Peering into “The Marriage Plot”

My head is bursting with words. I have to stop what I’m doing right now and let my cramped brain get some air by freeing these overlapping book mumblings! After a month-long hiatus, I finally found some time to steal for a quick blog. I’ve been indulging with my favorite genre the past few months and I promise to write more about them this month. Here’s a taste of something literary for you 🙂

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Pulitzer-prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides created a novel that borders on being a literary snob in “The Marriage Plot.” Dubbed as one of the best novels of 2011, this book followed the intertwined lives of three college friends who tackled the intricacies of love and braved the harsh realities of the world outside the four walls of their classroom.

Madeleine Hanna is an English Major who lives in the world of Jane Austen and George Eliot. She is writing her thesis on the marriage plot found in English novels. Leonard Bankhead is a mysterious yet charming loner who becomes Madeleine’s object of affection. Mitchell Grammaticus, on the other hand, is Madeleine’s long-time friend and long-time secret admirer who pursued Religion as his major. The novel started on the day of their graduation and was narrated with flashbacks and present realities that slowly moved forward to their future.

Madeleine ended up having a relationship with Leonard and marries him eventually (less than a year after their graduation). Mitchell went to Europe and India to find more spiritual enlightenment but this didn’t help him forget the missed opportunities he had with Madeleine and the numerous “what ifs” that hovered in his head. Leonard battled with depression throughout the novel. This condition took a toll on his marriage with Madeleine. Mitchell and Madeleine meet again toward the end of the story after a surprising turn of events.

The Reader Experience

The novel started pretty slow for me but I immediately loved the character of Madeleine being a literature major myself. I said earlier that this book bordered on being a literary snob mainly because of the literary giants (and their works) it mentioned throughout the story. Some of whom are unknown in the circle of average fiction readers. Perhaps this was what gave Eugenides the credibility to create a character, who took that course for the same reason I took mine,

She’d become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.

Finding a kindred spirit like her made me more engaged in reading this novel! Her reading list is pretty awesome (and nerdy for some, I guess). I will enumerate some later on. I love the character development of Mitchell. His search for meaning led him to different places where he saw the myriad faces of spirituality exhibited by various people. The pseudo-love triangle between them was the thin thread I was hanging on to. I was secretly hoping that Madeleine would finally notice and admit that Mitchell was the “one who got away.”

I almost gave up on this novel when it reached the part when Leonard was struggling being a manic depressive. Eugenides made it so depressing that it felt like I was on the verge of having one, too! The uncanny beauty in that part was that I learned what it was like to be depressed and how hard it was to fight it. Leonard was a very intellectual character. He explained his condition in the most sensible way. His terrible mood swings affected me the way it almost ruined Madeleine’s sanity. In the end, Leonard made a drastic decision that I never expected. This decision led to Madeleine and Mitchell meeting again where another decision was made that surprisingly was the ending I wanted for all three of them.

The novel closes with a lot of possibilities. When Mitchell threw this question to Madeleine, I found myself nodding—completely satisfied with Jeffrey Eugenides’ marriage plot.

From the books you read for your thesis…was there any novel where the heroine gets married to the wrong guy and then realizes it, and then the other suitor shows up, some guy who’s always been in love with her, and then they get together, but finally the second suitor realizes that the last thing the woman needs is to get married again, that she’s got more important things to do with her life…do you think that would be good, as an ending?

It exhibits reality in its purest form where anything can happen. It takes exceptional talent to weave that kind of plot. It takes a great deal of risk to veer away from happily ever after and settling with allowing the characters work it out for themselves. And as Eugenides aptly puts it,

It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.

Are you ready to take on Madeleine’s reading list? 🙂

Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida

Writing and Difference by Jacques Derrida

A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes

Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Love Story by Erich Segal

The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar

H.M. Pulham, Esquire by John Marquand

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

The Role of the Reader by Umberto Eco

On Deconstruction by Jonathan Culler

Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Paradise Lost by John Milton

This book is FRAGILE: Handle with Care

What will you do if your child is so fragile she can break her bones while she’s sleeping? How will you take care of your little one who can suffer fractures due to a mere sneeze? These are the everyday dilemmas that Charlotte and Sean O’ Keefe face about their daughter Willow. In “Handle with Care,” Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, took me once again into a journey involving sensitive and moral issues that can make or break a family.

After reading this book, I had to pause and psych myself to detach my emotions from the characters I’ve grown to love. It had that rare grip on me as a reader. I have to agree with Stephen King on this. This is Picoult’s best novel by far since “My Sister’s Keeper.” Here’s what he has to say:

“You men out there who think Ms. Picoult is a chick thing need to get with the program. Her books are an everyone thing, and the current offering — about a little girl whose bones are so brittle that they break almost at a puff of wind — is her best since My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a legal/medical thriller, but at bottom it’s a story about the American heart of darkness: a small-town marriage under stress. Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance and never descends into soap opera.”

—Stephen King

The Story

Willow was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) or the brittle bone disease. Despite being extremely fragile, Willow was a genius. She loves blurting out trivia every now and then. She reads during her recovery period after a bone break. Her personality more than compensates for her sickness.

To give you an idea on how fragile Willow is, here’s an excerpt from Charlotte’s narration:

Your first seven breaks happened before you entered this world. The next four happened minutes after you were born, as a nurse lifted you out of me. Another nine, when you were being resuscitated in the hospital, after you coded. The tenth: when you were lying across my lap and suddenly I heard a pop. Eleven was when you rolled over and your arm hit the edge of the crib. Twelve and thirteen where femur fractures; fourteen a tibia; fifteen a compression fracture of the spine…twenty-three happened in your sleep; twenty-four and twenty-five were a fall forward in the snow that snapped both forearms at once…twenty-eight happened during a sneeze; twenty-nine and thirty were ribs you broke on the edge of the kitchen table.

(quote shortened)

Charlotte and Sean O’ Keefe were the most dutiful parents Willow could ever have. Charlotte had to give up being a pastry chef just to take care of her while Sean had to work double shifts as a police officer to pay for their insurmountable medical bills. Aside from her parents, Willow had a stepsister Amanda, who despite being helpful, had secret struggles of her own.

Their trip to Disney World was the turning point of the story. Willow slipped inside an ice-cream parlor and broke both her femurs severely which could lead to internal bleeding. The family didn’t even make it inside Disney World, they all went to the hospital to rush Willow. Upon arriving at the emergency room, Charlotte asked Amelia if she brought the letter. Whenever the O’ Keefes go out they bring the letter from Willow’s doctor saying that she had OI. Unfortunately, Amelia forgot. She got overwhelmed with excitement that she forgot to get the letter Charlotte asked for. This mistake led to the arrest of their parents for being suspects of child abuse.

A lot of people are not aware of OI which is the very reason why they had to bring the letter all the time. Willow’s doctor could not be reached by the hospital and so the social welfare had no choice but to put Amelia in protective custody and Willow in hospital arrest while their parents were in jail. They were eventually released and the family went home but Willow was placed in a spica cast for four months which made it impossible for her to move on her own.

Coming back from Florida, Charlotte consulted a law firm so they could sue the people who harassed them and took their kids in custody. Basically, all she wanted was to be paid financially for the damages they incurred during their stay there not to mention the embarrassment they experienced. After much interrogation, the lawyer said they have no case against the people in Disney World or the hospital. However, they can have another case that can give them huge financial gain. They can file for a wrongful birth lawsuit.

A wrongful birth lawsuit implies that if the mother had known during her pregnancy that her child was going to be significantly impaired, she would have chosen to abort the fetus. It’s a medical malpractice suit that can be filed against the ob-gyn for failing to disclose the condition of the child. Winning this whopping $8-million lawsuit would mean a lifetime of comfortable living for Willow. This would’ve been easy for Charlotte if this did not entail two things: declaring publicly that she would’ve aborted Willow had she known her condition AND suing her ob-gyn who was her best friend.

Review

This novel is a web of questionable medical ethics, conflict of interests, moral obligations, unspoken truths, and dubious motives held together by a mother’s unwavering love for her child. Every part of this novel is believable. I understand how enticing it is to have the future of your child secure and I also know how gut wrenching it is to lie in front of your own child. You’ll discover in this novel how this situation affected all the members of the O’ Keefe family as it was told by each member of the family including Piper, Charlotte’s best friend. Big decisions such as this can make or break a marriage, a friendship, and an entire family.

I love the way Jodi Picoult made the tension so gripping and the emotions of the characters so riveting without coming across as sappy. I wanted to jump inside the pages of the book and scream at Charlotte. I wanted to shield Willow from all the pain. I wanted to tell Sean to control his wife. I wanted to tell Piper to just loan Charlotte money. A good novel makes you want to meddle with the story and be involved in the conflicts set before you.

This book has its shortcomings, too. The recipes in some of Charlotte’s chapters were distracting for me. Although I understand that she’s a pastry chef, I was more eager to move on with the story instead of reading recipes. However, I know that readers who love to cook will love those parts. I had mixed emotions about the ending. It got me thinking for a while and so many questions lingered in my head.

Overall, this is a book that has the right amount of everything. Picoult knows when to pull back when the plot thickens too much. She can put your emotions in a situation that you find yourself becoming so fragile like Willow who can break at any given time. It’s too good to put down once you started it. So if you’re looking for a book that will shake you to the core, then open your doors to the O’ Keefe family…but you have to handle them with care.

Keeping THE VOW

Vows are more than just lip service. These are commitments you made to your spouse that you should live out every single day. Kim and Krickitt Carpenter made the same vow—for better or for worse, till death do us part—not knowing that keeping it will be extremely difficult. I’ve read a lot of love stories but nothing came close to the unwavering commitment that this couple had for each other. This memoir is the story that inspired the movie “The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.

The Love Story

A simple phone inquiry about baseball jackets was Kim’s first encounter with Krickitt. She was the bubbly telephone sales personnel of Jammin Sportswear. Kim, who was a baseball coach for Highland Cowboys, found himself fascinated by Krickitt’s refreshing friendliness. He felt that she was the most helpful person that customers could talk to every day. The usual business chit chats led to longer conversations, to exchanging of phone numbers at home, and to finally meeting each other.

In their getting-to-know process, Kim found out that Krickitt was a Christian. He wasn’t like her, though. Krickitt lived the Christian life—you could see it in her countenance and the way she related to people. They both knew Christ around the same time during their teen years but went off different paths along the way. Krickitt remained strong in her faith while Kim fully committed his life to Christ later on in his adult life. It’s amazing how she prayed for their relationship early on. One of her journal entry reads:

“Lord, I really need your wisdom and Spirit to guide me with Kimmer. Part of me wants to meet him—I think it would be fun. Part of me doesn’t because I don’t want to begin to have feelings for him if this is not of you. If it is, I pray you would show me that. I want to be led by you. I see so many ways on which we relate, but you must be the center.” (Krickitt wrote this before she decided to meet Kim in person.)

That first meeting led to more dates up until May of 1993 when Kim proposed marriage to Krickitt. They got married on September 18, 1993 and exchanged their vows before God, their family, and their friends. They went to Maui for their honeymoon and settled in Las Vegas, New Mexico when they returned. It was a fairy tale story, indeed.

The Accident

The newlyweds decided to celebrate their first Thanksgiving weekend at Krickitt’s parents in Phoenix. It was a long ride but an easy one, passing different interstate highways. During the long drive, Kim noticed that he was coming down with a cold. Krickitt then offered to drive so he could rest. He didn’t even argue because he really was not feeling well.  Around 6:30pm, their car was hit by a pick-up truck on the driver’s side, leaving a wreck that no one could possibly survive. Kim didn’t expect that his two-month marriage would end just like that.

Kim suffered terrible injuries—broken ribs, a broken nose, and lacerations that were too many to count. Krickitt fought a worse battle. She was comatose for almost four months and suffered severe head trauma. The trauma was so debilitating that she had to relearn basic movements such as brushing her teeth, dressing up, and even walking. This also resulted in short-term memory loss that meant all her memories two years prior to the accident were completely erased, including the time she met Kim up to their marriage. Krickitt had no idea who Kim was and when she was asked who her husband was she stated matter-of-factly that she was not married.

The Recovery and Restoration

Krickitt underwent therapy for a long time. Kim acted as her coach, pushing her during rehab sessions. He knew that Krickitt could do better because she was athletic by nature and a gymnast. This pushed her away because she hated how he was being so pushy about her improvement. For Kim, he was just doing his job as a coach, motivating his wife to full recovery. Conflicts intensified with Krickitt’s change in personality and inability to recognize Kim as her husband. Kim, on the other hand, felt broken to pieces each day with his wife’s wild mood swings and hurtful words.

These challenges didn’t stop them from working out their marriage. Krickitt knew that her faith in God was crucial to her recovery and so one day she started to journal again. In one of her entries she wrote:

“Dear Lord…I really want to be back with Kimmer and get our new life going again. I am relying on you to restore all of my feelings for our relationship…Thank you for sparing our lives in the accident, and I ask you would use us for your glory. Please strengthen our marriage and make it even stronger than it was in the beginning. Help us to grow closer together. We give you our trust and thanks…May I become the girl I was and the one you want me to be.”

Both of them went through counselling and sought guidance from their families. Kim fully surrendered to God his control over Krickitt and their marriage. He started to court Krickitt again and built new memories with her. They beat the odds and weathered the storm together. They refused to be part of the statistic that says the odds of divorce for a married person with debilitating head injury are 80-90%. Three years after the accident, Kim and Krickitt decided to get married for the second time. During the ceremony, Kim repeated the same vows he made to her in their first wedding. They went to Maui again for their honeymoon. Eleven years after the accident, they decided to have children.  And after 20 years of marriage, their relationship is stronger than ever. They may have made a lot of mistakes but they did one thing right—they kept their vows.

My Thoughts

Kim and Krickitt’s story just blew me away. Reading their painful and traumatizing journey in detail was heart wrenching. I learned so many things from them. As a married woman, I know that it’s not every day that you stare dreamily into your husband’s eyes. It’s not every day that you feel blissful in your marriage. And it’s okay. After all, loving someone is a decision. It’s a choice not based on my moods or feelings. I love what Krickitt said in the book,

“When I lost my memory, I lost my feelings for Kim. I had to re-discover what it was about Kim I had fallen in love with before. I can’t remember what it was like the first time, but I’m guessing that this time my love has grown in a different way—not that ‘fluffy’ romantic love, but more of a conscious choice. The fact was, I was married to this man. The feelings came later, and by God’s grace I’ve grown to love him again.”

I also appreciated the effort that Kim put into their marriage. When he stopped looking for the old Krickitt or expecting her to return that’s when things started to change for them. He decided to pursue and love the new Krickitt and build new memories with her. It’s tough to have your spouse and lose her at the same time. It’s one of the cruelest ironies I’ve heard of. This didn’t faze Kim Carpenter. He remained by her side regardless if she wanted him there or not. Krickitt stayed with him even if she didn’t know him nor felt any connection to him. With God being the center of their marriage, Kim and Krickitt held on to their vows more than life itself. As they continue inspiring people all over the world, I realized that stories like these should be a great reminder to all of us that marriage is worth fighting for and it always deserves a second chance. 🙂

 

Divergent: A Different Dystopia

Dystopian novels depict a repressed society controlled by a select group, masking itself as an ideal society. The thing that fascinates me about dystopian novels is the tenacity of man’s free will that cannot be subjugated by anyone. Authors have taken different angles in tackling dystopian societies. To date, “The Giver” remains to be my all-time favorite. However, I must say that “The Hunger Games” trilogy took the dystopian genre to a whole new level.

As I read Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” early this year, I realized that a writer’s skill is not limited by the topic she writes about. True, “Divergent” may be from the same tree but it’s unique and exhilarating in its own way.

Synopsis

Set in dystopian Chicago, Beatrice Prior lives in a society divided into 5 factions— Abnegation (the selfless; where she and her family belong), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest), and Erudite (the intelligent). At the age of 16, they are made to take aptitude tests to determine which faction they belong to. During the annual Choosing Ceremony they can decide between staying with their family or choosing another faction where they will live for the rest of their lives.

When Beatrice took her test she had an inconclusive result. This made her evaluator worry. She was advised not tell anyone what her result was. When it was time for her to choose which faction she wanted to join, much to her parents surprise she chose Dauntless over Abnegation. During her stay in Dauntless she changed her name to Tris to embrace the new identity of belonging to another faction. Tris faced rigorous and death-defying training. After all, when your faction means bravery you should be able to face anything.  She tried to blend in the background but her ability to get past simulation tests gained her the spotlight all the more. Her budding romance with her elusive trainer named Four also added to her troubles.

Tensions arise when Tris finds herself in a situation that endangered the life of the people she loves. The turn of events will catch you by surprise as Tris struggled with her own identity in a world where trust seems to be as elusive as freedom.

Review

What I love about “Divergent” is that the characters were given a choice from the very beginning. Yes, they were trapped but they get to choose where they’ll be trapped for the rest of their lives. Early on, there’s a nagging variable presented to the reader—divergent. Wanting to know what that means along with its implications drew me deeper (and faster—because I literally read it fast!) to the dystopian world of Beatrice.

There are also very little clues as to where the turn of events will be as you read the novel. Unlike in “Hunger Games” when Katniss volunteered, I knew for sure that this was a fight for survival. With “Divergent” the reader is kept speculating on what the twist will be. I love the character of Tris and her deep sense of loyalty even if it meant putting her life on the line. You may find it ironic that I lauded her loyalty when she changed her faction. You have to read it to see how this one plays out in the novel. Four’s mysterious character got me glued to the pages as well.

The idea of cultivating your strongest virtue for the rest of your life appealed to me because I’ve always believed in leveraging on your strengths more instead of wasting your time trying to improve your weaknesses. In the novel, if you’re smart you go to the Erudite faction where you’ll be a genius by the time you die (well at least that’s my guess). But the curse in this kind of dystopian society is when a person crosses the line from being the best in his/her faction to becoming the worst of its kind.

The Amazing Author

Veronica Roth is 23 years old. Yes, you read it right she’s only 23!!! What was I doing when I was 23?! Haha! Anyway, “Divergent” is her debut novel and the sequel “Insurgent” will be released anytime this month. Yay! I’m excited to see how this trilogy turns out! I don’t expect it to reach the same heights as “Hunger Games” but I hope each book gets even better. I love the book and the concept of the trilogy for what it is. I admire Roth for her engaging prose and her dauntless leap to take on such erudite task of publishing a debut trilogy.

NEW: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I’m really excited about this! I must confess first that I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter novels. I mean, I plan to at some point in my reading life. Haha! What I’ve always wanted was to read a J.K. Rowling novel for adults and tadaaaaa!!!! She finally wrote one for fiction fanatics like me!!! YAY! 😀

Here’s the press release of Little Brown for her new book:

Little, Brown Book Group announces that the new novel for adults by J.K. Rowling is entitled The Casual Vacancy.  The book will be published worldwide in the English language in hardback, ebook, unabridged audio download and on CD on Thursday 27th September 2012.

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

The Casual Vacancy 
480 pages (approximately)
ISBN  9781408704202   (hardback) price £20.00
ISBN  9781405519229   (ebook) price £11.99
ISBN  9781405519212   (audio download) £20.00
ISBN  9781405519205   (CD) price £30.00

Prices in other territories will be announced separately.

Photo credits: © Wall to Wall Media Ltd. Photographer: Andrew Montgomery.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: The Harry Potter series is in my reading list this year. This is because I vowed not to read it until the 7th book is released and the final movie is shown. 🙂

In the middle of ALEPH

Paulo Coelho is one of the few authors that can be both mainstream and niche. His bestselling book the “Alchemist” appealed to a lot of readers (myself included). His niche market involves readers who are particular with mystical undertones in fiction. My favorite Coelho books though have nothing to do with the novels with the spiritual aspect. Among all his novels, “Veronika Decides to Die” and “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” were my all-time favorites. I must admit, I still read every new book he releases hoping to catch another exceptional fiction from him.

The Story

Aleph is the autobiographical fiction of Paulo Coelho. In an interview with The New York Times, Coelho disclosed that this novel is 100% autobiographical, depicting his own spiritual journey. The protagonist in this story is Paulo, a 59-year-old successful writer who was having a spiritual crisis. He complained about this to his spiritual mentor “J.” He was then advised to take risks and move out of his comfort zone. Following his mentor’s lead, he drove his agent crazy when he agreed on several book signings that will take him to different countries in two weeks. The final leg of the trip was crossing Russia via the Trans-Siberian railway.

This is where we meet Hilal, a 21-year-old violin prodigy who insisted on joining Paulo wherever he went. In the Trans-Siberian railway we are also introduced to the Aleph, the point where time and space converge. It is where you see everything happening at the same with complete clarity. Paulo and Hilal experienced aleph together. This event made Hilal all the more persistent never to leave Paulo’s side. She was very vocal in expressing that Paulo is the only one who could offer her the salvation and the love she longed for. As the trip progressed, the significance of Hilal in Paulo’s past life was revealed.

The novel will take the reader to Paulo’s spiritual journey—his healing and recovery; his redemption and forgiveness; his discovery and new beginning.

Review

This may not be the best Paulo Coelho novel you’ll ever read but it’s probably the boldest. Coelho said in an interview that everything that’s plausible in that novel happened to him. It doesn’t take a lot to figure out which is fiction and non-fiction in the novel. Hilal’s role in Paulo’s past and present is the saving grace of the novel. It was the only part where I was totally engaged—the flashbacks and all showed that Coelho still has it and it makes me wonder why he veers away from writing brilliant fiction. The ultimate downside of this novel was the overload of mystical sayings and clichés. Following Paulo’s journey was tedious. I had to stop halfway through the novel because nothing was happening. I felt like I was reading an anthology of quotes at some point. Nonetheless, I’m not losing hope that Paulo Coelho can still create one great fiction story. If your work has sold than 130 million copies and has been translated into 72 languages, you’ve got to be a great writer. I know Paulo Coelho is and I look forward to saying that with complete confidence again. 🙂

Two Noteworthy Young Adult Books

As a reader, I am easily drawn to teen characters because they remind me so much of myself when I was younger. The stubbornness which can either bring out the best or the worst in you, the innocence that shows your naivety, and the courage that comes from a young spirit that knows very little fear or none at all.

I recently read two compelling young adult novels. One is “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs and the other one is “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. The former is magical and quite disturbing while the latter is realistic and surprisingly humorous albeit dealing with a serious topic. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these two authors have been best friends for a long time! Talk about kindred spirits! Now I’m more excited to share with you these two remarkable books! 🙂

The Story of the Peculiar Children

In “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, author Ransom Riggs created a world where children with special abilities were kept safe in another part of the world. This is the story of 16-year-old Jacob and his search for the real cause of his grandfather’s death. His pursuit led him to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island where a door to another realm is found. Here he discovered children with extraordinary abilities. It was then when he realized that the childhood stories that his grandfather told him were all true. The disturbing part of this book was the vintage photographs of the children. It really gave the necessary plausible factor of the enigmatic orphanage.

With elements of fantasy, mystery, and adventure combined, readers will be engaged in this eerie world of the uncanny. A sequel is currently in the pipeline and the movie adaptation of this book will be shown in 2013 with Tim Burton directing it and Jane Goldman writing the screenplay. 🙂

Love and Death with a Dash of Humor

Award-winning author John Green tackled tragedy with a touch of comedy in “The Fault in Our Stars”. Everything about this novel was bold, raw, and intense. The story is about Hazel, a 16-year-old thyroid cancer patient whose life was only extended through the help of an “experimental drug”. Since the drug was still on its testing phase, her recovery was uncertain and a relapse was likely to happen anytime.

When her parents saw that she was suffering from depression, they forced her to attend a cancer support group where she met Augustus. Gus was on remission although his leg had to be amputated due to Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Drowning in uncertainty, these two brave souls tried to keep themselves afloat with the only lifesaver they know—their love for each other. To give you a preview of how beautifully written this novel was, let me share with you this quote.

“I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

Hazel, from John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”

I’ve never been moved by a quote I read in a book in a long while. I had to stop and read this over and over again to savor the poignant words of a lover fighting for whatever time she had left with her beloved. But this is not your typical Romeo and Juliet story. It’s a story of survival and courage in a battle where no one knows who will emerge victorious. Aside from the prolific dialogues, humor was another gem I found in this novel. I’ve never read a tragedy blend so well with the brilliant sarcasm and comical wit of the characters. Just when I was almost moved to tears, one character blurts out something funny that would throw me completely off guard. Reading this novel was quite an emotional ride and I loved every part of it. 🙂

So, what are you waiting for?! Hit the shelves and reward yourself with these two great books! 🙂

Happy Birthday to you, Dr. Seuss! :)

Today is a happy day because it’s Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday! 🙂 Let me start by greeting him the Birthday Bird way:

If we didn’t have birthdays,
you wouldn’t be you. 
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you do?
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you be?
You might be a fish!
Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob!
Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of
hard green tomatoes.

Or worse than all that…Why,
you might be a WASN’T!
A Wasn’t has no fun at all.
No, he doesn’t.
A Wasn’t just isn’t.
He just isn’t present.
But you…You ARE YOU!
And, now isn’t that pleasant!

Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive…
…who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky
to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not
just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of
sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am!
That’s a great thing to be!
If I say so myself,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Theodor Seuss Geisel,more popularly known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. In honor of his remarkable contribution to the book industry, his birth date was adopted as the National Read Across America Day. Geisel was a writer-poet and cartoonist famous for publishing children’s books with fascinating characters coupled with rhyming poetry using the trisyllabic meter. This is a kind of rhythm wherein every third syllable is more stressed than the others. When you read it that way, the story becomes more animated! Read the words in bold louder than the others and see:

And today the Great Yertle, that Marvelous he

Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.

What’s more amazing about Geisel was that he was the one who illustrated all the drawings in his books! The first Dr. Seuss book that was published was “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. Mulberry Street is located in Springfield, Massachusetts where Geisel was born. The most celebrated Dr. Seuss books are “The Cat in the Hat”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Horton Hears a Who!”, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and “Horton Hatches the Egg”.

Most of his books were made into movies, too! The latest of which is “Lorax” coming to theatres this March!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SEUSS! Thank you for making lots of children enjoy the world of books. 🙂 Here are some of the best quotes from Dr. Seuss. 🙂 Enjoy!

“And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed!
Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!”


Unlocked: Faith in Fiction

Karen Kingsbury specializes in life-changing fiction. She is known as America’s favorite inspirational novelist. I’ve been seeing her books in different bookshops and every time I pass by them my reader conscience nags me to pick up one. Giving in to my fiction weakness, I decided to enter into the world of Holden Harris in “Unlocked”.

Locked in his own world

Holden Harris was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. He spent the next 15 years of his life locked in a world that only he could understand. Holden went to a high school that offered classes for students with special needs. With his noticeable quirks and odd movements, it was no surprise that Holden was a common victim of bullying. This did not stop him from going to school and trying to live his “normal” life.

Holden’s condition took a toll on his parents’ marriage as well. His dad had to spend months away from them—fishing—so he could provide for his therapy and other needs. His mom spent each day hoping that at some point, in the midst of his routine he would make eye contact or reconnect with her in some miraculous way. Little did they know that a miracle was about to happen.

The key

During the rehearsal of their high school play “Beauty and the Beast”, Holden stopped and listened to the music. His classmates went ahead of him while he stayed at the entrance of the theatre mesmerized by the song. Lead actress and head cheerleader Lauren Reynolds noticed him and saw how Holden was connecting to the music. In good faith, she asked his teacher to allow him to watch their rehearsal but she didn’t tell her that she felt unexplainably drawn to him. Days went by and Holden started to show more response to Lauren. Her mom even saw significant improvements in his behavior.

As Lauren knew more about Holden, she also knew more about herself. One day as she was rummaging through some stuff she saw a scrapbook of their family. In there she saw a boy who looked very familiar—Holden. They had pictures playing, laughing, and having a great time with their family. This was the time before Holden had autism. She eventually found out that her parents were best friends with Holden’s. Sadly, his condition severed the ties between their families.

Breakthrough after breakthrough happened as Holden got more immersed in the play. The music and his friendship with Lauren unlocked him from the world that took him away from his family. It was Holden’s sickness that created a chasm between his parents and Lauren’s; but it was also his condition that moved them to bridge the silence and indifference they built over the years.

Faith in fiction

Seeing the world through Holden’s eyes was seeing faith in a whole different level. Holden would pray for almost everyone even those who bullied him. He saw the good in people. He didn’t judge them. He had pure childlike faith that nobody saw. Seeing his mom’s faith moved me to tears. Being a mom myself, I couldn’t imagine losing that connection with my son. Holden’s mom patiently waited and hoped that one day God would bring Holden back—the son she could hug and talk to without fearing that he might move back or pull away. Lauren’s faith in Holden was unwavering. She believed in him when everybody else doubted him. She saw light coming from Holden’s locked world and knew that there was so much more to discover inside of it.

Now I know why Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational author. She creates stories that uplift the spirit of her readers. She is not talking religion but reality. She shows that despite the frailty of the human spirit, it still triumphs in the midst of difficulty. I haven’t felt refreshed in a long while after reading a novel. “Unlocked” gave me that experience again. Reading faith in fiction is like bathing in renewed hope and wanting to stay there for a long time. 🙂

Murakami, We Meet Again

I think Haruki Murakami and I got off on the wrong foot when I read him for the first time. I thought that there was nothing spectacular about the debut Murakami novel I read. Some of my friends like his writing and even encouraged me to try his other novels. Well I guess writing is a hit-and-miss process. Your debut novel may reach number one in the New York Times’ bestsellers list but that doesn’t guarantee that your next book will be received the same way. Consistency is probably difficult to achieve for any writer.

I decided to give Murakami another try by reading his nearly 1,000-page novel “1Q84”. It consists of three parts; each was a separate book released in Japan. When it was translated to English in 2011, the three novels were put together in one hefty book. When I started reading it I wasn’t sure if Murakami’s intent was to create a sci-fi novel or simply integrate Magic Realism in the story. As the story progressed I realized that he was trying to create a very ambitious and complex love story, transcending all norms and realities.

Two Lives

The novel was told in the point of view of the main characters—Tengo and Aomame. In the last part of the book, a third point of view was introduced in the person of Ushikawa. Tengo taught math in a prep school. He also screened novels for an award-giving body while trying to write his own masterpiece. Aomame, on the other hand, was a fitness instructor and physical therapist, working with high-profile clients. They both looked like seemingly ordinary professionals but each of them had covert jobs on the side.

Each chapter was told alternately in Tengo and Aomame’s voice. The first chapter began with Aomame being stuck in a cab in the middle of heavy traffic. The driver told her to take the staircase behind one of the billboards in the expressway so she could get pass the road congestion. Soon after, she reached the hotel where she was scheduled to kill a man. Aomame was a hired assassin, killing men who brutally abused women. She worked for a Dowager who kept a safe house for abused women. After the first incident, Aomame started to notice things that were different from what she used to see. She noticed that the policemen had different uniforms and guns whereas she distinctly remembered that it was never changed. She researched certain events and read some that she never heard of but were apparently big news. At this point, she started to speculate that she might be in a parallel universe. She was certain that it was not the 1984 she knew she was in. To temporarily reconcile these events, she called that year 1Q84—Q for question mark—because she was not sure what year she was in. There was also one major difference in her world and this world—1Q84 had two moons.

Meanwhile, Tengo was commissioned to rewrite a novel that was submitted to their screening committee. When Tengo first read the “Air Chrysalis” he was immediately captivated by its story despite its horrific grammar and style. The novel was about the sinister “little people” making air chrysalis with another version of you.

There was something powerful about the story that he actually lobbied for it to receive the literary prize. That of course was not possible because of the pathetic prose of the 17-year-old author Fuka-Eri. Thus, Tengo was offered by his editor Komatsu to “ghost” rewrite it. Much to his surprise, Fuka-Eri gave him all the leeway he needed to improve the story.  Then, they submitted it to a publishing company who immediately agreed to distribute the novel from this new literary sensation Fuka-Eri. However, a scam like this would never go unnoticed. Things began to become complicated as the success of the book reached its peak. In the midst of all these, Tengo also started to notice something strikingly different in his world—it had two moons.

Where Two Roads Meet

As you read along “1Q84”, you will be taken to the parallel lives of these two characters, wondering what’s their connection to each other and when will they ever meet. At some point in the novel, Tengo and Aomame’s worlds gravitate toward each other. Tengo discovered that Fuka-Eri escaped from a cult community called Sakigake. She was also dyslexic and she didn’t actually write the novel. She dictated it to her guardian’s daughter. Fuka-Eri’s father was close to her guardian Professor Ebisuno and ever since her father established that commune Ebisuno didn’t hear from her father anymore until the day Fuka-Eri appeared at his doorstep. The professor used the publication of the book to stir the hornet’s nest and allow the media to investigate on the literary prodigy’s family, which would inevitably lead him to the whereabouts of Fuka-Eri’s parents. The Sakigake found out about “Air Chrysalis” and was bothered by the truth in that novel. Fuka-Eri also admitted to Tengo that the “little people” were real.

On the other hand, Aomame was commissioned to kill the leader of the Sakigake group who was responsible for the rape and abuse of the newest addition to the Dowager’s safe house—a 10-year-old girl named Tsubasa. When Aomame met the leader who was supposed to be scheduled for a physical therapy session, she found out that he knew that she was there to kill him. He had the power of telekinesis and most of all he was the mouthpiece of the “little people”. They had placed him in so much pain and he wanted to die. Aomame thought that leaving him alive to suffer would be much better than killing him but the leader negotiated that in exchange for her going on as planned, he would protect the man she loved the most, Tengo. Aomame was surprised that he knew about him. Aomame had loved Tengo since the time she tightly held his hand in a classroom. They were classmates 20 years ago. That encounter left an indelible mark in her heart and Tengo’s. Neither forgot that incident—that lasting innocent expression of love in holding each other’s hands. Fearing for Tengo’s life, Aomame proceeded to kill the leader despite the implied retaliation of the “little people”.

The plot thickened as the Sakigake hired a cunning investigator named Ushikawa. His misshapen head and repulsive looks were part of his entire ensemble. He was a master of deductive reasoning which made him more valuable than other investigators. Ushikawa stalked Tengo to find out more about “Air Chrysalis”. He was also tasked to find where the leader’s assassin was. When he found out that Tengo and Aomame were classmates, he used Tengo as his primary lead to find Aomame. Both of them knew that they were in danger. They were both looking for each other, wanting to save each other. The novel ended with Tengo and Aomame finding each other in the world with two moons and finding their way to their own world where 1Q84 exists no more.

Love it or Hate it

Appreciation for “1Q84” can go both ways—you either love it or hate it. The thing I like most about this novel is the character development of Tengo and Aomame. They grew on me like good friends whom I wanted to help. Their lives were rich with back stories and inner conflicts that demand resolution. The thing I didn’t like about it is the fact that there were so many loose ends in the story. I want to know more about the little people, air chrysalis, Sakigake, and even the annoying NHK cable collector who appears repeatedly in the novel. I wished Murakami didn’t end it the way he did, it was too easy after making the search too difficult. There were unnecessary portions that were irrelevant to the story in my opinion. I think it would’ve been better if it was also released here by parts because each part is independently unique and compelling. Reading the entire three books in one go can be really tiring and dragging. However, I must say that this might be the Murakami that my friends love and rave about. His distinct style and raw voice merged with this pseudo-fantasy and quasi-cult story resulted in a literary epic that only Haruki Murakami can deliver.

One Woman’s Immortal Legacy

When I first saw “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” in the New York Times’ bestsellers list, two things came to mind. First, the title was too long and second, it’s very intriguing. What’s more interesting was that the book was categorized under the non-fiction list. So it’s actually talking about some “immortal” contribution this woman made to society. I never heard of Henrietta Lacks in any of my history classes nor had I ever Googled her name. So with much curiosity and a bit of scepticism combined, I decided to read Henrietta Lacks’ immortal life.

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Who is Henrietta Lacks?

Henrietta Lacks lived during the 1950’s in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a loving wife and a doting mother to five children. Apart from her family duties, she worked tirelessly as a tobacco farmer. She had walnut eyes and a pleasant face with a lovely smile. She loved music and she always painted her nails deep red. Her family and relatives described her as someone who took care of everyone. Aside from watching over her own children, she would also look after her cousins’ kids. She was fondly remembered as the aunt who always gave. She grew up with a Baptist background and was esteemed by the people in that community.

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At the age of 30, Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer. At a time when medicine was at its early stages, the only treatment for cancer was radiation. Henrietta was treated at Johns Hopkins—the only hospital in Baltimore that treated black people. She underwent multiple radiation treatments that made her colored skin even blacker. Her cancer was very aggressive and spread rapidly which inevitably caused her death. When her body was opened for autopsy it was like someone filled her with huge pearls—big tumors literally covered all her organs. Her cousin Sadie said that despite her sickness Henrietta’s looks didn’t change. She still looked beautiful though her eyes showed that life was slowly being drawn out of her. The Lacks family grieved when she died but the world of science rejoiced in what she left behind.

The immortal cells

Before Henrietta died doctors took a sample of her cancer cells without her permission. Her cells were given to Dr. George Gey who was trying to grow cells in culture. All the cells previously cultured died until they got Henrietta’s. Not only did her cells live it also grew continuously. In fact, it still multiplies up to now! It was probably the first modern miracle that scientists ever witnessed. In fact, I think it should be called the first “living” miracle. This discovery was one of the major breakthroughs in the field of medicine. Gey called this the HeLa cells, combining the first two letter of Henrietta’s full name. Since it couldn’t die, scientists were able to monitor the different stages of cell development and administer tests on each stage. The HeLa cells were instrumental in the development of the Polio vaccine. It was even sent outer space to see how her cells would react in zero gravity. HeLa cells also contributed to the advancement of gene mapping, cloning, and vitro fertilization. Below is a photo of HeLa cells’ remarkable contribution to the field of science.

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What went wrong?

Henrietta’s family had no clue that a part of her was taken and being used by scientists all over the world. Consent forms were unheard of at that time. The HeLa cells were the first human biological specimen that were sold and bought. While the field of medicine was making leaps and bounds in their discoveries through the HeLa cell line, the Lacks family remained where they were—poor and unable to get a health insurance. They couldn’t even determine the exact location of Henrietta’s grave which remained unmarked for the longest time. Twenty-five years after Henrietta’s cells were taken from her, a pervasive contamination in cultured cells spread like wildfire. Apparently, HeLa cells can be transferred through hands and other airborne particles. For example, just when they thought they’ve grown prostate cells scientists discovered that they were taken over by HeLa cells. This prodded them to track Henrietta’s family to get their DNA so they can map her cells and distinguish it among the other cultured cells.

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This was the first time that Henrietta’s family learned about her immortal cells. The family agreed to be tested, thinking that they were being checked for cancer. They didn’t understand quite well all the complex DNA mapping that was being explained to them. Eventually, they discovered that HeLa cells were being bought and this infuriated Henrietta’s sons. They tried to get what was due them but failed in the process. Their efforts consumed the family in a debilitating way. This even caused her youngest daughter Deborah to breakdown, knowing that a part of her mom was alive somewhere and was being experimented on. Deborah was still an infant when Henrietta died. She was born four months before her mother was diagnosed with cancer. With the family placed in the middle of research hoopla, inquiries knocked on the Lacks’ doorstep which consequently traumatized the family.

More than just the cells

Author Rebecca Skloot first heard of HeLa cells in her biology class. However, the only information her teacher gave aside from Henrietta’s name was that she’s black. This roused the curiosity of Rebecca who later on took the road less travelled of finding the Lacks family to learn more about the woman behind the immortal cells. The Lacks family already had the notion that doctors and reporters were out to take advantage of them when Rebecca entered the picture. It took her a decade to win the trust of the Lacks family. She had to convince them of her sincere and pure intentions to tell the story of Henrietta as a woman, wife, and mother. It was about her brave albeit brief life. Rebecca wanted to give a face to the cells that ushered one scientific breakthrough after another. Her perseverance and integrity finally broke the walls that the Lacks family had built over the years.

Partnering with Deborah, Rebecca started her research on the remarkable woman that is Henrietta. Together they discovered who she was and for Deborah it made up for the many years of wondering what her mother was like. One doctor even gave a framed picture of Henrietta’s cells to Deborah and her family. It was dyed with different colors to show the different parts of her cell. This was a pivotal moment in the lives of Deborah and her brother Zakariyya who both yearned for their mother for the longest time.

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The author

As I was reading this book, my admiration for Rebecca Skloot grew more and more. Pursuing a story out of some random remark from your teacher took a lot of courage and tenacity. In the decade-long process of writing the book, Rebecca faced many hurdles. Gaining the trust of the Lacks’ family was one thing, keeping it was another. Her work with Deborah was like walking on a tight rope. She would sometimes bail out on her then call her again after so many days. She got married while writing the book and got divorced while still writing the book. None of these things stopped Rebecca from finishing what she started. She knew that this story was worth telling. She wrote with clarity and power. Her engaging narrative resulted in a powerful biography filled with poignant moments, ethical controversies, and disturbing revelations in the field of medicine.

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Aside from immortalizing the life of Henrietta, Rebecca also donates a portion of her book’s earnings to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation—a non-profit organization she also started. The foundation provides education and medical support to the immediate family of Henrietta. It also gives grants to families who have relatives that contributed to the field of science but didn’t receive any recognition. This book redeemed the life of Henrietta and her family. It gave them a new beginning. Memorial markers were placed in honor of Henrietta and the future of her grandchildren and great grandchildren was secured.

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Before Henrietta died Dr. Gey told her, “Your cells will make you immortal.” He added that it will save the lives of people. Henrietta smiled and told him that she was glad that her pain would be of good use to someone. Knowing that a part of her will live on forever for the benefit of others probably comforted Henrietta. This book took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It also stirred something in my heart—a sense of gratitude toward Henrietta and awe to the God who used her life to bring about immortal cells.

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Pages turned in 2011

I started looking at my book pile around June of last year. For the first half of the year, reading took a back seat as I spent most of my time taking care of my newborn baby. 🙂 Being a mom rearranged my priorities, schedule, and yes, even my leisure time. I took a break from my recluse reading routine and shifted to interactive mode by reading board books to my baby! It’s unbelievably fun and I really enjoy reading to my little man. 🙂 When he became more manageable—specifically his sleeping habits—I began flipping through my books again.

So here are the books I managed to squeeze into my wifey-mommy schedule last year 🙂

*Note: Those with review links (and pending reviews) are the books that really wowed me as a reader. 🙂 I highly recommend them. For the rest of the books, I’ll just share my thoughts/praise/critique on them. I really liked some of the books while the others merely stained my eyes. 😛

1. Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

2. The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – This is the sequel to “The Strain”. It’s vampire-meets-science-meets-pandemic. I had high expectations on this one but it sort of fell flat on my reader radar. I hope that the last part of the trilogy will redeem the series.

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (click here to read my review)

4. Lost Hero by Rick Riordan – This is book one of the Heroes of Olympus series—a spin-off from Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It started quite slow for me but when it picked up midway through I couldn’t put it down anymore. 🙂

5-7 Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (click here to read my review)

8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – I wanted to read more classics and I picked this one last year because I already forgot its magical story. I enjoyed my journey with Dorothy and wished that I had my own silver shoes, too. 🙂

9. Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto (click here to read my review)

10. The Rising by Tim Lahaye – This is the first in the trilogy from the “Left Behind” prequel. It’s about how the Antichrist came to be—from conception to adulthood. It’s disturbing to read how as a kid the Antichrist manipulated his parents, teachers, and classmates. It’s a must read for “Left Behind” followers. 🙂

11. Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg (click here to read my review)

12. Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (click here to read my review)

13. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (click here to read my review)

14. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (review to follow) – One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read so far. Amazing story! I have more to say on my review. 🙂

15. Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (review to follow) – Unique and intriguing, this book will not give you peace until you finish it. 🙂 More tidbits in my review.

16. Curse of the Spellmans by Liza Lutz – The Spellman series is wit and humor combined. I didn’t realize that fiction can really be entertaining without being trashy. Haha! The Spellmans is a family of private investigators. Imagine your parents doing a background check on the guys/girls you date or doing a surveillance on you. Now, that’s wicked funny. 🙂 This is her second book. I suggest your read “Spellman Files” (1st book) to be familiar with the quirky characters. When I want to relax, I pick up Liza Lutz’s books to enjoy a good mystery with a good laugh.

17. The Devil Colony by James Rollins – This James Rollins thriller is about the Native American Indians and their secret technology that has immense consequences if it falls into the wrong hands. Rollins has written better novels than this one but this is nonetheless interesting still.

18. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks – I haven’t read any Nicholas Sparks novel for the longest time. When he came here to visit I decided to read his latest book. I must say, this novel is a far cry from his previous novels. I mean this in a good way. His writing improved a lot, the characters have more depth, and the plot is not linear anymore. There are back stories behind the lives of the characters that blend into one as the book ended. Yes, it’s a tragedy again (but a good one) from the king of great love and broken hearts. 🙂

19. The Skeleton Key by James Rollins – This is a prequel to the “The Devil Colony”. This 100-plus page short story is a lot better than the novel. Everything about it was gripping and intense—the main things you look for in a thriller.

20. Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury (review to follow) – It’s my first time to read Karen Kingsbury and boy is she good! 🙂 It’s like reading Jodi Picoult only this time it’s Christian fiction. The story is about how music unlocked an autistic boy from his own world. I’m excited to write more about this in detail! 🙂

I can’t believe this is my first book blog for the year and January is almost over! Blogging fail! Oh well, at least I finished one! Haha! Here’s to more page turning this 2012! Cheers, bibliophiles! 🙂