[Wrap-Up] Books read in May 2017

How is May over already?? I feel like this month lasted about a week, but these late spring/summer months tend to be that way for me. Anyway, I read a total of eight books this month – of these, one was an e-book, one was a poetry collection, and one was a short story collection. As always I’m linking to my reviews in this post!

My May reads:

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[Book Review] Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

29983711Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Beginning in the early 1900s and spanning several decades, we follow one Korean family through multiple generations. Sunja, abandoned by her wealthy yakuza lover and unhappily pregnant with his child, is saved when a young Korean minister passing through on his way to Japan offers to marry her. He is a sickly man but gentle and understanding, and she decides to go with him to Osaka. Sunja’s decision is what sets off the saga of a family struggling to survive and prosper in a foreign land.

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[Tags] The Versatile Blogger Award

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It’s been quite a while (more than a month) since the lovely Rachel @ pace, amore, libri nominated me for this award – thanks so much! It’s about time I actually start using this blog and post something other than reviews for once (Rachel – you have a lot of fun tag posts, I might come back and steal some of them!). Do check out Rachel’s excellent blog and follow her if you aren’t already!

The Rules:

Display the award on your blog.
Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself.
Nominate 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blog.

7 Facts:

1. I’m a decent volleyball player, though I’ve never actually properly been part of a team. I considered joining the volleyball club in university but found I didn’t have much time next to my studies to regularly join in on all the games and tournaments, so I cheated and just went to the open practices lol. I have a terrible overhand serve but I’m good in defense (also I’m 5’5” (165 cm), which isn’t very tall for a volleyball player, so I like being at the back).

2. I’m half Norwegian, half Filipina (Filipina Mom and Norwegian Dad). I’ve lived in Norway all my life and about 95% of my family is in the Philippines. My family on my Dad’s side is super small and I’m also an only child, so I’m kind of used to being on my own and having few people around me. I don’t mind that at all by the way 😉

3. For my master’s thesis I studied the olfactory system in moths. Yep – moths. Basically I studied moth brains in vivo (very tiny brains, barely a pinhead) and mapped specific neurons by color staining them through electrical impulses. It was very fun work but pretty much a niche area of research. Still, I appreciate everything I can gain knowledge from and a lot of research areas overlapped too (biology, physics, neuroscience, etc.). Plus, I gained really steady hands!

4. On the very top of my “places to visit before I die” is without a doubt Japan! I feel like what I’m truly missing now is to learn the language (on at least a basic level) and experience the country. I love that the culture is so different and I haven’t been anywhere in East Asia before either, so this definitely must happen one day!

5. If I hadn’t been allergic to horses I’d probably be a horse owner for several years by now. I used to be absolutely crazy about horses when I was younger, and indirectly they also made me a book lover. I was in a bi-monthly horse themed book club (the Penny Club) in my tweens where you got two-three books plus a bunch of other goodies in each package. I have a whole stack of Joanna Campbell books in the attic and my favorite from her Thoroughbred-series is without a doubt “Ashleigh’s Diary”. That was the first book ever that completely broke my heart and made me cry. I tend to prefer sad books over funny books and I totally blame “Ashleigh’s Diary”.

6. I went through many various and obsessive collecting phases as a kid. I used to collect rocks (why…?), napkins (of course unused lol), keychains (I have such a massive amount of keychains that I don’t even want to use any of them), the 101 Dalmatians figurines and other Disney stuff from the McDonald’s Happy Meal, and Kinderegg figurines (Kindereggs were – and are – the best!!!). Now I collect books of course.

7. My middle name is Charlen but I only use Ann online, mostly because this isn’t a usual Norwegian name combination and, well, I’m kind of paranoid in our easy search days. However, my family only uses Charlen and my irl friends use both names (probably because I always introduce myself with both names lol). Rumor has it that my Dad wanted to name me Nina Charlen but my Mom didn’t like the combination. Charlen was also supposed to be Charlene but, in a typical Norwegian pronunciation, people didn’t seem to get that the last ‘e’ was supposed to stay silent and my parents didn’t want to subject me to a life of name mispronunciation. It happened anyway though; I don’t know how many teachers I’ve had to correct because they pronounced the ‘Ch’ as a ‘K’…

I nominate:

Simona @ Book Fay

Rebecca @ the sugar cane diaries

Bill @ Kenyan Library

Signe @ A Millennial Reads

Miri @ Caffeinatedwords

… and everyone who sees this and wants to do this (…10 people is a lot)! And of course, you totally don’t have to do this if you don’t feel like it! 🙂

[Book Review] The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

18332844Title: The Unseen*
Author: Roy Jacobsen
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book at Norli.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: In 1913, Ingrid Barrøy is born on Barrøy island off the coast of Helgeland, Norway. Her family is poor and subject to the forces of nature, but they’re hardworking and strong-willed. Island life is a constant struggle that pays very little, and when Ingrid comes of age she is sent to the mainland to work. But tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must again return to fight for her island and her home.

* I read this in its original language (Norwegian) under the title “De Usynlige”.

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[Poetry Review] Stupid Flowers by Brice Maiurro

STUPID FLOWERS COVER 1100 X 1700Title: Stupid Flowers
Author: Brice Maiurro
Genre: Prose poetry

Where I got the book: I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: A collection of personal but highly relatable poems dealing with the various anxieties, questions, and reflections concerning love, life, and death.

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[Book Review] Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

51xhgjvwgvl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Title: Six Stories
Author: Matt Wesolowski
Genre: Fiction, mystery, crime

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Scarclaw Fell, 1997. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an Outward Bound center, but the discovery is eventually written off as misadventure. Twenty years later, the elusive investigate journalist Scott King conducts a series of interviews for his podcast Serial, in which he digs deeper into what happened on Scarclaw Fell back then, as well as the sinister legends surrounding the place. With each new interview he unveils a new revelation about how Tom Jeffries really died.

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[Book Review] The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke

51emj1pgool-_sx323_bo1204203200_Title: The Explosion Chronicles
Author: Yan Lianke
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, mythorealism

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: The village of Explosion was first founded by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption, hence the name “Explosion”. In the post-Mao era, it rapidly grows from a small rural community to a massive metropolis. Three of Explosion’s major families are behind this successful growth: the four Kong brothers, the daughter of the former village chief, and Cheng Quing, a former secretary turned politician and businesswoman. Through ambition, desire, and betrayal, these families transform their hometown into an urban superpower.

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