Stargirl

“She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music. She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school. In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what a football was… She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”

– Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

You know the type of stories that take hold of your hand and pull you right in? It is as if it is saying, “Yes, yes, I know who you are. Come in, come in, settle down, make yourself comfortable.” And as soon as you start, it’s as if you were there all along, all cozied up. Stargirl is that type of story. As soon as I knocked on its door, I just couldn’t stop. Just one more chapter. The character of Stargirl is one my favorite characters. She’s always out there, being our inner us. Dancing in the rain during school hours, singing Happy Birthday songs during lunch hour, cheering for the opposite team during games or even caring when someone from the opposite team gets hurt. She shows that she is just a human being. Her caring nature shines through so much that she does not see that there are “social rules” that everyone follows. To be honest, she reminds me of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Luna also didn’t have a lot of friends because everyone thought that she was so out there, but those that took the time to understand her, became some of her closest and dearest friends.

I have a love and hate relationship with Leo, the male protagonist in this story. He supports Stargirl when they are to themselves but abandons her when his peers isolate him from everything. Although I do feel sorry for him when Stargirl leaves; he realizes too late of what really mattered. But, as the years passed by, he seems to have picked up some of Stargirl’s quirks such as dropping a quarter in the street, walking in the rain without an umbrella, reading the newspaper all over, etc. But in the end he knows that he is not alone and that just like he did not forget about her, she did not forget about him.  Because a day before his birthday, he received a gift-wrapped package in the mail. It was a porcupine necktie.

The One and Only Ivan

” I think for awhile. It’s hard to put into words. Gorillas are not complainers. We’re dreamers, poets, philosophers, nap takers.”

The One and Only Ivan

Finally, I took it upon myself to read this book. Despite it being a quick read, it was an emotional journey. The emotions itself were raw and powerful. They shook me. I cried for Julia. I felt Ivan’s rage as he beated his chest, over and over again. Inspired by a true story of a gorilla in captivity, this story explores the power of friendship, identity, and creativity.

Tsundoku (n.)

tsun•do•ku  [tsun-doh-ku]
(n.) from Japanese- the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.

I do have the habit of being a Tsundoku  。(*^▽^*)ゞ  I bought all these but never seemed to actually read them or I may have started, but didn’t get all the way through.

  1. Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by Philip Kerr

     

I didn’t actually buy this one. Baba drove by a book sale the other day and thought I might like it. So, he bought it for me. Thank you baba! ♡〜٩(^▿^)۶〜♡ He knows me so well. Apparently, this book is the first book of its series and it is about a pair of twins stumbling upon the world of djinns. Oooh, can’t wait to crack this book open.

  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by J.K. Rowling

I know, I know. Usually I’m quick to gobble up HP related books, but this one came amid my student teaching and grad classes. So… it got put off the side. On the plus point, I did start it though.

  1. Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Actually, I finished this right after I took this picture. I had finished a third of the book when I had stopped reading it. After I picked it up again, I ended up staying the entire night to finish the book. Now I can relate with people who has already read it ^^”

  1. The Zoo Keeper’s Wife by Diana Ackerman

I became intrigued after I saw the movie trailer actually. I’m all for a good Holocaust related story. I believe that each Holocaust story is just one piece of a whole story. I like hearing and experiencing the different stories out there. I did take it to Bangladesh when I visited, but it never peaked my interest to just sit down down and read in the hustle and bustle.

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I picked this up at my local library. They’re always having a book sale. You can get three paperbacks for a dollar! I’m currently reading this one now, after finishing Wonder.

  1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I never got the chance to read this. That’s the disadvantage of going to Barnes and Nobles… the books call you over, you buy them, and now they’re sitting on your shelf intend of theirs.

  1. Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter

This book was on sale at the school I student taught at. It looked interesting so I did it.        I bought it    m(_ _;;m

  1. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I also bought this at the above book sale mentioned above. But, I promise, I’ll get to this one soon. This year, no new books until I finish all these first.

Books to read (and re-read)

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

I came across this at Barnes and Nobles while waiting for my tutoree. It seems magical and an interesting read. I can’t wait to devour this one.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I know, I know. I’ve been hanging on to this one for quite a while. I can’t just seem to get a good grip on this book. I start reading it, and then something just happens to distract me. Maybe there is too much going on in my mind.

The Zoo Keeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

And don’t even get me started on this one. I’m really into Holocaust stories but i just never got the chance to sink my teeth into this one.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This is one of those books that you get introduced to in school. My 6th grade teacher read this out loud for us and I had fallen in love with it ever since.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of my most favorite books of all time. I had a blast ripping it apart when I used it for my undergraduate thesis paper. And to those of you who don’t know, Frankenstein is the scientist that made the creature, not the creature itself.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Another favorite. Out of all the books we were required to read in 11th grade, this was the best one. I hung onto each word as I read though every page of this book. I loved it.

Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill

You carry both lightning and thunder in that space between your bones and soul. Become the storm you are hiding from, a hurricane does not run from the rain.
– The Space Between

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 

“He would have told me the story of the Sixth Borough, from the voice in the can at the end to the beginning, from ‘I love you’ to ‘Once upon a time…’ We would have been safe.”

-Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This book was a great read as well as a great journey. I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting, or two or three for that matter. The words are dense and heavy. The thought processes are constant and ongoing. Sometimes, there’s too much to take in. I found myself going back and forth between sentences trying to keep up with their thoughts. But that’s what I kind of like about this book. It tells it how it is, how Oscar, grandma, and The Renter are thinking, even if they’re rambling. I liked the pictures residing in between the pages, the story of the sixth borough, the can with the voice inside that said “I Love You”, the need to stop inventing, and burying all your love and regrets six feet underground. Although the key had nothing to do with Oscar’s father, I loved how his connection to it helped Oscar come to terms with his father’s death. It wasn’t something I was quite expecting 😊.

The Book Thief

I picked the book up as I waited for the student I agreed to tutor at the library. The Book Thief, I whispered to myself. It sounded interesting. Another Holocaust book. For some reason, I like reading books about the Holocaust. They are sad and heartbreaking but they also provide another side to the story. Last summer, I read The Boy in Stiped Pajamas and it was told in the viewpoint of a nine year old Nazi boy. The story was both wonderful and heartbreaking. I cried at the end. But that’s something I know that will always happen. Holocaust stories almost never have a happy ending no matter which side the story is from.

I liked the way The Book Thief was written. The narrator of this book is Death and that in itself is so intriguing. Many times, the words are just so beautiful and poetic that I can’t help but post some excerpts here:

Death is poetic.

“So many humans.
So many colours.

They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-coloured clouds, beating, like black hearts.

And then.
There is death.
Making his way through all of it.
On the surface: unflappable, unwavering.
Below: unnerved, untied, and undone.”

Death feels emotions (o_O)… that’s a whole different perspective.

“I carried him softly through the broken street with one salty eye and a heavy, deathly heart. With him I tried a little harder. I watched the contents of his soul for a moment and saw a black-painted boy calling the name Jesse Owens as he ran through an imaginary tape. I saw him hip-deep in some icy water, chasing a book, and I saw a boy lying in bed, imagining how a kiss would taste from his glorious next-door neighbor. He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

Death sees colors. Way more than we do.

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”

Death fears us.

“I am haunted by humans.”

And I think that this is one of my favorite parts of the book:

“As the sky began to charcoal toward light, we both moved on. We both observed the boy as he reached into his toolbox again and searched through some picture frames to pull out a small, stuffed yellow toy.

Carefully, he climbed to the dying man.

He placed the smiling teddy bear cautiously onto the pilot’s shoulder. The tip of its ear touched his throat.

The dying man breathed it in. He spoke. In English, he said, Thank you. His straight-line cuts opened as he spoke, and a small drop of blood rolled crookedly down his throat.”

This book was a phenomenal read. The words were just beautifully written. It’s something I wouldn’t mind reading over again. I like the sound the words make when I read them aloud in my mind. In short, I’ve fallen for this book. I love the words. The poetry. Papa and his accordion. And I have most definitely fallen in love with Rudy Steiner.

The Kite Runner

For you, a thousand times over.  – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner. It is my first time reading this book, and I wondered why it took me so long to pick it up and start reading it. In all honesty, I guess I just wasn’t ready. It was not just for this book. I wasn’t ready to start reading for myself again. You know, the type of reading where you are curled up in your favorite place with a book in hand. The type of reading where you just read without taking a break except for eating and going to the bathroom.

I guess college kind of ruined that for me. I read because I had to. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be of much use in lectures and I wouldn’t be able to complete my assignments. It got really bad when I had 5 classes together and I was reading 4-5 different books each night, constantly trying to get through pages and pages of reading. That really killed my interest for reading books for entertainment. But I won’t say I regretted having to read those books back to back because I learned how to manage my time well. As an English major, I really learned how to read in between the lines. Now sometimes, even though I don’t try to, I start analyzing the book as I read it. And sometimes I stop myself and ask,  ‘What in the world am I doing? Just read.’.

So, this is the first book that I’ve picked up for reading for fun. And what a book it is. It’s about love, friendship, family, hatred, the inner mind. It made me smile. It made me cry. Khaled Hosseini did a marvelous job. Not only did he capture the moment of which he writes, but he also captures the reader’s attention so well that the reader can’t help but to absorb every little detail of this captivating story. I have to say, my most favorite character is Hassan. His friendliness, his loyalty, his personality really touched my heart. If I am ever blessed with such friends as him, I wouldn’t give them up for the world. And Amir, he’s okay. Although there were some things that I disliked about him, I understand that he was just a kid at that time and so his feeling are understandable. I know that if he was told about the secret, he would have protected Hassan with his life. In all, this book is an awesome read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good book to read (or re-read).