The Five-Books-At-Once Challenge

There’s one thing I hate to admit: I’m a slow reader. In fact, so slow that in the past 22 years of my life I’ve read close to a meager 150 books (minus the Goosebumps and other similar fantasy novellas I read in childhood). It’s a shame, I know. Pitiful. Despicable. Cringe-worthy. I should be ashamed to call myself a “book-worm”. But it’s all because I have a few behavioral problems. I need particular “settings” around me that should be in place before I start reading. Everything from the lighting of the room, the snack I’m going to have while reading (be it a cup of tea or a bag of chips), to the position at which I’m going to read in; everything is calculated beforehand. Yes, when I’m out of home, I bend the rules a bit, and just go with the flow. But inside my home, everything has to be just perfect.

Relaxing Read

And then there’s the matter of speed. I read S.L.O.W.L.Y. I savor the words and then I like to play them out in my head and direct that entire scene to my taste. What accent, tone of voice and pitch the character is speaking in, what gestures they must be making, at what “camera angle” that scene is being shot in, how the cuts are being made from one scene to the next. I’m the director, I’m the cinematographer, I’m the film editor, I’m the actor, I’m everything except the writer. That’s why until I complete that shot (till perfection) in my mind, then and only then do I progress to the next page. Yeah I know I’m not a Special Snowflake. A lot of you can relate to this methodology. You too must admit that it gets frustrating sometimes, but it carries its own reward which the reader himself/herself can appreciate.

Thinking while Reading

But I’ve realized I’m not reading half as much as I should be, so I think it’s time I challenge myself. Expand my horizons! Therefore, for my love of putting myself through discomfort, I’ve decided to do the Five-Books-At-Once Challenge. This will not only allow me to have a go at tackling multiple books at once, but will also widen my literary experience in a taxing yet fun way.

Speed Reading

The books I’ve selected for this task span across a variety of genres, each entertaining in its own way. Those Five Books are:

  1. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (contemporary, adult, romance)
  2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (mystery, thriller, crime)
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (autobiography, memoir, historical)
  4. Infinite Jest by David F. Wallace (contemporary, literature, humor, philosophy)
  5. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction, humor, romance, sociology)

Now many of you who have read Infinite Jest or Anne Frank’s Diary must be thinking, “This is a disgrace! This is no way these classics should be read!!” I know that, and I also know I won’t waste my experience with speed-reading. I’ll try my best to never compromise on my understanding of these masterpieces and do them justice. But I need to push my limits. Some of my friends have also said to me, “Reading multiple books at once never works, you idiot. You always end up finishing none of them.” This is exactly the reason I’m naming this a CHALLENGE. And when I commit to a challenge I don’t back off until I give it my all. I’m planning on finishing all of these and my stubbornness will help me along the way.

The method I’m going to apply is that I’ll set different time slots of one day to two different books and I’ll dedicate one whole day to Infinite Jest, because I can’t mix up that book with any other in the same day. IJ takes up too much mental capacity, and to be honest, I’m always emotionally drained (and confused) after finishing every single chapter.

So now that I have a job (oh yeah just recently got my first real job.. I’ll tell the details in a future post), all the energy of my free time will be dedicated to just reading. The timeline I’ve decided for this challenge is 2 months, but I know due to the 9 to 6 job it’s gonna be a pain in the bottom, but still, I’ll do my best to complete these as soon as possible. It’s time I do something to justify myself as an “avid reader”.

If anyone else is up for this challenge please do let me know. I’ll have a reading buddy whose willing to go through the same torturous/pleasing journey I’m about to embark in 😀

Trust me, a lot of people do this without losing their minds.

Anywho, wish me luck *_*

Best of Luck

“All the Bright Places” – A Book That Broke My Heart

You know one of those stories when you read about the love between two people and it just gives you this fluttery feeling, that little twinge in your chest, a small skip of a heartbeat. A kind of love that you know will not and can not happen in any stage of your life (sorry, I’m talking about myself here), but when you read about it you can literally FEEL that love inside your heart. And when the story is finished you just lie there, crying, holding that book close to your chest, and staring at the walls feeling absolutely shattered. All The Bright Places was that kind of book for me.

All The Bright Places Cover

Book Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.”

My Take on the Book:

When I read this blurb I knew it that it’s not gonna have a happy ending. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s just very very extremely obvious.

Let me make one thing clear; All the Bright Places has A-LOT of similarities with The Fault in Our Stars. But this time instead of battling with cancer, our protagonists are battling with depression and mental illness.

Gus and Hazel Crying

Now you might be asking, “So why should I give a damn about this book when I know it’s exactly like TFiOS? Nothing original there!

Even though it has a lot of similarities with it (two broken people – who are very witty, charming, their literary taste and IQ level is spectacular – find love and hope within each other), but ATBP is still unique in it’s own way.

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

The love story felt… how do I explain this… deeper? Better? I don’t know why but to me Theo and Violet felt more in love with each other than Gus and Hazel.

And now the John Green and TFiOS fans will be like *gasp* “BLASPHEMY!!!

Continue reading

Happiness is: Getting Your Hands on a Heck Load of Low-Price Edition Books!

Ah the sweet smell of old books! I know sniffing them so vigorously might not be so good for my sinuses, but oh what the heck, I don’t get to read many books on paperback. All I have to make do with is eBooks, and it gets really tedious sometimes reading from a screen for 2 to 3 hours.  When I read novels on print, I used to go on for 6 to 7 hours straight! My personal record is 9 hours (without food or sleep or bathroom) but that one time my Mom confiscated all my books and locked them in a trunk because she believed I had gone clinically insane. Thank you Stephen King; you showed me what real addiction is.

Anywho, today I went to one of the biggest annual book fairs that my country has to offer; the University of the Punjab Book Fair. Oh yes, one of those times when I get to be proud of my institution.

My friends and I, we decided that we shall buy as much books as our wallets may allow us, so these are some of the novels that we’re gonna savor in the coming weeks.

Book Fair Selection

Can you believe it that we found most of these at a measly price of Rs. 50/book? That’s like half a dollar each. It was Literary Heaven for me! Well considering my current collection of eBooks, my own paperbacks, and now these, I have enough books to last me this whole year! Woot woot!!

So tell me, which one of these should I read next after I’ve finished “The Martian” by Andy Weir? Haaa, decisions decisions. Help a sister out, huh?

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes: Don’t Let the Title Fool You

“Fiction”. Probably the best creation by humanity. A source of infinite joy for billions of people in this treacherous world. Sometimes it is used as a means of showing you the harsh realities of life and most times it is something that steals you away from your worldly worries, lets you step-in a world created by someone else’s imagination and allows you to view life in a different light. An affirmative, shining, bright light. Why couldn’t you have done that Jojo? Why did you have to put me through such…. misery? The title of the book fooled me. I thought this was supposed to be a love story. A love story that’ll take me away and let me be a part of someone’s happy ending.

Why Jojo?

Why?

Me Before You Cover

What is it about?

Excerpt taken from Goodreads:
“Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.”

My Thoughts on this Book:

[Caution: Contains Spoilers]

The synopsis of this book is also gravely misleading! This is NOT a love story. Me Before You is based on a very sensitive subject matter. One’s right to die. *cue dramatic music*

If I had to write the synopsis of the book it would be something like this… Continue reading

‘Attachments’ by Rainbow Rowell: “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Attachements Cover Art

How is this possible? How can Rainbow do this to me all over again? First it was ‘Eleanor and Park’, and now THIS? How can her words make me laugh so hard in one moment, have me constantly keep a 50 feet wide grin on my face and in the next make me miserably moan with sheer despair that I’m never (NEVER EVER) going to find the kind of love she writes about in her books.

What’s The Book About?

Excerpt taken from Goodreads:
“Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?”

Why I Hated (and Absolutely Loved) This Book:

Now this is one of those books that completely obliterates by expectations of men. And by obliterate I mean taking the male specimen and turning him into this loving, caring, nurturing demigod who will love you and then love you even more and never get tired of you and cherish each and everything about you, who will always say the right things, who will make you cry tears of joy for the rest of your life.

This is the reason that men like this only exist in fiction. They do NOT exist in real life. They can’t. It isn’t possible. It’s against the laws of nature, humanity, psychology, biology and whatnot….. Great, now I’m crying. I’m sorry. I got carried away. Let me gather myself. (Curse you Rainbow, you evil woman… Ergh, I’m sorry. I actually love you. A lot.) Continue reading