Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Books Are Windows to the Outside World

"I have learnt everything I consider to be worth knowing from novels. So I have spent my life wanting to be part of that fictional world." - Clare Morrall

Books are one of life's greatest pleasures, according to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been such a bookworm. I thought I hated novels. Turned out I'd been reading them all along. Kids and what they think about, huh? To this day I love reading books on a daily basis. For the most part, I read only fictions though I don't shy away from nonfictions - I'm just a bad judge of characters for nonfiction books. I'm such a bookworm that I actually keep the books I've read listed, review them after reading and check out new titles I might like online. My favourite websites being Shelfari and Goodreads. Here I want to share a few titles I've enjoyed in the past - some have actually been reread.

All-Time Favourite Book

It is so true that you can find gems only by pure chance. Natural Flights of the Human Mind quickly became my all-time favourite book (one of those rare books I've read more than once from cover to cover) after I happened to stumble upon it at the discounted section at my favourite bookstore. It tells the story of a man who lives in a lighthouse, hiding away from a scandal he caused 25 years ago. Harbouring a tremendous guilt for the seventy-eight victims of his crimes, he has constant conversations with them in his head. That all changes when he meets a woman, who has had a tragic loss - either by fate or betrayal. The story is incredible! Clare Morrall wrote it ever so beautifully and the serene atmosphere of the story captures me. It is set somewhere in Scotland, adding a more magical feel to the whole story. My favourite part is the unique relationship between Straker (the man) and Imogen (the woman), where you guess whether or not there's love there but you know they're meant to be. It's not by any definition cheesy. The lighthouse and vintage airplanes also captivate my heart.

Classic Literature

One of those books that make me feel many things upon reading them. The Little Women series by Miss Luisa May Alcott is one of those series, though short, take you through the life journeys of the characters. Like some of you might have known, this book mainly talks about the story of four sisters living together in the absence of their father during the war. They live next door to a rich man and his grandson, Laurie, who is a good friend of the girls and will later on be a great part of their lives. The story continues to three more books though the last two books concentrates on new little characters while the girls have grown up and the second book is the time after their father returns and they lead their way to adulthood. Having a sister, I know that the story won't always be smooth. Sisters fight, make up, take care of each other and cry together. They share and help each other up. Though the characters for the first two books are mostly girls/women, the story isn't as girly as chick flicks. It's actually pretty wise and I feel for each and every one of the characters. It is very realistic, though fabricated in a formation of inexplicable words.

Young Adult Series

How many of you thought I was going to list Harry Potter for this category? Sorry to disappoint but I never once read that series. This, however, is probably the longest series I've ever finished and it got me really melancholic toward the end - the ending was good, FYI. Just that I had to say goodbye to the characters, who, by the end of it, became like friends to me. I first heard of Percy Jackson and the Olympians when the movie came out, though I've been eyeing the books forever. It tells the story mainly of Percy, who turns out to be the son of Poseidon. He is sent to Camp Half-Blood, where a bunch of kids like him - parents of god/goddess and human - train to become stronger to face godknowswhat kind of challenges in the world - for they will surely face them. There are five books in total and all of them involve awesome adventures - unlike the movie, sad to say because I love Logan Lerman! Many compare this series to Harry Potter. But they are totally different! The story is definitely less complex (Poseidon is wearing Hawaiian shirts!) and there are greek gods. Greek gods! The twists and turns of the adventures and the mythological knowledge definitely got me hooked! The series actually continue on to the Heroes of Olympus series (also by Rick Riordan) but I don't read it. Mostly, because Percy isn't the hero anymore.

Teenage Romance

As opposed to chick flicks, which can seem positively stupid, young adult romance is mostly very sweet and contains all this hopes and dreams of how love should be like when we were younger. You know, it's almost like all those Taylor Swift songs turned into literature. I'm a fan of realistic views and that's how Judy Blume's Forever... fits perfectly into my taste, with an ironic title at that. The story is actually pretty simple, put in such beautiful words, one you might actually use as teenagers, blinded by love. A girl falls in love with a boy, thinks he is her only one and they are inseparable. They know they are meant to be and all that jazz. For hopeless romantics out there, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph. The twist ending is what I like the most. It's definitely real life, a story where one love ends and you be sad about it for a while or - after it's been so bad - you really don't. You say goodbye and move on and you know, though it's over, it doesn't mean it was wasted time. A story set in a summer, almost seem like a mistaken summer fling, doubted by the parents. Who, in the end, turn out to be right.

Adapted to Movie

One of the best movie adaptations from a book is The Time Traveler's Wife, written by the talented Audrey Niffenegger. I've read many books, which have been made into film, and many have disappointed - even one of my favourite books, My Sister's Keeper. But the motion picture version of this book didn't. Not only does it star the beautiful Rachel McAdams and the rugged Eric Bana, it captures the true essence of the whole story. Though, of course, the movie isn't as captivating as the book. The story is about a girl/woman, Clare, who fell in love with a man when she was six, he was forty. Henry, the man, was dumbfounded when she approached him - she was twenty, he was twenty-eight. Henry can travel through time, with nothing else, not even the clothes on his body - and he cannot control when or where he goes or ends up. It's so scary, isn't it? To know that your loved one can disappear to a different time at any minute, knowing you cannot do anything to help him but keep the clothes he leaves behind and pick him up when he comes back. Love bending the rules of time and the fact that Clare is an artist, I love them! Her patience must be immense if she doesn't just break down every time Henry disappears.

Translated Asian Story

Asian literature, especially set during the war time, always touches my heart. They always reflect the hardship of life for the people back then, which makes their amazing comeback all the more admirable. Japan is my favourite east Asian country and it should make this a no-brainer. The story actually reminds me of Laskar Pelangi, a remarkable Indonesian literature - which was later turned into a movie. Twenty-four eyes tells a heartwrenching story of twelve children from the same class, who just drove away their last teacher. Koishi-sensei was the new teacher, being called to try to teach and discipline these kids. The book then moves forward with the story of how these children grow up, having their future wrecked apart by war - the boys join the army, the girls marrying young. Some even die. Not only is the book in itself, with its tearjerking story, remarkable but matching the whole story with the book cover of twelve children, being happy. Oh, you just can't imagine where they went wrong. Tsuboi-sensei definitely wrote it remarkably well. She also portrays the heartbreak of the teacher, seeing how her students turn out, very incredibly. I dare you to read this book and not feel even a little bit for each and every character in it.

Hilarious Read

This is definitely the funniest story I've ever read. And, as per usual with Neil Gaiman, very original! I don't read Terry Pratchett's works much but I think he's a funny, funny author. Basically, this book turns The Apocalypse into something that is quite hilarious! Who would've thought of it that way? Good Omens tells the story of several parties, preparing for The End of the World, including a fussy angel, a fast-living demon, the Antichrist (Adam Young) and the four apocalyptic horsepersons (Death, Famine, War and Pollution). It's so hard to describe how insanely funny this book is since the story hops on from one party to another, each attending to their own businesses and roles awaiting The Apocalypse. It's not a series, by the way, there're just two versions for the cover (from this publisher at least), portraying Aziraphale (the angel) and Crowley (the demon). Plus, the descriptions of the characters might be very, very unconventional. For one thing, Azi and Crow get along quite well, the Antichrist is a kid and leader to his gang of boys and a girl, Death wears a helmet and no scythe and none of the horseperson actually rides a horse (War rides a motorcycle, though). A total must read!

Recently Finished

When I say 'Recently Finished,' I wasn't kidding. This was probably the last novel I finished - not the last book, though. I was first attracted to the book thanks to the beautiful cover, which is why I am also interested in reading this book as well. When God Was a Rabbit is a story I find very different from most. First off, despite what it looks like, the book doesn't tell the story of lovers. It's about a brother and a sister, who stand out from the rest of the world. When they were little, the sister got a rabbit as a Christmas present, who they both named god, much to everyone else's dismay. They are the kind of siblings who look out for one another and stick together through thick and thin. Like when the sister share a life-altering secret, when the brother gets his heart broken by another boy, when they move away from their childhood home, when god dies. Even after all these years too, they become such great friends. The whole lesson from this book being: "You are here, but you are not mine." Which rings as close to "If you love someone, let them go." A compromise for the happiness and well-being of your loved ones. Such is life. No doubt Sarah Winman wrote the whole thing beautifully.

How about you? Any books you really like and want to share? Just leave a comment down here, please. 

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