Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

thingsThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is my first classic of African literature. Set on the eve of the colonial encounter between British missionaries and the people from Igbo villages called Umuofia. It tells the story of one of the village leaders, Okonkwo, born to a lazy father but told himself early on that he will not be like his father and thus became hardworking and soon became famous for his strength and ferocity in war.

The book is divided into three parts. First, the Igbo society, a typical African society with all its beliefs and customs. Second, Okonkwo’s expulsion from his village as a punishment for a crime. And third, his arrival and time in Mbanta, his mother’s village. As is with the history of colonial conquest, though there were moments of hope, the ending was tragic and inevitable.

Definitely an interesting read but there’s just too much characters and lots of foreign languages I just couldn’t get used to so it was a bit on the hard side for me reading this but I think a reread will make me like this more.

Quotable Quotes:

“A proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.”

“No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man.”

“Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”

“If you had been poor in your last life I would have asked you to be rich when you come again. But you were rich. If you had been a coward, I would have asked you to bring courage. But you were a fearless warrior. If you had died young, I would have asked you to get life. But you lived long. So I shall ask you to come again the way you came before.”

“He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Rating: 3/5 stars

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The Call of the Wild by Jack London

81+9w5nFMDLWe follow the life and adventure of Buck, our protagonist, from when he was dognapped from his comfy home and brought to the Yukon during the gold rush to become a sled dog.

I very much enjoyed reading about Buck, a dog you can’t help but love. Though he endured too much, he never lost the wonderful spirit he has been born with.

One of the things that made this read very interesting for me is that it was told through the point of view of a dog. From living an easy life with the judge and his family to becoming a beast in the wild and learning the ins and outs of a whole new world he got into. It was amazing to read about the character development of Buck in so few pages. Moreover, the author didn’t use unnecessary words throughout the book so that’s another plus for me.

Definitely an enjoyable read from start to finish.

Quotable Quotes:

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”

“He was beaten (he knew that), but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his afterlife he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law… The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect, and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.”

“When he moaned and sobbed, it was with the pain of living that was of old the pain of his wild fathers, and the fear and mystery of the cold and dark that was to them fear and mystery.”

“Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time.”

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday (09-Oct-2019)

Hi there! Welcome to WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. Just answer the three W questions:

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

You can leave a link of your post in the comments section so I and other readers can check it out.

Let’s get started…

Recently Finished:

Hotel Iris started out quite well and interesting for me but turned out to be a bit weak. But I’m still inclined to read more of Yoko Ogawa’s works.

The Unexpected Guest was a quick and exciting read though I guessed who the culprit was quite easily. Probably because I’ve read too much of Agatha Christie’s Ms. Marple stories. It’s a perfect light read on a very hectic work week.

Currently Reading:

dinner-at-the-homesick-restaurant1

 

This is my first Anne Tyler read. I’m enjoying the book so far, the characters and her observations on everyday life. The pace is a little bit slow for my taste but I’m surprisingly okay with it.

Up Next:

dance with dragons

 

 

I didn’t browse my TBR shelf this week because I should really get started with this. It’s been long overdue. 🙂

 

There it is! How about you? Have you read any of these books? What have you read, reading or will read this time? I’d love to know!

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

bb mountainWhy haven’t I read this book all these years? For those of you who has been following my blog for some time now, you know I’m not a big fan of movies based on books, so yes, I also haven’t watched the film. But I will now after finally reading it.

Brokeback Mountain is about Ennis and Jack, two cowboys who live ordinary lives and met each other for the first time in Brokeback Mountain for a summer-long job. They lived difficult lives over the next twenty years but meet briefly once in every few years to relive that moment back when they were only nineteen.

Much have been said and written about this book (and the movie) and what else is there to say? It is simply a love story. Love is love. It was very short but I felt so connected to both characters that it flared up emotions within. Annie Proulx’s no-bullshit writing style got me. I loved it as it was.

I was left heartbroken in the end, though… I should have prepared my heart for it.

Quotable Quotes:

“There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.”

“I wish I knew how to quit you.”

“…all them things I don’t know could get you killed if I come to know them.”

“Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.”

“And he would wake sometimes in grief, sometimes with the old sense of joy and release; the pillow sometimes wet, sometimes the sheets.”

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

siddharthaSiddhartha is my first Hermann Hesse read and this is not a book I’d normally pick up from a bookstore but one of my best friends loved it so much so I thought, why not?

Siddhartha is a son of a Brahmin and the book revolves around his spiritual journey, his search for the divine. I first thought the story was about Buddhism but not really, so the title is a bit misleading.

After I finished reading, I wasn’t so sure what the book was trying to convey. What’s the reader suppose to have learned from this book? From Siddhartha’s journey? Or Govinda’s? Why was he so confused until the end? Should I see this novel according to the context of when it was written to understand what it meant?

Perhaps I should give it time for a second read. Maybe I missed a lot key points or probably have read it the wrong time. The writing was kinda stilted but maybe it’s on the translation. I also didn’t find the book inspiring but maybe it’s just not for me. The typical “it’s not you, it’s me” situation.

As I’ve mentioned, this is my first Hermann Hesse read. I wasn’t quite satisfied as the book didn’t touch/affect me but maybe it was just a wrong start for me of his works. I’d still try to read another work of his, however, is his other works more of the same?

Quotable Quotes:

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”

“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”

“Your soul is the whole world.”

Rating: 2/5 stars

 

WWW Wednesday (02-Oct-2019)

Hello! It’s that time of the week again! It’s WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme introduced by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. You simply have to answer the 3 W-questions:

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

It was a pretty slow reading week for me actually. But here we go:

Recently Finished:

The-AssaultThis is my first Harry Mulisch read and I look forward to reading more of his works. The book was fast-paced and interesting.

Currently Reading:

irisThis is my second Yoko Ogawa, the first one was The Housekeeper and The Professor which I enjoyed so much. Hotel Iris is very different from it, though. But so far, so good.

What I hope to read next:

Every week or whenever I finish a book, I change my mind what to read next but I am determined to finish A Dance with Dragons before the year ends.

Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant caught my attention with the title itself so I’m looking forward to it as well.

Have you read any of these books? Or any suggestions what to read next? The comment section is yours once again, homo sapiens!

Happy WWW Wednesday!

Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

paramoThe story opens with a very straightforward narrative: Juan Preciado is on his way to Comala to carry out his dying mother’s request — to search for his father Pedro Paramo and claim what’s his. The story gets complicated as soon as he arrived.

The book is multi-voiced. It began in the first-person then a chorus of voices followed thereafter. There were third and first-person voices both in the past and present tense, between the living and the dead.

Juan Preciado eventually realized that everyone is dead in Comala and that he was just talking with spirits because Comala became some sort of a purgatory. I liked the idea that almost everyone he met were dead. Eerie! Juan Preciado’s disappearance made it a bit confusing for me though. Or did he really disappear? Did he die? I’m still not sure.

With its beautiful prose and as a great example of magical realism, I am inclined to reread it to try to seek and understand several details of the story that might have passed me by on my first read.

Quotable Quotes:

“No one knows better than I do how far heaven is, but I also know all the shortcuts. The secret is to die, when you want to, and not when He proposes. Or else to force Him to take you before your time.”

“Death is not something you offer as entertainment. No one goes around looking for sadness.”

“The air is clear, there is sunlight, and there are clouds. Up above the sky is blue, and perhaps behind it there are songs and perhaps also voices… In short, there is hope. There is hope for us to heal our sorrow.”

“Everyone chooses the same path. Everyone leaves us.”

“…Don’t worry about me. I have hidden my pain in a safe place. Don’t let your heart stop beating.”

Rating: 3/5 stars