This post is about all the books I’ve read in January and February, pretty standard really and the title already told you that so this sections is obsolete really, so perhaps we’ll just get into the content then…
Oh and before you judge me for only reading six books these past two months I actually read a few more than whats in the picture but seeing as they were either in uni reading materials or online they can’t be present in this cute little pile of physical books.
FRANKENSTEIN BY MARY SHELLEY
Oh how I really wanted to love this novel. I love the Gothic genre and the fact that this was a young female writers first novel, in a time where men prevailed and she had the “apparent audacity” to publish it under her own name! In places there are intense moments of wonder (often when the wretched monster is speaking) and there are also dragging moments of boredom (do you really need to ramble on so much about mountains and nature – I get some of it and the symbolism, but just a little less would have been appreciated). Overall, Shelley’s work is a classic, a necessary read but I don’t think I’ll ever pick it up again.
THE SANDMAN BY E.T.A HOFFMAN
Weird, disturbing and has inspired so many people authors such as Neil Gaiman to evidence for a theory by none other than Sigmund Freud! The Sandman is at it’s heart a Kunstmärchen, a Fairy Tale not the Disney kind folks, the traditional ones where people died and had to endure harrowing acts of violence and misfortune. The story mixes so much but at the heart is the effect of childhood nightmares on the adult psyche (and now you know why dear old Freud was interested).
THE THINGS YOU CAN SEE ONLY WHEN YOU SLOW DOWN: HOW TO BE CALM IN A BUSY WORLD BY HAEMIN SUNIM
This book is a nice relaxing massage for the mind. I read it one afternoon when it was all rain and wind outside and I have never felt so chilled out while reading. Haemin Sunim is a Buddhist monk, of the Zen/Seon sector which I’ve mentioned that I have a deep interest in in the past, so my reading of this book is perhaps to be expected. I feel like I will return to read this little book of wisdom time and time again and I can’t wait to read his newest release too.
I’LL GO ON BY HWANG JUNGEUN
The story of two sisters and their childhood friend as one of the sisters navigates pregnancy doesn’t really sound like riveting stuff, but let me tell you that this book is one the best books I’ve read for a very long time. It explores three very close but different lives and the effect of past actions and relationships on current thoughts and behaviours. I’ll Go On is also full of Korean cultural references that have allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the society as a whole. Throughly enjoyable and really thought provoking, I may have also shed a tear or two.
WINTER WOODS (PART 2) BY COSMOS & VANJI – WEB COMIC
Winter Woods is a webcomic inspired by Frankenstein, but instead of The Monster, an alchemist creates a sensitive young man who has lived for more than a thousand years when the story opens. He slowly finds himself falling in love with a woman called Jane who teaches him what it means to be truly alive.
The artwork in this webcomic is absolutely stunning and the story is so uplifting and cute, so you should definitely check it out on Naver Webtoon.
MR SALARY BY SALLY ROONEY
Here starts my Sally Rooney binge, this is a short story and like Rooney’s other work it explores relationships, and more specifically complicated and unlikely relationships. Fast and interesting I really enjoyed this introduction to Rooney who is fast becoming a literature sensation.
THE SIGN OF THE FOUR BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Having read a A Study in Scarlet many years ago (which I enjoyed) I was relieved when this book was part of my uni course. However I didn’t really think much of it. If anything I think The Sign of the Four was a little contrived, Conan Doyle was clearly writing about the British Empire and her pursuits in India to cash in on the Victorian anxieties about The Indian Rebellion of 1857, which was finding itself as the subject of many literary works of the time. Published in cheap magazines and read by the masses, The Sign of the Four was predictable and Romanticised a country (that Doyle never stepped foot on!) in turmoil for mass market appeal. I don’t agree with that at all!
NORMAL PEOPLE BY SALLY ROONEY
Normal People is a good book, I really enjoyed the experience of reading it but on retrospection a few things stand out as problematic, and of course no book can be perfect (except if your name is Haruki Murakami lol - ignore this rabid fan girl!). But overall I can tell why everyone has been reading Normal People and I’m looking forward to what Rooney writes next. Look out for a proper review on our youtube channel which is coming later this week (or early next week depending on logistics lol!!)
THE BEACH OF FALESÁ BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
Clearly a product of its time, this short story is laced with racism and ignorance despite the fact that Stevenson had immigrated to Samoa and wrote this short story to reflect the reality of life in the Pacific. I found it rather boring and cringe worthy, the only redeeming factor was Uma’s defiance of her husband once in the whole story. I had to read this short story for a uni essay, so its safe to say I will never read it again.
3/4 OF CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS BY SALLY ROONEY
Due to a mass deadline at the end of the month I didn’t get to finish the final book in my Sally Rooney binge! Never mind, I’ll finish it this month instead so you’ll be seeing this one properly in March and April’s book post.
Let me know what books you’ve been reading recently!