Fiction, History

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Title: Things Fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

Goodreads Plot: THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

My Thoughts: Chinua Achebe did a masterful job of portraying the clash between natives and the European missionaries. He was really the first person to write it from a third person perspective. He never sided with either the natives or the Europeans. He illustrated all the good and the bad of both sides. The book also really good job at exploring gender roles as well as defining masculinity in the native culture. The beginning of the book was slow for me as the author really takes his time building and describing the culture. While I did enjoy it, it did drag on. However, the second part of the book was amazing. It flew by much quicker. For a short book, the characters were incredibly developed  and complex. This review doesn’t do the book much justice. Everyone should just go read it.

My Rating: 10/10

Acquired: Library

Amazon goodreads

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Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, Reviews

Maus by Art Spiegelman

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Title: Maus

Author: Art Spiegelman

Goodreads Plot: Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I thought it was really clever that the author portrayed the different nationalities in using animals. For example, the Jews were mice, the Polish were pigs, and the Germans were cats. Overall, Art Spiegelman offered a fresh take on the the WWII concentration camp memoir. Not only was it a graphic novel, but the flashbacks from and to the present gave you a more holistic view of why Vladek turned out to be the way he was. The dynamics between Vladek and Art added additional layers to the complexity of the story. The author did an amazing job of retelling the story of his parents and family as they experienced WWII in Poland. I didn’t give this a 10 out of 10 because I could not connect to modern day Vladek who is the main character in the book. For some reason, I could not relate to him. However, I still highly recommend this book to anyone.

Acquired: Library

My Rating: 8/10

AMAZON I GOODREADS

Fiction, Magical Realism, Reviews

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

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Title: The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami

Goodreads Plot: A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.

My Thoughts: To say that this novella was weird is an understatement. This was my first Murakami novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I devoured this book in one sitting. It was a super fast read. The graphic design aspect of the novella was so interesting. One page has text while the other page has a print of some kind. The prints were so cool! The plot was slightly weird, and I think I missed a metaphor or something, but I liked it none the less. I think this was a great novella to start reading Murakami works. I would recommend it for anyone who like different, visually-appealing books.

Acquired: Bought physical copy

My Rating: 9/10

Amazon Goodreads

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Graphic Novels, Reviews

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

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Title: Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 1-18

Author: Bisco Hatori

Goodreads Plot: One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the ‘Host Club’, a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it’s there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.

My Thoughts: This is probably my favorite Manga series of all times. I think this is the second I have read the series in its entirety. The characters and character development in this series is AMAZING! You immediately fall in love with these vibrant, engaging, and super unique characters. Over the course of the series, Hatori makes you fall in love with the host club through flashbacks and Haruhi’s astute perception of who they really are. The plot is also absolutely bewitching. You can’t help but continue reading the adventures of the Host Club as they conquer high school and discover who they truly are. Of course, my favorite part is that everything is resolved at the end. No cliff hangers. If reading manga is not your deal, you could watch the anime version of it on Netflix. It deviates from the story slightly, but it’s still pretty true to the series.

Acquired: Library

My Rating: 10/10

Amazon Goodreads

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Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Reviews

The King’s Dragon by Scott Chantler

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Title: The King’s Dragon

Author: Scott Chantler

Goodreads Plot: In this fourth installment of the award-winning Three Thieves graphic novel series, Captain Drake remembers his dark past as a young knight in the service of King Roderick. Long-ago intrigues may hold clues that will help Drake capture the three thieves — and could spell the end of Dessa’s quest to find her long-lost twin brother.

My Thoughts: This was an absolute delight to read. I think I read it in one sitting. The book is part of a series, and I haven’t read any of the previous books. However, I was able to pick up the main story fairly easily. The illustration style was wonderful. The pictures were colorful, clear, and entertaining. Scott Chantler also does a great job developing intricate and complex characters that you would be able to find in any classic novel. Overall, Scott Chantler tells a wonderfully delightful story in this installment of the Three Thieves series. I am curious to read the previous three books.

My Rating: 9/10

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