books how to fail by elizabeth day & nick & norahs infinite playlist by david levithan and rachel cohn

books how to fail by elizabeth day & nick & norahs infinite playlist by david levithan and rachel cohn

If you read this post you'll know I recently started #chloeharrietsbookclub, now although this will usually mainly exists on my Instagram, I thought for my first two reads, I'd review them on here, as they were also bloody good ones.


Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


Why I choose this book:

A few months back I watched the film version of this story, unaware that it was based on a book and enjoyed it for an easy watch. During some charity shop browsing, I noticed it on the shelf and realised one of the authors is David Levithan who also wrote one of my favourite young adult books Everyday (review here) - that was the confirmation that I needed to read it.


Initial Thoughts:

I loved this book so much more than I expected to. I'm not much of a music person (I'm pretty much the only person in the world who isn't, I know) so with music being a central theme of the book, I wasn't sure if it would be for me - however, I was wrong. Although music is heavily discussed through the books, it's a relatable way, and music is used to emphasise the connection between the characters, the heartbreak they've both faced and the struggles with moving forward.

The Narrative:

It's a young adult read, which follows the story of how Nick and Norah meet and have a pretty significant night together. It begins with Nick seeing his ex-girlfriend in the crowd as his band plays, which leads to him asking a stranger to be his girlfriend for five minutes. His friends then set them up on a date with the girl, Norah. Nick and Norah spend an eventful night together, while they both deal with the repercussions of their previous relationships, their struggles with self-worth, and confusion about how they feel about each other v how they think they should feel about each other. Whilst seeing bands and exploring New York at night time.


Characters:

The book flicks between the first person perspective of both Nick and Norah. I personally preferred the Nick chapters, as I found them easier to follow, and his character more relatable. Norah's tone of voice felt a little more chaotic, which really worked for her character, but sometimes was a tad more difficult to keep up with, although very clearly reflected some of the inner confliction Norah's character was facing.

Themes: 

Coming of age, unrequited love, music, sex

Favourite Quotes:

"When somebody breaks up with you, their beauty - which you took such satisfaction in - suddenly becomes unfair"

"I slipped into a surreal but true universe where we were over but I wasn't yet over it"

"Our world - don’t you just feel we’re becoming more fragmented? I used to think that when I got older, the world would make so much more sense. But you know what? The older I get, the more confusing it is to me. The more complicated it is. Harder. You’d think we’d be getting better at it. But there’s just more and more chaos. The pieces - they’re everywhere. And nobody knows what to do about it. I find myself grasping, Nick. You know that feeling? That feeling when you just want the right thing to fall into the right place, not only because it’s right, but because it would mean that such a thing is still possible? I want to believe that.” 

“There’s no such thing as ready,” she says. “There’s only willing.” 

"The world is broken. Maybe it isn’t that we’re supposed to find the pieces and put them back together. Maybe we’re the pieces. Maybe, what we’re supposed to do is come together. That’s how we stop the breaking."

"When is the night over? Is it the start of sunrise or the end of it? Is it when you finally go to sleep or simply when you realize that you have to?"

Rating: 

 8 out of 10

Overall:

 Although this book wasn't exactly your traditional epic love story, I completely fell in love with it. I enjoyed both authors writing styles and found it to be both easy to read and completely enchanting.



How to fail by Elizabeth Day

Why I choose this book: 

Earlier this year, I started listening to Elizabeth Day's how to Fail To Podcast. After feeling like my life was slowly becoming nothing but a series of failures, I found comfort and hope in the podcast, so when the book came out, it only made sense to pick up a copy.

Initial Thoughts:

I thought everything about this book was completely wonderful from the moment I began reading. I With the anecdotes, I found there to be a good balance of relatability, and drawing in my curiosity by talking about life completely unknown to me (... like moving to Russia) Some chapters definitely spoke to me more, How To Fail at Dating, and How To Fail at Your Twenties particularly spoke to me. This writing is clever, profound, enlightening and clear all at the same time.

The Narrative:

In this memoir, Elizabeth Day reflects on all of the things she's learnt from failure and follows the path of how she's failure can lead to success. It covers failure at different points in life, from failing at friendship as a child, but failing at marriage as a woman.

Themes: 

Failure (obviously), fertility, friendship, relationships, growing up, careers, self-worth.

Favourite Quotes:

"And if I have learned one thing from this shockingly beautiful venture called life, it is this: failure has taught me lessons I would have never otherwise have understood. I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis"

"But at it's worse, people-pleasing is actually a deeply selfish attribute. It means you aren't honest about who you are. At it's worse, it means you've never worked that out; you've just lived your life around the contours of other people, squeezing yourself into the remaining space."

"To exist in this hyper-opinionate age and to write books or paint paintings or direct films or act in television shows or release music, you need to learn how to sift meaningful the opinion from opinions without merit or else you run the risk of being in a perpetual state of imbalance and self-loathing.

Rating: 

9 out of 10

Overall:

This book is wise and reassuring, and if failure is something you find yourself facing I recommend you picking it, and giving it a read, it gave me the ability to rebrand and appreciate that heartache. 
books how to fail by elizabeth day & nick & norahs infinite playlist by david levithan and rachel cohn

Please let me know if you've read these books and what you thought! If you want to join in with #chloeharrietsbookclub, our June books are The Open Road by Emery Lord, and Essays in Love by Alain de Botton - and you can find the full reading list here!


Follow



powered by TinyLetter