Hey everyone! Since I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, and do not see myself posting a book review for awhile, to fill up the gap I thought I would make a small post – it’s all in the title!
May has been a good month. I went to a book fair and came away a few books richer, and also surrendered to my nagging obsession and bought a few books off Book Depository.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I still vividly remember the first time I watched this movie. I was still in high school and grappled with my identity as an Asian living in New Zealand (feeling confused, out of place, and feeling like I didn’t truly belong anywhere). Before my sister and I got too busy with studying or work, family movies were a frequent thing in our household (now we only watch the big blockbusters at the cinemas together). My parents suggested watching this movie.
This movie changed my whole perspective on ethic identity. I would say that watching this movie was integral in developing a healthy self-esteem and a sense of who I was. Though there are problematic portrayals of men (Asian men as bad men or undesirable partners, which is then juxtaposed with the affectionate, white man), I found and drew strength from the stories of the women and their stories. I identified with their struggles. I learned so much about myself, and also learned that I had so much potential as a person.
Though I didn’t like the book as much as the movie, The Joy Luck Club and all its forms is something I hold onto very dearly, especially for what it has done for me: a turning point in my life for the better.
The Duchess by Amanda Foreman
It isn’t often that I buy books because of cover-love, but when I saw this in a book fair in fantastic condition for only $2, and with such an enticing summary, I knew I had to buy it. Who doesn’t love the occasional book that explores the dark side of the rich and powerful?
She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana’s public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug-taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day. With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Another find in the book fair! Unfortunately I don’t know much about The Descendants, aside from the fact that its movie adaptation was well-received. One read of the summary, however, spurred me into buying this book. A book seemingly about family, death, redemption, grief and loss, mixed in with self-discovery, raw honesty and introspection — sounds like my kind of book! I plan to read this soon, so be on the look out for the book review!
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
It’s awful when you already know the end of this book. Not because you gave into weakness and curiosity and Googled it, but because you were looking for something to watch on TV and bam, The Time Traveler’s Wife movie was on TV and you very unfortunately watched the climax of the story. Bummer, eh?
I found this in the book fair too, and because it was cheap and in good condition, I thought I would buy it anyway. From what I have gathered, there seems to be people who adore this book and people who hate it. I bought it in the hopes that I will be the former. Because despite knowing the ending of the book, it’s the journey that counts, right?
Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
My enduring fascination with this movie/book is largely owed to its music. When I was in high school, I was in the senior orchestra, and as school orchestras do, we entered competitions and competed with other schools. In my years of performing, one of the most memorable performances was the main theme from the Schindler’s List movie. The concertmaster’s performance was breathtaking. I was moved to tears by her emotional performance. More so, she was a Pacific-Islander woman – unfortunately there are not a lot of Pacific-Islander and Maori musicians, so it was really awesome seeing such a stunning performance from such an incredible and inspiring woman.
I haven’t actually watched the movie, but I may have to after reading this book. Given its subject matter, which undeniably bears a lot of historical value, this seems like those books that are unmissable.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
I think you all know how much I adored The Winner’s Curse. So naturally, when I saw this book, 25% off its original price, at a closing bookstore, I bought it without hesitating. Not only is the cover beautiful, but The Winner’s Trilogy crosses my mind every few days.
I am, however, a little tentative about reading it. Not because I’m unsure whether I’ll like it or not – I’m sure I’ll love it even more than the first book – but because if I read it now, I’ll have to wait a bloody long time before The Winner’s Kiss. From time of writing, I’d have to wait eight months… waiting would be unbearable. In the meantime, I shall busy myself with other books and read this just before The Winner’s Kiss releases. Whether I hold myself to that with steadfast patience is another story entirely.
Foucault by J.G. Merquior
I will confess, I think I bought this book (again at the book fair!) for superficial reasons. You see, I loved my time at university. I was a Sociology/Psychology major and both became the loves of my life. It’s been almost a year since graduating, and I miss it terribly. Foucault was a sociologist/philosopher that I studied, but really struggled to fully understand. More so, given his contributions to the social sciences, it is amazing that I only studied him in two classes.
I bought this book because 1) if I want to call myself a respectable, loud-and-proud Arts major, I need to know Foucault inside-out; 2) I miss Sociology and Foucault is a piece of Sociology; and 3) my non-fiction shelf is seriously lacking and needs some meat (my dream would be to fill it up with bell hooks, Zizek, Marcuse, and Bauman.
And of course, I bought some books that I loved but have already read! Below are read and reviewed:
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
- The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
And that concludes my book haul for May! Phew, in hindsight, that’s quite a few books! I wonder what June will bring.
What books have you procured in May? Please share and recommend in the comments below!