books, REVIEWS

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

I’ve had Colson’s Underground Railroad on my tbr for more than two years so when I found this book in my mail box, I started it immediately but had I known how much it would tire me, I would’ve waited a few days at-least. (Not that that would change the experience)

#theguywiththebookreview presents The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead sent to me by Little Brown (Thank you!)

Based and inspired by the history of Arthur G. Dozier School for reform of Boys (I recommend you read about it if you don’t know it’s history) The Nickel Boys was one of the best starts of any book I’ve read in recent times. Intrigued and almost invested in the story of Elwood Curtis, a black kid who dreamed of college education and a better future in a time when America was as divided as it has ever been, I had to stop and reflect at the injustice faced by so many in America’s history.

How a kid with so much promise ends up in a correctional facility which is infamous for abuse and violence against the kids, for no fault of his own, is worth more than what The Nickel Boys gave.

Filled with characters that have nothing to do with the plot and in no way move the book forward, it felt like Colson had included a plethora of them to make the books impact stronger, by giving names and introductions. Sadly it didn’t work for me, it just created more branches that were not needed. Character development was not something expected from any of these almost random characters but I felt that Elwood’s character should have been given more focus.

Somewhere I feel an all knowing narrative would’ve worked better, and by part two of the book it was slowly becoming a extremely tiresome to read.

Two instances of the book will catch your attention, the Encyclopedia in part one and the Lashes in part two. Both should have had a bigger emotional impact but somehow felt like they were trying too hard.

By the end of part three where the book takes a really big turn and jumps way ahead, we learn about the effects the school has had on the boys. This would’ve been my favorite part but it seemed like there was forced purpose behind the ending. Colson wanted to end the book a certain way and he wrote FOR the book and not the story.

There is a unexpected twist at the end which does change a lot of the experience but by then it was too late for me to like it.

An interesting book, a great conversation generator as well. I guess when we think about books with racism at its core, we expect to be moved a bit more, maybe that’s our fault as readers, maybe that’s just reality.

.

If you’re interested in buying the book, click here for my affiliate link

.

And if you are looking for more book reviews, please find the links here:

It’s Not About The Burqa by Mariah Khan

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

books, REVIEWS

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

“For Connie had adopted the standard of the young: what there was in the moment was everything. And moments followed one another without necessarily belonging to one another.”

#theguywiththebookreview presents Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

Let’s first address the elephant in the room, what is Faroukh doing reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Well. It was for free and I got curious.

Well, curiosity killed the elephant and he’s no more.

Based on the quote you’d think you’ll get a very deep book, it’s not.

DH Lawrence gives us some absolutely brilliant streams of consciousness throughout the book but it’s laden with what some would call guilty pleasures but to me they were just annoying.

This is the kind of book you would want someone to read if you wanted them to feel annoyed. There are several rants and a lot of the book is just plain boring.

As expected it’s dramatic and the character’s behaviors are just something you don’t get.

I would recommend this to all of my enemies, suffer, as I have. Click HERE to buy the book via my affiliate link.

Please consider subscribing to my blog HERE.

.

If you are looking for more book reviews, please find the links here:

It’s Not About The Burqa by Mariah Khan

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

books

Chapter 9: Luxembourg. The Traveling Biblio Chronicles.

Hey guys! We’re back with another chapter which I’m really excited about! I’ve had chats randomly with Sophia (You might know her as TeaCupBookWorld on Instagram) over the last few months and recently she was kind enough to give us some of her time and write up a recommendation for Luxembourg. I honestly had no idea about the place except the name (could hardly get the spelling right!) Sophia is a regular on Bookstagram where she is very active and does weekly readathons as well. I’ve recommended her account on bookstagram recently and am going to do that again. Click her name to reach her account: Sophia and let’s let Sophia take over this post!

At The Devil’s Banquets by Anise Koltz

It is only recently that I began to research local authors in Luxembourg, so for that reason my book recommendation today is a little different – this is a newly discovered author and book for me too.

I have lived in Luxembourg for just under two years and I am slowly learning about a unique culture which, before I relocated here, I barely knew existed. Luxembourg is a very small country bordering France, Germany and Belgium, so the most notable authors are usually of French or German origin.

The author I chose to discuss is Anise Koltz – she is the Vice President of the European Academy of Poetry, and the founder and director of the festival Les Journées de Mondorf. She was born in Luxembourg in 1928, but as Luxembourgish was not even a written language until about 30 years ago, the majority of her work is written in French and German (the two other local languages). Interestingly, she began by writing only in German, however, after the death of her husband – who was a victim of torture by the Nazi occupation  she could no longer bring herself to write in the German language. When she started writing again, the only language she would use, was French. 

Anise started her career by writing fairy stories in the 1950s, but later, she switched her focus to poetry. As a fellow poet myself, I was keen to explore her work and the words she wanted to share. The first book of her poetry that I encountered, is called ‘At the Devil’s Banquets’.

Her writing in this book fascinates me as it is so lyrical yet at the same time raw and painful. She makes bold statements questioning our world, and yet, her words are also metaphors and wild contemplations. There is a subtle anger in her style which really resonates with me:

‘Lost in space
eternity turns back
to the glacial era

Keeps watch over our petrified bodies
sites abandoned by time’

We encounter so much gentle and simple poetry in daily life (which definitely has its place) but we are not often faced with the truly hardhitting pieces. For me personally, I love to ponder a powerful stanza full of fearless observation.

Alongside this complex and dark narration, she also creates some intimate pieces about more runofthemill subjects such as the writing of poetry itself. I really enjoyed this piece called ‘The Poet’, below is a small extract:

‘He holds back the poem
the way you hold your breath

Until he learns to breathe 
against it

His wildcat’s
teeth grind

Every Poem
is a mark of his claws’

To read Anise’s work is to discover a wonderful correlation between her writing and Luxembourg itself – uncharted beauty where you are least expecting it.

This was Chapter 9 of the traveling biblio chornicles by Sophia. You can buy the book here from book depository
If you liked this post, please consider subscribing here
Do consider sharing this with your friends who might like to read more from our hopefully growing diverse list over the next weeks and months.

Our previous Chapters are as follows, have a look! 

Chapter 1: Australia here

Chapter 2: Afghanistan here

Chapter 3: Egypt here

Chapter 4: Palestine here

Chapter 5: Kenya here

Chapter 6: Pakistan here

Chapter 7: Argentina here

Chapter 8: Estonia here

books, REVIEWS

It’s Not About The Burqa edited by Mariam Khan

“No one woman can speak for all Muslim Women – for that rich and varied tapestry of experiences, practice, belief and ways of being” – Nadine Aisha Jassat

#theguywiththebookreview presents It’s Not About The Burqa

The quote above from Nadine came on the last page of the book and I think it reaffirms my original decision to not review this book the way I usually try to critically (although amateurly) look at the contents.

17 Muslim women from a wide range of backgrounds share their thoughts about what it is like to be a Muslim Woman, sometimes very visibly so (Hijabi Muslim Women) and sometimes not as visibly.

A few of the essays here were fascinating to me. Having lived most of my life where ‘normal’ to me is a lifestyle circled around Islam and practicing Muslims, the Muslim identity to has always been the default. Where segregation of sexes is the norm and where things go to a halt when it is prayer times (All shops close for 20-30 minutes during the 5 prayer times in Saudi Arabia)

There were essays which I absolutely disagreed with and then there were some that were almost enlightening. One in particular by Saima Mir definitely choked me up.

But without a doubt my absolutely favorite of all the essays came very early in the collection: On the Representation of Muslims *Terms and Conditions Apply by @nafisa_bakkar Her essay made a super lazy reader like me get up and grab my highlighter. I went crazy highlighting the stuff she’s written! Absolutely on point!

I would recommend this to readers across the board, Muslim or Non Muslim with a very small note that not everything in this book is about being a Muslim or Not being a Muslim. These are mostly experiences and aren’t to be taken word for word as a representation of or not of Islam.

.

If you’re interested in buying the book, please click HERE for my Affiliate Link, Thank you!

.

Please consider subscribing to my blog HERE.

.

If you are looking for more book reviews, please find the links here:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

books, REVIEWS

Between The Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

I’ve been thinking a lot about this book and I have to say it very much could be the perfect sampler to the Raw experience of Indian Lit.

#theguywiththebookreview presents Between The Assassinations by Aravind Adiga.

The first book I read by Adiga was the very much critically acclaimed and Man Booker Prize Winner, The White Tiger.

Surprisingly this book was actually written by Adiga before that one but published later.

Between The Assassinations is a collection of short stories based in Kittur, India and encompasses a wide range of characters from different parts of its society which make for a very intriguing experience when these characters come together.

Each type of character seems to have been researched meticulously and Adiga manages to touch a plethora of topics, from terrorism to casteism to poverty and corruption. Some of the short stories mildly intermingle to give them a much richer experience which sometimes short stories might lack.

There are many books based in India which make for great picks to start with Indian Lit but if you’re undecided on where to start, I’d definitely recommend this book or The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

You can buy Between The Assassinations HERE

You can buy The White Tiger HERE

books, REVIEWS

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Literally just finished the book and although it’s midnight I know I can’t go to sleep without putting my thoughts out.

#theguywiththebookreview presents After The End by Clare Mackintosh (Gifted by @littlebrown)

This book is divided into two parts, Before and After. Pip and Max have a son who is terminally ill and they are faced with the heartbreaking decision to either let him go or try unconventional medication which might delay the inevitable but will not improve his health.

Max and Pip do not agree and end up in court to decide the fate of Dylan.

‘Before’ deals with this part of their journey as parents (up-to the courts decision)

‘After’ follows their lives after the courts decision and is surprisingly even more heavy on the heart than ‘Before’.

There are three perspectives in the book, Max, Pip and Dylan’s Doctor Leila.

All are in first person and that gives each chapter a very personal touch making the impact of their tough situation even more haunting. The inclusion of Leila is especially helpful as it adds another dimension to the story which breaks the alternating chapters between Max and Pip. Really effective story telling.

I cannot write more without spoilers but I really want to. (Please don’t read onwards if you have already made your mind to read it) You can pre order the book HERE.

Spoilers…

‘After’ is made extremely interesting because Clare takes us into two directions: One where the court decides that Dylan is in too much pain to live and the other where Dylan should get the medication required to live for as long as possible.

These two directions are managed in alternating chapters and are again told from Max and Pips perspectives. In each they get what they wanted from the court (Max – Dylan lives; Pip – Dylan is let go)

After I read the book, I read Clare Mackintosh’s Note where she tells how more than a decade ago she faced a similar situation. Reading that made my heart fall and so I couldn’t wait to write what I felt about the book. Clare does acknowledge this would be a difficult book for many readers to get through so please pick it up only if you are okay with reading a tough story.

.

Please consider subscribing to my blog HERE.

.

If you are looking for book reviews, please find the links here:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

books, REVIEWS

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

There are so many things to talk about this book but discussing almost anything is potentially a spoiler, so I’m going to try sneak through this review like a kitty cat 🐈

#theguywiththebookreview presents If Cats Disappeared from The World by Genki Kawamura

In this surprisingly heartwarming story of our unnamed protagonist who is diagnosed to die soon, The Devil appears and offers one extra day to live against making one thing disappear from the world.

Then starts the grueling daily routine where he has to choose what thing to get rid of from the world for one day of life. The characters, pace and writing all come together very nicely to give a short yet impactful experience. There is a sense of nostalgia portrayed in the book which might make you pause and reminisce.

Not necessarily meant to be a very serious book, but it does take a nice detour in the closing chapters and the book wraps ups very nicely! Would definitely recommend it to cat lovers and especially those who loved The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

You can buy the book HERE through my affiliate link.

If you are looking for book reviews, please find the links here:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher