Not-So-Random Things: Mini Reviews (2 of 2)

The Summer Reading Challenge is over. But my conversations about books aren’t. So, today I bring you part 2 of my mini reviews. I’ve read quite a many good books but I’m sharing my thoughts on only five books that left a great impression on me.

5. Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave by Elena Ferrante

Ferrante say the things I sometimes think and wouldn’t dare voice out loud. She doesn’t only know how the female psyche works; she gives it a name, a place and a feeling to go with. Relationships among friends are as complex and real as they can be.

What I also liked about this book is the glossary of families or characters. It made it easy to connect events from previous books as this is Novel 3 of 5; a series of novels. I didn’t feel I’ve missed out much because I haven’t read the first two. They seem to work well as standalone. 

4. A Day with John Keats by May Byron

I always go back to classics, and I seldom get disappointed. This is a wonderful short read that gives a glimpse to Keats’ life, thoughts and writing process; more of a behind the scenes with the inclusion of some of my favourite poems: Endymion, Autumn, Ode to a Nightingale, etc.

The reader gets another impression that Keats took his vocation seriously. For instance, he is quoted as saying “Whenever I feel vapourish, I rouse myself, wash, and put on a clean shirt; brush my hair and clothes, tie my shoe-strings neatly, and in fact adonize as if I were going out; then all clean and comfortable, I sit down to write.” And write, he did!

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

So much has been written about this book that I feel I don’t have anything more of value to add. As I mentioned before, Mrs O’s story is really inspiring. One of my favourite quotes…

“but not for one second did I think I’d be sliding into some glamorous, easy role. Nobody who has the words ‘first’ and ‘black’ attached to them ever would. I stood at the foot of the mountain, knowing I’d need to climb my way into favor.” I nod both in agreement and to salute her journey.

2. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This book drew me immediately. I went in deep and fast, hypnotized by every word, and kept turning pages until I realised I was halfway. I thought of preparing dinner but decided on a Chinese takeaway instead, because I simply couldn’t put it down. So yeah, I read the entire thing in a single day.

I enjoyed this book, insomuch that I didn’t have the urge to pick up another book afterwards. That is real magic!

1. A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader by edited by Maria Popova et al.

I’ve talked about this book before here but I come back to it, because it is my BEST read this summer. I’ve never felt so much joy reading experts from all walks of life talk about books and their love for reading.

There are all sorts of letters (profound, educational, personal, relatable or simply funny) in this book. Some (to name a few) that touched me immensely are by Steven Pinker, Pamela Paul, Alain de Botton, Anne Lamott and Helen Fagin, who reads her touching letter at Brain Pickings.

This is one of those books you can read over and over again. I highly recommend it to every reader, regardless of age.

Huh…did you notice my impactful reads are mostly by female authors? Well, keep an eye for a post on how I managed to diversify my reads this summer!

Most Fridays, I share five random things I’m reading, watching, doing and thinking about. But from time to time, I also write briefly (or at length) about the books I’ve read. I’m always happy to hear your thoughts.

Random Things: Week 34

1. Writer, do you know your comp?

If you do, you are ahead of the game. If you don’t, How to Find Your Comp Authors, might be of great interest. Please read on.

2. What poetry changes

“When I say poetry changed the way I see the world I mean it taught me to be attentive, to be curious, to be empathic, to understand both the power and danger of language itself. It is a lens that allows one to see the microscopic and a distant star nursery.” ~ Eric Pankey

3. Laugh at your fears

If you are into horror comedy, check out this preview of the upcoming volume, “Undeath of Me” by Heather at Uniquely Holden. You can also learn more about this comic writer and artist behind this cool work.

4. Good habits

Staying in touch with those who matter to you is important, because “Death keeps no calendar.” I was again reminded of this recently…

5. In tribute

I bet almost all readers have books that remain unread and have gathered dust on their shelves. Song of Solomon is one of those. It was among other few acclaimed books I’d been meaning to read but without urgency. In the wake of Toni Morrison’s passing, I find myself reaching for her book and to read it, at last. It’s the least I can do to honour this literary icon.

Phew, thanks G for weekends! How has your week been?

Most Fridays, I share five random things I’m reading, watching, doing and thinking about. You’re most welcome to join the conversation.