Welcome to the Fuzzable Book Club, a monthly book club where our writers talk about books they’ve read. February’s piece is on the top five favourite books of Euni, one of our writers! Here are her top five picks:
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
A coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder. Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.
Patron Saints of Nothing has a huge impact on me because it has influenced how I plan to write my novel. I’m the type of person who is very vocal about my stances in politics. As I am currently writing a novel that also involves a prominent Filipino politician, Patron Saints of Nothing encouraged me to speak up about what is happening in Philippine politics in a fictional way because hey, stories can change the way a person views the world. A novel like this can become eye-openers for people who don’t know the current situation of the Philippines.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
Milk and Honey demonstrates why Rupi Kaur is great at writing quotable poems.
Rupi Kaur and her poems had been in the center of debates regarding poetry. There are people who say that her works are not really poetry because it does not follow the usual poetry rules. I, however, love how free-flowing her works are, which is why I included Milk and Honey on my recommendation list. Milk and Honey feature poems that are about abuse and healing, but also about love and self-love. Her poems are divided into four main categories – hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. The illustrations that partner the poems are also stunning! Rupi Kaur’s poems are deeply honest that it does not censor what our heart speaks. The poems in this book made me feel a lot of emotions and realize how powerful women are, and how important self-love is.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.
I consider The Giver as one of the classics. I started reading it because my younger sister bought a copy for her English class. I can say it was a great read, one I couldn’t put down for hours. In a way, The Giver is a dark book, and I can’t imagine why young children would read this. Lois Lowry’s talent at world-building is phenomenal. The fact that the characters live in a colourless and emotionless world made me hooked. I can’t imagine people living in a perfect world. Lois Lowry also narrated with emotions, something that other authors lack. I love how the book is somehow open-ended, but don’t worry I won’t say it out loud.
The Giver has a movie counterpart (which I will not recommend). The movie took away some emotions that the book made me feel. If you’re looking for a deep, heavy read, then The Giver is perfect for you.
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Love, Stargirl picks up a year after Stargirl ends and reveals the new life of the beloved character who moved away so suddenly at the end of Stargirl. The novel takes the form of “the world’s longest letter,” in diary form, going from date to date through a little more than a year’s time. In her writing, Stargirl mixes memories of her bittersweet time in Mica, Arizona, with involvements with new people in her life.
In Love, Stargirl, we hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and – of course – love.
Love, Stargirl is the sequel to Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl, and I prefer the sequel more. For me, the entire novel – especially the ending – is magical, sweet, and emotional. It was refreshing to read the book in Stargirl’s point-of-view (the first one was in her love interest’s point-of-view) and hearing her thoughts. Stargirl’s kindness to people around her is touching that she is one of my favourite fictional characters. Love, Stargirl, offers a stunning look at getting over your first love and moving on. Jerry Spinelli made me adore the rest of the characters and cry my eyes out while reading this sequel.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.
Last but not least is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. For this memoir, Arthur Golden interviewed a retired geisha. He wrote it well that you’ll feel that the narrator was a woman even though he isn’t. Each chapter has its own story which is easy to understand. It was fascinating to know more about the world of geisha during pre-World War II in Japan. It disrupted my previous thinking that geishas are prostitutes. In this book, we get to watch how the main character, Sayuri, grew in a controlling environment. I love the writing style, as it attempted to write as close to the poetic Japanese style as possible. Although all characters are well-written, Sayuri’s character captivated me throughout the book. I rooted for her all throughout the book, although there were times when I want her to broaden her dreams. How come? Read this book to find out why!
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