Review: Writers & Lovers

Behold my second five-star rating of the year. Writers & Lovers follows Casey, a 31-year-old writer who feels like her life has lost direction. She’s grieving the sudden death of her mother, works as a waitress, has a huge student debt, and then finds herself stuck in a love triangle between Silas and Oscar. 

I loved Lily King’s writing style, the way she makes seamless transitions between heartbreaking moments and hilarious scenes, mimicking life because as bad as things may seem, not everything is black or white, and not all moments are entirely good or bad. 

At times I identified myself with Casey, mainly because of her personality. She felt like a close friend that I was able to comprehend without questioning or judging her. Her train of thought was familiar and relatable. This is my first time reading a book by Lily King and I’m already searching for her other books, which I can’t wait to read.

Overall, it was a witty and memorable read!


The Great Gatsby

Technically, this is not a review. The first time I read The Great Gatsby was probably around the time the movie was released, circa 2013. I was only nineteen back then and I didn’t enjoy the book much back then, I remember while reading I felt bored most of the time and gave it a three-star rating on Goodreads. Fast forward 10 years. It is the sixth book I have read in 2023 and my first five-star rating of the year. How did I not see its brilliance before?

Now, I view the story much differently. First off, Fitzgerald’s writing style is admirable. The prose is impeccable. I underlined so many passages, some of which were not even connected to the plot. Just random setting descriptions. But his words are emotionally evocative, setting the mood for the entire story.

Not to mention, I felt awfully sorry for Gatsby. I had completely forgotten the ending. But thanks to my terrible memory, I experienced it as if it were my first time reading it. How can a person who was surrounded by so many people end up so alone?

It’s an excellent book, and it might have just become one of my favorites.

Review: Family Lexicon

Family Lexicon (also titled Family Sayings) is a semi-autobiographical novel by the Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg. It takes place between 1920 and 1950, and she narrates aspects of her daily life starting with early childhood memories until she reaches adulthood. It mostly follows a linear order but instead of making the events a central core to the story, the book focuses on people’s behaviors and communication styles, hence the title.

The book describes how the author’s family, among many other Italian families, lived through the fascist period and those first post-World War II years. Ginzburg’s writing style is eloquent and ironic, even when describing these grim times and the difficulties she had to face.

I read this book deliberately slowly, the ambiance surrounding the characters just felt so tangible and homey, I did not want it to end. While reading it, it also made me question my own family’s lexicon. If it weren’t for this book, I wouldn’t have realized how many words, phrases, and inside jokes that my family members usually repeat would have no meaning or simply confuse external passersby.

t seems to me that Natalia Ginzburg is a rather low-key author that deserves more recognition, and I cannot wait to read more books by her.

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

This is the second book I read by Taylor Jenkins Reids. And let me tell you, she definitely knows how to write page-turners. I believe that by now, most of the bookstagram community has already read it, so I feel there is little else to can add. For those who don’t know, Daisy Jones & The Six is a historical fiction novel that follows a famous rock & roll band from the 70s. Starting from their formation until their abrupt split.

What caught my attention the most was how Taylor Jenkins Reids used Fleetwood Mac as inspiration. Fleetwood Mac is famously known for its music and also for the drama that happened between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Their song, The Chain, is literally about their relationship falling apart. So if you have listened to this band and know their backstory, you’ll find some similarities to Daisy Jones & The Six.

Anyway, back to the book. Unlike typical novels, it has the structure of interview transcripts, making it a light and easy read. Different characters recount the same events from their perspective, more often than not, narrating it differently and landing in contradictions. So who should we really believe? 

Overall, I found it entertaining. But similarly to The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, I felt something was missing. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to reading books with more character development, or maybe the writing style was too straightforward for my taste. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining read and I look forward to watching the TV adaptation that will be released in March.

Review: Ninth House

As you may have noticed, I don’t read fantasy books that often, but when I do, I generally end up loving them. And Ninth House was no exception. What I enjoyed most about this book was the setting. It involves Yale University, secret societies, magic, ghosts, among other things which I rather not spoil. It contains all the evocations of dark academia. 

Like most fantasy books, at first it’s confusing getting used to the world-building. There are so many new concepts an characters being introduced that it feels hard to keep up with everything. But once you get into it, you want to keep digging further. Just one more page, one more chapter. That’s how I finished this book within a week. 

I haven’t read Shadow & Bone, but I did read the Six Of Crows duology (and watched the show too — though it’s not the same it still counts as something) so I knew already what Bardugo was capable of. She’s definitely a great writer. 

Ninth House felt darker and somber, but more realistic in the midst of all the magic because unlike her previous books set in a fantasy world, this one is mostly set in New Haven, and Los Angeles is also mentioned. Hence, everything was more palpable. This book made me laugh, curse, and worry. It’s worth the hype and I cannot wait to read Hell Bent and see what troubles Alex Stern gets into this time.

Review: The Waves

Is it possible to admire a writer but not completely love their work? It might sound contradicting, but that is how I feel about Virginia Woolf. The writing is outstanding. Woolf effortlessly forms perfect and palpable phrases. But similarly to Mrs. Dalloway and To The Lighthouse, The Waves doesn’t have a specific plot. It’s a book about life and the passing of time.

The Waves centers on six characters: Bernard, Neville, Louis, Susan, Rhoda, and Jinny. It begins when they are all kids at a school playground and transitions until they are senior adults. The stream of consciousness jumps between these characters, often describing the same situations but having very different viewpoints. One of the main themes is how friendships can distort your sense of self. All characters have insecurities and create their inner identities based on how they think the rest sees them.

The description of waves itself sets the mood for the entire book. The crashing waves, sunrises, sunsets, the chirping of birds, and falling leaves, all symbolize the constant changes and the inevitable ending – death.

So while I did enjoy this book overall, at times I felt remorsefully bored and just wanted something to happen. And while many things do happen, at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t. Virginia Woolf may not be for everybody, her books represent a challenge but it’s worth giving them a try.

I was always going to the bookcase for another sip of the divine specific.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves