Book Review: Me Before You-Jojo Moyes


What do you do when life thrusts you in the middle of living and dying? The story focuses on a young woman named Lou Clark who lives in the corner of complacency. When her job at the Buttered Bun tea shop ends, she is forced to shift outside of the lines of comfort. She lands a job as a caretaker for a quadriplegic and it is here where her world is veered. She looks after Will Traynor-a successful business man who had a thirst for adventure until a motorcycle accident took away his knack for life. Will loses all joy and motivation in life, which adds to his laconic mood. Lou must find a way to inspire Will to not only be more spirited but also give him a reason to not end his own life. The two characters learn about each other, what life gives, and also to rely on those who help you. Lou grows just as much as Will does, and the inter-webbing and slow romance of the two characters are just as intricate as the novel itself.

Moyes did a fantastic job at creating a love story that is special and slow moving, yet keeps you turning the pages rapidly to see how the story pans out. I liked how she incorporated modern ideals of  what love is, yet kept a hint of classic boy-meets girl/tragic love story. The novel was definitely a page turner, and I found myself really enjoying it. The language is simple and concise, and it was difficult to pinpoint any elements I didn’t like.  The story is a bit predictable and the ending was exactly how I imagined. However it didn’t take away from the chemistry between Lou and Will which was great. The romance in the novel was natural and not overly contrived. While there are bits of the book that seem a tad cheesy and reminded me of a Lifetime movie, it wasn’t an overt push to be sentimental and idealistic.

The book deals with life choices, and the reality of being terminally ill. The characters are given choices of life vs. death, much like the reader is given the same choices. Moyes raises the question of what do we do with life? Do we remain in our comfort zones, afraid to explore the unknown, or do we dive into life head first ready for all that awaits us? There is an underlying lugubrious setting in the novel, and Moyes doesn’t sugar coat it or cover it with false sentimentality, there is an honesty that the author pours out which makes the novel even more worthwhile.

Closing this novel, I am happy to say it was satiable and I enjoyed reading my first Jojo Moyes book. I didn’t cry at all, as many people have said to have done. But that is not uncommon for me as very few books have made me elicit a tear. Overall I gave this novel four stars. I would recommended this book to those who like a bit of melancholy with their plate of romance. Happy reading!


Feminist Reads

Oh that word that everyone is scared of….feminist. When someone marks themselves as such, it is not uncommon for people to furrow their brow, scratch their head, or dash away to the nearest comfortable corner. Feminist everywhere have been trying for ages to break some of the most resistant social walls and barriers. I applaud the work and progress that has been done in the feminist realm and recognize the work that remains to be done. There are so many budding feminists (welcome welcome) out there feeling their feminist oats and really getting into what being a women in a modern society is all about. Feminist literature has a huge platform in the literary world and will only continue to grow in the year 2015. I have complied a list of some great feminist reads for not only the new feminist, but for the already hardcore devoted feminists. Enjoy!

1. The Feminine Mystique-Betty Friedan

2. Ain’t I a Women-bell hooks (anything by bell hooks really)

3. The Second Sex-Simone de Beauvoir

4. An Untamed State-Roxanne Gay

5. The Color Purple-Alice Walker

6. A Handmaid’s Tale-Margaret Atwood

7. Kindred-Octavia Butler

8. Sister Outsider-Audre Lorde

9. The Awakening- Kate Chopin

10. Black Feminist Thought-Patricia Hill Collins

Happy reading to all you lovely feminists out there! Tell me, what are some of your favorite feminists reads?

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Betty Smith


Honestly this is what reading is about. A novel that grips you from you start emotionally and doesn’t let go. A literary novel that is beautifully written, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a classic piece that can be read over and over again. This novel is so much more than about a young girl growing up in Brooklyn, it’s about the human condition and the strain of the American dream on low economic conditions. There is a simplicity in the writing, yet the emotions of the characters are complex and thought provoking.

“Dear God, let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well-dressed. Let me be sincere- be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”

Francie Nolan is a young girl living in Brooklyn during the 1900’s and grows up living in poverty for the majority of it. The novel follows her life and her family’s life closely, narrating the rise and fall of their hardships and small successes. Francie Nolan is a bright and intelligent girl who has to constantly sacrifice her desires for the good of the family. Betty Smith’s ability to create a world where it is fictional yet tangibly real is uncanny. Francie is emotional, strong, pensive, independent, caring-she is all of us. The hard and poverty stricken life of Francie does not tell the reader to feel sympathetic, yet there is a quiet undercurrent of hope that Smith places in the novel, leaving the readers to seek it on their own. The metaphor of the story was intricately woven in the story without it being overt . A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a coming of age story that identifies many historical, economic, and social contexts.

There is just so much that I love about this novel. It’s truly a remarkable read and I was constantly reminded of why I like to read. Although it’s lengthy, every page had it’s own heartbreak and special gem folded inside.  Smith’s writing really captures the essence of 1900’s and the characters are so honest. It’s definitely going on my favorite reads list! I would recommended this novel to anyone who loves a literary historical novel or anyone who has a pension  for finely written lit. I loved every bit of this novel, and I’m sad it’s over.

Tournament of Books 2015

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It’s that time of year again where books battle it out for the top spot and the best book of the year (2014). It’s no doubt that 2014 was a fantastic year for books, as some amazing novels came to the surface. Every year the The Morning News’s The Rooster hosts the Tournament of Books (ToB), first creating a long list of books to vote on, then the now shortlist of novels that will enter the ring for battle, NCAA  tournament style. This is sure to be an event you don’t want to miss, so make sure you read some of the novels on the short list and cheer for your favorite one! Here are the books that are prepping to duke it out:

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Redeployment by Phil Klay

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Adam by Ariel Schrag

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

Click here to read more about the Tournament of Books and find out about the judges and process behind choosing the best novel!

Happy Reading!

Book Confessions: I order way to many books.


I have finally come to terms with a serious problem I have developed: I order too many books online. This morning when I signed onto my computer I immediately clicked online to my now favorite online bookstore, went to my wishlist and purchased about four books, all of which will be delivered within the week. Perhaps it’s because I live in South Korea and finding a bookstore with English titles can prove to be a bit difficult, or maybe it’s the nicety of receiving a package in the mail, or MAYBE it’s the laziness of being able to order a book online from the comfort of my desk or bed. Whatever the reason, I believe I’ve gotten way over my head. I now have boxes of books waiting to be read. My reading queue is longer than ever, and yet…I keep buying books. I simply cannot resist the urge to purchase books used or new! I know there are others out there with the same predicament as myself. How do you fix this? Is there a compulsive book buyers anonymous group I can join for help? On behalf of my empty wallet due to buying too many books, any advice would do really.

Does anyone else suffer from purchasing too many books either online or in person? What do you do to tame the book buying itch?

Happy reading!