Today, I will be sharing with you all the books I read in February! I am posting this later than usual because yesterday was the last day of February and I was still reading two books. I cannot believe another whole month has passed by!
First they killed my father- Loung Ung
This book was really difficult to read. It is a survival story of Mrs/Ms Loung Ung but it is also more than that- It is about how cruel humanity can be. This story is about the Cambodian genocide during the Pol Pot regime. I had learnt a little about this in history but I never read anything from a survivor’s perspective so I was drawn to this book. I must say, reading her story made me feel almost like I was there itself. It made me cry tears of joy and sorrow. The descriptions of what the Khmer Rouge soldiers did to innocent civilians, including children really left me feeling livid. It was really worse than what I learnt in history. An interesting thing about this book is that it is told from a child’s perspective, retaining the realism of the author’s story. She was only around eight when it after all. Can you imagine experiencing a horrific time like this when you are just a young child? And that is not the worst- she had a five year old sister as well who was starving. It was harrowing to read about the author being separated from her family and having to survive on her own. I do not know if I can do that in her situation. I really admire her strength and perseverance. She had to face so many challenges and suffering but she overcame them because she never once stopped believing. Her love for her family was something I really loved to read as well. This book was written to warn others that even if you are a child, you still cannot forget the horrors of a war/genocide/finding ways to survive. She wanted to show the world that the genocide was very much real, very terrifying. I know that many people may not want to read this as it is very triggering for them but if you are able to, I would recommend giving this book a go as we can learn a lot from it.
Human Chair- Junji Ito
I have seen videos of people reading out Junji Ito’s stories but have never read his works so I decided to try them out myself. This is a short horror story so I decided to try this one out first. It has an unusual, unsettling concept which creeped me out but alas, it felt too short and rushed hence it didn’t receive higher rating than three stars. I will definitely check out his other works when I can!
Extinction of all children- L. J. Epps
*** I was sent the ebook in exchange for an honest review via VoraciousReadersOnly ***
Well, that was a pleasant surprise! When I first went into the book, I didn’t know what to expect. I have never read any book with this concept before- a world where children from poor families are killed because the parents are seen to be unable to take care of their children. It isn’t as simple as it sounds.
I felt that the motive of the President (the one who ordered the killing) is not as black and white as it seems. Even though she did horrible things, she had her reasons and that made me understand where she was coming from. However, that still meant I did not support her in what she was doing. The author did very well in making me hate her! I loved Emma. She was not one of those characters that gave up her own morals to do certain tasks asked of her by the President. (You will get it when you read the book) She questioned the world around her and wanted to do something about the dire situation the world was in. She is seen as the chosen one because she is the last 18 year old to be alive but she did not care for that. Instead, she fought back against the society.
There was a bit of a romance going on but that didn’t really bother me. It felt more like a friendship to me to be honest. I think it was really sweet.
I also loved the family aspect. The relationship between Emma and her family felt so real. I loved seeing the effects of the world on their relationship. Emma had difficulty trusting her family members because of that. Despite that, she still loved them and made a lot of sacrifices for them.
I have to say that the writing didn’t really impress me and I felt that there could have been more world development. Well, that’s just my opinion. Additionally, there were some things I saw coming but I did not quite expect the ending. I am eager to read the sequels and see what happens next!
The shining- Stephen King
After finally a month, I have finished “The Shining”!!! I don’t know what is with me but I always take forever to read Stephen King books. I think it is just his tediously long descriptions of certain scenes or scenes that do not add much to the story. I did not quite like some of the language he used to describe certain characters as well like using the n word. I am not sure if there was a need to use that word at all. Apart from that, I did like the story and how it explored mental health. This story is mainly about a boy named, Danny, his father, Jack and his mother, Wendy. After a certain incident, they move to this hotel called Overlook where Jack got a job as a hotel caretaker. Throughout their stay there, strange things begin to happen, especially with Danny. We are left wondering about the significance of this word: redrum and what was going on with the hotel. I must say, it was chilling when I found out what was going on. However, in my opinion, seeing a horror movie scares me more than reading a horror book. It was scary but I think if I see the movie, I might be more scared. I loved reading about Danny. He is such a precocious, sweet child. I did not like what was happening to him and really wanted him to get better. Jack and Wendy had their own faults and strengths, I loved how their relationship was explored. Removing all the long-winded prose, I found myself liking this story. In short, this is a story of an ordinary family handling mental health issues that stemmed from trauma and abuse.
Search sweet country- Kojo Laing
Before this, I have never quite read anything like this book. It felt like a surreal reading experience and I mean that in a good way. Although it is set in 1970s Ghana, it felt like I traveled to a magical place. The story follows a group of people, mainly a healer, a corrupt politician, a witch, a christian priest, a man intent on building his own village, an idealistic professor and a student. It is about how they lived their lives through a period between colonialism and freedom. It is very much a character-driven story. The characters were very memorable to me. They each had their unique charm. Although some of them were silly, I still liked them. I found myself laughing at their interactions a lot of the time! The lush descriptions of the scenery, places and the characters really drew me in even if it felt like I was taking forever to read. I admit, it was a little difficult for me to connect with the writing at certain points which can very well be due to me not being as used to reading classics. Despite that, I enjoyed reading the story. There were also certain descriptions like “his whaaaaaat jacket” made me burst into laughter. I don’t why but that was so funny. This story gave me a look into how the people of Accra, Ghana was living back then which is something I have not read before. This serves as a reminder for me to read more diversely. Anyway, I found myself reading on and on to find out more about what would happen to these characters. I think if a book makes me do that, it is a winner! I think it is a very underrated classic and I hope more people would read it.
How to stop time- Matt Haig
I did not quite know what to make of this book after reading it. The concept of living over the age of 100 years old (The main character, Tom is over 400 years old) seemed intriguing but alas, I do not think it was executed very well. This book is told in alternating timelines whereby one chapter is focused on a past timeline and a past place Tom has been to and, the next chapter is focused on the present timeline and the current place Tom is in. Throughout this book, we are following Tom’s journey through time and various places. The book very much showed everything from his perspective and how he perceived the world to be. I liked reading from Tom’s view initially. He was grappling with a lot of loss which did make me feel for him. However, after a while, he felt really repetitive. I sound bad for saying this but his constant grief for his wife did not seem that believable to me. I mean, he can still experience the grief but we do not have to be reminded of it all the time! (in my opinion) Apart from that, it felt like there was not much going for this book. Sure, he was going through centuries and commentating on how things are back in the day vs now. However, that is not enough for me to be invested in the story. He also met several famous people along the way which felt kind of unbelievable. Just because you are travelling through time does not meet you will meet all these people. Like in one chapter of the book, a character says: “name dropping”, that is what I felt Tom was doing. There was not really any need for all these famous people for the story to progress. Okay, enough of the bad things, I did like some aspects of the story. I did like Tom’s love for his daughter. I am not sure if this is a spoiler but he was searching for his daughter throughout this book. Even after centuries, his love for his daughter and wife was there, proving the point that true love is timeless. I liked that idea. Furthermore, I liked one of the side characters, Omai as well. The idea of a secret society was also fascinating. I just wish that we were given perspectives from other characters of the secret society as well. The second last chapter was rather jarring to me as I did not quite expect it to end like that but I guess, that explains a lot of things. If only this book was written a different way, I might have enjoyed reading it more.
Although I had plans to read 9 books, I am still glad I managed to read these many books. University life is really hectic honestly. I still hope I can read more next month, instead of procrastinating by watching shows XD Anyways, Thank you for reading! Hope you are having/had a lovely weekend 🙂 Till next time, take care!