Review and Redesign | Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

Picked this slim little book, first in a long series by Louise Rennison, at the recommendation of a friend, as a good "comfort" read. Hah. 

Book: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)
Goodreads | Book Depository 

The Book Review

Georgia might be the most unlikable teen diary narrator I have ever encountered. But she is so perfectly unlikable, she is actually a delight. Selfish, self absorbed, and 100% clueless (and I really wanted to say something on the lines of "exactly like three other people I work with," but that would be a lie, as no one even comes close—am I lucky? Is this what they call perspective?). But I loved her. I actually thought.... wow, am I really going to say this? I am. I really am. I actually thought that this was the best diary-style book I ever read. Diaries BORE me. They are one-sided, whiny, unrealistic, and why are teen girls so down on themselves (rhetoric question, of course)? And not that Georgia wasn't any of those things, she was, and to an extreme level that tip-toed the line on annoying and delightful on every new diary entry. And who cares? She nailed every time. 

(Side note: British is so cute.)

anThe most absurd section for me was at the end, the Q&A with the author. It seems like this book was just incredibly auto-biographical, which is, well, shocking, because nothing in it sounds real. But maybe she is just pulling our legs. 

The Quote

I am going to become a writer for Cosmo—you don’t have to make any sense at all. Or maybe I’ll be a bloke, they don’t have to make sense either.
— Louise Rennison, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

The Cover Redesign


Here's the deal: I hate to dig at other people's work, but have you seen the cover for Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging? This is the one that graced my kindle edition. Cute, put together girl. Fluffy kitten. I mean... It could be a good YA cover... for the Princess Diaries series. But Angus (the cat) is not that chill, and Georgia (the girl) is not put together, she is a hot mess—which a typical 14 year old girl has all the right to be, and honestly, it's why we love her. So for my redesign, I wanted either a punk-rock cool but nor traditionally pretty girl, or a deranged wide-eyed cat. Turns out drawing girls are easier, and this "cover redesign and a review"book  project I am doing is about quick ideas so I wasn't about to spend the next week perfecting a cat. 

I'm pretty happy with the drawing, it is unpretentious and simple, as I wanted it to be. I wanted it to have that quick sketch look, with a limited color palette (I am a huge fan of limited color palettes!) and just some red lips and good teeth with some color. 

In the story, Georgia keeps using sello-tape to keep her bangs down. So I wanted to have the author's name on that tape, and also cover the girl's eyes. I've noticed that a lot of YA doesn't like to show the face of the characters on their covers, so the reader can see themselves in those characters. 

Also, eyes are hard to draw, and I'm keeping this post as honest as if I was Georgia writing on my diary.

And to finish it off, the t-shirt had to be a canvas for the title. Looking like a shirt you bought on vacation for $5 because it said something funny, but it's that really crappy itchy fabric that doesn't really feel good, and the t-shirt maker used the most boring font (Arial, Futura, etc) they could find on Microsoft Word... You get the idea. And yeah, shitty was what I was going for with this shirt layout. I mean, which publisher worth their salt would split "full-frontal" into two lines? But if the shirt was bought at a really crap stall just for fun, then yeah, I can see this happening. All it is missing is a glaring typo.

I had fun with this one. I'll probably read all other books as well, once my to-read pile is under a modicum of control. 


Review and Redesign | Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch is one of my favorite books ever, and it's a memoir, which is one of my least favorite genres, so this says a lot about how good this book is. After the World Cup ended this year, I felt a void and that I need to fill my life with more soccer (which I'll call football from now on on this review). 

Book: Fever Pitch
Goodreads | Book Depository 

The Book Review

I love that it's about football, but at the same time it isn't. Fever Pitch was Nick Hornby's first published book, and it's a memoir about his 23 years as a football moron (his words, not mine). The book is an ode to obsession, and even though I am not obsessed about football the way he is, I can't help but still identify. Most of the book happens around Arsenal matches (which, when I visited England in 2016, I i was very happy to have a chance to watch a live final match at their stadium), but they are not the main story, they are just the backdrop to tell Nick's life story. 

A few stand out moments:

There's some pretty memorable (and funny) lines in there.

  • "I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”

  • "But those who mourn the loss of identity football fans must endure miss the point: who wants to be stuck with who they are the whole time?"

  • "It worries me, the prospect of dying in mid-season like that (...) we have this naive expectation that when we go, we won't be leaving any loose ends lying around."

  • "If you want entertainment, go watch clowns."

And the Heysel and Hillsborough stadium disasters. There is a chapter in Fever Pitch that I never forgot, where Nick is teaching English as a Second Language to a group of Italian nationals. They want to see the Liverpool and Juventus game, but don't have a tv. So Nick opens the school after hours and get the TV set out, just so they all can watch the game together. But the game doesn't start, and the Italians are restless, so Nick starts to pay attention to what the TV newscast is saying: that English hooligans caused the death of 38 people at the Heysel stadium in Belgium in 1985. And not many chapters later, he talked about the Hillsborough disaster (I linked it up there, but beware it's kind of hard to read). In a way, Hillsborough is kind of the end of an era for English football and even for Nick Hornby's story. Not much after that the book ends, and he mentions is a lot throughout the whole story. The changes that brought to the way the game is viewed were so controversial at the time Nick Hornby was writing, needed to happen. It struck close to home, actually, when he talks about how fans think the future (at the time) of football was just the same football, just slightly safer terraces—not a radical change. The sentimental attachment, and the claims of "tradition" that the fans of the sport claimed, were not really heard. And it struck me again about how our human nature is so opposed to change. This opposition to change is something I struggle with on a daily basis, is what makes some of my professional work so hard and difficult to cope with sometimes. And this is only one of many instances where I related to this book. I may not be obsessive about anything at the level Nick Hornby is, but I still get it. 

And at some point in the book he says (I forgot to bookmark it, so forgive my faulty memory) that because of his obsession, that every time Arsenal is playing, or the results are shared on the paper or the news, that all the people that he came across his life, will be thinking of him. And funny enough, now it will be more than just his 150 friends he's met through life, but also all the millions of people that read his book. My husband and I record all Arsenal games to watch on the weekends, and every time Arsenal scores I say out loud "just one more, Arsenal, so little Nick can relax."

The Quote

Absurdly, I haven’t yet got around to saying that football is a wonderful sport, but of course it is. Goals have a rarity value that points and runs and sets do not, and so there will always be that thrill, the thrill of seeing someone do something that can only be done three or four times in a whole game if you are lucky, not at all if you are not. And I love the pace of it, its lack of formula; and I love the way that small men can destroy big men … in a way that they can’t in other contact sports, and the way that t he best team does not necessarily win. And there’s the athleticism …, and the way that strength and intelligence have to combine. It allows players to look beautiful and balletic in a way that some sports do not: a perfectly-timed diving header, or a perfectly-struck volley, allow the body to achieve a poise and grace that some sportsmen can never exhibit.
— Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch

The Cover Redesign


This cover is not so much a redesign, but an ode to my favorite t-shirt of all time. In 1997, when I visited England, I bought an Oasis t-shirt from their historic Maine Road concert that happened in 1996. The t-shirt, which I wore until it basically dissolved (and I wish I still had it), had the Oasis logo inside a football field. It was beautiful in its simplicity, and that's what I wanted to convey with this cover redesign: the simplicity and beauty of the game. Some previous official Fever Pitch cover designs included stadium seating or shields as visual elements, and they all work well. But I was missing the green of the field, the thing, the place, where so much of the story centers around, while telling everything else that was also not happening there, but was happening because of what happened in the field. 

I wanted this to be simple, like I said before, and with a very limited color palette. Two-color print: black and this almost obnoxious green, but not quite. It would be either printed as a paperback or a hardcover with a dust jacket, either version would have a soft touch layer applied to it (i really love the soft touch on black, it really brings the color up a level). 

The shirt that inspired it all. 1997, at the Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The shirt that inspired it all. 1997, at the Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Review and Redesign | The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is my first blog post in five years, and I really missed it. For the past decade I've struggled with what to write, what would even interest anyone to pick up and read a blog, especially now as the medium is in decline. But I've been part of this community since pretty much it came to exist, when the internet and myself were at our infancy (well, I was a teenager, but what is a teenager if not a child with worst skin?). The last few weeks I got the itch to write again, to share my thoughts with a wide audience of one: me. I decided that it's inconsequential to me if anyone reads this or not, but I just need to write it.

So, here's an intro to one of the topics this blog will now cover: books. I'll be doing book reviews and often, I'll also take a stab at doing a quick redesign of the book cover as well—not necessarily because the book cover was ugly. I'll split the reviews in three parts: the book review, a stand out quote, and the cover redesign. I hope this is nothing like what you have ever seen anywhere else before. 


(the image above is not the final redesign, just the teaser. keep scrolling)

Book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (therefore referred as TGLPPPS)
Goodreads | Book Depository

The Book Review

Who picks a book off the shelf called TGLPPPS and thinks "yes, that sounds like something I'd want to read." Yes, the title of this book IS a deterrent, as many know, and even though it received an enthusiastic review from one of my co-workers (albeit not the co-workers I usually trust with book revires...) I didn't pick it up. Then Netflix had to go and buy the movie and cast Matthew Goode in it. 

Yes. I saw the movie first. 

And I enjoyed it immensely. 

So I looked up the book online again, found it for a $1,16 on Amazon Kindle and bought it. And how I wished my co-worker would have just hit me in the head with it and said "You say you love books, but you don't because you are judging this book by it's awful cover and tittle, and because an old guy, recommended it to you." Yes, I am that kind of horrible person. Then another co-worker (one that I very much trust on book recommendations) said that the book was better than the movie, so I started to read same day.

But this book was lovely. And yes, better than the movie. It's a complete different story, with characters that in no way resemble the characters from the movie. I love the simplicity of it, and the narrators were delightful. It's such a cozy little amazingness of a book. I fell in love with it and was ready to pack my bags to Guernsey. I wish it had never ended. 

Juliet, our main character and main narrator, looked nothing like Lily James in my head. She looked exactly like Keira Knightley, and sounded exactly like my friend Christy Seifert sounds like in real life. But the folks of Guernsey were the ones to stole the show. I think I fell in love with this book because so many of the letters were characters talking about how they fell in love with reading. Reading wasn't only about something to do under the Nazi's noses, but the passion with each character told their stories of reading and books, I couldn't resist. 

I've fallen in love with books several times. They've been my companions since a young age. Here's a few of our best moments:

  • At some early age I can't remember much of: I remember begging my mom to read me books all day long, but she, unlike toddler me, had shit to do. I remember her buying one of those activity books for your child to learn how to read and write themselves and I was in book heaven.

  • Middle school: that time isn't easy on anyone, but I had a particular rough time. One day, out of nowhere, my group of friends stopped talking to me. I still don't know why, but suddenly I was alone. My school's small library became my refuge, and for the next year and a half, I read most of the books they had in the middle grade and high school sections. I skipped the Sidney Sheldons because I was already pretty savvy at age 12 and knew what books were fun bad, and what books were just plain bad—or, as they say in TGLPPPS, “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”

  • Final years of college: that's the year I fell in love with reading in English. I was again feeling lonely, and enrolled in English classes again (can't remember if the two were related). But English classes are expensive and imported paperbacks were cheaper than national books. So thanks to this amazing new bookstore that had just opened in my town, I started a new book collection. I've read tons of romance novels (easy to read as a ESL, and love IS an universal language) and discovered Jane Austen. Classics in a foreign language sounded scary, but Jane was so clever, I had no trouble with her. I've read her entire collection (except for Emma) in half a year. I have never actually read Jane Austen in any other language than English!

Maybe this has not been my most eloquent review, but I am just warming up. Also, if you need any further convincing, please grab the heaviest object you are physically capable of lifting closest to you, and hit yourself in the head with it if you still think a book with a title this stupid is not worth your time. You are welcome!

The Quote

I am to cover the philosophical side of the debate and so far my only thought is that reading keeps you from going gaga.
— Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, TGLPPPS

The Cover Redesign

At the start of this post, I mentioned how I would like to do a quick redesign of covers of books I've read and want to review. I included a little note about that I wasn't going to do it necessarily because I didn't like the cover, but on the case of TGLPPPS, I did actually hate the cover. The original, any others I've seen online, and especially the movie tie-in edition (and let's not go on a rant about movie tie-in editions or this post will get too long). 

I had this cover redesigned in my head within the first few chapters of reading. The roast pig story was one of my favorites, and the lady reading from her own cookbook and making everyone mad. Granted, I do tend to read right before bed, and I barely eat any food in the evening during the summer months, so that may have contributed to some extent to me favoring those food-related scenes. I wanted to redesign the cover of this book to resemble a 1970s American country home-style cooking book, with a checkered table cloth, and a big roasting pig in the centre of the table. This was a war-time roasted pig though, so no apples adorned its mouth, he is quite simple. I also wanted some chunky and old-fashioned font to take the other 2/3 of the cover. 

I wasn't happy with how little space I left for the author's names, so that's definitely something to pay attention to in the future. 

Honorable Mention

Granny Pheen's letters, and Muffin/Solange the cat extraordinaire is THE BEST PART OF TGLPPPS. I don't want to ruin it for you if you haven't read it, but Muffin/Solange the cat is a fanfic waiting to be written, and I might as well do it. Keep your eye on this space.