Book Review: Pachinko – Min Jin Lee

I know I mentioned in my post New Reads, that I was going to complete a book review for The Vegetarian by Han Kang, but my grandma recommended a book for me to read when we popped over for dinner the other week. I was sceptical at first – Her bookshelves are filled with numerous classics and biographies, whilst mine is filled with thrillers, sci-fi and the occasional romance book. So to say our tastes vary is a slight understatement. But I went into reading this with an open mind and damn, did this book surpass my expectations and has easily wedged its way to one of my favourites. I’ll try not to include spoilers.

Synopsis

Pachinko follows a Korean family from father Hoonie in the late 19th century, to his great grandchildren, throughout the 20th century. The story covers life before both wars, life in Asia during, and the post war events in great detail.

Thoughts 

I’ve read a lot of reviews on Goodreads about this book and I find the majority of what was disliked (if any) are things I actually enjoyed. I loved the fact that you followed a family from the onset to the end. We could see how certain circumstances, maybe death or the birth of another, affected character development. We tracked how each character grew and could see their individual struggles.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is that depending on where you are born deciphers what strand of history you learn; being born and raised in the UK, we learnt more about the European aspects of the wars, with only a 2 minutes discussion about other continents involved. I know if you take history as further education, you may cover this but it’s not something everyone is exposed to unless you study this in your own time. For me it was eye opening, learning about events that happened within the same timeline of something I have studied on countless occasions just reminds you how big the world actually is.

I know there was a 50/50 split regarding the time jumps after chapters to cover the story across the period selected, but I can understand why this was done. We know, from personal experiences, that grief in the immediate space after something has happened is difficult for many. But it’s about the lasting consequences as well; how has someone’s personality changed 5 years, maybe 10 years after an event; how has it changed them.

One of the notable things that I disliked about the book, although I can see why it was done, was the ending. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but it gave me Sopranos vibes. That is if a book could cut to black mid scene.

Favourite character

Although I do like most of the characters in the book for various reasons, I’d have to say my favourite is Mosazu. There was just something about him that I really enjoyed. I love the fact he wasn’t blinded by a dream that was unattainable; he was very much a down to earth character and had a big heart. I feel like I resembled him a lot when he was younger – dropping out of school and finding a job that he really enjoyed and was good at.

Least favourite character

This wasn’t a tough choice, but my least favourite was Noa. I won’t say much as I feel his story was a main thread throughout the book and should be explored by everyone with fresh eyes, but some of the thoughts his character would have, some of the things he said and did were quite toxic. I know there is probably a consensus on other characters we are subconsciously drawn to dislike, through plot and description, and Noa probably isn’t one of them but for me every time I’d try to connect with his character and explore his perspective, he would do something that left me feeling more frustrated with him rather than sympathetic.

Would I recommend

I would definitely recommend this book to any one interested in broadening their genre pool and anyone interested history based novels. I really enjoyed this book and have told many people already to give it a try and let me know what they think.

Rating

4/5 stars

And finished! For my first ever book review that wasn’t for educational purposes, and one that I have actually completed, I’m proud of myself. I will try my hand again at some point – It’s in my To-Do schedule drawn up. Thank you for reading 🙂

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New Reads

So following my recent post about trying to start or join a book club, I ended up joining Blind Date With A Book. It’s a simple concept. You go on their website and have the choice on genres or having them completely random – then for six months they send you one book a month to read. So far I have no complaints on the choices that have been sent to me – I did my order to come ASAP, so at the start of the month I received two of my six.

The company themselves are genuinely lovely people. You get a note with each book and a few bookmarks in the inserts. The note says effectively that if you have already met your ‘date’ to drop them an email and they will try to sort it out for you. Knowing my luck the first book I received was one I have already. One I have the whole series for. I dropped them a quick email to explain the situation and they were so sweet about getting it sorted. They sent me a new book first class and I received it the next evening. Also the person who dealt with me made me giggle over email because they were just sweet. They told me they were worried the same would happen, and if that was the case they would go on a mission to find me something niche.

Enough of my rambling and let’s get back on subject; New reads I have.

So it’s not a long list because I find when you make the list excessively long, it doesn’t get done.

  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

 

the_eyre_affair

When I received this book I was unsure what it would be about – The clues given to me about the book were as follows: Pet Dodos, Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy and Funny. I do love fantasy books that have humour. And who doesn’t love Dodos. My dad says it’s a good read and thinks I’ll enjoy it. So I will keep you updated on how that goes.

 

  • Night At The Circus – Angela Carter

Night at the circus

Having read Angela Carter during my college classes, I am no stranger to her works! I love her writing style and the creativity she brought to her stories. The Bloody Chamber, although a staple read for my exams, was super interesting and something I have considered picking up again. Let’s see how this one goes!

  •  What If This Were Enough – Heather Havrilesky

what if this were enough (2)

I bought this book at 2am whilst listening to a podcast that I binge religiously. They were speaking about this book and I just had to buy it! Although it’s not a fiction book with plot, I glanced through the index of essay titles and I am super interested in starting this.

I know this post is long by my standards but I will end it on one thing. So I’m ‘supposed’ to be paying off my credit cards and saving some money for a new tattoo but I was cheeky and I bought myself something. If my cousin is reading this, I may have skipped this purchase out of our honestly conversation earlier. Sorry, still love you! But I bought myself a Moleskine passion journal for books I have read. I know some people will say, ‘why not use a normal notebook?’ or ‘why specifically Moleskine?’ But let me tell you it is just an aesthetically pleasing journal. The information you can record. The organisation of the whole thing. I think I’m having a moment. There may be a tear in my eye.

I’ll stop being silly now and go back to reading fan fiction. Because I set myself up to procrastinate.

P.S. this isn’t a sponsored post. My sorry excuse of a blogger doesn’t have enough dedication and reach for that kind of thing. I just really like the company haha. Please check them out! https://blinddatewithabook.com/

Being sick

The feature photo is sponsored by My Window Sill. Full of plants you can forget about and a layer of dust more stable than my future.

Being sick sucks. My chest hurts. My past time of smoking has been cut to 1 pull and I’m done. I can’t breathe without sounding like I’ve run a marathon. And my body aches like I’ve done 7 rounds at the gym.

But being sick has it’s pros:

  • I made a plan of how the blog will run on a monthly basis
  • I am binge watching Insecure on sky box sets – the soundtrack is amazing
  • I finished 3 books taking me to 24 – I know 50 was my goal but I feel like I can still make it
  • I’ve created a Rachel sized mold in my bed which is quite cozy

I’m trying to make the best of laying here.

Let’s hope I get well soon

Book Club?

I’ve been toying for a while making or joining a book club. I’m currently reading The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang and I’m really enjoying it, even if it is quite a dark book and not for the light-hearted.

I think having a group of people to just discuss the books with will motivate me more to read – and enjoy reading at that.

It’s just a thought. We shall see.

I’m going to type up my book reviews now and see if we can salvage anything from it.

Ciao

Day 1 and 2: Accidents, new books and settling in

(The above picture is sponsored by swimming doggo – because he was cute and just having so much fun)

I’m going to be honest for a second, why did I pick such a hot country. Everyone knows I hate, like seriously hate, any type of heat or sun. I wear black nearly everyday, I stay home when it’s sunny, I shade hop when I’m out. But here I am, middle of July, in highs of 30+ degrees weather, walking along a strip of hotels and restaurants.

The one thing hours stranded in an airport does to you, is you find new books to read. I picked up The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and so far it’s a good read. I may do a book review – I have 2 typed up reviews so far but I’m yet to post them. I’m waiting for the right moment.

This post is really choppy but I’m trying to put as much into it as possible. So today we saw a kid drop into the water. I saw we saw him drop, we actually saw panicked adults rush over and a man jump in to pull the kid out. Turns out he was reaching for his toy that had fallen in, became unbalanced and dropped. His brother who was only 3 inches taller than he jumped in after to save his brother but also got stuck because the ledge back onto land was quite high for him to climb back up. Cue the random man who was enjoying his lunch throwing himself in to lift the boys up safely. You could say it was paternal instinct – I mean we all hypothesize but not many people would risk themselves to save someone who isn’t related to them. When I get back I’m probably going to quit drinking and smoking and take up swimming again. Could have been a good competition swimmer but chose friends that I no longer associate with.

All in all, the most I’ve really done so far is think and get sad with what I realise. I pretty much realised I fucked myself over with bad decisions and all. But why bother dwelling on things that can’t be changed.

For me, this post has become boring and awkward so I’ll end it here. 2 more days and then I’m back. Fun, fun, fun.

Airport delays

As you can tell from the title, I’m currently sat in an airport for way longer than I should have been. 5 hours to be precise.

1st hour – Wetherspoons. One thing I will give is with their new app I don’t have to move an inch for a drink. Lazy? I know. Convenient? Fuck yes, my foot is being a ball ache so not having to walk to much is a blessing.

2nd hour – Attempted to connect to airport WiFi, but failed epically. It wouldn’t even let me check the flight information.

3rd hour – realised we had 24% battery on both our phones.

3rd hour revisited – turns out drinking about 6 litres of coffee and fizzy drinks really fills up the bladder.

4th hour – found a Starbucks. Phones charging. Sipping yet more coffee. And rewatching The Duff on Netflix. Again.

The 5th leading up and into the 6th hour is just dragging. I want to sleep however I’m scared of waking up 3 hours the wrong side of my flight.

So were off on a ‘it basically limited cash till the last day’ holiday in an attempt ‘to relax before the stresses of adult life make you cry’. But everything up until this point has been a bit of a mess.

I’m going to attempt to blog at least once a day whilst I’m abroad. But I will never guarantee it, I’m always a bit shit.

If the wait takes longer I will update along this post accordingly.

Self-love

Sometimes, the days really just gush past you and you’re left feeling numb to everything around you. Self-love and self-care is quite a difficult thing to comprehend if you think about it – Being there for someone, showing them affection and investing time in them, is a lot easier than having love and understanding for yourself.

I think I need to take a little time to understand who I am and what I want as a person. I’ve been lacking in the self-love department for some time and I think I need to work on that. It’s gotten to the point when people ask me how life is or how I am, I think for a solid minute and even then my answer is ‘A bit crap to be honest’.

We shall see. I’ve made some decisions recently and we will see where they takes us.

I should probably go to sleep considering I have to be up 6 hours.

Eli