I’ve been reading some books that are either mostly or partly imagery focused this week, so I’m pulling out another set of bite-size reviews. It’s a good job that I got these three babies done because I’ve done so badly with my other reading. I had such high hopes for this month but it’s not really panned out that way. I don’t know why but I’ve not been feeling great about some of my reads. That’s why these shorter and more engaging books are the perfect thing. It keeps me involved without adding too much pressure.
Crushing by Sophie Burrows
I love a graphic novel and this one seemed too cute to miss. It’s pretty low on the words but does boast some beautiful imagery. It tells the story of two people who are both feeling a little lost and lonely. We watch as their paths cross and their lives briefly intersect. It’s a story of feeling like an outsider and those missed encounters.
Everything about this book just works. It doesn’t need words because the artwork is so full of emotion. The muted colour palette really helps to get the message across. It captures that feeling of being alone in a world that seems full of love. Of being unable to figure out this love thing despite being open to it.
I know that it might sound depressing but Crushing is anything but. It’s sweet and utterly charming. It’s understandable and many will see similarities to their own experience. Yes, it won’t offer you a complex reading experience but it’s just too lovely to miss out on.
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
I’m always up for trying a book with an unusual format. I’d heard about Chopsticks ages ago but have only just got round to buying it. After all, it’s YA romance and that’s really not my thing. However, the lure of a mixed media reading experience really drew me in and I knew I had to try it.
Through words, photos, and other imagery, we get introduced to Glory, a young prodigy who has gone missing. As we look back through her life, we see how her relationship with her neighbour Frank plays out. The pair fall for each other hard but Glory’s father wants her to focus on her playing. When she embarks on a big tour of Europe the pair are devastated. Glory reaches such a low that she is unable to play anything other than the song Chopsticks.
I’ll be honest, this was one of those books that sounded much better than it was. I was so excited by the idea of the format that I hadn’t really paid attention to the story. I wish I had. It’s not only a highly unoriginal story but the lack of words means you don’t get much in the way of depth. It’s also messy. The ending feels like a cop-out. It doesn’t even feel as though the writer knew how they wanted it to end.
I admit that it’s an interesting way to tell the story. However, I think the limitations outweigh the positives. A picture doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know. If you’re going to use an unusual format then I feel as though it needs to be for a reason. In Chopsticks, it all feels a bit silly and gimmicky. I can’t say that I’m going to remember this one for long.
Prairie Spirits by Alexis Marie Chute
Recently, I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Alexis Marie Chute’s latest book. I have been a fan of Alexis since I read the first book in her YA trilogy Above the Star. She is a magnificent writer and artist, so I’d have been up for reading anything. As soon as she offered ghost stories, I knew that I had to say yes. It arrived last weekend and I was so excited to get started. It looked super spooky.
The book discusses the history of the Stone Plain Red Brick School and Oppertshauser House in Alberta, Canada. Both are known for ghostly goings-on. In the book, Alexis presents firsthand accounts and interviews with staff and visitors who think they experienced something otherworldly. The book also features plenty of photographs that recreate these possible encounters with the spirit world.
I have to say that this was a really interesting book. The way that Alexis approached this was very logical and it reads like a piece of investigative journalism. She goes in with an open mind but looks at things from a logical point of view. She isn’t quick to dismiss anything though. It’s an approach that gives you more of an insight into this world. It’s a very different read than my usual thing but I really enjoyed reading the first-hand accounts. It’s not an area that I know much about, so it was good to find out more.
Did it leave me with a belief in ghostly encounters? Probably not but it was definitely interesting to see the other side. Especially presented in such a scientific way that is very respectful to everyone involved. Plus, I absolutely loved the spooky photos. It gave the whole book a new level.