“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” – Louisa May Alcott

Books are some of my favorite things in the world. They fill me with a remarkable joy. In them I live different lives, explore different places, and learn new things about people and about myself. For me books are without a doubt one of the most joyous things available to the masses. This world will be dedicated to them and the various books I have in my own personal library.

Me Before You

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Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Page Count: 369

I started reading this book before the hype a couple years ago. A friend of mine who is a therapist suggested it to me, insisting it was very well written and that it opens a perspective one would not generally explore or understand.

Me Before You tells the story of a young woman hired by an older couple to take care of their son Will. Will is a young man disabled after an accident and bound to a wheelchair. Louisa learns over time that she wasn’t hired to care for him but to keep him company. She spends her days conversing with and entertaining him until she learns something rather dark about his intentions and outlook for the future.

Me Before You was really an amazing novel. It provides a greater depth of understanding about the struggles of people with disabilities and an understanding of their choices and outlooks. It’s also got the subtle and beautiful romance and some damn funny lines. There’s a little bit of everything in this book.

“You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

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This book has, however, been met with a great deal of controversy, many referring to it as “euthanasia porn” because of the underlying tone of the book and the struggle between Will and his family. Several online communities look down on the book for its blatant references to euthanasia and allege lack of respect for life.
Despite your stance, I would encourage you to read it and to attempt to understand the pain and suffering and damage Will feels of his own life. And try to understand the role and choices of both the abled and disabled in this book. However, I ask that you do not immediately condemn the book or its perspective.

Come to it with an open mind, or do not pick it up at all.

(Trigger Warning: Mentions of euthanasia, rape, suicide. Not explicit or graphic but they are still there.)

Bonus: There is a movie of this book. As always, many things are lost in the movie but overall, it was an amazing movie with beautiful depictions and great acting; starring Emilia Clarke (GoT Daenerys), Sam Claflin (Hunger Games' Finnick), Matthew Lewis (HP's Neville), Charles Dance (GoT Tywin Lannister), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who companion Clara) and sooooo many more.

As always feel free to comment if you've read it, seen it, have any questions, or just want to discuss!

Memoirs of a Geisha

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Title: Memoirs of a Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden
Page Count: 448

I adore this book. It is one of my absolute favorites. Although it is a bit long, I felt like it was completely and totally worth every second of time I spent on it.

Memoirs of a Geisha is basically what the title indicates. It tells the story of a young girl named Chiyo who is sold to a geisha house by her father. She’s forced to work in the geisha house as a servant girl until she comes of age and has developed to the liking of the owner so that she may begin the duties of a geisha. These duties include visiting and conversing with men, and entertaining them in song and dance. She adopts a new name as she enters the service, giving readers a look into this secretive and traditional world.

(Trigger Warning: There is some mention of rape, though not explicit or detailed but more like hinted and briefly mentioned, and some emotionally heavy content.)

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical initially. When I saw that the author was a man I found myself a bit turned off. The world of geisha has always been secretive, most especially from men, and on top of that, men don’t really have the same viewpoints or struggles as women. The perspective is universally different, and I was unsure how a man could write a fictional memoir from the perspective of a woman.

But he managed. The book is phenomenal and leaves you wanting to know about this world very few get a glimpse of as you follow the story of this young girl. As most stories this also has a struggle of love. Can a woman whose life is meant to entertain men find true love? Meh you’d have to read and see.

“Every step I have taken has been to bring myself closer to you.”

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Bonus: There is a movie. I personally have not seen it. There was some controversy around the movie’s release in Japan because the costume department used incorrect kimono, the main actress was not even Japanese, and the title was changed to the character’s geisha name but wasn’t even titled in Japanese kanji.
I hate to judge based on the opinions of others though, so the movie is on my list anyway. If anyone has seen it please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on it.

The Book Thief

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Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Page Count: 584

This book is in my top 3 favorites of all time…so far, though it is incredibly likely to maintain it’s permanent spot on the list of favorites.

Revolving around World War II this book focuses on the life of a foster child named Liesel. It follows her and her family through the war on the German end. Most interestingly though this book as narrated and told by death. Zusak personifies death as if he were an apologetic being, collecting the souls of those lost in the war and following the lives of our characters.

For me this narration alone was a selling point. The idea of reading a story narrated by Death was just so damn cool. It’s what had initially drawn me. The book is also formatted in this cool way full of little notes, as if Death takes a tangent in his narration to make little sassy remarks, reminders, and to offer thoughtful ideas.

One of my favorite things about this book as I continued to read it though was the way it outlined and highlighted the power of words. The book examines how strong words are and the power they hold. Liesel comes to discover this as she steals books and learns their value in a country dominated at the time purely by the promising and charming words of a terrible leader.

“The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing.”

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes historical fiction, who likes World War II stories, and who like, overall, very touching books. This book hit so many emotions in me that it made it incredibly memorable. I laughed and cried and put it down for days and weeks before coming back to it. But I was incredibly glad I did so because it has taught me so much. However, if you are overly sensitive to reminders of the presence of death I’d warn that there are quite a few reminders in this book.

Bonus: There is a movie version of this book from 2013. However, because the book spanned a few years and had so much contextually, it didn’t all fit into a movie. So a lot was cut out. But if you read the book, the movie is fun to watch afterwards.

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