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
February was my second month doing Book of the Month Club and it was a kicker!
I was a little concerned about the rest of my months when I had no real desire to read any of the January choices. I had picked something random that I thought I could easily pawn off on a friend if I never got around to reading it. Really exciting.. But then! I saw February’s choices. I did not have to do the extensive research I did the last month, but I did, because I was basically drawn to them all. So I needed the ratings and reviews in order to narrow my choice down. Quick reminder, BOTM has you pick one book from the chosen 5 but you can then add up to two more of your choice for $9.99 each if you can’t possibly choose just one. Guess who had three books in her box this month?? Me. My choice for the box ended up being Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (review below) and I added Behind Her Eyes and The Animators. I chose Pachinko because the guest judge on BOTM is Alexander Chee. He of the Queen of the Night phenomenon. Click that link btw, I adore the illustrated photo the New York Times had commissioned for the book review. I ordered a copy for my friend, a copy of the piece of art – not the book, that’s how much I love it. I digress, I chose Pachinko. I’m reading it now and it is great. Moving on. I also 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. Are you kidding?? Sign me up! The Animators was also in that podcast episode but Rebecca Schinsky talked about it and I found it compelling. Not as much as the other two but enough to pay ten bucks. Sooo, long story short, stayed tuned for book reviews!
Behind Her Eyes review
January was my first Book of the Month experience. These were the 5 books I had to choose from.
Now, I did a lot of research before I chose. First, I read the summaries. Then I made note of who the judge was just in case I had heard of them. I had not, nor had I heard of any of the authors. So then I went to Goodreads and Amazon and looked up their ratings. When it came down to it I didn’t really love any of them. Honestly, I should’ve skipped this month (which BOTM lets you do) but I was too excited to get my first box. I ended up choosing Girls in the Moon. I already had The Most Dangerous Place on Earth on my Kindle from Netgalley or else I would’ve chosen that one. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read it yet. I picked it because I knew there was someone I could give it to afterwards. That’s another perk to me, sharing the book love. Once I’m done with my reading choices I can’t wait to send #bookmail off to someone else to enjoy. Also, this box came with a freebie! Gillian Flynn’s short story Grownup was an added bonus to January’s box.
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.