Turtles All The Way Down – by John Green

24 11 2020

I think this now means I’m up to speed with John Green’s books! He writes very readable books, so I got through this pretty quickly – same as nearly all his books. I knew I was onto a good thing when I’d folded down the first two page corners as something to come back to when I did my favourite quotes from the book!

I don’t know what it is lately with me picking up books not realising that the main character has significant mental health problems – Aza struggles with intrusive thoughts and thought spirals to a major degree that at times really limit her ability to function. It’s written so brilliantly. As someone who can get stuck in a bit of a loop of anxiety sometimes, some of it did resonate (though mine have never been this extreme!), and it felt like the person writing it really understood what it feels like. At one point there’s a two page monologue of a thought spiral, and I totally saw where she was coming from. Technically this is a sub-plot while she and her friend try to work out why a friend’s billionaire dad went missing, but I think it’s this sub-plot that stays with you afterwards.

I would say that if you are in the middle of struggling with your mental health, it may not be the most helpful book to read, but if you know someone who is, or are in a good place at the moment, you may well find it really helpful. There is also a page in the back with a list of websites to visit if you are affected by what you read, so it’s keeping an eye out for its readers, which is good.

Again, I fear I’ve made this sound miserable and heavy, and yes there is weight to it, but her relationship with her best friend Daisy is beautiful, their dining habit is hilarious, the support she has around her is uplifting, and there’s a lot to be said for a book that I read the majority of in just five days!

As is (fairly) normal, here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • “I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”
  • “To be honest, I find the whole process of masticating plants and animals and then shoving them down my oesophagus kind of disgusting, so I was trying not to think about the fact that I was eating, which is a form of thinking about it.”
  • “The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
  • “I don’t mind worriers, worrying is the correct world view. Life is worrisome.”
  • “I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.”
  • “The weather decides when you think about it, not the other way around.”
  • “It’s so weird, to know you’re crazy and not be able to do anything about it, you know? It’s not like you believe yourself to be normal. You know there is a problem. But you can’t figure a way through to fixing it.”
  • “Those seat belts will hurt ya while saving your life.”
  • “The biggest, most important part of the body is the part that hurts.”
  • “The problem with happy endings, is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.”





Looking For Alaska – by John Green

21 10 2019

I read a load of John Green when The Fault In Our Stars was a big thing, and at the time bought several of his books, this one has sat there a while, but at only 260 pages it seemed a good one for my Dark Materials break!

It’s a John Green book, so of course it’s got teenagers and drama. Miles hasn’t got many friends at school in Florida, so at 16 goes off to boarding school in Alabama. He has a thing about famous peoples last words, and reads a lot of biographies to collect them. He quickly makes friends with people very different to his previous life (think stereotypical smoking and drinking), one of whom is a girl called Alaska, who is a bit unpredictable. I won’t go any further because of spoilers, but I read this in 3 or 4 days – crazy fast!

A couple of days ago I saw an advert on TV for a series they’ve made of the book which literally went live on Friday and is available on iPlayer, so that’s something else to fit in!

He writes books that are so easy to read and just enjoy. I have one more of his books on my shelf, so I think I’ll be picking that up again in the not too distant future.





Will Grayson, Will Grayson – by John Green and David Levithan

8 11 2018

This has been on my shelves for ages. Having read The Fault In Our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns a few years ago I bought a couple more of John Green’s books, but other books beat it to the top of my list more recently.

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would as well. The book is about two guys, both called Will Grayson, who randomly bump into each other one night in Chicago. One is having girl trouble, one is having boy trouble. I don’t want to say too much about the plot as there are twists early on and I don’t want to spoil them. What isn’t a spoiler though is that the book ends with a performance of the “most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.”

One of the Will Graysons really beats himself up and has major self confidence issues which I think a lot of us find really relateable (at least I hope it’s not just me!) – I found that a really powerful part of the story. It’s a heavy book in places, but with a lot of fun in it too!

It was a really easy read, took me a little over a week to read the whole thing, I enjoyed it!





Paper Towns – by John Green

16 04 2015

I DEFINITELY read fiction far faster than non. My previous book was about 100 pages and took me about a month. This one was about 300 pages and I read it in less than a week!

This is my third John Green book now. I’ll be honest, I picked it up because I saw it cheap and my housemate had said they were making a film of it this year, quite similar to The Fault in Our Stars I guess.

The story is about a Quentin and Margo who grew up next to each other as kids, but drifted apart as she became one of the cool kids and he did not. We meet them towards the end of Senior year of high school (yes, American author!). Margo appears at Quentin’s window one night needing to borrow his car (and him as a driver) for a night of revenge pranks. The next morning, she’s gone, and there are just clues left as to where she might be. Cue Quentin (with a little help from his friends) trying to solve the puzzle and find her! Almost like a teen mystery story I suppose!

As with John Green’s other books, the more I read, the more I wanted to read, until at the end, again, I couldn’t put it down. I’ve put a link to the film trailer below if that’s more your sort of thing! (Although Margo isn’t at all how I pictured her to be!)

paper towns





An Abundance of Katherines – by John Green

29 09 2014

Colin is 18 years old, and has just been dumped by Katherine IXX (yes that’s right, his 19th girlfriend called Katherine). There’s definitely a couple of parallels between this and The Rosie Project which I read recently – the lead character is a remarkably intelligent man, who struggles a little socially, and tries to find a way to formulate relationships. In the Rosie Project, this was by matching a vast amount of criteria. In this book, Colin is trying to find a formula to predict whether a relationship between two people would work, how long it would last, and who would be the dumper and who the dumpee.

Colin struggles with the fact that while he was a child prodigy, he hasn’t turned into a genius. He wants to be someone who matters. This leads to a lovely quote somewhere in the book: “And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than none.”

The book actually follows Colin and his friend Hassan (who has his own issues to deal with) on a summer road trip to try and cheer Colin up, ending up in some random little town and that’s where the story unfolds.

Fairly light hearted mostly, a little confusing until I got used to the flashback stories of previous Katherines through the book, but some great stuff, including a highly mathematical appendix (starting from uber basic and building up) by an actual professor – lovely!

an abundance of katherines





The Fault In Our Stars – by John Green

28 06 2014

This is the first time in years and years that I’ve “binged” on a book. When I woke this morning I was on page 76. I’ve not had lunch yet and I’ve finished it, all 313 pages! I haven’t read that much in one go since Harry Potter as a teenager I reckon!

I know the film’s out at the moment and it’s a very current book (I bought it about 6 months ago but only just got round to reading it) so I don’t want to give away any spoilers. There’s so much I could say, but not without giving away major plot points.

I loved the characters, the humour, the location, the relationships, the realities – trying to keep this as vague as possible! It didn’t go down the path I expected it to at all in the end. All I can say is please read it!

Just a line from right near the end, but that doesn’t give anything away – I read it and thought how similar it is to the strapline of my blog in a way, and just how my head so often works:

“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations”

the fault in our stars





Internet highlights – w/c 21st October 2018

27 10 2018

Line up revealed for Celeb Bake Off.

French Bake Off did a crime scene challenge for Halloween.

The original pilot script for Friends!

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Internet highlights – w/c 1st April 2018

7 04 2018

Tiny details in Disney and Pixar films.

Why Japanese baggage handlers are brilliant.

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Internet highlights – w/c 17th January 2016

23 01 2016

Periodic Table Battleships

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Internet highlights – w/c 6th December 2015

12 12 2015

Gilmore Girls by Numbers

Archbishop Sentamu says we should have a phone fast on Christmas Day

People fail to charge Copyright fees to Happy Birthday

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