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Reads and Needs

A grad student's readings and ramblings beyond research

Currently reading

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
The Beginning of Everything
Robyn Schneider
Us
David Nicholls
The Man with the Compound Eyes
Wu Ming-Yi
The ABC murders
Agatha Christie

Bad Choices after a Good Book

I finally finished reading Our Happy Time right before the holidays and I am SO glad my friend recommended it to me. As one of her favourite books she also told me about the Manga and film based on the novel which I will definitely check out in the near future. Our Happy Time follows two characters, an inmate on death row (Yunsu) and a woman that visits him at her aunt's request after her third suicide attempt (Yujeong). The novel is written from Yujeong's perspective and alternates with "Blue Notes" that are written from Yunsu's perspective, both giving insight on their mysterious pasts and developing connection.

 

I was really ecstatic after reading Our Happy Time and thought  "hmm why not read another translated novel?" 

Seeing as I've been eyeing books by Haruki Murakami for a long time, I thought I'd finally read something by him. Sadly, it was a grave mistake to start with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I cry just thinking about how I should have picked a different novel to read over the holidays. Actually, I made very bad selections over the break....More on that later.

Tsukuru Tazaki is shafted by his circle of 4 high school friends during his time away at a different university. One day he was told to stop contacting them, and Tsukuru accepts the request. Years later he starts his journey to discover the reason behind why his friends abandon him. While the story does keep me interested until the very end, I felt as though I wanted more out of it.

I also recently finished Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I was binge reading the Divergent Trilogy last month until I hit the final book. It was written in the perspective of both Tris and Tobias which completely threw me off. I also accidentally read a one lined spoiler for the novel and didn't have the heart to devour it like I normally would. Don't you hate it when that happens? 

 

I think it's time to read something new. Perhaps I should do a little bit more research before picking up another book and investing so much time into it.

Don't make promises you can't keep

The Promise of Amazing - Robin Constantine

I have to admit, I was swept up by the cuteness of the book cover and the title. The Promise of Amazing? Wouldn't you think there would be a story of epic proportions within its pages? Sadly no. 

The characters were interesting at first, but my interest in them flew out the window once they started interacting more. Just writing and thinking about the character development makes me irritated.

Why do I still bother with YA Fiction? Probably because they're an easy read. These days I really do question my life book choices. 

Redemption

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

After the train wreck of a reading of Looking For Alaska, I have to say that The Fault in Our Stars was definitely worth the second chance.

 

While reading this novel, I remembered an author I used to love back in high school...Lurlene McDaniel. She would always write about tragic diagnoses of young adults and what they do at the face of death. A Rose for Melinda was a book that really sticks out in my mind. I remember it being well written and it was probably one of the first books that brought tears to my eyes. 

 

Apologies, I digress. The Fault in Our Stars was much better than I had expected. I am a little hesitant on reading other works by John Green. What if John Green is another Mitch Albom? After 2 or 3 books, you get a feel for how the author writes and everything else just loses it's magic. :(

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us - Kasie West

The Distance Between Us was cute and sweet, but it was a typical Cinderella story. I still enjoyed reading about the fun and sarcastic girl that was swept off her feet by a fellow who brings her hot chocolate in the morning as opposed to coffee.

 

 

(When it comes down to making his own hot chocolate however, he makes it with water. Hot chocolate should NOT be made with water. WHO DOES THAT?)

 

The book left many unanswered questions and just seemed to fall flat of expectations. The ending was quite abrupt and frankly needed some more development. 

It was still a cute and short read *shrugs*. On to the next book on my list!

"We Are Consumers of War"

Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid - Samantha Nutt

And it's only when you have time to think, unarmed in the midst of a fierce gunfight, that you understand how utterly and hopelessly f***** you really are.

 

Just within a few pages, Dr. Nutt pulls you into the seriousness of war, poverty and violence plagued communities around the world. Not only does she describe the helplessness that comes with seeing hundreds of women and children dying of hunger, but also the disgusting brutality consuming peacekeepers that in return fracture the image of neutral humanitarian operations. 

 

The conflict described is alive and real. There is a great deal of power in Dr. Nutt's words, definitely take a read and reflect on what kind of impact -if any- this would have on how you make your donations and where you spend your time volunteering. Are you doing more harm than good?

WHAT THE HECK

Looking for Alaska - John Green

There's been a lot of hype about John Green especially since the movie "the Fault in our Stars" hit the theaters. I finally decided to pick up "Looking for Alaska"....with absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself into. I had to borrow this book twice just because I couldn't bring myself to finish the book the first time.

 

Long story short, I thought the most interesting development occurred late into the novel. Having said this, the novel didn't have much substance to begin with. Am I just getting too old to appreciate Young Adult fiction?

I'm all for second chances.. so let's give Mr. Green another shot shall we?

Me Before You

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

I am quite certain that I've mentioned it before, but I normally don't pick up romance novels. Me Before You was a great novel despite how predictable it was. It has been a while since I cried while reading a novel, but this one really got to me. The first few chapters were slow, but it picked up really quickly! 

I would definitely like to read other books by this author.

I find it quite difficult to write about books I've read...I know I'm very good at spoiling plots so I need to keep my posts to a minimum.

:p

The Trip Takes a Lifetime

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield's book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" was an amazing read that I couldn't put down.

 

Surprisingly, there were a lot of things that I learned through reading Hadfield's book. There were a lot of motivational moments throughout and plenty of opportunities to reflect on my own life. I didn't realize how many lessons I could learn from an astronaut. The book even included a photo insert with pictures of Hadfield growing up, his career milestones, and the view from the International Space Station. (All of which were breathtaking.)

I've been nonstop telling my friends about my latest read. Hopefully you'll like it just as much as I do!

The Help

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

I took one look at the first chapter and was surprised about the dialect in which it was written. I thought to myself that reading Shakespeare would have been easier..... I admit that I cheated and listened to the audiobook for this instead. I was originally thinking of putting this book away, but I think I'll put more effort into trying to get through it.

"Love Stories that Don't Suck"


I came across this post one day on Pinterest. Seeing as I am not into romance novels, tackling some of these would be a good start. I've already started Night Circus, so it can't be that bad! Keeping my fingers crossed!

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha was a book I first heard about in my 12th grade after a classmate's book report. At the time it seemed like a book that I would find fascinating, however upon picking it up years later, I found that the novel fell short of my expectations. It was such a shame that after all this time, this book could only captivate me for a couple of sittings.

Good Beginnings

While there have been many textbooks crossing my desk over the last few years of higher education, sitting down reading just for myself has been a scarce occurrence. Thankfully I stumbled across booklikes and can now keep track of my progress in quite a neat format. Here goes nothing :)