“I used to be afraid of dying. Now I’m afraid of not living. There’s a difference. We go through life planning for a future, but sometimes that future never comes.”
This was one of the hardest books I've ever read. I spent about three weeks on it, because I had to keep putting it down - the emotions of this book kept drowning me. I will be honest - if I didn't read other, more light hearted books while I was also reading this, I'd be plunged into the pits of the deepest depression by now.
"Schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar I, bipolar II, major depression, psychotic depression, obsessive/compulsive, and on, and on. The labels mean nothing, because no two cases are ever exactly alike. Everyone presents differently, and responds to meds differently, and no prognosis can truly be predicted."
The premise of the book, the idea and the message were fantastic. I also really recommend reading the footnote by the author, Neil Shusterman, as he explains how the topic of his book and his family are intimately related. That brought a whole new level of depth to the book.
So why only 3.5 stars? The book was great - there were so many amazing and quotable moments, if this wasn't a library copy, I'd have been highlighting the crap out of it. But where it was full of emotions it lacked in plot (for me at least). I found myself losing attention at the metaphoric parts and wanting to get to the real life parts. Later on in the book they merge and connect, but prior to that I have to admit, it was a bit confusing.
“You see demons in the eyes of the world, and the world sees a bottomless pit in yours.”
The book also deals with prejudice and wrong accusations. How people see somebody who is different and immediately assume that person is a drug addict. And when they realize what's happening it is often way too late.
I believe that this book will help many people - it will show them that they are not alone, that no matter what they might be feeling, no matter how ludicrous it may be, there is somebody out there who had felt the same way, or still is.
But I also believe that this book might trigger many others. The emotions in the book were so real you can feel them dripping off the pages. Caden's fears and his paranoia are contagious, and if you are not careful enough it will get you. It didn't help that I am already a hypochondriac and an ocd (self diagnosed, of course, but these things you just know). I kept thinking - am I going to spiral down one day? I have some symptoms, so is it a challenger deep for me too?
Nobody ever likes to feel powerless, but when I read Challenger Deep I felt it - inability to help Caden, or others like Caiden - because only they can help themselves. Sure, doctors and nurses and medicine stabilize people, but in the end the journey is only that person's to take.
Challenger Deep also gave me a new perspective on brain altering medicine. I still don't exactly know how I feel about it, but I do realize now that sometimes that is all doctors have - their best is just a guess, and sometimes that guess works and sometimes it doesn't.
“The fear of not living is a deep, abiding dread of watching your own potential decompose into irredeemable disappointment when 'should be' gets crushed by what is. Sometimes I think it would be easier to die than to face that, because 'what could have been' is much more highly regarded than 'what should have been.' Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug.”
I'd definitely recommend this book, but I will also say - be ready, this is not the easiest journey you will ever read through. And it will stay with you forever.
So I went a little grabby at the library and checked out 5 books at once. Now I just have to speed up my reading and get through all of them in timely manner. Here is my mini library "haul".
1. Girl in Translation
by Jean Kwok
This is my next read. I saw it on Goodreads and it caught my eye, so I was really happy to find a copy at my local library. I am actually very excited to start this!
Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.
2. Beartown (Björnstad #1)
by Fredrik Backman
After adoring The man called One I needed more Backman in my life, so I went ahead and got Beartown.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
3. Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
We are 3 months into the year and this is my 4rth Moriarty book. I can't help it, I have a craving for her books. After this I only have one left and I've read all of her works.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
4. Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter #1)
by Lana Popović
I'm going to be honest - the only reason I'm reading this book is the cover. Yup, I'm a cover whore. I don't know that's this about, or anything about the author, but gimme!! Also, this is YA, so I probably should add it to my YA books I will be reading in 2018 list.
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
5. It's Not Yet Dark
by Simon Fitzmaurice
I spotted this at Barnes and Noble, but didn't have the money to buy it, thankfully my library rocks and they had a copy of this. I'm pushing myself to read as many different genres as I can this year - and memoirs are definitely not something I ever read.
In 2008, Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (mnd). He was given four years to live.
In 2010, in a state of lung-function collapse, Simon knew with crystal clarity that now was not his time to die. Against all prevailing medical opinion, he chose to ventilate in order to stay alive.
Here, the young filmmaker, a husband and father of five small children draws us deeply into his inner world. Told in simply expressed and beautifully stark prose - in the vein of such memoirs as Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - the result is an astonishing journey into a life which, though brutally compromised, is lived more fully and in the moment than most, revealing at its core the power of love its most potent.
Written using an eye-gaze computer, It's Not Yet Dark is an unforgettable book about relationships and family, about what connects and separates us as people and, ultimately, about what it means to be alive.
1st read - February 2017
2nd read - March 2018
Update to the original review
And I am sure there will be many more re-reads, and I am not even that into re-reading books multiple times, but I do think that this duology is well worth it.
This time around I focused on all of the crows and all of their stories (first time Nina with her big oaf of Fjerdan stole all of my attention), but now I finally understood the hype behind team Inej, because that girl shone brighter than the sun in this book (and the previous one as well) for me.
Also Wylan was even more precious the 2nd time around - precious little cinnamon bun! His story arc was actually my favorite (well if I had to choose favorites, because I truly loved them ALL).
It will be hard to top this duology for me. So I am going to go ahead and say that this was my best fantasy read in 2017!
There is always a speculation about reading Grisha trilogy before the Six of Crows duology, but I will say that you don’t have to. Not reading Grisha before Crows does not spoil the experience of it, however it does give away some of the events that happened in the Grisha trilogy.
I think I liked Six of Crows a tiny bit more. Don’t get me wrong, this book is flawlessly played – the plot, the twists, the humor, the characters, it’s all spectacular. I just didn’t feel like the justice was delivered to those who deserved it the most, and that left me a little bitter. Okay, maybe more than a little!
Bardugo must be a ninja of writing, because I did not see any of her twists coming. At one point I literally stared at the page not believing what I was reading. Also if somebody told you that this book is full of merchant’s talk, political conspiracies and business strategies, you might think that it would be very boring. Well, it’s anything, but boring! Takes a skill to write about such dull things in such an edge gripping manner.
As I mentioned above, the humor in this book was priceless.
“Mattias had the overwhelming urge to brush it away with his lips. It’s probably poisonous, he told himself sternly. Maybe he should take a walk.” – Matthias’ attempts at being proper and not giving into his desire for Nina were very comical. I kept imagining this big, blonde warrior guy swooning each time Nina took a step.
“Kaz is wondering if he should keep you alive, said Jesper. Terrible for the nerves. I recommend deep breathing. Maybe a tonic.” – Jesper never failed to amuse as well.
“No mourners” Nina murmured. “No funerals”, Mattias replied quietly. – On page 49 there was a moment when I realized that it wasn’t just the saying. It was a symbol that all the rats, the nobodies and the poor are never given proper burial, are never remembered. That hit me with sadness quite hard.
“You don’t have enough money to buy her waffles”, Wylan grumbled. “Be quiet. We’re in a library” – That made me laugh out loud!
“And then the nightmare began. It wasn’t that Alys was so bad, she just never stopped. She sang between bites of food. She sang while she was walking through the graves. She sang from behind a bush when she needed to relieve herself” – Once again, laughing!
“I prefer to think of the good times. Like when you held my hair as I was vomiting into a bucket.” – Did I mention that Nina was my favorite?
“The words on the page were a meaningless scrawl, a black mess of insect legs. He fought for breath. “Jesper, please”, he begged, his voice thin and reedy. “Read it to me”. – One of the saddest moments in a book. Realization how crippling Wylan’s inability to read actually was. And finding out that his mother was alive and locked into the asylum, what a twist!
“She rested her head on his shoulder. “You are better than waffles. Matthias Helvar”. A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love”. – I absolutely adored their relationship.
Which brings me to the parts that left me bitter. I don’t know why I was so sure that they all would make out alive out of this book too, I guess I just really wanted to believe it. I did not see Matthias to be the one to go, when he died I couldn’t believe it. I turned the page and saw the shortest chapter ever with his name on top, and my soul was crushed. He was so big, so strong, so loyal – how could it have been him? But somebody had to die, right? All the good books are doing it. I am just biased because Nina is my favorite and I absolutely ADORED them together. I will get over it. Eventually. No mourners.
My heart hurt so much for Nina. She has fought so hard, but lost so much. Her real power, and then Matthias. I was so hoping that she would go to Ravka with him, but instead she got to lay next to his corpse on a boat taking them away.
On contrary, Inej got everything she ever wanted, which don’t get me wrong, I was happy and she deserved it. But after Nina’s loss her gains felt like a slap in the face. She got her boat, she got her parents and she held hands with Kaz, which to him is basically equivalent of having sex.
And the biggest, bitterest moment was that Jan Van Eck got off too easily, in my opinion. I saw him as the true villain of the story. Pekka was a rat, a thief, a swindler – he didn’t do anything out of his character. But Van Eck? He was supposed to be an honest merch, but instead he was more rotten than all of the corpses on Reaper’s Barge together. He tried killing his son multiple times, he stuck his wife into a mad house, swindled the crows out of an honest deal. And all he got was a prison term, I wanted to see him suffer way more than that.
I was so incredibly happy that this book didn't follow many of ya cliche pit falls. There was no insta love, no love triangles and only two people out of six ended up in a relationship by the end of the book.
Altogether this was a perfectly executed fantasy, with twists and turns that always kept me on the edge. Kaz’s brilliance and the way he always was ahead of a game, even when it all seemed lost, was invigorating to read. He is truly one of the most dimensional and badass characters ever created.
None of them was a “hero”, they just were a bunch of hurt, but talented misfits, and that made them all very lovable.
I also felt that there was a lot of room left to make this a trilogy, or even more. Who knows? Maybe one day we will get more of the crows. The Council of Tides definitely left things hanging in the air, Nina going to Ravka opened many possibilities to continue on this story (where did her new power will take her?) , and I would have loved to know more about where Dunyasha came from. This duology is definitely my number 1 read in 2017 so far, as well as a new favorite of all times. So happy that I discovered Leigh Bardugo.
Here is a picture of the Crows I found on Pinterest. I am not sure who the artist is, but she/he did an amazing job portraying them. Look at them, they are all so perfect <3
Take out your hankies, because this one is a doozy!
“We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
Some books make me tear up, some books made me cry, and some books make me wail like a baby. The man called Ove is definitely in that last category. I had trouble seeing the last couple of pages of this book I was crying so hard. did this book break my heart? Absolutely! But in the best possible way.
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
But don't be fooled, Ove is not the most likable character ever. If anything he is very much on the opposite spectrum. He is set in his ways, he is extremely grumpy and unsociable, and other people to him are either idiots or nuisance, but mostly just idiots.
Now, I love characters like that. Love them! Quirky, weird, unsociable - you name it, I'm here for it. But even for me Ove was hard to handle at times. He wanted to be right even if he was wrong, and sometimes I just wanted to smack him. And no, there wasn't a magical transformation - Ove didn't become a social butterfly, or a lovable old man - he stayed himself, truly and unapologetically himself, just better. And I absolutely loved that.
“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
I don't remember how I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads, but I'm so happy that I did, because now I want to read more books by Fredrik Backman, even more so because he is a foreign author. And one of my 2018 resolutions is to read more from non-american authors. The translation was pretty good for it didn't feel like a translated book, it was smooth and flowy, albeit a bit dry, but I think that is the Backman's style.
The thing that surprised me the most, and probably produced the most of the tears, was how at the end I realized that Parvaneh needed him as much as he needed her. This book was just so beautiful on so many levels. Okay, just thinking about it makes me tear up, damn you Backman and your emotional writing!
I absolutely recommend The man called Ove - the book is full of emotions and life lessons. It dives deep into the nature of loss and grief and how we, as humans try to deal with it, each in out own ways.
“Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain.”
One of my 2018 reading resolutions was to read more of different genres of books, and for that to happen I needed to read less over hyped YA, like way less YA. Somehow in 2017 I jumped on too many band wagons when it came to YA books, and 80 percent of the time I got burned.
Obviously with me reading less YA genre (specifically less of over-hyped YA), the books I do pick to read must go through a tough screening process, in other words I just became much pickier with the reads. In 2017 I'd just pick a book because it was quite popular without even properly researching it much. Well, no more.
Life is too short to read mediocre books.
So here are some of the most popular YA books that are making the cut (or already made the cut) in 2018.
1. Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman - read this one already and loved it! This book put Shusterman on my favorite authors list.
2. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman - read this one already, and thankfully the sequel didn't disappoint. It was just as good.
3. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo - currently re-reading. Still superb.
4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo - will re-read next, probably.
5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao - won this on Goodreads giveaway while ago, I think I might give it a go this year, see if it's as good as its cover pretty.
6. (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken - been seeing this one on my Goodreads a lot, and it really sparked my attention. ) - scratch that , I will be substituting this one for Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter #1) by Lana Popović. Because The Darkest Minds is a dystopian, super powers, teenager revolution, blah blah blah and I just had enough of that to be honest.
7. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi - this has been making a splash on Goodreads lately. It just came out, and people are going crazy over. Let's hope it's not another hype train. The book enticed me with its African heritage.
8. My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand - cannot wait for this as I adored My Lady Jane.
9. The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner - read this already and have never been so bored by a book before. Total snooze fest and a waste of paper, unfortunately.
10. Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard - yeah yeah, I know. But PLL is like junk food for me, although the last book was pretty boring so I'm just trying to see if I should abandon the series completely.
So far this is the list of YA books I either read already or planning to read in 2018. The list is not definite, as I constantly add things to my TBR list. The rest of my time will be focused on reading lots of women fiction, historical fiction and fiction set in different countries - such as Asia, Sweden and Iceland. Also, hopefully on working on my own book.
“Opinions were for other people. It was fascinating how upset they got about them.”
Having been quite disappointed in my last Moriarty read (Truly Madly Guilty) I was very pleased with Three Wishes.
I think this was her debut novel, and man it was good. Probably the funniest one I've read by her. Sure, her other books also have lough out loud moments, but this one was loaded with them.
Also, Moriarty needs to write more books because I have only two to go before I've read all of her works. I've just had such a craving for women fiction this year, particularly Liane Moriarty's women fiction . It's only March of 2018, but I've already read 3 of her books.
“You're having one of those days of accumulating misery when you argue violently with someone in a position of power: a bank teller, a dry cleaner, a three-year-old.”
I don't know why recently I've been having such craving for women fiction. Maybe because I'm getting closer and closer to being thirty, and her books usually focus on women of that age. Maybe because I cannot get enough of family drama, social life problems, infertility, motherhood, relationships and anything else that life throws at women in her books. But I inhale simply inhale her books.
“The year Lyn turned twenty-two someone switched her life over to fast-forward and forgot to change it back again. That’s how it felt.”
The story follows three women, in this case triplets, and their lives - husbands, kids, family relations. Most of Moriarty's books follow this patter, and in some cases it does gets repetitive, but this book felt fresh for some reason. Maybe because it was her first work, when she found her style. Maybe because the way the story was told brought different perspectives, I don't know, but it was very, very enjoyable.
Surprisingly I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, all of the female characters at least: Gemma, Lyn and Cat - all brought something to the table that I could either relate to or just learn from. Gemma was probably my favorite though.
Three Wishes deals with grief, separation, siblings relations, divorce, infertility and many more issues. I loved how Moriarty never pulled her punches and always wrote things that I thought myself at times, but was too shamed to admit them. She painted her characters real and flowed, and I loved that. There was no magic solution, no over the top happy ending - it was just life.
(yay for bargain priced books)
I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but it definitely wasn't what I thought it would be.
“I felt so full of love for everything. But at the same time, I felt so hung out to dry there, like nobody could ever understand. I felt so alone in this world, and so loved at the same time.”
For starters the formatting was very different - the whole novel is comprised of letters, emails, random conversations and did bits of news paper articles. I definitely didn't except that. However I also feel that the format brought a lot of interesting perspectives to the story and with that a lot of dimension.
The novel kept my attention quite well, except maybe somewhere in the middle I got just a tiny bit bored, because one of the chapters contained a super long "magazine article" that I just wasn't that into. It was very important to the story, but it was written in a very dry manner.
“I'm not too good when exposed to people”
Bernadette was eccentric, unsociable and quirky and I was there or it! The book characters like those are the sunshine of my existence, sure she was no Eleanor Oliphant, but she was still pretty entertaining. The plot took a great turn somewhere a little bit past the half of the book and I absolutely loved how some things have fallen into place.
Overall this was a very quick, entertaining and pretty funny of a read. There was a lot of heart in it too. I think this novel would be perfect for the hot summer day, as some events do take place in cold Antarctica, so the readers can cool off, at least in their minds.
I have really mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down, but on the other hand I had many issues with it.
I enjoy Moriarty's writing immensely, and this is my 4th book by her. I only have 3 to go I think before I'm finished with all of her works. She writes with a punch, with truth and with hilarity. The situations that her characters get into are both incredulous and very real. Every book is like an immersion into somebody else crumbling world, and I love every minute of it.
“No one warned you that having children reduced you right down to some smaller, rudimentary, primitive version of yourself, where your talents and your education and your achievements meant nothing.”
Truly Madly Guilty features an array of the most unlikable characters I've ever met in one single book. At first I tried to pick who I liked the most, but in the end I ended up picking the ones I hated the least.
At first I thought I identified with Erika, but as the book progressed I found it very hard to even be able to stand her. In the end I was left feeling neutral about her, she wasn't so horrid after all. I enjoyed Tiffany a lot until something about her was released and to me it was a double no-no. First she lied about it and then what she did was just so humanly unethical I lost all my sympathy for her. The only character I liked and enjoyed were Dakota and Oliver.
I also really didn't like how the neighbor's story played out. It felt like what happened to him was just a punishment for being a grouchy old man, although he had all of the reasons to be one. That really left a bad taste in my mouth.
What I didn't like the most of all was how Holly's arc was handled. I definitely didn't see how keeping quiet and not doing anything about it would be good for a child development? What happened and how it was handled was so totally wrong.
Also plot wise the book kept dragging its feet like no other. It honestly could have been at least 100 pages shorter and nothing would have been lost. I get that the author wanted to build suspense leading up to the main event, but when the main event did happen I was underwhelmed because of all of that suspense let me to believe that something even bigger was coming.
This was an entertaining read, but I feel like the characters didn't learn much from their mistakes, and some mistakes were covered up completely, thus I feel like as a reader I didn't get anything worthy out of the book, except some entertainment and some witty and hilarious dialogs. And some absurd characters with their absurd habits and kinks.
Definitely my least favorite of Moriarty's books, but I still kind of enjoyed it somehow, and definitely will read more of her.
If you me then you know that I am a big FRIENDS fanatic. And if you don't know me, well now you know something about me. One of the things I adored the most about the show was how you could see at least one of the friends reading a book in almost every episode. What an excellent way to promote reading!
I know that a "Rory-reading-challenge" has been quite popular in the bookish world, but since FRIENDS is my favorite tv-show I have decided to participate in "Friends-reading-challenge", of sorts. There are many lists floating around internet of all the books mentioned on FRIENDS, and here I am about to make yet one more. This list does not contain ALL of the books (I omitted majority of books that were visible only by their cover, but not mentioned, as well as a couple of others). I called this a challenge, but it's more of a goal to read those books over a large period of time. Hopefully a year, or two.
I have made notes on books that I have read already, or books that I have and plan to read soon.
A PDF file of all the books for your convenience at the bottom of this article (without my notes).
Please comment if you have read or own any of these books. Also feel free to participate. I have provided season and episode numbers, in case you wish to revisit those episodes for yourself.
1. Yertle the Turtle, Dr.Seuss (SEASON 1, Episode9 : The One Where Underdog Gets Away)
2. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Milan Kundera (SEASON 1, Episode 18 : The One With All The Poker)
3. The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien (SEASON 2, Episode 19: The One Where Eddie Won't Go) - Read this already. ✔
4. Flowers Of Evil, Charles Baudelaire (SEASON 3, Episode 12: The One With All The Jealousy)
5. The Shining, Stephen King (Own it, started it a long time ago, then got too scared. I should put it in a freezer) and Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (own it, haven't read yet) (SEASON 3, Episode 13 : The One where Monica And Richard Are Just Friends)
6. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck (SEASON 3, Episode 21 : The One with Chick And A Duck)
7. The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams (SEASON 4, Episode 6: The One With The Dirty Girl)
8. The Lord Of The Rings (series), J.R.R. Tolkien (SEASON 4, Episode 9: The One Where They're Going To Party) - (Read this already. ✔ )
9. Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes (SEASON 4, Episode 19: The One With All The Haste) - (Read ✔ )
10. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (read it already. ✔ ) and Jane eyre, Charlotte Bronte (read✔) (SEASON 5, Episode 9: The One With Ross' Sandwich)
11. Chicken Soup For The Soul, Jack Canfield (SEASON 6, Episode 14: The One Where Chandler Can't Cry)
12. 1984, George Orwell (this one was a very subtle reference, but I want to read it so I am including it) (SEASON 6, Episode 24: The One With The Proposal)
13. What To Expect When You Are Expecting, Heidi Murkoff (this book was referenced multiple times, so obviously I will read it when the time comes) (SEASON 8, Episode 9: The One With The Rumor)
14. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch (SEASON 10, Episode 4: The One With The Cake)
15. Ernest Hemingway (SEASON 10, Episode 8: the One With The Late Thanksgiving) Not a specific book, but Chandlers mentions Ernest as his favorite author (although he can't name any of his books) so any book by Hemingway would do.
16. A Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez (SEASON 3, Episode 5: The One With Frank Jr). In this episode you can see Chandler sleeping with this book on his chest (look very closely :) ).
17. Anthem: An American road Story, Shainee Gabel and Kristin Hahn (SEASON 4, Episode 5: The One with Joe's New Girlfriend) Not mentioned, but you can see Rachel holding this one, very clearly (it was a planned book advertising for a friend).
As you can see, from my very few checkmarks, I still have a very long way to go on the list.
FREE download of the list (pdf. format)
I hope this was informative, if you wanted to join on a challenge, or if you were just wondering about some of the books mentioned on 'Friends'.
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
Can I say anything that hasn't been said already of Jane Eyre? I don't think so, but I will anyway.
I think it's kind of funny how Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane to be the way she was just to prove to her two sisters that main characters don't have to be beautiful, or even pretty to be engaging. She certainly was as strong minded and progressive as a woman could ever been in early 1800.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
Did I have expectations going into Jane Eyre? I think I did. I didn't know that much about the plot, or the book itself, except that it was a book that I just needed to read. I honestly think that I loved it before I even read it.
Reading classics for me is a whole experience, it's not just the book - it's the words, the tone, the atmosphere. It's never the ending result, but a journey. It's not like I can just go on Twitter and let Charlotte know how much I enjoyed her book, as I could with modern authors. She's long gone and all we have of her is her books, her words. So the only way we can communicate with her is by reading her novels, and to me that just sounds magical.
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
Did I like every thing and every choice made in the book? Of course not - because of this I had to take some time to reflect and think about the rating for the book. When I was reading it I definitely saw it as a total 5 star read, however, sometimes towards the end it slipped down to 4 stars, but when I was done I was back up to 4.5. However, as I slept on it - I decided that it was definitely and unabashedly a 5 star read and what was I even thinking? Too much information, I know, but that was my thought process.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
I loved the flow of the novel and I loved that it was written as an autobiography, I actually didn't know that before I stared reading. Jane's childhood made me red with rage - her horrible cousins and Mrs. Reed was one of the most vile characters I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. When Jane left for school I was scared that things would be just as bleak for her, if not bleaker, but we did see some happiness and sunshine and I was glad. When she finally met the ever-famous RochesterI didn't know what to think, I just couldn't read him! He was angry, and passionate and randomly happy - definitely a bipolar sort of fella. But no matter what he did, or didn't do I just couldn't bring myself to dislike him! Sure, he was a pig at times, and the most insensible of creatures, but still my heart went out for him.
“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”
I knew the big twist, I got spoiled of it by some other book (can you imagine that?? I was so pissed - the book was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I read it a while back, and she just dumped that information unabashedly, like "ohhh I'm spoiling the finest novel ever written no big deal". Just because it's a classic, doesn't mean that everybody has read it!). Anyway. While I didn't much (at the moment) approve of Jane's decision I loved what it brought to the plot.
I found it eye opening to see, how if you are all alone in the world - nobody wants to take you in. Novels often make lone travelers, or orphans so romantic and heroic, but in reality people are repulsed by them, and almost never want to help - and nobody freely invites a stranger into the house. I loved the honestly with which it was depicted here.
Even though I never warmed up or forgave St. John, the ending made my heart happy (although if I may, I do think that it focused a bit too much on John - I didn't care to know of him at all.)
Jane Eyre is definitely one of my absolute favorites now. Now I have left to read a book by the third sister (Anne) so I can start loving this literally family fully and completely.
Once in a while I like to post something different besides book reviews.
Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite and most relatable quotes from various books. Some of those books are my absolute favorites, while others just had a passage or two that really spoke to me.
“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“I simply didn't know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
“I find lateness exceptionally rude; it’s so disrespectful, implying unambiguously that you consider yourself and your own time to be so much more valuable than the other person’s.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
“My hair was mousy brown, parted in the center, straight and not particularly thick. Human hair, doing what human hair does: growing on my head.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
“It was like standing at the end of everything.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone
“It was love that made each touch feel like redemption and each kiss feel like rebirth. Not lust. Not pleasure. It was love that created joy.”
― Amy Harmon, From Sand and Ash
“I didn’t want to be taken care of. I wanted to run away from all the men who sought dominion over me, who thought they could own me, imprison me, use me, cut me.”
― Amy Harmon, The Bird and the Sword
“I definitely wasn’t cold. I was liquid heat. I was terror and curiosity and denial disguised as indifference.”
― Amy Harmon, The Bird and the Sword
“Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience.”
― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
“Oh, HONESTLY, don't you two read?”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
“Nature doesn’t care if we feel so heavy we might sink into the ground and never be able to pull ourselves out again.”
― Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters
“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
“I decided that maybe we left each other alone too much. Leaving each other alone was killing us.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
It is no secret that I adore Any Harmon's books. I read them for emotions, I read them for outstanding characters and I read them because they give me hope. Hope in good books and hope in humanity in general.
This International Women's Day I wanted to share some of my favorite female characters from Harmon's books, as I think that each and every one of them has qualities worthy of being a role model.
(from top to bottom)
1. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they've driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds"
Eva Rosselli might be one of the strongest women I ever read about. Eva is a jew in a nazi
ridden Italy - every breath she takes is illegal, every word she says could have her end up in gestapo, or worse.
Through every challenge and every agonizing decision Eva's guiding force is love. Love for her family, love for her ancestry, love for the man that cannot love her back.
She never despairs nor she ever gives up - even when everything looked the bleakest, Eva was able to push through. I loved her character because of how bold and determined she was. Both at life and at love. Life kept throwing punches at her, but she kept fighting because she knew that giving up was never an option.
2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon
“It's hard to come to terms with the fact that you aren't going to be loved the way you want to be loved.”
Fern is an underdog - she knows she's not that pretty, and she accepts it because there's so such more to life than pretty faces and perfect bodies. I adored her character for two reasons: her unconditional love for her cousin and her brazenness when it came to her feelings.
Fern takes care of her cousin Bailey with gentle love and motherly affection. If ever there was the most selfless character - it's Fern. Bailey is paralyzed from neck down, but there isn't a place where Fern would go without him - they are best friends and their love will transcend through generations.
I also loved how forward Fern was with her love. She fell in love with Ambrose and that was that. Everybody knew how much she loved him, but she never shied away, never denied anything, even if she knew that he would never love her back. It was very refreshing to see a female character so sure of her feelings.
3. The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1)
“I didn’t want to be taken care of. I wanted to run away from all the men who sought dominion over me, who thought they could own me, imprison me, use me, cut me.”
Amy Harmon is great at writing diverse, believable and strong women. The main heroine, Lark, is mute by a curse throughout most of the book. What she lacks in vocal ability she makes up for in courage, grace and stubbornness. I loved her character the most out of all of the books I've read by Harmon, and I've read a lot.
Lark reminds me a little bit of Jane Eyre in her looks, small like a bird, invisible from the first glance but radiant once you get to know her.
And just like Jane Eyre Lark found her passionate love, so did Lark, and she never bent to it, but took it on her own terms. The romance was absolutely beautiful. Lark was proud and strong-willed and king Tiras was even more so. Together they clashed and burned - and the result was dazzling. You can practically feel the love from the pages of this book. Love that is strong and gentle at the same time. A love that you know will last forever.
I also really enjoyed how the title of the books is a play on words that changes later as the plot unfolds - I thought it was so very clever.
4. Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon
“But sometimes in my reading I would discover new insights or have seemingly profound thoughts that would change my way of thinking.”
The main thing you need to know about Josie Jensen is that she is a true bookworm. And to a bookworm like myself, that is like sweet dripping honey. She is intelligent, but she also has the purest heart and the gentlest soul. Josie's life wasn't easy and this novel really develops her character from a little girl, who missed half of her childhood, into a selfless woman who is always and foremost ready to serve others.
I related to Josie on such a deep level that she immediately shot up to number 2 of my "all time favorite female characters list". Josie loves to garden - she loves to feel the soil below her toes and she loves too cook with all of her fresh vegetables - if that's not an image of me, I don't know what is. If Josie Jo was a real person she would have been my best friend.
5. The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon
“The most intimate thing we can do is to allow the people we love most to see us at our worst. At our lowest. At our weakest. True intimacy happens when nothing is perfect.”
Millie is a stripper. Millie is a sister. Millie is brave and confident and blind. Once again the diversity shines in Harmon books. What I love the most is that the characters deficiencies never hinder their soul - what they lack they always make up for in tenfold with their character.
The book is not told from Millie's point of view, so we don't see that much of her, but what we do see is absolutely beautiful. We see the world from her point of view- we get to experience it - touch it, taste it, hear it. Even if her eyes are blind, everything else in Millie is alive and blooming.
I definitely recommend all of these books - each has something unique and beautiful to offer. Do yourself a favor - get to know Eva, Fern, Lark, Josie and Millie. You won't regret it.
Well, it has been awhile since a book made me so angry.
This was such a drastic change from Persepolis 1, I couldn't believe I was reading about the same person!
- I really, really loved Persepolis 1. It was poignant, heartbreaking and educational. It had a smart, intelligent and strong heroine, who asked the right questions and had a heart in the right place.
- I don't know where that person went in Persepolis 2, for instead there was a girl who lost all of her morals and kept making horrible life decisions. Again, and again and again, And it would have been fine, we all are humans, but the thing is - in the book I didn't feel like she learned or took anything from her hardships at all. If I wanted to see people making bad choices and becoming vegetables due to their drug addictions, I'd just watch TV.
I can definitely applaud Marjane for her honesty, and for putting all of her flaws out there, but I also don't understand the point of it? What lesson was she trying to teach? Persepolis 1 contained history - I learned so much about Iranian people, the revolution, the oppression. But in this book, there was very little of that. It was mostly about her growing up and trying to fit in, which for her meant to do everything that everybody else did. And I just couldn't comprehend how a girl, who was raised to be so smart and educated, could make any of those decisions.
On the back cover of the book, there's a praise that says :
"Every revolution needs a chronicler like Satrapi
Well, if chronicling a revolution means describing how many drugs she used, how many cigarettes she smoked, how many parties she went to and how everybody else around her was horribly unfair to her and how she, and only she was the victim - then I don't want to know about that kind of revolution.
What made me the most angry was how she portrayed herself as a victim every single time. Sure, her life wasn't easy, or pretty - but it was because of her own bad decisions. She wanted everybody to pity her for her life, while she was the one of the few who escaped the war. She was sent to Europe to better her life, but instead she buried it.
I also couldn't stand how demeaning she was to other people - she criticized everybody - some she called fat behind their back (the first time she saw her new landlord she called her fat and a horse face, just because the woman was unattractive - sure, the woman turned out to be mean, but it doesn't give you right to judge and laugh at ones appearances), some she judged because of their lack of intelligence, some she judged because of their looks. And the worst part came, when she purposely lied and condemned that poor man on the street to save herself. I've never read about a most selfish person.
Also remarks like "if there were more fun things to do, I'd never have read as many books as I did" and "the first marriage is just a reversal before the second one" just didn't sit well with me. If you are writing a book, then don't say that books are the last resort, only if you have nothing else better to do - no self respecting bookworm will agree with you. And just because your marriage didn't work, doesn't mean that you have the right to come up with generalized statements like that.
Being progressive in ones thoughts doesn't mean that you have the right to be demeaning to other people's thoughts.
There were few things that I liked - I liked some of her views on the world and how she explained some of the ridiculous customs and rules that were, and still to this day burden the women of Iran.
I should have dnf'd it, I know, but it was slow at work and it was the only book I had with me so I just kept plowing through it.
I still absolutely recommend Persepolis 1, but this second edition didn't teach me anything.
Here are some books that I recently got: two of them were sent to me by Bethany House Publisher's for review, one I bought Barnes and Novel, and the rest are thrift store finds.
I love finding books at thrift stores - often I find ones I've been eyeing at book stores for a full price, but get it there for 99 cents instead. I usually shop at Goodwill. You can't beat that!! 90 percent of books there are in mint condition - so they are truly treasures.
And I turn to Barnes and Noble when I absolutely need something - and they never fail, with their quick and free shipping.
1. Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
(Barnes and noble buy)
A repackaged edition of the revered author’s moving theological work in which he considers the most poetic portions from Scripture and what they tell us about God, the Bible, and faith.
I recently read C.S.Lewis short autobiography and it re-sparked my interest for his books. Especially his theology books, as I really enjoyed The Screwtape Letters, and really am curious to see what this book brings to me.
2. The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (The Happiness Project #1) by Gretchen Rubin
(thrift store find)
2018 is a year of reading new things -more non fiction included, so I was very happy to pick this up. I've never heard of this before, but I feel like this would be like reading somebody's diary while they are trying to better themselves.
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
3. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
(thrift store find)
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
I've been eyeing this one for a while - so of course seeing it a Goodwill I just had to pick it up.
4. The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French
(thrift store find)
In The Trespasser being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point.
I know this ill ike the 6th book in the series, but hey, maybe one day I will get there, right?
5. A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green
(Bethany house publishers)
A book I received from Bethany House Publishers for review. It was published only a while ago, in the beginning of February 2018, and it has very high ratings on Goodreads so far, so I am actually very intrigued.
Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?
6. Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1) by Rachel Dylan
(Bethany House Publishers)
Another book I received from Bethany House Publishers for review.
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.
Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.
4/5 stars (but more like 3.75/5 I think)
“Now that I look back, I don't know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”
This was good, but to be honest it could have been so much better. The beginning was a little bit slow, somewhere by the end it got pretty boring and the actual ending was way too overdone on this whole happy ending thing.
The beginning felt very middle grade-ish, and while I am fully aware that this is a middle grade book, from the hype that it stirred I was expecting something quite heartbreaking. But for a good while it lacked the depth that I desired, and I even thought about dnf-ing it for that reason. Things did pick up though and suddenly I found myself very much into it, especially when new perspectives were introduced. My favorite point of view to read from was Via's.
“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they've died. They're like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they're made out of the memories people have of you.”
I really enjoyed author's ability to take characters which the reader found unlikable and spin their life stories in a way that would warm up the reader to them right back up. August was the main "wonder" of the book, but it felt nice to see other people's lives and how, even though they were considered fully "normal", their lives still were a crumbling mess.
One big regret I have on the behalf of the book is that it didn't feature August's parent's POV's, and I longed to see those. I wanted to see how they coped with everything too. And I think that would have been very beneficial for young readers who read the book - they would get a glimpse into their parents' feelings and would be able to understand them more.
There were also few threads that didn't go anywhere or didn't get fully unraveled, so in a way it felt like I didn't get closure on some things. I was also a bit put off by that ending - it just felt too forced, too happy, too "Disney-like". It was especially odd because the whole book was realistic and raw, and them bam - a big huge happy rainbow at the end - it just did't feel real.
I would still definitely recommend this book, whether you are an adult or a child - I think that all ages can greatly benefit from reading abut the life and wonders of August Pullman.
“It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it's somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can't talk. Only, I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium.
To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid.”