Rabbitin Turns 6!


I thought this would be the perfect time to break my blog post drought! So I guess, it's been six freakin years. Although it does seem embarrassing putting up an anniversary post when there hasn't been any "actual posts" for a long time now. But who cares. My blog, my rules! Now on to business!

Now let me tell you a quick story. My sister and I went to a local nursery in the city. The one with plants in them and not babies. The owner was very attentive and accommodating in helping us decide which plants to get. And in my case, very low maintenance plants. Plants have been known to die at my hands, so I need a black thumb proof plant. Okay, so she toured us around the nursery and she was marvelous. My sister got the ZZ plant. And nope the plant doesn't make snooze-y sounds. Bummer. But it has really pretty, shiny leaves. And I got an Aloe Vera plant (which I named Alouette.) My sister is counting the days before little Alouette dies. She is a monster. Now back to my story. So we got in the car, quite happy with our purchases. And I said that maybe plant loving people are generally nicer than most, that's my unscientifically proven, theory. And happier, my sister quipped. And it is true, that lady nursery owner probably belies her age. She has a youthful aura about her which we presume is a result of being happy, and being happy is a result of getting boatloads of oxygen from being surrounded by so many plants.....So what's the point in all this? I will get to that. Okay, so then I told her that book people are like that too. Kinder and prettier than most. To which I received a massive eye roll to end all eye rolls.

Okay fine, there seems very little point to my story. But let me just say to all book lovers, and book blog readers and writers, thank you! And it's true book people are the most awesome of people! And books make you feel young don't they?

To TFG, I know I have hardly been active in the online stuff, never mind offline because I live relatively far-ish. But don't worry because I still read the monthly books. And I try to make a peep over at Goodreads when I can. Anyhow, I can't say this enough, I am thankful for finding you guys!

And once again, thanks to all the readers out there! You have powered this blog (and me!) in more ways than one. Life is a little less hard with you around!

Also since this is technically a book review blog. I thought I'd do some flash reviews of the books I've read since the start of the year.

7. The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows - (4/5 Stars) 


I love the intimacy of epistolary novels. Letter writing has somewhat become a lost art in this digital age that whenever I receive letters, I consider it a treat. I mean, yeah, e-mails serve the same purpose, sure. But with letters you get to have something to hold, something tangible, and that gives a different feeling altogether. I have been blessed to find a friend who made me rekindle my love for letter writing. We make it a point to correspond the old-fashioned way. (Hi Joy!) We also have a family friend, a WWII veteran who writes to us every Christmas. He is 90 years old (for reals) and his writing has become really wobbly. But for about three years or four, he always makes it an effort to write to us. And it is just so heartwarming, reading his letters.

Okay, I am getting sidetracked. Back to the book. One of the reasons why I love Guernsey is because much of the conversations are through letters. They characters were introduced through letters first, before even meeting in person. And I think people tend to be less guarded when conversing through mail. That and because the book spins a very entertaining yarn. This is a historical novel, of the WWII variety, and yes, it contains some dark moments of when the island of Guernsey was occupied by the Germans. The social restrictions, the enslavement, the torture. But the general tone of the book is very lighthearted. Perhaps sometimes to the point of it being a bit daytime soap-y. The romance, in particular, felt too arranged and not at all spontaneous. That is perhaps my only complaint. But overall, the book will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy. It makes for some good cozy reading.


6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - (4/5 Stars) 

I've seen this around. Mostly on "If You Are A Fan of Harry Potter Read This" lists. And it is precisely because it is found on those lists that I've been reluctant to pick it up. But this was a book club read and so I've finally come face to face with The Night Circus. And the only thing that's similar to with it and the Potter books is that it too, has magic in it. See, those darned lists simply cannot be trusted.

The writing isn't particularly stunning and the story felt a little too contrived, and for the longest time, I had my mind set on giving this only three stars out of five. But I just couldn't stop turning the pages, gosh darned it. I do think this is an imaginative novel, the whole concept of a roving circus as the arena for two rival magicians is pretty inspired. And no, the competition isn't even the "duel" kind. No one yells "Expellarmus." And while they my not have something as obvious as the killing curse, this is a battle to the death. As to how, I'll leave for you to discover. The Night Circus has a whole gang of quirky, fun characters. They aren't all compelling, but they're fun. And The Night Circus will paint you a very pretty picture of a black and white world worthy of walking down the runway in Fashion Week. The Night Circus is sometimes ostentatious to a fault, but I loved it.  
I take a lot of things for granted. I sometimes think that nothing matters, so why bother? We just make shit up to make ourselves feel better. Nothing has any value and we just conjure the worth of things. A friend once called me out on this existential nihilism. And yes, I realize how detrimental this kind of thinking is for my overall well-being. That's why I have books and stories like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock to remind me that small things can and should matter. Who cares if everything in this world is made-up in order to make us feel better? What's wrong with feeling better? A one-sentence birthday greeting can go a long way. A hug can sustain a human being for hours or days. A smile, a kind question, a squeeze of the shoulders, any small little thing can sometimes mean a whole lot of difference. It all sounds terribly cheesy, I know. But the book is nothing but. It can go really dark, this book. Leonard is broken, and lonely, and in desperate need of love. Which is painful because he is a lovable kid. He is an old soul with so much good in him, more than he knows what to do with. And he is smart and funny.

I know you've all had the feeling of your heart going out to a fictional character. (I mean of course you have, we are readers for chrissakes.) And I wanted to hold Leonard. Just hold him and not let go. This book hasn't cured me of my nihilism if that's what your thinking, but it helped make me less of a

4. Night by Elie Wiesel - (4/5 Stars) 

Wiesel's writing is simple and succinct which makes everything about his experience even harder to imagine. Surely, no human could have been this savage. And yet, we all know the Holocaust happened. And fundamental to this particular Holocaust memoir is faith. Young Elie Wiesel was struggling with his beliefs. And in the midst of war, torn from your home, family and friends, faith is the only thing you can cling too. But when women and children are burned in ditches, when young boys are hanged in gallows, and fathers are beaten to death, it can be impossible to find anything else left to believe in. And the intensity of young Wiesel's pain and anger is so palpable, I felt hallowed out.


3. Pulse by Julian Barnes - (4/5 Stars) 

Pulse is a difficult read. Not in the sense that it isn't accessible. But because there is so much grief in the stories. It was bad timing that I read the titular story whilst I was in the office, with people around me. Barnes writes with simplicity but his stories teem with emotions, mostly sadness. It reminds me a bit of Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love with its meditation on everyday, small moments. Except Barnes' stories are very British. But they are about the same when it comes to creating vivid voices. Despite having very little description or elaboration about the narrator/s, their voices are so compelling that they seem like actual people, real enough to touch.

2. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders - (5/5 Stars) 

Initially it was tough having to jump from one voice to another, and another, and another. Especially considering that there are roughly 166 very, very candid ghosts in this book. But once you find your pace it is easy to settle into it. The narrative can be considered "oddly" structured, but I find that it is still an accessible read. I think this because Saunders writes relatable, fallible characters. It doesn't matter if they're cyborgs, or mutants, or human lawn ornaments, or in this book's case, ghosts. They still mirror humanity. They still very much retain their flaws, and is every inch as vulnerable as the living. They too can be selfish and stubborn and blind and egotistical, but at the same time exhibit kindness and compassion and love.  

Lincoln in the Bardo, strange as the whole premise might be, (or perhaps not so strange, as the whole concept of the "bardo" is lifted from Buddhism) is so very human at it's core. And it is strangely, both depressing and uplifting to read. The sadness and pain of loss can be overwhelming, but Saunders is a brilliant satirist that the humor is not to be missed, and he seems like a chipper kinda a guy too, enough that he always allows for a sliver of hope and boatloads of kindness in his stories.

1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood - (5/5 Stars) 

You know when you come across a book that you love so much, all you can say is how amazing it is? This is one of those. It is so amazing! Really it is! Okay, let me compose myself. The Handmaid's Tale is set in the future where a fertility virus of some kind has affected most of the women in the population, causing a group of Christians to establish a patriarchal theocracy. Women who aren't affected by the virus are called handmaids and are reduced to and for procreational uses only. They are assigned to Households where they are to perform sexually with the patriarch aka "Commander". To complicate things, the Commanders are married to what they call "First Wives" (First Wives are usually infertile).

It is so satisfying when you find a book with ideas in them that burrows inside your brains. And as progressive as our society may now be, I can't help but think that our future might just be the future Attwood is talking about in this book. We advocate female rights more now than before, but most of the world's societies are still pretty much male dominated. And sure one might think that this is a fictional story, and is too far fetched to be anything but real. But when you read this, it chillingly feels like something that could happen. And aren't science fiction stories, at least the best ones, are mirrors of reality? Or predictions of the future?


Less than 4-Starer 2017 Reads:
1. Weight of Water by Sarah Crossnan - (3.5/5Stars)
2. Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica - (2/5 Stars)

Currently Reading:

1. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Only 40 more or so pages to go. I barely understand most of Beatty's references but the writing snaps, pops and cackles.

2. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace 
A contemporary poetry collection that got my attention because it won the Goodreads Choice Award For Poetry 2016. And the minimalist cover looks fabulous.

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio 
Will start on this as soon as I finish The Sellout. But I am confident this will be a good one. This has been regarded highly by the folks at our book club.
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Aaaah feels so good to be able to write about books again! But I am as volatile as the stock market, and while I am making no promises lest I disappoint myself, I am glad to have written these all down. Yep, one time, big time!

Anyhow, please come talk to me in the comments section! (Pretty Please?) I miss you guys!

Comments

  1. Happy blogsary, Rabbitin!
    Nice new theme, too.

    And it's true book people are the most awesome of people! And books make you feel young, don't they?
    Yes, and YES! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mommy L! Thank You! A blog makeover has been long overdue!
      And oh gosh, books have truly helped me a great deal. I'm guessing, I would have probably aged a good hundred years if I didn't get to go places via books. :D

      Delete

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