Title: Imaginary Friend

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Pages: 720 Pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Blurb

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this acclaimed epic of literary horror from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Christopher is seven years old.Christopher is the new kid in town.Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. for six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.

The Review

I bloody loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Yes.

Did I love Imaginary Friend? Mmmm not really. If I am completely honest, I didn’t really understand it.

Let me try and break it down. A boy and his mother moves to a small town and he gets possessed by a spirit who tries to convince him to open a portal to get the evil spirit out…I think.

See that is the thing, after 720 pages I can honestly say I do not know what this book was about. This is a shame because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year.

Sadly, Imaginary Friend did not live up to the expectations that I had for it.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky is available now.

For more information regarding Stephen Chbosky (@StephenChbosky) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub) please visit www.grandcentralpublishing.com.

Title: All the Lives I Want – Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Famous Strangers

Author: Alana Massey

Pages: 257 Pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Blurb

Mixing Didion’s affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, ALL THE LIVES I WANT is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women–from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil’ Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women’s legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.

The Review

All the Lives I Want is a collection of essays that celebrates women. It holds a mirror up to society and shows how women are not so subtly pitted against one another or how they are sexualised or how they are forced into submissive roles. It truly is a book to put fire in your belly.

Part memoir/part journalism, Massey’s penned thoughts percolate in the brain giving you food for thought long after you have finished reading.

All the Lives I Want – Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Famous Strangers by Alana Massey is available now.

For more information regarding Alana Massey (@AlanaMassey) please visit www.alanakm.com/books/

For more information regarding Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub) please visit www.grandcentralpublishing.com.

The Art of AskingThe Blurb

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

The Review

I’m currently in a battle with my sister. She is 36 and had her first child last year. She is a superhero. She works full time, raises my beautiful one year old niece with her fiancé and she run a household. My sister can do it all.

But…

She finds it really difficult to ask for help. She doesn’t necessarily need it but there are times when she is run down because of all the work she does and my niece needs full time attention (as a one year old is want to do) and I wish that sometimes she would let me help more.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, I have just finished Amanda Palmer’s wonderful book The Art of Asking and I feel really light. The Art of Asking was recommended by friends and various booktubers and I decided that it was time to give it a read (it had been sitting on my NetGalley bookshelf for a while, oops) but when I picked it up I was just amazed and humbled by Palmer’s stories. I will admit that I knew very little about Amanda Palmer. In fact, my knowledge boiled down to two pieces of information: 1) She is a musician and she is in the Dresden Dolls and 2) She is marries to Neil Gaiman. Now, I kinda wish that Amanda Palmer was my best friend, mentor and guru. She just knows stuff.

The Art of Asking came off the back of Palmers TED talk when she talked about her days as a street artist an how that ethos has transferred to her crowd sourcing the funding for her subsequent albums and how that evolved into serious media backlash and how she dealt with it. Amanda Palmer learned that through her connections with her fans that the negative thoughts of certain pockets of people don’t matter, it is the connection that matters. People want to help. People will offer you a couch to sleep on, money to fund a project, a hug when you need one, a donut. People want to do that. Palmer believes that people are inherently good. I left this book feeling warmed by this dogmatic understanding of basic human nature. Amanda Palmer, she just gets it.

You may ask why I started this review talking about my sister, my best friend. It is because the next time I see her I am going to adamantly tell her to take the f*cking donut!

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer is available now.

Follow Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) via Twitter.

5 Stars