Hello! I’m back with my favourite books of the four months mentioned above :p Honestly, I don’t even know who reads these, but I do them anyway. Because I feel good about myself for posting something <sheepish grin>
Some of my favourites I’ve already talked about in my Read-a-thon so I won’t talk about them again- The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas), The Muse (Jessie Burton), The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin), and Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys).
Anyway, here is the proper list 🙂
- All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr (July)
Read my review here.
I loved it. Absolutely loved it, and I was completely 100% invested in the story, the characters, everything.
“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”
- Obsidio- Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (August)
“It is entirely possible to be alone in a crowded room. Your solitude only compounded by the faces around you. The presence of others serving only to remind you of how lonely you truly are.”
I did NOT want this series to end, I’m so attached to every single character, its mad. I never in a million years expected to read a science fiction book (series) like this one and love it. My friend suggested that I read it, knowing that I appreciate artsy things, and man, I cannot thank her enough for it :’)
What I loved most, the most obvious thing, the layout of the pages. I have never seen a book that was designed like this, and I didn’t expect for it to work so well. A bunch of case files, transmissions, artificial intelligence reports, and surveillance camera visuals in the form of reports. I’m wondering why the hell I thought this wouldn’t work…. it was brilliant. The use of black and white and the balance of the two was genius. The pages where you have to turn the book round and round to read the spirals or constellation type lines were particularly my favourites.
Coming to the actual story itself, the fact that it centers around space travel, artificial intelligence, and stations and conflicts between land and space is…it boggles my mind, I want a trip into the authors’ minds. Some of the things that happen over the course of this book was so unique and unheard of, I was in awe. As I was after each of these books.
Reflecting back in general, I didn’t think that characters from a book like this would be so memorable, because there are virtually no dialogues or descriptions, besides what is seen from cameras or overheard from transmissions. I loved all the main characters, and Ezra Mason has my heart. He is so funny, I had to pause to laugh. Everyone was so well rounded, and they had their flaws and their strengths and they were equally in play.
*sigh* I’m sad the series ended, but I found the ending lovely.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- Gail Honeyman (September)
“These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”
This book was something completely unexpected for me. The premise was of a woman who has poor social skills, and has a steady schedule set for herself. As you begin to read, you get more and more glimpses into her life. She is literal to the point, oblivious to everything around her and to what is being said. The things she said sometimes were hilarious, and at other times, so deeply sad. I think this book had the perfect balance of being funny, sad, and poignant. It reminded me of A Man called Ove.
The phone calls with mummy genuinely scared me, like I’m scared right now just thinking of the scenes. It’s not like she’s a serial killer, but she gives me the vibes. I did not like her at all…
Things I loved about the book (everything)- the author didn’t transfer Eleanor into a perfectly cured woman at the end, didn’t push the potential romance, didn’t make it picture perfect, far from that to be honest. She showed the character go through a whole ton of things, to show that she survived, and that’s what matters.
“In the end, what matters is this: I survived.”
Raymond was a great character, and so was the man they saved on the road. They were all so well written, I felt like I was watching them live in front of my eyes.
One of the main reasons I appreciated the book so much was the fact that she was in love with the idea of being in love. She idolized a singer that she saw for the first time, and built a future with him. I liked that the angle of having this fantasy ran through the whole book, and made her realize a lot of things that she wouldn’t have otherwise. Highly highly recommend this book to everyone. I guarantee that you will laugh, cry, and relate to her 100%.
Also, this book is so so so quotable.
- Eliza and Her Monsters- Francesca Zappia (September)
“There is a small monster in my brain that controls my doubt.The doubt itself is a stupid thing, without sense or feeling, blind and straining at the end of a long chain. The monster though, is smart. It’s always watching, and when I am cmpletely sure of myself, it unchains the doubt and lets it run wild. even when I know it’s coming, I can’t stop it.”
My god. Can I just, straight up say this is in my top 10 favourite books of the year. I don’t know why I picked it up, I saw someone on booktube post a haul video, and it said the main character had a graphic novel, and I had to read it. I thought the start was a little rocky, it took me a few pages to really get into it, but oh I did.
I must say, Eliza is a character that I related to so much. The fact that she is scared of a lot of things, she can’t talk to strangers very easily, and that sometimes, she gets too involved in her work.
What started out as an easygoing, light story became much darker than I anticipated towards the end. In the beginning, it was fandoms, fan fictions, new friendships, but it delved into anxiety, panic attacks, and even suicidal thoughts.
What I loved though, was that the characters dealt with everything, and nothing was left undone. Eliza sees a therapist, and is actually getting better, and so is Wallace. Their reactions were so real and raw, I could see them playing out in front of me.
I really appreciated the angle of Eliza turning to her favourite author as a kid to try to figure out what she would have done in her place. I also loved how the author showed the situations with the ups and downs of being a creator of something, and how fans react to your work. It was brilliantly done, and was woven so well with the rest of the book.
Going back to the anxiety part, I didn’t find it overwhelming at any point, it was a part of the story, part of Eliza’s life, and didn’t seem forced at all. It was subtle and yet, very much present. When she starts to have second thoughts about finishing her book, I feel like I related to it a lot. I have a lot of doubts whether people will read what I write, and I feel like she felt the same with her book. I think it’s perfectly natural to feel that way, and I loved how the author made it like that. P.S. the gorgeous illustrations are a full bonus.
- 1984- George Orwell (September)
“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
I started this probably about a year ago, and finally managed to finish it. I must say, I found the book very boring at times, but mainly because of the way it was written in long winding paragraphs, I think.
The concept of the book was brilliant, and it managed to creep me out from start to finish…especially the last few chapters. My friend and I were reading it kind of at the same time, and every now and then we’d go ‘OHMYGOD THAT PART WHERE-‘, discussing every event.
The idea that someone is always watching you, and getting into your brain to monitor what you’re thinking is terrifying. ‘Big Brother’, obviously has been the driving force behind several reality shows, but this original is the scariest. A person who thinks of the possibility of betraying the system gets caught by the law, and if you do get caught for actually saying it out loud, then nobody can save you.
I liked how Winston gradually descended into the thought process of feeling that the system was wrong, and didn’t have that thought from the beginning? I don’t know why, but this felt more realistic to me, probably because he’s an employee, and can’t afford to think like that. I liked the relationship between him and Julia.
Coming to the things that scared the crap out of me- what Big Brother says is the only truth, history is what they write; it can be changed, it can be fake, no one knows, but what they say is the truth. Every time the book mentioned burning old information and printing something new made me think of how someone once asked me, ‘How do we know that things really happened back then? How do we know that ‘history’ as we know it, is real?’ Honestly, this stuck with me, and as I read further in the book, it made me think even more.
Big Brother wants everyone to be alone, not too alone; together, but not in unity; and most importantly, obedient and ready to eat up the knowledge of the day- what is printed now is real, nothing that happened before was real.
Scary as hell.
- Sadie- Courtney Summers (September)
“People don’t change. They just get better at hiding who they really are.”
Again, top 10 books of the year.
I’ve read two of Summers’ books and loved both of them, and its no surprise I loved this one too. This was in my most anticipated books of the year, and it exceeded all my expectations. Firstly, the book is written in a completely new format; it follows two accounts, one of Sadie, who is on the hunt for the man who murdered her little sister, Mattie ; and West McCray, who is creating a podcast based on Sadie’s story. When I heard about the format, I was excited, and also worried that it wouldn’t be personal enough, boy was I wrong.
Sadie’s accounts go back and forth from the present to the past, and the way she talks and behaves made me love her from page one. She has a stutter, and is not bogged down by it. She goes on a road trip, of sorts, to find the man who killed her sister. As the book progresses, we see details of her childhood starting to surface, and gives the readers all the more reason to push her on to find the man. There is not much live interaction between Sadie and Mattie, its almost all in the form of a recall.
We see her go from town to town, meeting new people, trying to fit in for a brief amount of time to get any information she can to find new leads, and get beaten up and hurt really badly to the point where you’d expect her to fall over and die. And she still never rests until she finally finds him. She is armed with a pen-knife, and is fearless as she traverses place after new place. What I loved was how raw this book was, the whole story is so real and it had so much depth to it, as all of Summers’ books have, in my opinion.
Reading about Sadie; her life, her love for her sister, about her mom and her many boyfriends, and her grit to want to kill the man who she believes killed her sister; was heart breaking, to say the least. It wasn’t cliched, not one sentence was cliched.
Reading about West McCray; his fears of uncovering the truths underlying missing girls and the fact that he can’t take another dead girl were portrayed so well.
I absolutely loved how Summers used both a podcast and a first person narrative to tell Sadie’s story. The podcast perspective was just such a novel way to tell the story: different people, different leads, and different versions of what happened.
I had a gaping hole in me after I finished this book, it was harrowing.
- The Handmaid’s Tale- Margaret Atwood (October)
“If it’s a story I’m telling, then I have control over the ending…But if it’s a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone.You don’t tell a story only to yourself. There’s always someone else. Even when there is no one.”
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Wow. I have read so many good books this year, with such different, unique stories, this being one of them.
To me, this had elements of 1984 inspired events. Everyone is watched, no one can dare talk against what the system says, and yes a generally creepy vibe.
This book was terrifying. Honestly. The fact that every single situation can still happen in the world, at some point, is terrifying. Having women live to breed and nothing else is so scary, and yet weirdly doesn’t seem very impossible. It’s scary because many people already have views similar to those of the Gileadean (hope I spelled it right) society.
Women are considered fit for nothing but breeding, and if they are infertile, are called Unwomen. The transition from normalcy to this regime was described so well and it was very realistic. Going from having a normal day at an office desk with piles of papers and a paper cup of coffee, to being clad in red and going from house to house to breed; it was frightening and it was so realistic. The scenes with the ‘ceremony’ were….messed up. I found the dynamics between the Commander and Offred, as well as between the wife and Offred very interesting. The fact that illegal things and places were still accessible and people found a way to use those things, was a small victory for the gruesome world they lived in.
The book dealt with themes such as patriarchy, gender roles and mainly, the perception of a women. Again, to think that every event in this book can actually happen in today’s world only makes it scarier.
I had a great few months of reading, I must say! Here are some honorable mentions:
-History Is All You Left Me- Adam Silvera (I almost cried) – 4-4.5/5 stars.
-The Shell Collector- Anthony Doerr – 4/5 stars.
-Night Sky with Exit Wounds- Ocean Vuong – 4/5 stars.
-My Friend Dahmer- Derf Backman – 4/5 stars.
-Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi – 4/5 stars.
-Bastard- Hwang Young Chan (webtoon) – 4/5 stars.
Bye for now! 🙂