The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

thewomaninthedunes

The Woman in the Dunes tells the tale about a young, amateur entomologist and teacher who took a trip to the seashores in the countryside in search of a kind of beetle he believed can be found in the sand dunes. He was unknowingly deceived by the villagers where he was lead down through a ladder to a house in very deep pits dug in the sand dunes. Soon enough, he found himself a prisoner in the house in the dunes of a young and lonely widow.

I actually thought this would be a quick read but how wrong was I? It turned out to be a very dense and also repetitive read for me. To be quite honest, it’s the kind that wears me down. Moreover, I am not very sure what to think of it. In theory, the plot was interesting, sure. But I felt like there were a lot of things going on that the author is trying to tell me but I couldn’t really quite get it? Also, it was difficult to like the characters. It was a tedious read. I felt like being trapped in the dunes like the man, I felt suffocated and thirsty. Perhaps that’s what the author exactly wants you to feel? I really don’t know.

The ending wasn’t quite satisfactory for me, too, but it left me question my place in the world and the impact I have to the people around me.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad read. This is my first Kobo Abe book so I probably just need to familiarize myself more of his works. I’ll find time to give this a second read and hopefully understand it better.

Quotable Quotes:

“One could not do without repetition in life, like the beating of the heart, but it was also true that the beating of the heart was not all there was to life.”

“Everyone has his own philosophy that doesn’t hold good for anybody else.”

“Only the happy ones return to contentment. Those who were sad return to despair.”

“I rather think the world is like sand. The fundamental nature of sand is very difficult to grasp when you think of it in its stationary state. Sand not only flows, but this very flow is the sand.”

“Loneliness was an unsatisfied thirst for illusion.”

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Unless you know who you are, you will always be vulnerable to what people say.

~Phil McGraw

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

staywithmeYejide and Akin have been in love with each other since they first met in the university. After several years of being married though, Yejide has never gotten pregnant until one day, her in-laws brought a younger woman in their home and proposed that she be Akin’s second wife in order for them to have children. Yejide was pressured to get pregnant or else, she would have to share her husband with another woman.

Told in alternating views of Yejide and Akin, the book is a very honest story of love, marriage, grief and loyalty. The characters aren’t really very likable but they were written well.

It is also always very fascinating to learn more of cultures that are very different from my own and in this book Nigeria’s traditions and beliefs, more specifically the Yoruba people.

I liked Ayobami Adebayo’s writing. She has shown that her writing talent is very much beyond her years. For this, I’m adding her to my list of authors whose works I very much look forward to.

This is not a hopeful book I must say but something that will stay with me for a long time.

Quotable Quotes:

“If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.”

“So love is like a test, but in what sense? To what end? Who was carrying out the test? But I think I did believe that love had immense power to unearth all that was good in us, refine us and reveal to us the better versions of ourselves.”

“I understand how a word others use every day can become something whispered in the dark to soothe a wound that just won’t heal. I remember thinking I would never hear it spoken without unravelling a little, wondering if I would ever get to say it in the light. So I recognise the gift in this simple pronouncement, the promise of a beginning in this one word.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

~Henry David Thoreau

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

thealicenetworkThe Alice Network is a fascinating historical-fiction novel about women spies headed by Louise de Bettignies. The story brings together two women — Eve, a spy in World War I, and Charlie St. Clair, an American socialite searching for her cousin who has gone missing in World War II. Both women were dealing with each world war and are connected by the past.

The story happened between 1915 and 1947 and touches different themes including revenge, forgiving one’s self and punishment. This is a great story about the world of female espionage during the first world war.

This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Quinn. She surely did a huge amount of research for this book. The storyline and timeline was quite convincing. The two storylines fit quite perfectly with each other. I liked that she gave voice to a part of history that deserves more attention.

Quotable Quotes:

“Hope was such a painful thing, far more painful than rage.”

“Poetry is like passion–it should not be merely pretty; it should overwhelm and bruise.”

“What did it matter if something scared you, when it simply had to be done?”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

We are products of our past but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.

~Rick Warren

WWW Wednesday

Hello there, Homo sapiens! Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

theunlikeypilgrimageofharoldfry

Currently Reading

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

Hello there! Happy Tuesday and welcome to this week’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s given topic is Books I Loved but Never Reviewed.

These 10 books are all in my favorites list but I can’t exactly remember anymore why I wasn’t able to write reviews of them but I intend to do it after rereading each of these books someday.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

murderontheorientexpressMurder on the Orient Express is my first introduction to Hercule Poirot mystery from Agatha Christie. I’ve read almost all of the Miss Marple books but never a single one from Poirot.

Hercule Poirot is a Belgian detective on-board the Orient Express. An American guy was found dead on his compartment while the train was halted by a snow storm. Police can’t get in the train so Poirot took charge of the investigation.

Just like the Miss Marple books, this kept me guessing as the story progresses. And I wasn’t able to guess it right. Damn! Anyway, I liked that each character was given their own chapters and all of them were suspects. All of them were realistic, too.

This turned out to be a really great introduction of Hercules Poirot to me. It was a captivating read, smart and mysterious. Looking forward to my next Poirot mystery.

Quotable Quotes:

“If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it – often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect.”

“But I know human nature, my friend, and I tell you that, suddenly confronted with the possibility of being tried for murder, the most innocent person will lose his head and do the most absurd things.”

“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

You can never really go back to the same waters. Not only are you no longer the same, but neither are the waters you left. The current has changed. The elements of nature have affected the stream. When you return, although it appears the same, it really is a different river and you are a different person. Therefore, you cannot cross the same river twice.

~Alice Walker

WWW Wednesday 05-Aug-2020

Hello there, Homo sapiens! Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

After some six-week reading hiatus, I am so glad that I am back to my books and reading at last! I don’t know what happened but once in a while, it just happens. It’s good to have a break from reading but it’s far better to be back on track.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

nada

Currently Reading

I am almost halfway through The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and I find it a bit slow for my taste but I am enjoying the characters so that’s alright. As for Angela’s Ashes, it’s kinda sad and a bit funny at times. I really hope for a happy ending on this one.

Up Next

I have been wanting to read The Girl with the Louding Voice and The Dutch House for quite some time so I really hope to read them next. Also, a friend recommended We Need to Talk About Kevin since she recently finished it so, yeah, there it is on my list. 🙂

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books with Colors in the Titles

Hello there! Happy Tuesday and welcome to this week’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s given topic is Books with Colors in the Titles.

The following five books are books I’m done reading…

While these next five books are on my TBR…

Do we have the same titles? Have you read these books? Feel free to share in the comments section or leave a link of your TTTs.

Happy day, Homo sapiens!

 

Out by Natsuo Kirino

outOut is my first book from Kirino Natsuo. It has been on my TBR list for quite some time and so I am glad I finally got to it.

I was initially hooked by the storyline in the first few pages/chapters of this book. There are four women who work on the night shift in a boxed lunch factory. One of them is abused by the husband and one day she found out that he used up all their savings in drinking, gambling and chasing a girl in a club. She ended up killing him. She then asked one of her co-workers to help her dispose the body and the story goes on.

I felt a bit bored after this initial action. I wasn’t sure where the story was going and it seemed like the author herself was confused where the story was heading. There were parts that I didn’t feel were relevant to the central plot. The last part of the book though brought back my initial excitement when I started reading it. I didn’t quite like the ending though. I thought it would’ve ended some other way but that’s okay.

It’s a strange book but that’s not new to me anymore when it comes to works of Japanese authors.

Quotable Quotes:

“She couldn’t live her life as someone’s prisoner the way he had lived his, caught up in a dream of the past, with no way forward and no way back, forced to dig down inside oneself.”

“When stones lying warm in the sun were turned over, they exposed the cold, damp earth underneath; and that was where Masako had burrowed deep. There was no trace of warmth in this dark earth, yet for a bug curled up tight in it, it was a peaceful and familiar world.”

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Quote of the Week

Don’t run from lessons; they are little packages of treasure that have been given to us. As we learn from them, our lives change for the better.

~Louise Hay