#Book Review Historical Fiction | War | Love | Politics
An incredible novel that tells us about the Biafran civil war of Nigeria and how the lives of people are affected by the turbulence of war. It is a powerful and impactful story about Nigerian history that also discusses relationships and love.
The story begins with Ugwu, a simple Igbo village boy who goes to a town called Nsukka to work as a houseboy for Odenigbo. Odenigbo is a mathematics professor who can speak confidently about many intellectual topics. He is a socialist and loves discussing politics. Odenigbo is in love with a woman called Olanna who is often treated with love and respect by everyone because of her striking beauty and kindness. Olanna has a twin sister, Kaniene who is not as beautiful as Olanna but is super confident, sophisticated and handles her father’s businesses. There is another character called Richard who is from England. When he visits Nigeria as a journalist he falls in love with the country. He learns to speak the Igbo language and is so fascinated by their culture that he decides to write a book about Biafra.
The story revolves around these five characters, Ugwu, Odenigbo, Olanna, Kaniene, and Richard, and how their lives are affected due to the civil war. It discusses the characters on a deeply personal level and at the same time establishes the struggles of violence, politics, and war. Each of the characters evolves throughout the book after we get acquainted with them in the initial chapters. From vulnerability, poverty, and fear to accepting change, and being hopeful.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a story that paints a very realistic image of the Biafran civil war. As a reader I got pulled into the culture, language, and history of Biafra. It highlights topics like postcolonial traditions, racism, and different ethnicities. Amongst all of this, love is also a prominent theme that remains in the book right till the end, even though it gets a little complicated and twisted due to the complexities of the characters and situations.
It is a remarkable book that I highly recommend you to read if you are in the mood for a love story in a war background.
Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest is a collection of admirably written poems by Martin Boško. It takes you on a journey inspired by Greek mythology while also tugging on the heartstrings with feelings of love, betrayal, and longing.
This book is a collection of poems assembled by the author through one calendar year. The use of imagery, powerful expressions, and moving poems give us an insight into the inner workings of the poet’s mind. The author has shared some of his most intimate moments, emotions, and intentions that make each of his poems memorable. The rhyming nature of the poems was an absolute delight to read and made me want to keep going on and on for more.
When sadness comes as a raging river I reach into my trusty quiver To pull out the Arrow made of honey And heal the wounds that are fresh and bloody.
– Martin Boško
The book has four sections as mentioned in the title: Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest. Even though my knowledge of Greek mythology is quite basic, I still found the poems hard-hitting and extremely pleasing to read. The poems on love capture the heart and soul of the feeling of being in love. As I progressed further, I could not help but feel like I was experiencing heartbreak along with the poet through his poetry. There were many moments where I empathized with the poet and wished for a turnaround in his life. Overall, I highly recommend Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest for all those poetry lovers who wish to be taken on a journey of imagination and emotions.
A great self-help book for people suffering from celiac disease in which the author also reaffirms the need for compassion and care.
Eat Your Rice Cakes is a self-help book for people suffering from celiac disease. Margaret Weiss takes us through her journey of diagnosis, struggles of living with the disease, and finally acceptance of her condition. This book is a great resource for other patients who have their own struggles with celiac’s and also for readers who are curious about the disease.
The author takes us through her early life where the celiac disease diagnosis turns her world upside down. She narrates the tale of where she was first diagnosed and how that led to the title of this book. Margaret Weiss also takes us through the shock and horror of losing all her comfort foods. Some anecdotes from the book highlight her plight as she realizes cakes, bread, pastries, and even Oreo cookies are permanently off her dinner table.
The other aspect she talks about is the societal reaction to her condition. In the times when she was diagnosed there was very little public awareness about the disease. She was often mocked by friends and the waiters at restaurants would give her quizzical looks as she explained her conditions. In that regard, modern times are a much better place due to the abundance of gluten-free products in grocery stores.
Margaret’s journey then leads her to become a registered dietitian, diabetes care, education specialist, counselor, and author. She takes to the practice to help others overcome this disease. Eat Your Rice Cakes is a book that aims to help patients deal with the different stages of grief and take a positive course towards change, transition and adherence. As a fellow patient with around twenty-five years since her diagnosis, she understands not only the physical limitations but also the emotional stress of living with celiac.
All in all, Eat Your Rice Cakes is a great resource for anyone suffering from celiac or has a loved one afflicted by this condition. Readers who are curious about the gluten-free items they spot in the grocery store can also learn a lot from this book and be more accepting of this condition.
My Name is Wilma is a quirky book that’ll take you on a journey of exploration of the world through the eyes of a cat. If you’re a cat lover, then cozy up and enjoy the ride.
Wilma, the cat’s story begins on the Dutch tulip fields where her life was rough and rugged. It was only after she meets her humans, Kirsten and Willem, does she realize how wonderfully sheltered a cat’s life can be. The story is narrated from Wilma’s point of view. In Kirsten’s house, Wilma meets Sailor, Kapitein, Prince, and many other cats throughout the book. While Wilma has learned many lessons about surviving in the outside world, she relies on Kapitein to be her guide, mentor, and friend for wise pieces of advice. Kapitein helps Wilma get comfortable in her new home and also gives life lessons on how to deal with difficult situations.
While Sailor and Wilma are tolerant of each other, they never become extremely close and Wilma instead seeks adventures outside. Soon, they have to make a difficult journey from the Netherlands to New Zealand. This part of the story is invigorating and described in remarkable detail where we get to experience what cats go through during a long overseas flight. The fear, uncertainty, confusion, and finally relief are something we go through together with Wilma while reading the book. The adventures continue one after the other until Wilma reaches her forever home.
Wanderer is a poetry book which discusses the author’s journey of falling in love, heartbreak, pain, hope, and finding forever love.
In this poetry book, the author Court Young shares the two most important phases of her life. The first part is about the Wolf and the second part is about the Eagle/Lion. The first part is about getting attracted to the Wolf and falling hard in love. It’s about love, lust, heartbreak, and the pain that follows.
The poems express the vulnerability, anger, confusion, and frustration that she feels towards the Wolf. Her anger is also towards herself because she had given him the power to hurt her. She goes through this emotional journey with questions of self-doubt and self-worth. Some of her poetry is also about the seasons which reflect her state of mind. This poetry book progresses slowly towards hope when she finds her Eagle/Lion. The haunting memories of her past are soon forgotten after she finds her soulmate. She realizes what she has been missing out on and understands love is all about respecting one another and making each other feel beautiful about themselves.
Most of the poems in the Wanderer are about love, desire, and pain. It’s about the turbulent times in the author’s life and how she learns to overcome these challenges. The poems are not super impressive; they felt more like the experiences of a teenager. It was also a little confusing because the author talks about the Wolf and the Eagle in the Author’s Note, but in the second part, she addresses her forever love as the Lion. The poems were not thought-provoking and lacked imagination and rhythm. However, her sweet short poems are easy to read and are great for young adults. Through her poems, she tries to inspire all those people experiencing heartbreak to get back up as there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Midnight Light romanticizes the concept of death, nature, love, and redemption making it a perfect pick for the season of Halloween!
The ideas presented in the book flirt with burial, guardian statues, left behind loved ones, and astronomical figures where the real ones include stars, lights, and night, and the unreal figures are the devil, god, and angels. A background theme that recurs in some poems deals with drugs and their intoxicating effects and how some lives are ended too early because of addiction. The combination of the words on the page along with the photographs that accompany them presents a vivid picture that guides you along a path to find your own understanding of each poem.
The poems are written artistically and without hesitation about certain themes that are difficult to discuss. It is easy to fall into a world of imagination as you picturise each of these poems while reading them. While the poems are not very simple, they aren’t complex either, which leaves you longing for one more poem before you call it a night.
This poetry book is a combined passionate labor of love by two friends Michael Pace and Brian Paglinco who share over thirty years of friendship. Michael weaves the rich and rhythmic poems through his writing and Brian has provided captivating photographs that frame the theme of this book which is mainly about love, death, and redemption. I lost track of time, at times, engrossed in the fascinating pictures and uniquely interesting poems which I’m certain many readers too will happen to experience while reading the Midnight Light.
This interesting story will take you on a mysterious journey into a magical realm where there’s suspense, love, & of course the lighthouse.
Struggling with the loss of her mother, Amy Tucker finds herself with her father following a case in the mysterious town of Seabrook. There, a chance encounter with Ryan sets in motion a chain of events. The long dormant lighthouse which is the centerpiece of the town comes alight much to the fascination and joy of the local townsfolk.
Ryan, a ranch owner who also takes care of his ailing father is on the verge of financial ruin. Fate unites Ryan and Amy who look to each other to forget their woes in the festivities of the town. Their intense relationship within a short period of time culminates in a meeting of the hearts where unrevealed secrets spill out of overflowing cups.
A series of eerie events in Seabrook leads Amy to the lighthouse where she uncovers a truth that shakes the foundations of her reality. The plot gets increasingly more layered and nuanced, brushing with themes of love, betrayal, relationships, death, and the afterlife. The enduring figure of the lighthouse is used as a metaphor for the theme of this book. Beloved yet haunted for the townsfolk, the lighthouse serves as the center stage for many pivotal moments in the story. The Lighthouse is a thrilling page turner written by debut author Christopher Parker and will keep you interested until the end.
Everyone has heard about the book, The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a classic after all! I had heard about it too but never got the opportunity to read it. When I saw this book in the library last week, I grabbed it with both hands. It is a tiny little book with hardly 240 pages and it’s that kind of a book that seeks attention. You know that feeling where you can’t just walk past the book doing other chores without feeling guilty. It’s like the book was waiting for me to pick it up and start reading. I am not sure why I am saying all this, I guess I am still under Holden’s spell. But what I’m trying to say is I was tremendously excited to read this book and when I finally sat down to read it, I couldn’t stop. The Catcher in the Rye was all that was on my mind.
The protagonist is Holden Caulfield and the book is narrated in the voice of this sixteen-year-old boy. What can I say about him? When I first started reading it, I wondered why Holden is always angry and annoyed with everything and everybody. He hates his prep school Pencey because he finds it to be fake, he doesn’t understand the point of studying subjects with which he cannot relate, he hates his roommates and their nasty behavior, and he dislikes many other things which will go on right till the end of the book. After failing in all subjects except English, in which he is brilliant, Pencey Prep expels him. Holden is a teenager who is afraid like any other kid to go back home because he knows his parents are going to be super upset. The holidays are about to begin and Holden is expected to be home by Wednesday but he finds it difficult to spend another day in the school hostel so he decides to leave on Saturday and explore New York.
Holden is a restless kid who smokes like a chimney, he doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat, and is constantly looking for companionship in everyone. Be it a cab driver, a person sitting next to him in a cafe, or a pub. He walks around the streets of New York late at night freezing his tail off wearing his red hunting hat trying to find a place where he can find someone to have an interesting conversation with. He thinks of all his friends that he can call and speak to but is afraid he might wake their parents. So he walks around like a madman smoking and striking up conversations with random people. But every time he does that he is either disappointed or he is asked to shut up and leave. He also meets his terrific ex-girlfriend Sally but is again disappointed after meeting her. Nobody gets him.
The Catcher in the Rye is a book about teenage angst, alienation, rebellion, and depression. The style of writing is extremely unique and the narration is in the form of a stream of consciousness. Many readers dislike the frank use of language, profanity, and use of sexuality but it didn’t bother me much. I felt the book was so expressive, fluid, and descriptive that by the end of it, it almost felt like I knew the character personally. Like Holden could be your friend or that weird guy that you would have been around at least once in your life. I have always been curious to know what goes on in the mind of these ‘weird fellas’. Holden is a good kid who had to deal with a lot of terrible things at a young age, like death and suicide. He is sensitive, has a reclusive nature, and acts like he hates the entire human race. But this is a thinly veiled cry for attention as we see Holden try to create connections throughout the book and he only wants the world to be a better place. When he comes across someone smart but not a good person he expects better from them. He has an extreme personality with extreme expectations from life where he wants to experience unconditional love, real honest people, and a better world.
The character of Holden is simple yet complex, it’s kind of hopelessly attractive. We’ve all had these feelings where we have been frustrated with things that happen around us. We curb those feelings, don’t act on them, build a wall around us and surround ourselves with people who understand us and our values but we don’t do anything about the horrible things that happen outside the wall. Because what can we do, we are only a minuscule unimportant part amongst billions of other people who have their own way of thinking. J.D. Salinger has expressed these raw feelings and emotions with so much honesty that you might feel disgusted to read certain lines but that’s the truth, and the truth is often disturbing.
The Catcher in the Rye is an interesting read for adults but could be misleading to a malleable teenage mind. Ahh, the review turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. If you managed to read the entire review, thank you, really! Apologies if the writing was erratic with too many opinions. But the book does that to you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic book of literary realism and definitely recommend the literary aficionados to give it a read, if you haven’t yet!
Eli And The Mystery Of The Hallowshine Dragon is a fantasy story about a moon elf, Eli, who helps her friend Luna in solving a strange mystery of the enchanted forest. When Luna’s baby bunny transforms into hard rock candy, she runs to Eli for help. This transpires into a tale full of bravery, friendship, and the healing power of love.
What makes this book so fascinating to read is the interesting mystery tale accompanied by strikingly attractive illustrations in the background. The kids can enter into a magical world of imagination which is filled with beaming crystals, cozy treehouses, waterfalls, adorable animals, fairies, unicorns, rainbows and of course our beautiful moon elf. The art is exquisitely colorful and brings the book to life where it almost feels like the images are glowing and glittering.
Eli And The Mystery Of The Hallowshine Dragon is a picture book written by Eve Cabanel and illustrated by Ekaterina Ilchenko. This wonderful book is suitable for kids of all ages because of its positive storyline. It also reinforces a good message about being courageous and believing in yourself. It introduces fantastical characters to young imaginative minds. This book is a perfect stocking stuffer during the holidays but would also make an excellent birthday present for a young child.
#BookReview Fantasy | Fiction | Life | Hope | Philosophical
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is one of the most popular books published in the year 2020 so I decided to give this one a read. Also, because the title sounded pretty interesting to me. Now, who wouldn’t love spending the night in a library reading books? Even though this book is nothing of that sort, I wasn’t disappointed. The story is about a woman named Nora Seed who finds herself in a library lingering between life and death. There are innumerable books in the library that allow Nora to undo her regrets, explore parallel lives, and choose a life which she would love to be in. Will she give up her present life and choose one that she always dreamed of?
“Minds can’t see what they can’t handle.”
The Midnight Library is a book that opens up a passage for us to explore different lives, it answers the question which we often ask ourselves – What if? What if I had decided to become a sports player instead of becoming an engineer? What if I pursued my childhood dream then where would I be now? What if I listened to my parents and followed the path that they wanted me to be on, then what would I be doing now? Somehow this book feels personal, it’s more like a self-help book, where it answers those questions that we sometimes have about our unfulfilled dreams. Would life be better than it is now?
“Because a pawn is never just a pawn. A pawn is a queen-in-waiting.”
The year 2020 was a terrible year for all of us. I feel this book was released at the right time when most of us were lost and going through a difficult phase in life. Depression and grief were the two predominant emotions. This book was like a ray of hope for those who were leaning towards the red line where giving up on life seemed to be the easiest way out of problems. This book can pull you right back out of the darkness and show you that there’s more to life than you’ve already seen. When you are given the chance to change your life and make it better, would you take it or let it go?
The Midnight Library has received mixed reviews where many immensely loved it and many were super disappointed. If you picked this book up solely on the basis of its rave reviews, remember that expectation is the thief of joy. I guess it also depends on the state of mind in which you are while reading the book. If your life is perfect and you don’t need a helping hand then give it a pass. But if you are feeling low or if you know somebody who is out of sorts then this book can be a great distraction to keep yourself busy and it might lift your spirits by the end of it. Who knows, this book can be a reason to get back on your feet and experience something that you’ve been putting off for a long time. Coz, why not? After all, books can be a guiding light at times when we cannot find our path. I enjoyed reading the book and would definitely recommend it.
‘If one advances confidently’, Thoreau had written in Walden, ‘in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with unexpected success in common hours.’ He’d also observed that part of this success was the product of being alone. ‘I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.’