Dear reader, today I have a controversial topic to talk about – open ended novels. There was a time when I much appreciated open-ended stories. The mysterious cliffhangers would leave me wondering, “Oh what would have happened if he had chosen the easy path?” Or “Oh is she going to remain mysterious without revealing her true identity?” Or “Will she continue packing lunch for him as a mysterious stranger without meeting him?”
As I reader or an audience I have drawn my own conclusions feeling a sense of power. The unresolved narratives gave me a sense of liberty. I could use my imagination to give a unique ending to the story or sometimes I have left it unresolved too because not every story needs to have an ending. Some movies, books, podcasts, and paintings invited more ideas to be shared amongst friends and family for interesting conversations and perspectives.
HOWEVER, on the other hand this trend seems to have caught on a little too much, isn’t it? Many writers and storytellers seem to choose this path of ambiguous endings for their incomplete stories. Which I now find a little frustrating. Somehow all I am reading or watching or listening to lately are open-ended stories. “I need an ending, please!!”
There are too many stories with abrupt endings, it seems like the authors don’t really want to try and want the readers to do their job for them. I don’t find stories without an ending artful or intriguing anymore, it’s rather a lazy approach. What’s with the unnecessary tease? Why do we have to spend hours and not get answers to all the important plots? Some stories do not even require any layers of complexity.
“What really happened in this book?” “Why did I have to spend hours reading the damn book?” “The author might as well have ended it after the first chapter and called it a cliffhanger.” Why should the reader take the trouble of reading pages after pages and end up with nothing. Sometimes movies with abrupt endings are still fine as they’re over in a few hours. But with books, when there is no sequel, I am not really sure if randomly abrupt and ambiguous endings are fun or entertaining anymore.
Sorry, I’m done ranting. I just finished reading the book Paper Palace and I’m not very happy with the unresolved ending, hence this post. I know it’s not an easy job to write a book of hundreds of pages but as a reader, I’m requesting all the amazing writers to give their readers a good ending, open or closed as long it’s good. Thank you for reading till the end and if you’ve been on the same boat then I’m guessing you’ll share the same thoughts on this subject. If you do, then please do throw some light on your thoughts and share it with us.
I cannot accept that it’s already 2022, what happened to 2021? I guess most of us felt like 2021 was gone before it even began. Last year felt like a blur to me and in between those fleeting days I somehow managed to read twenty books. Before I start my journey with books in 2022, I am sharing the books that I read last year along with a brief summary for each of them (without any spoilers). I will also mention some of my most favorite books and I hope that this post helps you find interesting books to consider reading this year.
Midnight Library by Matt Haig: The book 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? Midnight library was one of the most read books in the year 2020. There were mixed reviews about this one, I cannot say I loved it but it wasn’t bad either. It’s a good book and you can read my full review here, Midnight Library.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: Uprooted is a fantasy novel that will take you on a magical journey through a homely village, a Dragon’s cold tower, warring kingdoms, and the corrupted Wood. I recommend that you definitely read, Uprooted, if you want to escape reality and enter into a realm of fantasy. Somehow, it even feels real and believable. It’s easy to get absorbed into the story. I loved the character growth of the protagonist, Agnieszka, and the fantastic world-building. Loved this book and you can read my full review here: Uprooted.
Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas: This book was more like a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story which is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle. Not highly recommended but good read if you are in the mood for something light and easy. You can also find my full review here: Your Perfect Year.
The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel: A very uniquely powerful story of a girl who has given up on the world and decides to live in the trees. This book is an emotional tale of a teenage girl who talks about Gezi protests in Turkey, constant war in Istanbul, bombing attacks, political realities, and violence in society. The harsh realities and the tragic events leave her with no hope of a better world. So, she runs away and climbs one of the tallest trees in Istanbul’s Gülhane Park. I recommend this book if you are in the mood for a uniquely interesting story about war. You can read my full review here: The Girl in the Tree.
Becoming by Michelle Obama: Becoming is a memoir about Michelle Obama’s personal experiences from childhood to becoming the former First Lady of the United States. It’s about her journey, her successful journey, that was not just rosy but also about taking the rough with the smooth. What makes this journey so amazing is that it’s relatable and at the same time inspiring. I absolutely enjoyed reading this autobiography because it was very inspiring and that’s what leaders are supposed to do. Highly recommend this one and you can read my full review here: Becoming.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Loved this book, it’s a classic after all! The protagonist is Holden Caulfield and the book is narrated in the voice of this sixteen-year-old boy. The character of Holden is simple yet complex, it’s kind of hopelessly attractive. 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. 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! You can read my full review and my personal thoughts on The Catcher in the Rye here.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 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. Half of a Yellow Sun is a book that 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 great book that I highly recommend you read if you are in the mood for a love story in a war background. You can read my full review here, Half of Yellow Sun.
Phoenixville Rising by Robb Cadigan: Phoenixville Rising is a novel written by local author Robb Cadigan who also resides in a town named Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It’s a fictionalized version of history that follows the story of Boo and Sketch, and the remnants of a once bustling steel town. In the absence of the steel mill jobs, the youth of the town are drawn towards petty crime and gang culture. You can read my full review here, Phoenixville Rising
I am super picky when it comes to books (otherwise too). Last year, I got the opportunity to write reviews for a website called Reedsy and it required me to read new books mostly by debut authors that haven’t been published yet. Some of the books that I had to review were selected not out of excitement but I did it anyway for the opportunity. I cannot say that all the books were great but some of them were good enough. Hopefully someday I will discover an excellent book on Reedsy that could become a bestseller and I would be the first one to have read it! A few of the books that I have reviewed below might not be popular at the moment but have the potential to become a best-seller with more recognition. You can also follow my links to read my full reviews on Reedsy. 9. Close Watch by Signe Christensen: Nobody likes the feeling of being closely watched or followed but it’s terrifying to know when somebody actually breaks into your house! Close Watch is a fictional story about Amber who is constantly stalked and how she ends up feeling unsafe no matter where she goes. A good suspense novel written by Signe Christensen. You can read this book on one of those weekends when you are in a mood for some easy and quick to read thriller stories. You can read my full review here Close Watch
10. A Season of Disruption by Jacqueline P Walker: A Season of Disruption is a short yet impactful memoir written by Jacqueline P Walker. Life can present us with unpredictable situations for which we aren’t ready most of the time. One such event occurred in the life of an eight-year-old child and this story is about how the family faces this devastating loss. What makes this book so powerful is the determination and courage of the family during times of distress. Read my full review here A Season of Disruption
11. Wanderer by Court Young: This poetry book discusses the author’s journey of falling in love with a wrong guy, heartbreak, pain, hope, and finding forever love. Some of the poems are also about traveling and seasons which reflect the poet’s state of mind. There are some books that you read and then regret. This was one such poetry book that wasn’t my cup of tea. But if you are in your teens going through a breakup or if you are in a mood for something emotional, then this book is good enough. Read my full review here Wanderer
12. Midnight Light by Brian Paglinco: This turned out to be a uniquely interesting book of poems that romanticizes the concept of death, nature, love, and redemption. Midnight Light is a combined passionate labor of love by two friends Michael Pace and Brian Paglinco. Michael weaves the rich and rhythmic poems through his writing and Brian has provided captivating photographs that frame the theme of this book. The poems are written artistically and without hesitation about certain themes that are difficult to discuss. Read my full review here Midnight Light.
13. Happy Here and Now by Matt Tracy: It is a self-help book that discusses situations and behaviors that we usually don’t pay attention to or tend to neglect. We are all happy in one moment and sad in the other. We are beings with so many emotions and feelings that sometimes we get carried away by them and end up losing ourselves. This book is like a guide that will train us to understand those emotions better, process them, and sometimes learn to let them go. Read my full review here Happy Here and Now.
14. The Champion by Wayne Rajah: The Champion is a fantasy fiction novel where the protagonist of this story is a twelve-year-old boy named Calvin with a superpower that allows him to fly. Calvin’s mother, Miss Khumalo is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he finds out that his mother is suffering, Calvin uses his superpower and the help of his mentor, Athwall, to take his mother on a mythical journey in an attempt to save her life. Read my full review here: The Champion.
15. Paradise Taken the Diary of Eden Flores by Omar Gonzalez: A heart wrenching and impactful story! When the innocence of a child is tainted by the gruesome realities of the world, then paradise becomes an unattainable dream. This book is a collection of true events about a girl named Eden Flores. The author, Omar Gonzalez, captures Eden’s life experiences remarkably in this book and shares them with us in the form of stories and poems. It’s a short book that you can finish in one sitting thereby making it an easy recommendation. You can find my full review of Paradise taken here. Read my full review here: Paradise Taken the Diary of Eden Flores.
16. Lighthouse by Christopher Parker: This book is about 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. Read my full review here: Lighthouse.
17. Eli And The Mystery Of The Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel: This is a picture book for children. It’s 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. So if you want to read a story to your child, then pick this one! Kids will love the beautiful and attractive illustrations in this book. It’ll help in sparking their imagination and increasing their curiosity. Read my full review here: Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon.
18. My Name is Wilma by Kirsten Bett: My Name is Wilma is a quirky book that will 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. The story is narrated from the cat’s point of view. Wilma begins on the Dutch tulip fields where her life was rough and rugged. It is only after she meets her humans, Kirsten and Willem, does she realize how wonderfully sheltered a cat’s life can be. Sadly I was expecting the book to get better but I started losing interest and somehow managed to finish the book. Read my full review here: My Name is Wilma
19. Eat Your Rice Cakes by Margaret Weiss: 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 celiacs and also for readers who are curious about the disease. Read my full review here: Eat Your Rice Cakes
20. Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest by Martin Boško: This book is a collection of poems assembled by the author, Martin Boško, 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. It takes you on a journey inspired by Greek mythology while also tugging on the heartstrings with feelings of love, betrayal, and longing. Read my full review here: Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest.
Happy Here and Now: Lasting Happiness You Can Count On gives you the tools that are required to stay happy during the sunniest of days and stormiest of nights.
We are all happy in one moment and sad in the other. We are beings with so many emotions and feelings that sometimes we get carried away by them and end up losing ourselves. We don’t often pay attention to the little joys of life and also the little problems.
Sometimes acting on every emotion like anger, fear, or sadness can have a negative impact on our life. It can even make us regret our actions. Happy Here and Now by Matt Tracy is a self-help book that discusses situations and behaviors that we usually don’t pay attention to or tend to neglect. It is more like a guide that will train us to understand those emotions better, process them, and sometimes learn to let them go.
Grieving must happen, and emotions must be felt, whatever they are. Fear or hatred or worry or disgust must be acknowledged. That is healthy.
This book also talks about understanding what happiness really is, how to be grateful, thankful, and forgiving. It’s about listening to our thoughts, becoming more aware, and believing in ourselves. At the end of each chapter, there is a section called Living It that we can follow to pay attention to our emotions and bring changes in our day-to-day lives by being more aware of our habits and trying to improve them.
I found this book interesting to read and found myself agreeing on multiple points that I never considered important. Happy Here and Now is a must-read!
Being aware of your thoughts leaves room for intuition to flourish.