When I was in school, I loved books. During lunch times, while other kids played in the playground, I’d be in the library reading in the third floor loft (and enjoying the air conditioning). One year, while my family raucously celebrated Chinese New Year playing mahjong and watching TV, I was sobbing on the sofa while I read A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (the scene when she was walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life was just too sad!).

Recently however, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last new book I read. I read. But mostly old favourites that I can almost recite. It is like visiting old friends; familiar, warm and fuzzy. None of the excitement of meeting new characters and getting carried away on a new adventure, not know what will happen next however. So one of my new years resolution this year, is to read a new book every month. It is March now, and I’m actually somewhat ahead! Here’s my booklist so far:

  • This is how you lose her, Junot Díaz: I read this during my vacation to Iceland and Paris in January, and I finished it on the plane ride back despite my dying Kindle 2. It is a series of short stories that focuses on the antagonist, Yunior’s girlfriends, expanding to stories including his brother’s girlfriends and his childhood. The crass Dominican immigrant English lingo splattered with Spanish, was a culture shock for me, but I thought it brought out the character and the background of the stories really well. After reading some reviews, the focus is apparently Yunior’s addiction to cheating on his girlfriends. But what I took away from it, was that it is actually a story about his brother, and how that shaped him as a character.
  • Kafka on the Shore, Huraki Murakami: I read this while I was attending my friend’s wedding in Bali and finished it over lunch time at work. I couldn’t put it down! The plot itself is actually rather slow and somewhat confusing (it goes back and forth between the stories of two characters), but I think the magic comes in the writing and all the metaphors and hidden meaning behind the story. A whole course can be held trying to decipher the meaning of the book. I especially loved Nakata’s character, who was simple, humble and happy. This is my first Murakami book, and initially I thought he was perhaps raised abroad and spoke fluent English, because the book was written so beautifully that it can only be the original text. But then my friend told me that it was actually a translation. Philip Gabriel is one heck of a translator!
  • Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling: I read this on and off since mid-February, and finally finished it mid-March. It is a completely different genre from Harry Potter. It was basically about how the people of small town Pagford coped with the death of one of their council members, and the impending internal politics. To be honest, the story plot was not that compelling at all. But Rowling does keep you turning the pages. The characters are very real and relate-able  and does a good contrast between characters of different social classes. I did feel compassion and sympathy for Krystal, and did wonder what would’ve happened if Barry Fairweather had not died at the beginning of the book.

Next on my reading list: Gone girl by Gillian Flynn. I figured I’d go for a thriller this month!

Other titles I’m considering include Wind up Bird Chronicle by Huraki Murakami (I just loved Kafka!), The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien (still looking for this book) and The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (I still have not read a book by her yet!). What was the last good book that you read? I’d love some suggestions!

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