February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
After the rain
we watched the clouds roll by like runaway lovers
and we stood knee-deep in the water,
watching the sky burst into colour
from our colourless lives.
Underneath the water
we touched ankles,
breathed in burning air.
After the rain
we picked up the debris of a broken home,
photographs like tissue in my fingers,
memories now a breath gone by,
the rainwater had dissolves my walls
to a rotten barricade,
windows to a mirror
because all I could see for miles upon miles was
February 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
Do you remember the christmas lights
on the night that you died
gleaming like stars above our heads?
And do you remember the promises you made
about dark places and dinghy corners?
They can promise me heaven and love
and happiness at the end of it all but
all I hear are Christmas carols
to drown out your screams,
all I see are Christmas lights
glinting red like your blood,
and the way your body lay limp
under the Christmas tree like
some morbid present santa left.
Do you remember the Christmas lights
on the night that you died?
January 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
10. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine
Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.
9. Migritude – Shailja Patel
The U.S. debut of internationally acclaimed poet and performance artist Shailja Patel, MIGRITUDE is a tour-de-force hybrid text that confounds categories and conventions. Part poetic memoir, part political history, MIGRITUDE weaves together family history, reportage and monologues to create an achingly beautiful portrait of women’s lives and migrant journeys undertaken under the boot print of Empire.
8. Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
An exotic dance that beguiles and entices… The enchanted and enchanting account of a contemporary Scheherazade, a wide-eyed American teller-of-tales who triumphs over harsh reality through the creative power of her own imagination…
7. What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
6. The Girl Who Fell From The Sky – Heidi W. Durrow
This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African-American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl – and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.
5. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston’s masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published—perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African-American literature.
4. The Wasteland – T. S. Eliot
3. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories – Angela Carter
From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work.
1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
I would highly recommend each and every one of these books. Some are more well-known than others, surely, but each are captivating in their own way, whether it’s writing, characters, plot or a combination of all three.
I know this is a tad late for the new year’s (being the 3rd day of 2014) but happy new year’s to all my followers and thank you for sticking with me as long as you have!
December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ll keep this review short. I got about a third of the way through this book before I gave up. I usually don’t like giving up on books without finishing them, but I guess the way I see it is that there are so many great books out there to read and often it’s not worth it to spend time slowly trudging through something despite not enjoying the experience of it in the slightest. I know that if I had endeavoured to continued with it, it would take me about a month to finish despite the pretty short length of the book itself.
The thing with Things Fall Apart wasn’t that it was objectively bad. It’s that there was very little to draw me into the book itself. I’ll be honest – I have read some of Achebe’s theories on postcolonialism and race theory, and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was excited to read this book, and had high expectations that were dashed pretty fast. It was just a dull read. Sure, there was some interest sparked when Achebe talked about the Nigerian Ibo tribe, but there was no plot to speak of (perhaps one strikes up after the couple of pages that I managed to get through, I don’t know). The lack of a plot is fine. There are many brilliant novels that are lacking in that aspect but pull through in others. Things Fall Apart didn’t, however. What it was lacking for in the plot wasn’t made up by the characters, who were, once again, dull and fairly one-dimensional. I couldn’t sympathise or relate to any of them. Rather, there was a certain distance that seemed to be established between the characters and the readers, making it incredibly difficult to sympathise with the characters (this is a problem that I had with The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald too, but I recognise that it was intentional on the part of Fitzgerald. Maybe this is too). The prose was also lacking. It was simple but not in the good way – it was jarring and dull for the most part.
Maybe I’ll give this a try some other time. It’s not likely but it is highly praised and perhaps there’s something in it I’ve missed.
If you’ve read Things Fall Apart did you have a similar opinion or completely different? Let me know!
December 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
There are oceans between our words
Each stretching further than actual worlds
And I’ve created them out of
our breaths, thoughts and memories,
fabricated them out of a past
and into some imagined future.
December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
Read review here. My response to this book is no. Just no. I’d give it negative stars if I could.
I can’t remember much about this book except for the fact that I was excited to read it and hugely disappointed by the end of the book.
It was such a struggle to get through this book. I hated absolutely everything except for the prose.
Very similar to Speak but equally engaging and enjoyable to read.
Read this for my Victorian Literature class. A melodrama – pretty funny but nothing too great.
31-33. Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Search
Again, love the art, hate the story. Especially Part 3… just… what?
Isabelle Allende is one of the best writers I have come across in 2013. She could probably write a grocery list beautifully and I would read it. It helps that the book was engaging in other aspects too but seriously, the prose is fantastic.
Often praised as one of King’s best works but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t know if it was because I was still hung over from IT, but it just didn’t measure up to many other King novels, or even come close.
Read my review here. Another book to which all I have to say is… no.
Read my review here. A really sweet book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Really interesting concept but in the hands of an amateur writer. Very poor plot, characterisation and writing.
This was just a really sad story. A well written sad story, but still very, very, very sad.
40-41. The Hybrid Chronicles
Read my review here. This was a beautifully written, wonderful book about a girl’s struggles with being biracial.
Read this for my Monsters of the Market class. It was… strange and disturbing but you couldn’t stop reading it. Many prominent parallels with Dracula.
Had to read this for my Reading Gender and Sexuality Class. I also wrote an essay on the scopic economies in the Blood Chamber and Angela Carter’s subversion of the fairy tale genre. I really loved this – it was engaging and beautifully written with really intriguing insight into ordinary fairy-tales.
Truly wonderful to see Hopkinson address the problems of representation and inclusion of people of colour in sci-fi and fantasy. Her short stories in the book were also engaging, and, as always, beautifully written.
I love Allie Brosh’s blog so it is unsurprising that I found her graphic novel to be just as funny and wonderful.
Not what I was expecting when I originally heard of it but it was an interesting read with great artwork.
Nominated for the Man Booker Prize. It was interesting and really well written but kind of grasping at straws sometimes. It was pretty ambivalent in what it was attempting to portray but that could also be taken as a positive thing, I suppose.
Bridge to Terabithia is another movie that I adore and it was wonderful to find that I loved the book too. Wonderfully written, simplistic and engaging.
I love the ambivalence of the structure of this book – is it a memoir? a collection of short stories? a novel? It’s a mixture of all of those, perhaps. Wonderfully written, beautifully structured and incredibly enjoyable to read.
December 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
Some of you may be aware of the reading challenge that goodreads enables you to take every year. This year, I set out my goal to read 50 books throughout the year (possibly not the best idea, considering it is my final year of university) and finally finished 50 books today. I’ve already written reviews for numerous of these 50 books but I thought a short review for each book couldn’t hurt, along with a Top 10 of 2013. Here’s the first 25:
Kind of sad this is the first book I read of 2013, apparently. It wasn’t the worst but very amateur in characterisation, plot, writing… everything, really.
My problems with this book has more to do with the fact that it’s a fetishized, sexualised and often unrealistic representation of the Japanese geisha culture and that Arthur Golden profited from the book whilst, not only erasing the actual experiences of geishas, but actually putting them in harm’s way and being entirely unapologetic for it. You can find more about this here.
I don’t think I even finished this one. It wasn’t terrible but pretty uninteresting, and the writing was rather bad. I just couldn’t bring myself to keep going.
I would have called myself a pretty huge Stephen King fan before I read this book. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s that it’s pile of misogynistic crap. I can’t go into detail without huge, huge spoilers, but I will say that despite whatever other merits the book may have (and yes, it is well-written and interesting despite its length) the end is more than disappointing. It’s not worth the 1000 pages or so you have to read to get to it.
I was pretty excited for this as it’s a well-appraised feminist book but I was pretty disappointed. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, considering when Chopin wrote it. But at the end it came down to white, middle-class feminism. Nothing particularly radical or exciting.
John Green is obviously a huge phenomenon in the young adult genre and this was my first book by him. I could understand his appeal and appreciate that his prose is pretty well crafted. I even quite enjoyed the second half of the book but all of the characters irritated me in the first half of the book – most of all Alaska.
I don’t think I even have to say anything much about this. I love Oscar Wilde.
I fell in love with Kingsolver after The Poisonwood Bible and wasn’t disappointed by this book. Although it’s fairly different from The Poisonwood Bible, much less takes place, it’s wonderfully written and an enjoyable read.
A pretty generic Young Adult Novel. It’s not bad, really, just a little bland.
I enjoyed this a lot more than Looking for Alaska. It’s a pretty sweet book but I felt like it dragged on a little bit too much and at times the characters irritated me (yes, I have an overarching problem with John Green’s characterisation).
Read my review of this here. It’s a pretty interesting concept but with fairly terrible execution. Overall, pretty bland.
13-15, Avatar The Promise
I’m a huge Avatard. I have been since I was about 10. And as much as I love the artwork in these comic books, the writing and plot are disappointing.
Had to read this for my Modern American Literature class in university. I also wrote an essay about the gendered social relations in The Fire Sermon, and I think writing essays about a work always makes you appreciate it better. The Waste Land is pretty much a literary masterpiece and I think everyone should endeavour to read it.
Another book I had to read for my Modern American Literature class. It was very interesting, engaging and well written. The narrative structure was probably my favourite thing about it.
18-21. A Song of Ice and Fire
I think I wrote a generic review of the series here. It’s a very popular fantasy series right now, obviously. I won’t argue that the plot is very engaging and it’s an interesting book to read… if you can get past the fact that George R. R. Martin actually cannot write. And this is not even an exaggeration. I have in actuality cringed at some of the sentences he has written. You can ignore it, however, so long as the plot stays interesting… which stops at A Feast for Crows. It took me a long time to get through that book. Apparently, the next book is better but I haven’t been able to will myself to read it yet.
The Howl’s Moving Castle movie is one of my favourite movies of all time. I pretty much watch it once a month – that’s how much I love it. So I was naturally pretty excited to read the book. It’s vastly different from the movie, but wonderful in its own way.
Read review here. Another book for my Modern American Literature class. I absolutely adored it and it was a pleasure to read.
I remember getting through this book incredibly fast. It’s very simplistic in its writing but that only adds to the charm of it. It’s a collection of short stories of immigrants – very engaging and enjoyable to read. One of Lahiri’s novels is also nominated for the Man Booker Prize this year.
A heartbreaking story that was executed wonderfully. I also enjoyed the movie starring Kristen Stewart.