Category Archives: Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

via Goodreads.com

Rated: 5/5 stars

Eyes mark the shape of the city.

– page 3, 11:56 PM

Have you ever felt that a certain book could have been written just for you? After Dark is mine. Possessive, I know, that’s how it feels but then since when has a book never been personal? It’s a quiet and observant work of art, one that just states it purpose in an understated inflection that belies its significance, its message to us.

This is my first Haruki Murakami and I have fallen in love. I’ve tried so much, struggled to express into words the soft-but-firm clinging strings of the spell that the night has cast upon me. So far, I haven’t found a short version, After Dark is the long one, and it’s come close.

Commuter trains of many colours move in all directions, transporting people from place to place. Each of those under transport is a human being with a different face and mind, and at the same time each is a nameless part of the collective entity. Each is simultaneously a part of a self-contained whole and a mere part. Handling this dualism of theirs skillfully and advantageously, they perform their morning rituals with deftness and precision: brushing teeth, shaving, tying neckties, applying lipstick.
– page 241, 6:50 AM

This fact of being an individual entity and a part of an ever morphing jigsaw puzzle of existence simultaneously, has always been on the fringes of my awareness and reading this it fills me with some contentment, now that I’ve finally seen it put in a coherent arrangement of words.

Mari has made her way through the long hours of darkness, traded many words with the night people she encountered there, and come back to where she belongs.
– page 243, 6:52 AM Continue reading

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Filed under Books, Fiction, Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge

The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4.5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I’ve had this on my to-read list for a couple of years, until recently I finally decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Percy Jackson is a smart mouthed kid, more than a little hot headed, slightly annoying, I’d say strong minded when it counts and vulnerable but yet ready to take chances. In the beginning I was thinking if he could get more complaining it’s going to be a problem, however, as it turned out he was okay.

Prior to reading this I was aware of Harry Potter parallels. There are certainly similarities, I can make a list now that I’ve finished; there’s the twelve cabins of the major Gods and Goddesses (twenty in all) in the place of the four houses for example. It’s no problem to me because whatever those intersecting concepts are they have valid purposes, it doesn’t seem like a cut-and-paste.

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Filed under Books, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Fiction, Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge, Young Adult

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

via Goodreads

Rated: 4.5 stars

Blurb

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Regarded as Fitzgerald’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the “Jazz Age”, as well as a timeless, cautionary critique of the American dream.

~

I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I’d previously thought, the classics genre often hint to a bore of a book, often but not always. The Great Gatsby is, in short, a tragic love story and you’ll find here that a woman can spell ruin for a man, not that it’s news. I can see why many before me consider this a great book. Fitzgerald captured a drop of human nature during the time of easy money and high living in beautiful prose.

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Filed under Books, Fiction, Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge