Book Review | Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi


Published: June 1st 2004 by Pantheon (first published 2000)
Genre: Graphic novel, autobiography, memoir
Book format: Paperback copy, read for school English class

Date started: Friday, September 16th, 2016
Date finished: Friday, September 16th, 2016


Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

The Random-Thoughts-After-Reading Version

What an absolutely fantastic read. I read the book in one sitting and was overwhelmed. Here’s all of my initial thoughts in one big thought-spill:
First of all, I was so incredibly angry, especially more so as the book progressed. I was awe-stricken by the unfathomable injustices faced by women under the fundamentalist government. It’s one thing to hear about these things distantly on the news, but it’s another to live it through Satrapi’s eyes. Read more »

Printables | High School Survival Guide: Ultimate Organization Tools

High School Survival Guide: Ultimate Organization ToolsHey there readers of the world! It’s been a while. Four months, to be exact, unfortunately. I’ve had lots to share with you in these past few months, but as with all severe and long-lived writing slumps, I haven’t been able to get them down to words. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so here we go!

School is back! I’m halfway through my high school career and over the years I’ve been creating personalized printables to aid me in my studies. Some of them, I’ve shared on the blog already, but there’s quite a few that I only recently made. So I’ve collected all of them, along with some of my favorite school resources, links, bloggers, and YouTubers, and compiled them below for your convenience. Good luck to everyone in the new schoool year!
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History Essay | The Question of Government: The Case for Parliament

I’m currently learning about World War 2 in my Canadian History class, and had an assignment to write an argumentative essay on a chosen topic. I chose one that was both interesting and could provide me with lots to learn from the experience: compare the Canadian Parliamentary system and the American Congressional system. Evaluate which system works best. I started off by borrowing a pile of books from the library and skimming through those for some information. I looked through some school databases and browsed the web. The more I researched, the happier I was with my topic choice. Reading about politics was extremely interesting, but I soon realized with dismay that writing everything I had learned in a 1100-word essay was practically impossible.

My teacher was very smart about the assignment – there were certain checkpoints (finish our outline, write the first draft, finish the edited draft, etc.) that we had to meet on certain days, and they really pushed me to get the assignment done on time. But still, I ended up spending way too much time researching important things like the evolution of Justin Trudeau’s hairstyles (how I got there, I have no idea), and watching hilarious Canadian election attack ads. As a result, I woke up early in the morning on the day before the first draft was due, sat down at my computer, and NaNoWriMo-style typed up the entire first draft of my essay in one hour. Of course, this first draft was nearly two times the limit. And of course, the first draft was nowhere near the perfect, all-knowing essay I had envisioned when researching. Even my writing style was by far NOT my best work (though maybe that’s just me being overly perfectionist about these kind of things).

Over the next week, I finally brought it down to four words under the limit. All in all, I’d say I learned A LOT from this assignment, but there is so much more to be explored on this topic that there’s no way this essay could cover all the fantastic information about it. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this tiny peek into this fascinating topic!

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Book Review | An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

900679An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley


Published: December 1st 1948 by Dramatists Play Service (first published 1945)
Genre: Mystery, Theatre/Drama, Classics
Book format: Paperback copy, read for school English class

Date started: Monday, May 16th, 2016
Date finished: Thursday, May 19th, 2016


The action of the play occurs in an English industrial city, where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death. An inspector calls to interrogate the family, and during the course of his questioning, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl’s undoing. The family, closely knit and friendly at the beginning of the evening, is shown up as selfish, self-centered or cowardly, its good humor turning to acid, and good fellowship to dislike, before the evening is over. The surprising revelation, however, is in the inspector…

The Medium-Length Version

An Inspector Calls is your classic British play about marriage, family, and class. In fact, it reminded me somewhat of the famous play The Importance of Being Earnest (which I did not read, but saw a performance of) because they have these same central topics. However, woven into the setting of An Inspector Calls were some unique themes: capitalism vs. socialism, avoidance of responsibility, denial, guilt, selfishness, ignorance, youth vs. age, social hierarchy and relationships. Most of all though, I enjoyed the play’s exploration of the various states of denial people go through upon being told the fault in their ways. The first part of the play has to do with the unraveling of the pompous and self-righteous Birling family, after which the Inspector leaves and the Birling family work hard to deny any responsibility for their actions that resulted in the suicide of the young girl in question.

This particular aspect of the play reminded me of the book I just recently finished, My Bloody Life, where where we see the same dismissal of any advice given to the main character to change his ways. The truth is that change is difficult to accept, especially if we’ve been living most of our lives in a certain way.

J. B. Priestley also comments on the diversity of reactions between young people and older people. He highlights the ignorance of Mr. and Mrs. Birling, who were so sure of themselves that they would not accept any sort of feedback on their lifestyle. Just moments before the inspector arrives, Mr. Birling says,

“‘But the way some o these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive – a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own – and – ‘(We hear sharp ring of a front doorbell.)Mr. Birling (by J. B. Priestley)

Despite being a mystery/crime novel, it was also peppered with the fantastic British humour I’ve grown to love, and had a clever way of leading you to infer certain facts, that left you feeling smart and engaged.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable mini-play to read (in fact, it felt very much like a sketch).

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Book Review | My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King by Reymundo Sánchez

275612My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King by Reymundo Sánchez


Published: July 1st 2000 by Chicago Review Press
Genre: Autobiography, dark non-fiction (with a bit of fiction), crime
Book format: Kindle eBook

Date started: Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
Date finished: Monday, May 16th, 2016


Looking for an escape from childhood abuse, Reymundo Sanchez turned away from school and baseball to drugs, alcohol, and then sex, and was left to fend for himself before age 14. The Latin Kings, one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America, became his refuge and his world, but its violence cost him friends, freedom, self-respect, and nearly his life. This is a raw and powerful odyssey through the ranks of the new mafia, where the only people more dangerous than rival gangs are members of your own gang, who in one breath will say they’ll die for you and in the next will order your assassination.

The Short Version

This book surprised me so much. It was recommended to me by a friend and although hesitant at first, I decided to pick it up and give it a try because it was unlike anything I’d ever read.

And I’m glad I did. It was incredible. Yes, it was packed with crude language, stories of rape, drugs, alcohol, shootings and murder, but I wouldn’t have changed it in any way. While I can’t say I enjoyed the topic or even the writer’s literature style, there were so many things to be learned from My Bloody Life. To begin with, it was remarkable to see a peek at what gang lifestyle is like. Many of us live perfect lives with false problems and endless opportunities, and it was an awakening shock to read about what is really going on in some places of the world, to youth no older than me.

I also know I’ll be definitely making use of the settings, dialogue, and character backgrounds from this book in my own novels in the future. From a writer’s perspective, this was a very valuable book to read.

Finally, I loved this book because its theme and style of writing were captivating, and while the author could have easily turned the topic into a melodramatic, emotional book, he chose not to.

Overall: phenomenal read.

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Book Review | The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

26207857The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo


Published: October 5th 2015 by HarperAudio (first published 1988)
Genre: Fantasy, Philosophy, Spirituality
Book formatAudible audiobook

Date started: Monday, December 21st, 2015
Date finished: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016


Here is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers into the Egyptian desert where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.

This is a story that teaches us, as only few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above, all follow our dreams.

The Short Version

I really enjoyed this story because it read like a fable and it had several great life lessons and themes incorporated into it, like following your dreams, language and communication, the pursuit of happiness and success, and destiny/fate. It’s also a great story to read into for hidden meanings and metaphors. However, it lost a star in my eyes due to its forced profundity. A lot of the time, it felt like Paulo Coehlo was trying too hard to make his words quotable, deep and meaningful, and they had the opposite effect.

The audiobook itself was lovely, and the narrator did an amazing job of capturing the atmosphere of the book. Still, it took me way too long to audioread (3-4 months) because I wasn’t exactly captivated by the plot – it just sort of happened casually. Instead, the world lived on for months in my head, which to be honest wasn’t that bad. It was a nice break from the usual gobble-up-a-book-in-two-days pattern.

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Book Review | Macbeth by William Shakespeare

MacbethMacbeth by William Shakespeare


Published: April 23rd 2009 by Oxford University Press (first published 1606)
Genre: Tragedy, Theatre, Classics
Book format: Hardcover (borrowed from school library)

Date started: Thursday, February 18th
Date finished: Monday, March 7th


A noble, loyal warrior (Macbeth) is turned evil by ambition after hearing a prophecy that he will become king, and Scotland is launched into disorder and tyranny.

The Short Version

I felt like this book perfectly mirrored it’s main character, Macbeth. They both started off on an excellent note, only to spiral out of control and fall into a deep, dark, boring hole. There was definitely something there in terms of themes and maybe a touch of character, but other than that the plot was incredibly predictable – except that one senseless killing about halfway through the book. I never would have expected that! And it was so sad, too; there literally is a line that goes something like: “Mother, they have killed me! Run!”

All in all, it’s not a long book and certainly worth a read at some point, but I personally didn’t find it captivating at all.

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Free Font (“Amiable”) & Easter Gift IDEA


Well, whaddaya know? Schools were cancelled on Thursday this week (and Friday was off already because of the Easter holidays), so I was unable to deliver my Easter gifts! As a result, and because many of those gift recipients read this blog, I’ve had to postpone this post until AFTER Easter. It’s not much help to you anymore for ideas, but hopefully this can inspire your gift-giving next year!

(P.S. Check out what I made for Christmas gift-giving last year. I’ve also got a few other really old posts on DIY gift crafts: one for Christmas, and one for everyday giving.)

The Gift

What was it? Chocolate Kinder Surprises and a personalized punny note!


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Baking Adventures | Sugar Cookies and Pancakes


I baked two things these past two days: sugar cookies and pancakes.

Sugar Cookies

I was initially divided between making sugar cookies or a cake but I figured that sugar cookies could be given out as gifts to the many family friends we’re going to see this weekend, so I made those instead. For the plain cookies, I used this recipe and they turned out amazing!

I made a lot of them, though, and I would often put two trays in the oven at a time so they could be finished sooner (they take 6-8 minutes to bake), and from time to time I would forget them in there for too long while I was icing the ones that had already come out. As a result, about half of them are actual soft cookies and the other half are more like biscuits.

NOTE: the cookies grow significantly in the oven, so pick a size or two smaller than the size you want your actual cookies to turn out as.


Speaking of icing, I did a lot of research beforehand, and found this video by Rosanna Pansino ESPECIALLY helpful in explaining the differences between the different types. I’ve had some pretty sad experiences with icing before and I wanted to make sure these come out right for once and for all! I even went out while the dough was in the fridge and bought some icing decorating tips and icing colouring gel. I used regular ziploc bags to hold the icing, and cut a hole at the top to fit the decorating tip.

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Studyblr Month in Review | FEBRUARY and MARCH

IMG_8587I’ve been more active on Tumblr lately than ever before, but since my posts on that platform are largely based on images and short captions, I think it unreasonable to post the same things simultaneously on Cre84me, which is more content-based. As a result, I’m going to be compiling my Tumblr posts every few months into a Cre84me STUDYBLR (blend of the words “study” and “tumblr blog”) MONTH IN REVIEW post series!

What’s new

Cre8ting a new note-taking style. I’ve been using it for a month now and I LOVE it! It’s so colourful and organized, and I barely have to study when a test comes around because it pushes me to study hardest WHILE we’re learning the material. Another big plus: all my courses are in a SINGLE binder!

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