Latest Haul (Birthday Gifts)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My birthday is not until Sunday and yet I've already gotten gifts from people. First, a good friend of mine got me a gift card to Half Price Books. I was so excited. I went and got six books that's been in my tbr list for a while now. 
  • An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison - a mental health memoir about manic depression
  • Wasted by Marya Hornbacher - a mental memoir about anorexia and bulimia
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Where'd You go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • Siddheartha by Herman Hesse
  • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Aside from the books, I also received this awesome mug from my boyfriend. It says, "I like to party and by party I mean read books." No truer words have been said.

It's Mother's day on Sunday.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Since it's Mother's day on Sunday, I thought I'd get a head start in celebrating it by honoring the mothers in books we've read. Here are the mothers that I think deserve the recognition! Of course, if you are reading this, I challenge you to write down your own list of fictional moms that are memorable to you.

  • Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter series
    Molly Weasley was the first one that came to mind when I thought of this. She is kind, brave, and loyal. She also is generous with her motherly love as she has proven time and time as she pretty much took Harry (and Hermione - as well as others) as her own. 
  • Lily Potter from the Harry Potter series
    Even though we didn't get to see Lily as much, I have always been fond of her. First of all, she sacrificed herself for Harry, and through the stories told throughout the series, it was evident that she was a kind and gentle soul. 
  • Rosa Hubermann from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    She's sassy and a bit tough on Liesl, but there is no denying that her intentions and efforts were pure and simply out of love. She worked hard and she loved her family more than anything.
  • Claire Abshire from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    Her undying devotion to her family is like nothing else. Despite the special circumstances she's in, she never fails to remember why she does the things she does. 
  • Margaret March from The Little Women
    She plays both the mom and dad in the March family, and through it all, she remained her wise and gentle self. She is a great listener and she always encourages her children to go for whatever they may want.
  • Vianne from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    If  you haven't read The Nightingale yet, despite the fact that I've mentioned it again and again, you really must! It's a heart wrenching and beautiful book, and Vianne is an unforgettable character. She is a mother that would do anything and everything for her family and those she loves no matter what.
Also, I figured it wouldn't be fair to mention the good moms without mentioning the antagonistic ones. They're moms too after all ;)
  • Mrs. Lisbon from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Euginedes
  • Margaret White from Carrie by Stephen King
  • the bad mother from Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Now it's your turn. If you are reading this, I tag you to make your own list before or on Mother's day! It's actually surprisingly more challenging than I thought, coming up with this list, so good luck. 

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Genre: Literary Fiction - Modern Classic? 
Rating: 5 stars
I've always wanted to read this book, but it has always intimidated me. I'm glad I finally picked it up. Even before reading it, people had already warned me that this novel was one of those that you either love or hate, depending heavily on what you think of Jack Kerouac's views and his writing style. I am ecstatic to say that I loved it. 

There was just something about this novel that captured my interest while reading it. It felt like I was getting the chance to have an intimate look into one's scattered brain. Jack Kerouac's prose is also just lovely to read. It reads like a heavy stream of consciousness. It's a little messy and sometimes random, but the most important part is it's honest and real. 

I do see the flaws that the people in the book have (especially Dean), but I appreciate how realistic they were. Despite some negative attributes and actions, there were clearly good things that anyone can appreciate and learn from them. I love their free spirit and enthusiasm, and how they never seemed to lose their sense of wonder. They actively searched for the meaning of their lives in all the places they went and the people they met along the way. Through everything, they never lost their adventurous souls. 

I could easily go on and analyze its themes and messages. I could also just say that it's a book that can be appreciated academically due to its brilliant literary merit. However, for me, the book meant more than that. I loved it for its realistic take on humanity and one's struggles, fears, hopes, and dreams. It also proved to me that the only thing that can make you richer in life is experience. It pushed in my mind that there is nothing worse than not doing things you want to do, out of fear of the possible consequences. It reminded me that I should take risks even if it's the scariest thing to do. It made me think about these well-known lines from Erin Hanson's poem: 
There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, "What if I fall?" 
Oh but my darling, what if you fly? 

I do agree that this book is not for everyone. I understand why some give it a one-star rating, so my my advice is for you to just see if it's something you might like. I would generally recommend this to you if it's been on your TBR for a while. Consider this a little nudge for you to pick it up already. I would also recommend this if you like literary fiction or want to wander around the genre. For me, I'm glad I finally read it and I can't wait to read his other books as well. 

Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Monday, May 4, 2015

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Genre: Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
The Good Girl is about Mia Dennett, a teacher, who on one night, leaves with a seemingly nice man from the bar. What she didn't expect was that the decision to go home with him was going to be the biggest mistake in her life. 

That's all I can say about the book. If you want to read it, do not look up else much about it or believe anyone when they say it's the next so and so book. I think that setting up those expectations can automatically kill any book. I believe every book deserves to be read with an open-mind, and in my opinion, be read without knowing much about what it's about except for its basic premise. That is exactly what I did with this novel, and I think because of that, I ended up loving it and enjoying it so much.

I won't say a lot, but this book was mysterious, thrilling, and riveting. The author, Mary Kubica, definitely knows what she's doing because she tells this story in such an engaging way. Every chapter will pull you in, giving you more, but also leaving you more curious and more intrigued than when you started. This of course results in some serious late night reading, encouraging sleep deprivation. Basically, what I'm trying to suggest is you should proceed with caution when you pick up this book because once you start, you won't want to stop until you're done with it. It is pretty easy to read too as it is incredibly fast-paced. I finished it in two days! That being said, I highly recommend this if you love page turners. It's quick, easy, and definitely entertaining. The characters are realistic and believable, and the writing is effortless.

I have read mixed reviews for this though, saying it was predictable. Don't let that discourage you because personally, even when I was getting all sorts of clues throughout for what was to happen, I still liked the execution, and I think that's the most important thing - how the author does it. It worked for me, so pick it up and give it a try. 

Books I Plan To Read in May

Friday, May 1, 2015

I read 7.5 books in April, which makes me happy. I love when I am on a reading high. I am determined to make May just as good, if not even better. Here are the five books I'm planning to read this month. 

  • On my Kindle - borrowed from the library - A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tess of the d' Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Have you read any of these books and what did you think? Also, let me know what's on your TBR list for this month! Happy reading!