The Night Bird

If you can’t already tell, this book is gorgeous <and so that’s why I bought it>. But let’s not (just) be superficial.

The book in itself was pretty great. It was the typical psychological thriller that focuses on whether trauma and the memories associated should be repressed or expressed. Repressed memories, I feel, always come back and haunt you in ways you cannot imagine. They seep back into your life and wreak havoc in your life because fact is that our experiences make us who we are. Our retention of our memories is what shapes our lives and our sense of self. I believe if we bottle up memories of trauma, if we try to forget instead of shed, we are essentially choosing to retain those memories and they, in turn, shape us, the path we are on, and hence, the rest of our lives.

This is what that book was about. Although it was a psychological thriller, I felt the author truly was trying to make a statement.

The book in itself was very interesting. I flew threw it. It was an easy read and was in simple language that even a teenager would enjoy. My only fear is that this, like so many other books I have grown to hate, have become a series and that the quality of the work will decline as the pressure of minting money intensifies.

Passenger to Frankfurt

This book was a total disaster. Which is surprising, since this is an Agatha Christie. I guess it was one of the few that bombed but it was so far from what you would expect.

Obviously, she was out of her depth when she wrote this. It was meant to be a sattrical spy thriller. Unfortunately, it was just a bore. The cover may be beautiful, but the contents were far from it. So much so that as soon as I closed the book (and I remember I was on the verge of abandoning it), I promptly forgot everything about it. I don’t even remember the characters, the plot, or anything else about it.

I guess I am writing this review so that somewhere down the line, when I feel like re-reading some books or reading Agatha Christie and come upon this book, I remember I wrote this review and decide against re-reading it.

At Water’s Edge

This book seemed like a pretty decent read. It was easy and fast-paced enough to hold my interest. I realized slowly that I did not much like the insidious chauvinistic undertones this novel carries. I was starting to get really angry towards the end of the book, however, the author did attempt to redeem the book and the protagonist.

Honestly, I cannot feign to understand authors today. I’ve been reading quite a few books by female authors these days and the one repeating theme I see is that each of them either paints the picture of a woman who is an alcoholic and a drama queen or a helpless damsel in distress who needs “saving” of some sort. Each woman is shown to be weak and dependent either on alcohol or on a man. This book was no different.

The book began with the character being a self-obsessed, self-absorbed stuck-up society girl, who grows into an empathetic woman and realizes everything that is wrong with her environment and the people she has been surrounded by. What I don’t understand is how or why she has to go on this journey of self-discovery by learning how to do housework, sweeping floors, and making beds. Understandably, it shows that she is growing sympathetic to the plights of the help; what I don’t understand is why she didn’t choose to go on this journey by instead learning to attend to soldiers hurt in the war (which, honestly, would have made me respect her a tad more). In any case, by helping around the house, she wins the love and respect of the manager of the inn. Another problem here: why does a man only seem to fall in love with a woman who tries to change herself by learning how to work in the kitchens? What kind of example are you trying to set? What are you inspiring female readers to become?

One other thing that drew my attention was that each of these books that supposedly are a journey of a woman on “self-discovery” in some way involve a man, who somehow acts as a catalyst for this woman to “better” herself. This man is always painted as a through-and-through hero, who, literally in this case, comes back from the jaws of death and who dispatches a few to the fate that was to be his. I don’t understand the need for these characters in this book. At least, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl didn’t have a patriarchal figure who had to “save” them or help them improve themselves, and under whose watchful, encouraging <lustful> eyes the protagonist realized she could be and have so much more.

The book painted these characters to be so completely evil or so completely good, I’m surprised she didn’t discover their flaws earlier. Only after being hauled across the Atlantic ocean (and because she was sea-sick the entire time) did she realize how callous and selfish her husband truly is. The character came off as shallow. I loved the journey, to the extent that it was believable. Does it really take war and a life in squalor to humble us? And if she realized so much about herself, in being shallow, how could she not, upon reflection, not come to understand the position of her father and feel sorrow and pity for him?

What I did like about the book was that it made the character realize that the boundaries between the servants and the upper-class were man-made and just existed in her mind. She did become empathetic and sympathetic. Her self-discovery, like I said earlier, was enjoyable to an extent. The book was an easy-read and I finished it in about two days so I don’t feel too bad about reading it. I’d give it a solid 3.5 stars for solid writing style, even though there was a lot wrong with the characters, I thought.

Also, there wasn’t much about the Loch Ness monster in it. Which I was really excited and was hoping for. Disappointed.

Maggot Moon

This book is for kids? I beg to differ. This book is for adults. Yes, kids may read it. Will kids “get” it? I am not so sure. Yes, the language is easy to read and easy to grasp. Yes, the font is so huge, you’d think a blind person would be able to read the book. But this book is not just for kids. It’s meant to be read by adults too.

An alternate-reality science-fiction, this book is set in the time of the space race and nations trying to get to the moon. The book was so eerie, I thought it was set on the moon {also thanks to the title that deceived me into thinking so}. It was firmly set on earth but oh, what a dystopian future! The book was writ from the point-of-view of a 15-year-old, who can’t read or write too well but who’s intelligence is to be rivalled. He shows us his world, where ethnic cleansing is the norm, specially with the killing of those “flawed” in some ways. He told us of how people “disappeared” in the middle of the night, including his parents; where food was sparce, television was a banned commodity, a luxury not allowed; and where spies ran underfoot telling on each other, having “detectives” show up and take people away to be “re-educated” or to just become “maggot-meat”. The country was ruled by the likes of a regime analogous to the Nazis (there was no mention of a name except that the country had a black and red flag – very telling of the ideology in power) and whose morality and values, rife with oppression and authorotarian policing.

The book, however, told the story of this kid, who was bullied at school because he had heterochromatia (one blue eye and one brown), who had trouble breathing and who wore short-pants instead of the long-pants, that were a sign of esteem in his school. It was a story of an underdog, who in his own way, stood up and single-handedly brought around a hopeful revolution, bringing down the entire regime. The hero, who was the only solution and the only hope to a desperate people. And he did it not for himself, but to save his friend or his love. It was a heart-wrenching story and the message is as clear as day. You have to be a special kind of stupid, to take this story just at face-value.

The Circle (Jerk)

This book. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. It read like a prequel to 1984 by George Orwell and a lot of it made sense. On the other hand, it assumed that nobody in this world would retaliate against gross invasion of privacy; which really is not the case (at least not in the world we live in). With hundreds of thousands of redditors willing to take matter into their own hands and with the existence of “Anonymous” hackers, it really isn’t possible for one company to truly “take over”, so to speak, at least not in a manner as “complete”. Even though the United States is over-run by this craze of technology, I don’t see this happening. Yet.

WHEN we end up in this dystopic future where everyone is watched and is under constant surveillance, it won’t be because one day “Big Brother” just decided to exist. No, it would be because we invited them in. Fact of the matter is, there is a majority of our world already, who would welcome this kind of invasion of privacy, masquerading as “the need for attention”. People sell all of their information on the internet for free. Their opinions (thinking people will respect them for whatever delusional righteous beliefs they have {which are shaken very easily unfortunately}), their choices, their thoughts, their values, their need for popularity. But are these really for sale if they’re given out for free? Samplers everyone is willing to give out, but no one truly wants? Who’s really gaining from all this? Is it for as innocuous reasons as targeted advertising or is there a more nefarious purpose to all this data collection? I think about the suggested ads I see everywhere I turn my head. Sometimes they show me ads for things I’ve never expressed an interest in but have bought on impulse at some point. How does anyone know to show me an ad for some uncommon toy I bought at Walmart? How do they even know what I am spending my money on? It’s scary.

Our fear of the unknown, of secrecy, of conspiracy, of anything and everything that potentially could harm us, of what scares us, will eventually be the basis of our downfall someday. We are already headed there. Our need for more and more convenience and imagining that data being the answer to all questions, is lulling us into this false sense of insecurity. Data will shine light no doubt, but the light is colored and controlled to show you what the powers-that-be want you to see. Much like the book hinted upon. I guess I did like the book.We human beings have lived in this world for thousands of years, and our biggest fear is: our own damned kind.

This book made me think. It made me think about how much, how often, and what I post on social media. What is the image people have of me? Over the past couple of years, I’ve stopped posting a lot of things that I deem personal. It’s just pictures of cats or books for me. My online presence and popularity may be waning, but the price is one I am content and willing to pay: peace of mind and a pleasure in actual relationships. It’s unfortunate.

Wolf in White Van

I was right. Wolf in White Van was the most boring book I’ve read in a while and it slowed my readin progress to a crawl when I finally started reading it {for the 3rd time}. It was written in reverse and I lost the thread a 3rd of the way into it, all in pursuit of the story. However, the flaw isn’t just in the book itself. I think this book was written more for the enjoyment of the journey rather than the conclusion, and so the fault of disenchantment falls (somewhat) in my lot.

I think I should stop reading all books like they’re suspense thrillers {expecting a mind-boggling end and preparing to be blown away}. It’s really anticlimactic and takes the fun out of the reading since instead of slowing the pace of my reading and absorbing the atmosphere, I speed through it to get to the end.

However, reading the blurb before beginning to read the book, left me thinking this was going to be another sci-fi thriller of sorts. I really thought it was going to be a bit like Ready Player One or something along those lines. It turned out to be a lot less remarkable than that. Ah well, onwards and upwards

Nimona – a Web Comic / Graphic Novel

Besides the fact that the cover and the art work is gorgeous, this comic drove a hole in my heart and firmly made a place in there for itself forever.

There’s something to be said for the people who can make you fall in love with fictional characters: their mind and their social abilities work at a whole other level. People who can possess your emotions, take control and make them go this way and that, are people to be feared or revered. I haven’t decided which. Although, I must say the feeling of helplessly falling in love with minimally illustrated characters is refreshing. This emotional abuse, this manipulation, at the hands of a graphic novel was a roller-coaster ride. It had me rooting for the characters and I was emotionally invested in the final outcome of their lives. And that is what you want for your characters and their readers don’t you?

It’s almost always the small things that make you love someone and that knowledge is what the author used against us readers. She drove us into caring for this villainous creature and we didn’t stand a chance of coming out of this comic unscathed. It was spectacular. Little things like the witty banter between the two main protagonists/antagonists (honestly don’t even know what they are) made me squeal out of love. The story spun knights, legends, magic, science, love, and mystery into a tale that you could tell had been lovingly crafted by the author. It felt like a lot of time had been spent pondering over the seemingly shallow and yet inconspicuously deep story plot.

Somethings don’t need to be spelt out and the author understood that. Somethings are felt. The nuances of relationships that form the basis of love are like a universal language that everyone understands. I loved it every minute of it.

Authors like this make me wish that I could take a peek into a person’s mind. I want to know how it works, what makes it tick, and what it is capable of. People with such deep understanding of how to incite emotions in others scares me. It scares me to think what they could do with this kind of power; someone having this kind of power to manipulate my emotions is not something I take lightly because it is something I am so rarely in control of myself.

The work went beyond all expectations and YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW. That is all I am saying. READ IT NOW. GO.