Book Thoughts: The Arrival

 

The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is the most beautiful graphic novel that I’ve ever seen. It contains beautiful stunning pictures that speak for themselves which is a good thing because The Arrival contains no words. I breezed through the book in thirty minutes, only to re-open it, and read it again. I can’t get enough of how extraordinary Tan’s images are. I am not in any way an artist, but I would recommend it solely for the artwork. That doesn’t mean the story leaves anything to be desired, however. The combination of story plus images makes this one of my favorite books of the year.

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The Arrival is a universal immigrant’s tale, however, it focuses on one man’s journey. Tan uses images to translate the harrowing journey that millions of immigrants have gone through and still do. We follow the man as he says goodbye to his family, and makes the long and lonely voyage to his new home.
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When I think of moving to new place I hype it up as different other, and it may or may not be, but the foreign is has the tendency to be exotic. Here it quite literally is. The pain, the confusion of uprooting your life, and the trials and tribulations of setting roots in a foreign land become visible through Tan’s fantasical surrealist setting.
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I’ve never immigrated anywhere, but my parents have. They constantly tell me about the struggle of having to adjust to a new country, learn the language, and learn the social etiquette of a new culture. As I mentiond Tan’s story is universal. It’s every Immigrants story. He depicts the struggle of learning to adjust to your new surrounding, while still desperately clinging to the old. It portrays having one foot in the new world, but the rest of your body in the old.

Tan also depicts the darker parts of immigration. The people who don’t want you to be there, and the insecurity of living in a country that isn’t you own, and the naiveté that can sometimes lead to bad situations.
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The images have an antique quality to them. They remind me of something you would find in your grandmother’s albums. They are all in sepia or black and white hues. Shaun Tan’s imagination is very close to mine. When I think of my dream cities it’s usually looks something like this:
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Or this:
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While I never knew the man’s name I enjoyed watching his journey. His first steps to finding himself in his new life, and building on it for his and his family’s future.

I hope I’ve convinced you to pick this one up. It’s very realistic despite the fantasy feel to it. Highly recommend to EVERYONE graphic novel lovers and not alike.

Dusting off The Shelf Read-a-thon TBR

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The Read-A-Thon is days away, and I finally picked out my books. It was tough since  I have so many neglected book, but after much deliberation I finally nailed it down. First, let me present the challenges.

  • Read a book set in the past.
  • Read a classic
  • Read a book written before 2010
  • Read at least 100 pages a day
  • And of course book that have been neglected by you.

I’ll be reading:

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1) The Bronze Bow by  Elizabeth Spear (this completes the books set in the past challenge)

2) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (this completes the Classics challenge)

3) The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham (This completes the book written before 2010 challenge)

4) Among Others by Jo Walton (Neglected for a year now)

5) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (I am ashamed to admit how long this one has been neglected for)

It’s my bestfriends birthday this weekend, and I might be going out of town, so I might be late to the read-a-thon, but I’ll try to be on twitter keeping up with your updates! #Dustofftheshelf is the hashtag.

Here’s Emily’s Post with more info. Link me to your blogs if your participating.

Happy reading everyone!

Book Thoughts: A Visit From the Goon Squad

 

A visit from the

“Time’s a goon, right? You gonna let that goon push you around?” Scotty shook his head. “The goon won.”

A Visit from the Goon Squad is not your standard novel. It doesn’t have a main character, no linear plot, has alternative narratives, a freaking powerpoint as a chapter, and no concrete setting or time period. Don’t let this be a turn off, however. It’s a fantastic read. You’ll appreciate it if you’re a nostalgic person which I am, or if you just want to read a new way of telling the oldest story known to us.
We ‘re born. We live. We get old. We Die.

A Visit from the Goon Squad reads more like a short story collection. It begins with Sasha a kleptomaniac living in New York City working in the music industry for Bennie. Then chapters shift to tell someone else’s story and so forth and so forth. The difference between A Visit from the Goon Squad and a short story collection, is that that these characters do reappear, but it’s likely that the next time we see them they’ll either be younger or older, and they will be in a different place then when we last saw them.

“I’m always happy,” Sasha said. “Sometimes I just forget.”

If there had to be main characters I would say it was between Bennie and Sasha. They are the characters that we see the most, and the inadvertent link between everyone. We meet Sasha when she’s in her twenties, and we also get to see her as a troubled teen, and eventually as an adult. Much of the same is true for Bennie.

“Like all failed experiments, that one taught me something I didn’t expect: one key ingredient of so-called experience is the delusional faith that it is unique and special, that those included in it are privileged and those excluded from it are missing out.”

Honestly it’s a very basic story. It simply follows people whose lives are either extremely chaotic, mellow, and everything in between . I guess that’s what I liked about it. It features various lives in various stages. It reminds us that what we think matters at X age won’t matter when we’re Y age which is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned the older I get. I know for a fact I don’t care about the same stuff I did in high school.

Surprisingly it also has some Sci-Fi elements going on here. The novel concludes in futuristic New York where new and interesting technology is being used for communication. If you think cell phones are bad, wait to read about T messages.

Finally, Jennifer Egan writing is very simple not overly lyrical or poetic, but she does a great job of letting you know exactly what’s happening. She includes first persons, second person, and third person narrative. As well as a complete chapter in a powerpoint. The second person narrative was particularly interesting since it’s one I’ve hardly ever read a book in. She does follow a pattern I’m detecting in literary fiction of not using quotation marks which can confuse a bit. There is a bit of humor and satire in it which prevent the book from being too dark.

“Das mine”! Protested Ava. Bennie’s daughter, affirming Alex’s recent theory that language acquisition involved a phrase of speaking German.

If you’ve ever been around tiny children you start realizing the truth in this.

Overall, a unique read not for plot, but for style. Highly recommend it if you want to read something contemporary that isn’t pretentious.

Liebster Award

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I was nominated by the lovely Yvo from It’s all about Books. Thanks again. It took me forever to come up my questions,but I  finally came up with some half way decent ones:)

The Rules:

1) Write a post featuring this award, and the award logo and make sure you don’t forget to thank the person who nominated you.

2) Answer 10 questions.

3) Make up your own 10  questions to answer.

4) Tag and nominate 10 amazing bloggers that have under 200 followers (Or under 1000 if you prefer)

5) Let those bloggers know that they have been nominated for the Liebster award!

 

My answers to Yvo’s questions:

1) Which do you prefer: an e-book or an actual book?

Although I have grown to love my kindle, I still prefer physical books.

2) What would be your dream travel destination?

Lately all the amazing Japanese literature I’ve been reading has made me look up flights to Japan at least every other day. (Not lying)

3) What is your favorite music?

I don’t think I have one. My mood determines what I like listening to. Some of my favorites are oldies, blues, reggae, and pop.

4) If you have unlimited access to money, where in the world would you live?

Right now it would New York City. It’s the hub of everything I find interesting.

5) What is your biggest fear?

Losing the people I love.

6) If one of the three senses had to be taken away which you choose: sigh, speech, or hearing Why?

Speech. I need my eyes to read, and my ears to listen to music and audiobook, so those are a  must. I’m not a talkative person to begin with, so not being able to talk would give me the perfect excuse to stay silent and just observe.

7) What would you say is you best quality?

Open mindedness. I’m always open to trying new things. And I try not to judge what I don’t know or understand.

8) What is your favorite food when reading?

I usally don’t eat because I don’t want to get anyting on my pages. I do enjoy drinks though.

9) If you could choose in which time you could live would you choose the past, present, or future? Why?

The past if I could change stuff. I have a few things I wish I would have done differently.

10) Are you right handed or left handed?

Right.

My Questions:

1) What is your favorite literary genre?

2) What is the strangest book you’ve ever read?

3) What is your dream job?

4) What would your dream vacation be like?

5) What is your favorite literary world? This can be a real one, or a made up one.

6) What is your earliest book memory?

7) What is your favorite dish?

8) Do you take notes while you read?

9) What are the  5 books you wish the whole world would read?

10) How do you decide what to read next?

Nominations:

Almost everyone I want to nominate has already been nominated.  It’s hard to nominate just  10 people when they’re are so many blogs out there, but I here goes. I tried to go with people who are just starting out and could use the love.

Woven Magic Books

Books & Cleverness

Saturday’s Alright for Writing 

Media in Color

Bookish 

Hit or Miss Books 

booknerderie 

Fantasy Books 

Dawn of Books 

For the Love of the Page 

 

 

7 Deadly Sins Tag

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I was unofficially Tagged by Molly over at Woven Magic Books. I saw her post, and I thought it looked fun. Here goes.

Greed-  What is your most inexpensive book?

I’m a always on the hunt for good deals, so I have lots of  inexpensive books, but I am going to have to go with GodSpeaker  Omnibus Edition by Karen Miller. It retails at $21.99, but I scored it for 25 ¢ at my  library book sale.

WrathWhat author do you have a love hate relationship with?

Karen Marie Moning.  The Fever series is my second favorite series of all time. I love the world, the characters, and the writing so much, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.  However, withint the last year the release date for Burned has been pushed back twice. Twice! (We finally have an official  date  but still.) This waiting has turned me into a hot mess.Doesn’t she know I’m addicted to the Fever and I need more now? Cruel Woman.

Bunred

Gluttony–  What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

Umm… Probably Harry Potter. I’ve been repeatedly re-reading them once a year since I was a kid.  It  started as a warm up to the next book release, and the traditon kept going. These are my favorite books, so I’m always happy when I’m lost  in them

Sloth- What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Anna Karenina. I’ve heard it’s amazing. In fact, it’s one of my dad’s favorite books. But it’s so big, and Russian Literature is a doozy. I know I’ll get to it at some point, but I have to work up the courage first.

Anna

PrideWhat book do you most talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

For the Love of the Page mentioned The Stranger and I’m going to have to go with that one. Although, in all honestly I did like the book, so it’s a win win situation.

Lust-  What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

Intelligence. You can have the most gorgeous bod and face, but I lose interest the second you say something stupid or  start making stupid decisons. Brains over Brawn always. However, who am I to complain if they have both?

Envy- What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

An advanced reader Copy of Burned.;)  But anything that’s on my TBR list will do.

There you have it. This was pretty fun, if you feel like taking part, consider yourself tagged.

 

 

Book Thoughts: Saga Volume 2

 

Saga

Some dreams really do come true. That said, most dreams are weird as shit.

Saga Volume 2  picks  up right where Volume 1 leaves us. There isn’t much I can say  in the review since it’s a sequel, and I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but let me tell you the madness continues, and you will love it!

Alana, Marko, family and co are still on the run. Just when they think they can catch their breaths, someone or something else gets in their way.

Volume 2’s pace was a bit slower than volume 1. In 2 the focus is on the back stories of characters. We get  flashbacks to the events prior to Volume 1. It alternated a lot between the past and the future.

For example, we get to see Alana and Marko’s first meeting, and how they fell in love.

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We also get glimpses of Marko’s childhood.

little mar

Volume 2 also picks up the other characters’ story arch  such as The Will and Lying cat, Robot IV. The villains  are drawn out more, and not they weren’t complex before, but here they really get fleshed out. You want to hate them, but Brian K. Vaughan makes it hard.

The plot twist as new characters are introduced. Some that will for sure stir the pot. Oh and that ending! Make sure you have Volume 3 on hand is all I’m saying.  

Teaser Tuesdays.

 

TEASER TUESDAYS!

Teaser Tuesdays is a meme created by Should Be Reading. All you have have to do is open your current read to a random page and select  two sentences. NO SPOILERS.

 

I’m currently reading The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin.

The Killing Moon

I just started this one, so I can’t say much about it yet. However, others have said nothing but good thing, so I’m very excited!

I’m reading the paperback edition. Pages 145.

Sentences: Etissero rose and came to the window besides Sunandi. “That isn’t the city guard . I’ve never seen men wearing those colors before.”

Uh Oh something is about to go down!

What you currently reading?