title: in the buddha's words: an anthology of discourses from the pali canon
author: bhikkhu bodhi
rating: 8/10
completed: ?

this book is all about the teachings of buddhism. the thing i liked most was the philosophical messages, for example uprooting cravings, living righteously, etc.
title: heavier than heaven: a biography of kurt cobain
author: charles r. cross
rating: 8.5/10
completed: feb. 2021

this was the first time i've ever read a biography of someone, i was very interested to learn all about my favorite rockstar kurt cobain! this book details all the extreme highs and lows of his short life. it was awesome to learn all about him, what his personality was like, what his childhood and adolescence were like, and how that affected and influenced his music. i very much enjoyed reading the inspirations behind so many songs i love. this book is very depressing too, and gives a lot of insight on the pain kurt was going through in his life.
title: the brothers karamazov
author: fyodor dostoevsky
rating: 10/10
completed: july 2022

i ... where to even start. this book was so amazing. such an intricate story weaved, and all of it pays off epicly in the final arc. my favorite characters without a doubt are alyosha and dmitri. BEWARE OF SPOILERS, i can't really avoid reviewing without spoiling key story moments.

i love alyosha's personality so much, so good and kind and perfect, like an angel. i really wish i could be like him. my favorite description of him from the beginning of the book, how when he was a child he'd cover his ears any time something disparaging was said about women. alyosha is such a beloved character, i love his convictions and the angelic kindness he gives to all others in his life.

MITYAA! i feel that dmitri is the true main character of this story. the most interesting parts of this book always had him in the center of it. from his very first arrival at the church meeting, throughout the entire book, he is hilarious, charming, bombastic, and a complete SCOUNDREL (as he calls himself). i love the dichotomy of his character. as the prosecutor later in the book says, its the karamazov dual nature to have such contradictions within their minds and hearts. i love the story of dmitri saving katya, protecting her and her family from shame. though his father's degenerate blood runs through him, he still always ends up doing good even when he nearly comes close to making bad decisions. he is such a flawed character which only makes him more likable to me. it's his guilt at his own misgivings that makes him so memorable.

i loved many other characters too, some of my other favorites are grushenka, katya, and kolya. ivan is ok, he's kind of a douchebag but i was happy when in the end he still tried to save dmitri. i love the fucked up love rectangle between dmitri, ivan, katya, and grushenka. i was grateful for the final scene between dmitri and katya finally reconciling despite both coming to love someone else, i felt dmitri's feeling of absolution with her. i did enjoy the side story of kolya, ilyusha, and alyosha with the schoolboys.

undoubtedly my favorite parts of the book were dmitri's wild night (tm) and of course dmitri's trial. when dmitri goes on his manic episode, this is really when i started to love this book. i liked it before, but this part was so entertaining and good. ahhh, and when the police show up to arrest him for the murder of his father! i really love that story so much. it is almost excruciating to read through the last 3rd of the book and especially the trial, because we as the reader know dmitri is innocent. it is painful to see all the obvious evidence stacking up against him (maybe im biased because i love mitya). i suppose we can see it as dmitri being punished for his other sins in a way, even though he did not kill fyodor.

i think smerdyakov was an interesting villain. i believe his intent through it all, as dmitri's lawyer pointed out, was to have vengeance on both his illegitimate father as well as his privileged half-brothers. living as their servant and resenting his low status, he despised all of them, and brought them all to ruin in true karamazov fashion. i think smerdyakov had admiration for ivan and sort of saw them as similar, having similar intelligence and ideologies. but ivan rejected him, which scorned smerdyakov into his revenge. and he did ruin them, killing the father, perfectly framing dmitri, and breaking the psyche of ivan throwing the guilt on his shoulders. alyosha is the only one who escaped unscathed, but even then obviously he was hurt by the downfall of his family whom he loved.

this is pretty much a perfect story in my opinion. it is sort of magical realism i think? (considering alyosha and ivan's visions lol). but i love that it is mostly grounded in reality yet makes such a fascinating story. i loved reading the final trial, all other parts of the story coming together in an epic pay off. reflecting back, one of my favorite moments from the beginning of the book is when father zosima bows down to his knees in reverent prayer for dmitri, predicting his tragic future. i feel this was the perfect foreshadowing of the despair that would come to him. i of course wished that dmitri would be acquitted, but it only makes sense that he was found guilty with all the evidence against him. i loved that alyosha and grushenka believed in his innocence no matter what. i find his circumstances so tragic because i believe (like those around him), that deep down he's an honorable man, and when it comes down to it he does the right thing. he didn't take advantage of katya, he didn't kill his father, etc.

i have to say this. i am dissatisfied for 2 reasons. reason number 1 is that the first half of the book is slow going and unnecessarily long. often times i feel like the book rambles too much (not that i am trying to criticize the great dostoevsky). it took me forever to finish this book because i was annoyed by the constant aside stories (zosima's backstory, inquisitor poem, etc) instead of staying on topic of the very intriguing story of dmitri vs fyodor. i get that these all contribute and do pay off in different ways, but i feel like a lot of times in this book they go on for wayy too long. reason number 2 is more egregious and i hate to say it. the story feels unfinished! so many unanswered questions. did dmitri escape to america? what will alyosha do now that he's left the church? does ivan recover from his illness? why did lise slam her hand in a door? AND SO ON! i found out that unfortunately dostoevsky died only a few months after completing this book. the story definitely seems like it was gearing up for a sequel, which is a great travesty that dostoevsky died before he could write it. i feel that a sequel following what happens to alyosha especially would only make sense, since the narrator describes him of the hero of the story. ahhhh, i'm so sad about this that it's overshadowing my enjoyment of this book. i so wish i could read the rest of the story... i feel like this is a great travesty.

but anyway, in conclusion, despite some things i disliked, this was such an amazing story! alyosha and dmitri are easily some of my favorite characters ever. 'the brothers karamazov' is now one of my favorites of all time!

edit: upon a few months of reflection, in a way i think it is perfect this book has such an open ending. what does happen to mitya? does ivan get better? where will alyosha go? in life nothing is wrapped up so cleanly, maybe it is up to the reader to decide.

my TBK playlist:

title: crime and punishment
author: fyodor dostoevsky
rating: 10/10
completed: april 2023

yayy i finally finished reading this! this story was epic, i can see why it's a famous classic!! raskolnikov is an introverted, capricious, irritable, misanthropic loner. i think he is a fascinating main character, especially considering the time this book was written, i feel like it's not often the protagonist is so villainous. shortly prior to the start of the books events, he references the time he spent in the last year or so after he left university due to financial woes. he spent several months isolating himself alone in his apartment, sitting in the dark, barely ever eating or coming out of his room, driving himself insane. it is during this time he comes up with his ideology and idea to kill the old pawn broker. surface level he seems to do it for money, though later through his confession to sonya we see that he’d convinced himself that he needed to do it to prove something to himself. rodya’s problem is that he is in fact intelligent but he sees himself as above others, a distinguished intellectual who is not even on the same level as the normies around him. during his time spent alone going mad he thought about great men in history who’ve also done terrible things, yet aren't seen as murderers or wrong doers. i.e. napoleon. he wanted to prove himself as one of these great men, and to distinguish himself. he thought if napoleon were in his position and needed money, he’d kill the old pawn broker too.

he can no longer stand to be around his mother and sister, who both clearly love him a lot. i think part of it is guilt, he cant stand their love for him and their admiration and expectations, and deep down thinks and knows he doesn't deserve it. i think the one he cant stand most of all is himself. he at some point later in the book says going off alone where no people are makes him miserable, he feels a bit better in crowds of people and feels more “alone” i again think this is because he cant stand himself, cant stand being alone with his thoughts anymore.

razumikhin is raskolnikov’s friend from school. razumikhin is quite interesting to me because he is such a loyal friend to rodya, despite their wildly different personalities. he always tried to draw rodya out and prevent him from being a mad hermit, and really put up with so much as a friend, he tried hard to help rodya every step of the way. i see rodya and razumikhin as foils. razumikhin is everything rodya could have been. he even “takes his place” within rodya’s own family when he wants to sever ties with his mother and sister.

my favorite part of this book is the relationship and interactions between raskolnikov and sonya. i think rodya confides, likes, and seeks out sonya because he feels a kinship with her, in that they are both outcasts of society. he sees them as similar, and he understands her and believes in her character. one of my favorite scenes in this book was when rodya confesses his crimes to sonya, and she immediately starts weeping for him, how miserable he is, what an unhappy man he is. even though one of the women rodya killed was her friend, she still weeps for him.

sonya is probably my favorite character, i love her so much. she’s so empathetic, angelic, saintly. she prostitutes herself to support her younger half-siblings and step-mother, because her father was a drunken fool who drove their family to ruin. rodya sees this and sees her in the same way the reader would, which made me like him a lot more too.

svidrigailov's presence in the story was interesting to me as well. i thought maybe he was representative of the kind of person raskolnikov was becoming. someone who did heinous things never feeling remorse, and ending up killing himself to avoid suffering or punishment. i was fr so scared he was going to go kill dounia and razumikhin. i thought it was interesting at the end that even though rodya had heard of svidrigailov's death, he still ended up confessing.

i very much enjoyed the ending of this book. because rodya finally was saved and purified by sonya's love for him. with her support he takes up the cross, and goes through a resurrection of his own. he again finds a future to look forward to with her, thus ending this story and looking forward to a new life once he has completed his sentence.

i like this story a lot because i can relate to raskolnikov, in being capricious and closed off from others. that's why i'm so happy in the end he was able to turn over a new leaf with sonya.

my C&P playlist:

title: the ocean at the end of the lane
author: neil gaiman
rating: 10/10
completed: october 2022

ahhh this book is perfect, i can't give it anything less than a 10/10. it reminded me so much of a ghibli movie. my favorite parts were all the delicious food descriptions, and of course the cool hempstock ladies. it's a very bittersweet story,.. feels like i entered another world. i feel sad finishing it, but this is the kind of book i could read over and over again.

i really liked mr. gaiman's writing style, this is the first book i've read of his! i definitely want to check out his other work. he even narrated the audiobook, he has a great voice.
title: the remains of the day
author: kazuo ishiguro
rating: 8/10
completed: june 2023

this book definitely gave me a lot to think about. stevens is a guy who dedicated his entire life to working, so much that he missed a lot of important moments in his personal life, because he was so busy with his job as a butler. i feel like with stevens you have to read between the lines because he doesn't outright say he regrets it, but the entire book is him reflecting on his life. he mentions in hindsight looking back at key moments where if he had done something different, his life would've gone a completely different way. i definitely related to this, i am always thinking about butterfly effect moments in my own life.

this book is soo sad, maybe one of the most melancholic books i've read. nothing totally horrible happened, but just that empty feeling of regret. specifically when it comes to miss kenton😭. its almost excruciating to read some of their past interactions because they both clearly had feelings for each other. but stevens fucked it!! every time miss kenton tried to come on to him he couldn't open his heart to her despite how much he cared for her.

and in the end when they met again miss kenton/mrs ben seemed so weary and sad and regretful and literally said she at first just got married to annoy stevens, and gets depressed lamenting over what her life could've been like if she had been with him instead. ughhhh it's so sad. multiple times this book had me choking up, this moment did for sure. the other time was when he had to work the night his father lay dying upstairs… 😭😭😭

i feel like anyone who has had to work for a living can relate to this story. where u feel like ur entire life revolves around working for someone much more powerful. and in the end stevens feels like he wasted his life working so hard for this guy who turned out to be a nazi sympathizer, missed the opportunity to be with the woman he loved (and who loved him), and has nothing to show for it now that he’s in the later years of his life.

BUT..! that is not the point of the story. thanks to the random friendly man at the pier at the end of the book, we and stevens are reminded that you shouldn't always be looking back so regretful and tormenting yourself over what could've been. stevens worked so hard all his life, and just because not everything turned out quite how he wanted, he still has the future to look forward to. there's no point in constantly being depressed over the past, bcuz the evening is the best part of the day! i really do like that message. i'm glad stevens is able to look to the future by the end, even though his heart was so broken.

it was a good book, stevens is an interesting character. my fancast for him was cillian murphy. it made me kind of depressed honestly but i will definitely be thinking of this book a lot, especially when it comes to being regretful over the past. if stevens can look forward then so can i~
title: prince of thorns
author: mark lawrence
rating: 6/10
completed: ?

the best thing about this book is the gritty grim setting it takes place. i did enjoy reading it and i like the fact that the main character had questionable morals. my critique is that there is a lack of likeable characters, there are some that have some likable qualities but i felt there needed to be more development for them. granted this was the first book and there are more in the series, there might be more development in future books.
title: greenlights
author: matthew mcconaughey
rating: 7/10
completed: january 2023

this book is matthew mcconaughey's memoirs basically, i liked it! mcconaughey is a charismatic good ole southern boy from a working class family, it was interesting to hear about his life especially prior to his fame.

here were some interesting things i learned about him: his mother and father divorced twice and married thrice (to each other), he was voted most handsome when he was in high school, he spent a year as an exchange student in australia (living with a weird asf family), he originally studied to be a lawyer in college, and the very first line he ever said on camera while filming a movie was his famous "alright alright alright" line, and it was improvised!

my favorite part of this book were his prophetic wet dreams that told him what to do in life, it was kind of bizarre almost magical realism like, i thought it was pretty funny. i usually read fiction, so reading this was a nice change of pace, and it wasn't too long. also listening to the audiobook (narrated by mcconaughey himself) was 👍.
title: hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world
author: haruki murakami
rating: 8/10
completed: august 2023

whewww i finished this! i think it was sort of long compared to other murakami books i've read. hmmm overall i would say this book was interesting, perplexing, depressing, kind of a mind f*ck. i think it was pretty crazy from the get go. every other chapter takes place in 2 different worlds, the first i'll refer to as the real world, the other as the dream world.

i REALLY enjoyed the chapters that took place in the real world. i loved the concept of the calcutecs, semiotecs, the system, the factory, the crazy professor and his young granddaughter, the subterranean lair and the inklings lurking underneath tokyo. it was sort of cyberpunk and cool, ughh so awesome. i love the narrator in these portions too, his personality was really interesting. he's a loner, and has this f*d up job where he's basically a human computer. i'm obsessed with the idea of people shuffling/encrypting data in their head, it's such a cool concept. my favorite part of this book was in the middle, where the narrator and the granddaughter are making the dangerous trek through the subterranean lair to find the professor. it was so exciting and interesting.

on the other hand, i really didn't enjoy reading the dream world chapters that much. it's an interesting concept and obviously important to the story, but they got soooo boring to me. plus the narrator's personality in these sections was so idk blank? i get that it's the same guy, but i loved real world version of him sm more. i do like the concept of dream world, with the gatekeeper, the colonel, shadow self, and reading the skulls. but i felt that these chapters dragggeeed imo, and i was always waiting for the next chapter to start so it would go back to real world.

another thing i didn't care for was how his dream world self was so into the librarian. i enjoyed the relationship his real world self had with her, it just came off as a brief fling. but i feel like she didn't come off as important enough of a character for him to be so into her in dream world. one theory i had was that he was projecting his need for companionship onto her, rather than it being some cosmic and true love.

ok, getting more into spoilers.

the latter half of the book gets really depressing once the narrator realizes he is effectively going to die. the entire time, right up until the end i was expecting and hoping for him to find a way out of it. that he and his shadow would escape the fake world in his head, so that the narrator could go back to the real world and live with this newfound perspective on life. i guess that was wishful thinking, since in the end he "chooses" to stay in dream world. i read someone else's theory online that he basically did this whole escape with the shadow to cope and convince himself that there was a way out, to cope with the fact that he was trapped in his head for all eternity. his mind creating "bridges". somewhere in his mind he knows that it's all his creation, that these people are not actually real, but he has no choice but to live there. i like this theory a lot because it's the only way i can accept this ending. if that theory is not the case, i really dislike the fact that he would choose to stay there. if he actually had the choice to escape this situation, i feel that the narrator would've taken the opportunity.

i posted this in my blog, but a quote i really like from this book is:

“listen. i may not be much, but i'm all i've got. maybe you need a magnifying glass to find my face in my high school graduation photo. maybe i haven't got any family or friends. yes, yes, i know all that. but, strange as it might seem, i'm not entirely dissatisfied with life... i feel pretty much at home with what i am. i don't want to go anywhere. i don't want any unicorns behind fences.”

to me this quote shows that in his conscious mind, he does want to continue on living. ugh idk, since this is a murakami book i mentally prepared myself for a sad ending, and i guess it is fitting for the story.

oh something else, i think it's funny how often murakami references dostoevsky. i feel like there has been a dostoevsky reference in every murakami book i've read. i'm grateful i read the brothers karamazov before i read this, because towards the end of this book it references one of the last scenes in TBK. it's the scene where alyosha is talking to the schoolboys, and tells them "the future will be miserable, but overall you'll have a happy life". i tried to think of that scene in the context of this story, i guess that it means the narrator is accepting his fate that he'll be trapped in this false dream world in his head for eternity, but that the good moments he experienced in life will carry him through.

tbh i would read an entire book just about the calcutecs and semiotecs and inklings. i want a spinoff of the granddaughter living her life and trying to figure out a way to save the frozen in time narrator from the prison in his head. this book made me feel conflicted, but i really liked it at the same time.
title: kafka on the shore
author: haruki murakami
rating: 6/10
completed: july 2022

i don't even know how to review this book. it was okay i guess. the wind up chronicle is way better. most other reviews i've read on this seem to think it is murakami's masterpiece, but i didn't feel moved by it. maybe i just didn't 'get' it.

for one thing, it is nonsensical. the wind up bird chronicle is nonsensical, but yet there are still pay offs, and it has a great story that is taking place in reality as well as in the weird spirit world. kafka on the shore is just.... idk? oedipus complex retelling? lonely horny teenager's wild summer?

i read some articles speculating the meaning, and from what i gather there are a lot of possible interpretations of this book. the one that is most plausible to me is that the theme is finding one's purpose in life, and what that means from different perspectives.

i enjoyed hoshino, nakata, and orshima. the other characters... were just okay. i liked hoshino meeting colonel sanders, i liked nakata talking to cats and making fish and leeches rain from the sky. tbh i wish this story was only about nakata and hoshino hanging out across japan.

i think my main problem with this book is that there are too many metaphors that it stopped being a story. idk, it just didn't flow that well in my opinion.
title: a wild sheep chase
author: haruki murakami
rating: 9/10
completed: may 2023

wowwwe this was really good. it reminded me a lot of my other favorite murakami book the wind-up bird chronicle. i love the edge of your seat creepy skin crawling magical realism, when it feels like something life changing and terrible can happen any second. every time i read a murakami book i feel like the course of my entire REAL life hinges on what will happen to the main character at the end.

**this is just my take, idk if i'm right or wrong, i just like to come up with my own analyses** from my perspective the big theme in this book was mediocrity vs. living some great and powerful life. the main character lives somewhat of a 'mediocre' life, probably as seen by those in power or those that don't know him well. he's a nameless person. the sheep is the pursuit of power. this book referenced dostoevsky multiple times, and it reminded me a lot of one of the themes in crime and punishment. raskolnikov's entire reason for deciding to kill someone was because he didn't want to just be a mediocre person, he wanted to be a legendary notable person in society. to not fade to nothing after he dies. i felt it was the same in this book, those that pursued the sheep wanted to be notable, to be powerful. and the sheep was the physical embodiment of that unattainable power.

i thought it was interesting how none of the characters had actual names. it may seem gimmicky but it definitely tied into the themes of this story. in the beginning half of the book a few characters have this whole debate on why stadiums and train stations have names, why they aren't just interchangeable. i think the lack of names contributes again to the theme of mediocrity, and that seemingly nothing in your life matters.

but the other point of this book is that it doesn't matter that nothing matters. because even the rat with all his weaknesses turned down absolute power, because he preferred his life of mediocrity, of listening to cicadas in the summer and drinking beer with his friends.

the main character in this reminded me a lot of toru, the main character from the wind-up bird chronicle. i like both of them a lot, and can relate to their personalities. i also really liked the main character's girlfriend, i thought she was super funny and interesting. i loved that she had magically beautiful ears, a sixth sense, and was there for him all the way through his wild sheep chase. i was so sad in the end when she left and he never saw her again. and apparently had lost that ability of hers. i guess this was to imply that romantic attraction is quite fleeting and easily lost too. this was probably the saddest part of the book to me because i loved her and the relationship between her and the narrator. i suppose also that he was careless of her in their relationship, which lead to her leaving. he was only thinking of himself instead of thinking what danger he was dragging her into. although without her i don't think he could've found the dolphin hotel.

speaking of the dolphin hotel, i loved that place. it's so vivid in my mind's eye, that was pretty much my favorite part of the book when the narrator and his gf were there in the midst of their search.

i reallyyy enjoyed this book a lot, murakami is one of my all time favorite writers. it made me sad in a good way. my biggest takeaway from this book is that it's ok to have a mediocre life, it doesn't necessarily mean you are a boring, unimportant, or unspecial person, you're just wading thru life and time just as anyone else is. (except for the all powerful sheep holders....... O_O)
title: the wind-up bird chronicle
author: haruki murakami
rating: 9.999999/10
completed: may 2022

ahem *yung lean voice* bitch i'm murakami! here is a good article that explains some of the mystical elements of this story.

wow... i really liked this book! i'll start with my favorite characters. my favorite has to be may kasahara, she was such a funny weird presence in the story and offered so much levity and an outside perspective on toru's situation. i love her so much, i especially love her last few scenes and when toru went to visit her at the end. my other favorite is mr. wind up bird himself! he is a great main character, he is unbelievably easy-going throughout the most fucked up of situations, which really made me like and root for him. his and may's friendship and interactions were so good to read and were my favorite parts of this book.

spoilers //

after reading that article i linked, i now see that lt. mamiya and creta kano were 'past versions' of toru and kumiko. similarily boris the manskinner was a 'past version' of noboru wataya. and malta kano is a version of what kumiko's sister would have been. and that while creta is the 'past' kumiko, the telephone woman is the 'future' kumiko. i also see that the cry of the wind up bird is a harbinger of evil. im not sure i understand the significance of nutmeg and cinnamon's presence or what their whole operation was supposed to represent 🤔.

i was satisfied with the ending, that noboru was defeated by both toru and kumiko. honestly i was sort of hoping toru would just give up on kumiko and move on with his life in the end, but i guess that would go against his pre-determined fate. (while i realize they are necessary for the narrative) the parts i disliked about this book were lt. mamiya's story, creta's story, and kumiko's first letter... just ewwwwww to all of that LOL it was very hard to read those. so unpleasant to read that it's keeping me from giving this story a perfect 10.

i'm really blown away by how well written this story is, it ebbs and flows just like toru himself ebbs and flows through different worlds and situations. it was amazing and so memorable. i definitely plan on reading more works by murakami and looking more into the magical realism genre.

*may kasahara voice* POOR MR. WIND-UP BIRD!!!!
title: convenience store woman
author: sayaka murata
rating: 8.5/10
completed: august 2023

this was a good and interesting story, it is really short. i read it in just a few days. i actually read it bc i saw someone else on neocities recommend it hehe 🙈. i liked the main character a lot, and also the overall theme which was about how when you get to a certain age in adulthood people start to view you as abnormal if you don't follow the usual expectation of getting a good job, getting married, and having kids. i related to the sentiment a lot as someone working a dead end job and has no desire to get married or have kids.

spoilers/// i was really glad in the end when she resolved that it was okay for her to go back to doing what she liked to do and what she was good at despite the judgment she was receiving from society. also was glad she kicked out shiraha (even though it was really funny she viewed him as a pet). i hope keiko has a long happy life working at convenience stores.
title: the bell jar
author: sylvia plath
rating: 5/10
completed: april 2023

hmm... not sure what to say on this one. i thought it was okay i guess. i felt like it went in a weird direction. i enjoyed the first part of the book when esther was living in new york. i also enjoyed plath's writing style, she uses a LOT of similes and metaphors which i found noteworthy/interesting. i do relate to esther as a character in some ways, in that she feels trapped by society's expectations of women, and empathize with her for not wanting to be controlled by others' expectations and perceptions of her. especially considering the time period this takes place.

howeverrr... idk this book did not appeal much to me? despite relating to the main character. after she went home from new york i felt lost and confused in the story. maybe that was intentional since she's supposed to be an unreliable narrator losing her mind. but as the reader i didn't really enjoy that, it was hard to follow one thing to the next. the last 2/3rds of the book felt so disjointed and so random, like nothing that happened really mattered or connected to anything. it reminded me of reading someone's memoirs. and yeah i guess this story is supposed to resemble a memoir, but at the end of the day my opinion is that this is a fictional story, so random things without meaning shouldn't be so common??

i was so bored and confused in the middle of this book i almost stopped reading it. only when she attempted suicide did it interest me again. once she was brought into an institution i thought it would start to get good again, but it again just felt like random unrelated things happening one after another. it was a relatively short book so i don't regret reading it, but i guess it just wasn't the style of book that i could get into.
title: the name of the wind (the kingkiller chronicle #1)
author: patrick rothfuss
rating: 10/10
completed: ?

the name of the wind and the wise mans fear are 2 of my favorite books and really what got me back into reading. the story is very interesting (albeit maybe a little slow going) but what is so good about this is the richness of the characters specifically kvothe. i feel like i have learned a lot from kvothe, i.e. how to be cool. i think hes a great example of like, a character who is over the top awesome in every way but still believable and likeable. all the little details about him are what makes me like him so much, he loves things with pockets, his cleverness, his music, etc. also following his story from the slums to being a badass student mage is very moving.

spoilers /

there are a lot of scenes that have really stuck with me even though i read these books a while ago. for example, when hes a kid and he gets beat to shit by a guard in the snow and all the people dressed like angels run past him uncaring, while the 2 dressed as demons were the only ones to try and help him. when he cries in auri's lap. when he gets whipped in front of the entire school and doesn't bleed. literally any scene with tempi in it. etc etc. there are a lot of really great characters besides kvothe (tempi, bast, devi, auri, simmon to name a few of my favs) and even tho the story is told from kvothe's perspective you still get a good read on them. it can feel like the story is slow going since you kno he's supposed to be a king killer or something but the plot moves so fluidly that you don't even realize a lot has happened. tldr these are really good books i hope i'm not dead by the time the third one comes out.
title: the wise man's fear (the kingkiller chronicle #2)
author: patrick rothfuss
rating: 8/10
completed: ?

(see review for the name of the wind ^^^)

spoilers /

this sequel was still very good, although there were things i didnt like as much about it. my biggest complaint, it seriously haunts me. when kvothe was having sex with the demon lady for months in the magic forrest. WTF!! i dont want to read about this teenager, who i have followed the story of since he was a child, having sex with an insane demon faerie, for like 300 pages, that has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. not to mention, this is supposed to be a trilogy, and time wasted on this could have been spent actually i dont know killing kings chronically??? (aaand thats why the next book will never come out, branderson will have to complete this one along with a song of ice and fire)
title: the final empire (mistborn #1)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 10/10
completed: april 2022

ahhhhh omg. this was amazing, dare i say this was a perfect book. i have started several books over the last few months, but this is the only one ive been able to finish. having read the stormlight archive i knew brandon sanderson would not disappoint. i love the magic system of allomancy, it is very unique. i love the ashen world they live in. my favorite characters were kelsier, elend, and vin. i liked all the characters tho! and im glad to finally be reading more of the 'cosmere', i hope soon i can understand the full scope of it lol. i definitely plan on reading the next book immediately.

spoilers /

my biggest and only complaint was kelsier dying. grrrr i understand in retrospect why it had to happen for the plot, but i was beyond pissed at reading that. basically he got bitch slapped by the lord ruler and unceremoniously died. i hated that as kelsier is my husband. im hoping he comes back to life somehow in the next books because i find it pretty surprising for the main character to die in the very first book in the series. he is just such a good main character and i can't really imagine the rest of the books not having him in them...

one of my fav moments from the very end was finding out that vin's brother had never betrayed her at all, and had actually died protecting her. i absolutely loved vin and elend's romance. elend is so... perfect. the philosopher nobleman's son who reads anarchist books at balls, ahhh... he is an angel. i loved vin sm too, she is easy for me to project on to lol. i love that she is so strong. my favorite moment from the entire book prbly was when she saved elend from the near assassination attempt. she risked it all for him!!! ahhhh
title: the well of ascension (mistborn #2)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 9/10
completed: october 2022

love love love this series so much. i might even like it more than stormlight (and i LOVE stormlight). this is an interesting continuation from the first book, everyone dealing with the ramifications of overthrowing the lord ruler... elend is a spotlight character in this one, which i am really happy about bc he's one of my favorites. i still love vin so much, she is an awesome main character that i can relate to a lot.

the only reason i gave this a 9 instead of a 10, the middle of the book was dragging slightlyyyy. but in the last couple chapters it got awesome again, especially the ending. i am not kidding when i say i was IRL sobbing because i thought elend was actually going to die, only for him to turn around and become a mistborn AHHHHHHHHHHHHH. oh and the realization that the lord ruler was actually protecting humanity all this time and they prbly never shouldve killed him, LMFAOOO that blew my mind, im dead. i am looking forward to reading the next book in the series soon!!!
title: the hero of ages (mistborn #3)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 9/10
completed: march 2023

oof. OOOFFF. i've been reading this series for around a year, it hurts to finish it. i have so many thoughts. spoiler warning....

first and foremost i want to say and demand #JUSTICE FOR RASHEK!!!!! rlly this guy saved humanity for CENTURIESSSS and y'all killed him FOR WHAT. pure hubris... next topic, overall i enjoyed the vibe of this book the whole 'the world is fucking ending' thing. i loved elend (my beloved and favorite character) in this sm, newly reborn with mistborn powers. it was so awesome to see him fighting. i loved when they were invading yomen's town, and he and vin crashed their ball. i love that he was the emperor here at the end of the world. i cannot honestly give this book higher than a 9 because i'm so mad he died. elend's last stand was actually one of my favorite parts, but it made me so upset. i feel like he fought so hard and didn't get to reap any of the benefits of the saved world.

and vin... when i was planning what to say for this review while still reading the book, i was initially going to critisize the "chosen one" aspect. i dislike chosen one stories, and it was shaping up to be that. vin was chosen by ruin and preservation to be the hero of ages, it was all the mastermind plan all along, manipulated the whole time, etc. only for her to die.... and sayzed to actually be the hero of ages... WHAT.

sayzed was annoying me this entire book, with his lost faith and constant moping. and then he becomes god. it's giving bran the broken takes westeros. then again i guess it makes sense since he does have the knowledge to fix everything. aughhhh idk, im conflicted. it was a satisfying ending yet it pissed me off. it makes me sad and nostalgic to finish this. reflecting back, my favorite moments in the series were: in the first book when vin saved elend from the assassination attempt. in the 2nd book when it seemed like elend died but actually became a mistborn. and of course elend's last stand. plenty of other moments but those are what stick out to me. overall, my favorite characters were elend, vin, breeze, spook, tensoon, allrianne. i really enjoyed spook's come up in this book, i'm glad he at least had a happy ending.

ugh idk i just want to cry i'm sad about elend and vin. i dont think there was an ending that could have ever fully satisfied me, because i didn't really want the story to end! the more i think about it i do like the fact that vin wasn't really the chosen one, just random circumstances placed her where she ended up. and i do think it's admirable elend and vin heroically gave up their short lived lives to save the world, and i'm glad they're at peace. i loved this trilogy genuinely. i look forward to reading the next mistborn series.
title: the way of kings (the stormlight archive #1)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 10/10
completed: ?

this was a really awesome book, i like the fact that it follows several different characters and they are pretty much all super interesting. my favorite characters were kaladin, dalinar, and adolin. i especially liked to follow kaladin's story because his life as slave was wild. he is literally jesus. his way of leading those around him was very impressive and cool. dalinar is awesome, i love how straight forward and honest he is it's almost ridiculous but he is so respectable and reliable. as for adolin, i love his playboy nature but still has some of the qualities of his straight arrow father. tbh i didnt care too much about shallans story but i didn't dislike it or anything, but following dalinar and kaladin's lives were more entertaining. i also liked following the random characters in the interludes a lot. the world they live in is super cool and unique. its fantasy-esque but a different take on it, and gives you that feeling that theres a lot more going on. even after completing the 1st book i can see that what i know about their world is like tip of the iceberg, which keeps me interested!this book has some really awesome and intense scenes as well. this was an extremely epic and exciting book.

^^^i wrote all of that years ago but just to reiterate, this is one of my favorites of all time. and also kaladin is one of my fav characters of all time<33
title: words of radiance (the stormlight archive #2)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 10/10
completed: ?

this book picks up right where the first one left off, and is just as amazing. more character development, more world development, more interactions etc etc. kaladin is still my favorite but i like all the characters. this book focuses more on shallan, which is cool because she became more likeable and had some cool moments. i sense a love triangle forming which im not too sure about but we'll see. anyways this is one of my favorite series, i love it~
title: oathbringer (the stormlight archive #3)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 9/10
completed: may 2020

as of writing this, i just finished reading this book like 20 minutes ago. this is the longest book i have ever read. so much happened, idk where to start- btw spoilers. my favorite part of this book was hearing dalinar's backstory. i love dalinar! knowing what lead him to the decisions he makes now, and what happened to his wife, was insane and awesome. i also really liked when the squad went to shadesmar, it was super trippy and epic. this book also contained one of the saddest character deaths ive ever seen...
i will be honest some parts with shallan were annoying to me. i don't exactly hate her, im on the fence about her (and she is in this book a lot). i understand the love triangle but didnt exactly like it. i'm also sad because i don't want kaladin to be heartbroken. i mean of course his unrequited love adds to his broody epicness but still... anyway...
something thing i loved was seeing more of szeth, and his path to righteousness. also the lore and worldbuilding was amazing as usual. and like i've said a million times i love kaladin so much<3 he is one of my favorite characters from anything ever. he is as awesome as always, always coming in like the hero he is. i have no idea what the next book will be about but i am looking forward to it.
title: rhythm of war (the stormlight archive #4)
author: brandon sanderson
rating: 9/10
completed: january 2022

i have finally finished reading this after... over a year of it coming out lol. overall, it was really good and i liked it. i especially liked the main plot at urithiru, and that it was very kaladin focused (my fav<3333). my spoiler free review was that it was epic, and i can't wait for the next book.

spoilers /

the reason it took so long for me to read this, is because the first quarter of this book drags. specifically shallan's parts irritated me so much i stopped reading for a full year before i picked it back up again. she is so f*cking annoying in this book it is almost unbearable. luckily she isn't the main focus, and once you get to the urithiru invasion it gets good again. i absolutely love the 'die hard' plot of kaladin being the lone loose man once the fused took over the tower, it was SO awesome. navani became a much more interesting character in this, especially when she invented nuclear warfare LMAO. i was hoping szeth would be in this more (he's my 2nd favorite charatcer behind kaladin), but it seems like (hopefully) he will be a focus in the next one. i was terrified that kaladin was going to die or turn evil, but im so glad he was able to turn it out once again. and omfg the ending when he got shard plate.... SO GOOD, i died. (i'm still hoping for a kaladin + syl romance but apparently spren/human relationships still has not been addressed LOL). it seems like the next book will be hype with the final showdown between dalinar and 'odium'.
title: the hobbit
author: j. r. r. tolkien
rating: 9/10
completed: ?

i love the lord of the rings movies, and i had never read any of the books until recently (as of writing this). i thought the hobbit was awesome, exciting, magical, adventurous, fun, etc. it's a very classic fantasy adventure story and inspired several generations of fantasy writers, and this series will continue to be one of the most beloved and renowned of all time. (warning: spoilers) my favorite parts were when the eagles saved them from from the wolves and goblins, and when bard the bowman shot down smaug. i did not like when the dwarves wouldn't give bard (or the other people) any treasure. but the story still had a good ending and i liked it.
title: the fellowship of the ring (the lord of the rings #1)
author: j. r. r. tolkien
rating: 9/10
completed: ?

the fellowship of the ring is great! it introduces a lot of new and amazing characters, (my favorite is strider aka aragorn). i like the tone of this book a little more than the hobbit, since it feels like the stakes are very high, and it can be very intense. i was surprised to find some of the book to movie differences (like tom bombadil, glorfindel rescuing frodo instead of arwen, etc). i also thought it was interesting that in the book legolas and gimli quickly become friends, when they are still rivals at this point in the movies. my favorite part was when they were trapped in the snowstorm, and aragorn and boromir had to dig everyone through the snow, while legolas just walked on top of it.
title: the two towers (the lord of the rings #2)
author: j. r. r. tolkien
rating: 9/10
completed: ?

i forgot to mention this in my previous reviews for lotr, but something interesting in the books (that's not in the movies) are all of the songs. my favorite one so far was at the beginning of this book "lament for boromir". another book to movie difference was that the book was two halves - aragorn and co. and then frodo and sam (as opposed to being split up throughout). i really liked the first half the most, following the remaining fellowship members joining up with rohan and fighting at helms deep and saruman's house. the frodo, sam, gollum story was good too, mostly because gollum is so entertaining.
title: the return of the king (the lord of the rings #3)
author: j. r. r. tolkien
rating: 8/10
completed: oct. 2021

i finished lord of the rings! return of the king was awesome. it was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. i thought the ending dragged on a bit, when they go back to the shire. i liked it more in the movie where the story ends shortly after the ring is destroyed, i thought thematically that made more sense. but anyway, overall i really liked this book, the best parts were the beginning at the battle of gondor. i like the story of faramir, denethor trying to burn him alive, and pippin saving him. i also liked when eowyn and merry killed the nazgul. and of course aragorn being elfstone and healing everyone and becoming the king was epic style.
title: lonely castle in the mirror
author: mizuki tsujimura
rating: 8/10
completed: sept. 2023

lonely castle in the mirror is a magical realism-ish story about 7 dropout middle school students who get summoned to come to a magical castle that they can enter through their bedroom mirrors. i thought it was a really heartwarming story overall, i enjoyed it a lot. specifically i enjoyed the last third of the book the most.

so a few things i wanted to say: i feel like this book would've hit different if i was in middle school reading it. it does have dark themes, but i think this would best be enjoyed by someone near the same age as the characters + who could relate more to their struggles. nonetheless i still related and recalled back to when i was younger, and it was still enjoyable. another thing: sounds random, but this book reminded me a lot of what it is like to have internet friends. i grew up on the internet, and the closest friends i ever had in my life were ones i met online. in lonely castle in the mirror, it's similar: close friends that you can never see irl, but have so much in common still.

i felt like i was waiting the entire book for the last third, it really gets soo good once it gets going. honestly i think the first 2/3rds drag a bit, after the initial premise it sort of feels like nothing is happening for a while. even so it wasn't hard for me to continue reading it, i wasn't necessarily bored or anything. the story had a really cozy vibe, peak escapism. still, the last part of the book is BY FAR the best part.

spoilers // i predicted/theorized pretty early on that they were all living in different periods of time. i thought i was wrong when they came up with the parallel worlds idea, but in the end i was vindicated when it was proven to be the case! (tbh idk why they went so hard harping on the parallel worlds thing, i guess it was a misdirection?) i was really happy when my theory was right lol. the timelines thing reminds me a lot of the movie kimi no na wa. i actually just found out there was an anime movie made about this book too, i had no idea while i was reading it.

my favorite characters were masamune and subaru, i loved their personalities (subaru's laid back dreamy vibe, and masamune's bratty otaku vibe lol). i especially loved when subaru said he'd grow up to be a game developer, so masamune wouldn't have to be a liar anymore T.T

i was also so happy when aki was revealed to be ms. kitajima! i thought that was so cool, that she was the person who came to help kokoro in the future, after being saved by her in the castle as a child.

oh, and i really loved that kokoro was the one who had to find the key alone to save everyone. i enjoyed kokoro as a protagonist a lot, tbh she is kind of just so normal? like she has almost no personality besides just being a nice quiet shy girl, but that's what i like about her lol, she reminds me of me. i would've related to her SOOO much if i had read this when i was in middle school (though this wasn't published when i was in middle school).

aghhh yeah this was a really nice read, it made me happy and everything felt full circle. i would give it higher than an 8, but i still think earlier parts of the story sort of dragged on. but that's ok because it's still good! <33
title: the picture of dorian gray
author: oscar wilde
rating: 7/10
completed: nov. 2021

here's my thoughts...this book highlights the value + overvalue of beauty, the consequences of never growing up, and never admitting and facing your own mistakes. dorian is forever beautiful in the spring of life as he rots beneath the surface. i liked this book, i thought it was funny. i liked the homoerotic undertones of the 3 main characters. i liked lord henry and basil the most, dorian can be annoying.

spoilers /

one thing i didnt like was the ending, where he abruptly dies as an old man with a knife in his chest. i thought it would have been better if he had to feel the full emotional affect of the guilt and wrongdoings he had done in his life. (i guess you could argue that he did, and stabbed himself bc he couldnt bear it)
title: howl's moving castle
author: diana wynne jones
rating: 8.5/10
completed: nov. 2022

i read this because i've loved howl's moving castle (the movie) for a long time, it's definitely my favorite ghibli movie. the book is very similar to the movie, though i feel like the movie had a more melancholic tone. the setup is the same, though markl's name is michael and he's a bit older. sophie has 2 younger sisters, who are actually both being romantically pursued by howl and michael. the witch of the waste curses sophie because she mistakes her for her sister. in the movie, wizard sulliman is several characters from the book combined into one. and the witch of the waste is the main villain, the war isn't actively yet going on but is about to start. also howl has a sister, and niece and nephew. i really enjoyed in the book that there's a lot of banter between howl and sophie. compared to the movie, howl and sophie are amplified versions of themselves, bad mannered in their own ways lol.

howl.... oh beloved howl..... literally there's never been a better character. he's perfect. not to mention he's voiced by christian bale in the movie. he is so gemini-coded. my favorite scene from the movie is also my favorite scene from the book, when sophie messes with howl's hair dye potions and he ends up accidentally dying it a color he hates. i just LOVE how he has a complete meltdown calling upon demons and oozing green slime out of his despair. in the book, the demons he summoned flow into the town too. actually in the book, howl has even more hair colors. in addition to blonde, orange and black, it also turns pink and white.

i really enjoyed reading this, i feel like i got a better understanding of all the characters. one thing i kinda liked better in the movie was i felt they showed the romance between howl and sophie growing more, in the book they fight the entire book until like the last 2 chapters. the ending of the book also felt a little rushed, a lot of converging plotlines coming together at once. it was still enjoyable and a good ending, i really liked that sophie was jealous over her wrong perception of howl and miss angorian, and really she finds howl has been trying to break the curse on her.

it isn't a very long book, and it's very fast-paced and fun. the story is so imaginative, every character is like a unique puzzle piece that fit together perfectly. love this story soo much!! always going to cry when re-watching or re-reading, it's just so dreamy t_t ....