coffee talk, feb 2015

The only thing that changes in the new year is desk stationary and calendar.  Everybody and everything else stay the same.  The sun rises and sets identically every day, January 1st or not.  So what’s so different about this year from last?  My new year feels a bit deflated because the new dates only remind me that I’m terribly backlogged with my book reviews.  There are so many good books in this world, and so very little time to read it all – imagine how much time is left to type up all the reviews! :)

In the last few months of 2014, I read a variety of books, some good, some not even worth mentioning.  The book I enjoyed the most was Ray Bradley’s Fahrenheit 451; the least was Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret.  The most interesting was probably Joanna Rakoff’s My Salinger Year and most unique was Marquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores.  It’s amazing how words crafted together can be so life-changing.  With only language and some ideas, you can truly create a whole new world.  This year, I’m going to continue my quest for reading as many great books as I can to find inspirations and lessons that can hopefully help further define my beautifully ordinary life.

Happy reading!

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Julian Barnes Flaubert’s Parrot: Probably not the most fun book to read; a little slow and dense with meticulous descriptions.  But the concept is interesting.  It follows a character who has always been fascinated by Gustave Flaubert until one day he meets a parrot that could’ve possibly been the subject of Flaubert’s writings.  He tries to examine the parrot to get closer to the writer.  dee’s rec–3/5

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Memories of My Melancholy Whores: Can you imagine a 90-year-old man seeking a virgin prostitute for his own birthday gift??? What an unusual idea (for me at least).  Instead of sex, though, he finds something that he’s never felt before.  Love.  Poetically and beautifully written, Marquez invites the readers to bask in the idea of finding something new for the very first time even after ninety years have passed. dee’s rec–4/5

Walker Percy The Moviegoer: The story follows Binx Bolling and his search for identity and life’s purpose.  My favorite quote from this book pretty much sums up how thought-provoking it is. “What is the nature of the search? you ask. Really it is very simple; at least for a fellow like me. So simple that it is easily overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.” Though it’s a bit slow, you have to keep in mind the discovery of life’s definition is never quite fast.  dee’s rec– 4/5

Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451:  What a classic! Set in a distant future of American society after 1960 (book was written in 1953), the story follows fireman Guy Montag.  But contrary to our definition of firemen, these men actually make fire to burn any and all kinds of books.  If ever found reading, people mysteriously “disappear” – and almost immediately.  And as all stories go, the protagonists are left to save the world.  Written so imaginatively and intelligently, I would read this over and over and over again.  dee’s rec– 5/5

Liane Moriarty The Husband’s Secret: Ughh I should never just pick up a book because everybody is reading it.  It’s probably not a bad book but I had a hard time clicking with the writing style.  I would rather recommend Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You (review coming soon).  dee’s rec– 1/5

Diane von Furstenburg The Woman I Wanted to Be: As an avid DVF shopper and dedicated fan, I decided to pick it up to find inspiration in Diane’s life.  Although it’s not a rag to riches story, her confidence, persistence, and passion resonates throughout the entire book, aspiring young woman leaders to dream big and create the best possible situations under any given circumstance.  dee’s rec– 3/5

Lena Dunham Not That Kind of Girl: This is a very American book.  Does that make sense?  A lot of the things Dunham shares of her life are expressed in a very… “American way”; liberal, no bullshit, straight up what-you-see-is-what-you-get, and not a lot of cultural inheritance or tradition at the crux of the matter.  I’m sure a lot of women around the world have experienced the same – heartbreaks, one night stands, bad boys, drugs, being outcasts but Dunham’s writing style is incredibly honest.  It’s the open book into her life that makes her so unique.  I think it would be a good beach read.  dee’s rec–3/5

Paulo Coelho Adultery: From the looks of it Linda has it all – a successful reporting career, an expensive closet, and a husband that loves her.  But she wakes up everyday dragging her feet and soul to nothing but her mundane, predictable life.  Everything is bland in her life until she meets her ex-boyfriend from her young past.  The more she meets him to interview him about his up and coming political campaign, the more she’s drawn into the danger and excitement of lusting over him.  Probably not my favorite Coelho book but it does have a thin layer of philosophical questions about morals and values, which invites you to think about what you would do in a similar setting.  dee’s rec–2.5/5

Joanna Rakoff My Salinger Year: I’ve never been a huge fanatic of The Catcher and the Rye but it did pinch my curiosity of what it would’ve been like to be Salinger’s agent.  Rakoff had the opportunity to work at Salinger’s publishing house for a year, after Salinger became a household name from his book. So-so.  I felt the author was trying to delicately elaborate a day’s worth of adventure into hundreds of pages.  It’s like reading a stranger’s diary after she met a celebrity — not so interesting until you’ve met them yourself.  dee’s rec– 2/5