Speed Reviews (Catching Up)

I haven’t been exactly sure what’s going on here lately. I’ve been through some reading slumps and revivals and slumps again, and I think the same is true of my blogging. But in the past couple months, a lot of really great books have come through for me.   The Vegetarian, by Han Kang Five…

Honor, by Elif Shafak

Four stars, read in September 2015. I definitely liked this better than The Bastard of Istanbul by the same author, although I’ve been wanting to reread that one and see if I still feel the same way about it. This is a book about an “honor killing” (a phrase I use with scare quotes not because…

The Color of Earth, by Kim Dong Hwa

Three stars for the series, but five stars for the first book alone. Read in September 2013. There was quite a bit of buildup for this book before I was finally able to read it. I lived in Utah at the time, and I’d been hearing a lot about it in connection with Banned Books…

Othello, by Satomi Ikezawa

Four stars for the whole series, read in January/February 2016. I decided to start trying manga, and after one disappointment and one with pretty good potential, I was surprised to fall instantly in love with this series. The cover of the first book was not at all promising for me, but luckily (for some reason),…

Starting to Explore Manga (aka: My History with Comics)

For some inexplicable reason, graphic novels, comics, and manga (is there an umbrella term to describe all three of these genres? I want there to be, but if there is I can’t find it) have taken a long time to grow on me. I not only wasn’t interested, I was totally resistant to them until only…

The Lake, by Banana Yoshimoto

Four stars, read in January 2016. Chihiro is a young artist dealing with the recent death of her mother and the change in her relationship with her father, now that she no longer lives in the small town where she was raised. She meets Nakajima, who I can’t help thinking of as the Yoshimoto version of…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

Three stars, read in January 2016. Almost every time I was skeptical about something in this book, Marie Kondo persuaded me to give it a try. (I haven’t tried yet, but I now want to.)  This is significant to me because I am stubborn about many things, lazy about others, and picky about the way I organize. I don’t…

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

Five stars, read in March 2013. I could never have predicted how much I was going to love this book. It’s one that’s been sort of vaguely on my to-read list for a long time, but without any urgency behind it. After I watched Chocolat, loved Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, looked them up, and…

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

Four stars, read September 2013. I’m really becoming a fan of the graphic memoir genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though the translation seemed a little clumsy and the illustrations were awkward in places (I mostly just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes every time a character held up one forefinger in the air while pontificating…

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

Five stars, read in April 2011. It’s hard to say, but I think I love this book even more than I loved After Dark. Haruki Murakami’s writing is like music to me, and I loved the characters and the setting and the feel of Norwegian Wood so much that I just wanted to stay in the book forever….

After Dark, by Haruki Murakami

Four stars, read in October 2010. This book was unbelievably refreshing after reading On the Road, which I finished just before starting. On the Road took me two or three weeks to read and felt like a slog through the mud; After Dark took me less than three hours. (Granted, After Dark is 100 pages shorter—but still.) Both…

The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak

Two and a half stars, read in 2010. I had pretty mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, style-wise it was very irritating to read. On the other hand, there were some really beautiful parts, and the story delved into a culture that I’ve never known much about (but it turns out is…