Book Review: The English Wife by Lauren Willig

34945222. sy475

The English Wife by Lauren Willig /  ★★★.5

Summary: Bayard, from the esteemed Van Duyvil family, is found with a knife in his chest, and his wife, Annabelle, goes missing, presumed drowned, on the night of their Twelfth Night ball. The press goes wild with rumors, but Janie, Bay’s sister, teams up with an unlikely reporter to uncover the truth.

It wasn’t the big decisions that set the course of one’s life; it was the slow accretion of all the little ones.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro /  ★★★★★

Summary: At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness” and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.

What is the point in worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot

The Idiot by Elif Batuman /  ★★★★★

Summary: The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings.

“And you are different? You do not love truth?” 

I thought about it. “Truth is okay,” I said. 

Continue reading

Circe Review and Why I’ve Been Gone…

SORRY I have been gone over the last few months! Things got a little…not good…earlier this year, which I explain a bit of down below, but I have returned with a review! And some very mini mini reviews of the books I’ve read in the last few weeks. Sorry if my review writing is a little rusty….

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller ★★★.5

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves…

I had an….interesting time with this book. I really enjoyed the first half of it, I liked Circe, I liked her kindness and her naivety even though it was a weakness to her. The pace of this book is not fast, but I read the first half very quickly, was intrigued by the way the mythology played out in Miller’s style.

Then I hit a wall. Things just got…… too slow. I’m not even going to look on Goodreads to see the dates that I started and finished this book, because it felt like years. An eternity. As long as Circe’s immortal life. Because Circe is just kind of stuck on an island and after a little while I was starting to really feel that. And if that was the point, then bravo, but if not, then, well, hmm. Much of what we learn about the outside world is summarized to us by other characters, and even then, I didn’t really care. It felt removed, and not very important or threatening to me. Circe can’t leave, Circe can’t die, she turned vengeful, but not in a way that riveted me.

But I kept going, and I ended up loving the ending. What I had enjoyed about the first half of the book seemed to return, and I felt a renewed affection for the characters, and a vivid interest in how the plot was going to wrap up. If it wasn’t for the patch in the middle where things got slow and disinteresting for me, I’d be giving this book 4 stars. As it is, even though it was a little tough to get through, I did genuinely enjoy this.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #2) / ★★★★☆

Summary: Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other; of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other, each way will have its bitter with its sweet.” 

Continue reading

Book Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

IMG_1308.jpg

Tin Man by Sarah Winman /  ★★★★★

Five years after the death of his wife, Ellis lives in a state of loneliness. His childhood best friend, Michael, is nowhere in sight, but as Ellis falls back into memories, their lives together – and apart – begin to unfold.

I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. 

Continue reading

My Favorite Books of 2018 (aka 5 very sad books)

Hello!!! I am here!! Sorry I have been so absent this year!!

So yeah.

I had Goodreads reading challenge to 62 books for 2018. But that was before I decided to take art classes, and to write more, and move a new place. Before I had, like, a block on writing reviews. But I still read 27 books in 2018, which isn’t…terrible! And I believe the ratings I gave them averaged out to 4-point-something, which means they were a good 27 books. However, I don’t have ten books to call my favorites this year, but I do have a very solid five.

Warning…….they are sad (but great).

29983711

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This was the very first book I read in 2018, and I guess you could say it set a bit of a standard for the rest of the books I read this year. This book centers around a Korean family in Japan in the 20th century, and sprawls over several generations of characters. This book is long, and has moments of sadness, sweetness, awfulness, and is a fantastic exploration of cultural identity and history. And while I love history, it was the characters that left the biggest impression on me. There are a lot of people in this book, and I loved how Min Jin Lee connected them and juxtaposed them against one another, in their personalities, choices, and their reactions to life and culture.  Full review.

Continue reading

Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

37539457.jpg

Normal People by Sally Rooney / ★★★★★

Summary: Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.

How strange to feel herself so completely under the control of another person, but also how ordinary. No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.

Continue reading