December #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

Here are some books I finished in November going into December. I can’t believe I’ve gone through an entire year reading at least 21 minutes per day! Even after this year is over, I can’t imagine a day when I am NOT reading something.

Continue reading December #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

“Never Let Me Go” by Kashuo Ishiguro

*Deep breath* I’m going to try to make this review as spoiler free as possible.

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At first glance a book titled Never Let Me Go by Kashuo Ishiguro sounds like a typical romance novel about lost love but I certainly did not expect high school romance meets coming-of-age meets quasi-science fiction meets quasi-dystopia. You know something is off the moment you read the first few pages because the main character, Kathy, talks about carers, donors, guardians. I immediately thought she was working in at a nursing home or a hospital. It took me a several pages in that she and her classmates are not in any normal school and probably do not live in the same world as we do. I also found it odd that in their world, they were obsessed with art and not sports.

Their school appeared to be isolated from the main cities. I found it strange the students did not feel restless. Living Los Angeles, I’ve met a lot of transplants from all over who tell me they grew up in rural you-name-it and could not wait to get out. I would expect the students in Ishiguro’s world to feel that way.

What I found interesting was that I did not feel a pull of resistance about their fates throughout the book. I feel it’s due to the main character. If we followed another character’s point of view I’m sure we’d find at least a tinge of resistance early in the novel.

Like I said, I don’t want to give too much away. I was full of questions and I imagined every implication of what happened. I feel the story was about the power and dominance of culture which was why never there was no resistance nor a desire to break away from their fates.

Verdict: I thought this was one of the most unique books I’ve read. I’m not sure what it was that drew me page-after-page well after my bedtime. Maybe I kept playing with my imagination, kept asking questions at every scene figuring out what the heck was going on.

I said the magic word “dystopia”. Don’t expect it to be like the The Hunger Games, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Living the High Life at “The Thousandth Floor”

“Up here on the roof, so close to the stars, she felt young and alive and hateful.”

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee is a quick, guilty-pleasure read. It takes place 100 years into the future in Manhattan and it’s is no longer an island, but a lone tower stretching into the sky at a thousand floors.

I wonder, how many meters would 1,000 floors be? The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is at 154 floors at 584.5 m (1,918 ft) and this does not include the tip. For 1,000 floors, you are looking at a little more than 6 Burj Khalifa’s — about 6.5. At 1,000 floors, it’s still within the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Maybe that’s all that praying was, she thought, just wishing good outcomes on other people.”

The floors are separated by class — if you live in the lower floors, you are in the lower, working class supporting the upper-floor residents. The higher you go in the tower, the higher your social economic standing. Then you have the super-elite families in the top floors living the glamorous life where it seems no one worries about money. These people have the latest clothes, technologies, and club memberships.

Five characters across different social classes tell their story in the book. Avery is the richest girl who lives in the penthouse and you have her rich friends, Leda and Eris. Then you have Watt who lives the middle class life and Rylin who lives in the lower floors of the tower working low-wage jobs to support her family. Out of all these characters, I was rooting for Eris and Rylin. Rylin got a chance for a better life and Eris was turning herself around. I’ll just leave it at that.

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

I was intrigued with the idea of a whole city living in a tower — and we might well be on our way — which is why I wanted to read the book. The technologies featured in the book were pretty cool. In the year 2118, you can send text messages via your eyes (instead of smartphones), you take a train from Manhattan to Paris in minutes, instead of laser tag there’s AR tag.

This book is part of the Thousandth Floor trilogy and I look forward to reading the next book, Dazzling Heights.

Recommendation: Gossip Girl meets the “Jetson’s”. If you don’t like hearing about rich people’s problems, then this book is not for you.

Have you read The Thousandth Floor?

Wild Eclectic Book Club (Name in Progress): I am trying a blog series where every other Wednesday I review a book from my ever-changing Current Reads page. My goal is I write a review without giving too much away!