June 23, 2016

On The Road

by Jack Kerouac

This is, by far, the worst book that I least like that I've read this year. I've been racking my brain for things to say about it but I can't, because nothing happens in it. Nothing.

There's just a bunch of guys who go on a road trip across the country. I don't understand why. Sal Paradise, the protagonist, decides to go from West Coast to East Coast, running out of money in the process and needing to be bailed out by a relative, and then when he's there, he goes back again. Dean Moriarty, his "friend," is his companion who cannot, for the life of me, decide who between two women he'd rather be with. Both of them waste waaaay too much time traveling and driving and that is all there is to this book, really.

June 14, 2016

Bingo, again!

And so today, I complete my second pattern for the book club's book bingo.

Second pattern is the F-N column. Now which pattern should I complete next? :D

June 6, 2016

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

by Patrick Ness

Remember high school? Think jocks, cheerleaders, prom kings and queens, popular kids. With reference to pop culture, think kids with cool powers and/or endowed with special talents for saving the world.

Now flip the coin and imagine the "regular" kids, the "ordinary" ones who have neither special talents nor cool powers, the kids who can't even begin to save themselves from themselves.

This is their story.

I have no problem with the concept, and because Patrick Ness is a hit or a miss with me ("Knife" was a sore miss, "Monster Calls" was a perfect hit), I was hoping that the scales would tilt to the "hit" side. I enjoy reading YA every so often and thought this would be one of those books I'd like. Guess I spoke too soon.

May 13, 2016

A Tale For The Time Being

by Ruth Ozeki

There's something Cloud Atlas-esque (Atlas-ish?) about A Tale For The Time Being. It's the metafictional connections between and among characters, principal of which are Nao, a 16-year-old Japanese girl whose family relocated from California to Tokyo after her father lost his job at Silicon Valley, and Ruth, a middle-aged novelist who lives with her husband, Oliver, in a small island off the coast of Canada. One fine day, while Ruth treks along the beach near her home, she picks up a barnacle-encrusted plastic bag containing a diary, a packet of letters, and an old sky soldier watch. They all belonged to Nao, whose story Ruth reads from the diary.

Ruth presumes that the plastic package, coming as it did from Japan, drifted off onto their beach after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. As she reads through the diary, she discovers that Nao's father attempted suicide several times as a result of losing his job in the States, that Nao's mother had to take on the role of breadwinner, and that Nao was bullied so much in school up to the point that she herself began to contemplate suicide. Ruth also reads about old Jiko, Nao's Buddhist grandmother who was also a nun in a temple at the Fukushima prefecture, and who taught Nao all about what a moment is, and what a time being is. Nao also writes in her diary about her grand-uncle, Haruki #1 (because her dad is also named Haruki), a kamikaze pilot during the second World War, whose story of honor and duty inspired her.

As she reads the contents of the package, Ruth gets emotionally attached to Nao, getting completely affected by the seeming cries of help that were her diary entries. She wants to help, but there is total dearth of information: when did Nao write the diary? Could she still be alive, or had she committed suicide? Where could she be? In the end, was it better for Ruth to not know about Nao's whereabouts, and just hope for the best?

May 3, 2016

Call Me By Your Name

by Andre Aciman

Call Me By Your Name is the coming-of-age story of Elio, a 16-year-old who develops feelings towards an older guy, Oliver, Elio’s family’s scholar house guest for the summer. Told from Elio’s point of view, their story spans decades, beginning that summer at Elio’s family’s cliffside house overlooking the beach.

At first, I felt for Elio. It was clear he had a crush on Oliver, and he was dying inside just seeing him there: by the pool, at the dining table, around the house. I could just imagine how he’d swoon when Oliver would look at him, how he didn’t know how to react at the slightest touch or contact with Oliver’s skin. And I understood Elio. At a young age, his feelings must be all whacked up, and not knowing what to think or how to react came with the territory.

April 21, 2016

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards, #1)

by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora came highly recommended by my husband, self-proclaimed high fantasy purist, although the Gentlemen Bastards series isn’t top on his list. I’ve been meaning to read this and, thanks to the TFG Book Bingo, I finally found the perfect opportunity.

Locke Lamora is an orphan. He and his comrades, who will later on style themselves as the Gentlemen Bastards, were trained in various fields – including thievery – by Father Chains, the Eyeless Priest of the Order of Perelandro. Locke and his various disguises, together with his posse Jean Tannen, twins Calo and Galdo Sanza, and their apprentice, Bug, practically bleed the wealthy nobles of Camorr of their money, which they keep under the temple of Perelandro. It is through these schemes and devises that the unidentified Locke earns the title Thorn of Camorr.

All is well in their thieving ways until the Gray King decides that he wants to replace the ruling capa, Barsavi, before whom Locke has, as a child, pledged his loyalty. In order to wrest power from Barsavi, the Gray King commissions Locke’s talent, under duress. From there, the Thorn of Camorr and the Gentlemen Bastards find themselves embroiled in the midst of a premeditated plot of revenge.