Favorites of 2013

This list might break my heart, I hate lists. I don’t even remember and it’s not in any particular order.


1. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

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2. Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

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3. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui
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5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
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6. Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
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7. The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe
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8. Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer
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9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
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10. Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
11. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
12. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
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13. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
14. Four Sparks Fall by T.A. Noonan 
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15. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
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YA Books I Want to Read and a Little Rant

So I noticed that most book blogs in the blogouniverse are YA book readers, which isn’t a bad thing. I like YA sometimes, my book taste has changed so much, that I literally just read any book that has an interesting cover, plot, or a weird sounding author name, a name that sticks in my mind. So I read almost any type of book, but of course I still have favorites such as literary fiction, historical fiction, and contemporary which sometimes falls into the literary genre. However, the literary genre tends to be a bit underrated because a lot of people consider it ‘snobbish’ and ‘elitist’ which isn’t necessarily true, but I will save that rant for another time.  

Rant:

My problem with YA is that a lot of the books are way too similar and they always seem to be written for one genre for a while, like a fashion trend, and then when it dies out, a new trend starts. Like for example one day it’s a Witch fantasy trend, then there’s Vampires, and now its Aliens, Fairies, Angels, Clones and Dystopian. I never seem to be disappointed with Contemporary YA like Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, Everybody Sees the Ants, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Before I Fall, The Book Thief, I am the Messanger,  etc. There’s probably more but I can’t remember any. From what I see the Vampire trend has died down, the Werewolf trend was almost non-existant but I don’t really remember anything. Dystopian seems to be very strong, and will be strong for a good while because a lot of the books tend to be quite thought provoking, they just have a good charm, I don’t know what it is. 

Most of the time, YA tends to have the infamous love triangle that always leaves me somewhat confused with a bitter taste in my mouth. Why does everyone have to fight over one girl? There’s 100s of other girls out there, but that logic is obviously never applied because people in real life fight over one love interest too. Especially when they’re 13 years old. There’s always the trend of  bad boys who always win the girls who are somewhat insecure, but I’m starting to see that trope wear away very slowly, we are finally having some confident girls in these books.  There’s a lot of things I don’t like about YA, but I can go on forever. Although I’m not saying it’s all bad, because there are some I enjoyed a lot, like the ones I stated above. 

Over the past few years, I have read YA books and became really disappointed with their plots and main characters. So it is very rare for me to read YA book, which is why there are so few of them being reviewed on here. It’s not that I hate the genre, it’s just that a lot of YA, especially the really hyped ones, tend to not be my cup of tea. Although I do tend to enjoy contemporary YA novels.

End of Rant, Here’s the List:

So here are the YA books that I actually want to read or finish, series or standalone. There are some series on this list that I already started which is why the first one isn’t listed.

1. Reality Boy by A.S. King
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2. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
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3. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
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4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer 
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5. The Legend Trilogy 
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6. Starters by Lissa Price 
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7.  Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
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8. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
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9. The Marbury Lens series by Andrew Smith
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10. Winger by Andrew Smith 
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11. Every Day by David Levithan 
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12. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
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13. More Than This by Patrick Ness
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14. Gone by Michael Grant
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15. Kingdom of Xia Series by Cindy Pon
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16. Matt de la Pena 
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I actually don’t know which book I want to read by him, but I read an article that contained him in it, so I got interested in his work.

17. Huntress by Malinda Lo
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18. Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe 
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I actually have this book, I just never finished reading because it’s in E-book form and it’s super long.

Friday Reads #11

1. After Dark by Haruki Murakami 
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Pages: 244
Genre: Magical Realism, Japanese Litereature
Format: Paperback

So I’m reading this, I just started it so I don’t have an opinion on it. 

2. So Different Now by Ben Tanzer 
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Pages: 44
Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary 
Format: E-book

So previously I wrote that I liked Ben Tanzer’s Repetition Patterns, so now I’m reading So Different Now

Book Review: Your Republic is Calling You by Young-ha Kim

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Pages: 326
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Korean Literature
Format: Paperback

Despite the fact that this novel is considered a mystery or a thriller, it doesn’t really feel like one. The only aspect of the book that really brings in the suspense is “Why does Ki-yong have to go back to the North?” Most of the book is really an observation of life and the people who inhabit it.

Ki-Yong is a spy from North Korea, he experiences a few incidents in his life that made his home feel like a cold shell, a horrible place to live. He grew up as an orphan, went to college, and was then trained to become a spy for North Korea. He is sent to Seoul, where he lives for half his life. He has a daughter and a wife, whom he dearly loves, but doesn’t really show it since he has to hide his true identity of a spy. When he is called by the North to come back, he spends most of the day wondering around Seoul and observing others, reminiscing of his past life, and questioning his life as a spy and a human.

Your Republic is Calling You is one of those novels that make a person think and learn to appreciate what you have, because time goes by too fast. This novel was more like a literary novel than a thriller, there was a lot of rants about people and life in a lightly cynical way. Most of Ki-yong’s perspective was traveling and thinking about life, politics, and the past. The other family members also have their own perspectives, such as Ma-ri, who makes a string of wrong choices that make her frustrated in herself, and feels as if fate had forced her into a life that she could of changed. The daughter, Hyon-mi is a fairly normal school girl, she experiences friendship, crushes, and basically the life of a normal, everyday girl. Chol-su, who is also a spy, follows Ki-yong around, but you don’t realize this until a later. The funny thing is that Ki-yong seems to have somewhat lost his spying intuition because he was surrounded by people who could have possibly been spies too, but he never noticed it.

I thought this novel was fairly solid, it was enjoyable, some parts were slow and some parts were interesting. The book had a nice flow since the chapters were written in a time formation, every chapter was an hour worth of time in the book. The writing was reminiscent of Haruki Murakami, due to it’s simple yet poetic writing. However there were times where I found it hard to get into the book due to Finals in college, studying, and generally exhaustion from college work. However that won’t deduct any points because I ended up loving this novel in the end. 

                                                                          Rating 4/5

Merry Christmas: Book Haul #4

Merry Christmas everyone! A wonderful time to spend with family, which was exactly what I did on Christmas Eve, and it was magnificent. So here are books I picked up during the month and books that were given to me. Enjoy the holidays!

Free Books

1. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin 

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Pages: 1009
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Sometimes the library leaves out books for people to take. There was A Game of Thrones, which I had already and I read half of it. I picked up the sequel in case I finish the first one. These mass market paperbacks have beautiful covers but they are huge. I have A Game of Thrones in a large movie poster version, I kind of wish I had the small paperback instead, but somebody took it already. Whenever there’s A Song of Ice and Fire novel, it’s gone immediately.

Fur-face by Jon Gibbs

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Pages: 218
Genre: Fantasy?
Format: Paperback

The author, Jon Gibbs came to the college I attend for an author event, I came a little late though so I didn’t get to hear most of what he said. However, he was a really nice and funny guy, so it was a nice experience. 

This Is Not Free

My Century by Aleksander Wat 

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Pages: 407
Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography
Format: Paperback

I found this book pretty interesting because I don’t really know much about European countries like Poland or Russia. So I’m usually curious about books like this. This book was in my college book store for $3.00, on Amazon it cost 17.00, so I picked it up out of curiosity and it’s cheap price.

Christmas Gifts

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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Pages:1079
Genre: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback

I will one day read this big, hefty book about stuff.

2. NW by Zadie Smith


 Pages: 401
Genre: Literary Fiction, British Literature
Format: Paperback

I really enjoyed On Beauty, so I will be reading this soon.

3. After Dark by Haruki Murakami 

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Pages: 244
Genre: Surrealism, Japanese Literature, Contemporary
Format: Paperback

One of my favorite authors, I haven’t read this one.

4. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford

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Pages: 312
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Format: Paperback

This is one of the presents from my cousins. Genghis Khan is a pretty interesting person, and I want to learn more about Chinese history. 

Book Review: The Third Reich by Roberto Bolaño

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Pages: 277
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover

There will soon be a stream of reviews soon due to the fact that I was reading three books at the same time, which are Your Republic is Calling You, Women Float, and The Third Reich.  

The Third Reich was probably the most stale book that I have read from Bolaño, it was not very engaging and it was kind of repetitive. There is a reason why though, it’s due to the main character, Udo Berger’s obsessive nature. Most of the novel takes place in Spain, where there is a hotel that Udo has spent most of his childhood vacations. Udo and Ingeborg take a vacation and meet Charly and Hanna who pretty much made a relaxing vacation turn into a horror show. There are also some odd characters like El Quemado, and The Wolf and the Lamb. Most of the book consists of Udo obsessing over his board game, The Third Reich, and a woman from his childhood, Frau Else, and the mysterious El Quemado. However, the death of Charly causes everything to fall apart, the hotel owners become suspicious of Udo, and everyone he loves leaves him behind, while Udo seems to be latching onto his past and his selfishness. 

This novel is very slow and a bit of a bore, but as you get into the middle and the end, you start to realize that Udo is one crazy dude. His obsession causes his downfall until the end, where he  finally leaves the hotel, his past, and finally decides to change his mind and toss everything to the side. I will admit that I skimmed through the board game parts and only paid attention to the story and the conversations. The board game parts were repetitive and mechanical, since Udo and El Quemado are practically playing a war game where you move pieces and plan out your moves. Udo literally spent all of his days in Spain playing board games and obsessing over Frau Else. Only occasionally does he walk and explore the hotel and tries to get his questions answered about El Quemado or Frau Else’s barely existent husband. 

What scares me about this novel was how delusional and almost emotionless Udo was. He doesn’t seem to care about anything but his game, he never realizes until the end that his obsession with this hotel and his board game has caused a rift between his relationship with his girlfriend, Ingeborg, his friend Conrad, his own job. This whole novel is written as a journal by Udo himself, and you can see his craziness, his never ending love of The Third Reich and his constant lust for Frau Else and even a maid name Clarita. He doesn’t care if people died or if the hotel workers hate him, all he wants to do his play his board game with El Quemado, and keep a tight grip of his childhood past that doesn’t even exist anymore due to the never ending flow of time.

                                                                         Rating: 3/5

Friday Reads #10

I keep doing these late, it might as well be called Saturday reads or weekend reads. 

1. The Third Reich by Roberto Bolaño

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Pages: 277
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover

I started to read this book again and I’m almost finished so a review might come sometime soon.

2. Your Republic Is Calling You by Young-Ha Kim

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Pages: 195
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback

I wanted to put this aside, and I ended reading The Third Reich, so I will get back to this soon.

3. Women Float by Maureen Foley

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Pages: 160
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA
Format: E-book

I was reading this on my Ipad, I will finish this soon, something awesome will happen soon on this blog, it’s associated with this book.