Thursday Quotables: 7.7.16

Books, Novel, Thursday Quotables, Uncategorized

//book: The Razor’s Edge // author: W. Somerset Maugham // genre: novel // goodreads

Hello my lovely friends! First off I’d like to mention that I am in Korea right now (this is a scheduled post) and I will not be able to reply to your comments as frequently as I’d like. I’ll still be checking up on my blog often, so don’t forget to say hello!

I picked up this book as a reading assignment for one of my classes. I was able to learn an amazing amount about finding one’s identity, the gift of solitude, and the detrimental effects of monetary objects. This book also showed me the importance of surrounding oneself with wisdom rather than temporary pleasures, status and wisdom. I believe this book really dealt with topics that are pertinent even today.


Synopsis from goodreads:

Intimate acquaintances but less than friends, they meet and part in postwar London and Paris: Elliot, the arch-snob but also the kindest of men; Isabel, considered to be entertaining, gracious, and tactful; Gray, the quintessence of the Regular Guy; Suzanne, shrewd, roving, and friendly; Sophie, lost, wanton, with a vicious attractiveness about her; and finally Larry, so hard and so trustful, lost in the world’s confusion. Their story, one of Somerset Maugham’s best, encompasses the pain, passion, and poignancy of life itself.

My favorite aspect of this book was how well developed each character was. They all had features that were relateable. They will make you laugh, and cry, astonish you and disappoint you. The writing is almost lyrical, and the plot is simple, yet complex. There is nothing about this book I could complain about as I was enraptured by every page. This book is very much like The Great Gatsby in that the narrator is detached yet very involved.

I love it when I’m able to fall in love with a character and make them my role model. Although I realize the impossibility of becoming the protagonist in this book, Larry, there are so many facets of him I’d love to emulate. The peace and serenity he possess, along with his continence and wisdom. Larry truly is one to be impressed by.


 “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.”

See why I love Maughm’s writing? It’s so beautiful, lyrical and compact. Plus he addresses a very important topic. Lately, in my workplace, I’ve been noticing how people are adamantly against change. They believe that happiness stems from permanency and the ability to control every aspect of their lives. Larry’s former girlfriend, wishes for him to be permanent, present and normal. Isabel fails to realize the destructiveness of stability, and trusting in permanency.

“You see, money to you means freedom; to me it means bondage.”

I believe that this quote so perfectly captures one of Larry’s best qualities. Not preoccupied by status and glory like the rest of his friends, Larry grants more value to the deeper aspects of life such as knowledge and peace. His expedition to find the meaning to life, although difficult, eventually becomes the core of his identity and being.

“Unless love is passion, it’s not love, but something else; and passion thrives not on satisfaction, but on impediment.”

I love this unconventional view on love, and throughout the book, this line manifests itself over and over again. I believe this is even pertinent in today’s day and age, and is a concept often overlooked and not understood. Isabel struggles with finding love, especially as she values a comfortable life and status over passion. The way Maughm confronts this crises is unique and refreshing.

The sun shone goldly upon them. Something in Isabel’s immobility attracted my attention, and I glanced at her. She was so still that you might have thought her hypnotized. Her breath was hurried. Her eyes were fixed on the sinewy wrist with its little golden hairs and on that long, delicate, but powerful hand, and I have never seen on a human countenance such a hungry concupiscence as I saw then on hers. It was a mask of lust. I would never have believed that her beautiful features could assume an expression of such unbridled sensuality. It was animal rather than human. The beauty was stripped from her face; the look upon it made her hideous and frightening. It horribly suggested the bitch in heat and I felt rather sick.”

On the topic of love, this is an interesting in that Isabel is painted as a very beautiful, alluring person who has managed to win the hearts of many well accomplished men. This tender moment when she gazes into the man she wasn’t able to marry, would normally be seen as tender and beautiful. However, the disgust the narrator feels illustrates the concept of love and how physical and primitive it is. (Although we hate to think of such a beautiful topic in this manner)

“It’s a long, arduous road he’s starting to travel, but it may be that at the end of it he’ll find what’s he’s seeking.”

Isabel doesn’t understand why Larry could possibly want to leave the comforts of stability and life, and seek wisdom and understanding. To her, the way to live a fulfilled life is to be physically content.Larry, on the other hand, undertakes a journey that could possibly lead him nowhere, yet his aspiration to know and understand truth is beautiful.

This book triggered a lot of thinking on my part, and has helped me to evaluate my values, thoughts and beliefs on love, accomplishments and death. I believe that this book must be read by a mature reader who won’t only appreciate the book for it’s plot. Truly a magnificent book, it’s an amazing read.

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Have you read The Razor’s Edge? What character in a book have you tried to emulate in the past? and why? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Monthly Wrap Up: June 2016

Books, Monthly Wrap Up

month

Hello my lovely book-loving friends!

HOLY COW IT’S ALREADY BEEN A MONTH SINCE I’VE STARTED BLOGGING!

It’s hard to believe that the month of June is finally ending and to realize that I have officially been blogging for one month! Thank you to all those who have provided unending support and love. It’s hard to believe how far this blog has advanced along with how much I’ve learned not only about books, but about blogging.

I’ve made a whole lot more progress on this blog than expected, I’ve gained 30+ wonderful followers along with discovering more blogs that have expanded the world of books for me. I’m so excited to see where this blog will go!


Reviews:

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Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom

My first review ever, was of Tuesday’s With Morrie. This book was such a blessing to me as it dealt with many philosophical topics that are commonly pondered about in this day and age. If you want to see a couple of things I learned from this book, make sure to check out this review (since I wasn’t really sure what I was doing with my first post, this is mainly more what I garnered from the book.)

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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

This book was definitely an interesting read that dealt with a subject of autism, and the stigma attached to it. Although there were many aspects I loved, there were things that I wished this book had. I’m glad I was able to read this book though, as I learned about the intense burden that accompanies secrets.

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

I really enjoyed the juxtaposing of two cultures that Julia experiences. I was pleasantly shocked by the simplicity and peaceful nature of the Burmese culture, and enjoyed following Julia in her journey of learning of her father’s past, while trying to root her identity in the Burmese culture.

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Vicious by V.E Schwab

This book has become a favorite of mine, and I enjoyed reading the entire thing. From start to finish, I was engaged and excited. I was able to stumble upon this book on another book lover blog, and was able to realize how amazing the blogging community really is. I have been able discover amazing books, and new wonderful authors.

Although I only posted four book reviews, I did read three other books. Although this seems like a small number, it’s a big jump from the amount I was reading before school ended. I’m so glad that lately I’ve been making reading a priority, and hopefully the number of reviews also increase!


Wordless Wednesday:

This month, I posted three times for my Wordless Wednesday post in which I write about non-bookish things. These were just fun posts that were meant to provide some insight into what I enjoy!

Movies

Recipes

Travel


Thursday Quotables:

These were some of my favorite posts, when I picked a book and extracted some of my favorite quotes from them, along with adding a fun explanation. Maybe I’ll try making this into a tag one day!

This Side of Paradise

The Kite Runner

The Joy Luck Club

Stargirl


Misc bookish things:

June TBR

#SaveTheClassics

What I’m Reading Right Now

Monday Update

Book Fangirling Blog Award

Bookish Booklover Tag


I’ve also decided to begin accepting books for review! You can see my new review policy here. I’m so thankful to see how far this blog has gone, and can’t wait to see where it goes in the future!

What are some things you accomplished this month? Are you excited for July?

Thursday Quotables: 6.23.16

Books, Novel, Thursday Quotables, Young Adult

//book: Stargirl // author: Jerry Spinelli // genre: novel // young adult //  goodreads

Hello my lovely friends! Today, I will be taking quotes from one of my childhood favorite books. This book was my go to read, and I remember reading it over, and over, and over again, without ever getting bored! I loved the free spirit the girl possessed, and was enchanted by her personality. ALSO, THIS BOOK IS ABOUT TO BE TURNED INTO A MOVIE! It is yet to be announced when it will be in theaters. (I’m super excited… can you tell?)

Synopsis from goodreads:

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her – normal.

More than a love story, this novel deals with the pains of being “normal” and the suppressing power of trying to fit in. Stargirl possesses the magic of being unique, kind and grateful. Her quirky personality, captures the interest of the entire school, until the school discovers that her spirit is “too different”. Leo, is then forced to choose between a girl he loves and the in-crowd.

The most beautiful part about Stargirl, is her ability to appreciate and connect with others. She memorizes birthdays, names and small things that others would probably ignore. She is willing to do most anything for anyone. Stargirl is comfortable with being an outcast, and only attempts to change in order to appease the boy she likes (Leo).

She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.

This is such an accurate description of the essence of Stargirl. She was truly a girl that no one could understand, nor pin down. In their attempts to mold her into something “normal” she would simply slip away, and continue to be who she wanted to be. Of course, the school’s inability to understand who she was, ended up causing her downfall.

He stared at me. “She liked you, boy.” The intensity of his voice and eyes made me blink.
“Yes,” I said.
“She did it for you, you know.”
“What?”
“Gave up her self, for a while there. She loved you that much. What an incredibly lucky kid you were.”

Not only was Stargirl genuine and true to herself, she was able to understand the true meaning of love and the sacrifice that accompanies it. Instead of worrying about what others thought, Stargirl placed a higher importance in those that she loved, and those that loved her. In an attempt to please Leo, Stargirl gave up herself. This is the biggest sacrifice that one can make. I believe that Stargirl not only showed the importance of being unique, but of giving love.

I’m erased. I’m gone. I’m nothing. And then the world is free to flow into me like water into an empty bowl…. And… I see. I hear. But not with eyes and ears. I’m not outside my world anymore, and I’m not really inside it either. The thing is, there’s no difference between me and the universe. The boundary is gone. I am it and it is me. I am a stone, a cactus thorn. I am rain. I like that most of all, being rain.

When Stargirl demonstrated to Leo the power of meditation, I was amazed by her tranquility and tried it again and again and again. I must say, I never succeeded in becoming nothing, but I was able to understand the power Stargirl possessed to hold such power over herself. She was able to become nothing, one with nature and the universe. Her connection with nature is very apparent and beautiful throughout this book. And I think we all need a glimmer of that in our lives.

“She taught me to revel. She taught me to wonder. She taught me to laugh.

I hope we all meet someone like Stargirl one day. Someone who teaches us that it’s ok to stand out, to be different, to love, to laugh. The impact she made on Leo’s life is amazing, and to realize how easily he gave her up cautions us to be mindful and more understanding of the people around us. Sometimes the one we push away, is the one who has shaped our identity the most.

This book truly helped me to realize the detriments of conformity and convinced me to be kind, even if it may be unconventional. The power of peer pressure, and the scary truth behind conformity was also brought to my attention, and each time I put down the book, I was reminded to always be kind, thoughtful and genuine to each and every person I met. This is a must read for anyone of any age, as it deals with important topics in a manner that is engaging and thought-provoking.

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Thursday Quotables: 6.16.16

Books, Novel, Thursday Quotables

//book: The Joy Luck Club // author: Amy Tan // genre: novel // goodreads

Hello my lovely friends. Today I will be presenting a selection of quotes from the Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I love the say each saying offers a unique perspective to many topics that are near and dear to all of us. I especially like the way Amy Tan is able to portray the Asian culture, and to shed light on the contrasting Asian and American culture. Furthermore, the mother daughter relationship that Tan paints, is one that anyone can relate to, although it is deeply entrenched in Asian culture.

Being able to empathize with the characters, and to explore their relationships has been genuinely exciting for me as I have been able to empathize with them and find similarities in my life.  From the child’s perspective on the pressures that are exerted on her, to the desperation each mother feels to raise their child to be successfully, is beautifully portrayed. Enjoy!

“Isn’t hate merely the result of wounded love?”

It is impossible to hate others without a sense of broken trust. To hate another race, religion or person is merely the offspring of a failed relationship that has spread to encompass others. Hatred and fear go hand in hand, and often it is the fear of being hurt that brings about hatred. I believe that this line clearly juxtaposed two opposing themes that many view as mutually exclusive. However, love and hate go hand in hand.

“Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else’s joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears.”
This piece of advice struck home in the competition culture that many live by. They believe that vulnerability is the greatest weakness, and to exude any sort of emotion is to be the weaker person. Thus, many times, we are taught to swallow our fears, humiliations and failures, only to find ourselves isolated and at a loss. Although I find this to be  a lyrical line that captures the culture, I believe that at times, it is essential to cry and to share that moment with someone.
“And I think now that fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over..
As many believe, you create your own fate. Yet often, it is created by your own carelessness. If we were to intuned with our lives, we would never realize what fate could do for us. The second sentence resonates clearly, and is universally true. When something you love is taken from you, you no longer have an anchor. It is during that time, that it becomes essential to turn to faith. And to allow your hopes and dreams to carry you.
“Your life is what you see in front of you.
How you see the glass as half empty, or half full, is how you see your life. Don’t look to the past, but to the future. What you have in store for you, what is awaiting you, is your life. Furthermore, what you see in your life, becomes your life. If only bad awaits, your life is bad. This quote is a startling reminder of the simplicity of a good life that many fail to grasp.
This book was truly a great read, and I had trouble putting it down. Amy Tan never ceases to amaze me with her insight into mother-daughter relationships and her experience as an Asian in America. Read this book to gain a new perspective on how immigrants create/maintain relationships and try to succeed as a stranger in a foreign land.
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Thursday Quotables: 6.9.16

Books, Historical Drama, Thursday Quotables

//book: The Kite Runner // author: Khaled Hosseini // genre: historical drama // drama // goodreads

Hello my lovely friends, I wanted to share with you a couple quotes form The Kite Runner today that I believe not only portray the culture, but insightful truths that are relevant across cultures. This jarring book has been a personal favorite, and I have read it multiple times both on my own and for assignments in school. Each time, I am reminded at the simplicity and extremity of love and loyalty and the guilt and pain that can mold or future.

The Kite Runner was the first time I was exposed to the cruelty that humans are capable of, and my primary read through left me shocked. My subsequent reading, however, revealed to me the promise of redemption and the series of unfortunate events that can arise from jealousy. Hopefully these quotes will encourage you to start this book!

Beginning with friendship:

“For you, a thousand times over”

Hassan, the servant and friend of Amir (the protagonist of the story), was brought up to be devout, loyal and kind. Although they have the same father, the illegitimate child Hassan is entrusted in the care of Ali. (Ali is the servant of Babba, Amir’s father.) Hassan is taught to cater to Amir’s every need, and instead of nurturing resentment or bitterness, Hassan’s loyalty grows. It is this loyalty that eventually leads up to the event that leads to Amir’s heartless betrayal.

“Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.”

Babba hates lying and believes it to be the root of all sin and evil and ensures that his son is taught this fact. Imagine Amir’s horror when he learns that Babba’s has lied to him about the identity of his own half brother, and the despicable acts he forced his half brother to endure. This universal truth is clearly depicted and beautifully phrased here.

“Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything – that is how, it is between people who are each other’s first memories”

To be that connected with someone, and to share that friendship is phenomenal and uncommon.  This statement provides insight into the strong bond Amir and Hassan shared, and the danger of jealousy that has the ability to rip apart these bonds.

“I’m so afraid. Because I’m so profoundly happy. Happiness like this is frightening…They only let you this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.”

To conclude, here is a quote that I believe embodies the culture of the unprivileged class in Afghanistan and the predicament that many face. With each bout of happiness and joy, there is an expectation of sorrow or loss. This also presents the reader with an insight into the thoughts and stress those in that situation are forced to face.

This book was an eye-opener to me about the cruelty of life, danger of jealousy and need for redemption. Pick up this book to follow Amir as he endeavors to not only seek forgiveness, but find love and hope in a war torn land.

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Thursday Quotables: 6.2.16

Books, Novel, Thursday Quotables

//book: This Side of Paradise // author: F. Scott Fitzgerald // novel // goodreads

Hello my beautiful friends, recently (as in today) I have started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel that propelled him to fame. This book has been engaging and thus far, intriguing. A collection of memories and impressions and poems, Fitzgerald narrates the life of a narcissist in Fitzgerald’s expected lyrical tone as he accurately embodies the era.

Here are a couple that caught my attention:

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”.

Who hasn’t experienced the fear, enthrallment, and later regret of losing their innocence? Although we are taught to maintain our innocence, and society emphasizes the beauty of it, the allure of losing it is unavoidable. Fitzgerald captures this controversial feeling beautifully.

“We can’t possibly have a summer love. So many people have tried that the name’s become proverbial. Summer is only the unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It’s a sad season of life without growth…It has no day.”

We all dream of a summer love, but never expect the heartbreak that accompanies it. By shedding a negative light to a otherwise enticing concept, Fitzgerald beautifully describes the unpleasant aspect of a summer romance. This selection carries a melancholy theme, with an eloquence that makes the passage pleasing to the ear.

“I can’t tell you just how wonderful she is. I don’t want you to know. I don’t want any one to know.”

You know you’re in love when you feel the need to hide someone in fear of others knowing of their virtues. The intensity that can often accompany love is exemplified, along with the jealousy that often accompanies love.

Filled with anecdotes about love and life, this book contains so many meaningful quotes that it was impossible to pick one. Enjoy the selections I have chosen, and hopefully this has piqued your interest enough for you to pick up the book!