Tag Archives: adult fiction

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

When a girl, obey your father; when a wife, obey your husband; when a widow, obey your son. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Cover via Goodreads. ARC provided by Goodreads and Riverhead Books.

Cover via Goodreads. ARC provided by Goodreads and Riverhead Books.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

A brother torn from his sister by a cruel twist of fate at only seven years of age. A caretaker drawn into the life of his enigmatic employer, a recluse with a large amount of riches. A repressed daughter who dates her mother’s old flame, setting inevitable consequences into motion. In his new 400-page novel, And The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini does not tell the story one of character, of two characters, or of three – he delves into several generations. He takes apart the threads that tie us together and examines each string, sifting through the tapestry to find our souls.

Family. Hosseini’s narrative travels around the world in And the Mountains Echoed, from Afghanistan to France to the United States to the Greek island Tinos. Despite the broad scope of the story, there’s one theme that brings it all together: family. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Rating: 2/5 stars.

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”

Well, that’s depressing.

I actually thought that while reading most of the novel. Either something along the lines of “well, that’s depressing” or “oh my gosh, so much violence.” There is definitely a reason the book is titled Fight Club.

And the book should be depressing, as it deals with heavy and unpleasant topics such as excessive materialism, lack of individualism, and deindividuation. Continue reading

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Filed under 2 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

I seriously need a word for my signature squeal.

No, really. Sometimes when I read books like Gone With the Wind or Pride and Prejudice, I squeal. Well-written romance tends to do that to me. The Lover’s Dictionary did that to me.

Allow me to share one of my favorite entries.

brash, adj.

‘I want you to spend the night,’ you said. And it was definitely your phrasing that ensured it. If you had said, ‘Let’s have sex,’ or ‘Let’s go to my place,’ or even ‘I really want you,’ I’m not sure we would have gone quite as far as we did. But I loved the notion that the night was mine to spend, and I immediately decided to spend it on you.'”

If computers could record squeals and send them to others’ screens and digital devices automatically, you would hear me squealing right now. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Those of you who read this blog are most likely aware that my relationship with my mother is not all bouncing bunnies and beautiful butterflies. As an American-born son raised with traditionally Asian standards, my childhood has been filled with conflicts resulting in screaming matches and bountiful tears. So reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan was quite the vicarious experience – though I am not Chinese nor a daughter, I could connect to several of the themes that ran throughout the novel.

The interweaving vignettes that comprise the book are too intricate to explain completely without writing a long review, but the book is basically about four Chinese women who immigrate to San Francisco. They have all endured great hardship but are each hopeful about their futures as well as their daughters’ futures. Through sixteen short stories we are able to view major events in their lives that have shaped their mindsets, their worlds, and their relationships with one another. Continue reading

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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

“‘How can you tell?’ Uncle John demanded. ‘What’s to keep ever’thing from stoppin’; all the folks from jus’ gittin’ tired an’ layin’ down?’

‘Hard to say,’ she said. ‘Ever’thing we do – seems to me is aimed right at goin’ on. Seems that way to me. Even gettin’ hungry – even bein’ sick; some die, but the rest is tougher. Jus’ try to live the day, jus’ the day.'”

Through his telling of the Okies’ struggle to survive the Dust Bowl, John Steinbeck temporarily made me a misanthrope. While I was reading the book I once annotated “why must mankind suck so much”. The Grapes of Wrath, for some, may not be an easy book to stomach due to the horrific hardships the Joads had to handle – not only from their environment and their ill-fortune, but also because of the cruelty of their fellow man. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

What is leprosy?

Before I read this book, my answer would’ve been “a disease”. From watching “Drake and Josh” I could’ve assumed that it had to do with a person’s skin. Now, after reading Moloka’i, I would say the same thing – it is a disease, after all – but I might add that this is a disease that tests the strength of the human spirit, just as it did with Rachel Kalama.

After a rose-colored mark indicating leprosy appears on her skin, seven-year-old Rachel is taken from her family to a quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here she is supposed to live the remainder of her short life, and die just like everyone else who has the disease. Rachel isn’t willing to give up that easily though, and exceeds the expectations of those who thought that the disease would simply end her life. Soon she befriends others who have leprosy, and builds a new beginning on an island that was only known for the lives that had ended on it.

Moloka’i is an epic that encompasses Rachel’s entire life saga in 384 pages without feeling too rushed or too slow. Alan Brennert keeps the story flowing smoothly through Rachel’s narrative, interspersed with wonderful descriptions of the Hawai’i-like setting and the occasional perspective of another character besides Rachel. This is one of those books in which the setting becomes like a second home to you – one of those books that you won’t want to put down.

Rachel proved to be quite the protagonist. She possessed an admirable determination, coupled with a realistic vulnerability that made her character likeable. As the book progresses readers will cheer for her as she faces obstacles ranging from family to love to death.

My favorite aspect of this book was how much I learned about leprosy and its effects. I did learn about the actual disease itself – its sneaky symptoms, the terrifying disfigurements it causes, etc. – yet it was gut-wrenching to see how leprosy tore apart families and shattered the human heart. At least one’s family would remain by them if they were diagnosed with cancer, but if they were diagnosed with leprosy, they wouldn’t even have their loved ones to rely on. To see Rachel overcome that obstacle, and to see so many others find the willpower to survive through such hardship really makes me marvel at how strong humans can be and wonder why we don’t show that strength more often.

Overall, a great read. I would recommend Moloka’i to fans of historical fiction, books with plenty of pathos, and strong female protagonists.

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books