Badasses, Castle Dwellers, and Time Beings

April 10th 2016

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Lately I’ve sort have been on a reading kick. I get into these kicks a few times a year where I read a few books then stop reading all together for a really long while until I find a new good book and get flung back into my reading obsession. I’m trying my best to remain consistent with a lot of things including my reading, because I tend to phase in and out of my obsessions with things or even just healthy habits.  That’s why this year, I have become determined to stay on track with my reading and read some classic books and novels as well as books I wouldn’t normally think to pick up, in order to broaden my mind a bit and keep it open to new ideas.

I figured a good way to keep on track with reading would be to occasionally post on my blog about books I’ve read recently or books I am currently reading. In 2016 I’ve read two books and I am in the process of reading a third so I figured I’d tell you a bit about them:

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  1. You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life By Jen Sincero- You are a Badass is the first book I picked up for myself this year. I actually picked it up last year as a Christmas gift for myself and my two best friends to all read together. However, I am pretty sure I am the only one who read it so far. Which is truly a shame because it is so well written and funny, while also being very introspective and insightful. I have always viewed self help books to be a little dry and sometimes a bit too preachy, but the way Jen Sincero writes kept me invested in the book so much so that I finished almost all of it during my first day of reading it. I consider any book that I mark up and fill with post-its to be a good book because I obviously considered it worth remembering. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in getting into self-help literature, but is afraid of it being dry or over-complicated.61r2kwp2tzl
  2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle By Shirley Jackson- I discovered this book through the recommendation of Marzia Bisognin  (aka CutiePieMarzia on Youtube). I have never been one to read horror or Gothic novels so I felt that giving it a shot would be beneficial to me in my journey to open my mind (plus I’ve always been a fan of horror and dark films so I was eager to see how I felt about dark literature). The novel is about the main character Merricat (Mary-Katherine), her sister Constance, and her Uncle Julian who live in a castle on a hill on their own, secluded from the rest of the town below. The story takes place six years after the rest of the family was murdered by arsenic poisoning; a crime which Constance was acquitted. Overall, I fell in love with the novel quite quickly and, yet again, found myself finishing it about one and a half days into reading it. I loved how amorally the author wrote in the story. She never directly came out and said “this character is the bad guy” and instead based all perceptions of the characters in the novel through the eyes of the protagonist, who was clearly disturbed making it difficult to tell what was fact and what was fabrication. I feel like this book made a really strong yet subtle statement about how mental illness was handled in the 1960’s when the book was written.  It became clear that people with mental illness were often overlooked by society and ostracized for behaving in the only manner they knew how. Another aspect of the novel that really drew me into the story was the protagonist’s social anxiety. Being a highly anxious person myself,  I felt connected to her, especially when she would escape her house to places she felt more protected and comfortable because it is something I often wish to do.tb-cover-993x1500
  3. A Tale for the Time Being By Ruth Ozeki- This is the book I am currently reading, so I can’t give a full thorough review until I’m done. However, I needed to include it in this post because I am already so captivated by it and I am only about one hundred pages in. The way the novel was written is something that I have never seen before. The novel is fiction, but the author wrote herself into the novel as if the events had actually happened to her; blurring the lines between fact and fiction. The story is about Ruth (the author) finding a lunchbox containing a diary along the shore by her house on a small island in Canada. The diary contained the story of a sixteen year old girl named Nao who lived in Japan documenting, what she claimed to be, the final days of her life. Her diary entries not only tell her story but the story of Jiko, her one hundred and four year old great-grandmother who was a Buddhist nun. The novel has a very light kind of humor surrounding some sad and dark topics which I find to be very gripping. I love the fact that as a reader, you get to experience two different voices in the novel, that of Ruth and of Nao. The story is also a bit of a mystery because it is unclear whether or not you will ever find out what happened to Nao. Overall, I find the entire novel thus far to be very gripping and interesting and says a lot about life in the world we live in.

If anyone reads this and has some other recommendations for me, then I would really appreciate it!

Take your mind somewhere new,

Jess

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