Hawthorne and Heathcliff by RK Ryals: Book Review

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Synopsis: Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

Publisher: Self-published

Date Published: August 2015

Date Read: 

Number of Pages: 212

 

REVIEW

In a nutshell it is a story about shoes with lots of metaphors thrown in the mix. Yes really. I am kind of in between loving it and disliking it. I started reading it first week of June and finished it last week of July, two days shy August. It took me that long to read a short book. I have to admit the first half was really good, it got me interested enough to read the whole half of it in one sitting, which, again rarely happens these days. It has the perfect amount of cheesiness and sadness that got me hooked until it lost me. I can still remember I was tweeting incessantly about it, how good it might turn out, but boy I spoke too soon. My interest waned past the half way mark. I don’t know if it is just me starting a new job, and being caught up with a lot of adult stuff that affected how I perceived the book or maybe it was just a case of bad timing. I’ve finished three books in between the time I was reading this. I keep on picking it up and putting it back down, which is really frustrating to be completely honest.

It had the perfect premise to lure anyone, had the right amount of drama and right amount of love story, I just couldn’t get over the fact that it turned out to be too much of a book about life and love quotes. If you’re into that, well this one is brimming with it. I love me some good quotes, I love how there are bits and pieces of the book that you could take with you, but this book has overdone it. It was metaphor and life realizations one after another that it started to become repetitive to a fault. I was literally like “Okay, we get that already, you’ve mentioned it like a bazillion times. Can we just get on with the story?”  I just tried to finish it just for the sake of finishing it. The grammatical errors also put me off.

I swear it started out so good, I was so sure to give it 5 stars. I just don’t know what happened along the way. I tried to love it, I really did, but I just couldn’t force myself doing so. It had potential, like the concept sounded so much better in your head but when you say it out loud it immediately loses half of its brilliance. I thought the Hawthorne and Heathcliff title was genius, I’d give them that. It added spice to the story, making it deeper than it truly was. I loved how they met and how they spiraled into the beauty of their love story, but then there are some things that fell too short for me. Something I could not exactly pinpoint. I think it was how it ended, there was something that was missing, I think it ended abruptly, I wanted to know the complete story how Max changed and how it affected their story, I wish it was elaborated more. But all things considered, I would still be trying out her other books.

Rating: FiveStarsInline3.svg

“Sometimes love isn’t forever. Sometimes it’s just moments in your life that teach you. If it’s the forever after kind of love, it’ll find you again. If it isn’t, don’t let a broken heart break you. Let it make you love harder. Love is a mistake worth making.”

The Vegetarian by Han Kang: Book Review

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Synopsis: Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

Publisher: Hogarth

Date Published: February 2nd 2016

Date Read: July 2016

Number of Pages: 192

Source: Won from a YouTube giveaway.

 

REVIEW

This 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. 

It will leave you with inexplicable feeling that you just couldn’t
easily shake off. It is true what they say, after you read it, there
will be times that it will linger in your head like some mistake in
the past you probably regret doing or some cringe-worthy conversation you had.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not painting it in a bad light. What I’m
saying is this book is disturbing and weird but in the good kind. I can’t
put a proper name to what I exactly felt after reading it but it is
somehow proportionate to feeling of having your brains wrap around
something you can barely fathom. It was like there was this
otherwordly element to it that you just could not easily forget.

This book gave off the Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami vibe to it.
So for fans of Haruki Murakami, I think you will enjoy the works of
Han Kang. There was this certain uniqueness and a hint of something
scandalous that made it all jive into this perfect masterpiece. The
contrast of pensive sadness and the unspeakable abomination masked by
subtleties is what makes this book a cut above the rest. It is
definitely a different reading experience. It is odd as it is
interesting. There was this sense of unease yet there was also a feeling of odd satisfaction, there was no way around it, it was what it was. Shocking to the conscience and somewhat understandable at the same time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The book was divided into three parts, with different point of views. Each part was distinct from each other yet they all mixed together perfectly to tell a brilliant story. I loved how the author made flawed characters, how they go about with their lives and how their flaws contributed to the whole story. How they invite you unto their minds and made you see it through their perspective, how they invite you and you stayed longer than you have expected. This 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.

There is something about stories about twisted or unconventional marriages that appeal to me so much, and The Vegetarian took the cake. It took twisted and unconventional into a higher level, one I could not fully wrap my head around. There was this feeling that I wanted to read so much more and then a part of me felt satisfied how it ended. It was a mixed emotion at best. I may not have given it full five stars, but I definitely enjoyed it, and added Han Kang to my favorite authors, she writes so beautifully. You will not miss her play on words, how they seemed so simple yet brings so much impact. I know this book isn’t for everyone, some would love it some will hate it, but it is in the beauty of how one would perceive it, how much one could take and be able to grasp the message it was trying to send. This book took another angle on mental illness and painted it in the best light possible, odd but very relevant.

This is the first book that I have read that was translated to english from the original korean, and it did not disappoint. This made me feel that I am missing out on a lot of things and from now on I vow myself to read more of it.

Rating: rating_4stars

“Her life was no more than a ghostly pageant of exhausted endurance, no more real than a television drama. Death, who now stood by her side, was as familiar to her as a family member, missing for a long time but now returned.”
― Han KangThe Vegetarian

Sunday’s On The Phone To Monday by Christine Reilly: Book Review

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Synopsis: The Middlesteins meets The Virgin Suicides in this arresting family love story about the eccentric yet tightknit Simone family, coping with tragedy during 90s New York, struggling to reconnect with each other and heal.

Claudio and Mathilde Simone, once romantic bohemians hopelessly enamored with each other, find themselves nestled in domesticity in New York, running a struggling vinyl record store and parenting three daughters as best they can: Natasha, an overachieving prodigy; sensitive Lucy, with her debilitating heart condition; and Carly, adopted from China and quietly fixated on her true origins.

With prose that is as keen and illuminating as it is whimsical and luminous, debut novelist Christine Reilly tells the unusual love story of this family. Poignant and humane, Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a deft exploration of the tender ties that bind families together, even as they threaten to tear them apart.

Publisher: Touchstone

Date Published: April 5, 2016

Date Read: July 2016

Number of Pages: 323

Source: Author provided a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

REVIEW

 

This book has this melancholic feel to it, the kind of melancholia a reader craves once in a while. It scratches a different itch that not all books could.

This book was sent to me by the author in an exchange for an honest review. From the moment I read the blurb, it instantly piqued my interest, though not really something right up my alley, but this book sounded different, it seems like it has its own gravitational pull and the reader will just fall into it like it is the most natural thing. And I did, I succumbed to it, immersed myself in the story like nothing mattered in the world, because for a moment the only thing that mattered was the lives of the characters inside this beautiful book.

Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is not your typical read, it is not something you encounter on a regular basis. It was truly a gem. It was all encompassing, covering all facets of life such as love, family, mental illness, the society, loss and so much more. It was life encapsulated into a single book. It was the connection of all the characters that made this book stand out, there was the conventional relationship and the not so usual ones, but everything jived into this perfect harmony that you just couldn’t help but be engrossed by it. It was melancholic as it was raw. The book was written so beautifully, I actually ran out out of sticky tabs. There are so many great passages written here, reflections about life and love. The one thing I noticed about this book was how relatable it was. It magnified the simple things, and we are all aware about the saying that sometimes it is the small things that truly matter. Has this happened to you? Like for an instance you are thinking about a certain thing, it was just something nonsensical, and a little silly to share with others so you just keep it to yourself? This book, assured me that whatever I was thinking, or whatever feeling I was having no matter how silly or noncommittal, that it still counts, or matters. I loved that in a book, the way it reaches out to its readers, how every experience real or fictional, came from something that existed long before us. That what we truly feel and think is universal, and there was some sense of comfort in that.

As I was reading this book, it kind of gave off The Bell Jar vibe, which as most of us already know is one of the most depressing books written of all time. It wasn’t entirely like The Bell Jar, but there are bits and parts of the book that instantly reminded me of Sylvia Plath’s novel. I cannot say that the similarity is palpable, but there was hint of it in this book, making it more engaging and interesting. If you enjoyed The Bell Jar, I think you’ll like this book as well, but don’t go on expecting something as depressing, let’s just put it this way, Sunday’s on The Phone to Monday will give you that nostalgic feeling that no other book could.

The characters in this story were different in their own ways. They are readily identifiable from each other. I loved how the story started the way it did, it was like a journey of some sort with bits and pieces of flashbacks that make it coherent and polished. I learned that this book was originally intended to be a poetry book, and I can definitely see the beautiful play on words. It was lyrical in every sense of the word.

The book will leave you with a calm feeling. It was the peace and quiet after a heavy down pour, it was proportional to the feeling of sipping a hot cup of tea in a cold rainy afternoon. It is as if, everything in the world is okay once more. It is the kind of book that need not require exaggerated events, or heart stopping twists, it was as true and as raw as it could get and there is definitely beauty in that. I loved this book, I wish everyone could find time to read it!

Rating: rating_4stars

“She gave him all the tools he needed to hurt her, and he did the same. Wasn’t that the logic in love?”
― Christine ReillySunday’s on the Phone to Monday