I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading while on break. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster, what with the holidays and family madness, but I’ve managed to finish some of the selections I started a couple of weeks ago.
In an effort to read more manga, and selections from the Banned Books Week collection, I read Kin Dong Hwa’s manhwa series: The Color of Earth, The Color of Water, and The Color of Heaven. The series is a beautifully drawn, lyrical collection of vignettes on the lives of a widowed mother and her young daughter, Ehwa, in early twentieth century South Korea. The story treats the lives of women in a society that doesn’t necessarily approve of independence or sexual awareness in a manner that is true to the era while upholding the struggle that Ehwa and her mother face to be true to themselves. This is one of those rare stories that I just want to share with every girl who was raised by a single mother. It’s just perfect.
I also finished a selection for review, Iva Polansky’s Fame and Infamy: Adventures of an American Maid in Paris. Part mystery, part romance, and part French historical, the novel tells the tale of one Nelly McKay, a young woman ready to make her mark on the world. When Nelly gets involved in a spot of trouble involving a murder, she finds that adventure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Navigating the world of Parisian society, Nelly goes from maid to lover to Parisian landowner, but it’s not always wine and roses.
This is an indie press title, but it is one of the best indie press novels I have read. I didn’t find a single typo (one of my pet peeves when reading self-pub books), and the historical elements were spot on. Also, just when I thought there would be loose ends, Polansky drew them all to a close. It was a great read.
The week after finals are always slow at the library, so I picked up a copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars from our small collection of YA novels. After hearing this novel praised far and wide, I was really excited to delve into my first John Green. I really wanted to love this book, but I think my expectations were too high. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but I didn’t love it. The issue of death and dying aside, I just didn’t believe Hazel and Augustus as teenage characters. The book has great one-liners, but it feels like a novel built on great one-liners. I was also convinced that Augustus was gay for the first third of the book . I just read him that way, so when the romance arrived, it seemed like my reading experience had been thrown for a loop. In the end, I just felt meh about the whole thing.