Category Archives: Romance

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hello Hello. Long time no post! Just want to say that I am not abandoning this blog! I am just busy doing exam preparations. I will go back to posting more frequently once exams are done. 😀

Just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I admit, the reason why I wanted to read this book is because the book itself is very aesthetically pleasing, but as I got more into the book, it became so magical that I just can’t put it down.

This book is about two lovers, Celia and Marco. Since childhood, The two illusionists have been trained to compete against each other. Neither Celia nor Marco knows the rules of the game or who they are competing against at first, though they are both involved in a circus that opens at midnight and closes at dawn. This book follows multiple characters in the carousel. As I read more and more, I became intrigued with the secrets of the circus.

Sadly, I have never been to a circus myself. The way Morgenstern describes a circus, though, makes me want to go to one. It seems like the perfect place to escape from the everyday mundane.

There was a lot of jumping back and forth, which took me a few chapters to get used to.The book is made up of a lot of tiny chapters that piece together beautifully to reveal the fate of the circus.

I guess it might not be for those who’s not into magic, or carousels, or jumping back and forth, but I definitely enjoyed this book. It is well-written and just simply mesmerizing. I feel like this is one of the best books published last year.

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets the girl of his dreams. Savannah Lynn Curtis is attending college in North Carolina, working for Habitat for Humanity, and totally unprepared for the passionate attraction she feels for John Tyree.The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty, and John realizing that he’s ready to settle down with the young woman who has captured his heart.Neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world and will force John to risk every hope and dream that he’s ever had. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. And like all those left behind, Savannah must decide to wait or move on. How do we choose wisely? How can we face loss-without giving up on love? Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover that loving Savannah will force him to make the hardest decision of his life. An extraordinary, moving story, DEAR JOHN explores the complexities of love-how it survives time and heartbreak, and how it transforms us forever.(taken from Google Books)

I think Nicholas Sparks is an extraordinary storyteller in that he has never failed to make my heart ache every time I watch a movie based on his book. Dear John is no exception, though this time I am reading the book instead.

What I love about him is that he writes to a pretty predictable recipe. To think predictable stories would be boring, it is actually the opposite. When I look at the things I do everyday, I realize that it is pretty predictable as well: wake up, eat, school, work, leisure activities, sleep, and repeat for the next day. What I learned from his stories, though, is that sometimes I overlook the little details in life which makes it more meaningful.

For example, Dear John really made me stop and think about the struggles that other people are facing. When I see my friends’ pictures and statuses on the Internet, it’s really different than when I actually talk to them in person and find out that they, too, are not as happy as what their latest update would seem to suggest.

“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.”

Everyone is struggling with something. They just hide it from the public, which creates the illusion that everyone else’s life is perfect.

So dear reader, whatever the challenge you are facing, remember that you are not alone. At the same time you are trying to overcome the challenge, we are all trying to do the same thing as well. ^_^

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

P.S. I Love You tells a life-affirming story about Holly, whose husband Gerry just passed away. Her life revolved around Gerry. Before she married Gerry, her life wasn’t about school or work or all that usual stuff, it was solely about going on dates with him. After she married him, her life was about being the perfect wife for him. But now that he died, she felt like there was no more purpose in life. Then came these envelopes which contained a series of letters Gerry wrote. With the help of these letters, Holly learned about moving on and living a life that had once seemed impossible to her by overcoming the challenges presented to her in each envelope.

I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I have a carry-around book besides the main book that I’m reading. I find that I spend most of my time waiting when I go outside; seems like the world loves to make people wait, so I try to take advantage of this by using the time to read. However, some books are too heavy to carry around, and some will make you lose the plot if you get interrupted every few pages or so, but this book is probably one of the best carry-around books that I’ve read. I can imagine it being a great beach read as well. You can quickly pick up the flow when you come back to it. Because of the great character developments, this book was really enjoyable as well.

It could also be one of those books for curling up on the comfy couch in a nice cozy blanket with a soft batch of cookies and a cup of steaming hot tea, while making you appreciate every little moment in your life at the same time:

“Nobody’s life is filled with perfect little moments. And if they were, they wouldn’t be perfect little moments. They would just be normal. How would you ever know happiness if you’d never experienced downs?”

This book reminded me that life is about turning curses into blessings and taking the days one at a time. Trying to achieve perfection is actually a defection in itself. Instead of setting your standard to perfection, complaining about what you don’t have, or grumbling about the people around you, have a grateful heart. You can never be sure about tomorrow, but you can be sure about this very second right now. Be thankful of what you have. Be thankful of the people around you. The saddest thing is not that your soul mate never arrived. The saddest thing is that this person has already left you. Life is a cycle of losing and gaining. So let’s have a grateful heart and appreciate every little moment in life. ^_^

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

This is how Lolita starts. Because of my vocab deficit, I can’t even describe how brilliant the writing is; so brilliant that it keeps the readers engaged even though this novel is about a pedophile named Humbert. However, if you are looking for pornography, you might be disappointed, because everything in this novel is about Humbert’s unconditional love for Lolita.

I find this novel really sad. Although I don’t agree with Humbert’s ways, I feel for him. He is just a poor victim of his memory and the reality. His memorable first love story made him try to seek for the same thing in reality. Finally he meets Lolita, who perhaps could be the bridge between his memory and the reality. He knows there will be consequences, he knows his Lolita will grow up some day, but his memory made him develop this mentality. Even the very reason why Humbert “wrote Lolita” is because he wants to preserve his memory of Lolita, in the past, present, and the future:

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”

But how can we tell if what we are really reading is true and not a product of his imagination? Nothing is true if you don’t get enough people to believe it’s true.

No one can go back in time. The only way to remember is to write it down, or to keep it in your memory.

Thus, if you want to remember something, write it down. If you want to forget something, keep in mind that when memory fades away, no one can look into the past to validate it. Whatever happened supposedly will be gone just like that.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudiceis about a bourgeois family of five daughters, with no male heir. This means that their estate will be passed on to their cousin someday. Hence, the girls’ material survival will be dependent on finding a wealthy husband. The book begins with a rich new neighbour, Charles Bingley. He has an even richer friend named Fitzwilliam Darcy. Being both rich and unmarried, I think you can pretty much see where this is going already ^_^. This is one of those books where the title says it all. Every character’s emotional response in the novel can be explained by their pride and prejudice. Take the main characters’ first impression on each other as an example. Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of the family, thinks that Darcy is too proud. Darcy, on the other hand, is prejudiced against Elizabeth because she is of a lower class. The novel revolves around their slow-growing love for each other as they learn to remove their pride and prejudice, allowing them to see each other for who they really are.But never mind the plot. The thing that made me fall in love with this novel at first sight was Austen’s elegant writing style, which I am going to imitate now for the rest of this paragraph for fun. Ahem, here it goes :D: and though she found it rather against the rules of writing in the modern times, a feeling of fascination was expressed towards such a satirical style. Austen’s ability to give a dramatic scene with such full description, and her ability to shift to the next scene of importance in so quick a manner thereafter had roused a general astonishment, in which she would have had the pleasure of distinguishing herself as one of the greatest writers in the history of English literature. To what Elizabeth was wearing, and to what they had for dinner, Austen saw no necessity in these details which were of no importance, for too much was to be thought and said and felt for attention to any other objects, as Darcy had once said at the time when Elizabeth made an agreement to his proposal (lol I think I can write like this all day).

Another thing that stands out in the book is how the characters seem to be reading too. In fact, many important developments in the novel are revealed through the form of reading letters that one character gives to the other. Austen shows us that reading is not merely downloading words on a page to your brain. It is about interpreting what you have read. This is what Mary, the third daughter in the family, fails to do. Although she reads the most, she does not learn like Elizabeth because she doesn’t read between the lines. Elizabeth, on the other hand, enables herself to grow because she is capable of forming her own insights and revising it. Isn’t this what we are guilty of sometimes? So the next time you want to finish a book for the sake of finishing a book, keep in mind that you are losing a chance to feed your mind with antioxidants and a chance to provide your soul with vitamins :P.