Pachinko is a title I picked from the February choices of Book of the Month. Since Behind Her Eyes was such a hit I figured I should continue on with my others from that book box. I decided on Pachinko because the guest judge who chose this book is Alexander Chee. He of the Queen of the Night phenomenon. Now that I’ve finished Pachinko I find this unsurprising because it is a sweeping novel with multiple generations from one family growing and changing through the years and with the country. Chee’s novel reads much like Pachinko in detail and saga.
Sunja is the main character we meet first, a Korean who gets pregnant by a married man. She then marries a traveling preacher, Isak, who stopped at her mother’s boarding house and was nursed by them back to health. He is a great man. He wants kids and a wife and Sunja is in need of a man to keep her from ruin so it works out well. They move to Japan with the intent to go back to Korea someday. Spoiler alert : they never do. Their family is subjected to racial commentary throughout the whole book because Koreans are lesser in Japan. They are immigrants. Even though some of them get Japanese citizenship towards they end they’re still never considered Japanese, always Korean. Sunja and Isak meet family in Japan and have kids and the rest of the book follows their journey and the journey of those that come after.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : an immigrant story
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book about an immigrant or refugee
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 : read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color
I picked this book from the February choices of Book of the Month. I chose Behind Her Eyes because in an episode of the All the Books podcast Liberty Hardy, who reads for a living, said that even she had no idea where the ending was going. I thought to myself, Are you f*ing kidding?? Sign me up! Liberty did not disappoint. I had no idea what was happening through most of the book let alone guessing the ending. I read it with some old co-workers and I wish I would’ve known the ending was going to be so awesome because I would’ve made us all wait and read the last 20 pages together so we could see each others faces. It is that good.
Now that I said that I don’t know. Is it good or was I just thoroughly engrossed? I feel like it’s Gone Girl-ish in the way that all the characters aren’t really characters I want to root for. (I have some serious things to say about Gillian Flynn’s books here). They all do something bad and they are all more or less horrible people. But the plot is so enthralling. Also, the ending. Along with the warning from Liberty that no one will guess, it came with a BOTM bookmark that said, “You think you know how it ends? You’re wrong. I promise.” That’s just asking for it. I read the words so closely, which is very unlike me. I’m a big skimmer. But I wanted to catch all the possible clues. Still, I did not guess. You will not guess either. I promise.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with an unreliable narrator
I signed up for Book of the Month. As if I don’t have enough to read (rolls eyes). But I couldn’t help myself. There was a Groupon for three months at $19.99. That means I could get 3 brand new hardcover books for $6.66 a book! Are you kidding me?? How can a librarian book addict resist that? Spoiler alert : she can’t. If you haven’t heard of Book of the Month, this is how it works. Each month you pick one book from a group of 5 books. Those 5 books are chosen by guest judges who write a little blurb on why they chose it. If you just can’t decide on one, you can add two more to your box for $9.99 each. Which let’s face it, is still a super big deal on a brand new hardcover. Not even Amazon has new hardcovers for that cheap. So far I am having the best time because well.. #bookmail. But also, the books are amazing! I can’t wait to continue. And I have decided I will continue even after my Groupon has expired. Stay tuned for the books I’ve chosen in January & February so far.
I went through my messages. These are the books I had in November and December. You can probably guess on whether or not I read them since I couldn’t remember what any of them were. I’m not a very good participant. Too many books, too little time! #librarianproblems
Shrill by Lindy West. I had no idea who Lindy West was before I got this book but I do now. From her own website she is described as, “an American writer, feminist, fat acceptance movement activist, and film criticism editor.” She works at The Stranger with Dan Savage. It would seem that I’ve never written about my love for Mr. Savage on this blog but I do. I love him. So that made me interested. I read the chapter she wrote about him and some others but did not read the whole thing.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This book. I swear it haunts me. Annie Barrows writes the Ivy & Bean books. I love those books. They are adorable. But I don’t want an adorable adult novel. I can’t in good conscience read this book without cringing. Maybe someday someone will convince me. But it wasn’t this time.
I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I started this and quit. I have no other excuse.
I’m going to have to go back and look at what Nov-Dec was. Whoops. Let me tell you about the ones I currently have at my house before I forget them too. Specifics on the inner workings of the traveling book club are here.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You may know him as the author of the Kite Runner, which became a movie. I have not read it or seen the movie. My best friend has been raving about this book for years. I never wanted to read it. It’s not my thing. But now that she’s part of the book club and this is the one she chose I felt obligated. I just finished and will review it soon. Spoiler: I will not be raving about it for years.
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Also a movie. Not only that, I feel like it might be the first real blockbuster that featured Jennifer Lawrence. This sounds like a True Grit kind of book and I can’t say whether or not I’ll pick it up. It did win the Audie Award in 2011 so I may try it on audiobook.
Love Does by Bob Goff. A lot of the women in this group had already read this book. Apparently I missed the boat because I’d never heard of it. I think this will be a pick and choose chapters kind of book. But I will open it.
I just finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy. I don’t think I liked it. The woman reading it was the same woman who read The Miniaturist. It took me awhile to get over that. In retrospect it’s rather ironic because the main character in The Miniaturist is named Nella and one of the main characters in Gemma Hardy is named Nell. I digress.
This is supposedly a re-telling of Jane Eyre. Whatever that means. I haven’t read Jane Eyre in awhile but I can say that I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed this. Gemma runs away. All the time. I guess I should’ve realized that since the title implies she chooses flight over fight. Thank God she ends up with the Mr. Rochester character at the end. Although I don’t know why I wanted her to, their relationship is so weird. I guess I’m glad I read it because I’ve owned it for like 5 years and moved it to just as many houses. Now I can give it away to someone else.8
Soo. Shipment numero dos of my Traveling Book Club is about halfway through. If you’re interested in the particulars of how it works head here. Otherwise, I’m going to dive in and tell you the three books I got for this second leg of the book trip.
Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. The person before me wrote in the traveling notebook that she had to download the eBook version one day when she forgot the book at home because she had to continue reading. Let me preface by saying, I hate WWII novels. Especially ones with horrible people who torture. I was really into this book until I got to the middle and the main character was caught. The next step was obviously torturing him and I put it down. I’m not sure I’ll pick it back up. I’ll have to be exceptionally brave and power through.
The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. Now as much as I hate WWII novels, I love a good book about missing children. What can I say, I’m a weirdo. I haven’t started this yet but I checked it out when it was first released and heard good things. I’m sure I’ll tear through it when I get a chance.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I first heard about this book on All the Books. It has since been on a million to-read lists and best books lists. It seems very intense though, so I’ve been putting it off.