United States: Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You (ISBN-13: 978-0143127550) by Celeste Ng is a book that has been on my radar for a while now. It was Ng’s debut novel, and won the Amazon Book of the Year award in 2014. I finally decided to purchase and read this when Amazon had the Kindle edition of this book, and a few other New York Times’ best sellers, for a mere $3.00. I chose to include this book in my Booking Around the World series because I wanted my selection for the United States to be special. Sadly, the majority of the books I have read have been written by American authors (which is precisely why I created the challenge for myself in the first place). I decided that when I selected a book for the United States, I wanted to choose an author that represented the diversity of America well, and I think I made a good choice.

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South Africa: Born A Crime

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Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (ISBN-13: 978-0399588174) is probably one of the best memoirs I’ve read, though I admit I haven’t read many. I would highly recommend experiencing this book in the audiobook form. Audible was offering this book for free for a limited time through Goodreads, so of course I took them up on the offer. Especially since this book was already on my to-read list. Trevor Noah narrates the audiobook himself, and his accent is pleasant to listen to and gives life to his stories. I didn’t know much about him before listening to this, besides that he succeeded Jon Stewart to be the host of The Daily Show. He was relatively unknown in the States before he took on that role, but since then I have seen bits and pieces of his show through video clips posted online. From what I had seen, he had some great insight on racism. Now, having read his memoir, it makes sense, given his background. Continue reading “South Africa: Born A Crime”

The Handmaid’s Tale // review

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The Handmaid’s Tale (ISBN-13: 978-0385490818) was my first Margaret Atwood novel, and it did not disappoint. In fact, this book more than exceeded my expectations, being, in my opinion, fairly unique within the vast sea of dystopian literature out there. I had read this novel a while back, but I decided to revisit it due to all the comparisons to our current society during the 2016 American presidential election season. Our current political climate probably has a lot to do with it, but this book hit me so much harder emotionally the second time around. Continue reading “The Handmaid’s Tale // review”

Aesthetic

Aesthetic is a word that has become yet another cliché as of late. Though traditionally used more often as a noun, the new usage in pop culture tends to be adjectival and ironic, i.e. “That is so aesthetic!”

As contrived as the usage of “aesthetic” can be, I think it can still appropriately describe a certain je ne sais quoi,  a vision of our lives and what we want it to look like. In essence, the word simply represents the act of appreciating beauty, which I believe has the potential to empower us. If we wait until all the little pieces of our lives are in place to be happy, to fit our aesthetic, then we may never truly be content.

The Japanese people have a interesting concept called 侘寂, or Wabi-sabi. It is their philosophy of aesthetics: “wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all” (source). I find this concept fascinating. This is more in line with how I personally view aesthetics – not as a goal, but instead, a daily act. I think the appreciation of beauty in the present – however frivolous or earnest (and sometimes both) – is respectable, and I hope to incorporate it more into my own life. Continue reading “Aesthetic”

Armenia: Falling Back in Love with Short Storytelling

At this point it would be redundant to apologize for my lack of Booking Around the World related posts since I’ve never really gotten into a consistent posting schedule thus far. But I’m happy to be back with another review, even if I decided to go a little out of order.

The next country on the list was supposed to be Angola, but another book caught my interest first, and it happened to be by an Armenian author.

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