September Book List Wrap Up

Ok Jade. Just take a deep breath and please don’t screa——

“I’VE READ 37 BOOKS FOR MY 50 BOOK READING CHALLENGE!” (cue squealing, foot stamping and childlike dancing).

Forgive the spazzing and the all-caps. I’m just overwhelmed and so happy that I’ve read 37 books already. That’s an achievement considering the fact that I was busy with academic stuff and personal issues the past months that i wasn’t even able to blog regularly.

And since September has ended (let’s wake up the guy from Greenday), I just realized that the books I read in September were one of the best ones I’ve ever read. So let me share with you the books I’ve read last September.

books

From Top Left: The Last Empress | Memoirs of Geisha | I Am The Messenger | The Book Thief
From Bottom Left: If I Stay | Wintergirls | Hold Still | Speak

>>The Last Empress by Anchee Min – I’m a big fan of Asian themed and historical novels and having read Empress Orchid, I really had high expectations about this book. Sad to say, I was a bit disappointed, it wasn’t what I expected. As most historical fiction novels are, the book is rather slow, but Anchee Min makes up for that with the rich story telling voice she uses in the book. However, the story felt like it was just a bunch of historical facts taken from books and transformed into a dialogue in Empress Orchid’s perspective. There’s two good things I like about this book, 1. It showed a different side to Empress Orchid’s personality, different from other books and novels that branded her as a tyrant, here she was portrayed as a mother, a ruler and a lover; 2. You’ll learn a thing or two in Chinese history. (3 stars)

>> Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden – Let me just say this, I LOVE Memoirs of Geisha. I first saw the movie when I was in 3rd year high school and I really wanted to read it. Now that I have, its one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life. If you’re into Japanese culture and history, and Asian themed novels, read this. If you don’t you’ll miss half of your life, I’m not kidding. This book is exceptionally written, the language and story telling exquisite just like how a geisha should be. It gives you a peek in Japanese culture and history and you’ll understand what a geisha really is. The romance part of the novel is just a bonus, its Chiyo’s narration that will take your mind away. Her dialogue weren’t just dialogues, but rather words that connect to the reader’s soul and lets you see and understand her suffering, her decisions and actions. Plus, the fact that an American wrote this is simply brilliant. (5 stars)

“Can’t you see? Every step I have taken, since I was that child on the bridge, has been to bring myself closer to you. ”  Best part of the book!

>> I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak – One word, awesome! I’m going to let my younger sister read this. This is the type of book tweens and teenagers should read. Not only is the book brilliantly written, it also teaches that anyone can be a superhero, you don’t need to be extra special nor do you need to wear a red cape and blue tights with a red underwear. (4 stars )

>> The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – When I first read this, I stopped after the first 5 pages. because it was different from how Markus wrote I Am The Messenger. I was afraid that i would be disappointed because I’m not a big fan of stories where Death plays an important character. But boy was I glad that I did read it! I really like the way the story is told in Death’s perspective and the fact that its also a historical fiction with references pertaining to World War II. Not to mention, the setting was in Germany. And me being a sucker for tragic stories and unhappy endings, I’m really contented with how this book ended. Plus, I’m also excited to watch the film adaptation. I’m hoping the film won’t ruin the book like it ruined Kite Runner. (4 stars)

>> If I Stay by Gayle Forman – “I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.” This pretty much summarizes how life is, and for me its true. This book is filled with quotations that will make you ponder about life, asking questions to yourself and realize that in a way you were Mia (the main character) too. This book tackles about choosing between life and death when you’ve lost all the things that mattered to you the most, choosing between fulfilling your dreams for the sake of the people you lost or ending the sadness and the pain. I’m not a sucker for sappy emo lines, but this one tugged at my heart: “Please Mia,” he implores. “Don’t make me write a song.” (4 stars)

>> Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – This is probably the best YA fiction I’ve read, even better than 13 Reasons Why. Anorexia and eating disorders are topics and issues close to my heart. Maybe its because I’ve been down that road once and I’ve fought that evil voice a lifetime ago. This book is mesmerizing and realistic, the character wasn’t fiction for me, she was real. Read this and you’ll understand how hard it is for girls with eating disorders and why they feel ugly in their bodies.

>> Hold Still by Nina Lacour – I was a bit disappointed with this book. I couldn’t feel the emotion, I couldn’t connect with the character. Their stories were told in bits and pieces, with the author probably trying to coax the readers in filling in the gaps with stories of their own. It worked in some parts, but most of the time, it didn’t. The only liberating thing I found in the book is that it talked about photography that i just decided I had to finish the book. Nina’s description the photographs aren’t bad either. (3 stars)

>> Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I didn’t find this as good as Wintergirls. The story was passive and I’ve read several stories in Wattpad similar to this, but since it was written by the same person who wrote Wintergirls, I still decided to finish it. I can’t say much about this book, its one of those that after you read, you just tell yourself, “I’m done. Now what?” The only reason I’m giving this 2 stars is because of this list:

“THE FIRST TEN LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL

1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with you in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.

TEN MORE LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL

1. You will use algebra in your adult lives.
2. Driving to school is a privilege that can be taken away.
3. Students must stay on campus during lunch.
4. The new text books will arrive any day now.
5. Colleges care more about you than your SAT scores.
6. We are enforcing the dress code.
7. We will figure out how to turn off the heat soon.
8. Our bus drivers are highly trained professionals.
9. There is nothing wrong with summer school.
10. We want to hear what you have to say.”

Well, that’s about it. I’m currently patting myself on the shoulder for a job well done. As much as I’d really like to write a more in-depth review for this book I just don’t have the time. Meanwhile, I’ll have to illustrate portraits for a course requirement. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

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