Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman


This was my first foray into fantasy, and it went amazingly well.

Centred around a young man, Tristan Thorn, who sets off to find a fallen star in faerie land after he promises his love that he will do anything to win her over, this beautifully written novel had me absolutely hooked around the third chapter when we find out that there are other more mysterious and sinister characters trying to get the fallen star for their own reasons. On his journey to find the fallen star, Tristan encounters a number of obstacles, mystical and magical creatures, and just enough luck to save his skin a number of times.

What I really loved about this book was the fact that it was easy and accessible fantasy. As someone who has tried (and failed) to get through the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin’s respective Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones series, I thought fantasy just wasn’t my thing. I’m happy to admit that Neil Gaiman proved me wrong.

While the prose is not overly complicated and the vocabulary not too extensive, I felt that this only added to the overall magical feeling and found myself thinking I was a kid again (despite several graphic sexual encounters sprinkled throughout the book). This novel had everything you could ask for in a fantasy story: action, adventure, romance, suspense, mystery, murder, ghosts, witches and more!

The way different characters are introduced at different times, and how the stories all come together in the end was so intricately woven and expertly executed that I had several “ah-ha” moments during the last couple of chapters after finally realizing how some people who I had thought were unimportant side-notes ended up being crucial to the plot.

In the end, I was swept up and away in the magical world created by Neil Gaiman and can’t wait to delve into this newly discovered universe that is the fantasy genre. Please leave me some suggestions below for what I should read next and what your favourite fantasy novel is.


Book Review: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

It’s difficult for me to put my feelings towards this book into words because I still don’t know exactly how to feel about it… Let me start by saying that upon completion I feel let down, and here’s why: The main point that Dr. Brene Brown argues throughout the book is that being vulnerable is actually being strong, and that exposing ourselves to situations in which we might become vulnerable is the only way to dare greatly, or achieve greatness. I have no problem with this argument and in fact I actually agree with the author based on my own understanding of vulnerability and strength. What I don’t agree with, or dislike about this book in particular, is the way Brown goes about justifying or “proving” her point.

A book with half of the pages warped from water damage
Accidentally dunked half my copy in the bathtub #oops

The entire book is littered with personal stories and anecdotal evidence, conveniently supplied by the author’s own daughter and husband. I would have liked to have seen more quantified research based evidence drawn throughout the book and linked to the points Brown was making; a really good example of how this can be done right is in Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance.

Another thing I really disliked about this book was how repetitive and pointless it was at times. By pointless I mean that it was often difficult to discern what point the author was making in each section. It seemed much more like a hodgepodge of random thoughts than a well executed, well-researched book.

Another detraction was how much emphasis the author places on shame. While I get the distinction she between shame and guilt, I wasn’t convinced that shame is the be all end all for destroying vulnerability. Sometimes we need to feel shame to know we’ve done something wrong. However, at the same time I was able to reflect on a time in my life when shame might have been responsible for making me believe I wasn’t artistic.

Not to borrow this boring personal anecdote technique from the author, but I was about 6 years old and our teacher told us to draw a rainbow, and you know how colouring books have black outlines around the parts you’re supposed to colour in? Well I decided to make a colouring book for myself and drew the outline of a rainbow in black crayon first. As I was colouring in the colours, the teacher walked by and said something to the affect of “Why did you do that, rainbows don’t have black in them?” And my little artist heart was destroyed. Not until almost 20 years later did I discover that I actually do have creative talent. I love to paint, draw, colour, and design.

So in this regard I did find some value in the book. Albeit minimal, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I just don’t think these self help books are for me. I didn’t enjoy the last one I read either (The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz) so I probably won’t be reading something like this again for a while. Anyway, that’s my review. I hope it helped you in some way. I didn’t get much out of this book but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t.

Casual Friday Office Attire, part 2

In most workplaces, Fridays mean you can finally wear blue jeans to the office. Today I went for a laid back look with a bit of a bookworm theme. 

If you don’t already know this about me, I love to read. So naturally I have a few items of clothing with words on them. One of my favourite button down shirts is covered with random sentences. I paired this with a sweater with the word “smile” written in bold letters across the bottom. 

Word shirt from Simons

Sweater from Reitmans

I also wore my Burberry sneakers for the first time because I felt they go nicely with the preppy vibe I was giving off. 

Burberry sneakers

This outfit is versatile in the sense that you could also wear it if you’re a student. I’m thinking more college/university, but if you’re a very studious high school student you could wear something like this too! 

How do you like to dress on “blue jean” Friday at work? I admit this is one of my more laid back looks; usually I like to keep it extremely professional even on Fridays, but today I was in training all day so I wanted to be comfortable. 

Finished with a wool grey coat and hat, both from Roots

Office attire, part 1

Professionalism in the workplace is something I always strive to project. It’s important that others perceive you as someone who cares about their job and takes the work that they do, seriously. This is why it’s crucial that you “look the part.” 

Some people think this means you have to wear boring suits and stuffy clothes, but I would actually argue the opposite. You can be comfortable, chic, and professional at the same time. 

In the outfit below I chose loose fitting clothes, but a bit of a higher waisted pant to give the outfit some shape. The tones are neutral and cool, since it is still winter time, but the brown pants add a nice warmth to the colour palette. 

The shoes are definitely not winter shoes but I wore snow boots in to work and changed them once I got there. This was my first time wearing cropped pants that fall just above the ankle so I had a little trouble styling them at first. Let me know how you think I should style them in the future, or if you think I did a good job here. 

Feel free to experiment and play around with different neutral tones in the winter and don’t be afraid of the cropped pants. I rocked it today and even though I felt like a British school boy I kind of liked it.

A girl standing outside in the snow flipping her hair
Pants from Aritzia, blazer by Lauren Conrad
Rayban wayfarers add a classic look to any ensemble