Tuesday, December 30, 2008

chick lit

So I went to the library yesterday, as my books were due and I could not renew them. I went kind of crazy and checked out 8 books. They fall in the chick lit genre. Wiki defines it as "a term used to denote genre fiction within women's fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties." Source.

All I can say is these books make me happy. They seem to be about real women with superficial problems that I can relate to. I love serious novels as well - they just tend to make me depressed and feel like I need to do more with my life. There is just something about chick lit that is relatable and just honest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This book is SO GOOD. It takes place post 1940s WWII, one of my favorite time periods! I enjoy post-colonial literature. It is also in letter format so quite fun to read. I usually do not like multiple characters, but this book read so smoothly and I literally could not put it down. Just AMAZING. It takes place on these small islands off the coast of France and in London. The main character is witty, sarcastic, fun. A well-written novel.

Description from the website: Guernsey

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

The book was not that bad. I think the ideas of it were somewhat frightening to my imagination. A girl's parents send her to a mental institution where she lives for over 60 years. She is not crazy, but just a free spirit who doesn't do everything that is told of her. She returns to the real world where no one even knows she exists. Is that scary or what?

To disappear and be forgotten that easily. Your life to have made an almost invisible but noticeable impact. To almost not be discovered.

As a child and a teenager, often times I wish I could disappear or be invisible. See if I made any difference in the world. Now, I changed my perspective on that. I look for the people who fade in the background and try to acknowledge them because I know how it feels...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Last Summer (Of You & Me) by Ann Brashares

I am completely in love with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so seeing another book by this lady was intriguing. It was very good. About a person's first true love. The sacrifices we make for the ones we love. Recently, from TV and film, I had just been feeling that the concept of 'love' has just become so superficial (not that I actually know anything haha) and meaningless and often pornographic. However, she made it seem so beautiful that I hope everyone would be lucky to experience. Innocent, pure love that makes a person feel guilty about being allowed to have or afraid of its power. Brashares painted a wonderful story that is engrossing and sweet and simple. I highly recommend it as it appeals to my inner romantic-idealism.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

winter book list

I went to the library yesterday and got some books. In an upcoming dance drama, there is a scene with a fortune teller who reads palms. All the girls were talking about it and we had fun trying to figure out what futures our hands told us. Of course we were just making up stuff haha. So I went got a book. And some others that were in the Fortunate Finds Section (2 weeks only no renewal).

Some type of review coming soon:
  • How To Read Palms
  • The Guernsey Library and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
  • The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares [author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series!]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lucky T - Kate Brian

My sister borrowed this book from the library and I decided to read it. It was about a girl who has this lucky T-shirt that accidentally gets sent as part of a donation to India. The girl decides to go all the way to India to track it down, but learns about how she can create her own luck, and (of course like all teen novels!!) meets a cute, perfect guy in the process.

It was alright. I'm glad Kate Brian did not romanticize or exoticize India. Of course, meeting the Indian guy was a little idealistic and unrealistic. Seriously? An Indian-British student who goes to Cambridge is going to fall for a sophomore in high school? Really?

I guess that was the nature of the teen novel genre. If I want to say something positive, a message of sorts could be a person creates his or her own luck. Nothing deep or profound.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

I read this novel based on a friend's recommendation. It started out pretty well. Wikipedia describes it better than me:
The book consists of six nested stories that take us from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to the far future after a nuclear apocalypse.

Each nested story is distinctly written the style, prose, you name it. It could be thought of as 6 different authors wrote stories and combined it into one book. I admire Mitchell's range in writing. There was supposed to be a common thread throughout the novel which I thought was kind of lame, but I guess it worked.

Again, I prefer novels that follow a singular storyline and not meander with many different characters, so I liked some of the stories more than others. It was not boring, but I did not read it for a few days and honestly did not have the desire to finish it since the portions with my favorite characters were complete.

It's worth a shot in reading at least once.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Brick Lane - Monica Ali

WOW. what a novel. It was so exciting to read that I woke up this morning and just polished the book off instead of getting ready for the day. I get carried away with books that I tend to mirror the feelings off the protagonists. Anyway...

The story: A Bengali Muslim woman who is sweet, grateful, and from the village has an arranged marriage to a man who lives in London. He is very good to her, but not attractive or the overly romantic type. He is an intellectual who loves to discuss everything. She takes all this into stride and considers herself very lucky.

However, she starts to have an affair with a young man. She unlocks all these sexual emotions she didn't know she had. At this point of the story, I felt for her. Was she trapped in a loveless marriage? What is more important - her stability or deep love?

It makes me think about Western society, Hollywood, and even Bollywood now. They push this idea of romantic love. That someone out there is your soul mate. It's not like that though. Statistically speaking there is little chance that I'm going to run into the perfect person for me. Hats off to the people who get the best of both worlds, but to me the priority is someone who I can trust to take care of me. Well-educated, stable, and a source of strength.

In India, let's face it, most marriages are arranged. But why is there such a negativity associated with it? Most of my family have gone this route and have turned out pretty well. The couples make a good team, running after their kids and managing the household. I think you can grow to love a person not because they think you're beautiful and ahem great in other ways, but because of their caring nature.

I read this article from the New York Times (Marry Him!). I interpreted it as don't go searching for the man of your dreams; if someone is smart, stable, and you could see as a good caretaker and father - what is wrong with marrying him? You don't always have to be all over each other (if you catch my drift). I realize though that is an important trait for me. Every male I have admired as been such a good caretaker - made you feel safe.

This novel was much better than Kiran Desai's book. It followed one character and really made me feel like I knew her personally and sympathized and envied her.

I don't want to give away the story ending, but I approved. She made the right, mature decision.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai

I picked up this novel from the library. It is going rather slow so far, and I am not that motivated to finish it. There are many characters and a scattered writing style. She writes a few paragraphs about one character, then switches to another. I do however like the story about the 17 yr old Sai and the worker Bijju struggling to live in New York City. I may just skip over the parts about other characters and find out what happens to them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

jonathan livingston seagull - a review

For more information:

Writing Style: It was quite an easy read. I polished it off in under an hour.

It was a simple story with a powerful meaning. I got reminded very much of Thoreau's Walden and existentialist thought. As humans, we are more than worrying about food and material possessions, but about a higher purpose. No one is better than the other. There is a passage that really struck me.
The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing , and the next is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.
That is very, very cool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

some new books

I have some textbooks that I should read for classes. However, I went to the University library and splurged on some novels that were recommended to me and I always intended to read. You shall hear thoughts after I complete them.

Book names:
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Cloud Atlas