Post Office by Charles Bukowski

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This was my first Bukowski novel and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The protagonist, Henry Chinaski, is a downtrodden working man who has his sights set on booze, women and surviving his work day. When I read the synopsis on the back of the book, the feminist in me rolled her eyes.

I was surprised to find so much depth to Chinaski, a real human side that peaked through the cracks of his harsh exterior. What he deemed to be true happiness was always slightly out of reach. I think that is a strong commentary that can resonate with most people; we’re always looking at the next level of happiness we can achieve. I made it through the work day. When I get to the weekend I’ll be happy. Once I land this new, better job I’ll finally be happy. Chinaski is constantly chasing his next level of happiness and it’s always just out of his grasp. His thoughts and speech made me laugh out loud.

There were passages in the novel where my heart ached for him and the other characters he interacted with as well. This book is punchy, heartfelt and is an overall easy/light read.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

I’ve been hearing so much hype around this trilogy that I had to check it out. I don’t tend to gravitate towards fantasy novels in general but wanted to give this one a shot. The story enveloped me from the first chapter. There was enough mystery and wonder to compel the reader to want to read the book in one sitting. Four concurrent Londons? Magic in many different forms? Cunning thieves? A coat within a coat within a coat? Count me in!

Kell, with his mysterious origin story and fascinating use of magic while maintaining morality.

The charming, light-hearted Rhy, and the solid brotherly bond between him and Kell.

Delilah Bard, all-around bad ass.

Holland, with his dark, mysterious motives whilst serving the Dane siblings in White London.

MY ONLY PROBLEM WITH THIS BOOK [slight spoiler ahead] is the scene where Kell is talking to Lila about Astrid Dane. He says that Lila isn’t strong enough to take on Astrid. Lila retorts with, “Why, because I’m a girl?”…when Astrid is a woman herself. Lila’s indignant response in this scene didn’t make any sense.

I loved them all. Each character had motives that you couldn’t immediately decipher; the motives were very plausible and human, even in a fantasy setting. I look forward to seeing what trouble Kell and Lila get into next!

God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

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“If your intentions are pure I’m seeking a friend for the end of the world…”

I absolutely adored this book! It was funny, poignant, endearing, heartbreaking and relatable. It truly is an ode to J.D. Salinger in the best way possible.

The author seamlessly blends the influence of singer Jeff Buckley’s album, Grace, throughout the novel. I have listened to some of his music in the past but never knew much about him.

INTERESTING FACT: Jeff Buckley was born in California and died in Memphis, Tennessee.

Once you’ve finished reading this novel, I recommend reading about Jeff Buckley’s life and listening to Grace; it will give you an idea of where the author derived some of her influences.

Highlights of my favourite quotes from this novel:

“All my life I waited for someone who would say things like that to me. And for someone I didn’t feel alone in the presence of.”

“You can’t put life on pause and then catch up with it later when you have more energy to give. You have to play it all the way through to the end.”

I recommend this book to anyone seeking a friend for the end of the world. I won’t soon forget Trixie and Jacob.