Freshly Brewed Book Reviews

The freshest book reviews from an avid bibliophile.

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette by Nathan W. Pyle
This book is an absolute hoot if you’re a New Yorker (and should be required for anyone coming to visit the city). Pyle and I both moved to NYC five years ago, so I feel a strong understanding of the intention of this book: it’s not meant to poke fun at anyone, but to help teach people the Ways of New Yorkers. There are some things you do indeed learn over time here. NYC has its own customs and rituals (sometimes, reading this book feels like a foray into anthropology), and while this is funny, it’s also astute.I read NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette while traveling home on the subway, and I had myself a pretty good laugh, especially because I saw a lot of behaviors Pyle cautions against happening on that one commute alone. I’ll be revisiting some of these pages whenever I have a New York moment that causes me some frustration, because I know Pyle has already commented on how one just shouldn’t do some things, and I’ll be able to laugh and let it go.Check out more of Nathan W. Pyle’s tips here.

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette by Nathan W. Pyle

This book is an absolute hoot if you’re a New Yorker (and should be required for anyone coming to visit the city). Pyle and I both moved to NYC five years ago, so I feel a strong understanding of the intention of this book: it’s not meant to poke fun at anyone, but to help teach people the Ways of New Yorkers. There are some things you do indeed learn over time here. NYC has its own customs and rituals (sometimes, reading this book feels like a foray into anthropology), and while this is funny, it’s also astute.

I read NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette while traveling home on the subway, and I had myself a pretty good laugh, especially because I saw a lot of behaviors Pyle cautions against happening on that one commute alone. I’ll be revisiting some of these pages whenever I have a New York moment that causes me some frustration, because I know Pyle has already commented on how one just shouldn’t do some things, and I’ll be able to laugh and let it go.

Check out more of Nathan W. Pyle’s tips here.

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora
I am a big John Hughes fan. The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorite movies. I watch Sixteen Candles every year near my birthday. I would watch Pretty in Pink multiple times during my junior year of high school, when my boyfriend and I broke up a few weeks before my junior prom. John Hughes GOT me. He “got” teenagers, and this book delves into just how deeply Hughes understood and empathized with his target demographic, and how his films revolutionized the film industry to make teenagers a marketable demographic at all.This book isn’t for everyone, obviously. If you are a die-hard Hughes/Brat Pack fan (or fan of teen films in general, as Say Anything and Heathers get a bit of an examination) and want to learn more about the man and the way the eighties classics came to be, then this is a good resource. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes goings-on that I knew nothing about, so that was fun and illuminating to learn about. Gora did a lot of research, which shows, but at times it felt like I was reading a college research paper. But that was easy to overlook; I wasn’t reading this book so much for style or prose, but for content, and Gora delivers in that respect.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go revisit some classic films.

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora

I am a big John Hughes fan. The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorite movies. I watch Sixteen Candles every year near my birthday. I would watch Pretty in Pink multiple times during my junior year of high school, when my boyfriend and I broke up a few weeks before my junior prom. John Hughes GOT me. He “got” teenagers, and this book delves into just how deeply Hughes understood and empathized with his target demographic, and how his films revolutionized the film industry to make teenagers a marketable demographic at all.

This book isn’t for everyone, obviously. If you are a die-hard Hughes/Brat Pack fan (or fan of teen films in general, as Say Anything and Heathers get a bit of an examination) and want to learn more about the man and the way the eighties classics came to be, then this is a good resource. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes goings-on that I knew nothing about, so that was fun and illuminating to learn about. Gora did a lot of research, which shows, but at times it felt like I was reading a college research paper. But that was easy to overlook; I wasn’t reading this book so much for style or prose, but for content, and Gora delivers in that respect.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go revisit some classic films.

Storykiller by Kelly Thompson
I was so excited for this title. I’d backed it on Kickstarter, and was way pumped to read it. Unfortunately, I think I over-pumped myself up. I enjoyed the read, but I was distracted by too many issues with the story. I didn’t feel a connection with the characters, nor did their relationships with one another seem believable. Granted, they are forged quickly by necessity (facing down death and all that), but they still rang false to me.This is a small item, but the book could have used a strong scrub from a copyeditor. There were a lot of typos and strange use of punctuation (I know, this is a personal thing, but it was distracting for me as a reader).Added to all this, I couldn’t help but compare Storykiller to Thompson’s The Girl Who Would Be King, which I loved (and was part of my Kickstarter reward for backing Storykiller, so I’d read it while I waited for my hardcover of Storykiller to arrive). I think Storykiller, even more so than TGWWBk would make a really fun graphic novel (the art in the first edition is absolutely stellar).I know all of the effort that went into getting Storykiller out to the backers on Kickstarter, and I really wish I’d fallen as hard for this book as I did for TGWWBK. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it might one day make it into graphic novel form.
Delayed Replays by Liz Prince
Liz Prince is an author/artist/tomboy extraordinaire to watch. I found her through her (at one time) online comic, Alone Forever, which I greatly loved. This collection of everyday interactions is no less fun. I plan on reading all Prince has to offer, including her forthcoming Tomboy.

Delayed Replays by Liz Prince

Liz Prince is an author/artist/tomboy extraordinaire to watch. I found her through her (at one time) online comic, Alone Forever, which I greatly loved. This collection of everyday interactions is no less fun. I plan on reading all Prince has to offer, including her forthcoming Tomboy.

“She was going to kiss him there someday, right at the edge of his jaw where his chin was most vulnerable.”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

“'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,' he said.”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

“'Making people happy makes me feel good. If anything, it gives me more energy for the people I care about.'”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

“His eyes were absolutely gleaming with mirth. Putting out light.”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

“And sometimes you held somebody’s hand just to prove that you were still alive, and that another human being was there to testify to that fact.”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

“She knew she was lovely, and she shared it like a gift. Every smile from Agatha was like waking up to a perfect sunny day. Agatha knew it. And she smiled at everyone who crossed her path, as if it were the most generous thing she could offer.”

—   Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)