Read: Gangs of Stockholm

Gangs of Stockholm by Luke G. Dahl

This is the only book I read in 2018 where I corresponded with the author via email a couple of times. I’m so glad to have wrote him, because he wrote back!

Like many readers out there, we read certain books to support new authors; all without any exchanges (e.g. gifts, cash, follow-backs, etc.), we voluntarily give them reviews so that they could gain some exposure through our reviews. So yeah, this was one of those reads for me.

I choose not to divulge what the author has shared with me – but in all, the book was a good read as it gave me a glimpse inside a city I am unfamiliar with – Stockholm. Bits of culture, family values, school life, etc. There’s a little love story entangled within the violent pages, amidst the dangers leading a double life (normal kid in gang).

p.s. I got into trouble with Amazon over one of his books. I stupidly mentioned in one of my book reviews (not this book) that we corresponded. It wasn’t even a biased review, as in favorable toward the author (I be damned as I didn’t screenshot my review), and I didn’t even give that read 5 stars. Regardless, Amazon Books, being the sh*th**d they always are, decided to ban me from their platform. So while I still get to purchase books, I am no longer allowed to post reviews. What bollocks!

Read: Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise

Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise,(房思琪的初戀樂園), by Lin Yi-Han

Lin Yi-Han committed suicide not long after her book was published. She also did an interview, and if you understand Mandarin, you should watch that interview on YouTube before reading the book. I’m sorry there aren’t any English captions available. But if you read this article on BuzzFeed, and then watch the video, it might add mixed (anger, sympathy) emotions. I don’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing.

I read this book in quite a few settings (I normally take a long time to finish a book because I could only read at night when the house is dead quiet with zero activity). Cover to cover, page for page, word for word. It’s explicit, it’s painful, and it just makes you want to track that m*thaf*ck* down and castrate him, if not, kill him with your bare hands. It’s a novel, alright. Yes, it’s a novel.

In the beginning of the interview, she said, I paraphrase (weakly),

“Many people will summarize the book as though the story is about a young girl who was raped (whose innocence was violated by a rapist).”

She then continued,

“I won’t say that’s it (accurate), but here’s what I believe the story is about – It’s a story of a young girl who fell in love with a (her) rapist,”

“There’s love in there – love.”

I’m sorry as I’m not going to break the entire book down and give you a proper synopsis. You can Google further. It’s a sad story. It’s a sad society. But when brought to (real) life, this sad story and society applies to every country – adults abusing children. Teachers abusing students. Sexually, mentally, physically, everything.

I took a long time, trying to get my hands on her book. I don’t know if my country had banned it, because I queried nearly all the local bookstores and all came back and said they didn’t carry it and that I’d have to look elsewhere.

I searched, got impatient, but eventually read it on my Kindle anyway. This book – is lethal – lethally tragic.

That is all.

p.s. I’m racing to write about every book I’ve read in 2018 so please bear with my weak bad prose.

When People…

… in a general book group ask for book recommendations ‘that make them cry at the end’,

For example,

Sometimes I honestly just want to kick myself. How can I ENJOY books that absolutely rip my heart into pieces??? I hate crying, but oh boy, I’m extremely satisfied when a book makes me cry until my face hurts!

Feel free to recommend such books!

I wonder, as a nonfiction reader, if it is appropriate to recommend books that do make you ‘cry at the end’… Holocaust, journalists killed in conflict zones, memoirs about drugs and abandonment, escaping human trafficking, et cetera.

When people…

When people..

When people.

Just, people.

Because, people are people… And I am people, so since people are people, would it make me an asshole to suggest those reads?

The answer is yes, especially when you are responding to a question like the above. Obviously that person is asking for fiction. Why would you burst that person’s ‘need to cry now’ bubble by recommending something really sad?

Don’t do it.

Added TBR: Between The World And Me

I’ve been seeing endless raves on The Hate U Give in my online book clubs, nearly the entire second half of 2018. Today’s the day I finally gave in (can’t take it anymore) and asked the following in yet another OMG-The-Hate-U-Give-was-so-good thread:

Is there a similar read but nonfiction? Please recommend, thanks!

And that’s how Between The World And Me came about. Thank you, fellow bookworm!

So far, though only one recommendation, it seems powerful and good enough.

The thing with books is that there are so many great reads, that when a new read becomes famous, presumably something that wasn’t written addressed before, we forget to seek, dig, or even ask for similar reads in a different genre.

So this time, being the nonfiction nerd who can’t seem to digest fiction, I asked.

And it was answered.

p.s. I have an ant farm on my tbr, I know and I don’t care. As long as I already own it, I’m at some peace even if I can’t get to them just yet.

To Each Their Own

True readers will not get offended at another’s choice, even if it comes with unpopular but widely accepted opinions.

For example, I don’t like fiction because fiction takes the life out of a story. Any story. Say, A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. Stunning and impressive, yes, but it’s fiction. Perhaps to you, my take doesn’t make shit sense. But to me, it makes a hell lot of sense.

On the other hand, fiction readers will beg to differ and I understand and accept that, just like how some tend to assume nonfiction is boring and lacks imagination. To me, that doesn’t make shit sense. It happened, no one had to imagine it. Authors had to do due diligence, research, fact check, get lawyers, before getting it published. I don’t see why nonfiction can be boring!

We are all in it for the ride, after all.

And yes, I do know there’s a fine line – “based on a true story”. Fiction or nonfiction? That’s for you and I to imagine, and for the writer to know.


Most Hated Character

There was a thread on a book nerd lovers’ group on Facebook yesterday which asked everyone to name their most hated character. Responses are still trickling in as I type.

I asked rhetorically if nonfiction was allowed and said mine was Casey Anthony. Someone asked me which book and I replied it was Imperfect Justice, written by Jeff Ashton. At least someone appreciated a nonfictional character.

Anyway. I was screening the list looking for some inspiration and a rather common name caught my eye. It wasn’t a fancy name like Bayleigh or Ayakae, nor did it mention the book’s title.

It was stated in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner, as though everyone should know who she is, like Juliet Capulet.

Her name was Amy Dunne.

Since I don’t read fiction as a hobby (I’ve read 3 or was it 4, one was erotica, so proud of it), obviously I didn’t know who she was so I had to Google her.


Gone Girl.

So it’s famous. Sure. With all the ratings and all.

Heard of the title, but never googled it nor purposely stopped to read any reviews about it (likely because I knew it was fiction). Didn’t know it was made into a film (or series?) neither.

(Which is fine. Not many people knows that Mariane Pearl was played by Angelina Jolie).

(cue *who’s Mariane Pearl?* from clueless crowd)

But I’m intrigued! The storyline seems cliché af, but I particularly liked the part where Amy believes she shouldn’t have been born. Darkness always sells, doesn’t it!

So I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list.

I doubt it will ever go on sale (99¢ – $1.99 kinda thing), but in case it does, I’m so gonna be the next Amy Dunne-hater.

I was clueless af over Gone Girl, but thanks to this thread, I am slowly expanding my tbr-fiction horizon!