There's a direct link from our stomach to our heart.
The English translation of this book is "Lunch No Akko-chan." A collection of four inter-related sThere's a direct link from our stomach to our heart.
The English translation of this book is "Lunch No Akko-chan." A collection of four inter-related short stories written by the award-winning Japanese author Asako Yuzuki. These stories took place in the white collar business district in Osako.
The book begins in a small book publishing company, where the senior editor Akko realized that one of her female subordinates, Sawada, was unhappily eating a homemade bento alone. Akko suggested to Sawada that since she missed home cooked food, she wanted to swap lunches with Sawada for a week. If Sawada packs her a traditional Japanese lunch daily, Akko would treat Sawada to her regular lunch spots for 5 days, all paid for. Instruction and direction will be given to her daily for where to go... Thus begins Sawada's adventure in food, as well as life.
The stories had been made into a TV J-drama series with the same name.
A nice wrap up of Mia and Adam's love story from If I Stay, but instead of Mia's POV, this book is narrated by Adam. The book happened three years aftA nice wrap up of Mia and Adam's love story from If I Stay, but instead of Mia's POV, this book is narrated by Adam. The book happened three years after they first appeared in If I Stay....more
This book combined my love of graphic novels and cooking. The colorful book is loaded with recipes that are simple and easy to follow. Her art is whimThis book combined my love of graphic novels and cooking. The colorful book is loaded with recipes that are simple and easy to follow. Her art is whimsical, interesting and very educational. Although I considered myself a fan of Korea due to all my years of K-drama watching and eating kimchi...I've definitely learned a few new things from this book. I highly recommend this book to those who love to try their hands at cooking dishes from all over the world, and those that adore an honest story told with great drawings....more
I haven't added any books to my "All time favorite" shelf for a while, but Ove definitely belongs up there with Mr. Penumbra and the old man who jumpeI haven't added any books to my "All time favorite" shelf for a while, but Ove definitely belongs up there with Mr. Penumbra and the old man who jumped out of a window. As someone who was not an English or literature major, it took me decades of reading and thousands of books to realize that my 5-star books usually have one or few the following items: interesting characters, an author with "heart" and/or beautiful prose. So, whether if the characters are relatable or lovable, whether if the plot is logical, or the recent favorite: whether if the narrator is unreliable, are just not the most important criteria in my scale.
With phrases like this one, my favorite, by the way (laughed hysterically at midnight and woke up the house), "Like a bolt of lightning up your urethra.", Mr. Backman did not make the fine prose society, but he's definitely a writer who truly, deeply understands human feelings and he has an amazing talent of making unique characters. One thing that amazes me is how young he is. How possibly someone so young understands the sadness and anger of Ove and Britt Marie?
"Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it's often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.
"We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding onto the word like "IF."
Back to Ove. One of my favorite Japanese manga series was Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: The Power of Negative Thinking Volume 1. It's a series about a pessimistic high school teacher that always fails at his suicidal attempts. The series explores and scrutinizes the various cultural and sociological aspects of the Japanese society in a satirical way. Ove reminds me of Sensei Zetsubou. After his wife Sonja died, Ove gave up living. This world is a place that he never cares for, anyway, people were not raised the same way as it used to be.
“Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain.”
“He can’t understand people who long to retire. How can anyone spend their whole life longing for the day when they become superfluous? Wandering about, a burden on society, what sort of man would ever wish for that? Staying at home, waiting to die. Or even worse: waiting for them to come and fetch you and put you in a home. Being dependent on other people to get to the toilet. Ove can’t think of anything worse. His wife often teases him, says he’s the only man she knows who’d rather be laid out in a coffin than travel in a mobility service van.”
"The two men have tattoos all over their throats, he notes. As if the SUV is not a clear enough advertisement for their stupidity."
“all over her face and sunglasses so big that one can’t tell whether they’re a pair of glasses or some kind of helmet.”
So Ove wanted to end his life and be with the only person that could understand him, but life was not done with him yet. To see all the surprises that life has in store for Ove, you'll have to read the book yourself...and love is love is love. At the time of writing this review, our world definitely needs more love....more
**spoiler alert** It took me a long time to read this book - a story of friends, family, long lost dreams, fleeting youth, midlife crisis, secrets, an**spoiler alert** It took me a long time to read this book - a story of friends, family, long lost dreams, fleeting youth, midlife crisis, secrets, and the power of forgiveness. Straub was great with characters. Each was surprising realistic with his or her strength and shortcomings, and was well developed through the book.
Jane and Zoe, the same sex couple with their rebellious biracial daughter Ruby, are the owners of a restaurant but their love is losing its sizzles. Zoe's college band mates, Andrew and Elizabeth are married and have a goody two-shoes son Harry. Elizabeth is a well known Brooklyn real estate agent and doing well with her life, but Andrew, Andrew's life is lacking purpose. The story begins when a movie producer obtained some journals of their other band mate Lydia, who made herself quite famous as a solo singer, but died at the young age of 27.
Zoe and Elizabeth were all for the movie, but Andrew had some reservations. To complicate the matter, Harry and Ruby were both preparing to apply for college as well as starting a relationship with each other. Will young love last? Will old love from college sustain a marriage? Will secrets ruin relationships? Will unrealized dreams destroy midlifers?
The book was a bit long since many details were given for the back story of each character, although I never found the story boring. I thought it was only going to be a 4-star book throughout the first 95%. Then - the ending surprised me. Not in the "I did not predict that!" sense, but in the fact that everyone had a happy and most perfect ending. Since the author made me fall in love with the characters and root for them for almost three weeks, having them in that perfect ending makes saying goodbye easier. I know, I'm such a sucker for happily ever after......more
Just realized that I called this my "read of the year" in one of my updates. Since such an overly hyped book usually gets its share of negative reviewJust realized that I called this my "read of the year" in one of my updates. Since such an overly hyped book usually gets its share of negative review. I feel that I'll better write one to explain why I gave it 5 stars.
So, full review to follow when I get to my laptop. I wrote the review for Modern Lover on my phone, and it wasn't a great experience....more
Just realized that my review disappeared. This is the biggest problem of Goodreads. The review has been up for at least 1-1/2 month. How could it justJust realized that my review disappeared. This is the biggest problem of Goodreads. The review has been up for at least 1-1/2 month. How could it just disappear? :(...more
This book is like one of those Russian nesting dolls - you never know what's in store for you until you open the dolls one by one in oA 4.5 star read!
This book is like one of those Russian nesting dolls - you never know what's in store for you until you open the dolls one by one in order. It's like an enjoyable never-ending gift opening experience which ends up with lots of gifts you like....more
This book was recommended to me by my daughter, who works in the book-related industry and gets lots of ARCs (as a full-time student, not that she hasThis book was recommended to me by my daughter, who works in the book-related industry and gets lots of ARCs (as a full-time student, not that she has time to read all of them.) However, this book she finished in one sitting, and found it funny, unique and eloquent. The story's taken place at Oxford University about an English major (like she is currently) does not hurt, either.
The book, strangely, reminded me of An Unnecessary Woman. The female protagonists in both books were intelligent, book-loving, yet reclusive and awkward. Most conversations and thoughts were either book related, or literary related. However, the two were vastly different in age. Although Aaliya in An Unnecessary woman was 72, Sam was only 20 here in this book. Sam was the last living descendant of the Brontes sisters. She started attending college in Oxford a few years after her Dad died a tragic death. She was homeschooled by her Dad all her young life on literatures (especially the ones by their famous ancestors) and hardly met any other human, so Oxford was a strange and intimidating new experience for her. When her Dad was alive, they played these treasure hunting games where her Dad would leave her a clue on a bookmark (hers) leading to other places with clues. The final destination always had a matching bookmark (his) with the treasure (usually a book.) Imagine her shock when the lawyer who took care of his Dad's estate gave her an almost empty shoebox with a "her" bookmark. In her understanding, her family was broke and had no inheritance or treasures left over from the sisters.
So, the story also has a small mystery with a treasure hunt, which I found just okay...although people who definitely needed a plot in their books will find it more intriguing. What I enjoyed about the book were the witty conversations, especially the ones between Sam and her tutor/professor Orville when they analyze literary works. I laughed out loud many times through out the book. This is when they first met:
"Why did you come to Oxford?" "Everyone's got to be somewhere." "Is that supposed to be funny?".... "I came here study English Literature." "And why was that?" "I like books." "You like books." "I'm good at reading?" "I did not ask you whether if you are literate. I asked you why you are studying English Literature. What do you imagine it will provide you?" "Unemployment?".... "English is the study of what makes us human?"... "Human biology is the study of what makes us human,"...."Try again." "English is the study of civilization." "History is the study of civilization," He corrected. "English is the study of art." "ART is the study of art.".....
The rest of the book was sprinkled with conversations like the above. They were more intense and take a bit of thinking to comprehend since they were filled with specific quotes and phrases from the Brontes and other books, as well as analyses of literature and writing. Knowing a little history and work of the Bronte sisters (and other classics) might help, but not necessary, to enjoy this gem of a novel. I also enjoyed how Sam moved from being a reliable narrator, to an unreliable one, and vice versa. It's fun to keep guessing. Watching her navigating her life is also cringe-worthy but enjoyable.
This review is getting out of hand, so I'll end with my favorite short quote from the book -
"It was the sort of library you'd marry a man for."