I’ve spent this month reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and I’ve finished around 40% of it. The trilogy follows the lives of two main characters as they live through pretty weird times. The title of the book is a take on George Orwell’s 1984 and is pretty amazing. Like every Murakami book, the book is mesmerising and whatever I’ve read of it till now is so good. Here is another totally amazing Murakami quote:
My friend and I have been a fan of photography for quite a while now. Almost a month ago, we decided to start one of those instagram pages and post pictures we’d taken over the last 2-3 years. So for this page, we decided we’d do a row of photos of books because obviously I love books and they look pretty amazing in various settings.
For this project, I went around the house with some of my books and took some pictures and then I realised my books always, always deserve a post of their own!
It’s weird but books have always been a huge part of me. No matter what time or day or occasion or feeling, books are this comforting thing that is just always there. Maybe this is why I’ve grown so protective of my bookshelves over the years – always cleaning and arranging and re-arranging them. Every year, I have different goals for how many books I want to read in that year and I always have this list with me of books to be read, to be bought and to be re-read. Here are 3 books that I can pretty much pick up whenever and be happy with:
1) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: I read this book around 3-4 years ago and I have re-read parts of it so, so many times. This is such an emotional read that I can’t help but dive right back into the heartbreaking parts.
2) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Someone once told me that I was way too old for re-reading Harry Potter, but I’m not sure that’s a thing. I don’t believe I could ever go too far from what Harry Potter has meant to be. The 5th book is and will always be my favourite one, something I pretty much pick up and randomly start off with.
3) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: I will say my judgement is totally biased when it comes to this one. Carry On is a fantasy novel but also a novel with a LGBTQ protagonist – and these two things together have made it my favourite Rainbow Rowell novel. Honestly, whenever I see it lying there in my shelves, I pick it up and fill the pages to whatever chapter I feel like.
Do you also end up having really strong feelings for some books even years after you’re done reading them?
Defending Jacob has been on my list for a while now and when I saw that Apple was making a TV series on it, I knew I had to read it ASAP. And so I did.
Defending Jacob is narrated by Andy Barber, the First ADA in a small town that has been rocked my the murder of a 14-year old boy. Being the First ADA, Andy dives headfirst into the investigation and gets to work like he always does. The investigation seems to be going slow as there are no leads, no weapon and no suspects, till the DA’s office arrests Andy’s 14-year old son, Jacob.
What follows the arrest is a whirlwind of emotions, fights, confusions and lies. Andy races against time to ensure his son’s survival in a fight that he desperately seems to be losing. But its not like Andy is alone in this – he has his wife, his best friend, their lawyer, even though the rest of the town is clearly against them.
Andy’s narration in the book actually runs parallel to the testimony he is giving in court and at every stage where you think you know what the truth is, you really don’t. Tje book is captivating and hard to put down. At the end of the day, all I really wanted was to know what happened.
I haven’t gotten around to watching the show yet, I have been thinking about it though (mostly because of Chris Evans playing Andy Barber). The book is definitely totally worth it! Also, the ending completely shocked me.
Reading has always been something I’ve really loved and I’ve always dedicated a lot of time to it. Over a lot of years, I’ve owned and read an immeasurable amount of books and with every book I purchase or finish reading, I already have the next one lined up. I’ve never really stuck to just one or two genres either and I’ve mostly tried to read all kinds of books. Despite this, the genre I’ve probably read the most of is YA. And I think its because YA can be so diverse. It has romance, crime, mystery, unbearable sap and a weird kind of realism. Its definitely been the genre that has been a huge part of most of my teenage years. SO many YA books have been my absolute favourites over the years (Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited, An Abundance of Katherines), and I’ve always been really glad for the genre.
Last month, I was reading a book called Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Cassandra Clare is the author of the famous The Mortal Instruments books (that got made into a TV show called Shadowhunters) and I read all six of them last year. Lady Midnight also follows this world introduced in the earlier books and is the story of Emma and Julian – two Shadowhunters in Los Angeles who are also best friends and then are tasked with the mission of investigating certain murders that have been happening for a while.
I love a good fantasy book. Fantasy YA can be a really good break from regular fictional books. But something really surprising happened when I was reading Lady Midnight. One of the sub-plots of the book was that Emma and Julian are in love with each other but because laws in their world don’t allow it, none of them really acknowledge it. What was a sub-plot felt more like the main plot because all either of the two think about throughout the book is each other – and not in the fun, adorable, romantic way that most YA I loved has had.
As I went on reading, I soon realized that the problem wasn’t the content. The problem was me. I could barely see past this weird little love story because this weird little love story was really annoying me. Everytime Julian thought about Emma’s perfect hair, or Emma gushed over literally any skill Julian possessed, all I did was cringe. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and what I really couldn’t understand was why it was getting to me. Slowly, I thought maybe I’m growing out of this. That maybe I’m getting over reading YA content.
When I first had I thought, I was pretty terrified. YA books have been a huge part of my life for so long. I’ve done everything while reading them – cried, thrown it in frustration, memorized quotes, finished them in a day, re-read them. So how could it even be possible that I could grow out of it? And if I could grow out of it, did that mean I would grow out of everything it has made me into? I sat on this for a while actually, wondering what it would really mean for me. Would I never read them again? Or would I cringe everytime a stupid teenager went out with someone they liked? I certainly didn’t want that. I didn’t want to become one of those people who started disliking something that made them into who they are right now. Then I thought, maybe its for the best.
Maybe growing out of YA content didn’t have to mean that I’d never read them again. Maybe it just meant that I was growing into something else, maybe growing faster than I thought, but growing.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you a huge YA buff?
I finished reading After the Quake yesterday and like every other Murakami book, I absolutely loved it. The best part about the book is that it has stories that barely span twenty pages and that makes it really easy to read. There are six stories and I think for anyone who has never read Murakami before, this is the best book to start with.
The whole month of December that I’ve been home, I’ve read a ton of new books almost to make up for the massive amount of books I did not read in the months before – these are the books I ended my year with:
1) From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon : I really liked parts of this book and really disliked parts of this book. The story follows Twinkle Mehra, a high school student who aspires to become a movie director and then gets chance to direct a movie for an upcoming festival along with another student who’s the twin brother of her longtime crush. Various parts of the book are really high school-ish and various choices that Twinkle made really infuriated me. Despite all that, the book is a fresh read.
2) Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy : I had been so excited to read this book for so long and it really lived up to everything I’d heard about it. Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean who’s the teenage daughter of a former beauty queen in a small town. Will decides to run for the beauty pageant as a protest against everything she’s felt since her aunt passed away. The book tests Willowdean’s friendships, and relationships, and her mother and is really, really engaging. The ending of the book disappointed me a bit and I felt like it ended really abruptly.
3) The Chosen One by Sam Bourne : This was the second book that I read by Sam Bourne and it was as good and as crazy as the first one was. The book follows the story of Maggie Castello, the political advisor for the President of the United States who’s presidency is threatened by an anonymous source revealing secrets that would lead to impeachment. The book follows Maggie across the country as she tries to protect the man she ran a successful campaign for, and the ending will shock you.
5/5 for this book!
4) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas : This was another book that I was really exited for but really disappointed by the ending. The book starts with Starr Carter, a high school student watching from the passenger side seat as her friend is shot dead by a white policeman. Starr then goes from staying far away from the shooting to standing up for her community. The book is a really easy read, but it felt like it ended way too soon.
[Side Note: Both Dumplin’ and THUG are now movies!].
5) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman : Eleanor is a middle aged woman who lives alone, works as an accountant, talks to her mom every Wednesday and has an extremely routine life. The book follows her story as various things end up disturbing her routine and making Eleanor step out of her comfort zone. The book is really good. It keeps you engaged throughout because you really want to unravel Eleanor’s history, and in other parts you can’t help but feel for Eleanor and everything she has gone through. I was also really satisfied by the ending.
6) Fool me Once by Harlan Coben : I’ve wanted to read Harlan Coben books since a real long time, and if you’ve ever thought about reading them too – this is a GREAT book to start with! The book is essentially a murder mystery where the protagonist tries to find out who killed her husband. The ending of the book is quite mind-blowing and the whole storyline is so engaging that you’ll always be surprised.
7) Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan : Counting by 7’s is the story of a twelve year old girl who loses her parents and her life is turned upside down when she suddenly finds herself surrounded by people who cannot understand her at all. Slowly, she makes a new family and the ending of the book is this small hurrah you know she deserves.
I discovered Murakami last year and I fell in love. Murakami’s writing is simple and so easy to follow, that you never feel like putting the book down. But then sometimes his writing is so difficult to follow that you have no choice but to put it down after a chapter or so. Funnily, Kafka is both.
Kafka on the shore is a book that follows two stories running parallelly but you know that ultimately they will meet. It follows Kafka, a 15 year-old boy running away from home and it follows Nakata, a 60 year-old man looking for a cat. Kafka is running away from his father because he refuses to believe that life has in store for him what his father thinks. Nakata is looking for a cat because he can speak to cats. The book alternates between both their stories with a million things overlapping between them but you don’t really realize that till you are done. Kafka took me a really long time to finish. Mostly because at times the book would suddenly take a 360 degree turn and leave me mind boggled. But every time I felt that, every time I wanted to go back and read it.
I will admit that Kafka has parts (maybe chapters) that will confuse you. That will make you feel like the story isn’t going in any real direction. My advice is this: Get through these parts. Because when you do, you will thank me. Kafka will take you some time to read. It will make you think and maybe make you re-read something because you didn’t really get it. But like every other Murakami book, Kafka will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
I’ve spent the first month of my summer really, really productively (I’ve finished watching How to Get Away With Murder (S05), This is Us (S01), Special, Selection Day and SO many movies!) – but really, my favourite part has been that I’ve read 14 books this month and here’s a list of them so you can get inspired to read them as well :
1) 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
2) Is everyone hanging out without me? by Mindy Kaling
3) Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
4) Who says you can’t? You Do by Daniel Chidiac
5) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
6) The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
7) City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
8) Does my head look big in this? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
9) City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
10) One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey
11) City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
12) The Constant Gardener by John le Carré
13) City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
14) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I’ve wanted to read The Miseducation of Cameron Post for as along as I can remember. Emily Danforth’s book talks about Cameron Post, a seventeen year old sent to a Christian Camp for conversion therapy by her Aunt in the 1980’s.
I finally read the book (and really loved it) and then I finally watched the 2018 movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz. The movie is quite good. But I’ve realized that every time I watch a book getting made into a movie, I am usually a little bit disappointed. This is my post on how Book Cameron is different from Movie Cameron.
The biggest difference in the book and the movie is how terribly short it is cut to. This is however expected – they cannot make a whole 400 page book to screen. The book Cameron has a really sad and depressing past that we get to experience, movie Cameron does not.
Book Cameron has her first kiss when she’s eleven years old and movie Cameron is already seventeen when we see her for the first time.
Book Cameron has a crazy summer affair with Lindsey at her swimming meet, and in my personal opinion, Lindsey shapes book Cameron’s personality in many ways and so having no Lindsey in the movie really makes movie Cameron seem very different.
My least favourite part from the movie is the fact that Cameron’s best friend – Jamie is shown completely opposite of what he is in the book. Book Jamie loves Cameron but he realizes and recognizes what Cameron wants and supports her. Movie Jamie doesn’t out her, but movie Jamie is not her best friend.
The movie ends exactly like the book ends (and that was a relief), however with the major sub-plot of Cameron’s parents’ death missing from the movie, the ending doesn’t seem as strong as it does in the book.
Despite everything, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is both a book and a movie worth reading and watching.