Category Archives: Blue Rider Press

The Book of Extraordinary Deaths: The True Accounts of Ill-Fated Lives by Cecilia Ruiz

Title: The Book of Extraordinary Deaths: The True Accounts of Ill-Fated Lives
Author and Illustrator: Cecilia Ruiz
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
ISBN: 978-0399184048
Genre: Humour
Pages: 80
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Death comes to all. It is the how that makes things interesting or not. For instance, twins dying on the same day, almost at the same time or dying in a hot-air balloon duel or even because of a fatal wardrobe malfunction. I mean it does sound silly, and unreal, but it happened. Cecilia Ruiz’s slim book deals with such extraordinary deaths.

It is a short compilation of unusual and ironic deaths throughout history. Of course, she couldn’t document all of them, so there are some that I guess were close to her in a sense, and therefore are in this book. The images that go along with the short note are as stunning as they are in The Book of Memory Gaps (another fascinating book by her).

I loved this book because while being macabre, it was also funny. Ruiz has a knack of doing that. The ways in which some people died intrigued and interested me. I think I will most certainly read up more about their lives later in the month. Pick this one up. It is a lot of fun!

The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz

The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz Title: The Book of Memory Gaps
Author: Cecilia Ruiz
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
ISBN: 978-0399171932
Genre: Comic Strips, Graphic,
Pages: 64
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

The fourth book read this month and let me tell you, that while it may be a short book, it certainly will linger in your memory for a while. Funny how I used memory there when the book is about memory gaps. It is a tribute to Jorge Luis Borges and his meditations on memory and time.

Ruiz tells tales of individuals whose memories have failed them. These individuals’ tales are short – a few lines and the rest of the talking is done by the illustrations accompanying them. These stories have to do with false memories, memories that keep getting renewed each day and getting nowhere, memories that are not wanted and memories that keep going in circles. The instances of not remembering are also witty sometimes – also heartbreaking to a large extent.

Some characters suffer from dementia. Some are just lost. Some are searching endlessly. It is almost like the collection of these small tales represents one emotion: Melancholy. The illustrations also go so well with the text – they are dusky and have this dreamlike quality attached to them. The book resonated with me long after. It is the kind of book that stays with you. I am still reeling from its effect.

Book Review: Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale by Gigi Levangie

Seven Deadlies by Gigi Levangie Title: Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale
Author: Gigi Levangie
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
ISBN: 9780399166730
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

I just picked up, “Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale” by Gigi Levangie on a whim. I had been meaning to read it though, however it was just one of the books that I picked up without reading the synopsis or the blurb. It was also one of those nights when I needed something light and though the book is quite deceptive with its writing style, it is anything but a light read. It is a fast read for sure though and lives up to that.

“Seven Deadlies” is about the seven sins of the new world. The sins have not changed, however their perception and relevance has. The book starts with Perry Gonzales – a fourteen year-old Latino (ridiculed much about being who she is), who wants to become a writer, writing to Bennington – a premier university, talking about her experiences as a baby-sitter and tutor to children her age and below. She has been baby-sitting since the age of eight and the book is about her life in a Californian plush school, the Mark Frost Academy, and what comes with observing life of the rich and the famous and more so the lives of their children. Perry’s mother is a nurse and she is the only support Perry has. Perry only wants a better life for herself and in all of it, she chronicles the lives of others.

The seven sins mentioned in the book are all related to children – teens or otherwise. Though the book is told from a teenager’s point of view, I don’t think it is meant for young adults. In my view, the book is of course a modern day fable on how soon childhood disappears and forms into something else along the way – given the world we live in. The competitive spirit is spoken of, the addiction to games, the need to want everything and more and more than anything else – the time spent with family is absolutely nil. On the surface the book is about different lives and lifestyles, however at the core it is about the world our children inhabit or just might.

Levangie’s writing is perfect. It is fast-paced and yet the detailing is there and doesn’t let go at any point. It is not rushed. However, I thought the ending could have been better. It almost seems clichéd which did not work for me at all. The story telling manner is extremely unique and hence the four stars just for that and not to forget the brilliant plot. A great read – chilling, fearful, funny and intense at the same time.

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