I will make no excuse for my laziness in reading last month. I got pre-occupied with a lot of things (*cough*City Hunter*cough*) that I didn’t have much time to read. But reading should never be a chore anyway. I had a goal of reading 52 books this year and I’m almost there. I’m on my 45th book now so I’m giving myself time to relax a little from reading. Of course, I’m still hoarding books as if I have all the time to read.
Also, it amazes me how I got to go out frequently last month. If you know me, you must understand that I’m a homebody who loves her bed and laptop and books and solitude more than anything else in the world. Partying on a Saturday night is a burden I don’t really want to admit. Heh. But I did go out a few times and surprisingly enjoyed myself. *pats self*
From now on, I should also remember to write my “reviews” after reading just so I wouldn’t be so latein updating this blog.
Room by Emma Donoghue
This is an intense book that gives me chills whenever I think of it. It has a powerful storytelling that lures you into the story, making you care for Jack, our five-year-old narrator, and his life in Room. Emma Donoghue wrote the story inspired by true events, and I guess that makes the story even freakier than it already is. The first half of the book shows Jack and Ma locked up in the room by Old Nick. It details their daily activities and clearly shows how scary and depriving their situation is. The terror of being locked up for years can be truly felt especially when Ma zones out. For Jack, Room is the best place on earth and he doesn’t want to leave. But it’s hell for his mother. As engaging as the first part is, I enjoyed the second part of the book more. I find it interesting how Donoghue builds the story life after entrapment. It’s interesting to read about the emotional, psychological and physical toll the event took on Jack and Ma. It’s interesting to see Jack’s growth without his mother always by his side.
The only thing that bothers me is how Jack seems to be too intelligent for his age but talks like a two-year-old. I understand that some kids can be born geniuses. Jack’s ability when it comes to math and language is astounding, but it’s disturbing how he can’t seem to properly string words together. He has a great grasp of the language, mimicking the newscasters on TV without even missing a word, using big words correctly. He can read and write, too. But when it comes to stringing his own sentences, it baffles me how it seems too convoluted. I try to justify this by thinking that Jack only has his mother to talk to. However, Jack’s mother talks to him normally. I don’t understand how a boy of five who is obviously intelligent still talks like a two-year-old. It often distracts me from the story itself because Jack narrates the whole story that way.
Other than that, Room is a good novel. It’s a thought-provoking read since we rarely get the perspective of someone who hasn’t tasted freedom and suddenly has a chance to live it. Emma Donoghue created a memorable story. It may not be my favorite but it’s something you can look back and remember with great detail.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
It’s embarrassing to say that I had some hard time reading Peter Pan. I’d blame it to the fact that I rarely read classics but it was quite a task to get through. But once I got over the level of difficulty of understanding J.M. Barrie’s prose, I enjoyed the story and wished the Lost Boys would also consider me their mother. Anyway, Peter Pan isn’t a story that was close to me. I remember watching the movie but it wasn’t something that stuck to me during childhood. But from what I could remember, the Disney’s Peter Pan seems to be quite different from Barrie’s. It’s nice, though, since I felt I wasn’t spoiled at all. In the book, we really get to know Peter Pan. It’s astonishing to see him so arrogant. Heh. But his quirks really make the book even more interesting.
I really enjoyed Barrie’s narration. I read the book imagining that a grandfather-figure is reading to me the book. I like how he makes it seem that the narrator’s really talking to the reader. Actually, I felt like I was J.M. Barrie’s the one narrating the story. The narrator often spoils the reader but usually keeps the excitement in tact. Knowing that the book is actually about his Barrie’s older brother (who died when he was a kid) and his mother makes the story quite melancholic, too. It’s an adventure book for kids but I think every mother would find something heart-breaking and heart-warming in the story.
If there’s one thing that I got from the story, it’s that no matter how old you are, you’ll always have a place in your heart for your mother. No matter how cruel or evil a person is, it’s almost positive that they love his mother with all his heart. It gives me a little perspective at how I view other people. Some people may be the biggest jerk in the world, some people may be the most annoying person who walked this planet, but when it comes to loving their mothers, they can turn out to be pretty good individuals. So before judging someone completely evil, I try to that s/he probably loves his/her mother so s/he can’t be all that bad. I’m not even sure if J.M. Barrie’s trying to deliver that message but that’s what I got from his story anyway.
Ever since I heard of this novel, I made sure to search for it in every nook and cranny of every bookstore I entered. I developed a love for dystopian novels and this book seemed to be perfect. I didn’t read too much reviews about the book since I didn’t want to be spoiled. But I got the impression that I should expect a lot of great things from The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m glad to say that it didn’t fail me.
I like the Handmaid’s Tale because it’s really engaging despite the seemingly quite life of the society portrayed in the book. Of course, being a handmaid isn’t exactly quite easy to imagine. But they seem to have dissociated so many things from reality. Females are suddenly just tools for reproduction. They wanted to create a society based on the bible and for some reason, this makes female seem to be mere tools and not humans. They lose all their rights as a human being. The life Offred, the heroine, narrates seems to be full of discontentment, sadness and fear.
What’s disconcerting about this book is it showed life before the birth of the dystopian society. Offred remembers everything from her previous. She remembers everything that was taken away from her. Before this, I had never read a dystopian novel that shows how the society comes to being. I often wondered about it when I read dystopian novel and it sure answered a lot of my questions. I guess people who remember their life before have it harder. They have a basis of what life should be because there was a time when they can think and do anything. I truly felt scared when I was reading the book. The transition from the old to the new society was subtle that people didn’t have time to prepare. It made me wonder if it truly is possible to happen. Margaret Atwood even calls this book a speculative fiction, meaning it’s something that she thinks is feasible to happen. I think so, too.
Kimi ni Todoke
I didn’t include mangas in my 52 Books project, but it doesn’t feel right not to write about this one.
This year, I also started reading mangas to dissipate boredom at work. (Please don’t tell my boss, but I’m pretty sure she’s aware. Hee.) I still don’t consider myself as an otaku though I do get a healthy dose of manga and anime yearly. I digress. Anyway, I decided not to include manga in my 52 Books project but I must say that I read quite a lot of it last month.
Kimi ni Todoke is my favorite anime, surpassing Fushigi Yuugi and Fruits Basket by a thousand points. Last month, I decided to give the manga shot and that’s probably my best decision in my 21 years of existence. I read 10 volumes, and it’s worth every headache I got from reading. I don’t really have that many basis of comparison for judging the manga but I love it enough. I have watched the anime and the movie so I pretty much know everything that will happen by heart. However, I still find myself squealing and smiling from ear to ear with every storyline development.
What I really like about Kimi ni Todoke is that it’s so innocent. Hee. I guess in some sense, I can relate to Sawako. She grows up in the story with the help of her friends and manages to overcome a lot of her fears by believing in herself. Sure, she needs to be saved sometimes but she makes sure that she doesn’t entirely depend on anyone. She’s honest and kind, and these traits of her pull her through every obstacle she encounters in the story. I think we need to pull a Sawako every once in a while to win in life. We’re always so scared to admit our intentions, to be open about our feelings. Sawako is honest and she always finds the courage to get her feelings across. So basically, I need to pull a Sawako everyday because I suck at communication.
I love Kimi ni Todoke because it’s not just a love story. It’s about personal growth and conquering fears and valuing relationships. I have learned a lot from this manga that I would ever care admit. So if you’re planning to start reading a manga, please give Kimi ni Todoke. I am willing to bet all my bumps and bruises acquired last week that you would love it.