Books: A Thousand Pieces of You

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray is a book about Marguerite, daughter of two scientists, who travels through multiple dimensions to avenge her father’s death.

By multiple dimensions, we mean parallel universes and there’s an infinity of them. There’s a universe where technology is advanced 50 years ahead, where you embarked on a different career choice, where you were never born, where Hitler won WWII, the list goes on and on. Every little crossroad for every individual, every factor that could’ve created a different life, a different world, is a different dimension and it’s all happening at the same time your dimension is running.

Interesting stuff, right? This post isn’t really a book review, because the most interesting idea I got from reading this book was about the existence of fate.

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Books: Behind Closed Doors

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris is a thriller on domestic abuse.

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple. They live in a beautiful house, have beautiful vacation photos, and are beautiful people – Jack is a brilliant lawyer for battered women who has never lost a case before and Grace is the graceful wife who can paint, garden, and cook elaborate dinners. The two are excited to have Grace’s little sister, Millie, live with them after she finishes school despite Millie having down syndrome and requiring extra care.

Yes, Jack wants very dearly for Millie to live with them soon. Not necessarily because he has a beautiful heart too, mostly because he’s a psychopathic bastard.

… it’s a shame he’s such a sadistic bastard, because he has wonderful manners.

* Spoilers ahead

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Books: Lies We Tell Ourselves

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Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is a love story between two highschoolers during the 60’s integration movement. Sarah Dunbar is an intelligent and musically talented girl and is one of the first black students to attend a previously all-white school in Virginia. Linda Hairston is a strong believer in segregation, as taught by her father, who is an influential writer. The two fall for each other.

My first thought – interracial couple and lesbians? How much conflict can this little novel pack in? Continue reading

Books: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is a story about Susie Salmon – a teenage girl who is raped, murdered, and is sent to heaven to watch the rest of her family and friends deal with the aftermath of her death. No spoilers (yet) – this is all revealed within the first three chapters, including the identity of the pedophile and how he did it. The first three chapters blew me away because the setup of the story seemed so unconventional to me. The murderer is revealed! The main character is already dead! What else is there to happen?

If I can sum up this book, it’s that The Lovely Bones is really just about tragedy. It’s about an unjust and miserable death, a grieving family, a pathetic perpetrator, mistakes, and how no matter how tragic or sad life can get, one day people will still move on from it. Susie not only leaves the world in a terrible and pitiful manner, she also watches her world leave her from heaven.

He took the hat from my mouth.
”Tell me you love me”, he said.
Gently I did.
The end came anyway.

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Books: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is the first memoir I’ve ever read and I’ll be damned if I give this book anything less than 5 stars. I cried while reading this on the skytrain.

Growing up, Jeannette’s life was anything but normal and this was because of her dysfunctional family. Her father was an alcoholic, but when sober, a genius. Her mother was an aspiring artist, both selfish and adventurous. Together with her two sisters and brother, Jeannette’s family was constantly on the run, jumping from place to place. Between having no heat, no food, no money, and parents who hovered between the borders of negligence and individualism, the Walls children learned to grow up and survive by themselves.

This memoir will have moments of outrageous parenting that fires you up on the inside, yet at the same time, have moments of love and warmth that leave you in awe. Walls’s life story is a deep look into the dynamics of a nonfunctional family that somehow seems to function in spite of all the nonsense and misery. It is clear that no matter who our parents are or how they treat or mistreat us, they are our family nonetheless. And in the case for all of the Walls children, it is clear that no matter where you come from, it is nothing compared to where you can go.

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Books: The Council of Dads

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler tells the journey of a father who discovers he has cancer. And before all of you run away at the potential crying fest this post has invited you to, I would like to point out that I try my best to not read books about cancer. This is because I don’t truly understand it. I am not attached to anybody who has or is suffering from cancer.

So why do I like this book? The premise of this story is that the father gathers a council of dads – a group of men that have shaped his voice so that if the time comes and he is gone, they can collectively be the voice for his two daughters. Bruce brings out a supposedly depressing life turn and ties it with characters all readers have in his or her life: the childhood friend, the mentor, the best friend, and more. All the while relaying the importance of family, The Council of Dads emphasizes life lessons we learn from others and how the little pieces you give away to others is replaced with the little pieces you receive back.

I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives. They’ll have loving families. They’ll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad.
Will you help be their dad?

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Books: The Martian

I read The Martian by Andy Weir after watching the movie. I found the movie adaptation to be entertaining and enjoyable, and the novel (of course) did not disappoint me.

The first sentence in The Martian begins with: “I’m pretty much fucked”, which sets a humorous tone for the story of a man stuck on Mars. This is why I love both the novel and the movie: Mark Whatney is hilarious and thank the lord he is! Otherwise, he would have gone crazy living on Mars by himself, and I, as a reader, will go crazy with boredom reading about it.

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

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Books: Everything I Never Told You

Well, it has happened – my first 5 star rating of 2016. The last book I’ve given 5 stars to is The Invention of Wings, but this week, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng receives my literary adoration.

Everything I Never Told You is about the broken Lee family after the death of the middle child, Lydia. Ng crafts up five beautiful character portraits who struggle under different social restrictions in 1970’s Ohio: James, the father struggling with racism, Marilyn, the mother who despised sexism. These personal conflicts collide into their children: Nathan, the aspiring astronaut who is overshadowed by Lydia, who shoulders both her dad and mom’s unfulfilled dreams, and Hannah, the youngest who is neglected by all.

Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.

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Books: Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson is about quiet Emily, whose life revolves around her fabulous and spontaneous best friend, Sloane. However, Sloane disappears at the start of summer, leaving nothing but a to-do list for Emily with things like going skinny-dipping, kissing a stranger, and other things outside of Emily’s comfort zone. With the help of new friends, discoveries, and bravery, Emily tries to complete the list, hoping that she will be able to find Sloane at the end of it all.

“In a well-ordered universe…”

I was relieved that Matson didn’t give some loosely put ending like “Oh, she was a ghost this whole time!” I found the book to be an enjoyable light read, even though it took a while for the story to pick up in the beginning. I especially enjoyed the themes of youth, leaving one’s comfort zone, and the invisible balance of love in relationships and friendships.

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