Uncomfortable topics in Reading

This thought came to me recently when I started reading outside of my normal comfort zone. I am used to reading things about war, about getting hurt in the war and about the death. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t phase me, but it’s never been a reason I would stop reading a current book.

Then, I started reading a novel that discusses really dark topics. Topics that if I knew exactly before I started committing, could be a deterrent to me picking up the book. Yet, I wouldn’t say exactly that I am triggered—perhaps taken aback?

What would you do if a new read you just picked up has scenes that makes you uncomfortable? Would you keep going?

(More) Books For Your TBR

As my reading habit increased these past few years, I find most of my books are stories set in Europe or the United States. Not that anything’s wrong with that at all, I love these stories anyway. I am a big history buff so my historical fiction reads often remain in these general areas. But, I feel like I’m neglecting a part of my own history: Indonesia.

I spent my whole life in Indonesia, with an Indonesian mother and went to Indonesian schools. But since I moved to the States at eighteen, I feel like I’m unconsciously disconnecting from the place I grew up. In an effort to reconnect to my home, I came across some titles I’d like to incorporate to my reading list this year!

I hope some books in this list can be on your list as well 🙂

1. This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

This story is set during the Dutch Colonial Era in Indonesia surrounding our Javanese character, Minke, and the issues that were commonplace during this time. Issues like racism, classism, sexism and the overall mistreatment of Indonesians by Colonizers. We also see the way women are mistreated; and the way women could at the same time be strong.

This book has such a special place in my heart and if there’s any book I’d urge you to read, it would be this one.

2. Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Beauty Is a Wound

Beauty is a Wound really stuck out to me because of all the different topics that Kurniawan incorporate to create this story. It is about Dewi Ayu, a woman who was forced into prostitution, who woke up from her grave after twenty years. Yes this book takes aspect of Indonesia’s folk tales, supernatural believes and other cultures-It’s a blend of history, romance, tragedy and more.

It definitely is not for the faint of heart as the book also has topics like ” incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead”

3. Saman by Ayu Utami

Saman by [Ayu Utami, Pamela Allen]

Saman talks about issues that are considered taboo in Indonesia such as female sexuality, sex before marriage, and religion. Having lived there most of my life, topics such as sex and female sexuality wasn’t something that you really talk about day to day. Most people (albeit from my experience that is) kept this part of their lives extremely private, especially if you were unmarried. So, I definitely am intrigued to see how Ayu Utami discusses this in this novel.

4. Sitti Nurbaya by Marah Rusli

Sitti Nurbaya by [Marah Rusli]

As a kid growing in Indonesia, I’ve heard many versions of the Siti Nurbaya story. Most Indonesians know of this name and numerous songs have been written about her . I never, however, knew that there is a novel about it that was published back in 1922.

The story is about Sitti Nurbaya, a young girl in love with a man called Samsul Bahri; but love does not conclude so easily. It’s a sad love story, a tragedy, and a picture of life in the time of Dutch colonization. More so, it is also the expression of the experience of women against a patriarchal society, traditional family values and the sour realities that women faced under colonial rule.

What books would you recommend?

Or are there books that you’ve found reconnected you to the place you’re from?

The Bookish Blog Tag

Good afternoon everyone! And thank you for those who made it to this post!

I’m actually nervous about making this post because I’m still learning the grooves to the new blog and the different things to participate in. Hopefully I am doing this correctly!

I learned of this tag from @kristinkravesbooks and I’ve been glued to her page since I found her. I absolutely enjoy her posts 🙂

Here we go!

What are 1-3 of your favourite books of all time?

Amazon.com: Nefertiti: A Novel (Egyptian Royals Collection): 9780307381743:  Moran, Michelle: Books
Shanghai Girls: A Novel: See, Lisa: 8601400315712: Amazon.com: Books

I always have such a hard time picking a favorite book of all time. I find that as I discover new things, I find new loves equally. But these are the books that I have read within the past year that I’ll recommend to everyone and will never leave my library.

What are 1-3 of your favourite authors of all time?

I always love love love any work by Kate Quinn. I feel that all the books I have read so far of hers has been the beautiful medley history and riveting plot twists. If you’re like me with historical fiction, then you must read at least one of her works.

Other authors whose works I enjoy are the likes Neil Gaiman and Michelle Moran. There are just too many to choose from!

Who is your favourite female character of all time?

Children of Blood and Bone review: Tomi Adeyemi's debut shines - Vox

Zélie, the main protagonist from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Her character lingers with me ever since I’ve read the book. I think its because she’s both strong, fearless but she’s also human and vulnerable. The realness of her and how she persevere makes me love her dearly.

Who is your favourite male character in a book?

Paperback Genuine Lies Book

Hmmmmmmm I don’t know why this character comes to mind when I read this question. Back when I re-learn my English years ago, I picked up this work by Nora Roberts. The main character, Julia Summers, finds herself getting charmed by this witty and cocky guy; Paul Winthrop. Definitely set the bar for me with men.

Oh and also, Michael Corleone from the Godfather.

What is your favourite mythical world?

Harry Potter. I know that it’s basically the same world as ours but I imagine the amount of knowledge and ease of every day life if only we had magic too.

What Book has your Favorite Cover?

Sin Eater: Campisi, Megan: 9781529019063: Amazon.com: Books

I’ve seen this book come up on a couple of lists whenever I’m cruising for new reads. To be honest, I haven’t read this one yet. But the cover is really memorable; both pretty and a little disturbing.

What is your favourite book-to-movie adaptation?

The Godfather.

If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be?

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I would love to see this book into a movie, I think it has the potential to be very cool.

What was your favourite childhood book?

Hardcover Lola Rose Book

Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson. It kind of introduced my young mind to how people coped with abusive relationship, body image, and kind of finding your own strength kind of deal? I remember re-reading it so many times as a child.

Fantasy or sci-fi? (Or neither?)

If I had to choose, I would go for fantasy all the way. Because for me personally I can feel lost in fantasy genre a lot more than I would in a Sci-fi world. To my SO’s dismay, I don’t like space movies.

But I am open to try though!

The Last Bookshop in London (Review)

The Last Bookshop in London, written by Madeline Martin, centers on Grace Bennet, an orphaned young woman who moves to London in pursuit of her dreams. Accompanied by her best friend, Viv, and the support of Mrs. Weatherford, her mother’s dear friend, begins her journey through the war, the unexpected job, and new lessons in London.

The story is an easy read and does not feel taxing despite the war topic. It is written nicely and vividly descriptive. I do enjoy how the book highlights the way communities can come together during hard times to support one another. Grace’s determination, for example, is admirable and how through doing good deeds she can make a difference in people’s lives. The way books are important in the story (She works in a bookstore!), of course, is also a plus!

While there are things I enjoyed, I can’t say I like this work as a whole. 

The book has potential to have been great but it simply missed the mark. The plot feels like a straight line from start to finish; it lacks excitement and conflict. It is not a book you would ever read twice. 

Admittedly, themes and plots get recycled often in Historical fiction stories especially if they are set in London during or following up WWII. Through fresh presentation, though, one can make a new riveting story to tell. Interesting characters like Viv or George have very little part in the book and their interactions with Grace are mostly through redacted letters. Letters we never even get to read! 

I did read the book from start to finish and I did enjoy parts of it, but, I cannot say if I would recommend this to others. It is interesting because it shows what a regular civilian would experience during the Blitz, it lacks the extra magic to keep you reading.

Rating: 2 of 5 

Review: The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica (Some Spoilers)

The Other Mrs. centers around a woman protagonist, Sadie Faust, who finds herself in a middle of a murder investigation with a possible unfaithful husband, Will Faust.

In short, Sadie Faust and her family decide to move to Maine after some issues arise both in her marriage and with one of her sons. The family hopes to find a new life there though Sadie’s unhappy, they have to also raise Will’s niece and essentially no one seems to like her. What’s worse, everyone seems to want to accuse her of things she has never done.

The book utilizes multiple POV and I have to say that at times, I feel confused whose frame of mind I am reading from. This is really apparent when I’m listening to the audiobook version. Keep that in mind when making the decision between the physical/ E-reader copy versus an audiobook one.

I notice mixed reviews about the novel; some feel the storyline has so much potential that does not quite come together and others feel that the twists are brilliant. I myself am in between of these spectrums.

The story to me is put together well and I do enjoy going along with Sadie in her journey of figuring out what is going on in her new neighbourhood, finding out the dark history surrounding her husband, and overall seeing how she handles all of it. At the same time though, Sadie drags on and she puts herself in foolish situations that makes me groan.

I have to mention how much I dislike the way Sadie’s niece in law, Imogen, is portrayed. She is described as the epitome of cliched teenager. The black clothing, the ‘smart’ lines on her shirt, the ‘threats’ she makes to others, the smoking, the black eyeliner; it’s just as if someone googled ‘moody teenager’ and wrote down the first description they found. It just makes me cringe everytime Imogen appears in the story because she never feels rounded as a person to me as she should be.

Without telling you the ending, I’ll say that I never saw it coming. I had suspicions on some egregious characters but the way things unfolded at the end surely took me by surprise.

That ending alone, I think, makes this a book I recommend reading!
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My rating: 🌟🌟🌟

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