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nathandrake1997

nathandrake1997

Joined March 2019

Bookworm poring through an endless bookshelf. Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/80017757-nathan-drake Instagram:@nomadliterary
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Where?.....a word that seems simple but when viewed through an existential lens actually brings more questions into focus than answers. I am earning a lot, but where is the time and energy I need to spend it? I am following my dream, but where is the money to sustain myself while doing so? I am earning a lot as well as following my dream, but where is the will power to keep going? I am doing something, but where is the meaning behind it?....

nathandrake1997 ....Questions that lead to more questions until the quest to find these answers comes to an abrupt end. Sounds cynical and pessimistic.....right? I agree....but does merely framing these questions in an optimistic light make these questions exactly "optimistic"? 3d
nathandrake1997 .....For example: "I am earning a lot and I'm trying *with a smile on my face* to find the time and energy to spend my earnings" the adjectives might be optimistic....but does it matter....when in the long run....the meaning remains the same? 3d
nathandrake1997 ....Similarly, the characters in BEAUTIFUL WORLD WHERE ARE YOU by Sally Rooney might appear pessimistic and cynical at first glance... but once the layers are gradually revealed....we realise it is not exactly the characters that are cynical or pessimistic or pretentious....but in some ways...the act of existence in general can boil down to these three facets..... 3d
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nathandrake1997 ....Now this might sound like a rather negative lens to view existence through. But.... when it takes us a coffee/tea/any other stimulant to truly "wake up"....is waking up something we do willingly? When we report to a job that we thoroughly despise but are forced to slog through it for that "amount credited" notification at the end of the month.... aren't we pretending to be someone we clearly aren't? 3d
nathandrake1997 ....Whether we are meant to be that person or not itself is an existential question in its own right. There are many more questions one can ask....but will they lead to definitive answers? Similarly....the narrative arcs of this book don't really reach a definitive "answer"....but are nevertheless in the act of searching for one....until "life" takes over and asks another set of questions..... 3d
nathandrake1997 ....I love novels that meander with no definitive end in sight..... because in a way....no matter how carefully planned.... that's how life is and it is this existential ambiguity that Sally Rooney encapsulates exquisitely in her meandering prose that is a delight to read.... 3d
nathandrake1997 ....There were pages where I literally was on the verge of tears because of how relatable it felt. There are times where the book felt so close to reality that I felt like I was eavesdropping on real people instead of merely staring at a wall of text describing their lives..... 3d
nathandrake1997 ....Written using anecdotes and email correspondences....this is a book with a fragmented narrative structure that coalesces into a mosaic built using chipped shards from the characters' lives with a few gaps....in a way....just like how life turns out to be an incomplete mosaic built using chipped shards existentially called as "experiences".... 3d
nathandrake1997 ....This was not a review.... rather....its a collection of stray thoughts about an exquisite book that makes me want to read everything Sally Rooney has written till date ❤️ 3d
batsy I very much enjoy following your thoughts on a book! I loved Normal People because I also found it surprisingly moving—somehow with the way Rooney is talked about I didn't expect it to be particularly emotional but it was. Definitely want to read this and Conversation.. 3d
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Can't wait to read your thoughts on the book ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 2d
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review
nathandrake1997
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Authenticity....what does this word even mean? What does it mean to be authentic? In a world where everyone is a by-product of their influences and experiences.....is anyone actually authentic? Or is it just a made-up word to cover for the existential plagiarism we indulge in while becoming the person we eventually become?

nathandrake1997 ....Maybe....or who knows? Its just something which existed but wasn't meant for us as a species? This is an interesting existential conundrum that honestly was the only aspect I found in Clare Pooley's otherwise disappointing THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT. 2w
nathandrake1997 ....The idea is quite interesting! A 79 year old man writes his "truth" in a journal labelled "The Authenticity Project" and leaves the journal on a table at a cafe whose owner, a 40 year old woman, picks up the journal, reads through the 79 year old man's "truth" and then proceeds to write her own "truth".... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Then she leaves the book at a bar nearby which is then picked up by someone else and this whole cycle of writing and leaving one's "truth" continues until..... without spoiling anything......a disappointingly predictable conclusion. But, to be honest....I don't mind predictability if it is born out of something fresh or clever....but this book was the kind of "predictable" that feels generic.... 2w
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nathandrake1997 ....Also, these 79, 40 and so on year olds do have names....but the reason why I chose not to list them is because of how forgettable they end up being. Each character arc starts out in a promising manner.....flawed, vulnerable, plagued with issues one could relate to....but then, these arcs are taken in such a conventional direction that I began to lose interest barely a few chapters in.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....And what especially made it an even more disappointing was how promising the idea itself was. A journal in which every character writes what they perceive is the "truth" about themselves actually has a lot of creative potential as an idea.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....For example....had the book been a novella in which we read the journal itself....where characters from different walks of life wrote about their versions of their own "truth" and while the writing would have been fragmented.....it still would have been tied together with an existential thematic undercurrent....but this is just one of the myriad of possibilities that could emerge from an idea as promising as this! 2w
nathandrake1997 ....But seeing this rather conventional direction chosen for such an unconventional idea was honestly a major disappointment.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....But even if a conventional direction was chosen, may be wrap things up before the writing runs out of steam? This would probably have been a forgettable yet breezy Sunday afternoon read at a novella's length....but at almost 400 pages, the writing gets stretched way too thin and as a result....after a while, it felt like a slog to continue.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....With that being said....the biggest issue with this book is how every major plot beat is set up using a contrivance.....at times..... especially in its final stretch.... bordering on the ridiculous! But what further dampens the impact of said contrivance is how uninspired the contrivance itself feels.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....A coincidence or two is understandable....in fact it can make for some fun reading....and serendipity is actually one of my favourite plot devices...but here.... because of its repeated occurrences and how uninspired these moments of serendipity feel....the contrivance become the biggest hurdle in a book with already a fair share of hurdles.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....So....aside from the idea itself.... what works? There are a few sequences that do work its charm. There is a particularly moving sequence...while set up using yet another contrivance.... which shows a flash of the promise of this idea's potential.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Overall.... I was immensely disappointed with what could have been a genuinely inventive novel but ends up being a rather conventional book that overstays its welcome quite early. 2w
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review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Waking up..... brushing my teeth.... taking a shower.....having breakfast..... having a coffee along or after breakfast.... picking up a book and reading a few pages..... having lunch...... picking up a book and reading a few pages again....having some coffee and snacks.... picking up a book and reading a few pages again..... having dinner..... picking up a book and reading a few pages again.... (Continued in the comments section)

nathandrake1997 scrolling through social media feed of choice and probably uploading a post or two....going to sleep....rinse and repeat. Might sound like a rather unproductive routine, because in a way I didn't get quite a lot done. But the horse says otherwise by saying "Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent".... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....But... you might be wondering... since all I was doing the entire day was reading....where on earth did this horse come from? The answer is.....from Charlie Mackesy's exquisite graphic novel THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE. Well....what about the fox, the mole and.....the boy? They too are equally profound parts of the journey....but what parts do they exactly play? That's something I'll let you discover by yourself.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ........and yes....I am also aware that I haven't really mentioned what part does the horse play as well.... 2w
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nathandrake1997 ....Without spoiling much....the book isn't exactly about the parts they play....but more about what those parts mean to you as a reader. In terms of plot....it can be summed up in a single : An afternoon walk through a forest. Literally.... that's it in terms of plot. But....books like this aren't really meant for plot-driven storytelling....but a story, they do tell.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....How? you may ask....since I've mentioned just a line ago that there is barely a single line's worth of plot in this entire book. The story being told....in a way is the reader's story....and each of the aforementioned parts play a facet of the reader and each part is finding its way through the aforementioned forest....just like the reader and the myriad of facets of the reader are finding their way through the forest we inhabit... 2w
nathandrake1997 .......that is this big and not so humble world!

Both the writing and the art style are intentionally sparse. The writing mostly consists of a single line per page (there are only two instances where we get multiple paragraphs in a single page and one of those instances is the "acknowledgements" section) but...
2w
nathandrake1997 ....it is what's left unsaid that conveys the deeper layers of that single sentence. This approach is even more evocative in the imagery: sparse...at times internationally incomplete...most of the pages almost completely devoid of colour... 2w
nathandrake1997 .......but never feeling empty because the reader almost spontaneously keeps on filling the blanks. As I said...in a way it is the reader's story that's being told.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot more I would love to write about....but then.... spelling out too much would in my opinion be a huge disservice to a book that has now become my all-time favourite book ❤️ 2w
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nathandrake1997
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
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I was in my fifth grade when I was writing a novel in one of my empty school notebooks about a magician who travels to some fantastical realm to do some magical stuff....it was implausible, derivative to the point of embarrassment and honestly the literary finesse was akin to that of a hastily turned in half-hearted school assignment....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 I used to carry that notebook around wherever I went, so that it was accessible whenever I had an idea about continuing the story. Once I accidentally left the notebook in the car's dashboard and the very next day, my school conducted an open house (a day in school where parents were invited to check students' exam papers and grades).... 4w
nathandrake1997 and my grades as usual were less than satisfactory to say the least (although they were a bit better than the previous few years). As me and my dad were driving towards home, there was pin drop silence. The moment we reached home, dad started scolding me and while scolding he also mentioned about the book I was writing saying something along the lines that because I was wasting my time in such nonsense my grades were so awful.... 4w
nathandrake1997 All I can remember after that was weeping profusely and abandoning the novel. Years went by....we moved houses....life happened as it happened and the existence of that novel hardly crossed my mind ever again. The only times it was brought up was when mom mentioned about how proud she was of my reading and writing hobby. Then I remembered that I was writing a novel of this kind.... 4w
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nathandrake1997 I don't know where that novel is. Was it lost in one of the multiple instances of moving houses or is it still somewhere within my reach, gathering dust? It never occurred to me that I should probably find it and continue that implausible yet innocent endeavour in writing.... 4w
nathandrake1997 It never occurred to me.....until I read Anthony Doerr's exquisite CLOUD CUCKOO LAND, a magnificent book about how the fate of a set of people across multiple centuries is bound by a volume of text that is allegedly an implausible fable about a man who transforms into a donkey and then to a crow to reach the end of the world to some mythical place with everlasting happiness and satisfaction.... 4w
nathandrake1997 The first thing that caught my attention was the narrative structure. Doerr's writing style is fragmented and the incoherence borders on inaccessibility in the book's first half.... something that can especially be frustrating in a book with a 600+ page length....but surprisingly....not here! In a rather wondrous manner, Doerr makes this near-inaccessibility work in the book's favor.... 4w
nathandrake1997 because this is the part where the characters across various generations are trying to make sense of the structure and meaning of a volume of text....and the reader in turn is trying to make sense of the relevance of this volume of text in these characters' lives. But somehow, inspite of the incoherence, Doerr still manages to get the reader invested in these characters and their quest to make sense of this volume of text.... 4w
nathandrake1997 It is a volume of text that....as time passes....starts withering away due to varying degrees of wear and tear, making the text gradually more unintelligible. In the second half, as the characters piece together this volume of text, the fragmented nature of the narrative structure gradually starts to gain coherence and that's when I realised how magnificently has Doerr's gamble with the first half of this book paid off! 4w
nathandrake1997 Now.... that's all I'm going to talk about in terms of plot and narrative structure because what drew me to the book was its themes. Storytelling and its relevance in our daily lives being one of the central themes immediately drew me to the book.... 4w
nathandrake1997 Especially the "generational" aspect of the relevance of storytelling being particularly intriguing for me. When an era isn't around anymore.... it is the stories from that era that keeps it relevant in each subsequent era.... 4w
nathandrake1997 Some stories lose their chronology, some stories lose some anecdotes, time lashes its cruelty on these stories in some rather unpredictable ways, but atleast some or the other aspect of that story survives the onslaught of time and that particular aspect intrigues us to gradually uncover more such aspects of that story.... 4w
nathandrake1997 atleast until it forms a patchwork of something hopefully resembling the original story.... 4w
nathandrake1997 But what ultimately won me over was how above everything else, Doerr's book is a magnificent ode to story-telling that is both evocative and riveting. Undoubtedly one of the best books I have read in quite a while and one that I hope to revisit over the years.... 4w
nathandrake1997 Now, I'll get back to finding that notebook! 4w
EadieB @nathandrake1997 You should keep up with your writing as I enjoyed your comments and they show that you do have a way with words! 3w
nathandrake1997 @EadieB Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ This means a lot ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 2w
EadieB @nathandrake1997 You‘re welcome! Good luck with your writing! 2w
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review
nathandrake1997
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Classics can be an uphill climb to review. On the one hand they are important milestones of a medium, but on the other, time undoubtedly chips a few fragments away from said milestone. One such milestone is Jerome K Jerome's THREE MEN IN A BOAT, albeit a noticeably chipped milestone.... (Continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 What is most interesting about this novel is its narrative structure. Just like a river diverges into various tributaries before eventually meeting the sea, Jerome's narrative also diverges in various digressions before reaching its eventual conclusion. A conclusion that feels more like a mere anecdote than a "conclusion" per se, which in turn echoes the anecdotal tone of the story-telling in the book in general.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 Honestly, this is probably the only element, along with some of the humour (especially a hysterical sequence involving cheese) that stood the test of time for me because the rest of it was unfortunately rather forgettable for me..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The humour, for the most part, feels dated. The slapstick nature of the humour was honestly exhausting beyond a point, due to which, inspite of merely being 169 pages long, the book took me a while to get through.... 1mo
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nathandrake1997 .... I almost never use this word, but this is the first time in a while I found a book to be genuinely boring. Maybe its because of the book being more than a century old, but a lot of it just didn't work for me.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Also, this might sound odd, but I felt the book tried a bit too hard to sound "aimless and meandering" when in reality, the carefully constructed facade of carelessness was a bit too glaringly visible.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Honestly, this is all I could write about a book that almost put me to sleep even while writing about it. 1mo
BkClubCare Me, too. Hard agree. And I am often flabbergasted when I read reviews about how funny this book is. And?! I get and don‘t get that humor can be really weird; it just doesn‘t present to everyone/some like it does me. 4w
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nathandrake1997
Gods and Ends | Lindsay Pereira
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Sometimes.... some books take me on a trip down memory lane through lanes I was judiciously avoiding. Lindsay Pereira's JCB shortlisted debut GODS AND ENDS took me on one such trip down memory lane. So, apologies in advance if this review/post/honestly-I-have-no-clue-what-to-call-it turns out to be nothing more than a ramble about the not so good old days.....(continued in the comments section)

nathandrake1997 ....And the reason for this book being such a trip down memory lane is because of its setting, Orlem, a locality I spent my childhood and grew up in. A locality where I shared years that I am still attempting to run away from, to the point where my feet have worn out or developed calluses.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....My childhood is something that I don't usually talk about. I am still not sure what I feel about it even today. One the one hand, yes there were some pleasant memories, like my sister being born, like those heartfelt conversations with my mother, like my then bestfriend who was also a neighbour and honestly was more family than friend. But, is this enough to cover for the years of trauma I went through? 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....From being judged and bullied to a near relentless degree (it doesn't help that the school mentioned in the book is probably based on the school I attended till eighth grade, the school where I was beaten up more by my peers than taught lessons by my teachers. The school that gave me nothing but destroyed my self confidence that I haven't recovered till date. The school that I wanted to run miles away from the moment I entered its gates..... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Although I did my 9th and 10th grade in a different school, the traumatic experiences still carried over along with new layers being added to it as well, one of them being vicious attacks of homophobia) to being forced to adhere to problematic religious tenets, Orlem was a locality I was aching to leave throughout my adolescence..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Lindsay's prose almost immediately transported me back to those traumatic years. The writing feels lived-in to an almost heartbreaking degree, in a manner where I actually felt shivers down my spine whenever I did so much as just open the book.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe that's why inspite of its relatively short length, the book took me a while to get through. Lindsay's prose is brave and unflinching, frequently making use of colloquial dialect that felt authentic in a manner I have seldom experienced. Even the utterance of pleasantries felt disturbing, thats how authentic the colloquial dialect felt.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Honestly, I am not sure if I am the correct person to review this book because it is set in a locality associated with a particularly traumatic period of my life, so maybe objectivity is not really something I can convey with.....whatever this post is turning out to be.... honestly I'm shivering while writing this post.... that's how deep the trauma is.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....So.....*a few deep breaths later*.... let's talk some more about the book. While Lindsay populates his setting with a myriad of characters with a myriad of traits, it is the setting itself that Lindsay in a way treats as the protagonist. A layered, flawed, occasionally humorous mosaic of a setting assembled from the broken shards chipped away from various traits of his gradually withering characters.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....It's almost as of Orlem itself is singing its painful history in a darkly humorous but painfully heartbreaking ballad using ageing orchestra members from a run down funeral parlor. There is a mournful air to the proceedings that is treated with such sharp dark humour where one laughs with a lump in their throat while wondering whether one should have laughed at something like this.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....It is this dilemma that Lindsay uses as the tone to convey his prose in. The framing device is interesting as well. Using an intentionally incoherent chapter structure which eventually coalesces and builds to a horrifying conclusion, Lindsay makes a larger comment on how a place, especially the more "human" side of said place, is not what it seems to be from the outside.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is more I could write about this incredible book, but honestly, that would require looking at a few scars that are still fresh. Overall, this is a really impressive debut by Lindsay Pereira and one that definitely deserves to be on the shortlist ❤️ 2mo
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nathandrake1997
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What makes an artist.....an artist? Is it a coalescence of their life experiences and observations? Is art merely the rendering of an existential mosaic of one's life experiences in a tangible form or is it something more? Or is it the opposite? Is the artist the one whose life itself is a mosaic drawn from the art they create?

nathandrake1997 ....Or can they both be considered as separate beings? Or are they the same being existing in different realms? Or is the artist merely a messenger transmitting messages from an altogether different being existing in an altogether different realm? 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....These are some questions which came to my mind when reading the final volume (A NEW NAME: SEPTOLOGY 6-7) of Jon Fosse's literary landmark SEPTOLOGY. There were a few more questions as well. One of them being how does one perceive time? Is it actually a linear sequence like we humans perceive? Or is the more existential experience of passing through time not akin to what we think? 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....What about the times when we feel that years pass by in a flash? Or what about the times when we feel that a particular day is going on since forever? Does the mathematical "60 seconds= 1 minute" logic still hold up while contemplating time in a more existential than merely quantifiable manner? 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....I was especially contemplating these existential questions while reading through Asle and Ales' courtship which goes from "love at first sight" to "marriage" in a span of merely few days.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....At first I was a bit puzzled about why did Fosse make this choice in a book with characters who aren't really the kind that rush through even the basic of chores, so the prospect of them making a life altering decision in a span of a few days of courtship felt rather implausible.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....But a few pages later, Asle contemplates whether what he is remembering is how things happened? This in turn made me draw a parallel of Asle's repeated utterances of how he and Ales didn't really get to spend enough time together, which in turn got me thinking.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....something along the lines of "maybe this is not how things might have actually panned out but when we lose a loved one, even if we have spent an entire lifetime with them, doesn't it almost always feel like we've barely spent any time with them? They were taken away from us too soon? 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Wish we could just share one more cup/bite of our favourite food? Wish we had enough time for another hug? Wish we......" That's when things started making more sense. Maybe Asle and Ales' courtship lasted months or even years, maybe they were married for a considerable amount of time as well, but the demise of Ales, no matter how old she grew to be, would always feel untimely to Asle. 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is just one of the many existential facets the reader is compelled to contemplate while reading not only this exquisite book, but this exquisite septet as a whole ❤️ 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, Jon Fosse's stunning literary landmark comes to a magnificent close with A NEW NAME: SEPTOLOGY 6-7 ❤️ This is the kind of literature that reminds me why I fell in love with literature ❤️ 2mo
batsy Love all these thoughts coming together 💕... a review I will come back to reread once I continue to read the Septology (I've only read I-II) 2mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Can't wait to read your review 😍😍❤️❤️ 2mo
Suet624 Holy Toledo! Some meaty questions. 2mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Hi Sue ❤️ Its been a while since we last spoke ❤️ I've missed you on Litsy immensely ❤️ 2mo
Suet624 @nathandrake1997 jeepers! You make me feel seen! Thank you! Yeah, I‘ve been working and commuting long hours all during the pandemic and also cleaning an Airbnb on the side. So I‘ve been hard pressed to find time to read. Life will slow down soon though and I‘ll be back to hitting the books. How are things? 2mo
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nathandrake1997
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Life is subjective.....but certain existential experiences probably transcend time, space and species and can be looked at from a "universal" context whilst acknowledging the subjectivity of the individual experience. Love and grief are two such experiences, sometimes seperate, sometimes interlinked....

nathandrake1997 ....Global in existence but subjective in experience, the textbook definitions might be plausible as far as acceptance is concerned but the subjective experience is probably plausible only to the being going through said existential experience.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 .... Its these myriad of existential facets of love and loss across multiple species that Elif Shafak looks through while weaving a gossamer like narrative of a doomed romance in her latest, exquisite novel THE ISLAND OF MISSING TREES.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Through Kostas, Defne and a fig tree, Shafak attempts to explore what love and loss might mean from an existential standpoint across various species instead of merely a human standpoint, making the writing feel more universal in scope.... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....What's especially astounding about this novel is the way Shafak juggles and weaves together multiple perspectives in a seamless manner. Her near impeccable command over tone is definitely a league above anything I have read this year.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This might be my shortest review so far, probably because coming across prose as exquisite as this can definitely make a reader feel short of words to convey its brilliance ❤️ 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, I guess I have finally found my favourite novel of the year ❤️ 2mo
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nathandrake1997
Bewilderment | Richard Powers
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Potential spoilers ahead:

Relationships.....In the long run, dont they feel like protracted losing propositions? I mean, even if you vow to spend a lifetime with someone, in most cases one is meant to outlive the other. And that's when this vow of "spending a lifetime" feels like a farce. Maybe that's why so many people are intimidated to get into one....

nathandrake1997 ....But what about the ones where we don't really have a choice? Isn't the word "forever" the biggest lie ever that has unfathomably been written in gold when it comes to expectations in certain existential situations? 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....These as well as many other questions I caught fleeting yet profound glimpses of while reading through Richard Powers' exqusite Booker Shortlisted BEWILDERMENT. Being my first book by Powers, I honestly didn't know what to expect. But from the first page I was drawn into an emotional odyssey about a father and son trying to find their way in the world after the mother has passed away.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....That's all I'm going to say in terms of plot inspite of mentioning a spoiler warning in the beginning, because this is not really a plot driven book and honestly that approach works wonders for Powers' magnificent prose. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that reading BEWILDERMENT didn't feel like reading a novel at all....and I mean this in a good way too! 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The unique narrative structure makes one feel that they are reading through someone's diary instead of a novel, they are reading through a phase in someone's life instead of merely reading a story, a narrative structure that makes an already moving premise even more profoundly evocative. I honestly don't remember the last time I had a lump in my throat throughout a book.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, BEWILDERMENT is yet another masterpiece in what in my opinion is the strongest Booker shortlist in years ❤️ 2mo
BarbaraBB That is quite a recommendation. I am halfway through and curious where I‘ll end up regarding the book. 2mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Can't wait to read your review of this book ❤️ 2mo
Suet624 Lordy! I just love your reviews. 4w
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much Sue ❤️❤️❤️❤️ This means a lot ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I love your reviews too ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 3w
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nathandrake1997
The Fortune Men | Nadifa Mohamed
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The people know each other, they know the place they inhabit, they are a somewhat close knitted community. They perfectly understand each other. You are someone who is walking the bylanes of this close knit community for the first time. The people pay no attention that someone unfamiliar is suddenly amidst them, someone who means them no harm, so....maybe introduce that someone to who they are as individuals or even maybe as a community.....

nathandrake1997 ....But, no such effort is made by anyone from this community. They go about their daily lives and you are left with no other option but stand there like a clueless bystander and maybe....eavesdrop? That's what reading the first half of Nadifa Mohamed's Booker Shortlisted THE FORTUNE MEN felt like. I was honestly clueless about where this book is going, to the point where I feared this might be my first dnf from this year's longlist.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....But then, the second half happens and that's when the crux of the book takes centre stage along with recontextualizing the approach Mohamed took with the form to frame the first half in and the result eventually was a book so powerful and moving and one of the most multifaceted character studies I have ever read! 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....As usual, not really going into the plot because this is a plot best discovered by the reader themselves, but the "character study" part is what hooked me to the book and once I was flipping through its final pages which are more existential in nature than the rest of the book... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....an approach that is nothing short of a masterstroke by Mohamed, I was almost in tears and really glad that I didn't dnf it when I had a rather overwhelming urge in the first half to do so..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is one of those books that in a way actually begins once you have finished reading it i.e. when the reader attempts to unravel its various layers and allusions in context to the real life incident it is based on, that the true power of Nadifa Mohamed's magnificent prose comes to the forefront.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, yes it starts as an uphill climb, but once you have made that arduous trek, you are in for an experience so emotionally powerful that you will probably be fighting back tears while flipping through it's last few pages! A masterpiece that definitely deserves it's place in an already really strong shortlist ❤️ 2mo
11 likes6 comments
review
nathandrake1997
The Promise | Damon Galgut
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Pickpick

How much does function rely on form to work? That's a question I ponder over at times. Especially when I'm reading something where form is as pertinent as function to the overall reading experience. And reading through Damon Galgut's THE PROMISE was definitely one such experience! (Continued in the comments)

nathandrake1997 ....While much has been written about its function (plot, themes, layers, allusions, etc) in a manner much more eloquent than I can even dream of writing, I instead want to talk about form, or rather, how form and function are almost inseparable in this magnificent novel.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....The narrative voice is something that stands out almost immediately. It's like a shapeshifter that takes a certain form pertaining to the requisite function to be delivered and does it in a manner so seamless that the presence of said form is noticed only in retrospect.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is a generational story where time plays a profound role, so the closest i could get to interpreting who or what this narrative voice is that the book in a way feels like its being narrated by time itself. I mean, is there any other observer whose existence we are aware of who is omnipresent yet oblivious? 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Now this might make the book sound like a near 300 page gimmick, but that could be as further from the truth as possible! Even if interpreted as a gimmick, this is one rare gimmick that has so many tricks up its sleeve that the tricks are being pulled out of the hat until the very last word and a few are still left in the hat itself to be unveiled during a re-read! 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This post is more of a "reaction" than a "review" because I feel incapable of conveying why this book is the absolute masterpiece that it is! All I can say is, I have found a new favourite from this year's Booker Longlist ❤️ 2mo
JamieArc I might be rooting for this one to win. I really enjoyed it too. 2mo
nathandrake1997 @JamieArc I'm rooting for this as well ❤️ Such an exquisite book ♥️ 2mo
Suet624 I love this review. I just finished reading the book and you hit the nail on the head. 4w
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much Sue ❤️❤️❤️❤️ This means a lot ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 4w
20 likes9 comments
review
nathandrake1997
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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Mehso-so

Adaptations....how to get into the skin of a character? This question is a double edge sword. One the one hand, there is the physical aspect that could be rather easily taken care of with the tools and technology at our disposal today....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....But on the other, there is the psychological part, how much of a character we get immersed in to deliver a seamless performance, but at the same time, how much of the character we keep at bay to view said character with a more objective lens? 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....It feels like an interesting lens to look at Maggie Shipstead's Booker shortlisted almost 600 page tome GREAT CIRCLE through, but inspite of the length, the book unfortunately doesn't give us enough to do so! 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Hadley Baxter, after a pr disaster is trying to make a comeback in her Hollywood career by playing an iconic pilot named Marion Graves. I won't be going any further into the plot because of how plot driven the book itself is and elaborating even a little more might risk traipsing into spoiler territory! 3mo
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nathandrake1997 ....This plot driven approach works both for and against the book. On the one hand, it keeps things moving at a steady clip since almost every page feels eventful, but on the other, we don't really get to know or rather get into the headspace of either of the characters because of the plot driven approach and the fast and event driven pacing.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....So, inspite of a near 600 page length, I never really felt invested in the main characters.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe thats the reason why I dont really feel motivated to write more about this book because inspite of telling us a lot, it doesn't really say much of anything. It is an entertaining read that makes the pages fly, but for a book of this scale and scope, the writing feels like it barely skims the surface of something potentially grand! 3mo
15 likes6 comments
review
nathandrake1997
Second Place: A Novel | Rachel Cusk
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Pickpick

Sometimes, the deepest and the most open-ended conversations, the most rewarding yet the most confusing conversations, the kind of conversations that are essential but also the kind that are about a lot of things but resolve almost nothing, basically the kind of conversations where we address our own selves in third person....

nathandrake1997 ....This is the closest I could come to interpreting the fascinating "Jeffers" character in Rachel Cusk's magnificent Booker Longlisted SECOND PLACE.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Who or what is this Jeffers is never made clear to us throughout the book but still we are as intrigued by this character with almost no definition in a traditional sense as we are with the central characters of the book. This makes the book transcend form in a rather interesting manner.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....If Jeffers is a friend with whom our protagonist, who is simply referred to as "M", is having a conversation, even that means of conversation makes the definition of the writing style malleable in an interesting manner.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....If the conversation happens through a series of letters, the writing can be interpreted as epistolary. If it is something more traditional, then it is probably just two people having a conversation. If Jeffers signifies something more internal, then the writing style can be interpreted as a monologue.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....But, maybe the point Cusk is trying to make by choosing not to "define" Jeffers is that irrespective of form or function, art intentionally or unintentionally is a medium of expression.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Whether it is through the tip of a quill dipped in ink or the strokes of a paintbrush on a canvas or through the myriad of means of creating "art", ultimately what is expressed is what lingers after experiencing the work of art rather than the means used to express.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....There are a myriad of fascinating aspects in this stunning novel, but the one that fascinated me the most was Cusk's way of dealing with "form" and "function" or rather her exquisite way of blurring the line between both.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....In some ways, this lack of "definition" in a traditional sends makes Cusk's stunning prose soar in ways that a more traditional framing device could never let it do so.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....There's a lot more I'd love to write about and express about regarding this stunning novel, but, due to a surgery I've had recently and the laundry list of medicines I have to take daily due to which my headspace is currently in varying states of weary and drowsy, this incoherent ramble is all i could come up with! 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Nevertheless, a stunning book that is undoubtedly an essential read and one that shares the top spot at this year's Booker longlist with Arudpragasam's exquisite A PASSAGE NORTH ❤️ Can't wait to read more of Cusk's work (especially the acclaimed OUTLINE trilogy). 4mo
batsy I've yet to read a single Cusk and been meaning to! It's embarrassing how long I've put off the Outline trilogy 😆 4mo
SamAnne I‘m reading my first Cusk right now—Outline-and loving it. 4mo
SamAnne I‘m reading my first Cusk—Outline-and absolutely loving it. 4mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy I wanted to read Cusk from quite a while as well 😄 Glad that I started reading Cusk with this masterpiece ❤️ Can't wait to dive into the rest of her work (especially the OUTLINE trilogy ❤️) 3mo
nathandrake1997 @SamAnne Can't wait to read the OUTLINE trilogy ❤️ 3mo
20 likes15 comments
review
nathandrake1997
A Passage North: A Novel | Anuk Arudpragasam
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Pickpick

Longing and desire, two words that feel the same at first glance but upon introspection, they couldn't be more different from each other. While desire is usually tied to a physically or emotionally tangible thing, longing is comparatively more ambiguous. It could be for a person, a certain period of time, a particular moment or for something whose existence we probably still aren't aware of...... #BookerPrize2021 #BookerPrize2021Longlist

nathandrake1997 ....It is the kind of shape shifting mirage that changes form and function throughout our existence. The best one could sum it up in a span of few words is longing is akin to the horizon, always in our sight but never in our grasp.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....It is this melancholic existential quandary that Anuk Arudpragasam explores in his exquisite sophomore novel A PASSAGE NORTH. While traveling in a train towards a village in North Sri Lanka for the funeral of his grandmother's caretaker, the protagonist of the book Krishan reminisces about his life until then, particularly the emotionally turbulent and physically elusive sensation of longing that has led him to this juncture in life.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....The prose mirrors the internal existential conflicts Krishan has with himself, often drifting into discourses and contemplations about various themes, incidents, ideas, ideologies, life in general. This might make the prose look and feel meandering, but in a way, that is the point.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....We humans think in a meandering manner. That is why, instead of feeling indulgent or pretentious, the prose feels lived in and at times almost heart-breakingly real.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is one of those rare instances where I am at a complete loss of words inspite of contemplating a myriad of thoughts while reading, and even after reading, this exquisite masterpiece of a book that even though I'm struggling to write about, I can't stop thinking about. Sometimes those are the best kind of books. 4mo
batsy Beautiful review! I'm really looking forward to this. I loved his first one ❤️ 4mo
BarbaraBB Echoing @batsy 4mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️ Can't wait to read his previous book ❤️ 4mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB Thank you so much ❤️ 4mo
15 likes9 comments
review
nathandrake1997
Cassandra at the Wedding | Dorothy Baker
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Pickpick

Change....a word that enthralls and terrifies. A door that leads to new possibilities but also shuts permanently once you have crossed it. Sometimes, one can seek the path that it offers which in turn might lead to another door or sometimes we might seek an escape by either trying to pry open the previously shut door or maybe search for another way out....

nathandrake1997 ....Above anything, I feel it is the change one has to grapple with once something familiar in life has changed in a profound manner that Cassandra is most anxious about when faced with the prospect of her twin sister's marriage in Dorothy Baker's exquisite novella CASSANDRA AT THE WEDDING.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is an interesting dilemma that Cassandra wrestles with in a stream of consciousness manner that kind of leads her to some train of thought which circles back to nowhere.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....She starts from a certain point, which leads to a certain thought, which leads to a certain anecdote she might recall from a certain time in the past, which jumping and passing through a few more certainties finally brings her back to square one and in a way her and probably the reader realises all that thinking was probably futile.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Now this might make the book sound like a self-indulgent slog, but honestly this could be as farther from the truth as possible. Because, while Cassandra is thinking in a meandering manner, it feels relatable instead of irritating because more often than not we humans follow meandering trains of thought that usually lead nowhere.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Even while thinking about life and death matters, it takes a few futile trains of thought before we can catch one that takes us directly to our destination.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....And when you are engrossed in these myriad of trains of thought, from an eventful standpoint nothing much really happens. While contemplating these myriad of thoughts, you are mostly standing/sitting/lying/at the most walking at/around the same place. In a way, this is how the book's prose feels. From an "event" or "plot" standpoint not much happens, but from a "thought" standpoint it is almost encyclopedic! 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Honestly, this is a very difficult book to write about because inspite of being barely a novella's length, this is one of the most layered and complex yet absolutely delightful books I have read, the kind of book I would love to revisit but also the kind of book whose layers and allusions would take atleast a few more readings to unpack ❤️ Absolutely stunning ❤️ 4mo
batsy Excellent review! I loved this. 4mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️ This was my first Nyrb Classics book (I have always wanted to purchase Nyrb Classics book but they are too expensive here 😅) and I'm glad it turned out to be such a masterpiece ❤️ 4mo
CarolynM I loved this one too. I completely agree with the last part of your excellent review. 4mo
nathandrake1997 @CarolynM Thank you so much ❤️ 4mo
14 likes11 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

As a kid, I was waiting for my "growing up" phase. Seeing "teenagers" and "teenage life" being romanticised in almost every second film/television series/book/etc, I had painted a certain picture about that phase of life in my mind. A picture that could be as far from the truth as possible. Because contrary to what's being conveyed through rose tinted glasses in popular media, growing up is probably the most terrifying phase in a person's life...

nathandrake1997 ....From being made to shoulder responsibilities of whose existence I wasn't even aware of until then to being thrust into the claustrophobic crowd of the outside world pursuing an "ambition" I honestly had no clue of. Its an abrupt and spine chilling transition in life that changes a person for better or worse.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....It is this abrupt shift into a more unpredictable phase of life that Elena Ferrante conveys exquisitely in THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, the magnificent follow-up to her bildungsroman masterpiece MY BRILLIANT FRIEND. When compared to the latter, this book takes a while to warm up to.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....because of its more abrupt shifts in tone and a comparatively more fragmented style of writing, but in a way that eventually ends up working in favour of the book because thats how growing up feels.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The chaos and unpredictability one has to grapple with when they are thrust into the "big bad world" without any forewarning is overwhelming. At first, it almost feels impossible to make sense of what we are feeling.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....It is an emotionally turbulent time that one has to come to grips with while gradually losing bits and pieces of who they were. Once we have made it out of this thronging mess, these scattered pieces have almost disentegrated and the ones that remain don't even retain a shadow of what they once were.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....This emotional turbulence is reflected in Ferrante's prose as well, where in a way it feels as if the characters' headspace directly influences the writing style.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....When the characters are in a more reflective and introspective state of mind, the sentences are longer and the pacing is slower. But when the characters are in a more anxious or agitated state of mind, the sentences are shorter and the pacing is faster. This is one of the many examples of the seamless tonal shifts of Ferrante's masterful prose.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, MY BRILLIANT FRIEND was a tough act to follow and to be honest not only has THE STORY OF A NEW NAME lived up to it, but in many ways it also surpasses its exquisite predecessor. Messy, uneven yet sprawling and ambitious, this is probably the most honest and unflinching account of growing up I have read to date! Undoubtedly a masterpiece that has become one of my all-time favourite books❤️ 4mo
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blurb
nathandrake1997
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It's been a while since I have felt this disconnected with the world around me. Nothing is necessarily wrong but for some reason I feel lost, tired and hopeless. I feel like for no reason I am perpetually tired. Is it because I'm too tired to feel anything or is it because I'm tired of searching for hope? Maybe that's also the reason (along with an exhausting work schedule) why even in weekends I'm barely able to read these days. #readingslump

TrishB Hang on in there ❤️ I‘ve had several periods of this in the last year or so. Don‘t be too hard on yourself. We‘re all dealing with a lot. 5mo
batsy Much love to you ❤️ I am experiencing the same. Feels like there's no end in sight to the uncertainty of many things... 5mo
nathandrake1997 @TrishB Thank you so much ❤️ I'm trying but honestly day by day it's getting tiring to the point where even getting out of bed in the morning feels like an insurmountable task. 5mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️ And sorry to hear that you are going through the same as well 💔 And the part about no end being in sight to the uncertainty feels so true! These days it feels as if I am tired to even feel anything, time passes by in a blur, the days blend into each other, my mind in despair, heart unable to heal it's wear and tear....sorry for meandering but, I'm tired 😓 5mo
12 likes4 comments
review
nathandrake1997
Heaven | Mieko Kawakami
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Pickpick

In school when I was near-incessantly bullied, the first thought that crossed my mind was what makes my bullies do the things they do. Is it sadistic pleasure or something even more sinister. And the most dominant thoughts in my mind, even years after I finished school, are why I never had the courage to fight back? Was it merely because I was scared?

nathandrake1997 ....Or was it something more existential? Did the guilt of bullying me or anyone else ever seep into those bullies when they were finished with yet another round of destroying someone's self confidence irreparably and got on with their lives? 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....These and many other questions and scars in my mind were some of the myriad of reasons why I could relate with the two central characters of Mieko Kawakami's exquisite novella HEAVEN in such a profound manner. The writing, which is some of the finest work of translation I have ever read, plays a major part in this.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....As much as the story is about bullying and its after effects, it's the headspace of the characters that takes centre stage instead of the acts themselves, making the reading experience a lot more immersive and if like me you could relate to some of these instances..... disturbing.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....There were instances where I had to take breaks, sometimes multiple times in the same page, because of how relatable some of these sequences were and the unflinching manner in which Kawakami has written about them.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....One of the main questions which the two central characters (the nameless protagonist and his friend Kojima) try to grapple with is why their tormentors act the way they do? It's a one line question with an answer that can fill a novella...or probably not...or maybe seeking an answer is not really an option when all you can think about is whether finding an answer would change anything? 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The writing is conversational, but in a way that tells us more about the characters and the world around them without sounding expository. It is one of those rare, Linklater-esqe instances where conversations feel like conversations, where the reader feels like they are eavesdropping on two people talking instead of information being spoonfed to them.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot more I could say about this exquisite novella and I probably will in a spoiler-filled article someday. There is a lot I want to talk about, probably in a manner even more meandering than this review. 5mo
batsy Brilliant review... She's a writer I must get to, and soon. 5mo
BarbaraBB Wonderful review. I so much want to read this book. 5mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️ HEAVEN was my first Kawakami book and I am already in love with her writing style! Can't wait to read more of her work ❤️ Also, can't wait to read your review ❤️ 5mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB Thank you so much ❤️ And yes, this book was brilliant...my favourite read of the year so far ❤️ 5mo
SamAnne I‘ve been wanting to read her. Great review. 5mo
nathandrake1997 @SamAnne Thank you so much ❤️ After reading HEAVEN Kawakami has already become one of my favourite Japanese authors ❤️ 5mo
Suet624 I have so many thoughts and feelings after reading of your experiences. Not even sure where to begin. I‘m sorry. 5mo
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review
nathandrake1997
The Discomfort of Evening | Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
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Bailedbailed

Maybe calling this a hiatus would be more accurate than bail/dnf. More than halfway through (63% according to Goodreads) and I need a break. I'm really not in the mental state to continue with this, it's honestly come to the point where I am forcing myself to pick this up and after reading barely a few pages I regret doing so. The prose is stunning although strangely that might also be the reason why this so far was such a gruelling read.

blurb
nathandrake1997
The Discomfort of Evening | Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
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Not sure if starting this immediately after AT NIGHT ALL BLOOD IS BLACK was a good idea 😕

batsy This was a tough read! 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Barely 37 pages in and I already feel like I need a break. Might read something lighthearted in between as a palette cleanser. 6mo
11 likes2 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

It's been a few days since I read David Diop's International Booker Prize winning novel AT NIGHT ALL BLOOD IS BLACK and honestly I'm still not sure if I am ready to write about it.

Inspite of being barely a little over 100 pages, it still took me almost a week to get through this book. Diop's prose is stunning, vivid yet intimate, he breathes life into each scene in a manner that is both enthralling and disturbing....

nathandrake1997 ....Diop draws the reader into the mood of the moment in such a seamless manner that it leaves one emotionally exhausted in barely a few chapters, maybe that's why I needed such frequent breaks.

This was one of those books that I appreciated more than I enjoyed. I am glad that I read it, but I'm also glad that it's over!
6mo
batsy Nice review! Also, ooof! This is why I've been putting it off; it seems like a really tough read. But one that I'm definitely keen to attempt soon. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy It's definitely worth reading and has an overwhelming amount of merit to justify its Booker win, but it is also..... draining! Can't wait to read your review of this book ❤️ 6mo
Suet624 Great review. I‘m not quite sure I‘m ready for this one just yet, but soon. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much ❤️ While it is a brilliant novel, it also is quite heavy and inspite of its brevity of length can still be exhausting! 6mo
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review
nathandrake1997
Just Kids | Patti Smith
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Pickpick

Moments are mortal rendered immortal through literature, maybe that's why people write memoirs, to hold on to a sliver of something that is physically beyond their grasp. Each of us process love and loss in our own subjective "plausible to me, implausible to the world" manner because what's loss to us is probably just an anecdote to someone else....

nathandrake1997 ....Honestly, I don't know if I can be objective while writing this review because my experience while reading Patti Smith's exquisite memoir JUST KIDS was impactful for more subjective reasons.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The last third of this book is about Smith coming to terms with the fact that she might lose Robert at any moment, the certainty of a fact but the uncertainty of its exact moment of occurrence is something I could relate to owing to recent events in my life that I'm going to share for the first time in an online space: 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Around late last year, my father suddenly fell ill and we admitted him to a hospital. On day 3, after a surgery, the doctors had almost lost hope, but on the next day his vitals were improving and the surgeon suggested us to shift to a bigger hospital.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....We did so and for the next 8 days, his vitals were improving and day by day hope was being progressively restored and just when we were on the stage of accepting the fact that he might pull through, on day 9 his vitals collapsed again and early in the morning on day 10 we lost him because of a cardiac arrest. It's been 7 months since, but even today I'm not sure if I have come to terms with the void he has left behind.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe this is why I connected with this stunning book so much, probably in an attempt to make sense of my own grief. 6mo
batsy Beautiful review and I hear you on how a book can help you make sense of grief... I'm sorry for your loss ❤️ 6mo
SamAnne This book really resonated with me and I did the audio with Pattis voice. I was reminded it of it yesterday, visiting with a friend who recently lost an old love and now a longtime friend unexpectedly and far too young. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️ 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Although I still have a long way to go, Patti Smith through her exquisite prose helped me understand how writing about something can be a step towards processing grief and while the void would never be filled, maybe living whilst acknowledging the existence of this emptiness would be easier over time. 6mo
Suet624 I‘m so very sorry to hear about your dad. Death seems to leave an actual physical hole in the universe for a period of time. Slowly, with time, at least for me, the hole fills in. May you find some peace soon. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much ❤️ I am trying my best to find some peace, day by day...book by book.... 6mo
kspenmoll So sorry about your dad. The hole does fill in as @Suet624 so eloquently said, but right now the loss is raw. Patti Smith is awesome & so wise.💕💕 6mo
12 likes12 comments
review
nathandrake1997
Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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Pickpick

Amidst a stunning fantastical setting, Susanna Clarke weaves in an exquisite existential character study about a person who is finding as much about about himself as the world around him. Now..... confession: I am not a huge fan of fantasy. I always find the tome's length of world building and a laundry list of characters to keep up with to be a daunting task.....

nathandrake1997 .....(this is inspite of my all-time favourite novel being ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a novel usually considered daunting for the amount of characters the reader has to keep up with). But there was something about Clarke's magnificent sophomore novel that entranced me in a way that I have seldom experienced! 7mo
nathandrake1997 .....Clarke's lyrical prose breathes life into and fleshes out a world that the reader is almost immediately drawn into (a house with seemingly infinite halls and each room populated with a myriad of statues) and post flipping the last page is still wandering amidst those halls..... 7mo
nathandrake1997 .....This is also one of those rare novels whose length feels perfect, not a page extra or less..... 7mo
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nathandrake1997 .....Overall, Susanna Clarke's PIRANESI is a stunning existential drama amidst a magnificent fantastical setting. A masterpiece for the ages, thank you Susanna Clarke for bringing me out of my reading slump ❤️ 7mo
batsy Great review! 💜 I have trouble with fantasy for the same reasons of being overwhelmed with the world-building at times, but with Clarke it works for me. In Piranesi it was so lightly and deftly done, but even in Jonathan Strange, which is a much bigger, more intricate book, I was entranced by the world she created 🙂 7mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much 😄❤️ I usually tend to avoid fantasy, but honestly it was your review that convinced me to give this book a chance and I am so glad that I did because this was exactly the kind of book I needed (quiet, meditative yet immersive ❤️) 7mo
Suet624 This book was so stunning to me. I loved every bit of it. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 I loved every bit of it as well ❤️ One of those rare books whose length feels perfect, not a page more or less ❤️ Also, fantasy being used to convey existential themes is genius ❤️ 6mo
Suet624 Exactly. I find myself going back in my mind to this book. Never sure whether to recommend it to friends though. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 After I finished reading, I felt like I was still wandering amidst the countless halls marvelling at the myriad of statues present in each room and contemplating how Piranesi would have seen or interpreted this particular moment. Can't wait to read JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORELL ❤️ 6mo
25 likes10 comments
blurb
nathandrake1997
Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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What could be a better way to cheer myself up than gifting myself a book? And that too one that looks this stunning❤️

batsy Best gift! 7mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Yes it is ❤️ Susanna Clarke's prose so far feels like the perfect antidote to my reading slump ❤️ 7mo
17 likes2 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Teoh Yun Ling travels to the elusive Nakamura Aritomo's garden to ask him to build a traditional Japanese garden for her late sister Teoh Yun Hong. Nakamura rejects the offer at first but later on offers to train Yun Ling instead so that she can build the garden herself. Apprehensive at first, Yun Ling eventually accepts Aritomo's offer and what follows is a novel about memory and its elegiac fragility....

nathandrake1997 ....Probably because of circumstances in my personal life from the past few months, but these days I find myself connecting with literature where loss and memory are central themes and that is also a major influence on why this novel moved me so much. But inspite of that, the prose is genuinely brilliant.... 8mo
nathandrake1997 ....Will revisit this novel a few months/years later to see if my thoughts still hold up in a hopefully different state of mind but as of now, I'm glad that my first foray into Malaysian literature was with Tan Twan Eng. Can't wait to read more by him and Malaysian literature in general! 8mo
Suet624 What a lovely review. I‘m so glad you enjoyed this one. 8mo
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nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much 😄❤️ And yes, I really loved this book😄 8mo
Suet624 I finally found this at one of my libraries. ❤️ 5mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Yay ❤️ Can't wait to read your review ❤️ 5mo
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nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

This might or might not be what exactly Richard Flanagan is trying to say in his magnificent latest book THE LIVING SEA OF WAKING DREAMS, but my interpretation is that of mourning, a kind that is both personal and universal.

While Anna is grieving for the inevitable loss of her ailing mother Francie, Flanagan is grieving for the inevitable loss of the world around us...

nathandrake1997 .... Francie is almost at her last legs when her children Anna and Terzo decide to do everything in their capacity to save Francie, even if it means all that "life" would mean for Francie would be all her vitals being handled by machines and tubes connected to her body while all she can do is stare at the window and get lost in a myriad of hallucinations gradually blurring the line between reality and fiction for her.... 8mo
nathandrake1997 ....Meanwhile, the world that Francie inhabits is gradually being decimated due to devastating forest fires. Although there are a few Annas and Terzos to do everything in their capacity to try to save what they can of the inevitable, is it even remotely enough? Are we already beyond point of repair? Or maybe, are we just prolonging the inevitable? 8mo
nathandrake1997 ....Meanwhile Anna, while driving to the hospital one day, discovers that her ring finger has disappeared. At first she dismisses this as a hallucination triggered by stress. But, gradually, a finger leads to a hand which leads to a knee which leads to more such implausible disappearances.... 8mo
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nathandrake1997 ....But, none of these disappearances cause her any pain and after a point she doesn't really notice any of them all that much either. Is this a physically tangible interpretation of Anna processing her grief of losing Francie or is it about Anna, through years of personal and professional commitments, gradually losing herself bit by bit to the point where what's left is not even a shadow of what it had once been.... 8mo
nathandrake1997 .... This may also be a parallel about how in a bid to change the world to accommodate more to our "human" needs, we have robbed it of its identity pushing it towards a slow decline that is not so slow anymore? 8mo
nathandrake1997 ....These are just some of the myriad of thoughts I had while reading this stunning book that, while a bit rough around the edges, is still an essential read. 8mo
15 likes6 comments
review
nathandrake1997
The Children Act | Ian McEwan
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Bailedbailed

When it's been 3 days and you've barely moved 41 pages, you know that the book isn't working for you and it's time to move on

Suet624 Definitely 8mo
11 likes1 comment
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

It's been hours since I finished Arundhati Roy's Booker Prize winning masterpiece but my mind is still in Ayemenem, from the exquisitely sketched characters to the exquisitely fleshed out atmosphere to the exquisite prose used in doing all the aforementioned exquisite things, this book was exquisite in a manner that I can use the word exquisite to fill out a few pages, but alas the word limit....

nathandrake1997 ....Also, this book has the greatest opening paragraph I have read till date! 9mo
Suet624 I should read this book again. Read it when it first came out and absolutely loved it. 9mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 This book was easily one of my favourite Booker Prize winners to date! The prose is some of the finest I have ever read! 9mo
Suet624 I‘m so glad you feel the same way I did after reading it. I couldn‘t stop thinking of it. 9mo
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nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

What is an AI? Merely a tool meant to emulate "the human experience" as far as assistance is required? Or could they also be a crutch to rely on during these times of crippling loneliness? While they can emulate us, could they actually understand what it means to be "human"? ....

nathandrake1997 ....It's these as well as a myriad of other existential questions on the profound yet ambiguous bond between man and machine that Ishiguro attempts to explore in his exquisite new novel, KLARA AND THE SUN.... 9mo
nathandrake1997 ....Through the eyes of Klara, an android in a store looking for a permanent home, we see through her precocious yet innocent gaze an outside perspective of what it means to be human and how fragile yet profound the human connection is. I won't go further into plot details because this I believe is a book that is best enjoyed when the reader discovers things for themselves rather than being spoonfed a perspective prior to the reading....

9mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe because I'm still contemplating it's various layers and allusions or maybe because I am still stunned by the immense artistic brilliance at display, I am honestly at a loss of words when comes to elaborating on my appreciation for what is yet another masterpiece from one of the greatest authors of our times! 9mo
11 likes3 comments
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nathandrake1997
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My most anticipated book of the year finally arrived ❤️

batsy I'm ashamed to say I've not read any Ishiguro. Any particular recs of what to start with? (I loved the film adaptation of The Remains of the Day) 9mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy THE REMAINS OF THE DAY is a great place to start 😄 I haven't seen the film adaptation yet but the book is one of my all-time favourites! The writing style is subtle yet delightfully layered and profoundly evocative and the ending is just ❤️ 9mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Nice, thank you! I'm actually not sure if I tried to read it many, many years ago and it went over my head. But I think this is the right time to begin my Ishiguro journey :) 9mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy THE REMAINS OF THE DAY can be a bit of an uphill climb to get into, especially during the opening section when the almost robotic monotony of the proceedings, since it deals with the nitty gritty of the daily routine of a butler, can feel a bit grating. But around 20 pages in, things pick up considerably and after a while it becomes near impossible to put down the book! 9mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Yes, I *think* I might have bailed on it during those early bits. I am honestly excited to try again. It seems like exactly the kind of novel I'd appreciate now. 9mo
14 likes5 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Through training the lens at Elena and Lila's childhood friendship, Elena Ferrante gives us a stunning bildungsroman that views the past through rose tinted glasses but for a change with the smudge marks, dust and grime accumulated through the passage of time left intact.

Can't wait to read the rest of this magnificent quartet!

batsy So glad you enjoyed it! I keep reminding myself that I *must* read this soon. 9mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Probably the best bildungsroman I have read till date! Would love to hear your thoughts once you are done reading this 😄 9mo
24 likes2 comments
review
nathandrake1997
1Q84 | Haruki Murakami
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Mehso-so

Murakami, I'm getting a little jaded.

There was a time when all I used to read was Murakami. His writing style had that certain something (mainly his way of discovering the magical in the mundane) that entranced me in a manner that literature seldom did until then. This was around 2 years back.

1Q84 is the first novel of his I have read since then (I read his short stories collection BLIND WILLOW SLEEPING WOMAN last December). And honestly....

nathandrake1997 ....I was underwhelmed. Released as a trilogy in Japan, the most widely available edition in English translation is an omnibus that contains all three books in a single volume, this is Murakami's longest and usually touted to be his most ambitious work to date.... 9mo
nathandrake1997 ....The parts that work the most are the ones where Murakami isn't concerned with plot. Moments where the sunlight breaking in through the window is the point of focus instead of yet another plot point in yet another convoluted subplot. The exquisite fleshing out of atmosphere is what saves this book from its been-there-done-that central plot that is a classic case of travelling from point A to point B in the most convoluted way possible.... 9mo
nathandrake1997 .... It's not only overstuffed but also at central plot points the writing is embarrassingly convenient. I can't spell out specific instances because *spoilers* but all I am saying is, I wish Murakami hadn't been so rigidly focused on the plot in certain stretches (especially book 2 where his writing becomes almost stubbornly plot focused).... 9mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Contrary to popular opinion, I really liked book 3 where the plot takes a bit of a back seat and things move at a comparatively slower pace than the previous two books (this especially felt like a relief after the breakneck pace of book 2). Here the characters are in a comparatively more reflective headspace where their thoughts are as integral (in some ways even more) to the proceedings as their actions.... 9mo
nathandrake1997 ....Unfortunately, it is dampened by an ending so safe and uninspired which immediately made me feel that did we really need 1000+ pages to eventually get to.....this? 9mo
Suet624 I felt the same way about this book. Just a so-so. And how disappointing to spend that much time on it. 8mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 I felt a good ending for the book would have been when Aomame spots Tengo in the playground for the first time. If Murakami had finished the book there itself, and without revealing the identity of the person sitting on the slide being Tengo, then it would have been a much better ending that resonated with the themes Murakami was trying to tackle in the book. Although that doesn't excuse the book from its other flaws! 8mo
Suet624 I was so ticked off that I‘d spent so much time in it that I have forgotten most of it. Sadly, I‘ve erased it from my mind. 8mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Even I felt the same when I got to that awful ending! My immediate reaction was "I read 1000+ pages for this?" 8mo
Suet624 Exactly. 🥴🥴😩😩😳😳😭😤😤 8mo
15 likes10 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

I saw the highly acclaimed film adaptation at a film festival a few years back and almost immediately fell in love with it (especially those haunting final minutes) and as soon as the screening was over, it became one of my all-time favourite films.....

nathandrake1997 .....Since then, I immediately added Aciman's novel to my tbr and almost 4 years later, I finally got around to reading it and as soon as I flipped through the final pages of this stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, I was kicking myself for not having read it sooner.... 10mo
nathandrake1997 ....Tonally, the book and the film are poles apart. While the book is a heady, almost unbearably intense, ramble about desire, the film is comparatively a lot more subdued and observant. In some ways I felt the film echoed the profound role of time in this story a lot more effectively than the book owing to its slower pace and on retrospect, I prefer the film's ending over the book's.... 10mo
nathandrake1997 ....But aside from that one niggle, this is one of those rare book-to-film adaptations where none is inferior or superior and they in turn complement each other rather beautifully! 10mo
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Suet624 Like you, I saw the film first. I think you‘re right - they managed to complement each other. 8mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Another aspect I loved about CMBYN was how the treatment of the story was in each medium. The book had a narrator's voice narrating the story from Elio's pov in a stream-of-consciousness manner, something that would only work in a book. Likewise, for the film adaptation Luca Guadagnino made a smart choice to omit the narration and instead attempted to tell the story through visuals and music, something that is only possible in a film.... 8mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 .... Overall, I felt both the book and the film were interesting exercises in conveying the core essence of a story through the strengths of their respective mediums. Although the film scores extra points from me for Sufjan Stevens' exquisite music ❤️ *plays Visions of Gideon and Futile Devices on loop yet again* 8mo
Suet624 Hahaha. The atmosphere of the movie was delicious. Swoony. Luxuriant. Sultry. I had a more visceral response to the movie. And the music. 💕💕💕 Stevens‘ music always moves me. 8mo
12 likes7 comments
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nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

While I'm not sure if I understood all of it, I am still glad that I finally read this seminal work in poetry! Dante's ability to conjure vivid imagery in a span of a few lines is peerless even centuries later! Also, how gorgeous is this Everyman's library edition ♥️

batsy This is one of my projects to attempt one day! That's a gorgeous edition 😍 10mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy This is a great edition indeed! Along with over 200 pages of reference notes, it also contains 42 stunning illustrations by Botticelli ♥️ 10mo
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nathandrake1997
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Bailedbailed

I don't know....this is probably the first time a book felt this taxing on my mental health to the point where I actually feel terrible for a while after reading barely a few pages of this. While Joyce's prose is undoubtedly exquisite, I don't think I'm in the right headspace to continue this. Will return back to it once I'm feeling a bit better. So, in short....it's not the book, it's me.

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nathandrake1997
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Almost half way through and honestly, this is turning out to be my most gruelling read in quite a while

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nathandrake1997
The Unconsoled | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Pickpick

The protagonist Ryder, an acclaimed pianist, wanders around a Central European city through a landscape that seems tailored around his dreams, nightmares, triumphs, failures, joys, regrets and the eclectic mix of people he's known in ways minor and profound over the years.An absolutely stunning book that I feel deserves a lot more love than it gets!

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nathandrake1997
Cloud Atlas | David Mitchell
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Bailedbailed

Didn't want to begin this year with a dnf.....but, all I can say 20 pages in is....I tried!

Graywacke Sorry but also good for you. A decisive start to the year! 11mo
nathandrake1997 @Graywacke I agree. There is way too much great literature in the world to pore through instead of brooding over something that isn't working for me! 11mo
10 likes2 comments
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nathandrake1997
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One of the few highlights of this awful year was reading some brilliant literature. These are 20 of my favourite books I read in 2020. #20best2020

Caroline2 I still have Milkman on my tbr shelf! 🤦‍♀️ I must get to it this year as I‘ve heard so many people love it. 👍 11mo
nathandrake1997 @Caroline2 MILKMAN is stunning! One of my favourite Booker Prize winners! 11mo
Suet624 Milkman 💕💕💕 11mo
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batsy Dubliners, C&P, Real Life! ❤️ Great list. The Fosse almost made it into mine. And I'm really looking forward to Ducks, Newburyport and Milkman this year. I should probably also read more Baldwin! 11mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 What a brilliant book! Some of the most exquisite prose I have read all year ❤️ 11mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you ❤️ Your list was brilliant as well. Gave me a lot of additions to my tbr (especially THE DUD AVOCADO). Also this year I hope I'll finally start reading Charlotte Bronte. Is THE PROFESSOR a good place to start? 11mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 I'm a CB fangirl, so perhaps destined to love The Professor no matter what, but I don't think it's one where her artistry is on full display. I would recommend starting with either Jane Eyre or Villette (also two of my favourites, ever) 🙂 11mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy JANE EYRE has been in my tbr for an eternity so I guess that's where I will start 😄 Thanks for the recommendations 😄 Also, talking about Fosse, did you read the second volume (I IS ANOTHER) of his SEPTOLOGY series? 11mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 No, not yet. I read the first volume purely by chance because it was available at my library via Libby so I'm hoping the second one is available soon, too. Btw, have you read his other book Melancholy? I saw someone mention it in their substance and now feel like I must get my hands on it! 11mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy The second volume is brilliant as well. I haven't read MELANCHOLY yet. I have wanted to though, ever since I read the first volume of SEPTOLOGY, but it is being sold at a rather exorbitant price on Amazon here 😅 and most probably none of the bookstores here have anything by Fosse in stock 😓 11mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Yes, access is an issue for me too, especially wrt indie presses and translated fiction. I most likely have to use Book Depository for Melancholy though I haven't checked the price 😬 And currently bookmail from abroad takes quite awhile. Fortunately there's an affordable Kindle edition of the 2nd vol of Septology 🙂 11mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy I luckily found the second volume of SEPTOLOGY at a good price on Amazon. Also, Book Depository has stopped deliveries in India, so I can't order MELANCHOLY from there 😓 11mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Oh no! They weren't delivering to some parts of Malaysia and included my postcode in areas to which they couldn't send mail. But I tried my luck and the book finally arrived after about 1.5 months 😬 Hopefully this situation improves soon this year! 11mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy I hope. But with the covid-19 situation not really improving here, I think Amazon is my only option for ordering books from Indie presses for a while 😓 11mo
15 likes14 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Mehso-so

Kind of a showcase or a snapshot of the best and worst of Murakami's writing. The best stories in this collection are the ones where Murakami let's his penchant for seeing the magical in the mundane shine, but such stories oddly felt few and far between (a few examples being TONY TAKITANI, BIRTHDAY GIRL, HANALEI BAY) in a rather middling collection that is mostly forgettable!

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nathandrake1997
Milkman | Anna Burns
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Pickpick

A masterclass in stream-of-consciousness writing and one of the greatest Booker Prize winners ever! No amount of words are enough to justify the sheer brilliance of this masterpiece!

Cathythoughts Agreed !! It‘s a good one 👍🏻 12mo
nathandrake1997 @Cathythoughts This was one of those rare novels that I wished was a bit more longer primarily for the reason that I could have savoured Anna Burns' gorgeous prose for a few more pages! 12mo
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nathandrake1997
Milkman | Anna Burns
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Almost at the end of a book so brilliant that I'm actually dreading reading through its final pages because I don't know how long will it take for my tbr to give me a book as brilliant as this!

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nathandrake1997
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Bailedbailed

3 days and 183 pages later, Doerr's jarring writing style got the better of me and as a result, this is my second dnf of the year which is disappointing because the prose itself is quite good. And oddly, even the first book I dnf'd this year was published by 4th Estate as well (WHO THEY WAS by Gabriel Krauze) and also for the exact same reason as this book!

Graywacke I‘m selfishly pleased i‘m not the only one to toss this and it‘s not just me! I tried it on audio and it drove me crazy. I got about half way. But still, sorry it didn‘t work for you. 12mo
nathandrake1997 @Graywacke Thank you! I thought I was the only one who didn't get the hype behind this! And, while I absolutely love non-linear/non-chronological storytelling, it did nothing but detract from the immersion and reading experience in this book. Also, the preposterous "cursed diamond" subplot should have been the first red flag for me! 12mo
Graywacke Ah the diamond. !! Such - a simplistic stereotype! 🙂 12mo
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TheBookHippie I bailed as well!!!!! 12mo
nathandrake1997 @TheBookHippie Yay! Glad to see that I'm not alone! I honestly have no clue as to why Doerr decided to undermine his brilliant prose under a writing style so mind-numbingly jarring! 12mo
TheBookHippie @nathandrake1997 I initially thought it was 2020 brain and I totally agree with you. I do love his prose ... however... I just couldn‘t do it 😩 12mo
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nathandrake1997
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Started this last night. Let's hope it lives up to the hype!

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nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Jon Fosse's "I IS ANOTHER: SEPTOLOGY 3-5" takes us deeper into Asle's past and is much more chaotic and eventful in tone. While I occasionally missed the more subtler and understated writing of the previous book, this is nevertheless yet another masterwork from Jon Fosse and one that has filled me with unbearable anticipation for the final volume due to be published sometime next year!

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nathandrake1997
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Probably the most relatable line I have ever read in any form of literature till date

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nathandrake1997
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At page number 70 and so far, the book is almost as exquisite as it's predecessor!

erzascarletbookgasm I have the same mug! 12mo
nathandrake1997 @erzascarletbookgasm Nescafe is the best when it comes to instant coffee 😄 Nothing can beat freshly ground coffee beans though! 12mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm @nathandrake1997 I have that mug, too! And Nescafe is also my go-to for instant 😁 12mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Nescafe for the win 😁 12mo
10 likes4 comments
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nathandrake1997
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Finally started my most anticipated book of the year

Leftcoastzen I haven‘t read him but have been meaning to , any suggestions on what I should read first? 12mo
nathandrake1997 @Leftcoastzen Prior to this book, I've only read THE OTHER NAME:SEPTOLOGY 1-2 (the first book in Fosse's SEPTOLOGY series) 😅 by Fosse and it was a masterpiece! This book is also brilliant so far, but since it is the second part I'd recommend reading THE OTHER NAME first 12mo
Leftcoastzen Thanks! 12mo
10 likes3 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

An analysis/critique of an author as monumental as James Joyce by a reader as inexperienced as me is pointless, but all I will say is, rarely has a collection of short stories felt as evocative and exquisite as DUBLINERS!

Leftcoastzen I‘m straining my brain to think of any short story collection I admire more . Nice review. 12mo
batsy It's an excellent collection 👌🏽 12mo
nathandrake1997 @Leftcoastzen Thank you 😄 And yes, this is undoubtedly the best short story collection I have read so far 12mo
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nathandrake1997 @batsy Yes it is. Joyce's exquisite prose fleshes out the mood and atmosphere in a manner I've seldom experienced, especially in short stories! 12mo
erzascarletbookgasm Wow! Your review makes me put this further up my tbr. 12mo
Kimberlone Great review! This is my favorite of Joyce‘s, I think because it‘s much more accessible than his more “creative” writings. The Dead is pretty much impeachable as a classic of the short story genre 12mo
nathandrake1997 @Kimberlone Thank you 😄 And yes, THE DEAD is an all-time great when it comes to short stories! 12mo
10 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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nathandrake1997
Snow | Orhan Pamuk
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Pickpick

Uneven, jarring, at times rushed yet for the most part a profoundly melancholic exploration of what draws an artist towards an artistic inspiration and also how said inspiration isn't always plausible. The book is at its best during its more melodramatic stretches when it chronicles Ka's rather implausible yet undeniably poetic artistic impulses, especially the manner in which he receives ideas for his poems almost always akin to an epiphany.