Month: June 2017

Writers, Psychopaths, and Pain: Misery by Stephen King Book Review

Hello fellow book lovers, my name is Ayunda and welcome back to my book blog, Tea and Paperbacks, posting every Monday and more! On May I read a phenomenal book by Stephen King by the title of Misery. This will be the spoiler-free review of the book!

Misery is a novel first published in 1987 by one of the most famous thriller and horror authors in the twenty-first century. I have read several books by King before: The Shining being my favourite so far. But I must admit that Misery comes close to the top of the list.

Title: Misery
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date Published: March 2010
Num of Pages: 356 pages
Date Read: 25th May, 2017
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

In this novel, there are only a handful of characters, and the characters we really know and read about are only two: the narrator, a famous writer named Paul, and Misery, his captor. The story starts with Paul waking up in pain, paralyzed and unable to move, lying on a bed in Misery’s house. The book covers his realization that he had gone into a car crash, was “saved” by his biggest fan, and now being held as ‘patient’ in her house. What we come to realize as the story continues is how psychopathic Misery is, and Paul’s attempts to escape from her, despite the fact that he’s drugged all the time and has no control over his disabled legs.

This book is not a horror book, but it’s definitely thrilling and much more scary than a lot of horror books/movies. It makes your heart race so fast, and leaves you wanting to read more and more and never stop reading until you see what happens in the end.

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What really amazes me is Stephen King’s ability to describe the feelings that Paul felt while he was lying 24/7 in the bed. His need for his drugs that will numb the pain in his feet. His desperation, and his fear, but also his determination. And most importantly his pain. A huge part of this book involves Paul being in excruciating pain, and it’s amazing how King is able to depict that, making us readers really understand how Paul is suffering so much, by words that aren’t just “it hurts” or “Paul felt huge pain” or something like that.

The plot is incredibly exciting. It’s like your typical thriller, kidnapping movie, but better and more exciting. When you read the blurb you’d probably think, this is just like any other “psychopath kidnapping a prisoner and torturing him little by little and killing him slowly because of the kidnapper’s mental illness” and all you want to know is how it ends, because to be honest there are only two ways it can end, right: either the prisoner escapes, or he doesn’t escape. But in here, of course I was wondering whether Paul will be able to escape in the end or not, but I was also intrigued with the whole story, about Misery herself, about how Paul will escape and what will happen to Misery. That’s what makes this book different. And I think this book owes it to King for making it unique and good.

In terms of characters, I think the book also fresh and unique, because like I mentioned, there were only two major characters in the book. Sure there would be people coming by and leaving and so and so throughout the book, but in the majority of the scenes, it’ll be just Paul and Misery. Paul is an okay character. He’s flawed, in the way that there were times when he’d just give up trying to survive or live, and accept his “fate”. The fact that he’s a writer, gives me a thought that Paul might be sort of based on Stephen King himself, being a successful and famous writer. Misery on the other hand, is twisted, crazy, and extremely dangerous, but at the same time she’s a character and she’s different than the typical mentally ill woman who does everything out of her disease. Misery is despicable and so so fricking scary, but I think she makes a wonderful antagonist.

So all in all, this book was fast-paced, such a page turner, filled with great writing, amazing plot and well rounded characters. King does it once again! I definitely recommend it if you like thrillers and psychopathic books. If you’re afraid of blood, gore, and other scary stuff, I’d suggest don’t read this. But for everyone else, GO AHEAD AND READ IT!

4 stars

Have you read Misery? Do you like reading books by Stephen King? Any similar thriller novels you’d recommend? Share with me your thoughts on the comments and let’s chat! Until next time, happy reading!

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Being a Uni Student, Music, and Family Secrets: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien Book Review

I haven’t posted in 9 months in this blog, meaning that there are 9 months worth of books that I haven’t reviewed or posted in this blog. Therefore, here is an excellent book I read quite some time ago that I am eager to share with you. It won a lot of literary prizes and I think it really deserves all the longlists and wins.

Love, music, history, finding yourself, family, books, university. I have always loved books with themes revolving around immigrants or minority descendants living in Europe: The Namesake , White Teeth , and The Kite Runner are some of my favourites. This is a slightly more unique one, because it’s set in Canada and China, two countries whose history I am very unfamiliar with.

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing not only has a beautiful and intriguing title but also and interesting premise. It starts are the narrator’s house when she is a young girl, as she meets a family friend’s daughter who is moving from China to Canada where she lives. From there she discovers the intertwining secrets between their two families and the stories behind their parents.

We told each other secretly in the quiet midnight world
That we wished to grow together on the earth, two branches of one tree
Earth endures, heaven endures, even though both shall end.

The characters in this book are wonderful. My favourite is probably the narrator, Marie, but I also love the older generation characters, because they take up most of the part of the book. I enjoy their personalities, and how they deal with different phases of their life. I also love how they incorporated music into the history of their family, how the family members are very musical and really love and enjoy music deeply.

Title: Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Author: Madeleine Thien
Publisher: Granta Books
Date Published: July 2016
Num of Pages: 473
Date Read: 31st December, 2016
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

What I really really love about this book is its writing style. It’s slow and atmospheric but also explains a lot about the current situation, and at the same time can make the readers fall in love with the location and the characters.

For me the plot was also intriguing. I was never bored. True, sometimes I’d lose track of what the scene was about or forget some of the names, but most of the time the book is very engaging and I just can’t help but keep reading it to find out more. It’s definitely a different kind of page-turner from an action young adult, but for me this slow-build, intriguing stories are way more enjoyable and I love reading these type of books.

He’d been thinking about the quality of sunshine, that is, how daylight wipes away the stars and the planets, making them invisible to human eyes. if one needed the darkness in order to see the heavens, might daylight be a form of blindness? Could it be that sound was also be a form of deafness? If so, what was silence?

This book made me really think about university life, politics, history, family, love (familial love, forbidden love, unspoken love), and identity when living in a foreign country. It’s beautiful, lyrical and touching and I loved every page of it. In addition, you can really get an insight to the history of China related to the Tiananmen Square protests in the 1900s. I really enjoyed this novel and I recommend it if you enjoy slow, long, and character-driven historical fiction.

4 stars

Have you read Do Not Say We Have Nothing? What are your thoughts on this novel, and how much do you like historical fiction? Share us your thoughts on the comments down below!

 

 bookdepository goodreads

May Wrap Up and June TBR

Welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! Sorry for the late wrap up, I’ve been reading and commenting on so many of your wrap up posts, and they all sound so exciting. I can’t believe it’s already June, I feel like May was quite a long month and not to mention productive in terms of reading. I started several books and finished quite a few. I also went on a vacation, which sort of reduces the time I spent reading but I also found that I read quite a lot on the plane and in between trips. But anyways, let’s just jump into the books and what I thought about them!

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Books Read in May

How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: The Secrets to Good Communication by Larry King (buy)

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The thing about reading a book about talking and communication when you’re an introvert and hate social interactions, is that you know that you have to read it, but you just don’t want to. I think that despite of the fact that I was basically forced to read this book, this is a compact and well-written book. I’ve heard a lot about Larry King, my parents loved him and if there is a person that is most qualified to write a book about how to talk to people, it’s definitely him. The way he narrates this book is also great, I liked how he doesn’t show off the fact that he’s a good speaker and that he’s very experienced in that field, but he also gives great tips while also adding examples from his own personal experience here and there. The structuring of this book is also useful and quite informative without being all over the place and boring.

I think the main problem is from myself, the reader. I’m a person who dislikes talking to other people, I try to avoid small talk and social events of any kind. I don’t have a large social network, and I only talk when I’m spoken to. Which is a bad thing I guess, but I just don’t want to change. As I read this book, I definitely agree with all his tips and tricks. I do know I have to act like this and this, and consider this or that while on a social situation. The drawback is the fact that I will have to implement all of these things into real life, which I have anxiety even thinking about. So it’s definitely a process for me to be good at talking to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. For me, this book is excellent for newbies like me, it really adds an insight to me and next time I’m in a social situation, I will definitely bring back the things King mentioned in this book. That shows that this book might not make me a good communicator overnight, but I will definitely think about ways for me to improve in my life.

3 stars

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (buy)

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Wuthering Heights is one of those famous classic novels that has been on my list of books I want to read before I die, but never gotten round to. I finally plucked up the courage to pick it up! I loooved Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre back when I read it in high school, so I thought this should be similarly good!

Unfortunately, this was a miss for me. Firstly, it took me a super long time to finish. I’m not saying that books that take a long time to finish are bad, but for this book, I just would read around two chapters of it and immediately feel sleepy. I’d have to take a fifteen-minute nap first (most of the time I’m reading this while traveling so it’s perfectly possible for me to do this) and then continue. There was also a period of time of around 5-10 days where I left my Nook in my other bag and didn’t get the urge to read this book at all, which is never a good thing.

The language, as expected, was part of the problem. It was super slow and typically classic, which I wouldn’t mind on some novels as long as I enjoyed the characters and the plot. The other problem for me in this book is that I didn’t really like any of the characters, and the plot wasn’t that captivating for me either. The characters for me all felt very annoying and, though I usually like flawed characters, I felt sort of tired of both Catherines and their personalities. Not to mention the super irritating Heathcliff… Overall, added with the weird plot in which it was hard for me to differ between flashback, narration, or the story from Nelly, it wasn’t very enjoyable.

2.5 stars

Misery by Stephen King (buy)

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I flew through this novel during my trip to Athens. I looooved it! I loved how it’s so exciting and thrilling, and that you always can’t stop reading it. I was so engrossed in it while I was on the plane and at night after I was traveling around the city. A full review will be coming up soon. All in all, I really liked this book, and rated it 4 stars (possibly maybe even 4.5?), which gives me a nice and happy end to the string of previous not-so-good books I read.
4 stars

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Books I’m Currently Reading

The Good People by Hannah Kent

A book I’ve been dying to read after I read Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, I bought a lovely edition of it at Rotterdam when I was visiting. It’s a historical fiction based on a true story about a widowed woman who has to live with her crippled grandson in Ireland, and how relationship with two other women connected to the boy. I started it around mid-May and right now I’m nearly finished with the book. So far it’s very interesting and captivating, it feels like reading a lyrical piece of literature, because Kent’s writing is just so beautiful. I am really engrossed in the characters and the story itself. It’s both creepy and beautiful, and I am loving it.

Mercy by Jodi Picoult

I picked this book up (metaphorically because it’s actually from my Kindle ehehe) because I have always wanted to read more books by Jodi Picoult. It’s been ages since I read My Sister’s Keeper, her most famous novel, and I absolutely loved that one. I also dipped into her collaboration novel with her daughter. Didn’t like that one, but I know that this novel will be good. I’m currently only 20% into the book but I love it so far.

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Books To Read in June

Other than my goals to finish the two books I’m currently reading, here are some nominations on books I want to read in June:

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I’ve been adding this to my TBR for ages but never really picked it up. It’s already in my Kindle though, so as soon as I finish Mercy I will get on with this one.
  • Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton. Ever since my visit to Athens I really wanna read more about Greek mythology, other than the Percy Jackson series hahaha.
  • The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. I’m really in the mood for something non-fiction but fun to read, and I love animals so I think this might be really interesting to read. I’ve already purchased this on Book Depository and I’m looking forward to reading it in June.
  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl. A book I’ve tried reading since last year, stopped midway through and never continued. I think June might be the time where I pick it up again.

What are the books you read in May and have you read the books I read or currently reading? Share your thoughts in the comments! Until next time!

goodreads  bookdepository