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This Is How You Survive by Lana Rafaela Cindric

If you like: Poetry collections, the unapologetic ravaging of your personal universe, and the friendly reminder that you can be happy on your own terms.

When I was in high school, I read a LOT. Like, I read any chance I got, whether it was at home, or in school or…well, when I was in high school, I was pretty much just at home or at school. It should come to little surprise that I’m kind of a hermit. I still distinctly remember doing my homework in Mr. Moskow’s math class while he was teaching the lesson that the homework was about, before breaking out my copy of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. That was back in the days where I was good at math, and said days stopped…immediately after freshman year. One of these days I will finish the other books in Maguire’s Wicked Years series, I’ll just add it to the ever-growing list I’ve prepped for these new, monthly, What I Read This Month posts.

Because I want to get back into reading.

Click the Read More for my review of This Is How You Survive by Lana Rafaela Cindric.

I have NOT been reading nearly enough fiction these last ten years, and I don’t like that. I miss books. I used to buy whole series of books at a time at the Borders in Century City, California, back when, you know, Borders still existed, and before that space was turned into a Container Store (RIP Borders). So my goal is simple, because I like simple goals. For this simple goal, I want to read one book a month. I used to get done a whole lot more than that, but with everything going on in my life with work and life and trying to get an agent for the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel, I know that I can at least try to get in one book a month. If I get two in? Even better. But one book in a month works for me and my life right now. Some of these books might be old books that have been gathering dust in my condo or being used as pillows by my cat (because Bishop is weird and doesn’t like normal pillows or cat beds), and others are new books that I have seen bandied about around social media, and I’m really curious about what’s out there right now.

This first book review is one I’m really excited about for a bunch of reasons. Number one, it’s a poetry anthology, which is way super far out of the realm of books I usually used to read (see: military thrillers by James Rollins, almost anything sci-fi, and that one series by Julie Kenner, which is a fashion-themed parody of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and I will definitely be re-reading that trilogy and reviewing it here, because it’s just that awesome and such an awesome, quick read.), and number two, I can’t say I know Lana personally, but we do follow each other on some social media accounts (she’s on both Tumblr and Instagram, and her website LanaRafaela.com) and I am a huge fan of what I’ve read of hers before, so when I decided I was going to do this What I Read This Month project, I knew I had to add this books to the list.

You can buy a hard copy of This Is How You Survive on Amazon for $7.00. I highly recommend the hard copy, because I scribbled the crap out of my copy, and you will definitely do the same with yours.

First and foremost, This Is How You Survive is a happy book, and there’s nothing we need more right now than happy books. This poetry collection is one that you can read in less than an afternoon, and it’s broken up into three sections, Ruin, Rising, and Revolution. Sounds badass, right? It does not hold back with both the ugly and the pretty that comprises life, and is intensely re-readable. I know for a fact that I could have used this book last year when my life turned upside down, and even before it, but also now.

Now, on the outset, it may seem like this poetry collection written by a woman is…just for women. But here’s the thing: that’s not a good perspective to have on creative content. Anything created by anyone of any gender is for everyone. Men are allowed to feel just as much as women are, and it’s important that men be allowed to acknowledge that they feel things too.

This is Bishop. She likes to use my books as her pillows.

If I had to pick a favorite poem from each of the three sections, my first thought would be…well, all of them, but when I flip through and see how much I’ve underlined, there are a few that stand out. For Ruin, I have underlined every.single.line of the poem called Named (page 24). The moral of it is that you’re allowed to collapse, and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Be loud, be angry, and don’t be afraid to feel what you feel.

For Rising, other than, you know, all of Rising, I really, really loved Spread Your Wings (page 49), because it’s about turning all the lies I was told about relationships when I was growing up right on their heads. It would have been really nice to know that it’s all bullshit back when I was in high school and college, but better late than never, am I right? (I’m bad at relationships, but let’s also not go there). “No one is going to come pick up your broken pieces.” You have to pull your own head out of your own ass (or whoever else’s ass you’ve shoved your head up) and fix your own damn life. You have to take control and make the situation work for you. Make your own choices and ignore the lies writers have told you. Don’t romanticize the misery, romanticize the healing. Romanticize making yourself better.

That got a little rant-y there, but like I said, I have a lot of feelings about this book.

And finally, Revolution starts off with a friendly reminder, You are so full, the moon could never compare. It has one of the shorter poems in this collection, but it’s also my favorite because it reminds me that when I stopped caring about what people think of me, I started feeling a whole lot better about myself. That poem is No Shame (page 80), and I have none. There’s no reason to have any, and I used to have so damn much. I used to care so much about what people think of me and the things that I like, and I internalized so much for fear of the embarrassment of talking about those things (one of them is Power Rangers. I give no damns about what people think about my love for that silly show. Without that show, I would not have a critical aspect of the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel, and that’s all I care about.

I’m sure that if, okay, when, I re-read this, I’ll have another set of three favorites from each section, and that’s one of the things I love most about books like this. My absolute favorite books are books that I can pick up on a whim and think, “It’s a great time to read this again.” And now that I’ve decided I want to read books on the regular again, this is definitely going to hang out in the rotation and on the top of my list of books to recommend to basically everyone I know. There are many people in my life that I know can use a read through of this book.

I will move mountains, and so can you.

Once again, you can buy a hard copy of This Is How You Survive on Amazon for $7.00. Don’t forget to grab a pen, because there’s nothing wrong with marking up a good book, so you can flip right back to the parts of the collection that you need most. Lana Rafaela Cindric is a writer, a big fan of cryptozoology, neon, black holes, and will one day achieve her dream of running into a waddle of penguins screaming at the top of her lungs. You can subscribe to her collection, Weird & Wonderful, her monthly newsletter, here.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Reading Recommendations, and also don’t forget to join the Facebook Group to chime in with your favorite book. I’m all about expanding my To Be Read list, so if you have a book you think would be up my eclectic alley, let me know!

Click below to get your copy of This Is How You Survive

Want more prompts? Check out the Prompt Library.

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