I got a little lazy last month and only read four books. It was a good reading month, I wish I read another book but I somehow feel like I’ve been reading too much. You know what I mean? But I swear I’ll get back to reading soon! I have bought seven books from various book sales last and I should get started on those. Also, I started my Harry Potter reread. I doubt I’d finish the seven books by July.
1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
So how do I even begin to describe this book? I have conflicting feelings about it. I love the characters, I love their intricacies. I love how smart they can be and I love how they can be so deep. So deep that I sometimes raise my eyebrows. I believe I do not understand many of the characters at all. I often think, was I like that in high school? I hope not.
You see Looking for Alaska is a really good book. The prose is awesome, a lot of pretty words derived from these supposed smart and “deep” characters. But though the plot is exciting enough, I don’t like it that much because I just don’t get Alaska at all. I don’t get why people fall in love with her. I don’t get how she could be a good character. I do not like her, but her flaws are the reason why we a have a story. Maybe I could have given this book five stars but my feelings for Alaska clouded my judgement. I cannot fully love a book when I hate the lead so much. Not just Alaska, too. I do not like Miles. He is okay at first then he got overly emotional and hormonal. But I love the secondary characters, Colonel and Takumi. They salvage the somewhat overly dramatic plot.
Will I read this book again? Maybe. Do I recommend you to read it? Yes. Because it has beautiful prose and so pretty words. And it’s though-provoking and it’s never a waste to read a book that will make you think.
2. Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
Maybe I should have read this when I’m older. I think I’m not smart enough to understand but I am at least old enough to enjoy it. This is the first Vonnegut book I’ve read, and I can say that I have no regrets. He’s just as amazing as I thought he would be.
I am hesitant to say anything about this book because I am not sure I get it. The book’s entertaining enough, showing from the start what will happen in the end but cleverly urging the readers from guessing what will happen next. The author used a technique in which he showed the readers the ending, and the mere surprise is how the story gets to that ending. It’s an amazing story-telling, something I haven’t encountered before. The story’s as good as it can get but the way Vonnegut delivered it is something only he can do. You need to read the prefix (the whole book actually) to understand what I mean.
I know this rant about the book doesn’t say much. But what am I supposed to say? It’s a good book but I’m afraid I need a deeper understanding. I believe I have only scratched the surface, I need to dig in deeper. Way deeper.
3. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
To tell you the truth, I got a little bored with this book at first. I do not like animals. Though I do not freak when I see one, I don’t think I have any compassion for them. I can’t hurt one, of course, but I cannot be close to one either. I cannot seem to give my full compassion to animals when I’m reading a fiction about them. That’s what happened to me while reading Charlotte’s Web.
I enjoyed the movie. Yes, I’ve watched it way before so I knew what would happen in the book. However, like Wilbur, I also got bored when he got stuck in the barn. Then I told myself that maybe I was reading it wrong. It’s one of most popular Children’s book, something a lot of people really like. Then it must be really good and I was only missing the point. So I tried to see it from the perspective of a kid and it worked. E.B. White manages to convey in a children’s story the answers to a kid’s hundreds of questions. He created talking animals to discuss issues that would be pretty hard to explain to a kid.
In such a short story, White managed to fully capture what it means to grow up, to leave behind things or people or friends that seem to matter at first but eventually lose significance. But I am mostly impressed by the way the story tackles death. I thought it was gruesome to include such detail in a children’s book. Death is morbid, but eventually kids will encounter the idea sooner or later, anyway. It explains death in a way that will make sense to a kid. It’s such a vague concept to even describe to an adult. It’s amazing how this book manages it smoothly.
Now I know why this is one of the best stories ever written. It takes big issues and make it understandable, make it appear less complex than it actually is. And yes, this will be one of the books I will make my children read. It’s a pity how I didn’t read books like this when I was kid.
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
No matter how many times I read this book, I just cannot get enough of it. I still laugh over the same things and get excited over the first Quidditch match. It’s amazing how I still feel the same way about Diagon Alley (or Hogwarts), pretty much the same way Harry felt when he first stepped on it. Reading The Sorcerer’s Stone for the nth time is just as magical as when I first read it. It’s still the one book that defines my childhood.
I’m starting to believe that The Sorcerer’s Stone’s the best book in the series. It’s a little thinner than the other books, of course, but length has never been a defining factor on what makes a great book. The Sorcerer’s Stone is just so fresh and I believe that of all the seven books, it will remain to be the most magical. It’s the book that started it all, isn’t it?