Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” — Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale 


30th – A New York Times bestseller – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah  

Rating: ❤❤❤❤(Good read, definitely!)

What is it about: The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

What I Love: It is subtly brutal and beautifully written all at the same time.

The unique way the story was told, future to past, is also commendable.

What I Don’t Love Much: The parts that felt a bit dystopia-ish.

Wise Words: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.

…nothing speaks quite so loudly as cheapness.

the failing of a student to learn is the failing of the teacher to teach

It is easy to disappear when no one is looking at you.

Magic, to be its best, must be unexpected.

We remember the missing as much as the lost.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

Two Wives

Five decades after the war, I am now here to do your final request.

It was never your intention to release those bombs. Chief said no one will be killed. But a week after you did your first mission, you read more than a thousand lives were shattered.

It haunted you.

Just five months after you quit, you bombed your own brains.

On your behalf, I ask for forgiveness to the souls you killed. I hope you are now forgiven, dear.

***

It was a normal day when the big black balls came. Kaboom here, kaboom there. Blood here, cadavers there.

It signalled the start of the second world war.

Looking at these canyons responsible for my husband’s death, I searched for anger. Anger for the soldier who launched the bombs.

But after fifty years, I found none.

Whoever soldier killed my love and a thousand more lives, you are forgiven.

Word count: 150

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Sunday Photo Fiction


In response to Sunday Photo Fiction for February 28, 2016.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly writing challenge hosted by Alastair Forbes where a photo is used as a prompt for a piece of fiction using around 200 words. The piece doesn’t have to center around exactly what the photo is, it can be just used as a basis for a story.

Enjoy more awesome stories here:

Out-of-comfort-zone Books I Loved

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“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


Surprises!

That is the main theme of  The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday today.

February 23:  Ten Book I Enjoyed Recently (last yearish) That Weren’t My Typical Genre/Type of Book (or that was out of your comfort zone)

So here are the out-of-comfort-zone books that I truly enjoyed recently. 🙂

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

I am not into classics. But this one’s surely worth reading.

2. Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

Love & Misadventure

This is my first read poetry book. I read it as I am getting addicted to writing my own poems. To say that I am crazy about this book and Lang Leav would be an understatement! 😀

3. The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch

The Small Backs of Children

A book I just read because I can’t sleep, I am surprised that I actually liked the brutality and the explicit language used in this book.

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

Historical fiction, though I enjoyed some, is not actually my to-read genre. But this one is, for me, one of the best.

5. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

I am a certified Albom fan, so why the hell this book is here?

It’s because magic and fantasy isn’t my comfort zone. And to tell you honestly, I am quite anxious that I will not like this novel as much as I loved Tuesdays with Morrie and his other books. BUT! I am wrong! 😀

6. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham

The Pelican Brief

Mystery and thrillers is my fave genre. But this came as a surprising hit for me as it is my first try for John Grisham. 🙂

7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

With its intimidating length and historical depth, I thought this book will bore me. But I was, again, wrong! This is insanely a great read!

8. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

Medical drama is a genre I haven’t tried until this novel. And with the courageous and eloquent storytelling of Lisa Genova, I may read some more medical drama. 🙂

Photo and link credit: Goodreads


That will be it for this week!

Have you read some of this books?

If not, what are the books that surprised you?

Let’s dicuss!

 

Books with Historical Settings that I Loved

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“The past is never where you think you left it.” ― Katherine Anne Porter

The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday today is a bit hard to fill out!

February 2: Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books

With my love-hate relationship with classic books, I can only share less than ten (or even less than five) but I will still list them! 😉

So let’s start, here are the Books with Historical Settings that I Loved!

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

Frankie, born in a burning church, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, until war rips his life apart. At nine years old, he is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. His amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, with his stunning playing and singing talent affecting numerous stars (Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley) until, as if predestined, he becomes a pop star himself.

He makes records. He is adored. But Frankie Presto’s gift is also his burden, as he realizes the power of the strings his teacher gave him, and how, through his music, he can actually affect people’s lives. At the height of his popularity, tortured by his biggest mistake, he vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, having finally healed his heart, does Frankie reappearjust before his spectacular death—to change one last life. With the Spirit of Music as our guide, we glimpse into the lives that were changed by one man whose strings could touch the music—and the magic—in each of us.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho 

Manuscript Found in Accra

July 14, 1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city’s gates. There, inside the ancient city’s walls, men and women of every age and every faith have gathered to hear the wise words of a mysterious man known only as the Copt. He has summoned the townspeople to address their fears with truth:

“Tomorrow, harmony will become discord. Joy will be replaced by grief. Peace will give way to war…. None of us can know what tomorrow will hold, because each day has its good and its bad moments. So, when you ask your questions, forget about the troops outside and the fear inside. Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date for those who will inherit the Earth; history will take care of that. Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face.”

Summary and photo credit: Goodreads


Have you read some of these books, too?

What are your thoughts?

🙂

~

Mirror: Vignettes for Writing 101

I’m an audience for decades now and no one knows I’m watching.

1945

“Ssshhh,” I whispered to myself.

Hiding behind my wooden closet across my huge mirror, trembling with fear, I am finding it hard to breathe.

“Please, Lord, don’t let them see me, please, oh please.”

 

2015

“You’re such a beautiful lass,” I giddily tell myself as I stand in front of my antique mirror.

I’m finding it hard to apply my eyeliner. Argh! Why can’t I control my nerves?

Yep. I’m too excited, for him to see me.

 

1945

Blood. My toe is surely bleeding now.

I tried to go out quick and get a bandage.

I am almost near across the mirror, when I heard loud footsteps. They’re coming.

 

2015

One hour. That’s how long, or maybe how short, our first date was.

I can’t remember the details but it was great! Because I invited him here at my room!

As I sneak a look at his handsome face reflected in my mirror, I know my decision is right.

 

1945

I tried to be as small as I can be. I tried to stop any noise from me, even my own ragged breathing.

But I can hear the soldiers’ voices, in foreign language, go louder as they come near me.

I want to take a peek at the mirror again. But I stopped myself.

 

2015

I know it’s too late now to be such a conservative lady.

It’s already 2015, so it’s no big deal. This is love at first sight, indeed.

How did I know? Well, he just wrote ‘I love you’ in my mirror!

 

1945

I almost jumped when someone grabbed me.

Now he’s dragging me towards my bed as his two comrades cheer him up.

I screamed, to no avail.

I look at myself in the mirror, as he lay me down on my own bed.

I am seeing myself, for the last time.

 

2015

I know I almost planned for this but I am still somehow surprised when he started kissing me.

His lips are now invading mine, I like it at first but… I’m feeling a bit uneasy now.

I tried to push him away as he tries to lay me down.

“Wait, wait, wait,” I said as I try to stop him. “No!” he shouted.

My eyes went wide, as through my mirror I see him pull out a pocket knife.

—-

©2015 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Tumblr


In response to Writing 101:

Day 18: Compose a series of anecdotes

Today, tell a story through a series of anecdotes (also called vignettes): short, episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same theme. They can each be as short or long as you see fit — they don’t have to be the same length — but they need a common feature to tie them together, whether it’s a repeated phrase, a similar setting, a literary device, or the appearance of the same person.

 

 

2015 Reading Challenge: A book you we’re supposed to read in school (39th)

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“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.” ― Anthony Doerr

After almost two weeks of reading at night, I can now finally post an update for the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge. This book required a lot of time and effort. But once you’re done, you can definitely say that it is worth it.

Disclaimer: I am not a student anymore, but I think my former school libraries and my English teachers now suggest reading this book. 🙂

A book you we’re supposed to read in school (39th) – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Thoughts:

This book has intimidated me for quite sometime now. But after a few book friends told me to please try it, I took a leap of courage and read!

530 pages are, for me, tedious but this book is just… phenomenal.

I promise to write my review as soon as possible!

(fingers crossed)

🙂

~

BOOK READS: A Review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Picture1Emotionally haunting. Vividly described violence while expressing hope. 

After reading Markus Zusak‘s I Am the Messenger , I was convinced that he is indeed a not-your-ordinary author.

And as I read The Book Thief, I have proven how ‘deep’ he really is.

The Book Thief

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published: 2005

Rating: 💖💖💖 (You MAY read it.)

THE STORY:

Liesel Meminger, a nine-year old girl, is surrounded with tragedies. She saw her brother died. Her mother left her in Himmel Street with her new parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann.

Amid the war and the violence during the German Nazi regime, Liesel has become her own kind of criminal. She chose to be a Book Thief.

Little does she know that her love of words will lead her to her life’s greatest despair.

THE BLURB:

It took me more than a month to finish this book. This is not because the story is boring. It is in fact because the story’s depth requires time to fully understand.

Markus Zusak is indeed a one-of-a-kind author with unique techniques in telling his own story. His chosen storyteller in this novel is creepy yet emotionally touching at the same time.

I can’t also help but admire how he used silence to highlight the violence surrounding Liesel.

Though this story is full of sense and contains strong emotions, I still give this book 3 hearts rating because I think it is a bit too long.

Nonetheless, The Book Thief is still a story worth reading.

THE WISE WORDS:

People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends. 

People have defining moments, I suppose, especially when they’re children.

THE WRAP:

A dark story told by a creepy storyteller. A novel not short of depthness, worth and hope.

~

2015 Reading Challenge Update: A BOOK YOU STARTED BUT NEVER FINISHED (12/50)

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Here’s the part that I am quite ashamed of. As a reader and a writer, I usually finish a book that I started. Though I have abandoned a book once, because it really isn’t worth my time, there is a book that I have started but never got to finish it until now.

So after I planned my 2015 Reading Challenge, I put the book in its perfect category, A BOOK YOU STARTED BUT NEVER FINISHED.

And it is, 11/22/63 by Stephen King.

11/22/63
Published: November 8, 2011 ; Genre: Historical Fiction
BOOK THOUGHTS: 
My Rating: 💖💖💖
As a well known supernatural fiction and contemporary horror writer, Stephen King deserves the raves for his novels. On the other hand, there is a reason why it took me a while, four months to be specific, before I finally finished his work.
The Story: 
Jake Epping, an English teacher, came into a horrible essay written by the school janitor and night-shift student Harry Dunning. In his essay, Harry vividly narrated how his own father murdered the rest of his family through a sledgehammer.
In the story’s twist, Jake’s friend Al revealed a secret tunnel that serves as a time machine which can brought back Jake to 1958. As the dying Al gave Jake his ultimate mission, to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald in assassinating Pres. J.F. Kennedy’s, Jake transported to the past and tried to ‘correct’ and ‘prevent’ mistakes like Harry Dunning’s gruesome family massacre.
The Blurb:
Though-provoking. Well-researched. This is how I would like to describe 11/22/63.
As a young reader, I think I have no right to criticize Stephen King’s novel as he is Stephen King. But as a reader, it took me four months to finish this book as there are some parts that seemed boring to me.
Maybe because of the detailed journey of Jake as he waited for the epic 11/22/63. On the other hand, after I reached the book’s second half, the events become more interesting and suspenseful.
King was also able to inject some romance element in this quite-long story which made this novel more interesting. Some lines are just so heartwarming.
I also admire how King emphasized the ‘butterfly effect’ idea which, for me, is the highlight of this book.
The Wise Words:
The Wrap:
The end fits the story perfectly. Jake learned that you should never ever mess up with what’s already done.
His last moment with his love, Sadie, is also a tearjerker!
~