Book Review: Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

“You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.”

When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Austria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. Delighted to have some company of her own age, Laura is instantly drawn to Carmilla. But as their friendship grows, Carmilla’s countenance changes and she becomes increasingly volatile. As Carmilla’s moods shift, Laura starts to become ill, experiencing fiendish nightmares, her health deteriorating night after night. It is not until she and her father, increasingly concerned for Laura’s well-being, set out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself…

Amazon (UK) | GoodReads | Project Gutenberg

Can’t go wrong with the classics, can you?

Considering how much I loved this book, it’s amazing that I put off reading it for so long. I certainly preferred it over Dracula and the less said about Varney The Vampire, the better. (Sorry, Mr. Rymer, Varney’s a fun penny dreadful character, and he’s important to the genesis of the vampire novel and all but his name sounds like he teaches spelling on Sesame Street.)

So, we’ve got a lonely girl living with her father in an isolated castle in a district of Austria. (Really, though, its contemporaneous audience would have probably thought any European country beyond the Alps was a little… backwards and traditionalist, shall we say.) Laura gains a new friend in Carmilla, a sweet, beautiful girl her age who takes her on as her best friend, despite being weird as all hell. She’ll mention her family has a title, but then refuse to give Laura any information about what country she’s from or any nobles she’s related to. Since Carmilla is such a sweet girl, Laura just lets it slide until she starts suffering from nightmares and discovers a mysterious bite wound one morning. Then Carmilla goes missing, and the final act is trying to dig up information on Laura’s strange condition, culminating finally in figuring out what the heck is up with Carmilla.

I’ve read many books from the Victorian era, the Regency, and a lot of the time it seems like many writers don’t have much of a grasp on subtlety. Maybe it’s my more modern tastes in literature, and maybe it’s hard to disengage oneself from all the horror tropes ever encountered in modern fiction, but the moment Laura got that painting of the Countess von Karnstein, and Carmilla was acting all cagey over it… Yeah. And to top it off, the Countess in the painting is supposedly called Millarca. (You don’t have to be a Countdown whiz to figure out that particular anagram.)

I’m not sure if that was supposed to be climactic in a way, because it absolutely killed the mystery for me. When the General is explaining how Carmilla came to be, and why the noblewoman in the painting actually died 100 years ago yet bears such a strong resemblance to Carmilla… Yeah. Sorry, Joe. I’m not going to dock off too much of my rating, because I still enjoyed this book a lot; but seriously, it’s a common thing in books of this era. (I’ll rant about elements I didn’t like about Count Fosco’s portrayal in The Woman in White at another time.)

The writing is lovely, though. Laura was sweet and intelligent, not prone to fits of the vapours, and genuinely happy to have some company around after spending almost her entire life growing up in a castle with her eccentric father. I really loved how genuine the friendship seemed between her and Carmilla, and oh, the les yay subtext.

Shame about that ending. The novel builds and builds and builds, then Captain Obvious steamrolls through the plot and kind of ruins it until the novel hastily wraps itself up. Sure, it is only a short story, and I really did love the writing and the characters enough to say it is one of the better Gothic novels I’ve read. I just wish the Captain Obvious humdinger hadn’t happened.

But now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check out all that hullabaloo surrounding the Carmilla YouTube series. The cream puffs are on standby in the fridge.

Verdict: 4.5/5.

Book Review: The Utopia Experiment by Dylan Evans

Imagine you have survived an apocalypse. Civilization as you knew it is no more. What will life be like and how will you cope?

In 2006, Dylan Evans set out to answer these questions. He sold his house and left his job in a high-tech robotics lab, moved to the Scottish Highlands and founded a community called The Utopia Experiment. There, with an eclectic assortment of volunteers, he tried to live out a scenario of global collapse, free from modern technology and comforts.

Within a year, Evans found himself detained in a psychiatric hospital, shattered and depressed, trying to figure out what had gone wrong…

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository | GoodReads

Last year while I was at university, I took a course called Writing and The Environmental Crisis. As you can imagine, we focused on books with an ecological focus — Ruth Ozeki’s All Over Creation, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and even the teeth-grindingly ridiculous anti-global warming screed that is Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.

There’s been plenty of discussion about whether the current Western lifestyle is sustainable. Simply put, we take too much and put an enormous strain on resources, with our children adding to the burden more and more. Who knows, maybe in ten or twenty years, the economy will completely collapse. Power outages will be so frequent that only a rich handful of people will have access to generators, and considering how few people nowadays have pre-industrial skills like smelting or weaving fabric, if the world really does go to hell in a handbasket, we’ll be screwed.

Okay, so this book ends with Evans staying on a psychiatric ward with severe clinical depression. It’s telling that he wrote the book with this event in his life behind him, because hoo boy, the miserable tone he writes in and the insightful way he reminds himself what a stupid idea he took on is really palpable. Evans himself is a roboticist with a background in anthropology and philosophy, and several times declares his frustration with erratic human behaviour during the experiment.

To be honest, the Utopia Experiment seemed doomed to fail from the start. I can accept that Evans is writing about a past event with hindsight, but his enthusiasm for the project wavers, like “yeah I’m gonna do it!” to “…eh, might as well get on with it.”

Essentially, the Utopia Experiment was a LARP in the Scottish highlands. The world has ended, and we all live in this boggy, freezing cold corner of the countryside. But, Evans often makes provisions for himself, like staying with his girlfriend who happens to have bought a cottage nearby, and visiting his friends who own a smallholding not too far from the site of the experiment. The participants in the experiment even wonder what their parameters are for living in this post-apocalyptic roleplay. Like, if they go to the supermarket for supplies every now and again, how are they living as though the world has ended?

Of course, Evans notes that it’s supremely difficult to live in such a luddite fashion when the comforts of the modern world are always there to beckon you back. He tried to cut himself off from his safety nets (i.e., selling his house, giving up his career), but soberly reminds us that he only ended up needing them more and more.

The Utopia Experiment is well… kind of a drag to read because of Evans’ writing style in parts. His insistence that the world may go through a serious collapse in the next couple of decades leads to him even admitting that he started to sound like some doom-and-gloom conspiracy theorist. The project could have probably done quite well, he says, if he had simply rented out his house and done the experiment for one season, rather than dragging it out for nearly half a year. Volunteers for the project came and went, with friction between the group growing more and more until Evans eventually had to leave Utopia for good.

I can accept that Evans was locked into some kind of cyclical depressive state during the Utopia Experiment. He went through so much, just to prove to himself that this particular experiment could be done that he really did become like a mad scientist. (His words, not mine.) I think the overarching narrative just seemed far too fictional to the participants and didn’t ring true. Why are we pretending to be experienced survivalists freezing our backsides off in hastily-constructed yurts when just down the road, there’s a house with hot water and electricity and access to store-bought groceries?

The experiment was a failure, as one visiting journalist noted, because it wasn’t really an experiment in the first place, just a scattered range of ideas Evans had written down after reading books that foretold economic or ecological collapse, which aren’t really the best to read when you’re going through a lot of misery and apathy in your life.

While I was reading, there were quite a few times when I thought: “I told you so,” or variants thereof, and Evans himself is introspective enough to realise that this is indeed the case for him as well. Eventually the participants disbanded, with some likely having found ‘hippie’ communes elsewhere, and some having been absorbed back into the usual rat race of work, grocery shopping, rest, etc.

Maybe somewhere along the line, there will be a successful attempt at living a communal, post-apocalyptic lifestyle. It just seems that Evans was the wrong person entirely to head this experiment, having admitted to not being in peak mental condition and slipping into self-loathing, having to justify to himself the reasons why he was giving himself permission to have a hot shower and feeling responsible for so many happy/unhappy campers over the course of the experiment.

It’s a supremely interesting read if you’re into ecology, and Evans does bring up some established facts about the potential collapse of Western society. He clearly did his homework, both before and after the project. But honestly, the tone of the writing and the haphazard nature reminded me of a school project hastily done in a group by a bunch of awkward, quiet classmates who had never before spoken a word to each other. Of course the project was doomed to fail, there’s no reason to pretend we’re living in the end times, when the truth is out there and our society is actually doing okay for itself. For now.

3.5/5

July Update

Good evening all!

So, yesterday I participated in that #AskELJames hashtag and got retweeted a whole bunch. On Buzzfeed, Mashable, a few other sites I haven’t seen yet. Needless to say, I’m getting a little bored of all the notifications. Who knew Twitter popularity was such a double edged sword? Or whatever analogy fits better. Moving on!

For some reason, according to my stats, my post on The Class Book of Baby Names has been exceedingly popular, garnering several thousand views over the course of the past month. Most of these clicks are coming from Facebook, apparently, but WordPress Insights gives you absolutely no way to track the exact page where they’re coming from. Maybe Katie Hopkins searches herself (through Google, clearly not spiritually) and shared my post? Or there’s some weird fan group? Or some anti-group? I have no idea. But hey, if you’re on the blog because you liked that quite virulent and sharp-tongued takedown of Hopkins’ shitty ‘book’, then welcome. Enjoy your stay.

I’ve been busily applying for jobs, watching X-Men a lot (like, a whole lot — Kurt Wagner for future husband pls) and exercising, because I’ve finished university with a 2:1 and right now… I’m just relaxing, I guess. It’s nice to finally get some time off where I’m not scurrying around after deadlines or having the Sword of Damocles of exam/essay results hanging over my head. (Wow, I am all about swords today.)

I worked my bum off, and here I am now. Pursuing other qualifications (CELTA 2k16 wish me luck) and hoping some retail places still have summer work available.

Reading wise, I’ve fallen into a mini slump when it comes to fiction. I’m much keener on non-fiction, it seems, along with comedy and comic books as of late. I’ve been using my library services to order in all these great trade comics and oh man. I’m super looking forward to finally getting a chance to read Young Avengers, Gail Simone’s BatgirlAvengers vs. X-Men, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Avengers Arena. I’ve been super into Marvel comics lately. I don’t know, they just seem to have a lot more heart compared to DC’s current run.

Anyway, that’s about that for now. Toodle-rah, and I’ll see you again in August thereabouts. <3

A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg

(Yes, I know it’s a webcomic, but it is available in book form thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign by the author! You can also read the whole thing on the Internet, of course, but for the sake of easy archiving, I’ll just tag it under ‘books.’ Capische?)

Holy shit this comic is beautiful.

(All art © Minna Sundberg – http://www.minnasundberg.fi)

Hnnngh. I just love this art style. It feels organic, it’s lively, it’s muted, and it has an absolutely fantastic sense of colour theory. Everything just goes so beautifully together — I can’t imagine how long every single panel must have taken, considering how detailed they are.  (Just checked on the site – between 8-10 hours. Wow.)

The nearest comparison I can think of is Ava’s Demon, another webcomic with gorgeous, detailed art, and a similarly gripping story. But honestly, I think I prefer A Redtail’s Dream for its story.

The story is based on Finnish mythology, and concerns two main characters — Hannu and Ville. (Hannu’s the human in the above pictures, Ville’s the dog.) As the story begins, they’re living in a secluded, forested village. Hannu is rather lazy and feckless, and Ville is, as Sundberg’s site describes him, ‘the best doggy in the whole wide world.’

Then, suddenly, their whole world changes around them. Thanks to a young, idiotic deity nicknamed Puppyfox, who accidentally traps the entire village in a dream-like state, Hannu and Ville (who keeps on shape-shifting… just go with it) must search through the landscape for a way to get everything back to normal. Since, according to Puppyfox, it’s only a matter of time before nobody will ever be able to wake up again.

I’m going to keep this sweet and spoiler free, and not try to gush too much, but oh my god you guys. Read this. I can’t even put into words how much I loved this comic — and I’m very eagerly catching up with Stand Still. Stay Silent. right now. A Redtail’s Dream is about 550 pages long online – here are the links in both English and Finnish – and the IndieGogo-funded hardback is about six hundred pages long. But still. It’s an amazing read, and I finished it in about two days. I just couldn’t stop reading. (Also, to use Tumblr vernacular, it will give you the feels. So many of them. Can I please adopt Ville? Please?)

Just go read it. You’ll be glad you did. :D

5/5.

Manga Review: Wolfsmund (Ookami no Kuchi) volume 1 by Mitsuhisa Kuji

The story of William Tell has never been rendered this beautifully as in Mitsuhisa Kuji’s stunning debut work Wolfsmund, where a fortified barrier-station torments the Swiss Alliance, murdering all who stand against it, until William and his son attempt to defy it.

A fascinating reimagining of a European legend, Wolfsmund is filled with action, politics and drama, and has all the makings of The Game of Thrones – including its share of bloodbaths – but through a perspective of historical fiction.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | GoodReads | The Book Depository

Yeah, I’ll admit that I’ve been in a huge anime/manga slump lately. I don’t think I’ve watched a full episode of an anime for about six months now. (Well, with the exception of Durarara!!x2 but I quickly got bored of that.) Not because none of the currently airing shows interest me, but simply out of some kind of apathy or whatever. I just haven’t really found the time or the urge to go back to anime. It’ll pass, I guess.

Anyway, Wolfsmund hasn’t miraculously brought me out of my slump, but it is rather good. If you’re into loosely historical manga with a setting that is so dark and bleak that George R.R. Martin would tell Mitsuhisa Kuji to cool her jets a little. (Speaking of miserable, blood-soaked settings, though… it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Kuji was formerly an assistant to Kentarou Miura.)

Wolfsmund is set in central Europe during the Medieval times, at a border crossing between Switzerland and Italy. You want to leave the Habsburg Empire, you have to cross through these mountains. The only problem is that the governor of this border crossing, Wolfram, is a sadistic tyrant who comes up with… terribly creative ways to torture people and eventually display their corpses as a warning to those who try to cross illegally.

Each chapter of Wolfsmund follows a different character, and their plight in trying to cross over the border. So often, people will pluck up the courage to try and get past the border, only for Wolfram to brutally snatch away their hopes right in front of them. He’ll lie about arbitrary rules, claim he sees straight through a disguise… just to see the look of surprise on their face and how quickly they’ll have to think up another lie on the spot. Et cetera et cetera. He’s a completely irredeemable sod of a villain, and yet I really want to see what’s coming next for him, because goddamn.

The first volume is a mere three chapters, but you get plenty of story about of around 200 pages in Vertical’s English translation. There’s talk of a rebellion brewing, and the final chapter featuring William Tell and his son is just heart-racing. My only concern for the manga from the sole volume I’ve read is that… well… there’s such a thing as Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. Wherein, a work gets so, so bleak and keeps on throwing shocking twists at you that you eventually just get bored of it. I mean, hell, after about two chapters where characters were brutalised and tortured for simply trying to pass through a border crossing without papers, I was thinking that the next chapter was really going to have to knock it out of the park. Thankfully, it did.

But still, going into volume 2 with some precautions. 4/5.

Book Review: Beneath The Surface: Killer Whales, Seaworld, and The Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove and Howard Chua-Eoan

Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers.

After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld’s orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act.

In Beneath the Surface, Hargrove paints a compelling portrait of these highly intelligent and social creatures, including his favorite whales Takara and her mother Kasatka, two of the most dominant orcas in SeaWorld. And he includes vibrant descriptions of the lives of orcas in the wild, contrasting their freedom in the ocean with their lives in SeaWorld.

Amazon | GoodReads | The Book Depository

(Also featured on Bibliodaze!)

From 1990 to 2010, John Hargrove was a senior trainer and performer at SeaWorld. His career took him to the parks in Texas, California, and Florida, and he was even able to supervise the training of a captive pod of orca whales in a new park in Antibes, France. With nearly twenty years of service, you’d expect him to be resting on his laurels, proud of his work and amazed that he got to be one of the few people who have ever worked with his favourite animals.

As a child in the 1980s, Hargrove loved to attend SeaWorld in Orlando and San Antonio, and gained a deep fascination of the orca whale. Enough to move to San Antonio, and work his way up through the ranks, going through the gruelling fitness procedures, reading up on marine animal science and behavioural psychology, finally gaining the privilege to do ‘water work’ with one of the many orcas that holidaymakers in the United States have come to know as Shamu.

Until he couldn’t take it any more.

The 2013 documentary Blackfish had a very profound effect on the public perception of SeaWorld. The organisers at the Sundance Film Festival had to schedule extra screenings to accommodate the interest. It was CNN’s highest rated documentary of the year when it premiered on the channel, and it has enjoyed stellar ratings on DVD and through streaming platforms. (Seriously, it’s an excellent documentary, and it’s available on Netflix. Heres the link!) John Hargrove is one of the interviewees featured in Blackfish, and he was moved to write a book about his experiences as a piece of supplementary material for those who watched the documentary and wanted to know more.

There are those who will argue that Blackfish is pure propaganda against the Sea World. It completely demonises the company, and has been cited as being responsible for Sea World suffering huge losses, with its stock and attendance dropping in critical numbers.

All of a sudden, the illusion has been broken. SeaWorld’s dark side has finally surfaced, after years of keeping a squeaky-clean, family-friendly image. The orca whales are turned into stressed, dangerous and violent animals in confinement, who have killed multiple trainers. SeaWorld’s own lawyers tried to cover this up, even when brought before the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. One trainer’s body had a pulverised chest. Another died of her injuries… and her colleagues had to take her body out of one orca, Tilikum’s mouth, piece by piece. And the kicker? SeaWorld blamed both trainers for upsetting the whales in some way, even though Hargrove claims the whales would have definitely been desensitised to whatever triggered them into this kind of aggression.

These whales live lives of quiet desperation and intense boredom. It is the kind of ennui that can be fatal — to both whale and human. (p. 72)

Ever since I watched Blackfish, I’ve been curious about the lives of these beautiful cetaceans in captivity, and the extent to which SeaWorld has gone to cover up workers’ testimonies. Tim Zimmerman’s Killer In The Pool covered much about the case of the late Dawn Brancheau, but it’s John Hargrove’s memoir which has far more authenticity.

Hargrove takes a neutral viewpoint. He knows that many people would love for SeaWorld to be totally shut down, but he argues that a lot of the whales are far too psychologically disturbed to survive being released back into the ocean. They would benefit much more from a controlled sea environment, rather than performing for entertainment. Tilikum was driven into the orca equivalent of insanity for being so under-stimulated. Heartbreakingly, it is related in Zimmerman’s book that Tilikum has been turned into a prisoner in an isolated pen, hardly ever brought out to engage in physical therapy with the trainers.

Other horrifying factoids from this book include the fact that Seaworld has interbred their animals for profit, for the purpose of selling the offspring to other water parks internationally. SeaWorld also regularly lies to their audience, withholds food from whales who underperform (p. 76), and presents a whole bunch of different orcas as the legendary Shamu. As shown in Blackfish, Seaworld also claim that a collapsed dorsal fin is just a physical quirk. That is most definitely not the case.

I would soon learn the cause is confinement: floating motionless at the surface of the pool without support for the height and weight of dorsal fin leads to the collapse. […] Orcas in the wild spend much of their time fully submerged. Seaworld’s pools may be large in human scale, but they do not in any way approach the breadth and depth the orcas have available to them in the ocean. In captivity, the broad sail-like dorsal fins so characteristic of male orcas remain exposed to the air and to the sun… (p. 36)

Also, the average life expectancy for an orca is supposed to be around fifty years in the wild. At SeaWorld, Hargrove would estimate that the life expectancy is probably around ten years. Which is bizarre — in captivity, an animal’s life expectancy normally rises, rather than lowering so exponentially.

This book was an incredible eye opener. It enraged and enlightened me in equal measure. Hargrove himself is angry at the organisation he left behind, but at the same time, he knows from experience that Seaworld have captured the imaginations of millions, funding research into marine biology and getting people worldwide interested in the precious ecosystem of the Earth’s oceans. Seaworld can certainly be defended for these attributes, but people are certainly going to think twice when human lives are so callously thrown away by irresponsibility and corporate blindness, as well as a willingness to cut corners when it comes to animal welfare.

Seaworld began simply with one man parading around an orca he had captured on an expedition. It then grew into an enormous business, with billions of dollars and many thousands of holidaymakers making the pilgrimage to Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, and sponsoring other marine animal parks around the world.

But, even with this perfect veneer, there had to be something unpleasant lurking beneath.

Imagine the situation in human terms and the closest institution that comes to mind is a prison, where the inmates are completely dependant on the guards and the system to provide them with the basic needs of life: food and water. It is a terrifying and depressing metaphor for trainers who love the whales and who feel responsible for them. Why? Because in the analogy, even if the prisoner-whale decides that it likes some of the guards better than the others, in the end, they are all still guards, part of the same system that oppresses them. (p. 77)

4.5 stars.

Books I’ve Read Recently

I haven’t posted a review of any sort since Seeker back in March. Since then, I’ve visited Krakow, Berlin, got all my university assignments done, and right now, I’m just chilling out watching X-Men whilst searching out places to get a job in the local area. It’s as if that book was so bad, it killed my interest in any YA fiction whatsoever. Huh.

Well, I’m going to get back into reviewing over this summer, so let’s hop to getting some books out of the way! I’m not going to include absolutely everything I’ve read over the past two months, so here’s some highlights and lowlights.

Perhaps one of the more interesting books I’ve read over the past few months was Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari. The author’s background aside, this book presents a really intriguing viewpoint on why the war on drugs in the West is such a futile battle. All that prohibition has led to is a veritable skyrocketing of crime and poverty — and in states where drugs are legal, where drug abusers are treated with dignity rather than condemnation, there are nowhere near the severe problems in areas where the more conservative drug laws are in place. Seriously, I’d heard about Portugal’s scheme before, but I had no idea quite how effective it was. I gave this book a 4/5 on GoodReads, just so you know. Thanks aplenty to Katya for the recommendation!

I’m not going to speak about this book too much, considering I’m going to properly review it soon, but wow. Beneath The Surface: Killer Whales, Seaworld and the Truth Behind Blackfish by John Hargrove and Howard Chua-Eoan was a real eye-opener. If you haven’t seen Blackfish, then go ahead and stream it on Netflix. It’s well worth the watch. Seaworld may have some noble intentions, sure, but it’s such a damn awful shame that the corporate side of the park often chooses to ignore sound research and even try to cover up human deaths. Seriously. Dawn Brancheau died because, of course an experienced team member would have her hair up in a ponytail that the clinically insane whale Tilikum could easily grab. Wanna know why Tilikum is insane? Years and years of extremely poor stimulation, attacks from female orcas and a sense of severe isolation from the social group. It’s absolutely tragic, and it’s no wonder SeaWorld’s stock has dropped. 4/5 stars.

Oh, The Girl at Midnight had such potential, but… no. I’m sorry, but I’ll call it like I see it. This book is like the lovechild of City of Bones and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, with heavy emphasis on the latter. A lone girl who’s quite artsy, who has a special, paternal relationship with a sagely magical being who’s part animal. This girl later gets drawn into a battle with supernatural forces inhabiting the ‘other world’ her guardian used to inhabit. At least Melissa Grey spares us by having a much better sense of humour than Cassandra Clare, and better writing skills, but damn. It’s like some publishing executives decided that the young reading public didn’t ‘get’ Laini Taylor, so they just got the author to shave off a few things here and there. *sigh* 2/5. And I didn’t finish it.

I’m going to write a review of the webcomic A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg soon enough. Oh my god, it was beautiful. The artwork is gorgeous, and the story was so engaging that I pretty much read all 500+ pages in one go. You know the last webcomic I read like that? Homestuck. I already have a lovely dog of my own, sure, but I want Ville. He’s so sweet. ;-; And I love how steadfast Hannu is, while also maturing and learning lessons along the way.

Finally… Ugh, this book kind of annoyed me. I normally really like Jon Ronson’s writing, but So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed really leaves a lot to desire. It seems really poorly researched, compared to his other works, and just not as narratively engaging. Meh. :/ My friend Katya wrote a review that encapsulates all the issues I had with this book. I’d say a 2/5 for this book, but even then, that feels overly generous.

And that is that for now! I’m hoping to start uploading reviews soon — and by soon, I mean in about a week. Pinkie promise.

(Also, anybody doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year?)