Monthly Wrap-Up – March and An Announcement

Spring is here! One of my favorite time of the year is spring when cool summer breeze is flowing and making your hair fly like you’re in front of a table fan. Nothing is better than spring and an excellent book. If you have both, you’re having the time of your life. March was such a month; I read four books (thus, keeping my monthly tab at four books), and one comic issue.

#1 Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – Lina, along with her family is transferred to labor camps. This World War II fiction is one of the best books that I have ever read; because of its characters and the poignant story. Ruta Sepetys succeeded in creating a story with characters for whom you would care, and you would not only be along for the journey, but you will be on the journey. When I finished Between Shades of Gray, I was left with deep anguish.

#2 Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi – The more I think about it, the less I like it. It is a fine book, but it is buried deep under the ever so awkward romance which is dragged along for the most of the book just makes it a nuisance. By the time I finished Shatter Me, I just lost interest in reading it; it does get interesting by the end but not enough to keep me coming back for more.

#3 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This is a book to rave about; it’s so well structured, and the unique narrative makes this a memorable story. It makes effective use of its WWII setting to portray the misery and harsh conditions people use to live in; and of course, Death. Death is such an important part of this book, and when you read more and more, you can’t help but feel sympathy towards him. The Book Thief is a history lesson and a lesson in life.

#4 The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R Tolkien – I have no words to say which haven’t been said before about this series. Yes, I call it a series because the work of The Lord of The Rings is not limited only to the trilogy books but it is expanded over by The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, The Children of Húrin, The History of Middle Earth, The Annotated Hobbit and, The History of The Hobbit. The Middle-Earth is so vast and its history so long that it feels like an alternative universe.

#5 The Walking Dead Volume #3 Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman – I craved to read the comics after I watched the latest sixth season of The Walking Dead TV show and heard so much about this Negan character. He is said to be the most badass villain The Walking Dead has ever had, and so I started reading the comics. Rick and group are in the prison, and they are struggling and trying to maintain a normal life in the prison, but things never go right with Rick. There’s incredible action in this volume which is far more interesting and attentive than it was in volume 2. New characters are also introduced such as some dudes in prison and Michonne by the end. I know where the story will go, but the comic have more characters than the show, and it always keeps freshness in it.

Announcement

My dear nine followers and all the random viewers. Every time I post something you read it and while it is just ten people or five, every post is an experience for me; it makes my writing better, and ultimately it makes me better. So I want to share something with you.

I recently got hired as a freelance writer at a website called Word of The Nerd as a book reviewer. I am excited to work at the website, and it seems like a fun place and environment to work at; if some of you want to follow my reviews, then I will be posting them on Word of The Nerd site. I will, however, not stop blogging here. I will do Monthly Wrap-Ups, and if some random post about books comes to me, then I will post it here. So if any of you would like to continue to follow my reviews, then you can do so at Word of The Nerd website. You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram to stay updated with the reviews.

I would like to give special thanks to Klari.boo and The Book Review Page for being the only guys who commented on my work. Thank you guys for the kind words, you’re awesome. 🙂

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How to: Not Buy More Books

Guilty Alert!!! How many of us are readers guilty of buying a fat stack even when we have a shelf of books that we have not read? If your answer is No, then I say you’re flat out lying. But if you are guilty of buying more books than you actually read then continue reading because I think this post might prove to be useful to you.

The blame goes to all of those bookshops (especially Amazon, damn you Amazon) who consistently sell books on sale which triggers your bookworm senses and you end up buying the books which you never intended to buy in the first place. However, this can prove to be useful when you’re running low on books to read but not when you have a load of books that you haven’t touched since last year and is just gathering dust on your shelf. (Sorry, Career of Evil.)

 

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I bought Career of Evil last year and still haven’t started it. YET!!!!

 

Note: Following tips are based on my experience with reading and buying more books than I read. I will, however, give some extra tips (that I haven’t used myself), to help you get rid of this beautiful habit.

  1. Don’t open book related sites. This tip is one of the most common things to do. DO NOT OPEN Amazon or any book related sites, because if you do, then you wouldn’t be able to hold yourself. So just try to refrain yourself from opening these websites and visiting bookstores.
  2. Start reading your older books. You have to get back to those old books sooner or later and if you get back to them sooner rather than later, then you wouldn’t feel an urge to buy more books because you would already have some books to read.
  3. Make yourself feel guilty. This tip is a tough one to apply. Try to make yourself feel guilty for buying those gorgeous books and not reading them. If you can feel guilty enough, then you wouldn’t purchase books for quite some time.
  4. Stop reading. This tip can lead to two possibilities. You will end up buying more books in the end, or,  you wouldn’t purchase books at all. Sometimes, it is important just to stop reading to give yourself some free time to do other stuff. This tip can also help you recover from reading slumps. But as I said, because of not reading for a degree of time, you might end up buying more books. CAUTION ADVISED!!
  5. Re-read. Sometimes, it is great to re-read your favorite books, not only can they re-invoke your love of books but they can also take up some time so you won’t have to buy new books just yet.
  6. E-books. If you’re an avid e-reader then buying ebooks is cheap. It can help you save some money since physical books are more expensive than ebooks; you’re craving to buy books will be satisfied, and you will save a few bucks. I don’t recommend this tip, though. You should only turn to this if you’re not able to control your book buying habits.

These are all the tips that I can give you to stop yourself from buying more books and stop trying to make some Guinness Book of World Record for ‘most books bought’. Reading is an essential part of our lives so we should not completely be isolated from buying books but we can limit this habit so that we don’t go broke.

I hope these tips can help you and if they do, share them with your friends who suffers from the same problem. Keep on reading!!!!

Book Review – The Girl on The Train By Paula Hawkins

Following is a REAL tombstone:

cite (1)

Following is a direct quote from The Girl on The Train:

“Life is not a paragraph and Death is not parenthesis.”

(Apparently, it is.)

Have you ever wanted to be murdered by a book? The thought of a book covered in your blood, the colour red all over your shiny black book, its pages dripping red and a dent in the middle of the cover which signifies that fatal blow that was given to you by an unknown person.

This is a chilling thought, and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemies, but this thought you will at least consider by the time you are done with The Girl on The Train. And if you didn’t feel this after finishing the book, I envy you.

Ms. Hawkins wrote this book at a very depressing time in her life. She had been jobless for months, she was running short on money and to continue writing, she had to borrow some from her father, and because she had a journalist past, the final resort to her misfortunes was to write a book and hope it sells well (her previous attempts at writing a novel were disastrous). But what is the best way to do that? Use a best-selling and critically acclaimed (an average book, mind you) as her base and put a lot of booze in it. Maybe she was covering up her desire to drink by writing about it (she would have been unable to buy a drink for herself since she was nearly broke). Whatever the case was, it paid off well. She said in an interview that how writing ‘under a state of panic and dread did it(the book) no harm’ but isn’t that the central theme of this book? Rachel is always in a panic, and all three of the female characters are dreadful from the beginning until the end. She said in the same interview that her previous work didn’t felt like ‘her,’ maybe because she was not miserable and broke at those times and was living a happy life? The moment she went down the hill she started writing this novel which felt more like her which makes you question, why didn’t she wrote much thriller? It took her four books to realise that she should write a thriller while cramming the story with her real self. This is where the sole problem of the book comes in.

Log #1

“I swear, if I don’t finish this book tonight, I am never reading it again.”

It is a book of un-aimed scope; Ms. Hawkins tries to diversify and constantly fails to justify the book’s sole existence. The so-called ‘psychological thriller’ is nothing more than a simple story convoluted into being a traumatising story (traumatising for you, not for the characters) which loses itself in a dirty bloodless sea of ‘psychological thrillers’ which are not nearly as thrilling as they may sound. The sole problem of the book is that it is so self-dissolved into its characters and their miserable past that it neglects what is happening in the present. It is rather a biography of herself than being a properly integrated story of three characters whose lives are intertwined because of an incident. A hangover is the only explanation that it gives to move the plot forward, everything comes from the hangover which Rachel experience. Before the hangover, there was no direction for the story to go, it was like a straight road in the Sahara desert, it is endless, and it goes on forever unless there is a sandstorm or a lost city under the sand, all of which sounds exciting but that sandstorm is a night of over-drinking and a hangover that follows afterwards. You can play with the plot in any way that you like after that, and it seems to have an interesting series of events which will follow after the incident but a lost city, and a drunk girl are two very different things, and it is unfair to compare even them but you must know how much difference between an interesting and an uninteresting thing is and that difference hinders with the plot of this book.

The story is of three very different women (they are woman Ms. Paula, not GIRLS) whose lives are connected by an incident which somehow involves them all. They are like water in three different containers, one in a bottle, one in a mug, and one in a jug. And what happens when you pour that water into a tub? Nothing, they are just mixed, and each of their identity is lost and confused with the other. This is basically the plot of The Girl on The Train.

“I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something other than shame, but I’m not even brave enough for that.”

The three protagonists are great examples of what you should not be. A sex addict drunkard psycho ex-girlfriend/boyfriend who tries to terrorize your current boyfriend/girlfriend’s boyfriend/girlfriend or fiance. The incredulous way in which all three of them are portrayed is absurd and is the opposite of a strong female protagonist. Even though there are three of them, all of them are much or less the same. All of them are unhappy with their relationships, and they are either cheating or being cheated. There isn’t much to any of those characters except the trauma that they always appear to be in. They are facing issues of domestic violence and loss of sensation of their own identities. Women in this novel are portrayed in such a negative way that it is unsettling to read even their diary entries (the format of narration in this book). There are so few moments where you will actually see them portrayed in a positive light, especially Rachel. It is almost like Hawkins wanted you to hate Rachel for what she was and what she couldn’t be. Her failure in changing her attitude even after facing an immense loss because of it is the very definition of infirm.

The possibility that this story actually has some sort of entertainment is the same as the possibility of being a four-eyed person (glasses doesn’t count).


 

Gone Girl on Morphine

Have you ever seen a colour which hurt your eyes? Congratulations, now you know what it feels like to read The Girl on The Train.

I was really hyped about this book when I bought it. It was literally the buzz of the book-world and the tagline ‘You don’t know her, but she knows you’ indicated a more unnatural plot. I thought that it was about a girl who gains some powers and can experience other people’s lives by looking through their eyes. At least, that’s what the cover and the synopsis indicated to me.

Note #1

“If you think that when writing this review I didn’t know where I was going with the review and the writing and was maybe mindlessly putting some stuff into it, that’s exactly my point.”

I would say that this is the worst book that I have ever read with contrast to the other books that I have read, none of which put me off to the limit that I wanted to put them down. I read some mediocre books (Gone Girl itself was nothing special), but I haven’t read a book, and this is based on my perception, hated its characters itself. I don’t know if anyone could every sympathise with Rachel because of her callowness.

Assigning it as the ‘next Gone Girl’ is propagating it as it has almost nothing even remotely related/like to Gone Girl. Gone Girl had this great female character Amy, it was annoying at sometimes to read her journal but her character development is constant and its dynamic and because of that by the end, she becomes this psycho killer whom you would love to hate and hate yourself for loving her. Rachel’s character is much or less static for the plot; she does undergo some psychological changes, but they are not enough to keep her interesting. It almost seems like Rachel didn’t learn anything from her past experiences and her relationships; she continually commits the same mistakes over and over again which makes Rachel’s character feel like a robot. There can be two possible hypothesis for it from my perception.

  1.  Hawkins didn’t care who Rachel was or what she wanted to do with her. She was maybe busy portraying herself in it, and she forgot who these characters were and what actually defined them.
  2. Hawkins wanted everyone to hate the character of Rachel for an unknown reason.

If it were the second case, then I would say a job well done. She successes in creating not one, but three homogenous characters.

Paula Hawkins is a good writer; I could see that from this book and she don’t have to depend on any working formula to craft a good story. She is better than this, she does a great job in trying to make you feel empathetic to the characters, she fails to create memorable characters, but her writing is admirable, and she can create great stories with that skill but this book just isn’t the one where I could say that she wrote a story which will grip you and thrill you, maybe it thrilled some people, but I don’t feel resonated by this story. It’s like that scar which you got when you were young, some scars are worth having, some scars are worth keeping, some scars can make you proud, this isn’t one of them, this is just a painful scar which you want to heal as quickly as possible without an after-spot.


 

 “When did you become so weak?” I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went; I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.”

Why do I read? (and why you should too)

How can I read that thing? It doesn’t even have pictures.

How many times have you heard that sentence? I have, a lot.

Well, here is something to pass along to your non-reader friends. We all have that kind of friends who never read and they just don’t get what means to be a reader, they disregard reading as a waste of time unless it is their work related books which they read for their own selfish benefits. Well, guess what non-readers, reading novels have benefits too.

I won’t list too many scientific reasons as to why you should read because I think reading is not something that you do because ‘science says so’ but I want you to read because you ‘want to’. The reasons that I will present before you are based on my experience of reading for nearly three years. I have developed in a way I thought was not possible for me and maybe if I can persuade you to pick up a book by the end of this post, I would have done my part.

 

I would write about three things:

  1. Scientific benefits of reading
  2. Why do I read and what got me into reading, and
  3. My Personal reasons why you should read

 

Scientific benefits of reading

  1. It increases intelligence

  2. It can boost your brain power

  3. It may help fight Alzheimer’s disease

  4. Reading is contagious

 

Well, that’s it for scientific reasons. I don’t know about other reasons but I vouch for the last point. Reading is contagious if you have the right friends to guide you in the right direction.

 

Why do I read and what got me into reading?

It all started in 2013, there was a boy named Rohit who liked to play his video games and used to do his homework on time. He read his Harry Potter once in a while and that was it. He hated reading because there were ‘no pictures’ and he just liked playing video games more than anything.  He was okay at studies and liked to watch horror movies a lot, it didn’t scare him all that much but he like to watch them anyway because the sensation and the feeling, the aura that it gave him. He watched those movies with lights off and room closed, isolated from the world so that he might get scared because of the environment, that unfortunately didn’t happen. He was losing interest in watching the horror movies because they all looked like a rehashed version of cheap scares that he found in almost all of those movies. Then one day, he was browsing Amazon and he saw a book, it was called Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. Not intrigued by the cover but the title, he decided to search for the book to find what it exactly was. To his surprise, it was based on a True Story of a haunted house on 112 Ocean Avenue located on the south shore of Long Island, New York. It intrigued him so much that without thinking too much, he bought the book.

Then the day arrived, the book was in his hands and he started reading it and once he did, he could not stop. It was like a possessed entity was in the book and it was taking over him, day by day. He read it for three days and finished it. By the time he was done, he was scared, he experienced a thrill that he didn’t found in those horror movies, that detailed description of the demonic activities, those screams from the house, the scene where the house looked like a face looking at the Lutz family who made the mistake of living in it. It was something that hooked him on horror once again, and more importantly, into reading books.

That ladies and gentleman was the true story of how I started reading. I was mainly a Horror reading in the beginning and I didn’t read anything aside from Stephen King for more than a year and then I started to broaden my horizon and started reading other novels and here I am. Now, I read almost anything and everything that I can find and this development was not immediate but gradual.

Now, as to why do I read. There can be a couple of reasons for that, I will list some of the most important ones to me below:

  • It’s fun. Okay, isn’t it obvious? Why do you do anything if not for fun and the sheer enjoyment you get out of it? (readers will understand, non-readers will, in time. You have a lot to learn my padawan)
  • Stories and characters. The stories that I read in books are so distinct and so isolated from the ones that I have seen in movies that I am not surprised that most of the well-known movies are based on books. The stories that are created in books are unmatched by movies. Characters are also something that compliments a good story, because if a story does not have characters that you like, you wouldn’t feel immersed and would rather feel fragile.
  • Universe. Books are not merely stories that exist in a fictional reality. They are a whole universe waiting to be explored. Why I say books are a universe is because it is as vast as a universe can be and as distinct as well. There are millions of different stories with different characters that are just waiting to be explored and more importantly, like a universe, these are almost infinite and expanding. You just lose yourself in the imagination of the writer and forget about your physical appearance. How many times have your teacher in school or college have told you to ‘stop daydreaming’? That’s what reading does, it transforms your mentality in someplace else, it is like an illusion, an illusion that you don’t want to come back from.

 

Why should you read?

So, now we come back to THE question, the reason that you, yes YOU, you the one who doesn’t read books is here.Why should you read? Let me counter a question with a question, answer it and be honest.

Why do you watch movies or TV shows? Do you like the screenplay or do you like the director or you just watch it because your favorite actor/actress is starring in it?

What happens when you watch those movies or TV shows? I don’t know what happens to you but I will give you a brief synopsis of what happens to me.

I get lost in the enchanted stories of those shows or movies and dissolve myself completely (like salt dissolves in water) into the acting, the direction, and the narration of those movies/TV shows. It becomes addictive, some shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter, and The Walking Dead are just a few examples of shows that I love and I feel like a character who exists in that universe and is watching their every move.

Does that happen to you too? Or something similar? Well, that’s precisely what happens when you read a book but, on a large scale.

You are not a third person when you read a book. You ARE a character in the book that you read. This is what distinguishes everything from reading. You are not merely spectating but you are a part of whatever is going on in the story that you are reading. You experience the feelings that the characters feel, you find similarities between you and them and you can relate to them. You cry, you laugh, you make friends and enemies. every time you pick a new book, you are transferred to a new universe, a new world that is yours for exploring and more you explore it more interesting it gets, page by page until everything turns to shite (say it in a British accent) and you are forced to fight your way out of it. You are either solving mysteries as Sherlock or trying to take the throne as Tyrion or doing countless things that you probably will never do in real life.And when you prosper, when you feel that victory or when you end up with your beloved character or get your heart broken by them, it is you.

Have you noticed that I am saying YOU a lot? Well, it is because it is you. When you read a book, you are either Tyrion or Celaena or Liesel or Daniel or an infinite number of characters that you read and want to be. You are not reading about them, you are transforming yourself into becoming one of them and experience the world through your own eyes when you have transformed yourself into someone else.

How to read?

I am including one additional topic so those of you who want to get into reading (and can’t) can get a good start. These are simple tips that I followed which got me into reading books and I hope can be helpful to you too.

  • Your favorite genre? There are books on almost every single genre that you can possibly imagine. So, it comes down to what you like in other forms of entertainment. Do you like zombie shows or historical shows? Do you like horror movies or romantic movies? Pick up a book that is in your comfort zone so you won’t have too many problems getting into it. If I would have picked up historical fiction over horror for my first book, I might not have gotten into reading in the first place. So choose a book that complements your other favorite entertainments.
  • Ask your bookworm friend. They will give you a heap of books to select from, don’t be afraid, choose one that is in your comfort zone.
  • Develop a reading habit. You can not just read a few pages and call yourself a reader. You need to try and invest more time to reading than you do to other activities and you can also steal some time. Called a friend over and he is coming in 10 minutes? Read. Waiting for a phone call from your boyfriend/girlfriend? READ. Got a few minutes before the bus comes? READ. Stealing a few minutes every day to read can help you develop a reading habit and it won’t interfere with your other daily life activities (unless you become a bookworm of course, like I am, or your friends or that girl next door, hmmmm)

In the end, I would like to give you non-readers, my one final brief (it have been brief already right? right? no?) thought on reading.

Every time I read a book, I am with new characters in a new world of which I myself am a part of. To be something I can never be in real life, to do things I could never do in real life. I feel this every time I read a book and I would give anything to keep feeling this way for the rest of my life.

 

Book Review – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“What would you do to keep me here? Kill me?”

Have you ever been to a graveyard? If you have, you must have got the ominous feeling that something is not right there, you feel a gust of the wind that blows your hair and you think that it was done by some force that is acting upon you and will probably kill you like they killed those guys in that horror movie that you ‘saw’. You start to get goosebumps for no reason (except for maybe that ghost?) and you want to scream for help or run out of the graveyard acting like a lunatic. That is precisely what you would want to do if you are in a graveyard because that is the imagery you have of ghosts; they are these terrifying creatures who lurks in shadows and hunt for blood and eat humans: that is the image that you have of ghosts.

Now try to take a different look at ghosts. Do you have a friendly face in your neighborhood that always makes you smile when you look at that person? It can be your girlfriend or your crush or even the old grandma who might even have a dead body buried in her backyard garden. Now, envisage ghosts being like that familiar face in your neighborhood, do they scare you now? If they do, you have very creepy neighbors.

The Graveyard book is that friendly neighbor and its ghosts are equally friendly (unless they are your enemies).

One day, an infant’s family is murdered, but he escapes by crawling, using those tiny hands and legs tirelessly but not feeling the weight nor the pain that it is causing him, little did he know that he is walking away from a trouble and maybe into one. He surprisingly ends up at the gates of a graveyard not too far from his home.

Jack The Killer is searching for the boy because he can not leave a job unfinished, he sets on to search the infant………and kill him.

Meanwhile, the infant is at the gates of a graveyard and then a ghost, Mrs. Owens sees the infant and due to her inability to carry a child while she was human, she picks up the little one and is immediately filled with motherly love that she craved for. The other ghosts in the graveyard are against her raising the kid because a human being raised by ghosts is not the most sincere idea either for ghosts or for humans. But Mrs. Owens (like most women do) convinces everyone and along with her husband raises the infant, now named, Nobody Owens.

The search leads to nowhere and Jack The Killer, finds ‘nobody’ and nothing but empty streets and cold air. He hasn’t finished the job; he hasn’t finished the job.

Thus beings the credulous journey of Nobody Owens as he grows up with ghosts and tries to counterbalance his feeling of normal life with his ghostly life. Jack The Killer also grows impatient and more psycho with time because of not being able to finish the job. Thus beings the journey as Nobody grows-up and encounters Jack, yet again.

“You remember me.” Said the boy, the architect of all her misfortunes.

You might deduce from the synopsis that it is an adult book, it is not. If anything, it is far from an adult novel. What this is, is a light heart, coming-of-age story with emotions that you felt somewhere in your life. Being naive, always trying to find adventure, trying to figure out love, or wanting to explore. Sometimes you miss being a juvenile, sometimes all you can think of is future. You can not feel those emotions again; you just can’t. But that does not mean you can not experience them through someone else’s eyes and experiences. Nobody Owens is that kid: Nobody Owens is YOU when you were ten years old and figuring the world out. Nobody Owens is:


 

Everybody.

The only reason I bought this book was because it was on discount. Yes, as ignorant as it may sound, that is the only reason I bought it and I didn’t know that it was a middle-grade story. From the cover and the synopsis, it looked like a YA book.

I wasn’t much invested in the story for at least fifty pages. But as more and more characters were introduced, it started to get interesting because of the diversity of those characters. By the time I was hundred-pages in, there had been ghouls, Nobody’s caretaker Silas, and some other characters. All of them had their different ways to talk, and they had witty humor which I can’t help but smile at. As the story progressed, the amount of characters in the story kept increasing. As old characters were gone, new ones replaced them; this can be perilous because characters might not be able to establish themselves in the world and they might not be able to justify their presence, but Neil Gaiman entwined them together so adroitly that all of those characters had a story of their own. While the plot was predictable for the most part, the promise of more interesting characters was the only reason I wanted to read further.

I don’t know towards whom Neil Gaiman targeted the story, but I would say one thing, it left me with emotions I never thought this book would have in the first place. By the time I finished it, I was happy, I was sad, I was grown-up, I was ten years old again. This is like the coming-of-age story that we don’t know we want to read until we just do. It can transform you into that kid, regardless of your age, weather you’re twenty or sixty. The story has a little bit of everything for everyone.

I was never a person of short stories. I hated to read short stories because, well, they are short. I found it difficult to connect with characters in a short span of time that I can do so easily when a book is as long as six hundred pages because I can spend extra time with those characters and get to know them, I don’t use to feel that connection in a short story, well, I didn’t USE to feel it. Neil Gaiman has changed the way I read short stories. In such a short book(it is around three hundred and fifteen pages long) I related and fell in love with so many characters that I never thought could make me feel anything. I use to see ghouls as these creatures that I have to kill in Dark Souls. Now, I see them as creatures of the night, creatures who dwells in underground and have a secret society and who are kidnapping children for their own twisted needs. I found that the heart of these short stories lies in small details, these details can transform this small world into something bigger, bigger than the biggest worlds of biggest novels. 

“People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.”

Book Review – Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi

Log #1

This looks like it’s going to be a story where a girl’s life is changed because a boy enters it and ends up romancing her in the most uncomfortable way possible and she end up losing all her senses (including common sense) I have read only 40 pages by the way.  This sucks.”

Some achieve greatness via hard-work but some have greatness thrust upon them. When that happens, it either becomes the deserving candidate for the piece of art that it maybe is or it becomes what you can call a hyperbole. Shatter me is that piece of art hyperbole.

It starts with a premise, you are led to believe that Juliette is a girl like philosopher’s stone. Except turning something into gold, she turns it to ashes or so what it implies from the synopsis. What she can do is beyond her control; her powers are left an enigma for the next book to uncover. But what does unfold in this book is her awkward romance with a boy Adam who becomes the hero of the story.  You can not care much about Juliette by the end because as it unravels *MAYBE SPOILERS* she is just a superficial pawn in a game bigger than her.

Using only three characters for the majority of the story seemed like ambling The Great Wall of China on a wheel-chair. It is awkwardly comfortable to go through but it have the uneasiness that you feel when someone is watching you with eyes which are filled with grief and sadness enough to make you cry for a million years and you want to punch that person or run him over with your wheel-chair.

Log #2

“I am trying to like Juliette, trust me, I really am.”

The first 180 pages are one of the most hormone filled romance you can ever possibly probably find. There are some metaphors which seems like the Ozone layer just teared apart and you are being showered with the ultraviolet rays of the Sun. And if you know about basic science, that is NOT good for your health, you can get skin cancer because of that. Well, this is more or less like that, a cancer that slowly takes up your body and starts to decay it until you are weak and vulnerable to other diseases and it grows, it grows with time and it gets worse.

“‘Juliette’. His voice hugs the letter in my name so softly I die 5 times in that second.”

Juliette reacts to normal situations in such exaggeration that it becomes unintentionally funny. Like the moment when teacher in your class says “don’t laugh” and that is when you have the most urgent desire to burst your mouth open and laugh in their face. Her reactions are almost unimaginable because she describes those simple situations with such complexity that you can not help but feel like she is suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder, which she is not. But you can’t know that and it helps a lot if you think she is suffering from APD because it explains a lot of her feelings and makes much more sense than her burning romance.


 

(If you noticed weird metaphors or similes in my review, that is done on purpose to imitate what it felt like to read this book. Also if you saw some exaggerated views where I am being overly critical, that is done on purpose too, to complement what is done in this book itself. It can be annoying to some and that is the point. Most of it is true though.)

Shatter Me

No, seriously. Just shatter me and be done with it. I heard a lot of great things about this book. Ratings were really high and everyone seemed to love this book and I was hyped myself for this because of the synopsis of the story. What I uncovered was one of the most weird storytelling and use of metaphors in writing. 

The story was really slow and boring for the first 180 pages. Characters were limited and what was constantly happening was Juliette was being seduced into loving a guy who might have done everything he did because of selfish reasons. There is little happening and more explaining; that would have been fine if it had actually gave a little details of the dystopian world that the story takes place in. But what it was actually doing was making Juliette seem like a girl who is most likely to die of experiencing too many emotions when she is not suppose to. Her exaggerated and negative reaction to everything and her character is not the strong female it is suppose to be; it is rather naive and she experience almost zero character development until the end (except ‘she gets a boyfriend’). This makes you question “Why is she even the main character of the story?”

As far as I think and based on the critical reading of the later part of the story, it could have still been the same story that it is now. Juliette’s character does not do justice enough to justify it’s presence. And if you have read the later part of the story, you would know it to be true. The real hero of the story seems to be Adam. Juliette is ‘just there’, so Adam can have something to keep him busy while he is not doing what is relevant to the story.

One character that I did like from the moment I saw him is Warner

After the treacherous 180 pages, things pick up the pace at the speed of The Flash. A lot of chaos and confusion ensures which sets our heroes and villains for a two book story, up ahead. New characters are introduced. This is where things gets a little interesting because those characters have such witty and funny dialogues, it is a relieving break from all the oozing romance that was taking place before.  These characters were like the chips in a packet of Lays. When you first open a packet of Lays, what you get is oxygen for almost half of the packet and the real taste lies in the bottom half of that packet. Main characters were that air and side characters were that chips.

These side characters starts to fill up the gaps quickly and set things in loose-motion (no, not what you’re thinking) with an ending which makes it seem like the only reason this book was written was because Tahereh Mafi wanted you to gasp at the ending like you gasp when you see a book store filled with books which have a 100% discount tag written on them (free so to say). This just depends if you would actually gasp at that moment. I would and I did at the ending. It was a surprise because I wasn’t expecting anything from it; I gave up hope on the story and was waiting for it to be over and that is one of the reason that the ending was a surprise. Who doesn’t want free books anyway? 

I am in no hurry to read the second book in this trilogy because if it follows the same pattern as this one did (romance for half of the book and actual things happening in the remaining half) then I am not mentally ready to go through this treacherous phase. This story is like your favorite junk food. If you eat too much, it can make you sick but damn, you do like the taste of it.

“Reality slams into me like 200 pound of common sense.”

Book Review – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

“Have you ever wondered, what a human life is worth?”

On one chilly night, Lina was getting ready for bed, she was wearing her night gown when suddenly, she heard a loud thump on the door. She couldn’t figure out who it was because it was almost midnight and no one bangs on your door at midnight now do they? It could have been her father who wasn’t home from work. Where was he? Lina’s mother opened the door and NKVD marched inside their house and started shouting commands and words that went beyond understanding of Lina. They were being captured. Lina along with her family is then deported by NKVD to labor camps.

What follows is her journey through different places, meeting different survivors and forming relations and tying knots that she could never break. It is a deep emotional journey which goes beyond the quality of being fiction but is rather something that feels real, something that has happened before, like a missing page out of the history books.

Log #1

I have never felt so sorry and sympathetic towards anyone (not even towards people in real life). I have to put this down, I can’t continue this; I have to stop reading this so I can stop……..shivering.

We depend on each other, weather it is due to biological cycle or in a non-biological way; we survive by staying together, supporting each other at both our worst and best times, even if it means sharing a mere thought to make a happy conversation or as sad as sharing a handkerchief to wipe away our tears. Between Shades of Gray have that dependency, its characters depend on each other for survival, they either consciously or unconsciously help someone in their own ways, to support them, so they can feel safe in hell and get through it, together.

There is a line between fiction and reality, sometimes that line is breached: and when that line breached, what you get is something beyond special, something that is worth preserving, something that is not real but it is real. That line is broken by Ruta Sepetys in Between Shades of Gray and it creates a haunting  environment filled with the horrors of real life and it constantly asks the question, “What a human life is worth?”

“No, don’t give them anything Lina, not even your fear.”

Between Shades of Gray questions humanity but in mid-set of all the terror, there is always hope, hope for a better future, hope that things will get better and in the end, that hope, wins.


 

Between Shades of Gray

I did not know what the story was about except it was a historical fiction. I have only read one historical fiction novel before, The Shadow of The Wind and even that was fused with some supernatural elements. So this was my first ‘true’ historical fiction novel. 

This was a carefully constructed story which carried a serious tone from the beginning right until the end; even still there were some heart-warming moments where Sepetys showed her true genius and genuine emotions and a lesson; that no matter how worse the circumstances are, you should never lose that part of yourself which is joy (that’s what I learned from those moments anyway).

I do not have proper words as to describe what I experienced in this story. I might be overreacting a little too much and that is all right by me; because if all historical fictions are like this, I am going to become a cry baby soon.

“We’ve been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean. If we boost one another, maybe we’d get a little closer.”