A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – book review

 

When I first saw this novel I only skimmed the blurb and already knew that I needed this. For some reason, the cover wasn’t that attractive yet it caught my attention; it wasn’t the copy I have up there, it’s the one with a photo of an apartment inside the letters of ‘A Little Life’.

I can’t talk about this book without tears welling up in my eyes. I’m a goner from the first page until the very end. This book has the type of characters you’d want to meet before you die.

UPDATE: By that, rather than studying for my upcoming exams let me just talk about the characters: Malcolm is the sweet and loyal one, in a way that reminds you of a puppy. He’s smart, very underestimated, and may seem boring but don’t be fooled, he can surprise you. JB is headstrong, protective and almost often so full of himself. He’s blunt but he means well, and he’ll never give up on you. Willem is so charismatic, he’s an all-around good guy. If anyone needs his help, he will offer it anytime, anywhere, and go to great lengths all for his friends. He’s trustworthy and he’s always humble; he’s a keeper. Jude is enigmatic to the point that he’s not aware when people are worried about him. He’s gone through a lot but he still tries to remain optimistic. He’s an excellent listener, an excellent cook, he practically excels in everything though he doesn’t notice. Then there are friends and families of theirs that are just as wonderful but that’s for another day.

They aren’t perfect, they’re full of mistakes and flaws just like any other person but they genuinely care for each other, their friendship is what keeps them together–it’s their pillar, their anchor–despite horrible episodes and unfathomable secrets.

I loved seeing that, I loved getting a glimpse of something that would seem ordinary yet if you look closely it’s actually more than ordinary, it’s simple though it’s complex. I’m not making sense, I really can’t talk about this book without babbling like a fool.

I’d describe what I’ve read if I could only think of a word that would encompass everything I’ve felt but I have no words. It’s heartwarming, it’s heartbreaking. It’s all about the little things that made it into something more. I’d recommend this to someone with a strong stomach and an iron heart–they’re necessary. I could go on and on about this; I could talk about the matter-of-fact conversations of Jude and Malcolm, the artistic flair of JB or the diverse films and plays of Willem however, it still wouldn’t change the fact that all the sad songs in the world would still remind me of this book; it’s as if this is an ex I couldn’t let go of–and wouldn’t let go.

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A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – book review

 

This has opened my eyes to numerous things; from ocean currents to Zen Buddhism to Quantum Mechanics, it has brought together random yet interesting (it doesn’t sound interesting, but it is. trust me.) stuff. Everything was thoroughly explained and well-thought-out.

This novel revolves around a writer, Ruth, and a sixteen-year-old Japanese American girl, Nao Yasutani, who are both on different sides of the world. Their lives are bound to each other by Nao’s diary. One day a lunchbox containing a nifty watch, a few letters, and Nao’s diary washes up on the shore–nearby the place Ruth and her husband, Oliver, resides in and she ends up keeping it.

Around the beginning of the story, I was impatient for Nao to narrate the life of her great-grandmother just like she said she would but instead, she goes on and on about her life. However, after a few pages, I was as intrigued as Ruth was to know more about Nao.

The characters were quirky but relatable and each had distinctive voices. Personally, I liked that everyone’s history–including minor characters–were briefly explained; it gave the story substance and life, and I was able to connect to the characters more. Also, the character development was really moving.

This is a book about time, although, it’s surprisingly fast-paced, it urges you to take your time. It describes a lot of the Japanese culture as well as a handful of beautiful French translations. I highly recommend to anyone looking for an odd yet thought-provoking read.

Two kinds of people

Soul mate. According to the Merriam-Webster, it means someone who suits your temperament. Someone who strongly resembles your attitude and beliefs.

Maybe several people think they only have one soul mate in their lifetime. They meet that one person they feel most at peace with; the one who’s going to be there to save the day before their hearts completely shatter; the one who’d lend his/her raincoat to them even if s/he would end up getting drenched in the pouring rain; the one who will always have a handkerchief to wipe their tears away.

However, maybe somebody can have a couple or more soul mates; somebody may see their dad to be the one they’re most at peace with. Or they may see their best friend as the one who always saves the day, or their brother to lend his raincoat or hankie. These people may be soul mates to each other–all connected because they’re destined to be together.

But what do I know? Maybe I’m wrong and there is just one for each person. Nonetheless, it’s not often that they’re The One.

From what I’ve perceived is that The One is known to be the most unexpected person you have never imagined to be with. Also, The One may just be right in front of you but you’re too blind to see them. I don’t think I’ve met the one for me yet although I’ve always thought that The One will surpass everything I’ve dreamed them to be and then turn everything upside down to be quite the opposite but is everything I’ll ever need.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – book review

It’s about time I read this. It’s passed onto so many hands, it took almost two years for this to reach me. This novel is from my dear cousin who urged me to read it and I’m glad I did.

The story is set during 1946, right after the Occupation in WWII. A writer, Juliet Ashton, corresponded with a stranger from one of the Channel Islands, Guernsey in hopes to find an inspiration for her next book. Then on, she decides to visit Guernsey to meet other islanders and to hear what they’ve gone through during the war.

I’m amazed on how the plot progressed. It was neither slow nor fast; it was just the right degree to keep the reader entertained. Furthermore, the dialogue kept the story moving and revealed something important about the characters without being too verbose. Although there were a good number of people introduced, their stories were interesting enough to deny its relevance; in fact, they made the novel all the more believable.

This is one of those books that can be so descriptive yet it can never tire you of its details (unless you really detest a thorough description of sceneries). A quirky plot with spunky characters that can make anyone cry tears of joy. This is a must-read especially if you’re a lover of books.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – book review

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a well-known classic adored and angered by many. It undoubtedly can make an individual think. I for one wonders how the author has written some things I’ve thought before and got it dead on.

Holden Caulfield is the main character who dislikes a number of things and when asked by his younger sister, Phoebe Caulfield, to name one thing he likes the most he can barely come up with any. He’s saddened by little things just like any other person in the world. Yet, he knows he can find happiness; he strives for it. Holden isn’t a bad guy, he’s lost and questions his life on a daily basis.

This book gives us a gritty look to one’s life. Holden is relatable and honest. Although, he may exaggerate, he says it as it is; and he says it multiple times. I swear if I hear the word ‘phony‘ one more time I might shoot someone.

Frustrating or without any depth this may be to others, it’s worth to read for yourself to know whether or not this has earned its right to be called as one of the greatest books in time.

Clichés

In all honesty, all books are clichés. Who cares if one reads some book that’s full of it. It gives them joy or feeds their overly cliché obsession. The point is, is that they read; maybe not the best quality but they’ll figure it out sooner or later.

The best feeling is to just be in the zone, to be in the moment of bliss, smack dab in the story. It doesn’t last but it’s addicting to get away from all the stress and enjoy it, cry over it, soak it all up until it fills your whole being of desperation or happiness. It leaves an imprint on you, you can’t help but live with and talk about it.

It is as freeing as jumping into ice cold water of a swimming pool. It’s just you, and you reflexively reflect on yourself, on what you’ve just read. You notice all the gritty details and involuntary compare it to the horrendous details of your life. It’s easier to understand what other people are going through rather than understanding your own situation. Much easier to see past their difficulties and finding a solution for it.

Maybe that is why all of us has an outlet. An outlet to get rid of our frustrations or simply to ignore and forget it. An easy way out. A home to get back to. Nevertheless, it’s about time to live. Sometimes, it’s a struggle but at least, you’re making progress.

–I have no idea as to when I wrote this, I only remember writing it and now I found this in my drafts. Then I thought I’ll put this unrevised draft so I could look back and ponder on whether this is crap or not.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – book review

I don’t know what happened but I already wrote my review the other day, it was already published and I checked it now to see that it’s gone?? I don’t even have a backup of it so I’m just going to write what I could still remember.

Hey this is my first ever long -ish book review so I apologize if it’s kind of sloppy. Also, beware to those who haven’t read this yet, there will be spoilers!

The Harry Potter series has given me comfort, unlike any other books I’ve read. This seventh book of J.K. Rowling is superb! She still hasn’t ceased to amaze me. Although, what bothered me was the what-ifs. If only Hermione kept the Gryffindor sword in her bag before the Death Eaters came, and afterward brought them to the Malfoy Manor, then maybe no one would have died. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want the story any other way. I liked that J.K. Rowling came up with the Deathly Hallows and the Horcruxes, brilliant I tell you! I liked that Lupin asked Harry to be the godfather of his son. I liked the bit of Harry with the resurrection stone and the part in King’s Cross station when Harry and Dumbledore talked. Also, I liked that Harry just wanted Ron and Hermione’s company after the battle, it’s nice that he thought of them first. And I liked that Harry chose to continue using his wand even though he’s in possession of a more powerful wand.

I liked this book actually loved it that I’d reread the whole series even though it will repeatedly make me a sobbing mess. 10/10 truly magical stars.