[Book Review] The Girl On The Train


This has been compared again and again to Gone Girl, a book which, in my opinion, is cheesy as hell, but about as thrilling as it gets.

It is, however, no Gone Girl. The Girl On The Train (Paula Hawkins, 2015, 325 pages, Riverhead Books) starts with the same premise: nothing is what it seems, people are deceiving, a crime that gets weirder and weirder. Unlike Gone Girl, though, there isn’t a single charismatic bone in any of the character’s bodies: everyone is about as unlikable as it gets, including the main narrator, Rachel. People don’t even act like normal people, doing things just for the sake of the plot, making it difficult for the reader to truly immerse themselves into the story.

It also alternates chapters between characters, which is a great way to keep a thriller’s pacing frenetic, as we’ve been shown again and again by Dan Brown, for example. A technique that is basically incapable of not working in a crime book fails to work here, for the very simple reason that the author doesn’t understand that, in order for a reader to actually crave that narrator’s next chapter, you pretty much need a cliffhanger by the end of every single one. Just read any Brian K. Vaughan comic book and you’ll see how effective that can be.

And the ending, oh, the ending. You can see it coming from about a third into the book, which means everything that comes afterwards should be a balls to the walls collection of crazy events, something that Gone Girl does very effectively. Yet the same patterns are repeated, characters keep doing stupid things just so they can come back to bite them in the ass and deliver a dozen more pages, everyone involved is completely oblivious to basically everything you’ll have picked up a hundred pages before.

As if the predictability weren’t frustrating enough, by the time the book reaches its climax it goes on and on and on, repeating things again and again, in such an annoying way that it is an actual relief to get to the end of it. If the reader already knows who did it, you might as well give them something really crazy, thrilling and unexpected to hang on to later. The comparison keeps showing up, but isn’t that what Gone Girl does most effectively?

Of course, it still is good enough to keep you going until the end. But let’s face it: if you have limited hours of reading in your life, you should probably be spending them on something that is better than a “good enough” book.

[Book Review] The Disaster Artist


Imagine the worst movie ever made. No, seriously, THE WORST. Now multiply it by 100. That might give you an idea of what it’s like to watch the absolutely hilarious, confusing, nonsensical The Room, a 2003 movie written, produced, directed and starred (YES IT’S THAT BAD) by a very strange person named Tommy Wiseau.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (2013, Simon and Schuster, 270 pages) is lead actor Greg Sestero’s account on how the movie got made and how the hell he ended up in it. It alternates chapters following his getting to know Tommy Wiseau and the making of the movie itself, revealing that this absolute masterpiece could have turned out to be much, much worse.

Sestero is as charming a storyteller as it gets: by the end, the reader feels like part of the cast, exhausted by Tommy’s tantrums and relieved to see the filming process get wrapped. All of this is made an incredibly fast and enjoyable read thanks to Sestero’s comic insights into Wiseau’s mind and that of everyone involved in making the movie.

What makes this such a great book, however, is that it never resents the craziness; in fact, it embraces it and redeems it. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to come out of reading this without warming up to Tommy and his determination to make it in Hollywood even if Hollywood constantly spits on his face. Sestero does an incredible job at portraying this dark, mysterious and complex person as more than the guy we laugh at at the movie theater. Wiseau is human, heart-breakingly so, and you’re constantly reminded of that when his weaknesses and insecurities show between the cracks of his megalomaniac and arrogant exterior façade.

Set to be adapted to movie by James Franco (who will play Wiseau himself), The Disaster Artist is a treat to anyone who has ever watched The Room or is in any way interested in the backstories of Hollywood movies. To be quite honest, it’s a great read to anyone interested in, well, interesting people, because if there is anything to be said about Wiseau, it’s that he succeeded at being completely different from everyone else.

To sum up: watch the movie, read the book, and come and thank me when you manage to stop laughing.

Books read in 2014

Here is the final list of everything I read in 2014. My goal was to read 42 books, but the final number was 54! Yay!

  • Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1), Jim Butcher
  • M is for Magic, Neil Gaiman
  • The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
  • The Magic Finger, Roald Dahl
  • The Complete Poems, John Keats
  • Holocausto Brasileiro, Daniela Arbex
  • Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  • One More Thing, B.J. Novak
  • A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
  • Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  • Worte der Liebe, Goethe
  • The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
  • Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2), Jim Butcher
  • A Book of Nonsense, Edward Lear
  • The Jumblies and Other Nonsense Verses, Edward Lear
  • Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops, Jen Campbell
  • Bad Girls Don’t Die, Katie Alender
  • Nicola and the Viscount, Meg Cabot
  • Hamlet, William Shakespeare
  • The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan
  • Hiperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
  • Amphigorey, Edward Gorey
  • Burning Girls, Veronica Schanoes
  • A Big Hand for the Doctor (Doctor Who #1), Eoin Colfer
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake
  • The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby
  • More Than This, Patrick Ness
  • Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare
  • Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
  • Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3), Jim Butcher
  • Shatnerquake, Jeff Burk
  • The 13 Clocks, James Thurber
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
  • Year Zero, Rob Reid
  • Not A Star, Nick Hornby
  • Tartuffe, Molière
  • The BFG, Roald Dahl
  • Revolting Rhymes, Roald Dahl
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • Men Explain Things To Be, Rebecca Solnit
  • Blank Confession, Pete Hautman
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, Simon Winchester
  • The Twits, Roald Dahl
  • Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
  • A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens
  • Revival, Stephen King
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Bossypants, Tina Fey
  • Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare
  • Young God, Katherine Faw Morris

In 2015, I hope to read 35 books, so I guess it’s time to get started.

[Book Review] Eleanor & Park

This is my first video review! I hope you guys enjoy it – please let me know what you thought.

And hey, happy 2015!

It’s time for a change



I’ve changed.

Hell, I’m changing.

These past months have been an endless emotional roller-coaster, leading me to work a lot on learning about myself and finding peace with my demons.

In the process, I have neglected this blog a bit, partially because of having my mind elsewhere, partially because this whole way of reviewing simply wasn’t working for me anymore. I bought a Kindle and gave up trying: I downloaded tons – TONS – of books and now read a lot more than I used to. Since I was downloading them all already, I started buying books compulsively again. Reviews weren’t written because there were just so many to write.

And the thing is: who cares? Isn’t being a book addict the least of my problems? The least of anyone’s problems? It turns out I can finally say that I’m ok with buying too many books. Being a bookaholic is part of who I am. It’s not a situation that needs an intervention; I won’t go bankrupt or anything and I’ve been reading more than ever.

So here’s what we’re gonna do: I’ve changed, so this blog will change. I say to hell with rules. I will buy what I want whenever I want to, read whatever pleases me and review everything in a more concise way, keeping things shorter and easier. With that purpose, I’ll sometimes group book reviews together, as I have tried once or twice already. Easier, simpler, more readable.

And I’ll feel no more guilt. I am no longer a girl in her desperate attempt to buy less and read more. I am a girl in her desperate attempt to read everything she can.

No more rules. May the fun begin.

[Book Review] The Rosie Project


Every once in a while, you run into a book that has more than a plot: it has a promise. You get eager to read it because it sounds so unique from its story alone, because you think you’ll run into something innovative and inspiring, something fresh and new. And with the game set, some authors still manage to ruin the completely brilliant premise they had.

That’s what happened to The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion, Penguin, 329 pages). The story is narrated by Don Tillman, a Genetics professor who supposedly has Asperger’s Syndrome and decides to write down a list of questions to be answered by random girls so he can solve the “wife problem” and get married at last. In the middle of it, he runs into Rosie, a girl who has all the wrong answers to his questions, but becomes his friend in her quest to find out who her biological father is.

The first 100 or so pages of the book are very good: Don is an interesting, out of the ordinary character and the story seems to be set for a great development. The writing isn’t exactly fantastic (it’s pretty ordinary, to be honest), but both Don and Rosie are fascinating in the way they’re presented, and there are some very nice scenes that can be both sweet and meaningful, just like love really is.

Unfortunately, the author gets lost in his own plot. There are so many completely useless and irrelevant scenes you at first wonder if the story really is complex enough to use them all (it isn’t). There are so many scenes that turn out to be petrifyingly embarrassing you wonder if the author really meant for them to be funny (he did). There are so many boring secondary characters you hope your copy has a defect and will actually end before it seems it’s going to end (it won’t). And then you wonder if the ending will be as obvious as you thought at first (it will).

And trust me, I tried. I gave this book a chance. I was so excited at its innovative façade after the first hundred pages I thought it would somehow recover and end in an also innovative way. Turns out everything in the last 200 pages of the book alternated between annoying and cliché. The author reached a point in which he had the main character watch romantic comedies to apparently learn how to be a “romantic comedy guy”: but why, just WHY would anyone want a guy who isn’t purely himself? Good romantic comedies (and chick lit) male characters aren’t loved simply for what they do, but for whom they are. What they do simply reflects their virtues.

As if that complete wreck of a plot weren’t enough, its biggest promise – Don and Rosie – is completely ruined by lack of consistency. If you’re going to write a book about someone with autism, this person better portrait autism throughout the entire book, otherwise it was simply a lie you told your reader to trick him or her into reading about an actually rude and insensitive guy who has no explanation for behaving the way he does. And if you’re selling me a girl who is easy going and comprehensive, she better not create idiotic problems because of small things that have no significance at all.

The author points out in his acknowledgements that he wrote this book in a hurry. It sure shows. Whoever edited it also seemed to be in a hurry, otherwise they would have cut half the pages in this book and told him to rewrite whatever was left after the character’s introduction. If you wanted to read this, take my work for it: just don’t.

[(Short) Book Reviews] Who Could That Be At This Hour? and Storm Front

who could

Who Could That Be At This Hour?, Lemony Snicket

The first book in a new series from the nom de plume that signs A Series of Unfortunate Events, the story follows a young Lemony starting an apprenticeship with a completely incompetent mentor and trying to solve a mystery while asking all the wrong questions. Like anything else from Snicket, the book is fun and easy to read, with great plotting and strong characters. The story receives just the right amount of closure to make you happy with the book and waiting for the next one. Filled with irony and great lines, this is a nice pick for both children at age and at heart.


Storm Front, Jim Butcher

The first book from the The Dresden Files series introduces us to Harry Dresden, a wizard that takes both private cases and helps the Chicago PD in ongoing investigations that seem to have something of the magical world to do with them. An incredibly fast read, the writing might be a bit sloppy at times and the story might not have profound metaphors or deep psychological development, but it is SO. MUCH. FUN. I mean it, it’s caps lock fun. It has everything from a talking skull named Bob to a love potion to giant insects to explosions to a spell called “FUEGO”. And if you’re the kind of person who turns down a book with a talking skull named Bob (I’m not), let me tell you something: the plotting is great. All the pieces of the story connect and make sense, showing Jim’s ability to set the game and then properly close it. I’m dying to read the next ones, which I heard are even better than the first. If you like easy and fun, this one is for you!

[Book Review] Wedding Night


Few things are more frustrating than disliking a new book from a favorite author. After months (or years) of anticipation, you hope they will not disappoint you and deliver something that at least equals their previous works. So you order the new book, you wait for it to be delivered, you look longingly at the cover before you get started and set your expectations up high from page one already.

Liking Sophie Kinsella so much was one of the reasons I was extremely disappointed with Wedding Night (The Dial Press, 446 pages). The book alternates chapters between two sisters, Lottie and Fliss, as the second tries to stop the first from an impulsive marriage after Lottie breaks up with her previous boyfriend.

It is extremely difficult for a chick-lit fan to criticize Sophie Kinsella, who is one of the best authors of the genre. Her plots are usually well built, her writing is very good, her talent to write comedy will make you laugh out loud in public and embarrass yourself. In Wedding Night, however, the same joke is explored to exhaustion throughout at least three quarters of the book, leaving the reader impatient for it to be over or at least for something new to happen. This would have been much better if it were 100 or 150 pages shorter.

Long chick-lit books are perfectly enjoyable, though, as long as the main characters are charismatic and relatable: it’s hard to root for a couple if you dislike them both. That was my problem with 50 Ways to Find a Lover and now, with Wedding Night. From chapter one I wanted to shake Lottie by her shoulders and tell her to control herself: she is whiny, self-centered and inconsequent, irresponsible and thoughtless, demanding and, what’s worse, unbelievable. It’s not that I expected her to be perfect – it would have made her completely unreal –, but is it too much to ask for a character both likeable and credible? Both the boys surrounding her are also damp and colorless to the point I can’t even remember their names.

The one good part of the book are the chapters written from Fliss’s point of view, especially because of Lorcan, a friend of the groom who helps her stop the couple. Lorcan and Fliss are the only characters to whom Kinsella gave an actual voice, even if it’s difficult to accept the degree to which Fliss interferes in her sister’s life, leaving the reader also only half-heartedly rooting for her. Lorcan is, in the end, the only reasonable person in the entire book, and he barely appears in it.

(Lorcan is also sexy as hell. Feel free to imagine him as Benedict Cumberbatch. I did. Only thing that saved the book.)

As if it weren’t enough, include a predictable plot twist and a cheesy ending to this mess and you’ll have a good idea what reading this felt like. Even if Kinsella’s writing makes the book flow despite of its flaws, it’s a shame that we’ll have to wait longer to have another great story from someone so talented in warming hearts and causing laughter. If you want to read Kinsella, don’t get started with this one.

I’m now on GoodReads!

Hey, guys,

I’m dropping by just to let anyone who might be interested to become friends and share book love that I have joined GoodReads!

Here’s the link to my profile – feel free to add me

I’m keeping my account on the Brazilian equivalent, Skoob, but GoodReads turned out to be so addictive I can’t believe I hadn’t joined it before!

Tons of hugs,


[Book Review] The Ocean At The End Of The Lane


Reality can be scary as hell.

You can have zombies, vampires and werewolves living inside a magical forest or a medieval make-believe town. You can have ghosts possessing children and sending them down the stairs in an exorcism film. You can have crazy giant cyborgs destroying a city.

But nothing – nothing – is as scary as the fear reality can provoke. The reason children are so scared of monsters is the fact that they can imagine them inside their bedrooms, where they should be comfortable and safe, where the rules of the adult world should also apply.

Which is why The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (Neil Gaiman, paperback by Harper, 192 pages), like most other Gaiman’s works, gave me goose bumps all over. The book is written as to sound almost like an autobiography, leading us through the visit of an adult man to his hometown for a funeral and the half-forgotten story he remembers as he sees the pond at the back of a farm at the end of a road, a farm where he met Lettie Hempstock and lived a story too scary to be true.

The result is beautifully scary. The introduction of fantastical elements into a realistic story, when properly done, has the effect of making everything possible and nothing seemingly real. Gaiman has the very unique ability to turn every chapter into a child’s dream, every line into a faint smell long forgotten. This is quite possibly my favorite of his – fast, thrilling, colorful, yet dark, this book is childhood in words.

Speaking of words, the man is their ultimate master, perhaps a magical creature just like the ones he loves to write about: every line is gorgeous, every character shines, everything seems impossible to improve. It always takes me a while to finish his books because of the beauty of his writing; I feel compelled to reread every other bit again and again, like someone throwing wine from one side of the mouth to the other, until I have tasted his words in every way I can. I believe exquisite is the best word I can use. His writing is simply exquisite.

Good books, much like good music, can touch your heart’s strings without asking it for permission or letting it know in advance. And I imagine the feeling provoked by this book is so difficult to describe because of how indescribable the bliss of childhood itself is for every person and, therefore, for every reader. I could write thousands and thousands of words and would still not be able to explain why or how this book is so good, the same way you could write the best of autobiographies and would never reproduce your childhood’s magic

(Unless, of course, you happen to be Neil Gaiman. In which case, hi, Neil. You’re awesome.)

All I can say is please read this. It’s short, fast, beautiful and I bet you’ll be touched. This was quite possibly my favorite book of 2013 – and I dare say it’ll continue on my list of favorite books ever for a long time, especially as I read it again and again in a desperate attempt to keep living inside of it for a little bit.

“Adults follow paths. Children explore”. And Mr. Gaiman writes dreams.