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.

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

Ancillary Justice

“If you’re going to do something that crazy, save it for when it’ll make a difference,”

Excerpt From: Ann Leckie. “Ancillary Justice.”

This book is one that can only be classified as an epic Sci-Fi. It felt like it was setting up for a long haul and that you should probably stick around for the next few books. It was different enough to be interesting. It was about how spaceships were controlled by omnipotent and omniscient Artificial Intelligence. It is about politics and revolution in a science fiction setting.

It is about an Artificial Intelligence being betrayed by a dictator who in itself is another Artificial Intelligence. It’s a game of cat-and-mouse that is being played over aeons by two splinters of the AI dictator and the AI which is the protagonist of the book is used as a pawn and it takes it upon itself to make the fact that the dictator is split known to the world. Admittedly, there was a certain dept to the book and I think, for me personally, it will require a re-read sometime during the future. Since the concept was new and the avenues explored were quite unique, the book was a little difficult to digest at first and needs a little more concentration and deliberation.

Overall, it was an interesting read. I thought it could have been made more interesting. The switching from flashback to the present and vice-versa was kind of too quick and abrupt and left me kind of reeling from what felt like whiplash. I realized it was setting up for a trilogy or a saga so I guess I will have to read the rest of the books to figure out the gaping loop-holes that it left in the narrative.

Dark Matter

Nothing exists.All is a dream.

God – man – the world- the sun, the moon, the wilderness

of stars – a dream. all a dream; they have no existence.

Nothing exists save empty space – and you….

And you are not you – you have no body, no blood, no

bones, but you are but a thought.

Mark Twain

This was a decent book. The premise was interesting enough and most of the book was a mild read. Nothing earth-shattering. It had some good bits but most of it was just bland. I’d read it if I couldn’t find something spectacular to read. I don’t know if what I say from this point onwards is a spoiler or not, but how the plot was going to unravel was pretty obvious to me from the beginning.

It’s about a guy who gets kidnapped by some other version of himself that has managed to invent a machine that can allow him to cross over to parallel universes because he didn’t like the life he was leading in the other universe. Some things in it made sense. Some just got lost in translation from science to fiction. Read it if you wish. Everything was pretty bland from my point of view.

Me Before You

The problem with Goodreads is that no where on the website will it tell you the genre a book belongs to, like specifically. So that I can take one glance at the genre and reject the book outright. Hence, I got duped into believing the super-high rating this book had  was because the book had some substance and I picked it up at Target (an impulse-buy that I allow myself at least once a month). It should suffice to say that I HATE romance novels. They’re everything I believe to be wrong with the women in our world. They fill our heads with unrealistic expectations of the men in our world and make us feel like nothing is good enough. Instead of teaching women to become the “man” they have been waiting for, they teach us that we need to rely on someone else to take care of us. That we need someone else to push us into being amazing. Why is it that these books never have a supportive family that is pushing you into pursuing your dreams. Why are families always shown as the people who hold you back? What bullshit is this? Where is the reality?

Feminists should boycott these books.

Rich damaged man, poor foolish woman. Meet. Fall in love. Insert conflict. End with tragedy. I hate these formula books and this book was one of those to the core. It started off decently enough but about halfway through it I could have told you exactly how the story was going to progress. It was worse than most of the cliched books out there. If you are into that sort of things, great. If not, avoid this book like the plague. It was an utter disappointment. My fault entirely, because I quit reading soppy crap like this a long time because I thought they were playing on my emotions to bring me down and making me feel weak and I didn’t need anymore of that in my life than I already had. No body needs books that leave them feeling like crap and wishing they had someone else’s life. No one deserves that. Books should be uplifting and inspiring. This was just another version of Twilight grounded in a world that looked a shade similar to ours.

Golem & Jinni

For a book with such a cheesy title, this book really surprised me. It really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be and there was a quiet pleasure in reading it. Admittedly, the title WAS the reason I was attracted to it and wanted to read it. The word “Jinni” just has such a pull to it, at least for me because of the mystery surrounding the legend rooted in our culture and religion. Regaled with stories from our parents and friends as kids about these mythical creatures that are made of fire and have powers that could allow them to rule the world if they so wished, our level of interest just got wired at the very mention of the word “Jinni” making us hungry for more information, any story that could reveal the nature of these beings so hidden from us.

The myth of the Golem was not something I have heard of. From what I read and will now research, it is a Hebrew legend. Beings made of clay as opposed to the Jinni being created from fire. In my religion, humans are made of mud and clay too. Does that make humans a form of Golem too? Hmm. I wonder. It’s unfortunate that Wikipedia doesn’t have the answer to life. It would make my life so much easier.

Anyways the book read like an epic and in a good way. The language was expansive enough to keep it interesting and not formal enough to be a difficult read. It was poetic and yet easy to make it an enjoyable read. The ideas were there, woven together and just like in life, some characters didn’t play an interesting enough part or have much of a role in the overall story and it seemed like it was close enough to real life and how some people just don’t play an important enough role in your life to make a lasting impression.

Her future unrolled before her like a dreadful tapestry, its pattern set and immutable. There would be a wedding, and then a house somewhere nearby on the avenue, with a nursery for the children that were, of course, mandatory. She’d spend interminable summers in the country, traveling from estate to estate, playing endless games of tennis, chafing under the strain of being constantly a guest in someone else’s home. Then would come middle age, and the expected taking-up of a cause, Temperance or Poverty or Education—it did not matter so long as it was virtuous and uncontroversial, and furnished opportunities for luncheons with dowdy speakers in severe dress. Then old age and decrepitude, the slow transformation into a heap of black taffeta in a bath chair, to be displayed briefly at parties and then put out of sight; to spend her last days sitting bewildered by the fire, wondering where her life had gone.

It’s true isn’t it? Sometimes I feel like we are all following a script and we are expected to play the roles that we are supposed to. Our entire lives are planned out by our society and we can’t choose a different life for ourselves. If we want something different for ourselves, we have to fight for it every step of the way.

She didn’t have the stomach for prolonged family strife, nor the fortitude to make her own way in the world.

And that brings us to this quote. Who has the strength to extend wars we have to fight to live the life that we want, that may be different from what others want for us.