Book review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Attachments is an entertaining and funny love story between two co-workers at a newspaper company called The Courier. They find love at the intersection of technology and the breakroom of a typical 9-to-5 job.

The story starts by introducing friends Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont through a personal email at work. They often send each other such emails despite knowing that it is being monitored. Lincoln O’Neill is the IT security person whose job it is to do just that and other IT troubleshooting needs in a Y2K technological era.

Given their humorous and charming banter, Lincoln finds their emails the highlight of his day at a pretty lonely and boring night-shift job. He inevitably falls in love with one of them. While the attraction is mutual, Lincoln never fully understood her perspective until they finally meet-cute; seeing one another for who they are and validating their strong feelings for one another.

This story is complex, but not heavy. The three main characters are no longer recent college graduates getting used to their 20s; rather they’re entering their 30s and meeting expectations of what their next steps in life should be. Lincoln, Beth and Jennifer each exhibit different relationship perspectives; being single, in a committed relationship and married, respectively. They each overcome their internal conflicts which results in changed selves by the end of it.

Rainbow Rowell did such a great job in writing a novel that encompassed a romantic comedy love story (that didn’t involve the internet 24/7) without it being too sappy and dramatic. She also did a seamless job in presenting the commentary on the changing times of a new era where parking lots are valued over old movie theaters and acknowledging that we are at an age where love may come before at first sight. Attachments made me laugh out loud more than a few times and swept me off my feet with its delightful characters and dialogue.

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Book review: I’ll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

I'll Be There for You: The One about FriendsI’ll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book brings out the warmth of 1990s nostalgia. It is a well-researched and thorough book on a seemingly simply loved sitcom only to find out there is much more involved from getting the show on-air to the final decision to end the series.

For someone who used to watch the commentary version of films and watching James Lipton interview celebrities for fun growing up, this was a gem to me. I thoroughly appreciated the work that Kelsey Miller put into combining her humorous personality, well-crafted writing, and commentary on society’s important issues like racism, religion, sexual orientation and sexism (and also the amusing topics like the famous Rachel haircut and the “will they won’t they” talk of a reunion). There was a lot of information that was not public knowledge (at least I did not know these facts) about the hiccups with casting, the magnitude of the show’s fame, the back and forth in salary negotiations and the background on certain episodes. The world was a very different place from the show’s inception compared to its now immortal state; as re-runs still keep this show very much alive to this day.

Admittedly, the book was a little challenging for me at the beginning. It seemed a bit dry and it took me longer to finish than other books I’ve read. It isn’t the kind of book you read in one sitting (at least for me), but it does keep me interested to finish it through. Although the author is a self-proclaimed super fan, she does a good job in pointing out criticisms and compliments of the show in fairly equal parts. I found the book to not solely focus on the show Friends, but also the climate of the world during the airing of the popular hit.

This book made me see the show as a whole as opposed to the one-dimensional entity I’ve always known it to be. It was an interesting read. I had no idea the amount of time in negotiating and deliberation it takes to get such a show to lift off let alone make it successful. And how different (and similar) the actors are to the characters they played. Although there is a lot of talent out there, there also needs to be a lot of luck that goes into this Hollywood life and it certainly isn’t as easy as television makes it out to be.

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Book review: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not want the book to end. I loved Natasha and Daniel so much. After spending the day together, readers will learn a lot about them, life and love. The charming thing about this book is that there is a realist view for what love means, how it affects people and what they will do for it. Along with love, there are consequences with every action that not only affects the lives of those involved directly, but also the ones just passing by, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed their philosophical conversations, Natasha’s scientific input, Daniel’s hopeless romantic idealism and depth of maturity and belief they had for one another. They’re the kind of characters one wished more people were like in real life. I also like that Yoon did not shy away from racial conversations and concepts by integrating them into the story.

We meet Natasha, who has been trying to figure out a way to stay in America after her family learns that they are forced to go back to Jamaica. Then Daniel, who is Korean American, have a scheduled meeting about his college admission to Yale. With an immediate attraction to Natasha after seeing her on the street, Daniel tries to convince her that she will fall in love with him.

I wish this was a series. Although the book follows these characters for one day, their depth and growth felt like months or years in the making. We learn about their complex relationships to different family members and how they’ve come to understand them. Most importantly, we learn how they’ve come to understand themselves. Their own internal realizations are what carries this book.

The book does not divide by chapters, rather the story is told by the perspectives of the main protagonists as well as explanations for ideas/concepts and background information of the supporting characters. Similarly styled as Eleanor and Park, this book also centers around young love, however, different in the most important way. The characters progressed towards each other and they did not let the negative relationships in their lives affect their idea of love and the feelings they had for each other. The way their perspectives took turns guided a very smooth flow and transition of the sequence of events.

I highly recommend this book.

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I am excited to see the movie when it comes out!

 

reading

as you can probably tell, i’ve been doing a bit of reading lately. these book reviews are sort of coming along more frequently than i thought. it’s been quite a while since i’ve felt like reading for fun. just for fun. and i’m loving it so much. i used to be such an avid reader growing up. loved going to the library to see how many books i can borrow at a time and read as long as i could. i can still kind of see the stacks of books on my messy desk.

my neighborhood used to have that library van. it’d come by each week or two weeks. while other kids ran for the ice-cream trucks, i was always excited for the library. i wasn’t one to have a lot of money to spend, so the library card was some alternate reality to that. i thoroughly enjoyed mysteries. the love stuff weren’t tooo appealing to me, but the coming of age ones did. yes, i was/am a catcher in the rye fan and a whole other ones we were required to read at school.

as an adult reader though, i feel like the books seep into me more. they linger on longer and have kind of kept with me. when i was a kid, it always felt like i was going to one thing to the next; never really reflecting enough on what was going on. i just always felt like i had to keep going. so i don’t think i was a really great reader even though i did it so often. reading now feels different to me in a good way. the value is much deeper. i’ve quite often thought of how lucky we all are to be able to read. such a luxury. such a superpower.

are there any books you always go back to? the ones you love and hold in high regard?

Book review: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1)The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just another day in Neptune with Veronica Mars and her vigilante team of witty misfits who fight for justice, even if it means breaking the law sometimes. As a fan of the television series and the film, I was anticipating the charisma and intelligence of the namesake’s powerful female lead. The book certainly delivers that spunk and charm fans like me are addicted to.

With that being said, I prefer the visual telling of this series than a literary one. This is not a reflection at all on Rob Thomas and his writing abilities or talent. It was well-written and he even does a seamless job in inserting quick summaries and background information on the characters and story lines in case there are readers who are unfamiliar with the story. That’s a big plus I’d say for anyone needing a recap.

The basic premise of the book is that Veronica has returned back to Neptune to work with her dad, Keith, in his private investigation business. Without giving too much away, a missing persons assignment falls on her lap and she digs deeper into who may be to blame. She reconnects with her past in multiple ways, but one person in particular returns into her life that does create a new trajectory in her character arc. For anyone wondering, Logan doesn’t appear too much and although has a part to play, it wasn’t necessarily a main one.

Overall, this was a good story, but also not a super exciting one. It had its surprises and I definitely couldn’t put the book down near the end. I would say it just doesn’t have that spark and power that film production has that keeps my eyes glued to the screen. I don’t think I will read the next book in this series, but will definitely watch the next film or reboot of it if it ever happens! (And of course, re-runs.)

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If you’re interested, here’s my review for the Veronica Mars television series.

Book review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two teenagers from completely different backgrounds converge when an awkward moment on the school bus results in them sitting together, which cemented a ritual they never intended to have. Gradually, their time together evolved from avoiding each other, to quietly reading and listening to music together to falling in love. The journey was rocky at most points and smooth in others. I truly valued the personalities of Eleanor and Park. I cared about them and wanted an ending that they deserved.

Their love for each other was pure and deep. The character growth was evident and the essence of their internal and external conflicts were raw. This story was heartbreaking because I wanted more for them and for the book.

Author Rainbow Rowell is talented in writing about human emotions and personalities. There were moments in the book in which I wanted to keep reading, but then I come across these barriers or nonsensical challenges of the story in which I felt like more could have been developed with the characters and their relationships with the people in their lives or even with themselves. I didn’t need a happy ending, necessarily, but I wanted a better resolution and goodbye to Eleanor & Park.

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goodreads and book reviews

So, I signed up for an account on goodreads. I had one long ago, or so I thought. I couldn’t remember the log-in info at all, so I figured to create one for this blog. If you’d like to add me as a friend or follow, feel free to do so here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/94855605-portfolio-cnw

I’m fairly new to it because even when I did have an account long ago, I barely used it. I think I logged in one book. I am hoping to be better at it this time around. I had just finished reading a book by Michael Harvey titled Pulse and it was amazing. I am hoping to read more thrilling books I can’t put down. I will post the review up here soon. If you have any suggestions at all for books, I am open to hearing any you’d recommend.

I have written a few book reviews here in the past. I think my book review writing needs more practice. After reading a few on goodreads, I’m a bit intimidated. There were so many that were very well-written. But also a lot that started to sound the same. We shall see as I write more and how I can improve. For my first review on goodreads, I wrote what I liked most about the book and what I thought were unique qualities that made it special. I thought the reviews on the platform were already inundated with a lot of summary, so I didn’t think I needed to write as much about the story as a whole.

In the past, my book reviews here were more in depth. This may be the case in the future as well. But we’ll see. If you’re interested, you can read my review for The Book of Ruth (a book I did not like) and Best Love, Rosie (a book I really liked).

I’m currently reading Eleanor & Park. Have you read any books that you absolutely could not put down? Those are the ones I’m most interested in.

Book review: Best Love, Rosie by Nuala O’Faolain

Tone/mood: thoughtful/humorous at times/wise/life/time
cnw rating: buy-worthy

Nuala O’Faolain is a beautiful and honest writer.  Although she has (sadly) passed away, her writings are living on, strong.  And this book was just what I needed to get back on the reading train I somehow missed over the past several months.

As I was reading along, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of connection to her character Rosie.  Although she is much older than I am (in her mid-50s, I believe), her heart seems just as unsettled and her love for travel and meeting new people was very familiar to me.  I remember reading a passage and thinking that the only way to describe her writing is that it’s beautiful.  She has such an eloquent way of saying exactly what I have once thought and felt regarding significant life events, but could never describe it well, even to myself.

Rosie is an older adult who has traveled all around the world.  She lives moment to moment with plans to go from one place to another; particularly from New York to Ireland, where her Aunt Min lives.  With her Aunt being her only living relative, she checks in with her from time to time and eventually returns to Ireland to take care of her.  From there, she is met with a multitude of positive and negative interactions with her loved ones.  Her age and lack of committed relationship seems to be a topic that is brought upon with judgement and misunderstanding.  Her story grows into more description of her relationship to Min and her childhood.  The more I read, the more I saw little bits and pieces of personalities that my own friends and family possess.  I somehow understand them more now because of this book.  Rosie, like a lot of us, also struggles internally with her age and figuring out exactly what she needs and wants from life.  Her Aunt Min, surprisingly, is a refreshing, cute and amusing character.  With a tough exterior (for all the years she had to care for Rosie and her father), she has a tender heart.  All the characters in the book were intriguing to me and each had their own set of fears, courage and insecurities that Nuala O’Faolain had gracefully unfolded.

O’Faolain’s wisdom and love of life is so warm and right on target that I felt a little more complete after reading this book.  She made growing older a little more enticing and lovely.  She taught me many, many things while reading this book.  Gratitude for the love I receive from my family, friends and partner in life.  How important it is to accept myself in every age I am and to really appreciate the little things that come like a warm smile from a friend or the comfort of petting a dog or cat.  She also taught me a little more of the Irish culture, which is completely foreign to me.  The perspectives of her characters on America was also interesting.  Overall, a good read and a book I would definitely read over and over again.

cnw

This is my first book review.  I find writing these kinds of reviews particularly complex due to the nature of length of the media.  Because I spend days and weeks reading this one book, I find it difficult to convey an overall, singular thought on the book.  To me, stories in general, are interesting and well-connected in depth.  It’s impossible for me to write everything I thought about of the book while I was reading.  This is definitely something I’d like to work on further.  Although, I also feel that there is beauty in just reading and not thinking about it as a “review-to-be-topic.”