(This post may contain spoilers.)
The idea of reading 50 books in a year seemed easy to me. Not so much.
I’ve been struggling to get in the mood of reading, especially after reading mostly for classes while finishing my degree. So here are the first five books that I’ve read, later than I expected:
1. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I started reading Game of Thrones a long time ago. I mean it’s been more than a year. But I’m counting it as a book that I’ve read this year! If you watch the show or read the books, you know that they are pretty intense. The books are 800+ pages and there is just a lot of information, so they can be a tough read (not that they’re hard to understand, but it’s just a lot of stuff).
With that being said, I have to say that the first book was good. Martin is a great writer. His books aren’t bestsellers for no reason. Some of his writing is just beautiful. And some of it is pretty gruesome (however, the show is still so much worse—than the first book anyway). I would give Game of Thrones a 5/5.
Quotes I liked:
“‘I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men…”
“trying to remember was like trying to catch the rain with her fingers.”
“and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of the dragons.”
2. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Tuck Everlasting is probably more popularly known in the film form. I saw the movie before reading the book, and I have always loved the movie. And I have to say that I don’t love the book better (what I mean is that I like them equally as two different forms). They are both good in different ways. If you didn’t know this, Winnie (the main character) is actually really young in the book compared to the movie, so there is less of a romance angle. She forms more of a connection with the family as a whole rather than with Jesse. Her relationship with each character is different and this forms a much different impression on the reader. 3.5/5
Quotes I liked:
“‘I don’t want to die.’
‘No,’ said Tuck calmly. ‘Not now. Your time’s not now. But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing. But it’s passing us by, us Tucks. Living’s heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it’s useless, too. It don’t make sense. If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I’d do it in a minute. You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.'”
3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favorite movies, like in my top 5. I love the music, the acting is phenomenal, and it’s just beautiful. I also saw the movie first.
The book did not disappoint. The movie follows it pretty closely, although there are a few differences. I think some of the biggest differences are the way that Hatsumomo leaves the okiya and Sayuri’s relationship with Nobu. The first doesn’t really matter to the plot, but I did like Sayuri and Nobu more in the book, they were a lot closer. Also, the movie ends with Sayuri finally getting the Chairman, but the book tells more about their life together. I didn’t really mind the ending, but I like endings that leave it up to the reader’s imagination.
However, Arthur Golden’s writing is quite wonderful. I honestly felt like I was reading a memoir written by a wise old woman who led an incredible life. 4.5/5
Quotes I liked:
“‘I cannot tell you what it is that guides us in this life; but for me, I fell toward the Chairman just as a stone must fall toward the earth. When I cut my lip and met Mr. Tanaka, when my mother died and I was cruelly sold, it was all like a stream that falls over rocky cliffs before it can reach the ocean. Even now that he is gone I have him still, in the richness of my memories. I’ve lived my life again just telling it to you.’
‘Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.'”
4. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
I first read The Hobbit when I was in the fifth grade and I only remembered spiders and caves. After rereading it, I feel that this is accurate. Haha! But it was still a great read and overall much more jovial than the movies. I love Tolkien’s writings on Middle Earth, there is so much thought put into every aspect of what he writes. 5/5
Quotes I liked:
“As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by the hands and cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.”
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale is an extremely relevant novel. It’s a futuristic dystopia that could actually happen. I’ve seen some reviews compare it to George Orwell’s 1984. Its narrator is Offred, who is the Handmaid to a Commander, a prominent and wealthy man. Her task is to bear children for him in a time where fertility is at an all time low. It’s been three years since the Republic of Gilead has taken over and throughout the novel Offred remembers her life before, her daughter and husband who were taken from her. She struggles to find a way to survive as an outcast woman. The end is mysterious and leaves what happens next to the reader’s imagination.
This is the second Atwood novel that I attempted, and my first success. The story was gripping and horrifying and left me a lot to think about. 5/5
Quotes I liked:
“We lived as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it… We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
“And so I step, into the darkness within; or else the light.”
And so here’s hoping the next five will come a bit quicker.