Bow down to me for I am the queen of secondhand-books-shopping!
Hahaha. Passed by Booksale at the Festival Mall branch yesterday before going back home from our cousin’s baptism. I thought to check in for just a bit and voila! Look what I found! I got the first edition of JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard Hardcover. And I bought for just, wait for it.. Php60 ($1.50). It was a really good buy. The book is in a very pristine state save for the cover that is a little bent around the edges. And to think that it’s original price is around Php900 ($22.50).It’s funny because it was strewn aside with a bunch of children’s book by another customer. I spotted and it and immediately asked the woman if she was going to buy it. Luckily, she doesn’t have an idea what book it was and said no. Oh yes, I am in such bliss.
Okay, that’s it. Just sharing my happiness with you guys. :)
After so many months of persuasion and nagging from my fellow bookworms, both from the internet and in my tiny circle of book-crazed friends, I finally got around to reading this book. I had my initial doubts regarding the theme of this book like the ones I had while I started with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. As I’ve mentioned before, I am not much of a fan of history, and so a story weaved from Stalin’s reign was a bit of stretch for me since I have no retention, whatsoever, of our lessons about his fight for power.
Okay, enough with my preferences and on to the book, itself. There have been a lot of books published regarding the World War II, focused more on Hitler’s rise to power and its repercussions. Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray gives reader a different view of the war, highlighting the harrowing rule of Stalin (the Soviets) over the Baltic states, Lithuania, in particular.
“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
The story begins as Lina Vilkas, a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl, and her family got torn apart due to their deportation to the cold lands of Siberia at the beginning of the war. Of course, at these times, people were expected to keep whatever they had in their minds about their grueling experiences hushed if they wanted to preserve their lives. But it was different for Lina. Somehow, she just couldn’t silence her opinions and so when words failed her, art became her medium, her channel to express and depict the hardships and challenges she and her fellow countrymen had to endure under the commands of the NKVD troops under Stalin. Lina drew everything she saw and felt in hopes of her father finding these drawings to serve as clues about their current location. She also drew to make documentations of their experiences which would, hopefully, be seen by everyone in the future when the war is finally over.
Like other books centered mainly around the World War II, Lina’s story gave readers a very visual and personal account of the inhumane and immoral things she had encountered throughout her journey to Siberia. From the starvation to forced labor to random killings to sex slavery, everything was given in this book. What sets it apart is the way it was written. Personally, it was a very light read, wording-wise. But then bits and pieces of flashbacks about Lina and her family’s life before the onset of the war are strewn across some chapters which, I think, helped greatly in making the readers understand more about the things that were happening to them.
My attention was also caught by two other characters in the book: Andrius and Kretzsky—two very different yet intriguing persona. I won’t give detail description of these two because I want you guys to be the ones to learn about them once you read the book. The only thing I’d tell you is that these two people will be the image of hope and love, in opposing ways, in the story. And I thing they made the book much more interesting.
I guess by reading this review, it was obvious that I enjoyed the book. I finally get it why it was being compared to Zusak’s The Book Thief and Boyne’s The Boy in Striped Pajamas. Aside from these books being about the World War II, all three were personal perceptions of the war from children’s eyes. It was through their minds that we get pictures of the actual pains and sufferings of the people through those times.
Compared to The Book Thief though, Between Shades of Gray appealed less to me emotionally but it doesn’t mean that I did not like the book. It’s just that I can relate more to Liesel Meminger than Lina Vilkas because I am attached more to books than art. And I don’t know why, but I did not shed a single tear over this book even though some events were depressing enough. Overall, I will give it a 4/5.
This week’s reading agenda.
Since I won’t be having any summer break at all due to my clinical internship that would start on the 1st of April, I will be maximizing my time this week for reading these babies:
- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
- How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr
- Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
- The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
I hope to finish these 4 books before our Basic Life Support training on Saturday. I decided to do a reading marathon since my schedule would pretty much become hectic again next week for completion of the requirements, such as physical exams and orientation, for the said internship. If I do get lucky, and get through all these, I’d read more books from my overly huge to-read pile.
Right now, I have started with Sepety’s Between Shades of Gray and so far, I find it really interesting. I just feel that I need a bunch of tissues with me while reading this book. War-themed books tend to have that general effect. I just know that something terrible might come up. So, wish me luck guys! :)
How about you? What book/s are you reading today?
I have been out of the Tumblr universe for more than a week now and I sincerely apologize for my absence and lack of decent posts. I have been quite busy due to our finals week plus our preparation for our thesis proposal defense tomorrow. All these academic work have taken up much of my time and I barely had enough to update my blog or read leisurely.
But then since our finals ended yesterday, I was able to spare some of my hours to buy books, which I badly missed doing. Coincidentally, there is a book fair at the UST main library where we also had our meeting with our thesis adviser. Of course, as usual, I cannot over my urge to hunt and the tug books have on me. I guess, I pretty much went overboard and got myself six new books. Hahaha. Yup. My allowance for this week have been reduced to zip. Good thing it’s our last day tomorrow.
Still, I have no regrets, whatsoever. I am happy with this month’s haul. Here are the books I purchased:
- The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
- How To Save A Life by Sarah Zarr
- Hazards to the Human Heart by Thomas Farber
- The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
- The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
- The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
February Book Haul
These are all the books I managed to acquire this month, excluding the ones I got for myself last Valentine’s day. I purchased a total of 13 books for this love month, 8 today and 5 last week. And like always, I am delighted! It would even be awesome if only I can buy the time to read these, too. (I wouldn’t id a time machine either)
Oh and did you know that I got these 8 books for only Php480 (about $10). Yup, like I said before I love going to Booksale, our country’s most popular secondhand bookshop. And I can proudly say that I am somewhat of an expert in spotting great books even when they are meticulously concealed in nooks and corners of the bookstore. Even when my eyesight is awful, I always know where to look. Just the right amount of luck and patience, and I eventually got these babies:
- Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato
- A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
- An Empty Room by Talitha Stevenson
- Bowl of Cherries by Millard Kaufman
- Define “Normal” by Julie Anne Peters
- The Best American Nonrequired Reading (2003) by Dave Eggers
- Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
- The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
Looking For My True Love
Before you get any ideas, I would like to clarify that by “true love”, I mean books. Duh. Yeah yeah, lame, I know. But really, since I don’t have plans with anyone this Valentine’s day, I decided to spend the day with myself doing one of the things I love: book hunting.
And so 3 hours after a meticulous search, I found not only one, but 5 new loves. Got them all from Fully Booked and Powerbooks, Trinoma branch. I can truly say that my time was well spent and I didn’t care that there were so many lovey-dovey couples all around the mall, even inside my favorite bookstores.
So here are what’s included in my Valentine’s haul:
- Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk — If you don’t already know, I am a very liberated type of person and pornography and sex in literature doesn’t bother me at all as long as the are well written. And this particular book is one I wanted to read because it’s unusual and also dashed with Palahniuk’s trademark mystery theme.
- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys — I have been debating whether or not to read this book for a long time now. It’s like what happened to me with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. This book also revolves around a certain point in history and was set in the midst of World War II. As I’ve said before, I am not a big fan of history but that didn’t stop me from loving The Book Thief. A lot of friends already recommended this to me so I finally gave in.
- The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly — Even when I am already way too old for this, I still have the tug and affinity to wondrous magical adventures found in children’s book. With that I got hooked by this especially when I learned that the story is about an innocent young bookworm who find solace in heroes and monstrous characters of his books.
- The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells — I guess it’s time to update my collection of classic book and I am very much excited with this new addition. It has always been my dream to have the powers of invisibility that’s why I got drawn to the book in particular. I must admit that the beautiful cover also caught my attention. I am very curious to read about the best and worst possible thing a man can do with this kind of power.
- The House of The Scorpion by Nancy Farmer — This is a very intriguing sci-fi/dystopian book. The premise goes like this:Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free? Reading this, I immediately grabbed the book to include it in my haul. I love genetic mysteries and I just cannot resist weird characters.
Oh and also got some roses from a good friend of mine. Nothing romantic at all. I swear. :)
Lazy Sunday Afternoon
Since my schedule gives me free time for today and tomorrow, I can now get on with finishing Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. I am more than halfway through and can I just say how much I adore this beautifully crafted book! Seriously, it’s like being plunged into the story itself and seeing the actual magic of the circus. That’s how rich it is when it comes to details. The book is just a complete feast for the senses. Truly enigmatic and enticing to readers. I also love how the attraction between the characters was written. So subtle yet the tension is very evident. It’s not the typical love story where the girl and boy flamboyantly express their desires. Nothing like that at all. The conversations and glances is enough to feel that spine-tingling shiver of giddy-ness.
Okay okay, enough of that. I might spoil too much of the story. I’ll post the full review after I finish the book.
Oh, and I’m reading it while listening to one of the albums of my favorite local bands, Bamboo, entitled Light Peace Love. I just love the songs here and the melody and rhythm suits my reading mood. All in all, a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Got some new babies! Well, not actual human children, okay? Haha.
Ever since Norwegian Wood and South of the Border, West of the Sun, I have been on the hunt for other Murakami books. So far, I have 4 which include the 2 books I mentioned plus Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart. And then last week, I finally acquired 2 more, which are the ones found in the photo. I didn’t even need to sweat because a friend of mine who manages an online bookshop reserved these books to me. He would text me when they have new books so that I can choose the ones I like before he post it on their page. Hahaha. Oh the perks. Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant also came from the said bookshop. I got the 3 books for abou 20% their original price, which was a great deal.
As for Andrea Seigel’s Like The Red Panda, it was a very very late Christmas gift from Jervis, a close friend of mine. I haven’t heard of the book before and so I looked it up on Goodreads. Apparently, it was about a teenage girl who, at first glance, is funny, smart and cheerful. But like almost everyone, she is keeping a dark part of her which if ignored completely, might cause serious consequences. The character was in some sort of a burnout state wherein life seem to be dull and not worth living. This might be just overdramatic to some, but when someone is swallowed by this kinds of thoughts, it’s very difficult to get them out of their own heads.
So yeah, I am pretty much ecstatic because I loved the premise. If only I can read multiple books at the same time, I would. I am also very glad the I am 4 books nearer to my 1000-books-in-my-shelf-before-I-turn-25 goal.
Sorry if this one’s a little bit rusty. I haven’t written a review for so long. And truthfully, I missed it. Haha.
I have been one to judge books based on their covers ever since the YA genre started spouting tons of vampire/werewolf/*insert-other-mythical-creatures-here* crap. Every time I go into a bookstore, I find, to my disappointment, another goth-themed cover. If not those kinds, I see books with lovey-dovey covers which contain very clichéd plots. Now why am I babbling on about these stuff? Well, because this particular book that I am reviewing falls into those category, cover-wise. (please don’t stop reading)
But then, as I update myself of the vlogbrother’s video entries, I found that in one of it, Mr. John Green himself recommended this book. Of course, my opinion of it changed and I started to take a second look and finally.. bought my own copy. After a few weeks, here I am, finally gotten around reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
I have to be honest and admit that the title didn’t help in convincing me to like the book. You see, I am a non-believer of the whole love-at-first-sight magic. But then as I got past the first chapter, I find myself actually getting attached to the main character, namely Hadley Sullivan.
“It’s not the changes that will break your heart; it’s that tug of familiarity.”
And so the story began as Hadley got stuck in the airport by missing her flight that would bring her to her father’s second wedding. And so she had to book yet another flight and wait. All this hassle just because she was late by 4 minutes. Yep, only 4 minutes. But then this seemed to be a blessing in disguise for she met Oliver, also waiting to catch the same flight she recently booked.
Their meeting was fairly odd and not quite realistic to me but I guess it somehow worked for the whole of the story. Even when they’ve met for just a few hours, they felt comfortable talking to each other and sharing stuff you don’t usually do with strangers. And so goes their 24-hour-long story of witty remarks, comedic adventures and personal revelations.. all inside an airplane.
The premise of the book may look shallow at first but then reading through it revealed a lot more about the characters that just their timely acquaintance. Surprisingly, what caught me wasn’t the love story between Hadley and Oliver but the conflicted relationship Hadley has with her father. (yeah yeah, I am a sucker for characters with father issues) The book started out with Hadley having strong feeling against her father and as the story unfolds, we were allowed to peek in on Hadley’s head and her hatred. Who wouldn’t be mad of a father who leaves his family for another woman?
I know that this is not a unique story and a lot of books have already intricately depicted broken families and bitter children. But what made this book so much different from the others is that it journeyed toward a positive path of acceptance. Although even to me, Hadley forgiveness of her father’s act was to sudden and early, I felt this bit of jealousy for her having the heart and bravery to finally find peace with what she was dealt with. She wasn’t like other characters who would rather carry the hatred for as long as they can even when it wasn’t worth it. And I think that’s what I admire most about Hadley. She was honest about how she felt and she can deal with it. I, personally, don’t have the strength to do that.
Overall, I enjoyed it and I am glad that I believed Mr. John Green’s word. I think it wasn’t really much of a love-at-first-sight thing. I would say that it was an attraction-at-first-sight. A little predictable but it was fine with me. It was a perfect mix of wit, drama, craziness, and cheesiness. Nothing was too much overdone. I give it a 4/5.