Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner: ARC Book Review

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Synopsis from GoodreadsLisa Gardner’s next thriller following her runaway New York Times bestseller Find Her takes her wildly popular brand of suspense to new heights.

Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Publisher: Dutton Books

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Date Read: January 31, 2017

Pages: 421

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

REVIEW

 

A crime thriller with a HEART!

Thriller is another genre that I have barely scratched the surface of. I am not by any stretch of imagination a connoisseur in the subject, but that doesn’t necessarily make my opinion invalid right? I know a good book when I read one, at least I could take pride in that. Anyway, Dutton Books asked me if I would love to review Lisa Gardner’s new thriller. I have never read anything by her (I know! Have I been living under a rock?) and so when an opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it. Let’s just say, Lisa Gardner is now included in my Autobuy Authors List. 

Right Behind You took the words clever and gripping into a whole new level. I finished the book in two and half days, which seldom happens nowadays (insert life and work here), so I guess that must have at least amounted to something. Right Behind You is a satisfying and joyful thriller ride. You have to give it to Lisa Gardner to capture her readers’ attention and be able to sustain the momentum until the very last page. It was impossible to put down, I was reading through traffic, inside the elevator, whilst cooking, literally every chance I get. It was in the way the story was narrated that captivated me. It shifts to first person narration to third person without losing its magic, if for anything, it added to the texture and flavor of the book. And there is always beauty in anticipating the twist, in solving the puzzle along with the characters in the book. It is as if you are there with them. The characters are distinct. Especially Telly Ray Nash and Sharlah, these two though flawed had redeeming qualities of their own, they are enigmatic yet somehow you will be able to relate to them. Telly Ray Nash’s character was something consistent and not at the same time, I don’t know how to put it but when you are reading his character, you will develop some sense of faith in him. Even if the first chapters presented him in a bad light you just can’t help but to somehow root for him. The characters’ connection to each other made the story cohesive, not one character who is dispensable, every single one played an important role. And yes, even the dogs!! Ahhh I love love love how the dogs are incorporated in this book! Luka and MollyWog! Ahhh those two made this book even more enjoyable to read! Lisa Gardner’s writing was clean and polished, she was able to draw out the proper emotions and set the proper mood, and not many authors can do that. It is literally the book that will have you zoned out while reading it. Nothing matters in the world but the story in the book, and that is something truly noteworthy.

Right Behind You isn’t just about the revelation of who did what, it was more than what it conveys. It is a mystery thriller with a HEART. And I wouldn’t lie, I really teared up at some parts. I’m not even sure what really won me over, is it because of the depth of the story or the way it was cleverly written. All I know is, this definitely wouldn’t be the last Lisa Gardner book that I will read. It was well-thought out. It was about a book tackling abuse, violence and (gruesome) murders. Each chapter will leave you with immense need to know what’s going to unfold next, and as cliche as it may sound I had to hold my breath at some chapters, that’s how gripping and intense it was. The only thing that prevented me from giving it full five star rating was some parts have become repetitive to a fault, especially the one explaining about Telly Ray Nash’s condition or mental state also what happened eight years ago. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves crime thrillers.

 

Rating: rating_4stars

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Among The Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor | Poetic Book Tours

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Synopsis from GoodreadsAmong the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?

Publisher: Fomite Press

Date Published: November 2016

Date Read: January 2017

Source: Poetic Book Tours

 

REVIEW

 

As part of Poetic Book Tours I was asked by Serena if I would be willing to join in reading and reviewing Among The Lost, I have always been a fan of Dante’s Circles of Hell, and after learning that Among The Lost is inspired by Dante’s Purgatorio, I knew then I have to be a part of this Book Tour or I will probably regret it. Seth Steinzor’s poetry is rich and on point. Often times there’s no beating around the bush, he writes what needs to be said, with such gusto and precision that you can help but pause and ponder on the truth it was revealing. And the truth was, our existence had been tainted with mostly horrible and unimaginable things. The book was divided into different Canto, where our narrator encounters different scenario and different people with varied dilemma or varied traits. It was heavily political and realistic at the same time, which at times hard to get into but once you get the hang of it, it will be something you truly appreciate. Among the Lost used modern setting to juxtapose those of ancient times, which was truly remarkable. Seth Steinzor “modernized” a classic many of us loved. He concoct his poetry into something relevant and timely, something one could identify with.

I have not read the first book, so I had no way of comparing them. This poetry book may not be for everyone, at times I get confused on certain references, thus making it hard for me to completely grasp what was being conveyed. In the same vein I could not fully recommend this one to those people who are just beginning to appreciate poetry as this one may not be as engaging, but then it is something worth a try, especially to the ones who wanted to read more in depth portrayal of government and the society. But one thing I have to say – Seth Steinzor’s writing style is truly magnificent. He had a way with words that made the book more appealing and it was a bonus that this book was told in story form following the journey of the narrator from one specific stage or path onto another.

I specifically liked this excerpt from his poem Canto VI: In the Clouds

Telling you of this brings it back to me as

if I were standing there! – and after

not too many heartbeats thinking this:

The sight of these two mammals enjoying so

fully the little they have in common should shame you to

weeping, America! How hard can it

be to care for one another? Your rich

begrudge your poor their mite. Your poor

begrudge each other. The ones in the middle fear

the ones below them, bend the knee to the

 

moneyed, and keep an eye on their neigbors. The space a

dollar takes is more than you would

spare the creatures around you. You’re free with this:

you shit your nest and everywhere else. You

stomp around the world with an anxious smile and a

big knife, taking whatever you

want, and whoever gets in your way had better

look to god for help. You wonder

why they hate you, who cried your name with longing…

About the Author:

Seth Steinzor protested the Vietnam War during his high school years near Buffalo, New York, and his years at Middlebury College, advocated Native American causes after law school, and has made a career as a civil rights attorney, criminal prosecutor, and welfare attorney for the State of Vermont. Throughout he has written poetry. In early 1980s Boston he edited a small literary journal. His first, highly praised book, To Join the Lost, was published in 2010.

Available on Amazon.

Rating: rating_3stars

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: Book Review

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Synopsis from GoodreadsWhen four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Publisher: Doubleday

Date Published: March 10, 2015

Date Read: November 2016

No. of Pages: 720 pages

Setting: New York

REVIEW

 

A Little Life is a slow burn. It would consume you bit by bit until it becomes part of you. Until it inhabits your soul.

After much contemplation and deliberation on what would be the most eloquent and convincing words to put in this review, still I came up short. Well for starters, I honestly don’t think I can give this book the justice it deserves. But because I have a social responsibility (yes I do believe book bloggers/reviewers have a moral obligation/ social responsibility) to at least convince even a single soul to read this book, then I would have to do with whatever my mind could grasp and deliver in this review, however vague or however too all over the place it may sound. Just bear with me on this one.

A Little Life will change you. I would have to start with that warning, or wisdom whichever way you want to look at it. It will change your perspective, may it be for the better or otherwise, it is all up to you on how you will take it. A Little Life isn’t for everyone, not for the faint-hearted, not for the impatient ones, not for the squeamish, not for the weak. I guess before diving into this book you have to prepare yourself and I don’t mean it in a shallow way. Prepare yourself to get hurt. Prepare yourself to shed tears and I mean lots of it. Prepare yourself to die a little inside, repeatedly. Prepare yourself to be shaken to the core. Prepare yourself to feel immense sadness. And even then, yes even with all the preparations you took, the precautionary measures you’ve set, you’re never ready for the inevitable impact. It will be something that will haunt you in your lifetime, I guarantee that. A Little Life needs your undivided attention, it needs your time and your whole heart. You don’t rush it, it is that kind of book you savour. I finished reading it in a month. I’m not a fast reader, on a monthly average I could do 5-7 books, and that’s not really a lot considering the work I have and other commitments, but I managed to finish this in a month which I can say as a pretty decent pace. I could have rushed it if I wanted to, but I have learned that this is the kind of book you don’t rush finishing. It is something you relish. You have to feel for the characters, you have to know them well, the ins and out of their lives just like how you treat a real friend. Because for a moment while you are immersed in their story, they are real too. You’ll appreciate how layered the story was and how rich the words used by the author. It was carefully crafted, the words were deliberately used to make a statement, to transcend outside the confines of the pages. It was lyrical as it is raw. There were too many wisdom from each page, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve ran out of tabs to use. And those are not just mere words jumbled to make a sentence, it was the affirmation of the life we are living, or the lives we never thought possible, or the lives we wish we had. It was all encompassing. Its beauty lies in the complexities and how all the lives of the characters intertwine making a beautiful tapestry.

New York as its setting added to the beauty of the book. How it was able to paint the city in such simple yet captivating light. The beauty of New York was not really the focus of the book, but it definitely set the mood of the entire story. There was a sense of tranquility and feeling of warmth that the book was trying to convey, while masking something so profound and larger than life. I could not quite fully explain it but the book had this pull on you, that once you started reading it wherever you maybe you’ll always go back to the story. It is as if it is summoning you to come back to it. The story will ricochet in your head every chance it gets. It is really something one could not easily forget. 

The characters are well thought-out, they are flawed yet had redeeming qualities you couldn’t miss. They have the power to make you feel as though you know them personally, they speak to you in a level of understanding that you didn’t even know is possible. I loved how the author was able to put history into different characters making them unique and truly realistic. It was complex and at the same time rich and colorful. A Little Life will show you two sides of a coin – the cruelty of human and the goodness in their hearts. And though it might not be something you are accustomed to reading, much like in my experience, it will give you the sense of realization that indeed life has many facets and faces and the beauty of it is coming to the conclusion that wherever it might lead us there’s always something to learn from it, one should just find the silver lining of it all.

Jude’s story had me bawling, there was this heavy weight on my chest that I just couldn’t lift off. His story was disturbing and yet I was so drawn to it that I had to know what happened in the end. Reading his story was an emotional torture  at best. And I didn’t know I had that strength to read through that. It was not only Jude’s story that struck me to my core. As I’ve said all these characters have rich history, they are beautiful in their own right. I loved Willem’s story as well and I think I cried for Willem just as much as I cried for Jude. And don’t get me started with Harold, that last part had me crying silent tears, my heart is breaking for him too!

You have to have the proper mindset before delving into the depths of this book. It has sensitive topics that are shocking to the conscience but at the same time needs to be addressed.It truly turned me into a different person. It felt like I had to look at the world in a maturer way, seeing the details with new eyes. There was something melancholic and page after page you will feel a sense of foreboding, something one could not simply ignore. Every torment, every tear shed, every emotional distress, they were all worth it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

RATING: rating_5stars

 

“Why wasn’t friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn’t it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified.”
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

 

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Nerdy Talks Top 16 Books of 2016

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Hey all! I’ve been quite busy the past weeks, and to be completely honest I was in a blogging and bookstagramming slump (yes there is such thing), I blame the holiday season. I know we all had that “moment” when all our creative juices seem to fly out of the window, I was having a serious case of it for quite a while, but hey I am back with a blog post! Of course I wouldn’t let the year pass without sharing with you guys my favourite reads of 2016. 2016 was a great reading year for me, I’ve discovered new favorite authors, enjoyed genres I didn’t know I would enjoy and met amazing “bookish” people. It was a year of saying yes to a whole lot of opportunities and discovering myself in the process. It is true what they say, books become part of who we are. And these books truly made a difference in me!

P.S. I did not include poetry books here since I will be making a separate post about it. You can check Top 16 Poetry Books of 2016 here.

Shall we begin?

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

22822858 A Little Life took the cake, this is without an iota of doubt my favorite read of 2016. I have not made a review of it, yes, why you ask? I’m afraid I won’t be able to give it the justice it truly deserves. Imagine yourself inside a house on fire, at first you’ll feel the heat, next moment you’re suffocating from the thick smoke, the next thing you know fire is already enveloping you. Pretty morbid comparison, but that’s how it feels to read A Little Life. It will not immediately hurt you, it will happen in such a gradual manner, an emotional torture, a relentless beating, it was such a slow  burn rendering you helpless and emotionally drained. Not that it was a dragging read, it wasn’t, it’s just that you have to feel all of it to fully appreciate the book. This book needs your undivided attention, it may look like it is a tedious job to finish it, but I tell you it is so rewarding you’ll be thanking yourself forever. After reading A Little Life, I feel like I am a different person, I came out maturer and wiser, dare I say. A Little Life is a book that needs to be read even once in a person’s lifetime. Jude’s story may have been hard to digest and at times too much to bear, but you will just automatically be drawn to him just like the proverbial moth to the flame. As Hanya Yanagihara puts it, “Jude’s character is deeply frustrating to read yet easy to write.” I was also happy to have met this amazing author, definitely a highlight of my 2016.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
25883848Just by thinking of this book sends endorphins all over me. I am smiling like a lunatic just by the mention of the name Joshua Templeman. I am so in love with this book, it is already bordering obsession. You can check my full review of the book here.

Sally Thorne reminded me of Sophie Kinsella and Cora Carmack’s writing. She surely knows how to formulate the right words to make a funny, romantic and a total page turner story. I super loved Joshua and Lucy’s banters, and the palpable sexual tension. I loved that it wasn’t just a romantic comedy novel, but also it had depth. Everything was just well played out, it had the perfect amount of drama, romance and fun! I think it is my life mission to shove this book down every person’s throat. I feel sorry for those people who have not read this book yet, I mean guys, what is wrong with you? You’re missing half of your life. Like seriously, go and buy this book now!

3. The Radleys by Matt Haig

41pckvr7bql-_sx324_bo1204203200_The Radleys is a book that completely surprised me. It may have a low rating on Goodreads, but that didn’t stop me from reading this one. The Radleys is my first vampire read, yes you read that right. I was expecting something mediocre and something common, I didn’t expect it to offer something new in the table. But boy, this book surprised me. I may not be a wide vampire book reader, but I know good stuff when I read one, and this book did not disappoint. It was well thought out, the characters are engaging and unique. The back story had me hooked I was flying through the pages and finished it in a day. Matt Haig’s writing style is addictive. He sure as hell gained a fan in me. You can check my full review of the book here

4. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

girlonthetrain Prepare to hold your breath the last 50 pages or so.  You are in for some mind blowing, heart racing and gasp inducing ride. This book had the perfect amount of suspense and drama. And though this book is constantly compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, this book is different and worthy of anyone’s time. It is beautiful and engaging in its own right, and quite frankly I liked this one more than Gone Girl. 

The Girl on The Train‘s twist is something I did not see coming. It was more like an unexpected smack in the face. Paula Hawkins’ talent on trickery and mind fckery is something you sure wouldn’t want to miss. I have not seen the movie but I heard Emily Blunt did a great job portraying the role of Rachel, I think I will watch that after writing this blog entry. You can check my full review of the book here. 

5. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Taylor Jenkins Reid is another new favorite author, and it only takes one book by her to convince me. Maybe In Another Life is a good take on the dilemmas of being an adult, on the struggle of being stuck in a limbo, of being lost in your life or confused as to what you wanted to be. Maybe In Another Life is an affirmation that though life may have played cruel jokes on you, you’ll still end up where you should be – and that you’ll find happiness in it, wherever it may be and whoever it be with. Maybe In Another Life is an unconventional style of story telling, it offers alternate endings, it is like reading two books in one. This is one of the main reasons why this book appealed to me so much. So much so that Taylor Jenkins Reid instantly became a favorite author. You can see my full review of the book here. 

6. The Forbidden by Tabitha Suzama

8349244Forbidden is an incest story, yes, you read that right and no I did not ruin it for you, it is included in the blurb. So don’t go hating on me. And while this book talks about a taboo, it is something so gripping and heartbreaking you couldn’t miss the way the author painted it in such a beautiful and haunting light. This book had me bawling at the wee hours of the night,  it is like my heart was barely surviving. That ending shook me to my core, it was bound to have a heart wrenching ending, but boy I was not prepared for it. Tabitha Suzama’s writing style is unflinchingly beautiful, lyrical and too raw. Maya and Logan’s story is something that would stay in my head for a long time, more like forever. I hope everyone would give this book a try. It was a gamble reading this one, but it was worth taking that risk. It challenged me as a reader and as a person, that at least counts for something. You can check the full review of the book here. 

7. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

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Renee Carlino is yet another new found favorite author of 2016. I have read three books by her: Swear on This Life, Sweet Thing and Before We Were Strangers. Before We Were Strangers is my ultimate favorite so far. This book is my fantasy put into paper. It is  that one book that had me saying “Damn, I wish I wrote that.”. Before We Were Strangers is a story of missed connections, of second chances and forgiveness, of how great love always finds their way back despite the time and distance. The characters are as flawed and as human as they will ever be, I loved how it felt real. I appreciated that it wasn’t forced or just written for the sake of having a story to publish. The one that got away stories always have a special place in my heart. Gahhh it was just so beautiful. You can check my full review of it here. 

8. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

the_vegetarian_-_han_kangThis book will lure you into this pit of calmness and plunge you into this unsettling abyss that will stay in your head for days, yes days. It is a book you won’t easily forget. It will inhabit your mind like a guest who has overstayed their welcome. – An excerpt of my review that you can check out here.

The Vegetarian is another book that left me in such a daze. It was different from all I have read before. This book was a good take on the topic of mental illness. Lyrical and haunting. Han Kang’s writing style is on point yet had that power of plaguing your mind like it was an unresolved mystery. Fans of Haruki Murakami will surely enjoy Han Kang’s book. It gave off the same vibe as that of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

16122081While historical fiction isn’t my cup of tea, Burial Rites  made me want to try more books under this genre. I thought I would be struggling finishing this one but Hannah Kent’s writing style proved to be something so engaging and enthralling that I couldn’t help but devour the book in a much shorter span of time that what I have anticipated.

Burial Rites is a well researched masterpiece. You will appreciate the author’s hard work and effort in coming up with such brilliant narration of the life of woman accused of murder and her subsequent execution as well as the story that surrounded it. It was written in such a way that was powerful yet gentle. Agnes’ character will simply grow in you, and you’ll develop a sense of empathy. Reading this book will make you think that this isn’t the first book of the author, it was so beautifully written you could very well tell that the author had a long experience writing novels, but no, this book is Hannah Kent’s first novel and it was amazing. Nothing short of perfect to me. Imagine if she has more books under her belt, imagine how much beautiful her books could get. We are in for some huge treat! Hannah Kent sure is an author to watch out for. You can check my full review of the book here. 

10. Kyland by Mia Sheridan

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Mia Sheridan has been a household name when it comes to New Adult books. I have heard so many great things about her that it is just natural to read one of her works. And boy I was not disappointed. Now I know why Mia Sheridan is loved by many. Kyland has just solidified that. Kyland is not just a love story, it was so much more! It was about two people who tried to make ends meet despite the struggles they face day in and day out. It was about sacrifices and choosing the happiness of the other over yours. Kyland ripped my heart out, I think I have cried a week’s worth of tears over this book. I had to stop in between chapters since I literally can’t deal with all the pain I was feeling. To say this broke my heart into tiny million pieces would have been the understatement of the year. You can check my full review here. 

11. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

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This is now included in my favorite books of all time list! I swear Chuck Palahniuk is a genius for writing such ridiculously good novel. It was so twisted yet so profound at the same time. It is the kind of book that will have you pondering on life and the grandness of it all. It may be considered as something “too masculine” yet I am still enamored by how it was conjured, of how everything unfolded. That twist made my jaw drop! I have not watched the movie so I had zero idea of what’s to go down, and boy that was some serious stuff. It was so good I was left in awe. And while it may be short, it was definitely a book that packed a punch (haha pun intended). You can check my full review of the book here. 

12. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Should I even bother explain why this book made it to my list? This is a no-brainer. But let me state three reasons why I loved this book. First, it tackles something so profound, something larger than life. It was thought-provoking at best. Second, it wasn’t just a love story, it wasn’t just about two people falling helplessly in love with each other – it was unconventional, poignant yet still captivating. And lastly, it will rip your heart out, you’ll cry buckets, o boy yes you will, and as if your heart can’t take anymore beating it will happen all over again. It was the kind of cycle you’ll be willing to participate. And though there are some issues surrounding this book, I still think that it was well played out, it was written in a such a way that you would understand the choices that characters made. You can check my full review of the book here. 

13. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

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Of course this blog entry wouldn’t be complete without this book. Finishing this book is an accomplishment! I think it is already an established fact that I am a huge fan of the TV Series, and because I wanted to understand it more, I have vowed to read all the books, and 2016 was the year I started. I may be taking a really long time to read all the books, but everything is worth it. It wasn’t called a hit for nothing, and I tell you the book is always better. George RR Martin’s writing prowess is quite like no other, how could such a man think of all these convoluted plot lines, only a genius could do that, and George RR Martin sure is one hell of a genius writer!

14. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 

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It was about damn time to read this book, and I did just that in 2016. I know I am late in the bandwagon, but still here I am. It is true that the word depressing doesn’t even begin to cover this book. It was a good take on the topic of depression. Esther’s character is relatable in more ways than one. You will feel her underneath your skin, it is as of you are the one experiencing everything that she has been going through. It was a perfect depiction of someone spiraling into the pits of depression, and while it is a sad read, it was also powerful and compelling. You can check my full review here.

15. The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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The Pirate’s Wish is definitely a great conclusion to this duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke. You can check my full review of Assassin’s Curse here.. While Assassin’s Curse  didn’t quite live up to my expectation, as I had a lot of issues surrounding the characters and the character build up, The Pirate’s Wish definitely made up for it. In the second book, everything became coherent, there was also a huge improvement on the characters. I devoured the pages like it is nobody’s business. I highly enjoyed the world building. Cassandra Rose Clarke is definitely someone to watch out for. Can’t wait to read more of her works. You can check my full review of the book here. 

16. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

27362503Last but definitely not the least, It Ends With Us. This book!!! I know not all people loved this book. It was the kind of story that people will either hate so profoundly or love it with all their heart, I am part of the latter. This book is the Colleen Hoover I fell in love with. Colleen Hoover was bold and brave in writing this story. There is something commendable on how the book turned out. When it comes to Colleen Hoover books, always expect the worst, wait for the other shoe to drop – but even then, even when you thought you are prepared for all the emotional beating it will still be a shocking and ultimately heartbreaking revelation. This book needs to be read because this book encapsulated something so precious and powerful you have to share it to the world. Just be warned though, I believe this caters more to adult readers as it talks about sensitive topics. You can check my full review here. 

So there you have it guys! Thank you for sticking around this 2016 and tolerating my sometimes lack of creativity and my incessant fangirling. Here’s to hoping 2017 will be kinder to all of us and to hoping we could take down our TBRs! Haha happy new year and have a blessed year ahead!

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Nerdy Talks’ Top 16 Poetry Books of 2016

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Happy New Year guys! 2016 had been a roller coaster in the most literal sense. A lot can really happy in a year! But here’s to surviving that year and hoping that 2017 will be kinder.

So to end the year right and start yet another awesome and fruitful (yes I am claiming it), I’ll be sharing with you the Top 16 Poetry Books I have read this year. 2016 has been a year of discovering new poets, meeting one of them, and finding new favorites. It was an amazing year, literature wise. And I wouldn’t be ending the year without sharing with you the books that made me feel plethoras of emotions, may it be pure joy or immense pain. So without further ado, here are the poetry books that made it to my list. You  can also check my Top 16 Books of 2015.

 

1. Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran

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Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran

This book was one of the first poetry books written by a Filipino that I have read. I was never exposed to Filipino poetry and that is the problem I need to remedy sooner rather than later. We have a rich culture and it is just right to read more of it and give the appreciation that is due them. Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems is a great place to start, Sir AA Patawaran had the gift of putting relevance and humanity in his poems. Hai[na]ku is about celebrating life, reflection of the society through certain places and certain norms, it was about love, too, it was so much more than what it is. You have to read it out loud, savor the words in your very mouth, because that’s the best way to taste the beauty of it.

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Excerpt from his poem It’s Not What I Thought:

I used to think that love was simple; that it was all a matter of finding it, until I found it – and it’s harder because , unless I constantly work on it, I feel as hollow as I feel full, I feel unsure as I feel certain, I feel as lost as I feel found.

xx

I used to think that sadness was a form of self-indulgence, until I got depressed – and it’s harder now when I feel sad because, long swept under the rug, cast in the shadows, dismissed and denied, the emotion feels so strange, so foreign, so unexplored.

I used to think that happiness was the result of good things happening, until I found happiness on the bleakest day, like a ray of light in the darkest night – and it’s harder, much harder now to know that, no matter what happens, no matter how great my sorrows, no matter how terrible my tragedies, happiness will always be a choice.

2. Lace Bone Beast by N.L. Shompole

51fajkccjml  Lace Bone Beast is more than what its synopsis tells you about. Though it is not officially released yet, fret not, it will be available by the 10th of January, thanks to the publishing team, editor and NL Shompole for providing me an advance copy. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t know the brilliance of this collection of poetry.

Let me first put the blurb for you guys, so you would know what you are in for:

Here is emptiness. Here is a mouth after a recent excavation, black with soot, devoid of kisses. Here are hands, trembling against the soft ache of morning, here are eyes, wet, wide, half-full of sky and loneliness. Here is belly, back, femur, spine, ragged and smooth all at once, all at once. Here are dreams, ink black and speckled, lost behind the eyes. Here is a muted elegy, crow’s feet feathered over the eyes like lace. Here are the last strains of a dirge, wild, discordant, free.

The play on words was simple yet with impact. Raw yet sincere. There was beauty to it that I cannot fully assess, something that enthralls you without overdoing it. I loved how it sounded personal to the author yet fully relatable. If you are a fan of Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace then this book is right up your alley.

Here are some of the poems I adored:

no one is coming to save you & other fairytales for wicked children

There will be blood

there will be tears
there will be despair
there will be days so dark
they bleed into night
each undistinguishable
from the other
There will be storms
there will be ruin
there will be wreckage
there will be fire
that will raze the everything
down to the bone, down to ember,
down to ash.
& if you want it 
there will be hope
only if you want it,
only if you want it.
the heart is a casket for forgotten things

Love the body through

all the stages of ruin, and
resurrection.
 
Love the body through
the dark winter, and
into spring.
 
Love the body
for it has housed you
through the collapse, and
the catastrophe.
meditations & other mantras for the soft-hearted
When you are offered magic, take it. When you are offered joy, curl your fingers around it, revel in it. Drink, until your stomach is stretched full against the jagged edge of your ribcage. when you are offered love, accept it. Even if it os only for a day, an hour, even if it’s only for a second.

3. Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones

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Prelude To Bruis has got to be one of the most powerful and evocative poetry book I have read this 2016. Saeed Jones works as editor of BuzzFeedLGBT. This collection of poetry hits you with such impact that will leave you in awe. The way every poem was phrased and the way it tells a story, made you feel it under your very skin. It was an amazing poetry book tackling the issue of sexuality, gender and race, and all the struggles that go with it. I wouldn’t deny, this book gave me goosebumps. Saeed Jones’ voice offers something different, it was bold and brave, never hiding its message into subtleties neither sugar coating them, it was what it was, and it is damn beautiful.
Here’s a poem I loved:

 

Cruel Body

You answer his fist and the blow
shatters you to sparks.
Unconscious is a better place, but swim back in yourself.
Behind a door you can’t open, his drinks 
to keep loving you,
then wades out into the blue hour,
Still on the floor, waiting for your name 
to claim your mouths,
Get up. Find your legs, leave.

4. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

23513349Were you surprised to find milk and honey here? Nah. I think it is already a given. 2016 was a great year for Rupi Kaur’s book, it is literally everywhere, read and adored by many, (me, definitely included). At first I tried to resist to buy a copy, I don’t know why, but I’m not one to join in a hype. I can’t even remember what pushed me into actually getting myself a copy, but I am happy I did. This collection of poetry, though simply written, provides you with sense of empowerment and at the same time a feeling of melancholy. Rupi Kaur’s poetry is proven to be universal, fully relatable and speaks of everyone’s heartbreaks and struggles without losing its essence. It talked about every facet of human life, especially that of women – from love, loss, despair, femininity and everything in between. I say it is a must read for everyone, especially when you are new to poetry, this is a good place to start. And though I was not completely in awe of the depth of Rupi Kaur’s poetry, I did not miss the simplicity of her poetry and the message it was sending across. I can’t wait to read more of her works and see her talent evolve into a more profound work of art.

5. Dear Almost by Matthew Thorburn

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Dear Almost is another one of a kind collection of poetry. I never thought I would love it so much, especially when the poems revolve around the immense pain of parents losing a child due to miscarriage. It wasn’t something I went through, but the way the author had put together the words, I couldn’t help but feel what the people in the poems actually felt. And that was the beauty in it, the way it was able to transcend despite the utter difference in the situation of its readers. There was something raw and heartrending that warranted a positive response from me. Matthew Thorburn wrote each poems with full emotions without any reservations, it was pure and sincere. You can not simply miss the way it was able to touch a person in ways only good poetry can.
Here is a poem I loved:
So give me a sign if
you’re out there, if you’re
the light swaying, swinging
between trees, that light
growing faint, drifting deeper
into the shadowy woods,
if you’re that pale glow between the elms and alders.
What star do you steer by?
Where are you going?
Tell me you can hear this
if that’s you who pauses
beside a ragged oak,
head cocked to one side
like a doe, light bouncing back
from your dark eyes,
if that’s you moving under
starlight and moonlight,
waiting for a gauze of cloud
to dim the worldso you can slip away
once more. Tell me, are these
your footprints I find
in the morning in the dark
wet earth, faint traces
in the muck and loam
that slowly fill with water?

6. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon

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Bright Dead Things is another exceptional collection of poems. It was just by accident that I found this one. I was in the mood for something uplifting and empowering, and when  I read the synopsis of this book and discovered that it was written by a known feminist, I just knew right then and there I need to read it, like one needs air in order to survive – and it was brilliant. It was beautiful in ways you cannot fully grasp. It is a reflection of every soul you encounter just as much as it is a reflection of your own. It was easily digestible and was not phrased in a way that is intimidating but at the same time still eloquent, perfect for new poetry lovers. Her poetry sticks with you, much like every lesson in life.
Here is a poem I loved:
Glow
In the black illegible moment of foolish want, there is also a neon sign flashing, the sign above the strip joint where my second big love worked as a bouncer and saved the girls from unwanted hands,
unpaid-for hands. Thin lipped ladies with a lot on their minds and more on their backs, loaded for bear, and for the long winter’s rain, loaded for real, and I’ve always been a jealous girl, but when he’d come home with a 4a.m. stomp in his boots and undress to bed, he was fully there, fully in the room, my sleeping body made awake, awake, and there was a gentleness to this, a long opening that seemed to join us in the saddest hour. Before now, I don’t know if I have ever loved anyone, or if I have ever been loved, but men have been very good to me, have seen my absurd out-of-place-ness, my bent grin and un-called-for loud laugh and gave wanted to love me for it, have been so warm in their wanting that sometimes I wanted to love them too.
And I think that must be worth something,
that it should be a celebrated thing,
that though I have not stood on a mountain under the usual false archway of tradition and chosen one person forever, what I have
done is risked everything for that hour,
that hour in the black night, where one flashing light looks like love, I have pulled over my body’s car and let myself believe that the dance was only for me, that this gift of a breathing one-who-wants was always a gift, was the only sign worth stopping for, that the neon glow was a real star, gleaming in its dying, like us all.

7. Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder

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I first heard of Sierra DeMulder on youtube, she was a known Spoken Word artist, I have watched few of her performances and was immediately drawn to her craft. Today Means Amen is a proof that DeMulder’s talent deserves every spotlight. I suggest that you watch her performances first before immersing yourself with the written words, I promise you would appreciate her more. Today Means Amen evokes positivity  amidst the chaos of our daily lives. It is the affirmation you needed to hear at the end of a cruel day. It was a beacon of light, but ultimately it was the amalgamation of every person’s trials and triumphs, of believing in a higher being and knowing one’s worth.
“Dear you, whoever you are, however you got here,
this is exactly where you are supposed to be.T
his moment has waited its whole life for you.
This moment is your lover and you are a soldier.
Come home, baby, it’s over. You don’t need
to suffer anymore. Dear you, this momentis your surprise party. You are both hiding
in the dark and walking through the door.

This moment is a hallelujah. This moment
is your permission slip to finally open that love

letter you’ve been hiding from yourself,
the one you wrote when you were little

when you still danced like a sparkler at dusk.”

8. Tuwing Ikatlong Sabado by Words Anonymous compiled by Juan Miguel Severo

Tuwing Ikatlong Sabado is another collection of 32710231-_uy1200_ss1200_poems by Filipino poets. These are originally spoken word poetry performed by various poets at Sev’s Cafe in Manila. What I loved about this collection is that it touches you in ways you didn’t know possible. There is depth, sense, flavor and more importantly heart. Should I dare say that this collection represent every plight of every human? May it be about heartbreak, sexual identity crisis, society’s ugly side, depression – this poetry collection got it covered.
Here are some of my favorites:
Dulo’t Simula
Transition Girl
Para sa Naghihintay at Naiinip
and Women Need Saving

9. Apology for Want by Mary Jo Bang

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Mary Jo Bang is a known poet for quite sometime already, and it is only in 2016 that I have learned about her. Apology For Want had a melancholic tone to it, something you could not simply miss, but also it had assertiveness . It was a perfect mixture of push and pull, of gentleness and aggressiveness, of longing and wanting. It was something that you would go back to over and over, for each poem takes on a different meaning every time you encounter them.
Here is a favorite poem from this collection:

Autopsy

How bare the soul – unmasked, deveined,
picked clean. How smooth the flesh
in death. Someone has arrived
to wash the dust away. Mulberry stains.
Indelible marks in hidden places.
Look at you. No longer resisting, unfolding
with ease; revealing scars 
from wounds that were slow to heal.
The body remembers. You never won
but dearly battled. The sky here
is streaked with tile.
The scientific community
and the mildly curious have all come
to watch. You bloom in this forest of white. 

10. Laws of My Nature by Margot Schilpp

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Margot Schilpp is another poet I honestly never heard of. (Oh the joys of discovering new poets!) Laws of My Nature if I am not mistaken is Schilpp’s second book of poetry, the first being The World’s Last Night. Laws of My Nature is a collection of poetry that was personal, something that builds connection from the author to its readers. A bond that you didn’t know existed until you turn the very last page. Her poems speak to you in an emotional as well as intellectual level.
 Here is a favorite poem from this collection:

Takeover

by Margot Schilpp

Heartsound: thunk and paddle
up the stream of appetitte that cloaks

me in sleep. In the split
of my personality, there’s you and

everything else, all the parallelograms
and missiles hiding in the silos.

Or deep, way down in the water,
you’ll find the torpedoes, their mischief

and fickle heads, thinking
about the kill, the kill. If

our nights together aren’t to be, why
play awake during the day?

Duck your head if you’re too tall
to enter the familiar

nothing of regret. You’ll fit.
You’ll fit nicely. I’m going

back to origami and the alphabet,
where order reigns. I’m going

back to original, where at least
I’ll have a sense of humor.

This life splits me:
one half, red. The other,

blue. Very red. Very blue.
But I can conjure. I can cast. I can bring

you in. The weeds in my garden
have it all over the perennial

 11. Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

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Of course I wouldn’t let the year pass without reading a work of my favorite poet of all time – Pablo Neruda. Love Poems   is about sensuality and sincerity of the poet’s feelings towards Matilde Urrutia. It was erotic yet romantic, you will fully understand the depth of Pablo Neruda’s emotions, adoration and devotion to his love. Again, it captivated me just as much as his other collection Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. 
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorites
 Your Feet
“But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.”

12. Double Shadow by Carl Phillips

61g4fuxe13l I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Carl Phillips’ poetry. I already have read four of his collection namely: Tether, Speak Low, Double Shadow and Riding Westward. I adored Speak Low and Double Shadow,  however Tether and Riding Westward didn’t connect to me the way poetry should. Half of the time I have no idea what he was talking about, sometimes it felt like they are all just words all jumbled into one poem, but there are also times that his poetry leaves me in awe – just like his poems here in this collection. Double Shadow is lyrical and haunting. It is  about life’s contrasts, of how two shadows are cast from one origin.
Here is a favorite poem from this collection:
Clear, Cloudless

Tonight – in the foundering night, at least,
of imagination, where what I don’t in fact
believe anymore, all the same, is true –
the stars look steadily down upon me. I look
ip, at the stars. Life as a recklessly fed bonfire
growing unexpectedly more reckless seems
neither the best or worst of several choices
within reach, still. I wear on my head a crown
of feathers – among which, sure, I have had my favorites.
Fear, though, is the bluest feather,
and it is easily the bluest feather that the wind loves most.

13. Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

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Mary Oliver is another known poet whose works I was just recently exposed to. I started this poetry book the very first week of 2016 and I think this was what set my great reading streak when it comes to poetry books. I should probably start another poetry book by her this January 2017. Hmmm.
Mary Oliver’s writing style is unique and captivating. She mostly uses animals and plants in her poetry, incorporating them as a metaphor for something profound and at times larger than life. The use of animals and the nature in her poetry simplifies her poems yet also gives off that comfortable vibe, something astounding and not pretentious. Why I Wake Early is an affirmation of everyday blessings that we often take for granted. Mary Oliver has a way of showing you the little things that are far more important that anything else.
Here is a favorite poem in this collection:
Some Things, Say the Wise Ones

Some things, say the wise ones who know everything,
are not living. I say
you live your life your way and leave me alone.
I have talked with the faint clouds in the sky when they
are afraid of being left behind; I have said, Hurry! hurry!
and they have said: Thank you, we are hurrying.
About cows, and starfish, and roses, there is no
argument. They die, after all.
But water is a question, so many living things in it, 
but what is it, itself, living or not? Oh gleaming
generosity, how can they write you out?
As I think this, I am sitting on the sand beside
the harbor. I am holding in my had
small pieces of granite, pyrite, schist.
Each one, just now, so thoroughly asleep.

14. The Truro Bear and Other Adventures by Mary Oliver

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The Truro Bear and Other Adventures is another of Mary Oliver’s brilliant work. This is another great collection of poetry about the nature and the beautiful creatures in it. And good god, I loved the poems about Percy! Mary Oliver’s poems are always a pleasure to read. Her poetry is something you always go back to over and over and each time is another fresh experience.

 

Here is a favorite poem in this collection:

 

I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life
Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

15. Habang Wala Pa Sila by Juan Miguel Severo

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Habang Wala Pa Sila is another Filipino poetry book, as I have mentioned I am remedying my lack of exposure to Filipino poetry. Habang Wala Pa Sila  is a good place to start. Juan Miguel Severo is a known spoken word artist, and this collection of poem though written in such a simple way will still hit you where it is supposed to. Habang Wala Pa Sila solidifies the truth that every heartbreak and longing is universal, it may vary from one person to another but the immense pain or the sense of fulfillment of loving someone until it hurts is worth it. I have always been drawn to poems about love, it may be the easiest topic to write about but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the words are any less true.

16. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

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And of course this list wouldn’t be complete if a classic poet is not included. I have finally read The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson and she is loved by many and even idolized my most authors for a reason. Emily Dickinson’s writing is addictive. This collection is a good place to start if you want to know about Emily Dickinson’s poetry without being overwhelmed. I think I read this book in piece meal, I didn’t rush in finishing it as I wanted to savor all the words and the beauty and subtlety of how she perceived things, life and love.
Here is an excerpt of a poem I loved:
Life is but Life! And Death, but Death! 
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath! 
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet! 
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall! 
I hope you are able to find new poetry books to read! Here’s to hoping our 2017 will be filled with beautiful words and great stories! Have a lovely year ahead!
You can check my Top 16 Books of 2016 here.
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K. V. Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide: Poems about Social Justice, Women’s Rights, and the Environment by K.V. Dominic: Book Review | Poetic Book Tours

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Synopsis from Goodreads“K. V. Dominic Essential Readings” gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: “Winged Reason,” “Write Son, Write” and “Multicultural Symphony.” A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic’s prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.
Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic’s keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.

Publisher: Modern History Press

Date Published: September 1, 2016

Date Read: November 2016

No. Of Pages: 284

Source:  Copy provided by Poetic Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Check it out on Amazon.

About the Author: Internationally acclaimed poet Prof. K. V. Dominic (Kerala, India) is the author of three major volumes of poetry about the natural world as well as social and political commentary: Winged Reason, Multicultural Symphony, and Write, Son, Write.

Review

RELEVANT AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

We need more of this in the book community. This masterpiece had to be written, not just for the sake of empathy but more importantly for awareness. I always challenge myself with the books I read, there are books that are easy to read and will be forgotten in the years to come, but also there are books that would stay with you – this book is one of them. The beauty of how it depicted the pressing issues in the society that we live in, lyrical yet with impact. Something that had to be said over and over drilling it into the minds of the closed-minded ones. I commend how rich and how it was able to show the other side of what people usually miss out. It wasn’t just promoting awareness, but immersing ourselves into the reality that we face day in and day out. It was more of an invitation to do something about it, to finally stand up for what we believe in. Stand up for the things they often shut us out.

The poems varied from important social issues, to culture, women’s rights and yes even environment. You would easily notice the author’s persistence to make all these problems and all these issues be relevant, to be talked about and eventually resolve them, in whatever for it may come from. I commend that the author used his vast knowledge and experience in concocting a truly revolutionary work. I loved how he used the written words as medium to send the message across. It is as if it is a summon to awaken one’s sense to see past the veil of oppression and passivity. It was more than a collection of poems, it is a voice that demands to be heard.

Take the poem Mother’s Love for an instance.

Maternal love, love sublime

Inexplicable, unfathomable

Noblest of all emotions

Visible both on human beings

and other beings

xxx

Maternal love is transcendent emotion

Both human species

and other species possess

I am perplexed

by some sporadic disasters

A mother offering her

affectionate daughter

to please her lover’s sexual urge

How could she throw her dead child

to the hungry wold?

How could she suppress

the divine emotion of maternal love?

also the poem I Can Hear the Groan of Mother Earth

I can hear the groan of mother earth

being raped by her own beloved human sons

Having sucked all milk from her mountain breasts

quarry deep out of construction mania.

and this passage from the poem “A Nightmare”

A lavish wedding feast was served in the town hall,

rich delicacies heaped on the plates,

were relished by the pompous guests

I could see two ragged girls outside

struggling with the dogs in the garbage bin.

Now this poem is my favorite: Pleasures and Pains

Pleasures and pains;

two sides of a coin.

We toss it early morning;

majority gets the pains side.

Pleasures come like sprinkle,

while pains fall like deluge

and continue like monsoon.

Happiness is a mist

while sorrows shower like snow.

There was something so haunting about his poems. KV Dominic’s poems were written in such a manner that it is easier to grasp and fully digest, it was straight to the point without any reservations whatsoever. It was as honest as it could get. My ultimate favorite would be the whole collection of poems under Write Son, Write.

Now I could highly recommend this one for someone who wants to branch out to poetry and at the same time would want to immerse himself in social awareness and the present predicament that the humanity faces. This would be the perfect book.

Rating: rating_4stars

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Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins: Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads:  The compulsively readable #1 New York Times bestseller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangle not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

“Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.” —Vanity Fair.

“The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl… [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership.” —The New York Times.

“Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery… Hang on tight. You’ll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.” —USA Today.

PAULA HAWKINS worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in London. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.

Date Published: January 2015

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Date Read:

No. of Pages: 478

Edition: Mass Market PaperBack

Source: Fully Booked

Setting: Euston, London

 

REVIEW

THIS MAY SOUND A CLICHE BUT I SERIOUSLY HELD MY BREATH THE LAST 50 PAGES

I have a few experience with mystery/thriller so whenever I come across one, I don’t know if I was just being easy to please or the story was really good to warrant such reaction from me.  I know a lot of people has been saying that Girl On The Train is just another second rate version of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which I have read some three years ago. I was one of them, operative here word: was. I easily dismissed this book the first time it came out, Gone Girl has been a favorite book, and having heard of the premise of Girl on The Train made me a little unsure if I would read it or not. While it is true that there is the element of Gone Girl to it, with a girl missing and an unexpected twist, one cannot help to compare, it is inevitable.  But then Girl on The Train have proven itself to be worthy, it also had its own uniqueness, if only you detach yourself from Gone Girl and see Girl on the Train as it is – just what I did. It would be unfair to this book if we see it as just a second rate version of popular one right? I believe, each book has a right to be read once and not have preconceived notions about it. Read first and then judge, I think that’s how it is supposed to go. So my advice is, give this book a try, yes even if you loved Gone Girl with all your murder-mystery-thriller-loving heart.

 I am always drawn to books with unconventional and dysfunctional marriage as its plotline, it is not what we are accustomed to seeing, well at least on my part, maybe that’s why it appealed to me so much. I do understand, however, that this book isn’t exactly for everyone, either you hate it or you love it, there’s no exactly in between.Unreliable narrator is always a hit or miss for me. The Girl on The Train is hitting it where it should. I loved how Rachel’s character is portrayed, you somehow empathize with her and at the same time suspicious of her actions. You are blindsided and then bam! I loved how everything and everyone are connected paving a way into this complicated scenario that will grip you more than you can possibly allow it to. Girl on The Train had proven itself to be something engaging and beautiful on its own. Paula Hawkins had an incredible talent of trickery, toying people’s mind, shaping their heads to believe in something and then end up presenting something else entirely. I had my suspicion already, and I was 80% sure who it was, but then bam, just like a smack in the face, I didn’t see it coming! It was concocted in such a clever way, much like you didn’t know what hit you until it’s too late.

This book covered a lot of topics that are fully relatable – alcoholism, failed marriages, domestic abuse, a lost career and so on and so forth, though one may not have undergone same extent, but there was sense or element of reality to it that one could not simply miss. No wonder it easily made itself as a best-selling book in a short span of time after its release. Though the book, started off a little slow, the half part definitely made up for it. It was written in such a way that it was easy to grasp and easy to weave in and out of. It was the kind of book that will pull you in, as though time had little importance. It was worth losing sleep over. Once you’ve reached the last 100 pages or so, you have to finish it, no matter what the time was. 3 am? It’s nothing but a little sacrifice, finishing this book is rewarding and satisfying, you can’t just choose sleep forestalling the inevitable end. Nope, that’s not how it’s going to work with this book, it demands your time and you will gladly succumb. No questions asked. It has been a while since that happened to me, more often than not, I always choose sleep over anything else, yep even if I only have 50 pages left, sleep always wins. Well, this book was obviously an exception. And I have no regrets.

Writing this review is proven to be harder than I thought, I wanted to give it justice, but I feel like I am coming short. I just hope I could persuade even a single soul to read this book. And oh, just a tip, please don’t watch the trailer or the movie before reading this,  I think it goes without saying, but then there are people, (me, sometimes) who will go watch, at least the trailer first, before reading the book. For the love of everything that is holy, don’t do that or else you’ll spoil yourself big time!  I have read this one a few days before it hits movie theaters, and I was so great at stopping the urge to watch the trailer. Looking back, had I watched the trailer, I wouldn’t rate the book just the same.

 

Rating: rating_5stars

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

 

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