What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

After the whirlwind of a book that I finished yesterday, I drew a lot of comfort reading Murakami’s What I Talk About when I Talk about Running. For a person like me who finds comfort in a long, solitary sport like distance running, it is so easy to connect and identify with Murakami. I understand completely the struggles of training, the desire to just slog it off and sleep instead of punishing yourself to miles on the road. I like that he was honest about his failures, his somewhat competitive fiber that drives him to run faster, his frustration of not getting the PR he wanted, and the struggle to balance work, family and sport. It’s a memoir after all, covering the ugly tracks would have been pointless and futile. It’s cool to atleast know that a writer on Murakami’s caliber can still find the time to run. The reason: he loves it. Crazy for most but he likes it. As much as I do. 4/5
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The lines that I love:
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“I just want to make sure I get the facts down clearly: I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone.” .
“In certain areas of my life, I actively seek out solitude.” .
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“I had to gibe it everything I had. If I failed, I could accept that. But I knew that if I did things half heartedly and they didn’t work out, I’d always have regrets.”. .
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“Running has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t need anybody else to do it, and no need for special equipment. You don’t have to go to any special place to do it. As long aa you have running shoes and a good road you can run to your heart’s content.” .
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“For a runner like me, what’s really important is reaching the goal I set myself, under my own power. I give it everything I have, endure what needs enduring, and am able, in my own way, to be satisfied.”

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Okay, here’s the thing about this book, if you are in for some laid back read, DO NOT read One Hundred Years of Solitude. It takes a LOT of concentration to keep track of the events and the names of who married whom and what happened to this and that. I have too many what the fck moments in my five days of agony trying to finish this book. If a teacher would ask me what the theme of the book is, it would be: incest, insanity, extreme introversion and crazy martyrdom. I lost track of the names and number of nephews Amaranta seduced in her bed, I have forgotten if it was Arcadio or Areliano who married a nine year old girl while he was in his fortys? Ghads, the names were almost always the same in a long line of family history. I have this vague suspicion that Marquez was simply having a good time fcking up with our brains that he didn’t really have a noble goal of producing that book but simply wanted a good laugh from getting too much hate of those who have read his work. Well, I finished it, and I hated it. He was successful. 1/5

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’ve watched the film years before I ever got my hands on this so it was difficult for me to build up the suspense that was supposed to be there for first time readers. I have pictured the betrayal, the twisted ways in which Amy framed his husband for her supposed murder and the long, tedious and disciplined plans she took to get what she wanted: revenge for not being cared enough and for her husband’s infidelity. All thanks to the film. I hate that it is embedded in my head, it literally spoiled the thrill I was meant to get out of reading a good book.
Anyways, about Amy, like I said, she’s twisted in many, many ways. Sick actually. She was mentioned in the book to be a sociopath. But from years of studying Psychiatry, she is easily identifiable is a full blown psycopath. Very calculating, patient and hardly leaves trail of evidence for the crimes and traps she’d set up for her husband. Truly intelligent in a sick way. 3/5

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Oh ghaaadsss. this book, it shattered me. I was crying buckets towards the end and it didn’t help that I was already heartbroken at the thought that everyone Liesel ever loved was going to die. Her responses and the way Death painted the scenes at the final chapter made everything so utterly devastating. My heart broke in pieces. And that’s how I rate a book, according to the degree of emotions it’s able to draw from me. And I sobbed hard at this.
Also, guilt, resistance towards tyranny and the love for words were central themes in the book, and anything that has in common about my principles and interests in life immediately wins me over. So it’s completely easy for me to give this a 5/5.
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This is a story that revolved around World War II, the plight of Jews and those who chose to resist and hide the enemies in the safety of their homes inspite of the fatal danger of doing so.

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The Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Ahhh…so deeply satisfying. I love this book as much as I loved the first installation of her trilogy, The Giver. As with all the other books that gets into me, I needed tissues to get to the finish line. This was a quick, fun read in the midst of a very exhausting dragon boat training season.
Book centers upon dreams, dream givers and nightmare givers called Sinisteeds. It is a complete work of fiction but has definitely dealt with very real issues like disturbed parenting and families. It has touched important values such as courage, laughter and patience that may very well be an exemplar ideals for teens and preteens who have gone through the book. Highly recommended if you want a quick and light read that does not involve too much drama.
4/5 😊❤

The Last Juror by John Grisham

I have lost count of the number of Grisham novels I have read. He is my go to read when I feel like I need a fast paced, drama-less past time. The Last Juror did not disappoint me. Protagonist is a college drop out from Memphis who moved in to the small town of Clanton, Mississippi in hopes of starting his career as a journalist. Willie Traynor who’s got a rich grandmother back in Memphis eventually bought the weekly newspaper of the town previously owned by Mr.Caudle or popularly known in their town as Spot.

The story revolved around the murder case of Rhoda Kasellaw with Danny Padgit as the primary suspect. The Last Juror was basically a black woman by the name of Callie Ruffin, a close friend of Traynor. I guess the primary objective of the novel is to expose or to orient some reading folks that there are laws in the US that aren’t fair. For instance, in Danny Padgitt’s case, after deliberations, he was deemed guilty by the jurors and was sentenced to a life sentence. Common folks would naturally think that this literally means he will be spending the rest of his days in prison. Unfortunately, in Mississippi, a life sentence means a minimum o 10 years in prison plus the fact that you are eligible for a parole. Which is what actually happened at the second part of the novel. From then, I should say the climax started when the jurors were killed one by on, starting off with the ones who voted NO for a death penalty.

I was expecting a rather dramatic finish from the novel, I was expecting that Ginger Kasellaw, Rhoda’s sister was the one behind the killings. But it was only Hank Hooten, the ex lawyer who, five years earlier was admitted to an asylum due to Schizophrenia. Much words were written in the novel that did not much contribute to the storyline. For instance, it tool great lengths describing Sam Rufus’ affairs which was not at all helpful by arriving at an incredible finish. Another one were the chapters dedicated to the prospect of buying Will Traynor’s newspaper. I thought they were helpful chapters that would spice things up. But they were not. Nevetheless, it was still some thrilling and enjoyable one. I especially like the humor injected to it.

The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm by John Grisham I conditioned my mind to think that this should be the best among all of the Grisham books I have read for the past few months because this was published in the 90’s and also because it has a film adaptation. Here is what I think about the book: Mitchelle McDeere is a budding lawyer. It is amazing how he was able to pull off a get away plan like that. Assuming that everything has really been well thought off because he is a brilliant lawyer, the odds should be really really on their side for everything to work together. At the final part of the novel, they ( Ray Mcdeer, Abigail McDeere and Mitchelle McDeere) were chased by 60 Mafia gunmen and hundreds of FBI agents. The Fibbies were only interested in arresting Mitch because they wanted to use him as witness to testify against the Morolto family-the Mafia. While the Mob or the Mafias want him dead. Two group of people hungry to pin him down and the McDeeres were hiding under their very nose. They were not cought which was really just astounding if it were to happen in real life. But then it is fiction alright, so *shrugs shoulders* we get what we need.

The Associate by John Grisham

I vowed to finish all of the Grisham novels at home while am on break from school, so here it is. I finished the book in a matter of hours. Grisham obviously have the knack for packing his novels with interesting characters and plots which makes it really hard for you to put the book down. The Associate wasn’t different, however, I am disappointed how things ended. A lot of loose ends to say the least. Questions that needs answer, the very reason you stuck to it until the end only to find out that they weren’t answered which was very frustrating because it sort of murdered all of your expectations from the book and the author. For instance, who was the partner at the firm who was also spying for Bennie Wright? What was the organization that finances the expensive espionge job of BW? What happens to Kyle McAvoy now that he’s declined the witness protection program? These and more. Things just fizzled out and you certainly are wishing that there should be a sequel to this book considering the knots that weren’t resolved, sadly there is none. Am giving this a 5/10 rating.

I don’t know where to put this comment from the paragraph that I just made, but I need to acknowledge the portrayal of a depressed person in the character of Penny McAvoy, Kyle McAvoy’s mother. Totally forgotten the lines which accurately depicted how it’s like to live in depression. There were lines that said “in her sad little world” , “she is medicated so she acted decently” things like that.

the associate

Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin

Aaaaaand, another book review because holy cow I’m bored af.

There’s so much to love in this novel, and I really liked it. First because the author is a girl, second she’s Asian and third, it’s a cultural and familial sort of read. This novel will in no doubts touch you. A family of a hardworking mother trying to raise all of her children , and when they’re all grown up and left the village , one day she goes for a visit to Seoul , she gets lost even though she is with her husband, and that’s when everyone remembers to care, that’s when everyone remember all the time they hurt her , all the time they ignored her , all the time they saw her as a cooking and life providing machine .

The author goes through three characters that could easily be reduced to stereotypes. A rebelleious daughter now a successfule novelist, the eldest son-the family’s favorite, tje cheating husband. Each takes up the story and Mother’s life is slowly revealed.
With hindsight, all of these characters are able to clearly see the faults in their relationship with this woman, and the signs that clearly not everything was ok. The constant headaches noticed by the oldest daughter, for example, or the breast cancer that the husband tries desperately o ignore because he just didn’t care. In many ways, this woman comes off as a saint of the highest order, simply for dealing with a shitty family. And we need to be careful here – I don’t think the family was doing it out of any kind of spite, malice, or even doing it consciously – that is simply the way they treated her, and that was that.

This is a deceptively simple book. There is so much more going on here than I would have given it credit for before I opened it. So many ideological battles are being played out underneath this plot: city and country, male and female, generational change – it’s all in here. I loved it. 7/10
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