Friday, August 25, 2017

What I've Read Lately #4

It's been a long time since I wrote an update on what I've read lately. This is mostly because 1.) I've only read books for Net Galley and they have their separate blog post; 2.) I read summery books; 3.) I had an exam this summer and I tried to be mature and not indulge in reading as I tend to do when I have important things to do.

Besides the aforementioned summery books I read, I tried to take care of one of the reading goals I had for this year: read more Romanian literature. I managed to read two! I checked out three books from the library since my own personal home library is sparse and of little help in this area. The third one is yet to be read; its many pages daunts me, but this is only because it's in Romanian. How sad, I think, that a thick book in my mother tongue intimidates me. :( It sounds snob, but I read faster in English. The return date for the books was today, but I called the library and asked them to extend the lending period, so I have two more weeks to read RomLit#3. 

Here's what I did read lately, and it's not for review. This is only the first part because apparently there are quite a few titles. 

I loved Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk from the first listen. (Of course I don't listen to TED talks I like only once, duh!) She is smart and articulate, and it's always refreshing to hear a woman being able to express herself without using "like", "um", "you know", "so" after every third word. Besides this, her ideas are thought provoking. I am sorry for this cliche presentation of her, but this is all true. 
I haven't read anything from her, and I'm a bit nervous, to be honest, so I thought it would be a good step if I read her written speech for another TED Event. I loved the written version, and I kept thinking how good it was to see big ideas expressed with simple words. It would be a great read for highschooler in higher grades. That would be a conversation starter!

This is the first Romanian literature book I read. It started great, and I kept reading and reading. Towards the middle of the book I started to feel that this is not what I want to read anymore. What makes me reluctant to read Romanian literature books is that people who like to read such novels, find them extraordinary, and unique, and a God-given, fresh breath in Romanian contemporary literature. Meanwhile, here I am thinking, "Gosh, I'm bored with this kid who's paranoid and should I see symbolism and deep stuff here? I just want it to end!" So, yes. 
The title in English would be "How I spent my summer holiday". The story is silly at times, serious other times, but everything seen through the eyes of soon to be 5th grader who wants to write a composition on how he spent his summer holiday. Of course, the aim is to impress his teacher and prove he can write at least as well as his class-mate, a girl who had a knack for stories with aliens.
Is it even necessary to say I was proud of myself I managed to read this book and not abandon it?

This is the second Romanian novel I read, and this one read smoothly. The titles is "The Accident". It has a chick-lit feel to it, an easy read. This is not a "serious" novel, as in it would not be read in schools, nor recommended as a read for highschoolers. There was a big part of it that seemed to not fit in with the first part of the book, and that's the trip skiing. It's as if two different worlds and seasons, even, were joined together, and the only element they had in common were the two characters, Nora and Paul. 
Everything was dramatic, and the way characters spoke resemble not in the least bit real life, but I was drawn into the novel enough to give it 4*. It was a perfect read for these idle summer days.

I don't know what I was expecting from this book. Actually, I know: I was expecting something more dynamic, something with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. What we get is pieces of summers lived by an aging grandmother and a back-talking 5-7 year old. It was a nice book, but it didn't impress me. It was a bit boring. 
I don't know why I need every book to entertain me, but I seem to be easily bored these days. But then again, I never did like descriptions of nature that much, and this book is set on a small island in the Gulf of Finland, so not much can possibly be going on. 
What prompted me to read it was its appearance on a "must read this summer!!!" kind of list, and I had time to spare, so why not?
I only gave it 3*.

Now this I liked! An engaging novel, kept me interested 'till the very end, peppered with some deep lines in true Markus Zusak fashion - what's not to love? I want to read more from him. 
It's like a treasure hunt, but of people to send messages to and help. There are clues in everyday surroundings. The only thing that didn't convince me of authenticity (I know, I know, the whole plot seems out of this world, but fiction!) was the clue given in dream - that it's highly possible to go in a wrong direction. My dreams never guide me, they are the opposite of what happens in reality. 
I love a novel plot that is governed by a higher force, beyond the human comprehension. And the simple, no accomplishment characters that can utter deep observations? Yes, please!
I gave this novel an easy 5* and I am saving my money to add to what I now call The Markus Zusak books collection. 

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