WWW Wednesday 15-Jan-2020

img_1384-0Hello there! Welcome to my first WWW Wednesday this year, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. The last time I did this was a month ago, I was, and I am still, very busy at work and life that I  only get to read on whatever little free time I get. By the way, happy new year homo sapiens! I hope you all started the year great! Anyways, let’s get started.

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:

I enjoyed A Christmas Carol and I really think this story is Christmas. Wonderful read. Kitchen is my second Banana Yoshimoto work, The Lake being the first. Character-focused and great writing. The Setting Sun is a first for me from Osamu Dazai. A very interesting read despite the absence of action. Lastly, The Driver’s Seat, another first, from Muriel Spark. I’ve got mixed feelings on this one, it was suspenseful and funny, but there’s something ugly about it, I don’t know. Let’s see when I write a review later. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Currently Reading:

It’s taking me too long to finish The Russian Concubine. It’s an interesting story but it gets slow on some part that I somehow lose interest reading. I’m 80% through it, though, so hopefully, I could finish it this week. I’ve also started with a few pages of Half of a Yellow Sun and I think I will greatly enjoy this book.

Up next:

I’m supposed to include A Dance with Dragons here as I plan to resume reading it but thought it better to put it on hold for now. Maybe I’ll get to it around the second quarter of the year. One of my reading goals this year is to read at least 5 non-fictions because I seem to neglect this genre. And so I think, The Story of My Life by Helen Keller is a good start. Also, I am looking forward to another historical fiction (my favorite genre), The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

I’d be glad to know what you’re reading, what you’ve just finished and what you plan to read next so drop a link so I can check them out or share them on the comments section.

Happy reading, homo sapiens!

The Assault by Harry Mulisch

The-AssaultI have never heard of Harry Mulisch before I saw the title on Goodreads. I enjoy reading historical fictions the most and so I was hooked right away after reading the synopsis.

It was winter of 1945 in occupied Holland, the last dark days of World War II. Anton Steenwijk and his family live in one of the four rows of houses and while playing a game together, they suddenly heard gunshots. Peter, Anton’s brother reached for the window and saw a dead body lying in front of their neighbor’s house. To their surprise, their neighbors moved the dead body in front of their home and before they could do anything, the Germans retaliated fiercely. As it turns out, the dead man was Fake Ploeg, an infamous Nazi collaborator.

It is a great read about how the war has affected Anton since that winter night whose family died in the hands of the Germans. It is a great read about chance and fate and about memory and how memory shapes life. The interesting twist in the end made perfect sense.

Quotable Quotes:

“A man who has never been hungry may possess a more refined palate, but he has no idea what it means to eat.”

“Besides, whoever keeps the future in front of him and the past at his back is doing something else that is hard to imagine. For the image implies that events somehow already exist in the future, reach the present at a determined moment, and finally come to rest in the past. But nothing exists in the future; it is empty; one might die at any minute. Therefore such a person has his face turned toward the void, whereas it is the past behind him that is visible, stored in the memory.”

“Boundaries have to be continuously sealed off, but it’s a hopeless job, fore everything touches everything else in this world. A beginning never disappears, not even with the ending.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m posting something new to me today, well, for a change and I think it’s fun to do it since I always see the same on my feed every week from several blogs that I follow. The topics are interesting and I thought it would be nice to give it a try today on the last day of the year. So…

Homo sapiens, welcome to my first 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 Favorite Books I Read in 2019.

I was able to finish 35 books this year and enjoyed most of them so it’s not very easy to choose the top 10. But here they are in no particular order.

1. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. This is a wonderful short novel with a great deal of depth. This is also my first Yoko Ogawa read.

2. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. This again proved what a great narrator Murakami is and as usual, very typical of him to leave the readers wondering with lots of unanswered questions.

3. Cain by Jose Saramago. This is Saramago’s last written work where he gets to argue with God one last time where he hires Cain to call out on God’s sins and mistakes. Cain is a laugh out loud funny little read but at the same time makes us chew on several profound moral questions about the nature of God and events in the Old Testament.

4. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This is a complex read that tackles different themes: war, identity, history, friendship, communism, loyalty, etc. Definitely deserving of the Pulitzer Prize in 2016.

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell. I first read this when I was in high school and decided to give it a second read, I guess to get me back on my reading. This political satire has a simple but effective plot. George Orwell clearly understands power and its temptation and how people give in to it.

6. The Call of the Wild by Jack London. This is a story told in the point of view of a dog named Buck, a dog you can’t help but love. It’s a quick and interesting read from start to finish.

7. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. The book follows the story of Sunja and her family through four generations across Korea and Japan. It describes the experiences of Koreans during the Japanese occupation in Korea and the harsh discrimination they had to endure in Japan during that moment in history. This could be a great TV drama.

8. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. This is one great example of a book about life and love. Amazing read.

9. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Oh, my heart! This is a real tearjerker! What a book!

10. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This is a very sad story that left me thinking and reflect on a lot of things. And the ending broke my heart.

Have you read any of these books? Are any of these on your top ten favorite books in 2019?

Thanks a lot for reading and I’m looking forward to reading all your TTTs! Just drop a link on the comment section so I can check your posts.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

pachinkoPachinko follows the story of Sunja and her family through four generations across Korea and Japan. It describes the experiences of Koreans during the Japanese occupation in Korea and the harsh discrimination they had to endure in Japan during that moment in history. Sunja and her family, as well as many Koreans, didn’t have much choice at that time but to struggle in order to survive.

There are so many characters in this book, some we encounter very briefly while some take part throughout the entire story. Even with a large cast of characters, Min Jin Lee was able to let us glimpse into each one of them and how they lead their lives. What I found most interesting was how she managed to put the characters in similar situations and how the characters chose to deal with it.

It’s a lengthy read but don’t let that stop you from reading for the book was greatly-paced, you wouldn’t want to put it down.

Min Jin Lee’s writing style is simple but elegant. The characters seem to speak in a such a way that it penetrates through the heart and touched me and made every part of the story realistic. Somehow, I did not want the book to end. I love that I’ve learned more about some part of history I have been keen of knowing more since I was in high school. And the fact that I have been working for a Korean company for quite some time now makes the read more interesting. In a way, I sort of feel like I understand more about them now.

This was a very entertaining and wonderful read and it could even be a great TV drama.

Highly recommended to everyone.

Quotable Quotes:

“Living everyday in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.”

“Learn everything. Fill your mind with knowledgeโ€”itโ€™s the only kind of power no one can take away from you.”

“Yes, of course. If you love anyone, you cannot help but share his suffering. If we love our Lord, not just admire him or fear him or want things from him, we must recognize his feelings; he must be in anguish over our sins. We must understand this anguish. The Lord suffers with us. He suffers like us. It is a consolation to know this. To know that we are not in fact alone in our suffering.”

“You want to see a very bad man? Make an ordinary man successful beyond his imagination. Letโ€™s see how good he is when he can do whatever he wants.”

“No one is clean. Living makes you dirty.”

Rating: 5/5 ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday 11-Dec-2019

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Hello there! Welcome to WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. I didn’t really have the time to read as much as I usually could the past couple of weeks but I’m somehow back to it now so here we go. 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:

The Princess and the Penis was a hilarious read. I’ve read it while on lunch break alone. This was a cute and silly read that made me giggle and smile like an idiot for a good half an hour!

I’ve completely forgotten that I have a copy of Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes if not for a friend’s reading update on Goodreads. So I’ve decided to start on it a few days ago. I tried to read a few pages in between my work and glad to be able to finish it. It was captivating but heartbreaking as well.

I was also able to finish Cream, a short story by Haruki Murakami. A beautiful and refreshing story.

Currently Reading:

I haven’t gotten far from A Dance with Dragons and I don’t think I still have enough time to finish it before the year ends because I’ve just started with The Russian Concubine and A Christmas Carol. I have both on my Kindle so I can possibly read in between my work again or while commuting.

Up Next:

Not sure what to read next as I am having a really busy time at work (and even after work) these days so it’s not very easy to find time to read but my eyes are on Out by Natsuo Kirino and The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark. I’d be glad to hear some suggestions, though, so feel free!

Some book reviews I’ve managed the previous weeks:

Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

The Princess and the Penis by R.J. Silver

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I’d be glad to know what you’re reading, what you’ve just finished and what you plan to read next so drop a link so I can check them out or share them on the comments section.

Until next time, homo sapiens!

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

history of loveThe book is about Leo Gursky, a very interesting character, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, now in his eighties and living by himself, already had a serious heart attack and only wants not to die on a day he went unseen and so he attracts attention to himself in public while waiting for death to take him.

I enjoyed this book so much, the characters — Leo Gursky most of all, the story — hilarious and sad at the same time, the very beautiful writing of Nicole Krauss. Like the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I liked that the story was told by alternating narrators. The only difference is that in this book, I adored all the voices, there wasn’t any narrator/chapter I found anxious to get through. Every one was engaging.

The History of Love is one great example of a book about life and love. Amazing read. Highly recommended.

Quotable Quotes:
“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
“What about you? Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”
“I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in.”
“The truth is the thing I invented so I could live.”
“There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.”

Rating: 5/5 ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Princess & the Penis by R.J. Silver

973c3d86acb049a7742a95af9751901a5c4fcc19The Princess & the Penis is about Princess Amalia, the very innocent daughter of King Norwood who wants to keep her pure until he finds a suitable and worthy husband for her.

One day, the princess woke up looking like she didn’t sleep well because of the “lump under her rump” the whole night. The story got funnier and sillier from there and oh, The Phantom Phallus was even more.

This was a cute and silly read that made me giggle and smile like an idiot for a good half an hour! A story with a naughty twist of your childhood fairy tale.

Take this for what it’s worth and it’d give you a good laugh. The two cool aunts are freaking awesome, too!

Rating: 4/5 stars