Friday, 10 October 2014

#21Before22List: Monthly Read (April - September)

Welcome to the second round of my 21 Before 22 List monthly read recap! It's a lot harder to huddle the books together and create a collective photo of all of them this time around. Some of them are from the library and some of them were borrowed from friends so it's seriously difficult to get them all at the end of the semester. So I'm not even going to try. Luckily, I documented them all on my instagram. If you follow me there, you could also follow along on my literary journey real time. You can also follow along through my Goodreads account and even read my reviews of each book there. Also, if you guys have any good book recommendations, I would love to hear them and add the titles to my to-read list. Without further ado, here are all the books I've been reading the past 6 months.

If you read the first roundup, you will know that I like to borrow books from the library. This one was no exception. In fact, I'd been stalking it on the website of the library when I was busy making a portfolio. The best way I could describe this book is as the adult version of Artemis Fowl. It's got all the magical and supernatural creatures, it's got the chaos and, of course, the suggestive romance with a mystical being. The first book didn't reveal all the creatures the main character would be dealing with all that much yet. The relationship between characters also seem a little foggy and ambiguous. But it definitely got me hooked and I will definitely read the sequels to this.

Though this one wasn't from the library, it was also borrowed. My friend's sister - who also just became my friend - lent this to me and I am super grateful! It just recently got added into my to-read list so it was such a coincidence. Second Mitch Albom read of the year! The story is definitely something worth pondering, as is the case with all of his works. However, personally, I don't think it's as special as Have a Little Faith, Five People You Meet in Heaven or - my favourite - For One More Day. It was still such an enjoyable read and you should definitely give it a try, especially if you haven't been appreciating the time that you already have.

Yet another book I've been eyeing since it came out, which wasn't all that long ago. Cecelia Ahern is one of my most favourite authors. Her being Irish just makes her stories all the more magical. So I was ready to dive into this one too. I don't know, do you guys read P.S. I Love You? Maybe this book has a similar theme to that one as opposed to her other books I've read. I mean, it's not a bad book but the story isn't doing anything for me. It would probably make a nice chick flick, if it ever got turned into a movie. That's what I'd been imagining throughout the book. But it's definitely not my favourite of her works. Though the plot line seems not to focus on love, it ends up being about that, much to my disappointment.

This was one of the most emotional reads I've ever had in my life. My heart was being dragged all throughout the book. I find myself getting pissed, sad, happy and absolutely punched in the heart to the very end. The story seems to be very simple about a simple man who goes on a simple walk but it develops into something else entirely and reveals a lot of secrets and plot twists that brought tears to my eyes. Highly recommended! One of the best books I've read in my life. I haven't been this excited with a book in so long. I don't want to reveal too much because it's just such an incredible read but I just would like you to know that, despite this short paragraph, I really adore this book!

  • May - June: Capital by John Lanchester
My best read so far! It is so different from everything I've ever read (in a good way). The story reveals the lives of some of the dwellers of Pepys Road, the main point of this book. It would seem at first that they weren't linked together and just a day-to-day description of their routines but, later on, everything will be clear. Not as emotional or sentimental as all the other books I've read. But it is its charm point! Not too economical/scientific/business-like, if that's what you're worried about. It comes in huge chunks and hard to explain. But it will satisfy your heart in the end.

I was lured by the cover. The title is a total spoiler, ha! But it's really not, actually. It is indeed a turning point in the plot of the book, though. When I started reading, I didn't know I was going to get affected by his death too. But I started to like him and then he dies. If you're looking for a tragic yet comic story, this is the book to read. I was rather baffled to enter the world of boarding school boys but it was all good fun. It was rather realistic too. You might be hoping for an ending where everyone gets what they deserve. But that's not how life turns out and that's what this book captures.

The best way I can describe this book is that it's the '80s version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, except it probably caters to older audience and the story expands beyond high school. Adrian Mole is a series from the '80s, written in a diary style by the main character. It is set in England so I learnt a lot of Mrs. Thatcher's deeds when she reigned. There are certainly a lot of face-palm moments in this book for me. In fact, I think that's all the book is about. It was super interesting to see life in the '80s, especially as this book is a form of criticism toward the false idea of parenting and marriage. This edition was a compilation of 3 books - and an unpublished work.

I'm rather familiar with Elizabeth Noble's work because I've read The Way We Were before. I had been eyeing this book for years and didn't realise that it was the same writer. In fact, The Way We Were was purchased in an impulse. At first, I thought it was a non-fiction book. Something an actual mother wrote to her actual daughters about life wisdoms. But it wasn't. It was a fiction and it wasn't about life wisdoms. The story isn't too bad, though. It definitely doesn't stray from the original topic and it shows that everyone can still be happy even after losing someone they love so dearly. That doesn't mean we have to forget them. But, slowly, we learn to live with the pain.

When I first saw this book, I was dumbfounded. Surely, this book wasn't an actual manual to kill one's boss? After reading the back, thank God, it really wasn't. But the story it contains is unique in itself. Read on and you'll find all the twists and turns you wouldn't expect to find in such a book. It's like a book about breaking the law with certain rules whilst also breaking those same rules. Crazy, right? In the end, everything did not turn out as I had thought it would. But this book was really hard to put down and I was on a 24-hour plane journey. That is saying something.

Do not ask me why, when this book first came out, it didn't appeal to me. But it was by Neil Gaiman, which is the absolute rockstar in the literary world. Without a doubt, I purchased it. And, as per any of his other works, I was not disappointed even in the slightest. The story was incredible and simply mind-blowing! It was much shorter than what I had expected but disappointed wasn't something I would ever associate it with. This work seems, for me, to be a mash-up between Tuck Everlasting and Adrian Mole - only with much, much more intricate details. I think this was meant to be a short story, published as a book, for the ending was as abrupt as the beginning.

Ever since I found out that there will be a story of Mr. Benedict's childhood, I was super giddy to get my hands on a copy. I thought I could finally figure out the story behind everything that made the Mysterious Benedict Society. However, if you thought this would be the story of how he met Mr. Curtain or how he assembles his crew, you are gravely mistaken and will be deeply disappointed. I was one of those people, mind you. However, the story didn't leave me in the rain one bit. Every bit of this book was intriguing and very much interesting. Really, such a gem.

  • September: 5cm. by Donny Dhirgantoro
This one's an Indonesian book. Surprised? So am I! To be honest, this was purchased a long time ago. So long that I can't remember exactly when anymore. During the time that I managed to neglect this book completely, it has managed to get itself a movie and a comic book visualization. Curiosity trumps ignorance and I decided to flip through the pages. Definitely read it to the end but I would say it didn't even make its way to my top 1000. Sorry, the book was quite cliché and everyone seemed flawless - don't you think humans should be flawed? Frankly, I'm surprised it got as much attention as it did.

At first I was quite taken aback by the formatting of the book. In case some of you are interested in reading it, this book isn't a novel. It's a chat log collection of the Train Man's journey, an otaku, in getting to know Lady Hermes, a young lady he met on the train. First I even heard of this story was thanks to its live action, which was released years ago. But, after reading the book, I learnt that it was actually based on true story so all the logs in this book was actually a the logs someone collected to illustrate the efforts and journey of Train Man, whose identity remains unknown to this day. Nakano Hitori itself is a pseudonym which means "One of Us." Impressive.

Phew, that was a lot of books! Seems like this is where the journey ends. I'm not going to stop reading books, that's for sure. But I will probably slow down on the reading to get some other stuff done. It has been an incredible one year. I can't believe I was allowed time to read this many copies. Literature will always be an important part of my life since I've always loved reading books, even before I realise that was what I'd been doing all along. Thanks for reading these reviews and sticking with me through till the end in this challenge. God knows you didn't have to. I hope you will also start or continue reading and have fun doing so!

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