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Friday, August 28, 2015


Welcome to this month's The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid! I hope you enjoy yourself and will want to read the books I've selected.

I've chosen two books this month because it seems like the books I read this month have had to do with overcoming some sort of trauma or health challenge (which led to some sort of trauma).

I'm first going to review Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak is a young adult novel told in the form of a diary. By being in diary format, you can see the trauma first hand. Melinda Sordino starts her diary right as she calls the cops after a party in late August, before her freshman year of high school.

After the cops bust the party, Melinda's friends won't speak to her and she cannot speak about the trauma she went through. She won't tell the readers what her trauma is, but it effects her grades, her attitude,her sleeping, eating, and the dialog is jumpy from the trauma she has experienced. Through the novel we see how she did gain one friend, but lost that friend since she wanted to join the popular crowd (The Marthas), and how Melinda begins to love her art class. It is through her art class and her science partner, David, that Melinda starts to feel better. By the end of the novel, she does open up about her trauma and starts to talk to her art teacher (which another novel was written for this, I haven't read it yet).

El Deafo by Cece Bell is a graphic novel for children, though I think it's important for everyone to read. I was stunned about what Cece's character went through in the 1970s and 80s because she was deaf.  It is a memoir told in graphic novel format of a girl who becomes deaf after a brief illness.This book takes place between 1974-1980 and we see how a young girl transforms from kindergarten to fifth grade as a deaf student. I was stunned how people with disabilities were treated back then! Though, it's not entirely different today, sadly. By the end of the memoir, El Deafo begins to see her disability as a gift - she starts to see her deafness as something not be ashamed about, but should grow with it. 


  1. I read far too copiously to pick just two books a month Jessica :X Two I've finished this month which I liked are Louise Leviathes' When China Ruled the Seas and Katherine Neville's The Eight. The first is a Chinese history book a few hundred years after I'd focused on, and the latter is a chess-themed history computer science confusion that I had a blast reading.

    Speak sounds like I wouldn't be able to read it due to something that happened to me online in high school, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! ^_^

    You wrote regarding disability disadvantage,
    Though, it's not entirely different today, sadly.
    and I frown. I'm almost positive the only way I made it through with honors is by appealing individually to professor x, y, z, α and β politically. (The honors society keeps filtering through my inbox with new inductees - I keep it since it makes my parents so happy.)
    It took so much figurative legwork though. x__x But, it is true, I am a Latin scholar, thanks to all the solid A's I received in that late night lecture series throughout the end of undergraduate study, and the friendly A's from my music professors, which let me just pass the histories and international relations and still count as an intellectual, the A+ from all courses abroad, and about half of the Russian stuff.

    So perhaps the message I'd take from El Deafo is my perpetual dizziness is just like not needing to wait in line for an amusement park ride! Hmm. That's useful!

    Have a good evening. I hope people stop giving you a rough time! I feel bad about last asking "Why can't you?"
    I didn't mean it confrontationally, it just came into my head and was out before I could control myself.

    1. I could relate to Speak. It actually made me feel less alone after I read it and I guess how I felt after my experience happened, it wasn't abnormal. The feeling is normal, sadly.

      I really liked El Deafo. I don't think people should be ashamed of themselves, disability or not. One book I read said we are all disabled in some way - no one is perfect. I could see the point. I would recommend El Deafo to you... depending on how you feel about graphic novels.

      I just received the message. I didn't take it offensively.

  2. Hello Jessica. Nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing these 2 books. Health-related books are always informative and it sounds like you found them helpful.

    1. Hi Denise! Nice to meet you as well. I really did; the first one helped me heal a bit and the second one gave me new perspective. I want to write a children's book and have been reading children's book to learn how to write for children.

  3. I read Speak. It's great! Too many women are silenced at the hands of a man. I haven't read many graphic novels, but the ones I've read have been quite good. I'm willing to try more.


    1. I didn't write how I could relate to it so well. I know for the past year and a half I felt really bad and guilty, I thought I was alone in the feeling. By reading this book, it doesn't matter if you're 14 or 24, the feelings are similar. And the feelings suck.

      I would definitely recommend El Deafo! It was a book discussion book in the children's department last month and I saw it come in through deliveries every day. I had to check it out and I'm glad I did. I like memoir graphic novels a bit better than fiction ones. Though, I do like some Manga.