Re-Engaging the Reader

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source: novelpathways.org

Reading has always felt like an emotional biography. Whether I am reading a mirror-to-my-life sort of book, a serious preaching to the choir book or a cotton-candy sweet and fluffy book, all of them reflect my emotional state at any given point. My reading habits, if studiously mapped out, would reflect the ebbs and flows of my life. While, generally, I prefer books that engage my mind to the point of debates the presence of light hearted fluffy books indicate a need to disengage and escape from overthinking.  My 2015 reading has become one of the most erratic reading years I had to make, while my goodreads account would probably tell you I have read less than 60, in fact I have read more which I am too lazy to track even on an app. Continue reading →

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Too Much Love can Kill You: Shen Fu’s The Old Man of the Moon

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Marital vows state:
“…to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to love and cherish, till death do us part….”

Between couples this is the promise, the expectation and the ideal. Our society celebrates couples who love each other through it all. We love it when we hear stories of couples who stood beside each other through the years and living up to the vows spoken on their wedding day. We think of this as the measure of marital bliss. In Shen Fu’s The Old Man of the Moon, however, he warns against this. Continue reading →

A Lively Reading Life: The Read Harder Challenge Update

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Since I have joined Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge I had rediscovered the joy of reading. Now, having read and fulfilled 15 of the 24 tasks I find myself surprisingly inspired by the challenge. Since my last update I had found myself arguing with a book, reading books I won’t normally read, and learning new things. Not everything I read for the challenge were necessarily fantastic. Some were ok, some were a dud, but some made me think that diving into unfamiliar territory isn’t so bad. If anything, I guess, the goal of this challenge has been met in my reading experience. So far, the challenge has made my reading experience very lively. I had moments of anger and fury towards a book, surprise and excitement, and thoughtful silence. Continue reading →

I met Camus and I threw him out the Window

308We were in the coffee shop when we started to argue.We got home and we were still arguing. We slept and when we woke up, the tension was still there. A week later and we were still unable to settle our differences. Eventually, we had to just part.

Camus, was great, but somehow, after a long time, I found myself arguing with a book. I picked up Albert Camus’ The Stranger for the Read Harder Challenge. He was one of those authors I see read by many, but never got to until recently. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked him. The pace of the book was slow and it was hard to get interested. A few chapters in and I was hook, but as I reached the climax, I found myself in need for discourse and discussion. I struggled to agree with Camus’ resolution, hence my research on his philosophy of Absurdism.

With Camus, I found myself looking back and thinking that had I read this in my late teens to mid twenties, I would have subscribed to his philosophy. Presently, however, I am in disagreement. I felt, that his character’s rejection of the priest, his acceptance of his life and his letting go of hope is but a beginning of a journey. Camus’ however ended it too soon. Continue reading →

I Never Thought I’d Read a Romance Novel: Accepting a Challenge

image from source

image from source

Long overdue.

I have been meaning to write this a while back, but life, as you may also know, doesn’t always cooperate with ones plans. Without further introductions, let’s talk about Romance Novels.

Yes, you read that right. I did say Romance Novels. Now, this is, by no means, my cup of tea. I have avoided romance novels as much as I avoid chic lit and best sellers (please refer to my post of being a book snob here). I never seem to care much about love stories no matter how sweet or hot they are. Once I discovered literary fiction, I found myself completely absorbed by it, ignoring anything that fell in a predictable genre. But, I am no longer a book snob. I have, through the years, tried out different genres and have grown appreciation for particular genre-based literature. But Romance Novels? Continue reading →

Re-Discovery the Joy of Reading: a Read Harder challenge update

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I have never enjoyed reading as much as I have this past month. Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge reminded me how wonderful reading is. When I was new to the habit, I read whatever was there. I didn’t have a real go-to author and it made reading this extremely surprising experience, but as I grew older my reading taste has led me to predictable roads. If anything, the read harder challenge has taken me to some places I didn’t know I’d actually enjoy. Continue reading →

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, A Lesson in Living

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Murakami has been a favorite author of mine since I first encountered him at 17 years old. The first book I read, which remains my favorite, is Dance Dance Dance. Over the years, I have read most of his books and have written two major college papers (despite being a psychology major) on his work. While the author himself dislikes interpretation of his work as more than what it is, one cannot help, as a reader, to see the common threads in his writing. It is these recurring themes—death, cats, subconscious, paranormal, emptiness, and mediocrity (or ordinariness)—that made him dear to me.

Dance Dance Dance left me with a sense of wonder and peculiarity. It was the first time I had encountered an author who made me completely believe in his world and yet tug my heart despite being cold in writing style. Since Dance Dance Dance, Murakami has written a lot of books, some less paranormal (aka Norwegian Wood) and some very weird (Hardboiled Wonderland). His writing has taken a few detours from usual route as of late. He had written a non-fiction. He had written a book focusing on a female character. He had written a book so big, and so huge it has taken me several months to read. While a fan, I felt there was something missing in his recent works, that something was a sense of closeness to his reader while remaining strange and cold.

I did not buy Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage as soon as it hit the shelves, unlike 1Q84. I waited and eventually a friend gave it to me for my birthday. It sat on my shelf for two months before I eventually read it. I do not normally read reviews of books I’m really interested in reading. However, once done reading I would look into the reviews and comments of critics and fellow readers.

Colorless Tsukuru has been part of a lot of the 2014 books to read. Some Murakami fans loved it others say its the same old thing. In reading, Colorless Tsukuru is not any different from Murakami’s recurring theme, particularly the thought of a person coming to terms with his/her childhood and growing up. Even the motifs of dreaming, sex, and loss are repeated in this book, however in closer reading one can see both the familiar (which we loved about Murakami’s novels) and the maturity in the resolution.

Continue reading →