This has been a very productive month for me – I have read a total of ten books!
I have hosted a giveaway around the third week and written my first book review in this blog, too. Along with social engagements, I am glad to be able to read a lot. Now, I only have eight more books to read before I reach my 2012 reading challenge. Yay!
To cut the chase, here are the books I have read this November.
I bought a hardbound copy of this book on sale in a shopping mall near my home. The author was the one who wrote The Kite Runner and I thought it would be good to read his other work. However, it took me months before I finally had the chance; I mean time, to finally read it.
When I finished the novel, I felt raw, like someone scraped parts of my skin. It was a beautifully written novel set in a country where freedom and rights of women were, more often than not, repressed. The plot and the characters were believable and I remember studying something with similar nature in my subjects in Political, Economic, Geography, as well as Cross-cultural Communications.
Hosseini masterfully described what women in that place and time were facing. He filled my mind with visions of Afghanistan during the war and the terrors women had experienced during that time. A historical fiction at its best with a woman’s tragedy of a life, this novel made my heart constricted for almost 70% of its pages – I felt being in the shoes of the main character and wanted to scream at the injustice of it all. In the end, I found myself crying my eyes out.
I have read The Immortals series by Alyson Noel prior to this book and I liked it. That is why I tried reading this chick-lit novel and found myself a surprise.
Unlike The Immortals, this book did not make me think; everything was so predictable, even a middle-schooler can actually create the storyline. Perhaps because it was your typical high school story where the plot revolves around cheerleaders, quarterbacks, geeks, and a new girl in town. She just echoed tons of “Life in High School” stories and tweaked some points to make the story her own. I would go as far as to say that it was like a novel version of Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan. Boy, was I disappointed.
I love Julia Quinn and after reading a heavy drama in the form of Thousand Splendid Suns, I wanted to go back to my comfort zone and read historical fiction. I knew I wouldn’t go wrong with Quinn and she never disappointed me. I have finished this book with a smile on my face and thought that Prince Charming and Cinderella stories can also happen to anyone.
My sickness is when I started reading a historical romance novel, I couldn’t stop. So after a work from Julia Quinn, I tried Sarah MacLean. I haven’t read any of her books so I decided to try one. A Rogue by Any Other Name is basically a story of revenge turned into love. Well, that’s expected for a romance novel, but still. I enjoyed reading it though I felt like it needed a lot of things to improve. First, the hero must have a character make-over. I felt he was portrayed as too immature for his age in the novel. Second, there must be more history of how the conflict started so I could understand it better. I found it confusing when the hero and the heroine’s father wanted to shoot each other over a grudge made since they were little. I deserve to read a well written book, right?
It had been too long since the last time I read Filipino literature. It’s not that I am not patriotic or something, but I felt that those novels published recently were corny and unoriginal. However, I like this author, Bob Ong, who made an audience by writing anecdotes only experienced by most Filipinos. As a result, many have bought his works as most of us can relate to what he was talking about. So when he published his recent offer, Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin (Go Away from Me), many people joined the crowd of being a Bob Ong fan.
One of them is my colleague. She bought this book and after reading it, decided to share it to us. I then coined it as “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Book” as it indeed passed down from one member of our circle to another. When it was my turn, I eagerly started reading it and was immediately disappointed after a few pages.
Perhaps it was because he was talking about a different topic than his previous books so I can say I got used to his way of writing. In this book, he was stereotyping Filipino movies. He pointed out his criticisms by creating a storyline which was supposed to show how our movies are doing.
Bob Ong was known for creating humorous stories about Filipino culture and traditions so most of his readers are after that. However, in this new novel, it seems that he was trying too hard to sound funny, but it didn’t reach across. And I wasn’t the only one to notice that.
When I was in university, I have read all the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and I love it. Now, in the release of the Infernal Devices series, I wanted to try my luck and taste more of Clare’s passion in writing. Clockwork Angel is the first installment in the series and I have noticed that it is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments saga. It was an adventure-filled story with a twinge of drama and romance that wouldn’t let me put it down. The characters were so alive in my mind that I could imagine Will vividly and found myself in love with that imagination. 🙂
After the first installment comes the second, of course. When I knew that the second book was also out, I didn’t think twice of acquiring it, too. I read it immediately after the Angel, a few hours in between I guess. The story had built up and I loved every page of it! Especially the quotations from great literary writers of all time!
Clare put characterization and love triangle plot in the next level. The character of the heroes and heroines were strongly described and was the driving force on how they act and think in the book. It was rich. The love triangle story didn’t grow old either. In some novels, the romantic tug-of-war would be extremely boring, but it was the direct opposite in the novel. For once, I didn’t envy the heroine for having two amazing boys in her side. If I were her, I would be confused, too.
Many people are talking about this novel, but I bet most of them haven’t read this. I turned the first pages with the thought, “What is this?” It was beyond my expectation. It was a whirling story of a teenager full of angst and identity crisis. I couldn’t help myself but relate it to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and no, I wasn’t only talking about the way the two were written. I admit my head ached while reading The Catcher in the Rye. I found it hard to follow Holden’s train of thought and at some point, I felt scared that I asked myself, “Am I this confusing?”
However, in the end I applaud the author of being able to capture a teenager’s state of mind. I wasn’t like that during my teenage years, far from it actually, but I somehow understand more where others were coming from.
My friend and colleague lent me one of her books for the intention of helping me pick up a lesson or two about dating. It was originally in French, and I was a bit uncertain if I must read it. Some translated works turned out garbage, you know.
But this novel was different. It was actually a collection of short stories with the title as the theme. I enjoyed reading them and had a good laugh for some, but as I was drawing near the last story, I had this sudden heaviness in my chest that I couldn’t ignore. When I closed the cover to mark another finished book, I felt depressed and lonely. How I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere, too.
I won a copy of this book over a giveaway from a blogger friend. I have read the book and asked the author, who also contacted me during the giveaway, if I could do an interview with her. She kindly agreed so I decided to post it here in my blog together with my review. You may find it here:
I recently finished The Drought, but it wouldn’t count as a November read because I finished it on December 1. Haha! Well, the good news is you won’t have to wait for the first week of January for my December wrap-up because I will be posting my review on this novel within this week. And oh, watch out for a surprise!
What books have you read recently? If you are in a reading challenge like me, did you already finish your goal? Please share your thoughts because I love to read them!