Friday, 29 May 2020

May Reads – 12 Mini Book Reviews!

Hi Readers! Can you believe it? I read 12 books this month! That’s my second highest score. Top score still stands at 15 books. I’m pretty sure I will break that record one of these days! From these 12, I have already written full reviews for a few. And, I won’t go in details about the three Harry Potter books that I read. So, that leaves us with 6 new reviews! Let’s get to it!

THE BEST

~~ORIGIN by DAN BROWN~~

I have read ALL of Dan Brown’s books & I have always found his writing thrilling. Even though the theme is the same in almost all his books, the thrill & mystery of it is always so well-built! Origin is not an exception. This one does not have any mythological references or any signs or symbols, yet it had me at the edge of my seat. It again features Robert Langdon who is an obvious favourite.

There are around three parallel story lines, all of which, are intriguing. The story is about how Edmond Kirsh, a futurist & Langdon’s student, has found answers to 2 existential questions. Where we came from? Where are we going? But, during his presentation, he gets murdered. And, so Robert Langdon along with the Museum Director Ambra Vidal set upon the adventure to find the answers & reveal Edmond’s discovery for the whole world to see. I liked how it was a bit different than his other books & also enjoyed the ending! I have rated it at 4/5 on Goodreads.

~~THE COLOR PURPLE by ALICE WALKER~~

The Color Purple is the story of Celie, starting with when she was fourteen years old till she is middle-aged. The prose is in the form of letters; initially, letters that Celie writes to God, later on letters between Celie & her sister Nettie. Set from the period of 1910 to 1940, we get to see the story of Celie who is a shy girl, who lets everyone walk over her, does what everyone tells her & basically lives a meaningless life. With the company of opinionated, smart & beautiful women like Shug Avery, Nettie & Sophia, we finally see Celie become her own woman. We watch Celie transform from that shy girl into Shug’s lover. We see her being harassed by Albert to finally standing up to him. From living a meaningless life, we see her actually achieving things & becoming independent.

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. In a few short pages, it creates strong character arcs for almost all main characters, it talks about racism & sexist attitudes & more importantly it enlightens us with the brightness that is women empowerment. I have rated this book at 4.5/5 on Goodreads.

You can check out the full review here!

 

~~UNTAMED by GLENNON DOYLE~~

Untamed is a short book, but the messages it sends are something that will last a lifetime. It starts with a captivating Prologue which sets the theme of the book perfectly. The book is divided into three parts. Part One named ‘CAGED’ talks a lot about the personal life on the author & she connects these things to bigger things. In this, she creates a solid foundation for the rest of the book. Part Two named ‘KEYS’ is probably the most important section in this book. This is the part which I will go back to read time & again. In this, Glennon Doyle talks about the keys which will set you free from the cage. Part Three named ‘Free’ is the longest part of the book & this I quite enjoyed reading. There are a lot of stories + brilliant metaphors + guidance. I have rated it at 4/5 on Goodreads.

Check out the full book review with my key takeaways here!

 

~~THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by TAYLOR JENKINS REID~~

As the title suggests, the story is about the life of the legendary actress & an international sensation Evelyn Hugo. It revolves around her acting career, her seven marriages, her one intimate on-off relationship & just the brilliance of being Evelyn Hugo. Even if the title says ‘Seven Husbands’, soon into the novel you find out that Evelyn is bisexual & that the love of her life is another actress named Celia St. James. We see how their relationship faces ups & downs throughout the novel, how different every marriage of Evelyn is, the brutality of Hollywood & understand Evelyn Hugo as a real person.

I loved the narrative. I loved the characters. I loved how real they seem to the reader. I loved how intense the characters are that every reader will have different perspectives of them. This historical fictional novel had a bit of everything. A bit of mystery. A bit of drama. A bit of life lessons. A bit of LBGTQ+. From all the angles combined, the final product is flawless. I have rated it at 4/5 on Goodreads.

Check out the full book review here!

 

THE MEDIOCRE

~~AFTER DARK by HARUKI MURAKAMI~~

I don’t think there is any particular way in which I can portray why I liked reading this book. It is so strange & weird. I have read strange stories written by Murakami before, but this was a different level of strange. Because I love fiction & impossibilities, I enjoyed reading his short story. I rated it at 3/5 on Goodreads.

Here is the Goodreads description because I cannot fathom to make one:

“At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.

~~BEACH READ by EMILY HENRY~~

Beach Read was recommended multiple times on so many platforms that I had to read it. I hate reading romance novels & this one adds to the pile. I have no idea why it was so hyped. I found it to be quite average. It is a romantic story between January Andrews & Augustus Everett. With a predictable story line, not much effort put on other characters & a mundane plot with a bit of sensuous narrative, this book hasn’t achieved anything new in the Romantic genre. I have rated it at 2.5/5 on Goodreads.

Goodreads describes it as “A romance writer (January) who no longer believes in love and a literary writer (Augustus) stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.”

~~VERY GOOD LIVES by J.K. ROWLING~~

I did not know about this book until recently. This is basically the commencement speech presented by J.K. Rowling at Harvard University in 2008. She has talked about the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. The book comes with illustrations by Joel Holland. I have always liked reading book forms of speeches rather than actually watching the speeches. They are always inspiring & worth the time. But, this must be the first time J.K. Rowling failed me. I was not at all inspired by this book. It felt more like reading things I already knew, put in a lazy format. I hate to say this, but I would have loved reading a more lively, interactive & inspiring speech by her. I have rated this book at 3/5 on Goodreads.

 

THE WORST

~~LOLITA by VLADIMIR NABOKOV~~

Lolita has to be one of the worst books I have read in my lifetime. The Catcher in the Rye comes in quite close but cannot beat it. I knew what I was getting into when I started reading this ‘classic’, and yet I was grossed out. Such books are not the kind of literature the people of today would find interesting to read at all. The language was poetic & at times inappropriately funny, but the whole story is just too perverted & miserable. Even though I have a high tolerance when it comes to reding, I just plainly hated reading this. I have rated it at 1.5/5 on Goodreads.

Here is the Goodreads Description. I only agree on the ‘unforgettable’ & ‘ingenious word play’ part.

“Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

~~POSTSCRIPT by CECELIA AHERN~~

After having absolutely LOVED ‘PS: I Love You’, the prequel to ‘Postscript, I had high expectations, to say the least. But this book surely let me down. The story here is basically how Holly helps other terminal patients to say goodbye to their families by joining the PS: I Love You Club. There is some wisdom in it, but it mainly drags out. There wasn’t a need for a sequel in the first place. The holy shrine of ‘PS: I Love You’ should have remained untouched. This is the first book of Cecelia Ahern’s that I did not like. I have rated it at 2.5/5 on Goodreads.

~~HARRY POTTER~~

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I cannot state how much I am enjoying re-reading Harry Potter. I read three from the series just this month. In June, I will probably complete the remaining two!

 

So, all in all, it was a great month!! In addition to 12 books, I also watched 11 TV Shows & 13 Movies! From my 2020 Reading Challenge, I have now read 29/52 books!! I will be back with another post about my Book Haul soon enough!


Until next time,


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