Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey

May 6, 2015 Books 1 ★★★★★

Girl in the Dark by Anna LyndseyGirl in the Dark
by Anna Lyndsey
Narrator: Hannah Curtis
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
Published by Random House Audio
on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Autobiography, Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
A gorgeous memoir of an unthinkable life: a young woman writes of the sensitivity to light that has forced her to live in darkness, and of the love that has saved her.

“Something is afoot within me that I do not understand, the breaking of a contract that I thought could not be broken, a slow perverting of my substance.”

Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world that, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty.

And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna’s savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, and even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself “By continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children nor a public companion nor a welcoming home—do I do wrong?” With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love, and the world, anew.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Imagine a world that is dark. So dark that light doesn’t even shine through the cracks. No glimmer of light through the blinds. No shimmer beneath the door. Complete. Total. Black.

This is the life Anna Lyndsey lives every day.

Burns? Burns like the worst kind of sunburn. Burns like someone is holding a flame-thrower to my head.

Anna has an extremely rare and terrible form of photo-sensitivity. At her worst, she stays in complete darkness. At her best, she is able to go out after dusk or before daybreak to take a walk. Sunlight, indoor light, computer light; all of it burns her skin. This means no reading, no television, no work, no cooking, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And the pain can be unbearable.

How she shares her journey through this debilitating illness is nothing short of beautiful. Her prose is clear and captivating. Reading (or in this case, listening) to her story and how she has made it through is nothing short of inspiring. Being invited to witness her private thoughts on her life and her feelings throughout (is she being selfish, living with the man who loves her, but can’t have her as a normal companion? Does she want to live out her life this way? How does she keep her sanity?) feels like a privilege.

You guys. This book. I mean, this book. You guys. Seriously. It feels kind of horrible to say I loved it, but I loved it. This is the first book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Hannah Curtis and I hope it isn’t the last. Her narration was perfect. As I’m discovering, I love memoirs in audio and this one is no exception.

Highly recommended.

Favorite quotes:

Friendship plants itself as a small unobtrusive seed; over time, it grows thick roots that wrap around your heart. When a love affair ends, the tree is torn out quickly, the operation painful but clean. Friendship withers quietly, there is always hope of revival. Only after time has passed do you recognise that it is dead, and you are left, for years afterwards, pulling dry brown fibres from your chest.

My ears become my conduit to the world. In the darkness I listen—to thrillers, to detective novels, to romances; to family sagas, potboilers and historical novels; to ghost stories and classic fiction and chick lit; to bonkbusters and history books. I listen to good books and bad books, great books and terrible books; I do not discriminate. Steadily, hour after hour, in the darkness I consume them all.

Most of the time, I do not want to die. But I would like to have the means of death within my grasp. I want to feel the luxury of choice, to know the answer to “How do I bear this?” need not always be “Endure.



Top Ten Tuesday – Ain’t Gonna Do It

May 5, 2015 Meme 8


I don’t know about you, but I feel kind of…dirty…making a list of books I know I will never read. Yet, it’s the truth. There are millions of books I will never read, but there are some I just KNOW I’m not going to read. Like, with certainty. Will not touch them. With that proverbial ten-foot-pole. Here are a few shining examples of books I’m like, 99.9% sure, I will never read.

1. Ulysses by James Joyce – Intimidating. Pure, and simple.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Ugh. Depressing! I’ve tried several times and I just can’t take it.

3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – If there is a book on this list that I may someday read, it’s this one. And then I look at how thick it is and go, yeah, maybe not.

4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville – I read TWO HUNDRED PAGES of this train ship wreck over 10 years ago and put it down with tears of absolute BOREDOM in my eyes. Never. Again.

5. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James – Ew. Just…ew.

6. Pet Sematary by Stephen King – I saw the movie, that was enough. No no no no no no.

7. The Shining by Stephen King – I did not see the movie. I don’t need to see it or read the book to know that it’s a big, huge NO for me.

8. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon – Lengthy. Complex. Postmodern. All things that give me the heebie jeebies.

9. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – 1,088 pages. Yes, The Stand was longer. But apparently this book has many subplots, zany political satire, morbid, cerebral humor and astonishing range of cultural references that I’m almost certain would be lost on me.

10. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – Basically, it’s Jonathan Franzen. I can’t stand him.

How about you? Are there any books you absolutely WILL NOT READ?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

May 4, 2015 Books, Meme 7


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Look familiar? It should! It is exactly what I was reading LAST week. AND the week before that. I hope I can finish at least one of them this week. I’m afraid if I don’t, I’m really heading into a mega slump.

Oh wait. I forgot I added Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larsen to the mix last week. Because 3 books aren’t enough. No wonder I can’t finish anything….

Up next, well, there are lots of things. I’d really like to get started on It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario (Kim has me dying to read it) and The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I’m such a sucker for a book with books on the cover.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

Oh, and May the Fourth be with you!!! 😀

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Currently // It’s a Gorgeous Day!

May 3, 2015 Miscellaneous 5

Right this minute | I’m fixing my daughter’s iPod. Because, of course. Also contemplating what to do outside on this gorgeous day!

Feeling | Irritable. My head hurts. The ibuprofen should kick in soon.

Reading | Ugh. Why ask me that? It’s been at a standstill all week. I’ve mainly been listening to Dead Wake by Erik Larson and I did manage to read quite a bit of The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton yesterday. End of semester is super busy at the university.

Listening | I added a bunch of music from my youth (late 80s, 90s) on my Spotify playlist Friday night. We were jamming in the car yesterday!

Watching | I watched Pitch Perfect Friday night. Perfection.

Blogging | During my brief break I tried to get ahead a little bit. I have about three half reviews and a few topics drafted for emergencies.

Promoting | Nothing. Yet. The Estella Society has been plotting for summer. More details coming soon!

Loving | Did I mention the weather?

Hating | Did I mention the headache? And lack of reading? ::sigh::

Eating | We have a birthday party later. I’ll probably have to pack my lunch since they will probably have pizza. I meal planned like a little mother nut earlier in the week, so I KNOW what I have and what I’ll be making all week. Score!

Exercising | Uhh….what’s that?

Anticipating | Summer!!!



Monthly Wrap Up – April 2015

May 2, 2015 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 4


Thank Goodness for the Readathon y’all. Without it, I wouldn’t have had half these stories. Yay Readathon!!! So, this month I read:

48. Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin
49. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, read by David Horovitch
50. Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey, read by Hannah Curtis
51. Rat Queens, Issue 10 by Kurtis Wiebe
52. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, read by Humphrey Bower
53. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, read by Jo Myddleton
54. Capture Creatures, Issue 3 by Frank Gibson
55. The Fade Out, Issue 5 by Ed Brubaker
56. A Card from Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp
57. Wild’s End, Issue 1 by Dan Abnett
58. Wild’s End, Issue 2 by Dan Abnett
59. Wild’s End, Issue 3 by Dan Abnett
60. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
61. Wild’s End, Issue 4 by Dan Abnett
62. Wild’s End, Issue 5 by Dan Abnett
63. Wild’s End, Issue 6 by Dan Abnett
64. Lumberjanes, Issue 13 by Noelle Stevenson
65. Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell

Favorite is, hands down, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Sure, I’ve seen her drawings on the internet, but had no idea of the brain behind them. Wow. All I can say is Wow. And I’ll be reading this again. And again. And again. Girl in the Dark was absolutely fantastic as well. I listened to The Yellow Wallpaper three times prior to our readathon readalong and each time it just got creepier. That was a lot of fun.

Here’s hoping May is just as fun.





It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

April 27, 2015 Books, Meme 6


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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still carrying a bit of a reading hangover this Monday! Isn’t it delightful? I can’t remember the last time I was able to read some much in one weekend.

Now that it’s the week again, I’m back to the books I was reading before the Readathon. I started The Long Walk on a lark, after hearing it compared, however vaguely, to The Hunger Games. Stephen King doing dystopian? YES PLEASE.

With my free trial to Scripd, I decided to try Ron Rash’s Something Rich and Strange on audio mainly because it was the first audiobook recommended to me. And wow, y’all. Rash is blowing me away.

The Wind is Not a River is also a Scripd recommendation. I’m not very far into it and I’m not exactly what I would CALL into it, but I’m going to give it a few more chapters. The back and forth between points of view are throwing me a bit, I think.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Currently // Wiped Out

April 26, 2015 Miscellaneous 4

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Right this minute | I’m having some cereal. I’m beat. It was all I could muster.

Feeling | Tired and hung over. That’s right, I have a reading hangover.

Reading | I finished the last book I started during the Readathon – Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell. Now I’m going back the books I was reading before the Readathon: The Long Walk by Stephen King and The Wind is Not A River by Brian Payton.

Listening | It is blissfully quiet. I been listening to Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories by Ron Rash which is all kinds of excellent, but I just need the quiet right now.

Watching | I haven’t had time to watch anything! I have Pitch Perfect to watch, whenever I get a free couple of hours.

Blogging | I mostly blogged about the Readathon last week and I shared some of my favorite authors.

Promoting | Nothing! Wheee!


Loving | Scribd. I signed up for a free trial to use for the readathon and ended up reading everything I read off of there. It’s so awesome.

Hating | This weather! It’s like 45 degrees! It’s supppppposed to be Spring.

Eating | See Right This Minute.

Exercising | What is that?

Anticipating | Bedtime.



April 25, 2015 – Readathon

April 25, 2015 Books 24

I’ll be over at the Readathon blog, hosting for a couple hours, then I’ll be back here to share in the reading.


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

North Carolina, where it is expected to rain QUITE a bit today. Yay!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

All the comics!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Hmm….I think I’m going to make ice cream later. Probably that.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I love collective nouns. My favorite is A Parliament of Owls.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

One thing? So far, I haven’t panicked. This is a good thing.


Stories started: The Wind is Not a River by Brian Peyton. Capture Creatures Issue 3 by Frank Gibson. The Fade Out Issue 5 by Ed Brubaker. Lumberjanes Issue 13 by Noelle Stevenson. A Card from Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp. Wild’s End Issues 1-6 by Dan Abnett. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell.

Stories finished: 11.

Finished: Capture Creatures Issue 3 by Frank Gibson. The Fade Out Issue 5 by Ed Brubaker. Lumberjanes Issue 13 by Noelle Stevenson. A Card from Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp. Wild’s End Issues 1-6 by Dan Abnett. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Pages read:

Snacks: Cadbury Chocolate Easter Eggs (I can’t believe we still have some). Banana. Cereal. Ham sandwich on GF bread and chips. Popcorn. Apple. Snickers Fun Size (x4). A NASTY spinach and cheese GF pizza because the Mississippi Roast wasn’t done until 10:30 PM. I had some at 11.

End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?

17, which is midnight my time. It gets me every year. I wish I could just skip it.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Comics are great for breathers between books. And Hyperbole and a Half was fantastic. Very hard to put down.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I have a few ideas.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The co-hosts were completely awesome. We could not have done it without them. And the cheer captains were excellent.

How many books did you read?

9 comics and 2 books.

What were the names of the books you read?

Capture Creatures Issue 3 by Frank Gibson. The Fade Out Issue 5 by Ed Brubaker. Lumberjanes Issue 13 by Noelle Stevenson. A Card from Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp. Wild’s End Issues 1-6 by Dan Abnett. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Which book did you enjoy most?

Hyperbole and a Half was a complete surprise. Was not expecting it to be so amazing.

Which did you enjoy least?

Probably A Card from Angela Carter. Despite its short length, it moved slow. Not the best choice for a readathon.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

Get a better leader! Don’t worry, I have a couple ideas of how to make it better next time.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ll be there with bells on. Organizing, co-hosting, cheering, reading; the whole nine yards.





Readathon – The Snacks

April 23, 2015 Books 15


Well, all the food, really.

More important than that goodnight’s sleep the night before, more important than the stack of books (I kid, I kid), the food is almost as much if not more discussed than anything else regarding the readathon. Sustenance is important people. And, after years of participating and now co-hosting, I feel like I’ve got this down pretty pat.

Firstly, I’ll be making Mississippi Roast in the crock pot for our supper. I can start it before go time and it can cook all day while I read, cheer, and do hosterly duties.

Secondly, I will have all the healthy stuffs: apples, bananas, cheese, water, and Bolthouse drinks for the protein zings.

Thirdly, I have all the not-so-healthy stuffs: Snickers, chocolate Chex (for breakfast), chai latte, Nutella, gf frozen pizza (lunch!), and chips and dip.

Lastly, I’ll have the appetite! Reading all day is HARD!

What snacks do you have lined up for the big day?