(The Last Remnants of) 2018 Reads: Not My Favorites

Hi, Nerdies!

I must be the last person in the blog-world who is still talking about her 2018 reads. But well, I am a slow reader and even a slower blogger, so please bear with me. And, Thank You.

These were books I didn’t enjoy for several reasons, a chunk of them were because something about the stories just didn’t click with me, some because the writing-styles weren’t to my liking, and some because I was obviously not a part of the age-group targeted! Yet I stubbornly read it.

I categorized them based on those reasons I just mentioned! And this recap is not ranking-ordered.

Storyline

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Too Much Hype.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is a trilogy telling about how crazily rich asians live their lives.

First glance, the backstory is so very interesting. As an Asian myself, I know exactly how these rich-richie-super-duper-rich Asians live a strikingly contrasting lives compared to people who belong to a different social status or race. Supposedly, these people are extremely,extremely,EX.TREME.LY extravagant and pretentious.

So I thought these books should be fun and entertaining. (They even made a movie based on this trilogy!)

But, no. I read the first book, and decided to put them down. I rarely, rarely dnfed any book or series, so at least I finished the first book I was already reading.

Honestly I found the narrative unnecessarily prolonged. It was lack of progress and dull. I felt like the story would be much more engaging if it were to be cramped into just one book instead of being extended to fit into three books. Throughout the first book, setting and character-wise, the plot kept switching back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, And. Back. And. Forth., it exhausted me. So I was done.    

The Summer I Turned Pretty; We’ll All Have Summer by Jenny Han

Heavy Romance.

This is weird. It’s a trilogy, yet I only read two out of three.

This was how. I read the first book, and as I said, I rarely dnfed any series, so I continued to the next book. And because I was so smart, I jumped into the third book haphazardly instead of picking up the second one orderly. Intentional or not, I skipped it hence I missed it.

Anyway.

I loved loved loved another trilogy by Jenny Han: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. So I figured I would probably love this one too. Especially because this was Han’s older trilogy.

Well, it didn’t suit my taste. I loved the other trilogy because it was sweet, light and refreshing. This one however was too sad, too dramatic, too tragic for my liking.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Too unfair.

This book is about a black marriage in America which has to face racial injustice, be victimized because of it, and to either thrive or crack under its pressure.

Well, I am fully aware that in many stories with persecution theme, it’s hard if not impossible for the victim to get vindicated in any way. But, it’s just way too too painful to read how hard and how futile our main couple’s struggle to collect and mend any pieces left of their shattered marriage, and because of what? Some-external-unjust-reason that shouldn’t even have happened in the first place?

I felt like I should be peacefully shipping them, not devastatingly un-shipping them! Like the way I did Roy and Celestial’s relationship.

But now that I’ve come to think about it again, maybe that was what the writer wanted to evoke from the readers all along! Maybe this book shouldn’t be here at all. #sorry 

Writing-style

Underground Railroad

Terrific Story, A Bit Slow Though.

This is a story of a courageous slave who wages her best attempt to escape from a ruthless cotton plantation. Great story!

Unfortunately.

Something I couldn’t put my fingers on held me back from savouring this book. My best guess was the writing-style. The writer has this sort of slow to unravel, a bit on the arcane side, and hard to read story-telling style. But at least I admired the heroine! 

Thanks a Thousand by A.J. Jacobs

Intriguing Idea, Monotonous Execution.

This one is a record of Jacobs’s journal on him invoking gratitude feeling by thanking people who contribute in making his cups of coffee. The list runs from a barista to a steel producer.

The message is well delivered. We should be grateful, and gratitude is not an innate thing. In contrast, it can be intentionally cultured and invoked. Yada yada.

As important as the message was, I found this book highly redundant. I kept losing my focus while listening to the writer telling the story of when he was personally thanking various people. I thought there were not enough discerning events in every chapter to separate one version of thanking this person from another account of thanking that person.

Lastly

Age

I am an old lady now.

These were honestly good books, but I was already too old when I read them. The scare didn’t frighten me, the ruses didn’t fascinate me. But I could imagine that I would have enjoyed it ten years back.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The story takes set in a fantasy world, where rats have ways to communicate, do business, and even emphatize with fellow rats. A girl interestingly named Lady Door would lead you through her search adventure to find out the murderer of her family members and to finally take her revenge.

It by Stephen King

Yes, that IT movie you know is based on this book.

It’s about a haunted city where children keep missing. Some of these children’s bodies are later found dead and horridly incomplete while the rest of the bodies mysteriously disappear. Ironically, adults don’t even bother to question what’s been happening and instead, they let it pass like it is just another daily stuff. Not the living kids though, they have their own suspicion, and eventually some of them are brave enough to prove their hunch.  

I’ve covered this in another post, you can check that out if you want: IT -Book Review.

That’s it for now. As always, don’t forget to press like, follow, or kindly leave a comment below, and I’ll see you guys next week!

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IT – Book Review

IT

A thriller novel by Stephen King, rated 4.5/5 in Amazon.

Synopsis

On one stormy day in Derry, a boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes goes out of his house to sail his newly made paper boat in the rain. Not long after, he lost his beloved boat to the pouring rain. While searching for his boat, an eerie voice inside a storm drain calls his name. He peeks into the storm drain and he sees a clown with silver eyes holding his boat. It invites him to come to the sewer to get his boat. The next thing happens is the kid discovered lifeless by the storm drain with one of his arm ripped off.

Georgie is not the only victim. Kids are mysteriously disappearing in Derry. There are children who witness a ghostly clown claiming those kids’ lives, but no adult believes in ghosts.

But Bill, Georgie’s big brother, believes in It. He knows that It kills his brother and other kids in Derry. It senses kids’ fears, and devours scared children. Only fearless Bill and his loser friends are willing to challenge It. They believe in It, they chase It and they fight It.

Comments:

SPOILER ALERT!

Huge fan of the story.

First, I think the idea of Pennywise (the clown) taking different shapes depending on kids’ fears and phobias is genius. It shows that the war they’re fighting is in fact an imagination war. This makes perfect sense because we are talking about kids here. Kids are innocent and imagining is what they master at. All confrontations happen in reality as Pennywise actually kills the kids yet all of them happen in thoughts keeping the adults out of the picture. (Because of course adults are not capable of imagination) Children’s naive boldness makes the battle they’re exclusively fighting without adults intensely dangerous.

Suspense-wise, I think killing kids is never NOT scary. Kids and blood are just two perfect elements of great suspense. OMG, I can’t believe I said that. And as if slaughtering children is not scary enough, the bullies in the story do some real gory stuff like they are not only 11 year olds. Henry actually carves a letter using a knife on Ben’s belly. And he initially plans to carve not just A letter but letterS! I even needed to pause at the moment Henry poisons Mike’s dog.

About the ending, I can’t say I am stunned by the idea of a transcendent gigantic spider villain, perchance because I am not a fan of spiders. But, considering how unreasonable my partial judgment is, the ending is otherwise impeccable. At the beginning of the story Pennywise appears as a clown, but going towards the end of the story, it is gradually revealed that Pennywise is in fact not a human being. Pennywise’s real form turning out to be a divine entity is the perfect culmination of the supernatural events that have been happening like when Bev’s crazy dad not seeing all the blood splattered in their bathroom or when the kids’ scars coming back after Mike’s call.

Fan of the characters.

Stuttering Bill is truly one exceptional character. For starter, he stutters and you supposedly can’t be a cool kid that way yet he is the coolest one to his gang. And also King portrays him as a precociously mature kid. You can see he is indeed a grown up when he decides not to show his fear because he’s afraid it will shake his already scared friends. (Referring to when they get lost on their way home from It’s nest) He is the same age with the others yet he is distinctly and specially different. He leads his friends and he decides on matters, he is essentially the losers’ foundation.

Other than Bill’s rare personality, the team’s chemistry is also worth pointing out. The admirable trust among them is specifically shown in every situation they get themselves in. I especially adore how they constantly amuse and consistently love one another. My most memorable love moment is when Bev and Ben hiding from the three idiotic bullies in the clubhouse. There, I can feel Bev loves Ben deeply, acknowledging yet ignoring Ben’s love for her. I find the love between them is quite indescribable yet fascinating. Though, I do feel strange that King picks sex as a way to picture the supposedly unbreakable bond among them. I hope I read it wrong, but in case I got the right idea, near the end of the book Bev has sex with literally everyone in the team. And isn’t that quite extreme for 11-year-olds? But again, I am probably a prude.

There is this one small hitch though. Several characters felt a little bit unnecessary to me. I am specifically talking about Audra and Tom, and probably Patrick Hockstetter. Audra and Tom appear like in one chapter, do almost nothing and straight away get killed. And Patrick’s lunacy can perhaps be bestowed to one of the other three idiots. I just can’t imagine the story being different without them.

Not a fan of the length.

The book contains 1600ish pages on Scribd, the longest novel I’ve ever read to this day. Not that it’s a bad thing, but the thing is I don’t feel like it’s needed.

Maybe you’d tell me that I should not be the one talking considering this lengthy review. But well, this is my turn to judge, so I am going to judge AWAAYY ..

King spent some first chapters to narrate a couple of murder cases, such as Adrian Mellon’s case and Black Club case. I was a bit disappointed that many pages are written about people who are not going to show for the second time for the rest of the story. And all of those pages only to make a point that a massacre happens every 27 years in Derry. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely get it that you need some pages to build a strong base to the story, but I am just saying maybe fewer pages will make do.

Generally I love this book. King is a remarkable thriller writer. Both the story and the characters are meticulously detailed written and King patiently builds the suspense ensuring readers engagement. If the novel didn’t scare me enough, I would totally blame my age. Other than that, I will definitely read King’s other pieces and I obviously will recommend IT to others.