2016/05/28

BOOK REVIEW:
OROONOKO BY APHRA BEHN

Title: Oroonoko: Or, The Royal Slave, A True Story
Author: Aphra Behn
Published: 1688
Language: English
Pages: 128
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
When Prince Oroonoko falls in love with a woman, it arouses the jealousy of his grandfather. The lovers are cast into slavery, and though he soon wins the respect of his European captors, he struggles for his freedom.


Review:
I haven't read that many books from the 17th century, so this was quite an interesting experience for me.

The first thing that stands out to me is that it is quite racist. The value of the dark skinned people are raised because they have similar physical features to Europeans and in many ways act like them. "Common slaves" are barely considered people, and although one can understand that this is a view common to the times, I found it very distracting.

Otherwise, it was a rather interesting story. I quite enjoyed the characters, though I found some a bit one-dimensional. The setting was pretty interesting as well, and it has a rather epic love story. It is a bit challenging to read in the sense that it has no chapters, and it's easy to loose track if you put the book down.

I definitely think it was interesting to read something written from this era, and if you're interested in history I would recommend it.

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2016/05/27

2016/05/25

BOOK REVIEW:
THOUSAND CRANES BY YASUNARI KAWABATA

Title: Thousand Cranes
Author: Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (translator)
Published: 1952
Language: English (translated from Japanese)
Pages: 112
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
A man has been invited to a tea ceremony by his dead fathers mistress and finds himself drawn into a destructive relationship with her rival.


Review:
This was quite an interesting book, and one I have given a lot of thought throughout as to what it all means.

I liked the theme of the main character inheriting his fathers life, while struggling to find a way to respect the past as well as embrace the future. This book was written in a time when Western influences truly reached the people of Japan and the main character struggles to bring that together with the world of his forefathers. Sexualitya and death are also a themes that I found quite intriguing.

The tea ceremony is the heart of the story, and it was fascinating to see all the different things it represented in the story.

The beauty of the writing lies in its simplicity. It didn't quite manage to move me though, but overall, this was an enjoyable read.

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2016/05/23

BOOK REVIEW:
THE BEAUTY VOL 1 BY JEREMY HAUN & JASON A. HURLEY

Title: The Beauty Volume 2
Author: Jeremy Haun (writer and artist), Jason A. Hurley (writer), John Rauch (colorist)
Published: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 164
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
A new STD is sweeping the world, but this is a disease people actually want to get and seek out, simply because it makes you drop-dead gorgeous. But two detectives soon find out that there are serious and unforeseen consequences...


Review:
This was quite an interesting comic book and one I felt had a fascinating and original idea behind it.

The story of the disease is what I liked most in this book. It's an interesting topic; how physical perfection makes people do insane things. I also found it interesting how the government in this book reacted to it when things started going wrong.

The art is very typical comic book style, with quite a bit of gore (which I appreciate, because someone blowing up from the inside isn't meant to be pretty). There's nothing mind blowing to it though, nor is the coloring particularly striking for most of the story.

My biggest complaint about this is the characters. I didn't feel properly introduced to them, you're just thrown into the story and they're kind of just there from the start. I felt I would have cared more for them if I had been given some pages to get to know them first, which I think is a shame I didn't.

Overall, this was a decent comic book, and I think I liked it enough to want to read the next one when it comes out. I would give it a go if you're into comic books.

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2016/05/21

BOOK REVIEW:
MAN TIGER BY EKA KURNIAWAN

Title: Man Tiger
Author: Eka Kurniawan, Labodalih Sembiring (translator)
Published: 2004
Language: English (translated from Indonesian)
Pages: 172
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
In a small village by the Indian Ocean, we follow a young man, his family and the people of the village before and during a tragedy.


Review:
I was super excited to read this book when I first got it and I was happy to discover my expectations were met.

This was a great little read. It has a bit of a strange rhythm to it that takes a while to get used to, but when you do, it's fantastic. It's one of those stories where you're presented with a situation and you have an idea about why or how the characters got there, and then, throughout the book, the truth surfaces. And it does this well.

Although not the most prominent of the story, I really enjoyed the magical realism elements. I also enjoyed, perhaps the most, the characters. The writing really pulls you into the story and makes you feel alongside these people who could very much be real.

For a rather short book, this sure packs a punch. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for this author, because I would love to read more. I would highly recommend it if you enjoy stories about people with a little bit of a magical tiger in it...

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2016/05/20

2016/05/18

BOOK REVIEW:
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN BY BETTY SMITH

Title: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Published: 1943
Language: English
Pages: 487
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
This American classic is about a young girl who is coming of age, the people and places around her.


Review:
After hearing so many good things, I've finally read this book, and am now joining the endless line of people who say good things about it.

This is one of those books where everything just seems to spring to life the moment the author writes about it. The characters become flesh and blood and real people. The places become coloured in, vibrant, alive. I also think the portrayal of poverty was very interesting, and especially how the characters experience their own poorness.

It is a bit of a slower book, chronicling life the way it is; sometimes dull, sometimes exciting. What made me keep reading was the characters. You truly get to know them, see how they grow and experience the world through their eyes. I especially enjoyed reading about Francie and what she thought, which is the character we perhaps get to know the best. She's one of those characters I think most bookish people can see something of themselves in.

This is one of those books I wanted to keep going, to know how everyone turned out and where they went. Which is often the case with good books in my mind.

I would highly recommend this if you like historical fiction and wonderful characters.





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2016/05/17

TOP 5: BOOKS I WANT TO READ FROM JAPANESE AUTHORS II

I've found that the books I've read that have been translated from Japanese really have something to them that I really like, so here are another five books from them I want to read!

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata


This is an author I've been meaning to read for ages. This book is about unspoken love and understated passion of a young couple.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World by Haruki Murakami


Ever since reading Norwegian Wood, I've been wanting to read another Murakami book. All I know is that this is the book he's written that's the most fantasy-esque.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto


I've heard such great things about this book, it contains themes of motherhood, transsexuality, kitchens, love and tragedy.

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe


I've had this book on my radar for quite some time. It's about a man held captive in a village, tasked with shoveling back the ever-advancing sand dunes together with a young woman.

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea by Yukio Mishima


This is about a young group of boys who reject the adult world and the consequences of that.


Let me know if you've read any of these and what you thought!

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