Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is a very interesting novel about a man with a career designing train stations and a haunting past. What makes the story interesting is his extremely complicated relationship with his four former high school classmates, who like him had moved on. Except for a particular bit of drama. They had stopped all communications between them all because one of the girls, Kuro, had a mental breakdown and accused our protagonist of raping her. He goes on his pilgrimage reconnecting with all of his old friends in order to obtain closure and finds out much more than he imagined he would.
I love Murakami’s surreal writing. This book is drenched in extremely descriptive imagery and symbolism, some of it more overhanded than others. One thing that I’ll never forget is the scene where he talks to the jazz pianist who plays a sorrowful rendition of “Round Midnight” and tells Tsukuru about his outlook on life, which was something that was completely separate and different from the rest of the book. Almost makes it feel like Tsukuru dreamed the whole experience. The book honestly convinced me that it’s never too late to make amends and find new truths.
I recommend this book to anyone who want a different kind of story, characters that feel like people, and to be absorbed by an ocean of imagery.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab is a story about a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. The dead are called histories and the place where they rest is called the Archive. Their lives are seen in pictures that only librarians can read. Mackenzie Bishop is tasked with making sure the histories, remain asleep but that proves to be difficult when someone is intentionally waking them up. Victoria Schwab uses her enchanting imagination to reveal the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable lose and hard-won redemption.
Schwab wrote a masterful, dark and beautiful novel. Her descriptive ways take you into this imagined world where bodies are filed away like books. This book changes the way you see the dead. You’ll realize that when we lose people that they aren’t truly gone because they left footprints on everything they touched.
Schwab’s book helps those who are suffer from the loss of a loved one heal. She reminds us that they are not truly gone and to morn by their graves is to mourn for the empty shell they once occupied. We carry those we love with us because of the memories made together.
-Book review by Cheyenne Hixson
What do we do about love? About religion? About beauty? All these topics and more are discussed in Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet. The inquisitive townspeople of Orphalese sit down with the chosen prophet Almustafa and ask him to speak on various subjects. The purpose of this book is to get the reader to really ponder their views on the big questions of life that we ask ourselves, and others, every day.
Personally, I enjoyed the book. At first, I was a bit skeptical, seeing as how Gibran’s version of Christianity is a bit different than mine. But upon reading the book, I discovered that the story was basically the same story as the one in the bible where Jesus teaches everyone the beatitudes. What really stood out to me was where some of the lines of knowledge that Almustafa gave the townspeople. One in particular is his knowledge of beauty where he states, “… beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. But you are life and you are the veil. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.” The Prophet persuades me to think outside of our societal beliefs and find a deeper meaning to the pre-conceived ideas of freedom, beauty, giving, friendship, religion, etc.
I would recommend this book to anyone that likes philosophy or religion or anyone looking to perhaps challenge how they view different ideas. As a student, this book would be great for other students to read because we are in a time in our lives where we are all trying to find ourselves. We’re trying to discover who we are and what we believe in.
QBQ! The Question Behind the Question was written by John G. Miller. This book is about questions to really ask yourself. Questions such as how to eliminate blame, complaining, and procrastination. QBQ explains how negative and inappropriate questions lacks personal accountability, and we should ask ourselves questions better our surroundings and lives.
This book helped me understand what questions to ask myself about how to accomplish my dreams and goals. This book made me feel empower in asking myself better questions. What stood out to me is message to ask better and do better.
I would recommend everyone to read this book because it will have asking better questions in your day to day situations. It’s a great book to read or give as a gift.
Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an onion-style mystery/thriller whose layers are peeled back by two seemingly mismatched protagonists: Mikael Blomkvist, a middle aged investigative journalist charged with libel; and Lisbeth Salander, an antisocial young woman, who is both a computer genius and a pariah.The two are brought together to investigate a disappearance/murder in the Vanger family that occured in the 1960’s and as the investigation continues, not only are the scandals of the Vanger family tree revealed, but also the Vanger family ties to the Swedish Nazi party. While the purpose of the novel is mainly fictional entertainment, there is a good deal of Swedish/European politics, economy, and journalism. The novel also explores the dark side of the human psyche and how it manifests despite the denials and obfuscation of seemingly normal and polite individuals. In short, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sheds light on the phenomenon of what happens behind closed doors, the knowledge of which can prove to be deadly.
The various story arcs and the sheer number of the Vanger family (22 members) makes a complex environment for a mystery/thriller. Continue reading
There is a universal truth that is not always accepted, but it is a truth nonetheless. Love is the highest truth. Love is the guiding force behind all that is good and just in the world. This truth is illustrated no more powerfully than in the author Paulo Coelho’s novels. The over-arching theme in every storyline is that love is the single most powerful force in the universe and the only force that can truly make a lasting, permanent impact on the world. He also teaches us that one must find their own path. We must take a journey to find where it is we belong, our niche. The abundance of imagery, the oh so relatable characters in each story and his beautiful words all combine to weave a truly immaculate, life-altering, revelatory tale that leaves one inspired and wishing to make an impact on the universe. This has been my personal experience after reading his novels, at least.
In “12 Years a Slave” Solomon Northup starts as a free man. He is a family man, carpenter, and musician. Northup explains that he constantly has to look for new work opportunities from season to season. One day he meets two men in the circus business who offer him a position playing music. They offered to pay him very well so Solomon accepted. On a trip to New York Solomon is drugged and taken into captivity.Northup explains that he did not see exactly who did this to him but he was sure that the two men had everything to do on it.
The story line of Coma is an advanced hospital; remember the book was written in the late 1970’s. The hospital was cursed and every few months a person coming in for a non-complicated surgery would never wake up from their anesthesia. The patient would then slip into a coma and then be transferred to an advanced long-term care facility where the patient would be suspended into air and the doctors would remove their organs and sell them on the black market. The doctors sold the organs without the patient’s guardian’s consent. The theme is suspenseful, but very entertaining.
“Beautiful Dead: Book 1- Jonas” is written by Eden Maguire. This book it the first of a four book series. It’s set in present time; in a very small town. Four teenagers (Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and Phoenix) who attend the same high school all die within the same year from tragic accidents. Phoenix is the last to die and leaves behind a grief-stricken girlfriend (Darina) who is on the verge of losing it.
In James Allen’s short book, published in 1902, he provides the audience with the higher knowledge that the thoughts persons conjure is what manifests as your future. Allen, through what little chapters the book contains, explains that there is no gap between your mind’s workings and the actual material around you. His language is beautiful and profound, which pushes the reader to see the more noble side of English diction.