Jen reads... Delirium

I don’t often read love stories. This is not to say that I have anything against them, it’s probably just that my idea of what romantic literature is like is based around horrendous novels that occasionally came free with the kind of magazines I would buy when I was a teenager. Most other books I have read tend to either show relationships in a negative light, or something which is unattainable. So, for me to choose to read this book, which is all about the idea of what society would be like without love, was slightly out of character. Maybe I’m becoming less cynical as I grow older? Who knows.

The main idea behind this book is what would happen if love, instead of being seen as something positive, was seen as a disease. In the world that this is set in, all teenagers have a procedure when they are 18 which stops them from being able to love. It’s an interesting idea, and it’s nicely expanded on in the book, which shows how it would affect other non-romantic relationships. The protagonist’s relationship with her sister changes dramatically when her sister has the procedure, for example, and it also shows how parents might treat their children if they didn’t feel any love towards them.

It’s pretty obvious that the main character, Lena, is going to fall in love with someone in the book. One of the criticisms that I could have had about the book is that the object of her affection is portrayed as perfect… but given the context, this didn’t bother me at all. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of what the early stages of falling for someone are like, and given that love is forbidden, it makes sense that things like that would be even more intense, and the first person that you liked would be seem even more perfect.

One niggling problem that I had with the book was the whole parent/child relationship thing. If parents didn’t love their children, then it’s amazing that there didn’t seem to be very many cases of abuse or neglect, and that the teenagers in the book seemed to be well adjusted (well, apart from the fear of love!).  That stuff is hinted at, but I feel like it would be wayyy more prevalent than it was shown to be. Mind you, as the book is seen from Lena’s point of view then this may just be because her upbringing wasn’t conventional (for that society, anyway).

One thing that I really liked about this though (and this might count as a spoiler) was that unlike quite a lot of books like this, the world was expanded on throughout the whole book, rather than being a.. set up some background information and then send the main character somewhere else straight away book.

Anyway, I liked this so much that I immediately got the second book in the series, so take that as a hearty recommendation! I hope that I enjoy the rest of the trilogy as much!!


Jen reads... The Night Circus

I started reading The Night Circus with one of the worst things that you can have when reading a book – high expectations. Until recently I didn’t have many opportunities to read English books, but even when I was trying not to keep up with books too much (it would have just made me sad), I heard a LOT about how good this book was. So of course, it was one of the first books that I picked up once I started buying English books again.

I figured that it would be right up my street, as circuses (at least, ones which don’t hurt animals!) = yay (um, apart from clowns). I also have a thing for the slightly more gothic side of life, which I figured this would be. I also used to have a HUGE thing about the Victorians… I even had a Victorian themed birthday party when I was 9 or 10... yeah, I was weird when I was little. Because I'm sooo normal now.

Anyway, I assumed that this would be right up my alley.

But I was wrong… sort of. I didn’t hate it, and from about halfway through I got to the stage where I couldn't stop reading it. It had some lovely descriptive passages, but it had a few things which niggled at me…

The main thing was that it took me a LONG time to get over the fact that parts of it are written in 2nd person. As soon as authors start saying “You are blah blah blah” it automatically makes me think “No I’m bloody well not!”, haha. Stupid, but hey. Maybe if I read it again and managed to ignore that, I would like it more.
I also generally need a good plot, and I think most things in this book were a bit too.. vague for me. I mean there’s being vague because you want the reader to figure stuff out, and there’s being vague because you aren’t entirely sure where the story should actually go, and I felt like the plot was just an excuse to write lots of descriptive sections… which is fine, but that’s not really what I read for, you know? I want something which makes me feel something about the characters, and I ended up not really caring about anybody in the book.

Oh well? I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on this one, and I’m also pretty sure that if I hadn’t heard any hype I wouldn’t be as disappointed with it as I am. Because it is good, but I don’t think that it’s anything more than that. I don’t really get why it’s had so much praise heaped on it.

That being said, I will read anything else that she writes. Hopefully next time it'll have a stronger plot!!


Jen reads... 1Q84 books 1 and 2... in Japanese!

I try to read a bit in Japanese every day.. and what better to read than some Murakami??

These took me a LONG time to get through... I can remember back in... when was it, 2009??? When they first came out, being really excited, but planning on waiting until the pocket sized version came out. For those who don't know, Japanese paperback books are normally about 10 x 15 cm big, and are the perfect size to fit in a bag... so I wanted that version, so I wouldn't have to cart around huge hardbacks around with me. Normally, the smaller version comes out about a year after the hardcover, but with this, it was so popular that it only came out last year!!! Crazy. So, I'd been waiting for about 3 years to read them, haha. 

As soon as the first paperback book (books 1, 2 and 3 were split up into 2 books each, so 6 books in all) came out, I bought it, and then proceeded to read it VERY VERY slowly. I'm not entirely sure why, but even though I was enjoying it, I didn't really have much motivation to read... 

Recently though, I've been making sure that every time I can sit down on one of my commute trains (I get 2 different trains and sometimes a bus every day, fun!), I would spend the whole time reading instead of messing about on my phone.

So I finally finished the 4th book, the second half of book 2! (This is getting a bit confusing)... And, I don't have book 3 yet! What was I thinking? I should have had it ready! I forgot that it's around halfway when Murakami books tend to get addictive, and the last half of this was making me want to "accidentally" forget to get off at the right stop and carry on reading instead. Hehe. 

Of course, I haven't finished the whole book yet, but I recommend it so far! If, however, you've tried reading Murakami and didn't like it in the past, you're not going to find anything new here. It's still the same kind of characters (although one of them is female, yay!), doing the same kind of things, and then something weird happens to them... But I really like that! :D 

For anybody who has read this in English - how is Aomame's name dealt with in English? Because in Japanese there's a fair bit about how strange a name it is, and I was just wondering how that would have been translated. Because obviously, to somebody who doesn't know a lot about Japan or hasn't lived here, the strangeness of the name doesn't come across at all. 

In terms of Japanese, this wasn't too difficult to read, but I would in no way recommend this to people who aren't used to reading in Japanese, simply because of the length. 

...I must go and buy book 3 now! (paperback books 5 and 6. Heh) Although I really shouldn't as I have a whole shelf full of Japanese books that I haven't read yet. Hmm hmm hmmm... 


Jen reads... A Feast For Crows

It took me a looong time to get through this. A loooooong time. The only thing that really motivated me to carry on reading it (after stopping for a few months) was that I'm lending the other books in the series to one of my friends, and he was up to the second half of A Storm of Swords, so I wanted to finish reading this so I could lend it to him. 

See, the thing is... I had heard before that this was boring. In comparison to the other books in the series, that is. That it was just people travelling to various places and plotting and stuff. To be fair, I get what people are saying as nothing really major happens (especially not compared to storm of swords!), but I forgot that I actually enjoy those bits of the books as much as the more action packed stuff (sometimes more?). So, I don't really know what I was thinking. 

I also managed to forget in my break from reading this that it only featured half of the characters, so when I got to the end I was thinking, ahhh, what happened to (insert character name here)??? Did they die and I just forgot about it??? Then, at the end there's a note from George R. R. Martin saying "So I guess you're wondering whats going on with the other characters eh?" (Not a direct quote). And then I went, OH YEAH! Hehe. 

It gets a bit spoilery from here on in so if you plan to read this at some point... don't read any further! Unless you like spoilers? 

So my thoughts about this book... 

No Tyrion? No Daenerys? No Jon? No Davos? And stuff from Cersei's point of view? Pfft! I don't care what Cersei thinks about anything! Hehe. Ah well. Apart from wishing that her chapters would end, I enjoyed the rest of the book! I REALLY hope that that isn't the end for Brienne, as I really like her... 

All in all, it's definitely the weakest book of the series (so far!), but that isn't to say that it's bad in any way. I am kind of sick of the way that women are treated in the books though.. like, I get that that's just the way that that world works, but it doesn't have to be pointed out so much! It just makes me sad for all of the female characters. 

..I already started reading A Dance with Dragons... the first few chapters, are like... Tyrion!!! Daenerys!!! Jon!! Woooo!!! I'm enjoying it so far :D


I'm here... honest!

Sorry for disappearing a bit! Um, not that I was properly here in the first place, haha. 

A variety of things stopped me from posting... In no particular order:

My driving test (which I took in Japanese so had to study a lot for, and have now passed, yayy!)

Being busy at work (sort of... I had to work on Saturday this week for NO REASON. GAH!)

Being sick (not seriously, but I can't seem to get completely well at the moment. Stress???)

Generally not feeling that happy (I think I might be having a quarter life crisis, although I'm not planning on living to or past 100, so.. a third life crisis? Although that makes it seems like I've already had 2. Hmm. Anyway, generally being a bit like AHHH whats the point?! Not good!)

It's not like I've had no time at all, but with the free time that I do have I've been reading instead of posting. Which is kind of the point, no? 

I also managed to choose really long books to read (or books which are taking me a long time to get through), which is completely my fault, but meh.

There will be a couple of proper posts coming up this week though! Yayy! This means I have actually finished reading some of my current books! Yay me. 

....My 24 hours of freedom from work are coming to an end, boo. I have to work next Saturday as well. STUPID REAL LIFE!