Hello everyone, welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! A little bit late for a monthly wrap up, especially since I posted my October TBR not too long ago, but better late than never! How was your September reading month? For me, September was quite successful. I read three novels and one short story collection, and I rated one book 5 stars, while I rated the other three four stars. Overall, not a bad month!
Books I Read in September
Lelaki Harimau by Eka Kurniawan (full review)
A novel famous all over the world, Lelaki Harimau is written in Indonesian and has been translated to English, titled Man Tiger. This short book is about a man living in a small, remote village who killed his neighbour in cold blood, claiming that he was possessed by a tiger inside him. It’s a very literary book, full of hidden meanings and complex characters. At first it was a little hard for me to get into the writing style of this book. And there are quite a lot of characters you had to remember as well. However, once you get to know the characters and enjoy the entire vibe and atmosphere of the book, you cannot stop reading it. The plot itself isn’t very exciting for me. I mainly enjoyed the words I was consuming with my eyes, and trying to piece together the characters and their motives.
All in all I gave this book a 4 stars, not 5. It’s a little too deep and philosophical book for me, and there are a lot of weird, supernatural, inexplicable events that happened, so if you’re not the person who enjoys those magical realism books, don’t pick this up. It’s not an amazing book, but I do understand why so many people loved it, and why they consider it a good literature. The writing is wonderful, and the themes discussed in this book, especially the internal dwelling between the characters, was genius. And those last pages got me really hooked, while that last section of the whole book made me close my eyes in amazement. I can’t wait to read Eka Kurniawan’s other books, and I already have an urge to reread this book again.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express completes my small but burning want to read mystery and thriller books and I decided to pick this one up in my Kindle because I know that the movie is coming up soon and the trailer looks so goooood. This is probably one of Agatha Christie’s most popular novel, a mystery about the murder of a man in a train that is stuck in a snow storm, making it a locked-room mystery.
Filled with exciting events and a cast of unique and interesting characters, this novel makes up one of the best mystery novels people have ever read. It’s entirely exciting from the beginning to the end, and you will never be able to guess the real killer. I looove Hercule Poirot, the main character, and although a while after reading this book the characters mostly feel like a blur to me, they are all so filled with motive and possibility that you just keep guessing for the culprit till the end.
Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (full review)
Dear Mr. M is very different from any other thriller books. Coming into the book, the blurb only tells the readers about a tiny section of the story, of how an avid reader of a bestselling author writes a letter to him. Having previously read The Dinner and loving it, I had high expectations for this book. This was definitely chunkier than his previous novel, and the story itself seems much more elaborate and full of details. But looking back at it now, they both definitely possess a similar vibe and several themes came up in this book that reminded me of The Dinner.
In many ways this book is such a complex and mysterious book, with exciting events unraveling. With amazingly written characters and a plot that makes reading a 400-page book feel like nothing, you can almost dismiss the occasionally rambling writing style. It might’ve been perfect if it was around 100 pages cut, but this book was overall a very fresh story that not many books possess. Exciting, thrilling in every page, while also not being too fast paced, Dear Mr. M will blow your mind.
Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories by Rain Chudori (full review)
I didn’t expect much coming into this short story collection. Even though I adored the simple and minimalistic production of the book – how small and compact it is, with simple cover and overall white tone, and a lovely typefront, I didn’t really know what to expect. This was written by the daughter of a writer who wrote a book I really enjoyed, titled Pulang.
I love how unique and different from each other every story in the collection is. When I look back at the table of contents, I can still make out which story is about which and what I loved about it. I also love how even though they’re different, all of them have that same similar feel and vibe going on throughout the story, not just because of the same writing style but also the themes discussed, the small objects mentioned, and the elements taking part in the stories.
The stories were written beautifully, and although it felt a little odd to read an Indonesian person writing in English, the writing style is just wonderful to read. Some of my favourite stories are: The Swimming Pool, Monsoon Tiger, and Beneath the Bougainvilleas.
I know this isn’t a book for everyone. I’ve read some reviews saying that they got bored and didn’t enjoy the stories. But I know that I love slow, atmospheric stories, where not a lot actually happens, but when you look back you remember only how you felt while you were reading it, and this book is exactly it. I can’t find any clear flaw in this book, to be honest. At first I only rated this book 4 stars, thinking, I’m not a huge fan of short story collections, most of the times I’d only rate them 3 or 4 stars because they’re forgettable and some of the stories just don’t gel with me. Although I do have favourite stories in this collection, I loved every single one of them and so I am changing my rating of this book to 5 stars. It’s amazing how despite how I’ve read a book by her mother, therefore automatically comparing her work to her mother’s, this book is a 180 degree turn from Pulang that I just couldn’t compare the two of them. Well done! I absolutely cannot wait to read more of her work. This book needs more hype and appreciation!!!
Books I’m Currently Reading
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I’m nearly finished with this book, but in the end I didn’t manage to finish it before October starts. I picked this up on my way back from Lisbon because I just had it in my Kindle and I’ve always wanted to read another book by Kazuo Ishiguro. So far it isn’t as amazing as Never Let Me Go, his other novel, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. I’m not a huge fan of this novel’s writing style, but we’ll see how the story plays out in the end.
So, how was your September reading month? What did you think of the books I read this month? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you soon with my weekly updates!