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

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November 9 by Colleen Hoover: “Crippling, Debilitating, Paralyzing Love”

Let me start this review by sharing what happened to me when I finished this book. It was 4:20am, I was lying in my room in the dark and everyone else at home was fast asleep. The moment I finished it, I got up from my bed – my knees shaking – closed my bedroom door, and right then and there I fell to the ground and starting crying as if these tears were held inside me for years. I cried so much I couldn’t breathe anymore. I crawled to the bed, lied face down into my pillow and bawled as loud as I could.

I was a complete mess.

Those weren’t tears of sorrow. They were tears of joy. :’)

I love you Colleen Hoover, for making me believe in love again. :’)

Image courtesy: www.goodreads.com
Image courtesy: http://www.goodreads.com

I usually read a book’s Goodreads review before starting it. I need to know what others think about it, because I hate it when I realize I’ve wasted my time with a lame story. But with November 9, I went in completely blind. I had no idea what it was about, what rating it got, how “bestselling” it was. I avoided reading anything about it like I avoid reading Game of Thrones spoilers. I only knew that it was written by CoHo.

And I would advice you to do the same.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

As for my review, it will be completely spoiler free. Yeah, there will be a few quotes here and there, but they’re only for the purpose of convincing you to read this book immediately.

Okay, now I’m just gonna rant on like an idiot about WHY I loved this book so much.

My Take on November 9:

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”

THE ROMANCE:

November 9 has the most engaging and one-of-a-kind romance I’ve read in a long, long time. The formula CoHo used has been done before – obviously – but how she executed it, how she dealt with those characters and the purity of love between them (I haven’t swooned so much in YEARS), and that mind-boggling twist near the end, HOLY GUACAMOLE, it left my head spinning.

It made me feel ALL THE FEELS!!!

“You left with my soul in your fists and my heart in your teeth, and I don’t want either of them back.”

I have plenty of experience with romance novels but this time there was something different. You know when you read/watch an amazing love story and you say to yourself, “Yeah right, THAT’S never happening to me. I’m gonna become a cat-lady and die alone.”

Abeeha the Cat Lady

But in November 9, Ben and Fallon’s love seemed too real. So real that it made me believe that one day I too can have something like that. Do you remember what I said in the beginning? About me crying like a baby? It was because I suddenly knew it in my heart that I WILL find my Ben someday :’)

“I’m in love with her. Like, really in love with her. Crippling, debilitating, paralyzing love.”

Laughing-Crying Matthew

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“The Girl on the Train”: A Study on How NOT To Write Your Characters

The Girl on the Train has been one of the most hyped-up books of 2015; having comparisons with intense psychological thrillers like Gone Girl. But let me just get one thing straight: it’s not the next Gone Girl. That’s false marketing/word-of-mouth. Yes, both had unreliable narrators, both revolved around a murder, but where ‘The Girl on the Train’ fails terribly is in its character design.

"The Girl on the Train," by author Paula Hawkins. (AP Photo/Riverhead Books)
Image courtesy: http://www.yahoo.com; “The Girl on the Train,” by author Paula Hawkins. (AP Photo/Riverhead Books)

Plot Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

“Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

My Take on the Book:

Don’t get me wrong, I really liked reading this book (to some extent). I love meself some “whodunnit” stories, and I was glued to it for two days straight. I couldn’t put it down.

Page Turner

But there are two reasons why it was such a page-turner for me:

  1. It was undoubtedly an engaging read. Although very predictable (I had to literally dumb-down myself in order to maintain that element of surprise for the big “killer-reveal” moment) but nonetheless it kept me on the edge of my couch as it had a really fast-moving plot. I don’t mean to sound crass but murder mysteries are FUN!
  2. I wanted to get it over with. I was 100 pages into the book when I truly started to hate the characters and I was just too invested in the story by then that quitting was just not an option anymore.

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Game of Thrones Season 5: Soooo yeah, THAT happened!

I have a tiny innocent little question for Mr. George R. R. Martin. Sir, can you please explain to me that how do you plan on continuing this “Game” of Thrones when there are no players left to play it? I mean, it kinda doesn’t make any sense, does it?

We get it, this isn’t a fairy tale where we’re gonna get a happy ending, and the reason your franchise is so popular is because it depicts the actual reality of this world: good people always suffer. But come on, dude, I think we have enough reality to deal with in our own lives and we need some relief from it when we invest our precious time in your made up stories. Can’t you think of something pleasing for a change? I am literally not shocked anymore. You have become SO predictable. You know, Red Wedding broke me. Something died inside of me after that “incident”, so pretty much every death I’ve seen on this show since the Red Wedding has had NO SHOCK VALUE for me. None. Nada. I now know this for a fact that everything that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong in this messed up world you’ve created for your fans.

Before, my reactions used to be like this:

Catelyn Stark Crying (1)

Now they have turned into this:

Joffrey is Not Amused

Yes, George, you have turned me into an indifferent emotionless little prick like Joffrey.

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