Contributor Book Review of ‘Annihilation’

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Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Review by: Noelle Simonson

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Annihilation is truly that: annihilating. But in a good way. It blew me out of the water. After watching the movie, which is usually a no-no for me as I like to read the books first, I decided that I absolutely had to read it. After waiting for three months, due to extremely long waits at the library, I finally got the book. Or rather, the audiobook. Listening to this story was unbelievably enthralling. Catherine McCormack, the narrator, did a better job at narrating than I could have ever imagined. Her voice helped carry the biologist’s story. Though the book was definitely very different from the movie, I find myself looking at them as two separate entities. I usually like the movie to follow the book to the detail but this was so different that it can hardly be seen as the same story and I actually didn’t mind this time. Both stories were strong in their own right and both had complicated characters that I enjoyed learning about and following. The biologist in the book was much more complicated than Natalie Portman’s version of her. She was almost inhuman. She had so many qualities about her that were cold and distant, which made for an unreliable narrator. Those are, of course, my favorite kinds of narrators. Because she hardly knew what was going on inside of Area X, that means we hardly knew. We learned with her. We speculated with her. We tried to sympathize and understand her thoughts and actions no matter what she did. The biologist is a character that I would like to dissect. Her many different facets are what make her so unique to any other character I’ve seen. I can’t imagine how hard it was to create her.

Though the biologist is one of the main reasons I enjoyed Annihilation so much, I was also entranced by the writing itself. Because I was mostly listening to the words and not reading them, they were just powerful enough to keep my attention. I’m usually not great at listening to audiobooks because I get distracted but this was such an animated and interesting read that I didn’t want to stop listening even when I had to. There are so many phrases that shook me to my core because of the beauty of the words themselves. For example, “The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.” Desolation colonizes you! I’ve never heard such a beautiful and destructive phrase all at once.

To anyone on the edge, wondering if they should spend their time reading this, the answer is yes. Annihilation will sink its teeth into you and not let go until you’ve read every last word. You won’t regret it.

You can purchase Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation here.

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Bookworm in Your Life

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The holidays are just around the corner, which means now is the time to purchase gifts for your loved ones. While I may not be the person to tell you what your tech-y brother or your garden-loving aunt have on their wish lists, if you have a book lover in your life, this list should help ease your gift buying trepidations.

Readers Gonna Read Enamel Pin

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Help the bookworm in your life promote their book-obsessed lifestyle with this adorable enamel pin.

“Books Turn Muggles into Wizards” Socks 

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Every bookworm knows that books turn muggles into wizards, so now they’ll have some adorable socks to prove it.

Gift Card(s)

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If you don’t know which books the bookworm you’re shopping for is longing for, a gift card to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half Priced Books, Book Outlet, or Thrift Books are an excellent alternative!

Frostbeard Candle

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Bookworms love candles, so bookish candles will surely be a hit. Frostbeard has a multitude of different scents that come in different forms and sizes.

Edgar Allen Poe Socks

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The bookworm in your life’s feet will be cold nevermore.

“When In Doubt, Go To the Library” Shirt

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Because you can’t go wrong with a Hermione Granger quote t-shirt.

“Please Go Away I’m Reading” Throw Pillow

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Finally, a throw pillow that says what your bookworm really wants to say.

Book Page Holder

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Now, the bookworm in your life can keep those pesky pages in check.

Book Beau (Protective Book Sleeve)

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Book lovers always keep their current reads on hand, which typically means they’re either being tossed into a purse or backpack (and getting bent) or being held (and getting rained on or risking being dropped). This book sleeve from Book Beau will solve all of their problems, while also being their most stylish bookish accessory. The Book Beau comes in many different patterns and sizes.

Book Beau Bean (Lap Pillow for Reading)

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The Book Beau Bean makes reading more comfortable! Give your bookworm the gift of relaxing reading this holiday season.

Do you have more bookworm gift ideas that you want to share? Leave some links in the comments section below. Share this post to drop not-so-subtle bookish gift hints to your Facebook friends. Happy holidays, bookworms!

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Are you a book blogger? If so, I’ve created a like-minded environment to talk about blogging while supporting one another’s endeavors. This space comes in the form of a Facebook group for book bloggers, where we can all freely share our website URLs, social media handles, and posts, in addition to asking for/share book recommendations.

You can join the group here.