Hello beautiful people, this edition of fresh reads is definitely one of my favourites so far- it's called the miracle batch because I loved every single read, they were all so good. So let's go!
1. The Coronation, Boris Akunin
Set in olden history where Russia still has Tsars, this book is an adventurous and quaint story of a Duke's butler and an oh-so-slick handsome sidekick who have to rescue the Duke's child, who gets kidnapped. It involves a devious criminal (who chops off the kid's finger at one point), a lot of very expensive ransom jewelry, and a big twist at the end when you realize you've been feeding off red herrings the entire time. Hint: it has to do with a man not actually being a man.
It's a little bit hard to read, because of all the long names those Russians have, but it was worth it pursuing the plot doggedly, and it wasn't long before I fell in love with Afanasii Stepanovich (whose point-of-view the story is written in), his matter of fact and sure way of viewing things, which he has been doing for years and years as a highly professional butler. Quite entertaining, and I got sucked into it memorably on one Bailamos prac when Yunsun was doing some part of J2 that none of the contemp girls were involved in, I think.
2. Empress of the Splendid Season, Oscar Hijuelos
This one tells the life a Cuban woman who comes to America, New York City, as a young lady after being kicked out of her home by her rich father for losing her virginity to an older man. And if that isn't saucy enough, guess what her name is. LYDIA! To be honest, that partly egged me on to borrow this book, even though my bag was heavy enough.
Name besides, this book is a joy to read from front to end. I got so sucked into the other Lydia's world, when I finished it was like waking up from a dream.
I learned about this fictional lady's entire life, it feels like. The narration of the present is interspersed with Lydia's thoughts and remniscing of the past, where she was a rich man's daughter in Havana, Cuba, a place that even now is like another plane of existence to me. I think Rozz did a travel vlog there once. I adore how honest and refreshing the depiction of her character is, not squirming past the down and dirty (sex), and making sure to include heartfelt moments when she turns towards her children with inexpressible love despite the cultural distance between them, or when she's loyal to her husband Raul after all those years- all the way to the end.
As it turns out, being a cleaning lady (in this day and age a housekeeper is a more accurate term) can be wondrously interesting. As is the general innerworkings of a mother who struggles to keep her family afloat, and elegantly, even when things are always tough.
3. The Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino
Let me just preface, on the second and third times of reading this book I still got internal chills at how brilliantly planned it is. The review on the front says 'the Japanese Stieg Larsson', and I quite agree, there's almost as much suspense and thrill packed into this book as there is in all 3 of Larsson's the Girl series. I don't think the author writes like Larsson, to be honest, given that that's translated from Swedish and this is translated from Japanese, and those two have their own unique style; but I can see the similarity content wise: it's a mystery novel that packs a real punch right at the end.
It's about a Japanese single mother, Yasuko, who kills her husband in a highly morally ambiguous situation. You can't really call it manslaughter, which would sort of absolve her of her crime, but then again is it murder when her husband is abusive, manipulative, and a leech to top it all off? (Think about it, ladies.) Jokes aside, she's saved- somewhat- by the coming of her quietly genius maths teacher neighbour, Mr. Ishigami, who covers up everything for her. And I mean EVERYTHING.
I absolutely loved reading this and finished it in one feverish night, and I got so scared I couldn't stay in my room by myself anymore.
On a more lighthearted note, we'll end off with two editions of a magazine that I've been perusing on and off for the past few years.
4. Kinfolk, Volume 25 and 26
In these 2 issues I finally realized why one of these cost nearly $40 a pop. Shipping and packaging costs aside, Kinfolk is really professionally done up. It can't be further along than one of your tabloid glossies (which are still enjoyable but in a more guilty and trashy way); like Frankie, it's meant to be bought and kept, preferably on a sophisticated yet minimalist glass coffeetable where it sits beside a cup of steaming hot coffee and flaky croissant.
For one, I really like that there's a running theme for each issue. I think that's quite unique for a magazine, because there surely are alot of questions arising this kind of categorization: what if they run out of topics? And isn't life constantly updating? But I hope they have it all sorted, because it makes for a very nice almost organized reading, and my little OCD soul sighs with satisfaction.
As for the content itself, they have purely photographic spreads along with lengthier interviews with various sorts in the creative industries, factual pieces mixed in with opinion articles. In volume 26, there was a long spread on African American photographer Gordon Parks, and how he documented the racial discrimination in the US while having a great illustrious career. That was lovely to read.
On the whole, Kinfolk's pretty much an adult magazine in the way Frankie isn't, which is what I appreciate about it.
Well, that's all for today, folks. Until next time,
L / 18 / SG / undetermined
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Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
last updated: 5 september