kill yourself. Mom and dad as hero and villain. There are complicated ideas he figures ways to articulate. The repetition of words and images begs you to read this in a single sitting.

2 likes1 stack add
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iamtoddseal
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“The names alive are like the names / In graves.”

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iamtoddseal
Game Over, Pete Watson | Joe Schreiber
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Pickpick

Look, what do you want from this book? With all honesty, you know what you‘re getting into and this book delivers. Plot holes abound and it‘s entirely preposterous, but that‘s kind of what it‘s supposed to be. This is a fun story for people who are interested in video games and it‘s a quick, light-hearted read to give you some entertainment and laughs. The art really does add to the story, helping continue the written voice of Pete. Have some fun!

RaimeyGallant Interesting. 11mo
1 like1 comment
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iamtoddseal
Game Over, Pete Watson | Joe Schreiber
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“Then Wesley said something that I‘d never heard him say before:
‘I have a plan.‘”

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iamtoddseal
Game Over, Pete Watson | Joe Schreiber
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“It was almost noon, and I was getting ready to pack it in when the Bug Man pulled up.”

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iamtoddseal
Woman in the Dark | Dashiell Hammett
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Mehso-so

This is a quick read and, as such, feels more like an outline to a tale than a full story. There are a few beats that are missed and you just kind of go with it for the sake of continuing the plot. There‘s a bit of a twist at the end that is not developed at all because this ends about 2 paragraphs later. All that said, this would be a good introduction to Hammett since you quickly get a sense for the kinds of characters and situations he creates.

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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This is an incredible story that will leave you whispering “Jeez...” to yourself at the end of nearly every chapter. It‘s both terrifying and interesting A few chemicals out of balance, some blocked receptors, and it all completely changes. Because of her unique situation, Cahalan manages to write an autobiography with both distance and closeness, keeping readers in the moment while also sharing an outsider view. You haven‘t read anything like it.

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iamtoddseal
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Mehso-so

This is a beer geek beach read. Light, fluffy, funny, quick. Not a ton of info that is revelatory for any beer geek (and a few things this beer geek disagrees with, like writing off McMenamins), but still worth the romp. I was shaking my head vigorously in agreement a lot of the time,finding good chuckles at the inside jokes here and there. The voice here kept me going and it is always nice to get someone else‘s take on your passion. This was fun.

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iamtoddseal
Beastie Boys Book | Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz
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“We were also total drunk fuck-ups in 1987 and didn‘t really know how to communicate things like feelings and phone numbers” (70).

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iamtoddseal
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“I have a gift. I can age people with my mind. This is who I am. And they cannot take this away from me.”

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iamtoddseal
Seconds | Bryan Lee O'Malley
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“She woke up, and there was a glow.”

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iamtoddseal
Lost at Sea (Revised) | Bryan Lee O'Malley
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“Yeah. Just tired?”

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iamtoddseal
Sunny | Jason Reynolds
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Pickpick

I‘ve enjoyed the other characters in this series, but something about Sunny speaks to me. His voice (Reynolds again doing what he does best), his attitude, his fears, his sounds. Reynolds moves from laughter to tears to laughter, sometimes in as few as 5 pages. Sunny‘s story is sad, but his attitude about it in this diary of a book keeps you going. Parents can really mess you up, you know? Redemption is possible too. Hope Sunny & Darryl get there.

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iamtoddseal
Sunny | Jason Reynolds
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“Nothing is wrong with me.”