The Reading Forecast

So here we are. 11 days into the month of Ramadan and on the edges of a heatwave. Next week promises to be hot. I don’t know how much reading I will get done in the heat while fasting but I may surprise myself. Here is what I read last week:

  1. I Want to Kick You in the Back by Risa Wataya
  2. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  3. The Divine by Asaf Hanuka et al.
  4. The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc
  5. Glossolalia by Marita Daschel
  6. Twinkle Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni
  7. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  8. Lailah’s Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi
  9. Welcome Home, Bear – Il Sung Na
  10. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight – Penny Parker Klostermann
  11. False Covenant – Ari Marmell
  12. The Raven’s Child – Thomas E. Sniegoski
  13. The Exiled Queen – Cinda Williams Chima

Currently Reading

  1. Amsterdam Stories by Nescio

I just finished The Exiled Queen so I have yet to choose a lighter read to accompany Nescio’s short stories.

In the coming week, I plan to read some of the following books:

  1. A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
  2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
  3. A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Halloway
  4. The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

The Reading Forecast

So it’s Ramadan and as anyone could have guessed I am reading less than I used to. I seem to be moving at a slower pace than usual and that’s okay with me. I just feel like I need more time to actually concentrate on books and things and speed reading is something mythical I used to be capable of. That said, I did read 7 books last week so…you know.

  1. Eolyn – Karin Rita Gastreich
    I finally finished this. I enjoyed this quite a bit and hope to read the second and third in this series sometime in the future whenever that may be.
  2. Thief’s Covenant – Ari Marmell
    For all that this series is labeled as YA, it reads more as an adult fantasy series and should be marketed as such so that more people will read it. I enjoyed this. Gave it four stars.
  3. Swan – Laurel Snyder and Julie Morstad
  4. Dust of Eden – Mariko Nagai
  5. The Accidental Alchemist – Gigi Pandian
  6. P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han
  7. Manazuru – Hiromi Kawakami

Currently Reading

  1. I Want to Kick You in the Back – Risa Wataya
    Ha, I’m really enjoying this.
  2. The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima
    This is a reread for me. I am rediscovering why I love the series before I move on and complete it.

To Read in the coming week:

These are the books I’ll be picking up if I do read anything apart from what I’m already reading:

  1. The Crossover – Kwame Alexander
  2. False Covenant – Ari Marmell
  3. The Divine – Asaf Hanuka
  4. Poetry is Useless – Anders Nilsen

Note: Posts will possibly be even scarcer than usual because of Ramadan.

The Reading Forecast

Here are the titles I read last week:

  1. Pyongyang: A Journey into North Korea – Guy Delisle
    I quite liked this one.
  2. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige Mackenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel
    This was interesting but I found the pacing way too slow for my liking.
  3. Sadder than Water by Samih al-Qasim
  4. Sun and Moon – Lindsey Yankey
  5. Daydreams for Night – John Southworth
  6. Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson
  7. Kiss vol. 1-8 by Tomo Matsumoto
  8. All That Glitters – Holly Smale
  9. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth – Sanjay Patel
  10. The Umbrella Queen – Shirin Yim Bridges
  11. Mary Wrightly, So Politely – Shirin Yim Bridges
  12. Ruby’s Wish – Shirin Yim Bridges

Currently Reading:

I read the last four picturebooks this Sunday but other than that and a few paragraphs of Manazuru, I haven’t had a chance to read all weekend. A debilitating headache makes concentrating impossible and social obligations take care of whatever other time I have left.

I am currently reading some books–some more actively than others. They are:

  1. Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami
    I recently loved Strange Weather in Tokyo and this is the only other translated title by her so I got it out from the library. I’m really liking it though the pace is slow.
  2. Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich
    I really hope I finish this one this coming week. It’s becoming ridiculous now. I only have 128 pages to go.

To Read in the Coming Week

I’m not sure what I’ll be in the mood to read. I’m also not sure how Ramadan is going to affect my reading. But here are some of the titles I’m going to consider:

  1. The Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell
  2. Dust of Eden – Mariko Nagai
  3. Gods and Shadows – Jayde Brooks

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

18166126

Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Portobello Books
Source: Library copy

“I, on the other hand, still might not be considered a proper adult. I had been very grown-up in primary school. But as I continued through secondary school, I in fact became less grown-up. And then as the years passed, I turned into quite a childlike person. I suppose I just wasn’t able to ally myself with time.”

You may or may not have noticed a dearth of reviews around this side of the blogosphere. There are many reasons for that but mostly because I do not feel like writing reviews for the books I read in my own time. Having my analytical cap on perpetually is not something I can help but putting my analysis to words can easily become a chore–something I wish to avoid at all costs. Seeing my fellow bloggers (Renae and Glaiza, in particular) talk so passionately about books they chose to review and were not sent for the explicit purpose of reviewing made me rethink the whole venture. As in, why do people review? Obviously it is to share books they love with the rest of the world, but I think that is not the sole reason. Reviewing books allows the reader to immerse him/herself into the world a little bit longer–I am talking about books that were interesting to read. A negative review is a whole different kettle of fish and needs a different post to addressed properly.

Anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, reviewing can also be a method to continue immersing yourself into a wonderful world that you had to regretfully leave behind once you read the book.

So, I read this one a few weeks ago and I keep on thinking about how beautiful the book was. How gently it flowed, how quietly profound it was. The book is about Tsukiko who is in her late 30s (as the back copy says) and one day in a bar she runs into her high school teacher, her sensei. He recognizes her immediately but she takes a while to reconcile the older man in front of her with the teacher from her youth. He taught Japanese literature and Tsukiko wasn’t a very good student.

Sitting next to her teacher, whom she simply addresses as Sensei, she finds out gradually that they have the same taste in food and drinks. Their conversations are meandering and their intimacy grows very gradually. The book mostly takes place in the bars where the meet in the evenings for a meal, to talk, or to drink. Or all three. They go to a reunion, go on a trip, meet at the teacher’s house for more drinking. Their relationship flows like a river, slowly gathering depth and gaining meaning.

I loved how Kawakami expressed the humanness in all of us via her characters. The book has no epic romance, it has no strong heroines, or a thrilling plot. It is merely a promenade through the very simple life of two people who find in each other something they didn’t know was lacking in their lives. The book made me think on the vagaries of existence and the connections we have to not just the people around us but also to ourselves at any point in our lives.

Tsukiko’s small journeys to the bar and back home, her relationships with her mother, her sense of isolation spoke to me as a modern woman for whom loneliness is less about being lonely than it is about peace. I enjoyed this novel immensely and if you like the slightly sad but deeply rewarding books about being human and having love, you may enjoy this too.

The Reading Forecast

Monday rolls around and with it, the time for the weekly reading report. Last week was a reading week. Behold the titles I read:

  1. Thousand Cranes – Yasunari Kawabata
    This was okay but a lot was lost in translation/context/culture.
  2. Elena Vanishing – Elena and Clare Dunkle
    Harrowing.
  3. If There Is Something To Desire – Vera Pavlova
    An occasional glimmer of brilliance but on the whole I was left unmoved. I think the fault lies in me.
  4. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
    Just as good as all the blurbs say it is. Get your copy now.
  5. Only the Good Die Young – Chris Marie Green
    Finally an urban fantasy heroine who is level-headed for all that she is a ghost.
  6. Another One Bites the Dust – Chris Marie Green
    The sequel was interesting, not as good as the first one. Curious though that both love interests were wrapped up and now Jensen is a free…um, ghost.
  7. Giants Beware! – Jorge Aguirre
    I enjoyed this one.
  8. The Poet Slave of Cuba – Margarita Engle
    Nearly killed me. This was a difficult book to read.
  9. Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis – Wendy Cope
    This was hilarious. I enjoyed it.
  10. Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly
    This was okay. I will review it over at The Book Wars.

I am currently reading:

  1. Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich
    I’m about halfway through and have mixed feelings about this one. Hopefully I will finish it this week.
  2. Pyongyang – Guy Delisle
    I know many people have trouble with Delisle but I really like his graphic memoirs.
  3. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    I’m only about 8 pages in but I like the unhurried narrative tone. This will take ma long time to read and I’m okay with htat.
  4. The Haunting of Page MacKenzie
    I just started this one. I hope it’s amazing.

To Read in the Coming Week:

  1. Twinkle, Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni
  2. Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell
  3. Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacquelin Woodson

Mid-Year Reading Report

Though I suppose I should wait until June has passed to make this post, I find that I cannot wait (and have nothing else to talk about). Well, I could talk about irrelevant stuff like how much I dislike summer and wish it’d be fall already (I know, I know, how does a girl go from loving summer to not liking it at all? When I figure out the answer, I’ll be sure to let you know).

I have read 235 books and before you start telling me that’s a grand number, let me tell you that a lot of those books were manga, graphic novels and other easily read books. It’s not that grand an achievement if you get down to it–actually, I’ve read like 110 novels which is nothing to scoff at, I know, but I’m really not a reading superhuman. Or maybe I am and I’m naysaying just to prolong my mystery? I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Anyway.

235 books read. Let’s see if I can pick out a top 15 favourites of them:

  1. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
    It remains my favourite book of the year. It was fantastic and if you haven’t read it, you should.
  2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
    Laini does a freaking fantastical job of closing this trilogy. It was such a satisfying read and I loved that she kept it from getting maudlin and cheesy in the end. This book makes me anxious to read everything else she writes.
  3. The Water and the Wild by K. E. Ormsbee
    This middle grade debut was impressive. I loved the world Ormsbee created, the characters inhabiting said world and the story.
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    I just read this one a few days ago and it immediately clambered into my heart. Now I must have a copy of my own or I will die.
  5. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
    I waxed poetic about this title over at The Book Wars. It was tres brilliant.
  6. The Ravenous Gown and 14 More Tales About Real Beauty by Stephanie Raff
    I haven’t yet talked about this one but rest assured, I will and I will talk loudly.
  7. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufmann and Megan Spooner
    This one packed a hell of a punch. It was fantastic in all the ways that matter.
  8. The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
    I spoke about this, do you remember? If not, go to my archives and search it up.
  9. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
    This one was remarkably sensuous but sexytimes aside, I felt like it spoke a lot of truths about the human condition.
  10. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
    Granville tells her tale of the holocaust by framing it as a fairytale and using an unreliable narrator. It is wonderfully done, the book.
  11. The Vine Basket by Joseanne la Valley
    Valley sheds new light on the fate of the Uyghur people but does not let her message consume the narrative. The book is fresh and diverse.
  12. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
    This one was like living in a poem. Quietly profound.
  13. And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
    My first collection of poetry by Angelou. I loved it.
  14. This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad
    This picturebook won my heart.
  15. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox and Stephanie Graegin
    This is such an important picturebook and so beautifully done.

There are other books that I haven’t mentioned but that I liked but didn’t like as much as I liked these. It will be interesting to see how this list changes when I make the end of the year report. I hope you guys check some of these out. If you trust my opinions and like the books I like, then you’ll certainly like these.