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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

— feeling big smile
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
"I do not light up a room when I walk into it. No one longs to see me or hear my voice. I do not feel sorry for myself, not in the least. These are simply statements of fact." 

Eleanor Oliphant lived in her head more than she lived anywhere else. For her it was like the safest place and scariest as well. Having had a rough childhood she never knew how to cope up with a normal life. She was socially awkward; talked her mind and never bothered on how others looked at her. Her routine was the same from past 9 years, going to work, eating the same thing, talking to her mummy and finally spending her weekends with Pizza and vodka. She neither had friends nor any family to care for. Her colleagues made fun of her but she didn’t give a damn. 
The things that I’ve mentioned above might seem as if the whole book is lifeless or dry but trust me it ISN’T, not even a bit. It’s the most interesting book I have read this year. I loved Eleanor’s company throughout the book; there was never a dull moment. 

"Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that there's something very liberating about it, once you realize that you don't need anyone, you can take care of yourself. That's the thing: it's best just to take care of yourself. You can't protect other people, however hard you try. You try, and you fail, and your world collapses around you, burns down to ashes."

Her story from her point of view was beautiful, intriguing and insightful to read and in fact she was on my mind even when I wasn’t reading. I liked that she never pitied herself for what she is. Sometimes I felt as if, may be, Eleanor is completely fine but the world that she lives in isn’t. In this friendless world she finally finds a pal (Raymond, I had to mention him) though she never intended to. Although, Raymond is a secondary character in this book but, to me, he is one of the key characters who help Eleanor to see life in a positive way. He never forces his opinion on her, nor does he intrudes in her life unnecessarily, but still whatever small changes that he brings in Eleanor’s routine helps her to cope of with her loneliness.

I loved the author's writing style, it was just perfect in every sense it was funny, quirky, sensitive and emotional. Also, the character development of Eleanor was amazing, the changes that takes place in her was uplifting to read. All I can say is Thank God I read this book otherwise I would have surly missed a great book.
 

 

The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig

The Post-Office Girl (New York Review Books Classics) - Stefan Zweig

“Happiness can reach a pitch so great that any further happiness can’t be felt. Pain, despair, humiliation, disgust, and gear are no different.”

What a beautifully dark and heart-wrenching tale this was! Like other Stefan Zweig novels that i have read even this had a strange impact on me. I felt restless while reading this. Neither i could continue reading nor could I stop. I loved the way how he forces his readers to get involved with his characters and their story even if they don’t want to which is evident in his writing he stresses every word, every sentence till the reader gets the hang of it.

 

Christine a simple girl working in a post office in a small village is ignorant of any kind of luxuries that exists in life till she receives a letter from her aunt and uncle to join them in Swiss Alpine resort to give them company for a while. But the moment Christine steps in her new life her old self is dead instantly. It becomes difficult for Christine to be the same old person that she was even after returning from her abrupt vacation and that’s when her life becomes a living hell. She feels caged. Neither she could fit into her current life nor could she get out. She feels a constant embarrassment to lead her life. Her every thought, her every move was heart breaking to read. But the curiosity of what step Christine takes next kept me glued to this story as it was unpredictable. And then she meets Ferdinand, a war veteran who is as unhappy with his life and the society as Christine is and somehow their coming together disturbs both their lives entirely. Although the ending is abrupt yet I couldn’t have asked for any better ending than that because personally i was not prepared for a closed ending as I didn’t wanted to know what Ferdinand and Christine ended up doing together.

 

Must say I love this author and I am sure of reading all his works, essays, short stories, novellas and anything that he has ever written. His prose is like poetry to me.

MAY Wrap-Ups

— feeling happy
Usually, i write reviews for few books there are few more books that i read which goes unannounced.  For those i have come up with an idea of doing monthly wrap-ups where in i list out the books i read in that particular month and may be share a few thoughts about them because according to me every book is importance in its own way.
 
So,  this month after a long time I’ve finished 5 books. After a long time because in the past few months I had actually reduced my reading to 1 or 2 books per month which is very sad and frustrating because my aim is to read at least 4 books per month i.e. one book per week. So yay!! This month i’ve reached my target. So here they go..
 
1.Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood (Reviewed in the below post)
2.The Thing About Love by Julie James
3.Blind Obsession by Ella Frank
4.Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
5.Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
 
 
 
The Thing About Love by Julie James :  3/5 
I’ve always loved Julie James books. I like that she has a strong female character and equally strong male characters as protagonists. Their quirky, sarcastic line for each other is one of the things i enjoy in her books. So i had to pick this book as soon as the book was released that too it was a long wait. But..But..But i didn’t enjoy this book as much as i thought i would. There was something i didn’t like about the book may be at times the information about FBI and the job'of the protagonists were more in detail than necessary that was something I didn’t expect in Chick-lit, also the ending was over the top.All said and done it was okay but i wouldn't miss another JJ’s books.
 
 
 
 
Blind Obsession by Ella Fran:  2.5/5                                                                            I just picked this book because it was there in my Kindle for a long long time. This is the first book I’ve ever read by this author and honestly i liked her writing it was fluent, and though the start was great but the middle became boring more like repetitive especially those sex scenes. Yes, I know it’s an Erotica and I also came to know that erotica is not for me. But actually it has got a great review, one of the other reasons why i picked it up. I’ll say it was an Okay read.
 
 
 
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane:  4/5                                                                     Finally i read this book. From so long i wanted to read this book but i was scared of all those hypes  that surrounded, but after reading i was not disappointed at all. Yeah i did make one mistake though asking my husband ‘how was the movie?’ because i didn’t know he would give away half of the clues. My Bad! And after that he kept teasing me with one or the other spoiler so i had to rush through this book to finish ASAP. All i can say is it was worth it. Great twisted story and great twisted characterization
 
 
 
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera: 3/5
This month’s last but not at all the least book is ‘Juliet Takes a Breath’. I picked up this book after a BookTube reviewer’s review. There were lots of praises so i thought of giving it a try. Let me start by saying that this book did not disappoint me in fact i loved Juliet, i wish i had a friend like her so thoughtful, so sweet. The initial parts were great i rushed though them but after half of the book i felt as if nothing is really happening in it and then it became boring. But, overall reading this was a great experience for me because this was my first lgbt book. I had never tried one before as i thought i would never get it but after meeting Juliet, i think i do.

 

 

 

— feeling silent
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The interesting part of this book is that even though it’s written in 1985 almost 32 years back still it holds good even to this day. It’s scary but yes there are chances that this might happen one day, this world can turn in to one such hell! I know it’s a dystopian novel but a different kind that, which can turn into reality. The narration was a bit dry but, of course we can’t expect a flowery narration of the environment and situation which Offred was a part of.  At first it’s tough to get into the book but once you are in there it’s very hard to get out. Forget men, this is a world where one woman doesn’t respect or cares for the other, where even though a woman is going through hell the other just sits there and watches it rather than doing something about it, sounds so similar to this world which we are living in, right? That’s why it’s scary. It’s actually disturbing as hell.

 

“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.” (p.135)

 

Just like the above mentioned quote it’s in our nature to overlook things once it over we people tend to forget everything once the commotion is over, once headlines turn to a sideline. Everything will just be shadow for us. That’s why this novel so scary. I know i’ve been repeating the word ‘scary’ but IT IS!

Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 324 pages.

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami

It’s been almost two days since i finished this book but neither i am able to write a review nor i am letting it go. So here i am with my scattered thoughts about this book, writing whatever i felt like when i read it.

Okay so how should I say how it was? Bizarre? Vivid? Dreamlike? Nightmarish? Or maybe all of the above.

If i keep this bizarre things that happened in this book at bay i can say that this novel was intriguing and informative. I feel the best part of this book is definitely Murakami’s writing. He is a master when it comes’ writing about loneliness and pain, he makes the reader feel what the character is going through. His writing has the power to make the mundane things as something special and surreal as normal something that occurs in day to day life which of course doesn’t.

Feeling estranged from his normal self and world Toru Okada ends up meeting a bunch of people who all seemed very interesting to meet with. Each had their own painful and disturbing story to tell and with each of their story there was some new information to gather which made the whole book, for me captivating enough to continue till the end. This book didn’t just have one story to tell but many. These sub plots somewhere ended up linking to the main plot but in the end everything still remained misty. Anyway, there has never been any clear-cut ending in Murakami’s book there wasn’t any in here as well. Well, all i can say is I’ve read few books by Murakami, but this one i didn’t enjoy reading as much as i did the earlier ones, which i am sure of. There was something lacking here that i am unable to pinpoint at.

 

[spoiler] I went through few discussions on Goodreads about this book that has actually given me a different dimension to the whole story. It said that Malta Kano is supposed to be Kumiko’s sister and Creta Kano is supposed to be Kukimo herself in the “other world”, now that’s interesting. [/spoiler]

“...no guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.”

Beware of Pity - Stefan Zweig, Phyllis Blewitt, Trevor Blewitt

‘Beware of Pity’ by Stefan Zweig is a psychological depiction of Lieutenant Anton Hofmiller . The only mistake he does is when he asks Edith Kekesfalva, a crippled girl for a dance ‘Unknowingly’. This actually turns into a major blunder and ruins his and the girl’s entire life. Well, on the other hand he could have just forgotten the whole thing as mere oversight but he makes sure not to and lets it grow. He keeps going back to her in one way or the other and he keeps repeating himself, it’s just out of pity.
It’s a pity that Hofmiller felt only sympathy for Edith and not love. When a man comes to spend time with a woman once in a while that can be considered as pity but when he visiting her becomes a regular affair it doesn’t stay just that but turns to something more, may be compassion or love. But Hofmiller was not ready to accept this fact, he kept suppressing his feelings because he was narrow-minded, he could not accept the fact that he could love a crippled woman. He was afraid that people would laugh at him. If only he didn’t care for the society, if only he was capable of loving Edith like she did but he forces himself not to.

 

Stefan Zweig has a way with words I mean a bizarre way! Even if the readers want to read this book as just another novel they cannot he makes the whole thing grow on them. He repeats the phrases again and again to have an effect on them so that the readers become helpless hence yield to his words and gets involved with the book. So, yes! This book had a strange effect on me too. While reading it made me edgy, restless also at some point i felt emotionally drained and i just had to stop reading it, to bring myself back to normal. And I love it when mere words overpower me. So I surrender to Mr Zweig, his words and now I am his greatest fan and will be reading all his books.

Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller Go for this book only if You have patience. LOTS and lots of it.
If only I knew this before I sure wouldn't have attempted it. There was absolutely nothing about this book to like. The story was gloomy, okay that's fine but even though there were chances of making it better the author chose not to.
Same goes with characters. There was no growth at all. They were stagnant, repeatedly doing the same mistake again and again this is were you need patience to go on with the book. There was not even a single character to whom I felt connected to. Initially, what attracted me towards this book was the title and then the cover. I must say even the blurb looked interesting to me but that's where it ends.
Yes, the language is good but it is not as good as one could forget the plot or the characterization. Anyway, I ended up reading the whole book as I hoped the main protagonist Ingrid would somehow figure things out in the end but that didn't happen and that's when I knew I had wasted my time. The book had nothing good to say at all, all I could make out was if your life is in a mess just stay in that mess forever but if you cannot do that just go to the beach and drown yourself even though you are a good swimmer, and your problem is solved. Well, that's not the way out, is it?

My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella 2.5
(.5 more only for the first half.)

I expected a lot from this book but it was nothing compared to Kinsella’s earlier books. The first part was really enjoyable, Katie struggling to make her mark in London was very interesting to read but the second part was a total letdown. The story became very predictable and very filmy, the characters were either annoying or dumb especially Alex the so called hero of this novel was the biggest disappointment i mean how can anyone like a dumb guy like him let alone Katie? At some point the focus was so much on the secondary characters that the main protagonists were ignored totally. It was a struggle to complete the second part of this novel. I feel it could have been more interesting and funnier than it was but somehow it turned out to be a total dud.

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species - Mindy McGinnis 2.5
I picked this book out of blue, having no clue about it whatsoever just because the title seemed intriguing but actually there wasn't much about 'the female of the species' here, it was just like any another YA with cursing, drugs, sex, assaults, drinking, you name it and its in here and i hate to read those things it makes me sad. But yeah there were a few thought provoking lines, also i liked the characterization of the main protagonist Alex, she was kinda different these were the only few things which helped me finish this book.

A Matter of Time

A Matter of Time - Shashi Deshpande Yet again I've started my year with an Indian Author and one of my most favorites too, and it was a great start no doubt! As usual, i am smitten by Shashi Deshpande’s writing. Even if I finish all her books I don’t mind re-reading all of them again and again. For me, her novels are not just books with stories, few characters, a beginning and an ending but it goes beyond that. Her characters, especially for me, are very real it feels as if I've met each one of them at some point of my life or at least will be meeting them in the near future or maybe I am one of them!
‘The Matter Of Time’ is an insightful book which deals with ‘life’ or more appropriately ‘the changes in life’ and how people cope up with it. Gopal, head of the family don’t think twice when he walks out on his wife Sumi and 3 teenage daughters Aru, Charu and Seema. Why? he himself is not sure or maybe he doesn’t know how to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Now Sumi with no mistake of hers’ has to accept this change which she least expected at that stage of her life and she does it very gracefully even though she doesn’t want to go back to her parent's house she goes for the sake of her daughters. Not only she gets advice from her near ones but even her daughters pester her with their questions on her silence but nothing influences her from taking few decisions for herself and she does everything keeping her composure intact and I admire her for that. She feels sorry for Aru her eldest daughter who is now insecure of everything in her life but still Sumi wants her to love life not to think of it as a burden. At times I felt helpless for each and every character in this book even for Gopal. Maybe sometimes it's difficult to find reason or rather life is more than just reasons and situations it's more about living for the moment, that is all, at least thats what I felt in the end. I think somewhere this book has made me emotionally stronger and I am looking forward to read the sequel, very curious about how Aru’s life has turned out.

It's All in the Planets

It's All in the Planets - Preeti Shenoy The only good part about this book was that I could finish it soon that is all. I think I am done with Preethi-Shenoy-books. Although I have one of her unread book lying on my shelf but I think I'll skip it because she has nothing new to say.
As usual, like all in her other books even here, the characters seemed confused and fickle minded. They are not sure why they are in love with a person or even having any relationship with them especially the main protagonist Nidhi. It seems the author is in love with this character and it shows in her writing because she justifies Nidhi's action everytime as if Nidhi can do nothing wrong which I felt unnecessary provided if the author believes in the character. Also, the story was shallow but above all the writing was over the top flowery. I really didn't get why there was a mention of which brand of drink each character was having that too every time and there was a lot of brand advertisement done here maybe, to show how rich the characters were but I felt it was rather annoying to read. Also, I could not fathom any link between the title and the story whatsoever!

Blankets

Blankets - Craig Thompson Heartwarming story, Brilliant graphics. Takes one down to their childhood self for sure.

Mac Flecknoe

Mac Flecknoe - John Dryden A satiric poem that illustrates a King and his son’s lack of virtue to rule. Here Dryden is actually referring to one of his friend Shadwell as king’s son and making fun of him. Although fun to read and laughable at times but the mock-heroic satire seems childish to me. Since Dryden has tried to make fun of one of his friend-turned-enemy just because they had literary and political disagreements. It actually shows how narrow-minded Dryden was, who couldn’t take a difference of opinion healthily.

The Canonization

The Canonization - John Donne “The Canonization” is one of my favorite poem by John Donne (he is one of my favorite poets as well). The very first line of this poem captures the reader's attention.
There is something in this poem that makes me read it again and again. I love the way how Donne commands people to just keep their mouth shut and tongue intact so that he can continue loving his beloved without any interruption. Indirectly, he wants the world to go to hell and people to stop poking their nose into his business and continue on their own and to let him, to continue with whatever he is doing. Because he says his love hasn’t and will never harm anyone. This metaphysical way of expression by Donne has made me a BIG fan of his poetry.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman 3.5 its 4

It’s not like i didn’t enjoy this book I did. But may be my expectation from this book was way too much and i felt somewhere that the story turned out to be quite simple and predictable, but still one thing is for sure even days after finishing this book i am still unable to get over with the sweetest couple ever Ove and Sonja their story is very real and very inspirational to me. I could also connect to Ove and i could understand why he hated this world, though he was too old fashioned and unreasonable at times but still he was reasonable in his own old way.
Whenever I think of this book I will only think about Ove and Sonja everything else is secondary to me. And also the picture that comes to my mind whenever I try to remember the grumpy Ove and the Sweet, bubbly, full of life Sonja is Carl and Ellie from the movie UP.

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