It's a slightly tedious read, though thoroughly enjoyable, like reading someone's diary from start to death. This is one of the most original love sto...moreIt's a slightly tedious read, though thoroughly enjoyable, like reading someone's diary from start to death. This is one of the most original love stories I've read, and the prose wasn't suffocating, as some authors tend to overly describe an event or a place. Niffenegger knows how to balance sensual observations and the emotions the characters feel in a moment, allowing you to be a part of it. When Henry is cold, I feel cold. When Clare longs for him, I feel the longing. The sex scenes are also perfectly balanced; very sensual and detailed without sounding like an erotica.
Even the supporting characters were solidly built. You can feel their presence when they're mentioned even in passing. They're part of the foundation, and are all equally important. I love that. No character was wasted, and you feel them as a unit that carried the story together.
All in all, what I can only complain about is how Henry and Clare can often sound like pretentious douchebags, and the frequent dropping of Latin phrases can sometimes halt me from reading because I'd have to look up what they mean to fully understand what it was the sentence was trying to say. There were also chunks of French, uttered both by Henry and Clare, without translations of any kind, so I'm practically clueless on those. Very pretentious-sounding, indeed. Yeah, they're smart folks, I get it. No need to be a douche about it.
Anyway, I love the injection of poetry (a lot of mention of Rilke here), and basically the entirety of it all. I read a lifetime that two people weaved together and it was exhausting in a good way, and it'd require me a few more hours before I could get the DeTambles out of my system.(less)
Unlike the other reviews, it was the first part that didn't captivate me, while the second (sinking and survival) and third (investigation) parts kept...moreUnlike the other reviews, it was the first part that didn't captivate me, while the second (sinking and survival) and third (investigation) parts kept me turning the pages madly.
[Note: Don't let the length of how long it took me to read this fool you. I had stopped and reread the entire Harry Potter series between the first and second parts.]
Since reading Lord of the Flies, I've grown a subconscious fascination with the act of surviving as a castaway, and Life of Pi proved to be more interesting, tough, intelligent, and informative about being stranded at sea than I expected. It was like reading a first-hand look into a survivor's manual. Pi narrated his expanse knowledge about animals, as he was able to share a lifeboat with four wild ones, and because of it, he survived bravely.
The story would be hard to believe if you summarize it to someone, so I wouldn't dare. Let it unfold before you. Let Richard Parker the Bengal tiger shed the only hope you'll find in this truly gruesome story of survival at open sea. Some parts need a strong stomach to get through, and you need to remind yourself over and over that Pi has done these horrid things because he needed to. His will to live was fantastic and palpable. I salute Pi Patel, and name him as the bravest hero I've read in my life so far.(less)
I've never really gotten around to start or finish the movie; I saw only bits of it every now and then. However, I understood why the book has gotten...moreI've never really gotten around to start or finish the movie; I saw only bits of it every now and then. However, I understood why the book has gotten mixed reviews. "Girl, Interrupted" is the kind that you would only truly appreciate if you knew EXACTLY what the author was talking about. Otherwise you'd lag behind and get lost in the chaos of unfamiliar settings.
While I graduated from a nursing program, we were forced to spend an entire semester working as staff in a psychiatric institution. I graduated from a third world country and one should expect the brutality of a place such as a mental hospital. It stank and the patients were treated like pigs. Why? Because people think that they don't feel anything anymore towards the external forces. The rot has started from the inside and would eventually come out. It "didn't" matter if they were treated with respect.
That was why I appreciated this book, because at least the patients in the medium-security institution that Susanna had described were treated like human beings. A part of the nursing program was to spend time with the patients, and I knew what she was talking about. The world is a disturbingly complicated place, and one variety of the "two types of people" are the ones who ignore the complicated and the ones who simply could not handle not being able to control it. Which is why they go mad. This book is like a backstage pass for one to be able to see what and why everything is so fucked up inside a mentally ill patient.
And while I really liked the strength of this book, it has too many medical jargons; a chapter or two dedicated on Susanna's full account of her diagnosis. I liked how she broke herself down to these subjective and objective signs and symptoms of her illness, but I really didn't find it necessary. One would really have a hard time with those two chapters, even those who do know what she was talking about. But of course it was a memoir and it was expected.
This was an honest short read that I was able to finish in a day. But seeing the movie before I had the book, even seeing it only pieces of it, I really thought that the movie was better, because Lisa was a strong character there. She was a "better" character in the book, but I didn't feel the odd sense of fear that I felt for Angelina Jolie while watching her act. I did expect a lot from this book because I saw the movie. I guess now that it was just loosely based.(less)
This is...quite a book. While the story and narrative were a little hard to get used to, eventually I was able to keep up and feel like I was stranded...moreThis is...quite a book. While the story and narrative were a little hard to get used to, eventually I was able to keep up and feel like I was stranded in the island myself, with the youngest antagonist I ever wanted dead—Jack Merridew. The little boy with the superiority complex. I hated him with such passion! I wanted him dead so bad that it ought to be illegal. I pitied Piggy and Simon, rooted for Ralph, understood Samneric. I wanted to scoop up the littluns and tell them everything's going to be alright. I wanted to start knocking heads of the biguns and tell them to get the goddamn fire going.
The story was charged with leaping twists, childhood nightmares, immature rules, fun and games, bathing and sunburns, and the innate evil in our hearts. This is human nature at its rawest. I loved this story in a way that I'm afraid of it, afraid to read it again, as it will forever haunt me from now on, with my mind frequently bringing me back to Coral Island.(less)
I'm not sure why I'm not entirely moved by this book. Although the writing was excellently careless (which I liked), I very much didn't care about Hol...moreI'm not sure why I'm not entirely moved by this book. Although the writing was excellently careless (which I liked), I very much didn't care about Holden Caulfield. True, he might be one of the most well-known characters in the history of English literature, and at least 80% of the country have read or heard of this book, loved it, said it changed their lives. But I guess I beg to differ.
I didn't WANT to not like this book. I finished it in two occasions; I stopped reading it halfway. When I found the time (and copy) to finish it, I sort of had a five-second epiphany that nothing remarkable actually happened in the experience. It just went on and on in Holden's voice how he's so tired of school and how dumb his schoolmates are and how he wants to do all these spontaneous things to random people, calling them or taking them out on a date, trying to rekindle an old flame then getting bored about it, etc. He has this true mood for an adventure, and he actually thought of moving out west and try living in a cabin; he has all these plans blueprinted on how he wouldn't come home anymore, which I thought would push through, making the book an extremely worthy read because I would definitely want him to do something out of his crappy life. BUT HE DIDN'T. No, he stayed home. All of those efforts of delaying in meeting his parents, his avoiding them, his being dropped out and all, were all wasted. Hundred pages wasted penning his adventure that didn't really have an effect on him. In the end, he still hated school but would go anyway, but was sure he was going to drop out again from it soon after. He didn't recognize any importance for education, and I don't see why Holden Caulfield should be liked by ME.
And not to mention that pathetic gesture he did to that old professor of his, who took him in his house when Holden had no place to run to, and when the old bat turned out to be a little pervert, the little boy panicked, lied of coming back, and never came back. I don't remember him saying a bit of thanks, actually. The old man took him in his house and the least he could do was to be polite about leaving. He needn't have to lie. The old guy deserved some truth. But no, this Holden kid was too cool in his stupid hunting hat to even tell the truth to someone.
Two stars was what Holden's distasteful personality was worth of, but I gave it three because Salinger was a great writer. I liked it when I managed to dislike a character so much, because that would prove that it was a strong character. The book wasn't bad, and Salinger actually made Holden's stupid, endless rants sound entertaining, like listening to a roommate who talks so fast but his story wasn't actually worth your two minutes after all. But still, it was entertaining.(less)
Informal Review: Scratch that promise of seeing this book until the end. I'll not touch this trash again, not even with a ten-foot limbo pole.
I've neve...moreInformal Review: Scratch that promise of seeing this book until the end. I'll not touch this trash again, not even with a ten-foot limbo pole.
I've never burned a book before. Frankly, I'm against such abuse. But this might be the first.
Formal review: I think my progress updates and the informal review say about enough. Having read and loved Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, I had high expectations for her sister's Wuthering Heights. I heard a lot of praises, with the exemption of the plot, so I didn't know what I was expecting. As the book unfolded during the first hundred pages, I finally drew the conclusion that this novel was written badly (I hated the interchanging first-person narrative, no matter how original it is at the time this was released) and, above all, I harbored horrid distaste towards all the characters. They really are insufferable. I loathed them. And not the good kind either! When I hate a character in a book, it usually meant for me that the character was strong enough to elicit real emotions from me, and I always end up liking a book that has a tough hateable character in it (Dolores Umbridge, Jack Merridew, Hatsumomo, among others). But not this time. I'm not biting. There is nothing good about a book wherein every character you encounter is someone you hated. What's to love about the book, then?
Sure, there's the hint of romance, but it's the psychotic, unhealthy, stalkerish Twilight crap all over again that so distorts humanity's view of true romance! All the characters long to hate and hurt (and, apparently, kill) the other characters. Everyone is either a selfish asshole or infinitely stupid. Nobody is good. Nobody is kind. Nobody is worth remembering.
This godforsaken book isn't "human nature." It's like the darkest place in someone's heart where the devil resided. This is just pure hell on earth.(less)
Initially, I was irked by how this novel lacked abundant dialogue. It was enriched only by sometimes irrelevant and often boring descriptions, observa...moreInitially, I was irked by how this novel lacked abundant dialogue. It was enriched only by sometimes irrelevant and often boring descriptions, observations, and some memory flashbacks in guise of a terribly long narration. It was just like hearing a rumor told in different points of view. Before you pick up this book, expect a story that needs patience. This is my first opinion.
But as I wavered up to the end, I realized (and was touched) by how important this story was. How its ending was confusing yet hanging from a cliff, but more appropriately, depressing. I hate Briony, let's be clear of that. In fact, my most favorite passage involved her sudden death in a comical deliverance:
"I don't know why you let her in." Then to Briony, "I'll be quite honest with you. I'm torn between breaking your stupid neck here and taking you outside and throwing you down the stairs."
However, as the book concluded to its end, I began to feel undeserving pity towards Briony, mostly because of the way how she wrote the story of Robbie and Cecilia's love and gave it an invention of a happy ending, not caring if real life didn't actually allow such happiness. Their fabricated happy life together, their fictionalized coming back, had been Briony's atonement. But, of course, like the lovers, I have and will not forgive Briony Tallis. Not in this lifetime.
All in all, this book was a long and dragging read but with no disappointments at the end. I certainly didn't close the back cover and cursed that I had wasted the last two weeks with it. I even praised how beautiful it was, despite the obvious flaws and its susceptibility to boredom.
With this, I might actually try "On Chesil Beach" again.(less)
Initially, I have loved this book—a surefire five-star rating. It’s basically about “the one who got away,” of which I could relate to. However, I did...moreInitially, I have loved this book—a surefire five-star rating. It’s basically about “the one who got away,” of which I could relate to. However, I didn’t go as far as this one did. But my rating started to subside as I made a terrible mistake of reading other people’s hate reviews. Which has now become a lesson for me—go for what the book made you feel, not what others said.
So now I loved it in a sensible, not over-hyped way. I have to admit that there are too many cliche parts (practically raining with them), but it’s fairly acceptable since it’s called a “love story” for that reason. I don’t support adultery, but in my case, I know that the only people who would be over-the-edge mad about the adultery that went on in this novel are (1) someone who has experience being cheated on, and (2) someone who has never truly fallen in love, sad but true, giving out all that “love conquers all” bullshit, which this story has proven to be true. Don’t give the “love doesn’t need to have adultery,” because that is more bullshit. If you’re in love, you’re just trapped, and whatever you do from there is up to you. This book chose adultery (that gives off the bad sense, maybe), the go-for-it route, but simmered down when the sacrifice came along.
The main characters are Robert Kincaid—a passing photographer looking for bridges in Madison County to shoot for the National Geographic—and Francesca Johnson—a housewife who’s going to show him where the bridges are. They shared a meal or two, some dancing, before actually getting it on the sexual side, later on leading to some spiritual, soul-mate epiphany. Might I also add that Francesca was married, thus the entry of adultery.
Francesca’s husband wasn’t a jerk or anything to give her a reason to leave. She also loved her children, and it was touching how Robert had accepted this decision. She actually lives a normal country life, although her dreams appear to be withheld or stolen from her because of the absence of adventure. She saw this adventure in and with Robert, and who could really point a finger and blame her? He’s offering her to come with him, travel the world, leave her senseless life, but she doesn’t—and I think this is the part I had begun to love. She stands her ground and, although too martyr for me, sacrifices her own happiness to fulfill her responsibility as a mother and wife.
Long story short, they both died having only written a couple of letters but never saw each other again. A lot of the reviews I’ve read said that this part is pure baloney because of it being too cute and cliche, but I personally think that it would take a lot for a person so in love as they are to not go forth and leave with the person they love. I think that made the characters more alive, than just follow through with the running-away drama that people would most likely go for.
So anyway, my feelings for this book are not entirely positive. Sometimes I see it doing way much better as a short story. But I liked the free photography tips that went along with it, and how thoroughly descriptive the narration was. All in all, not so bad for a book that I’ve been ignoring to read for years.(less)
**spoiler alert** I read it before the movie was even made, so when I saw the trailer, I thought to myself, "I do not want to watch that." I don't wan...more**spoiler alert** I read it before the movie was even made, so when I saw the trailer, I thought to myself, "I do not want to watch that." I don't want the movie to ruin what I have absorbed from the book, and what I have absorbed was beautiful and that was enough for me.
It was not the kind of book that was in my list, or have planned to read. I saw it sitting in a bookstore, read the back flap, asked myself a couple of times if I really want this book, and went straight to the cashier. First chapter already caught me like a fish trapped on a hook. The story was fast-paced and the next thing you know the teen-aged boy and his thirty-something lover is already making love. I actually loved the loose narration that other readers were complaining over, and I didn't find it hard to read as it was moderately light for me (narration-, vocabulary-, and story-wise). I did have a hard time trying to follow as to why Hanna was imprisoned, the whole event of that is just blurry to me. But even so, I picked the whole thing up easily as the story went on, since it wasn't mainly all just about Hanna's crime. It was devastating, Hanna's death, but it was the kind of death that opens up to better events. The story was greatly handled, and though this isn't my "Best Book Ever," it's not the most mediocre. It still deserves the five stars, though.(less)
While Twilight was a psychological nightmare, I found it more tolerable to read than Nick & Norah. I was/am more ashamed of myself when I had wast...moreWhile Twilight was a psychological nightmare, I found it more tolerable to read than Nick & Norah. I was/am more ashamed of myself when I had wasted time having reached halfway of this book than when I read a few free chapters of Twilight. The Nick and Norah characters—well, to be honest, all the characters—were shallow. Let me summarize the book to those who haven’t read it, from Nick’s POV: “Ex is coming over. Time to protect ego. Find the next girl and have her pretend she’s my new girlfriend. Norah spotted.”
If that wasn’t already a bad, immature plot unraveling, the book was written in alternating voices, which in actuality, were just Nick and Norah rephrasing what the other was saying! Take out all the repetitive events and what you’d have left is a 10-minute gossip, tops. I have read Flipped at a young age—another alternating-POV novel—and it’s still one of the richest novels I’ve ever had my hands on.
But what I really hate most about this book? The authors made “fuck” an adjective, a noun, and an adverb. After failing to read the book twice, the third time I just merely flipped through it because hey, third time might be the charm. Turns out it wasn’t. By the third try, I realized that there were at least ten usages of “fuck” in all shapes and sizes per page. Now, I have nothing against people who curse. I love cursing. But the overuse of the bleeping word comes across to me as though the authors were trying too hard to make it sound like the voices were actual teenagers. They weren’t. They were cardboard. And what’s even more painful is the book is being sold under YA. And then they complain about why young adults “kiss their mothers with that mouth.”
This is not a bash on the book just because it's “popular.” I've never heard of it before I picked it up, nor did I know that it had a movie adaptation until I realized that I was looking at the movie tie-in edition. I picked it up because I love twenty-four-hour stories, more so if they were written beautifully. I also liked playlists and novels that are music-related, so all three wrapped in one book? Glory! But as much as I tried, it was trash—three times.
A friend asked for my copy and while I would love to get it out of my hands, I feel like it’d be much better to lock it inside a trunk where it couldn’t hurt anyone anymore.(less)
**spoiler alert** To tell the truth, I am kind of afraid to write a review on this book because I liked it too much that I might not be able to do it...more**spoiler alert** To tell the truth, I am kind of afraid to write a review on this book because I liked it too much that I might not be able to do it justice. As far as I’m concerned, this became way too personal for me. It opened up my eyes to the world of painting that eventually led to a deeper appreciation for art. Also, because of this book, I was the only one in my Humanities class who knew about Johannes Vermeer and his “Girl With A Pearl Earring” painting. It has also become one of my favorite paintings of all time, along with Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.”
Before this book, I have never heard of Vermeer, or his painting. But I did hear of a movie of the same title starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, and being a Firth fan, that picked up my interest a bit but have never watched the film.
What Chevalier mostly did here was stare at Vermeer’s most celebrated painting and give birth into a wholly fictionalized world and events that could have happened before, during, and after it was painted. It elegantly tells the story of a sixteen-year-old Griet during the 1660s in Holland, the girl who had seemingly inspired Vermeer to paint his masterpiece.
Griet, at the start of the novel, was coerced by her mother to work as a servant girl for the Vermeer family since her father had lost his trade. The Vermeers are Catholic, with five children and the sixth on the way. Johannes mostly works in his studio, of which Griet was inclined to clean without moving anything. Her cleaning and helpless obedience was mostly what got her in Vermeer’s good side—he was a man of very few words and he kind of gave the impression of someone who would rather not talk with anyone, not even his wife, who I think fears him in some ways.
Johannes and Griet became close when he let her help him with his paintings, buying “ingredients” for his colors. Soon she became the errand girl to the apothecary, buying him more and more ingredients, first secretly, and then a few people in the household knew, except the children and Johannes’ wife. After a while, she inspired him to paint her, and he pierced her ear with one of his wife’s pearl earrings, painting here at nights in secrecy.
I loved the innocence, especially since it was told from Griet’s first-person point of view. I could catch the heady scent of infatuation and intimacy between master and servant that reek through the pages as they were being described in graceful details. It actually kept me on the edge too much because of my expectations that Griet and Johannes were going to fall deeper than just a mutual relationship, because that’s how strong their intimacies are. But they didn’t, and Johannes kept it professional—a huge letdown, if you ask me, but nevertheless, a relationship wouldn’t have served the story quite as well.(less)