Fall Reading List

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I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because being original is the new black.

Although college doesn’t really give me much time to read, I still have that wishful thinking that at some point I’m going to relax in my bed and devour a book or two. I can just see it now: hot apple cider in one hand and a wonderful book in the other while the sound of rain pounds against the window. Ah, bliss…

Here is my fall reading list.

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What books do you have on your list?

xo, Patricia

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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

13335037In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her. Description from Goodreads

This was in my to-read list after my sister recommended it to me and I honestly have little words to say of it. In short: THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING.

Suffice it to say that I read this book in under 24 hours. I literally could not stop. Tris, the main character is from Abnegation and not only does the book have a great plot, but it also really fleshes out the voices of the characters and shows how they develop, which, to me, is so important for a book to have. Veronica Roth spends a lot of time making sure the reader understands the decisions her characters make and you truly get a sense of ‘the world is definitely not black and white.’ It’s so interesting that she developed this concept and it’s so relatable–not all of us are entirely good or selfless.

Also, Four, Tris’s love interest, is exceptionally yummy and I love how their relationship develops through the book and how complicated it seems to be. I’m soooo happy that Roth didn’t succumb to the love trianges/everyone likes me but I only like him kind of love story here. It’s perfectly imperfect.

Definitely recommend this one!

Happy reading!

Book Review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

9717A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals–while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being.”

A major achievement from one of the world’s truly great writers, Milan Kundera’s magnificent novel of passion and politics, infidelity and ideas, encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, illuminating all aspects of human existence.

Goodreads

The Unbearable Lightness of Being was recommended to me by a friend after I told him I really loved Love in the Time of Cholera. Even after a few days after finishing the book, I’m still confused on how I feel about it.

The story has four main characters: Tomas, Tereza, Sabina, and Franz. It revolves mainly about their relationships but also has political and metaphysical themes. I’m going to break down this review into three areas: Characters, Writing, and Plot to better organize my thoughts.

Characters:

There’s something oddly unnerving about Kundera’s characters. I felt at very extremes: either I couldn’t relate to them or they resounded so much with the (to reference the title) essence of being human that it made me uncomfortable. I admired how Kundera took very human and honest characters. This book is mainly about exploring them as people and less about developing an intriguing story. At times, I felt frustration with Tomas and Tereza and the fact that they were ttogether and weren’t brave enough to venture out of what I considered a very toxic relationship. Without any spoilers, Tomas’s womanizing threw me off completely and Tereza’s feeling for herself constantly made me think of her as weak and desperate. I didn’t admire her character at all.

However, Kundera explores what most writers don’t: the fact that these are terribly flawed, completely human characters. They are not the kind of people I’d like to spend time with but they are simply so human that one can’t help but realize that there is a lot of us in them. That, I think, is what made me really uncomfortable. Many might feel the same way, thinking that the characters reveal too much of their own selves.

Plot:
In terms of plot, there really isn’t any. The story is more of a story of exploring human being rather than creating plot twists. That’s what makes it engaging. Although there are moments when you’re reading to see what happens next, it’s more about trying to figure out the reason why several characters do certain things rather than looking for a ‘surprise’ outcome.

I’d say this book is definitely a metaphysical/philosphical exploration of humans and relationships. Kundera has many great insights about positives and negatives and how the lines are often extremely blurred. This insight is what makes the book really unique and engaging. There are also some political aspects that while interesting, were a bit on the boring side sometimes and too much for an already heavy book.

Writing:
Kundera’s omniscient writing enables him to explore each character’s to detail. His writing is a different type of writing that I’m accustomed to but it is incredibly beautiful and eloquent. Despite my frustration with the lack of plot and the stupidity of some characters, his writing made me feel both so light and so heavy that it really touched my emotions enough to keep reading. I would definitely pick up more books by him.

Veredict:

I might read this a second time in order to further study Kundera’s methods. I recommend this for a cold day in. It’s not a beach read and its a pretty heavy book. Good, but I don’t think it’s amazing. Happy reading!