Author A–Z Tag

Jazzing things up with a tag. Exciting, I know.

Run along your shelves and pick out an author for every letter of the alphabet. If an author is missing for any alphabet, pick one from your tbr and you’re done.

But that’s boring.

Instead, I chose a title that I enjoyed enough to list as a recommendation for the authors that I’ve read. If those works that I’ve read under a particular alphabet wasn’t enough for me to present as a recommendation, then I would choose one from my Goodreads tbr list that I feel I (or you, if we have similar tastes) would like enough to recommend when I’ve read it. If an alphabet is missing, I’ll chose a title that I would like to read under that alphabet on my Goodreads tbr list. All titles that are chosen from the tbr list are marked with an asterisk (*) and alphabets that elude said list will be marked with double asterisks (**).

A- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

Goodreads, Books Depository

Aliens and space travel are often treated as (semi)serious subjects in novels and discussions, and by all means they should, because space is creepy and foreign and humans want to understand everything that is creepy and foreign. But Arthur doesn’t. He’s kinda forced into this whole space gibberish with his alien best friend, along with a paranoid android sidekick. Fun fun fun.

B- The Faraway Tree Trilogy by Enid Blyton

Goodreads, Books Depository

Three children, upon moving to their new house, decide to take a walk into the woods and stumble upon a massive tree that reach into the clouds. Being the adventurous little daredevils they are, up they climb the faraway tree and into a realm of magical beings. Except that the land they encounter with each climb is different and the children must get out of said land before they change or face entrapment forever!

I don’t always pride myself for being an avid reader of Blyton’s works (I’m a humble person. Yes, me, I am. ), but this book left such a deep impression on me that I still remember it 10 years from the day I read it. Blyton continues to remain one of those profolic writers that though sometimes generate misses, has hits that will stay with you for probably the rest of your life.

C- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Goodreads, Books Depository

Amazing, delightful, whimsical story that will enchant everyone of all ages. The second book is, in my humble opinion, miles ahead of the first and I have no idea why its not yet adapted by someone somewhere. If you think watching its many adaptation suffice, you’re really missing out. And I don’t say that often.

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Book Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Contemporary
Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2014), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Fiction (2013), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2014), Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction (2014), Paris Review Best of the Best (2013).
ISBN 0316239879
1240 pages
Goodreads, Books Depository

Hypes, other than being mass market tools for confusion, are double edged swords. They can easily bring the object in question to stupefying heights, and just as easily bring it six feet under due to disappointment inflicted and an overall unmet satisfaction. The Goldfinch is one of those books that appear to bask in justified hype (‘Omg, Dickensian!’), and such words aren’t thrown around lightly, right?

Theodore Decker’s life is the kind of fucked up you would say you’re sorry for but  thank your lucky stars deep in your heart that such bad luck didn’t befall on yours. Having been caught smoking in school, Theo braces himself as he and his mother make their way down to the principal’s office on an otherwise sunny, uneventful Tuesday morning. Sunny soon turns to rainy as a terrorist bomb goes off in the museum they made a special stop for, killing his mother and signifying the start of a downward spiral into despondency. On his way out of the wreckage, Theo (for whatever reason) takes with him Carel Fabritius’s masterpiece, The Goldfinch, as well as a bejeweled ring that was behest to him, both of which would serve as his lifelines later in life.

Coming of age stories can be really fun to read. We are taken on fictional journeys that mirror some of our own, and are comforted that we are not alone in our personal struggles which can seem so lonely at times. We watch as the characters grow into adults, and feel a sense of completion and satisfaction, much like how a parent would feel, whether their children turn out to be successful or not.

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Book Haul: Page One Book Sale 2015

IMG_0133I adore treasure hunts, and random book sales are quite similar to scavenging through heaps of materials you’ve never heard of and bringing some of those babes home with you. During such periods, Goodreads ratings and tbr lists are thrown out of the window since I only care to pile more titles into my greedy arms. And there’s a certain pleasure in that. In fact, I feel as if a modern day rebel and daredevil.

As usual, the back synposis  and a short commentary of Why-I-Bought-It will be included, as well as respective links to each’s Goodreads and Books Depository page to faciliate matters.

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Book Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Genre: Historical fiction, Cultural, Russia
Literary Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction (2014), California Book Award Gold Medal for First Fiction (2013), Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee for Fiction (2014), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Fiction (2013), Paris Review Best of the Best (2013), Athens Prize for Literature (2014), John Leonard Prize (2013)
ISBN 1410462048
605 pages
Goodreads, Books Depository

There are some stories that are so densely imagined and beautifully crafted that they blossom from the pages they reside in, and clouding the world-after with an afterimage so strong, no amount of blinking could erase it.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena alternates between 1994 and 2004 in a remote village of Chechenya. Nothing much ever happens here, except land mines going off, amputations, and constant fear of being the next to be disposed by the authorities. Akmed watches from the his house as Dokka has just been taken in the middle of the night, knowing that his daughter will be next. Doing the only thing a morally responsible adult will do (and for other internal conflicts of his own), Akmed brings Havaa to the one place he knows safe — the hospital, or rather, Sonja’s hospital. Events then further unfold from there as Marra shows how everyone is connected in war times, from the hospital nurse, to the informer next door.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is not an action-packed war novel. It drags. It showcases exactly how war feels like for its inhabitants. Days seem like years hiding from the authorities, avoiding landmines, staying alive; years seem like minutes reminiscing the happy times, chiding the mistakes one had made, wishing to go back to fix them. One thing’s for certain, war isn’t ending and peace seems like a dream you can’t really recall.

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Book Haul: MPH Book-fair 2015

IMG_0075It’s been a year since I’ve last bought any books and you won’t believe how excited I was at the book-fair. I initially intended to only go for 5 books (and that was alot even, since I didn’t know what sort of selection they had to offer). Initially didn’t work out.

Either ways, I’m (still) super excited and happy about my haul! I’ll put the back synopsis on each of the books below, as well as their goodreads and book depository links so you can check it out too, if you’re interested. A short commentary on why I bought them will also be included.

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Book Review: American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: Graphic Novel, Cultural, Chinese
Literary Awards: Michael L. Printz Award (2007), James Cook Book Award Nominee (2007), Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Graphic Album – New (2007), National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature (2006)
ISBN 0312384483
233 pages
Goodreads: click here
Books Depository: click here 

When faced with a reading slump, I like to check out graphic novels. Who doesn’t?

American Born Chinese is a story of Chinese-American boy who has just transferred to a new school, and is trying to fit into her all-american ways. Jin tries to settle in quietly and almost succeeds (minus the constant bullying, because they’re just trying to be friends right?), until a new Taiwanese student joins his class. Wei Chen is the FOB down the block and Jin doesn’t want to be associated with him, until Chen shows him his new robot transformer toy, and the rest is history.

American Born Chinese doesn’t end here though, in fact Jin’s story is just a third of the book.

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Bookish Pet Peeves #1: Comfort Zones

Comfort zones are great. They’re akin to safety nets. They keep us protected from the wilderness of what’s beyond, and keep us comforted in the knowledge that this is the zone where we can expect a most steady level of productivity.

But nothing above that.

Comfort zones restrict us more so than we often thought they would. They shed this false sense of security over us, covering our eyes with ignorance that this is the limit, and that our potential has maxed when it has not.

Recently, some friends and I have spoken about books and reading in general and whenever book recommendations are made that are not their usual cup of tea, it’s always “Nah, I don’t think I will like it. I only read (insert favorite genre)”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having a favorite genre is unacceptable, but sometimes the fun is somewhere else, and it’s somewhere else we have to go when drawing a circle and marking it as a pseudo reading boundary just won’t do anymore. I, too, have once been myopic enough to disregard all romance novels as cheesy and off-putting when I honestly haven’t given them a fair chance.

The Time Traveller’s Wife has since shut me up.

We all need books that will shut us up about our prejudices and reluctance, but only if we give them, and ourselves, a chance.

But wait, there’s more!