chapters and pages

Reactivating my Goodreads account has pushed me to lower the stack of books that has already gathered dust in the bookshelf. To say that my to-be-read pile is out of control seems like an understatement. The nerd in me would express this in a simple equation that the books I read is indirectly proportional to the books I buy. At the start of the year, I had an agreement with a friend that I would only buy a book every three months (and if I end up breaking this rule I need to buy her one too, so far I only failed once). Ah, the extreme measures that I must do just to control my impulse buying and hoarding tendencies.

The books I pick up to read are based on my “mood”; some sort of gut feel that the story would match my emotions or whatever I’m currently going through in life. Here’s the chosen ones for the first quarter of the year and some of my thoughts about it:

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Rating: ★★★★★

“I don’t move because my cowardice tramples me, even as I try to lift my spirit from its knees. It only keels over. It sways off to the side and hits the earth with a silent, bitten thud. It looks up at the stars. They’re stars that dribble across the sky. Go, I tell myself again, and this time, I walk on.”

I did not to set my expectations high for this book. The Book Thief was the first book of Zusak that I was able to read and it was a brilliant one. I established an unspoken rule for myeself not to compare two books that came from the same author. They might be penned by the same person, but the plot and characters are still different.

At first, it seems just like a simple story, but as I progress with every page the characters gain more depth than before. The storyline thickened into something that you needed to see its end. Reading this made me realize that Markus Zusak is one great storyteller. He can turn simple stories into something that is more amazing than expected. He stitches simple words but does not fail to make it sound poetic.

Girl in the Mirror by Cecilia Ahern
Rating: ★✰✰✰✰

When I give a 1/5 rating to a book, it simply means that it did not make an impact on me. The type of book that you don’t need to spend money on, just borrow it from the library, something that you can easily give away to friends who would want it, sell it in a second hand books platform…You get the idea. This book was one of them.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Rating: ★★★✰✰

“It’s like reading a map of the future, and she wonders if there are such telltale signs on everyone, hidden clues to the people they’ll one day become.”

Reading this made me realize that my heart has a soft spot for YA novels that are under chick lit. It still made me feel the giddiness of being young and in love, when being an adult hasn’t hit you yet and your life was just this lump of teenage problems mixed with a little bit of bliss. Novels like this serve as a good break after reading a heavy classic.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Rating: ★★★★✰

“At the same time, we held back. Because she was different. Different. We had no one to compare her to, no one to measure her against. She was unknown territory. Unsafe. We were afraid to get too close.”

I’ve seen this being included in a lot of Top 10 lists from other bookworms, so when I saw it last year in a second hand book sale I did not hesitate to buy it. There’s not much to lose for the price of 25 pesos.

And there’s nothing to regret as well as I’ve come to know why a lot of people have fallen in love with Stargirl. It may be aimed for a younger audience, but my 23-year-old self was still able to connect with the characters. It may be printed with large letters but the words formed out of them speak volumes about identity, love, and connectedness. Stargirl makes you realize that you can choose to be yourself even if the world wants to conform you in another way.

To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

Rating: ★✰✰✰✰

With its popularity, I was convinced to read this book. The cover seems promising, and as my friend said to me she bought this copy because the blurb enticed her. Apparently, it was a letdown for the both of us. Can I just say that I’m glad that I wasn’t the one who bought it? Haha! The story was bland, and the plot needed some saving.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Rating: ★★★✰✰

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.”

For an art aficionado like me, the first part of the book would be a delight. Wilde continuously ingest how art can be viewed through the art of the artist and how the muse can play a huge part in it. I underlined a lot of words that connected to art, as well as some phrases that came out like line from a poem. It became a struggle for me to finish this because the theme got darker and darker as the novel progressed.

If ever you’ve read this books or maybe interested in reading this (hope I didn’t spoil you) , feel free to share your thoughts on the comments below. 🙂

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