Yelly Reads

Just Read: The Daughters of the Dragon

Sometimes we see the news on TV, feel engaged and properly outraged at the injustice, and then promptly forget about it. This has been true for the issue that is the backdrop of the Daughters of the Dragon.

Anything that mentions World War II instantly hooks me, in particular, especially if it relates to the Japanese attempt to annex Asia. My grandfather was a World War II veteran and he survived the Death March in the Philippines and being a POW in a Japanese prison camp. My grandmother experienced the fear and dread that a soldier’s wife felt when trying to learn about the fate of her soldier husband. My father and his older siblings were children during the war and I remember the stories that he used to tell me about the horrors that he witnessed as a child. He had particular opinions about the Japanese and Korean soldiers that were in the Philippines at the time. And I must admit, I had prejudices when I started reading the book.

The Daughters of the Dragon, while fictional, deals with the very harrowing reality that the Japanese Imperial Army did physically and emotionally damage a lot of women by forcing them to be sex slaves during the war. I remember seeing news clips of the Filipino comfort women demonstrating in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila when I still lived in the Philippines. At the time, I was young and almost completely unaware of the extent of damage that the Japanese Imperial Army was wreaking on the whole of Asia, let alone the experiences of other countries. My view was very myopic because it was trained on what I knew about the Japanese from my dad’s stories.

Without going into spoilers, this book provides you with insight into the thoughts of a young woman experiencing the rape and physical abuse that all those comfort women went through. And although it is an uncomfortable read because of the topic, I found William Andrews’ writing very insightful. The way he conveyed the thoughts and feelings of the central character Hong Jae-hee was quite discerning. I found myself feeling alternatively angry, fearful, uncharacteristically helpless and very, very sad. The narrative wasn’t emotional. It felt almost matter-of-fact, but despite that, it didn’t feel antiseptic or dispassionate. The realistic description of the surroundings, the people and the kind of interactions allowed almost a cinema-like view of how the story unfolded. I struggled to put the book down and would find myself being awake at 1AM trying to finish “just this chapter”.

I’ve bought the entire Dragon series after buying this book because I wanted to know what happened next! But, also, as a result, I’m reading more about the plight of these girls – children really, who I now know have come from the Philippines, Korea (where this book is set), Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan. It makes me want to know more. It makes me wonder about the scars that my grandfather and grandmother hid from their children and their grandchildren. It makes me realise that the cost of war, of imperialism is more than the amount in currencies that are reported.

Onto the next book! I’m reading The Dragon Queen next!

Yelly Reads

Writing weekend


This weekend I’m going to do a lot of writing…and tackling a huge amount of ironing!

I posted a question on my Instagram stories a few days ago because I’ve been building a list of books I’m aiming to read this year. What are your book list must-haves?

Right. Enough prevaricating. Those clothes aren’t going to iron themselves!

Yelly Writes

Quiet evenings

This week has been quite the busy week, with the days whooshing past.

Because I work at an accountants, I do want to ask this question: have you filed your taxes already? The deadline for the Self Assessment 2018 tax return is on 31 January 2019. For everyone salaried, we don’t necessarily have to worry about this, but if you do self assessment, I would suggest filing sooner than later. The HMRC website has known to crash on the deadline date because a lot of people leave it until the last possible moment. For more information, you can go to the HMRC website.

Public service announcement done.

In other news, I’ve almost finished The Silent Companions! Pretty good going eh, since I’m aiming to read at least 24 books this year! What are you reading?

Since Christmas I’ve been battling a flu-ey thing. The minute I think I’ve kicked it, it rears its ugly head. So for a little while it’ll have to be quiet evenings at home, on the couch, reading, browsing on the internet, binge watching and staring mindlessly at the telly. This is probably the human version of hibernation: head down, nose relatively snotty and travel only done when absolutely required (in my case it’s home to work to home!).

Even though I’ve been sleeping in (and apparently, there is scientific evidence that sleeping in to catch up on sleep may be a good thing), I’m still feeling very blecchy. Are you ready for the work week? Are we all ever ready anyway?

If you’ve got any tips for easing myself out of this schlumpy mood, am all ears!

Yelly Reads

New book alert!

This book has sat in my Kindle for a while.  I loved the title and I loved what it professed to teach me.  BUT I’ve not had the courage to read it.  It will take a lot of courage to read a book that will probably suggest I do things that are completely alien to me.

I have always known that I am a person who cared too much about everything.  I’ve mostly ever really cared about other people more than myself (let’s face it, when you’re the eldest child you’re taught to consider other people, take care of other people, be a shining example and paragon of virtue for other people, be perfect for other people to look up to…etc., etc.!).  Mostly because during the times when I’ve actually put myself first, the resulting situations were disastrous and I ended up hurting so many other people.  So I usually steer clear from what I think are actions that might be construed as “selfish” and “putting myself first.”  Which is, in hindsight, probably why I feel like I’m in a state of arrested development.  It’s because I’ve put others first before wanting to do what I want to do.

In the last 18 months, I’ve come to realise that I do have to put myself first.  No one, not even the people who profess to love me (save a handful of people), have actually done what I’ve done for them: consider me before themselves.

I’ve read reviews about Sarah Knight’s book and I find my interest extremely piqued.  One review says it’s Oprah-esque wisdom with Amy Schumer swearing.  Now that sounds hilarious.

So…without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the book that will be accompanying me on the train journey for the next few days.  See y’all on the other side!

tlcmofngafck

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Yelly Reads

Book du jour: Taming the Queen by Philippa Gregory

I’ve finished another book!  Hurrah!  I am now catching up to my goal to read 24 books this year.  I am now just a book away from catching up!  Yay!

The book that I’m now reading is the next installment in the Tudor story beautifully written by Philippa Gregory.  She now writes about the last of King Henry VIII’s wives, the queen that survived him, Katherine Parr.

I’m about about 5 chapters in now and am quite pleased with my progress!  Here’s to more books, eh?

TamingtheQueenCan someone recommend what I should read next?  Any suggestions folks?

Yelly Reads

Book du jour: The Missing One

So I finally finished Maria Kubica’s book The Good Girl.  It’s quite a good book and very nearly unputdownable.  I nearly missed my train stop several times in the course of reading the book.  It was very interesting because it wasn’t an individual’s story.  It shows how many individuals are affected by one extra-ordinary experience.

But mind you, the ending, the twist at the end, was very nearly unexpected!  A definite must read.

I’ve started on a new book now.  Determined to read 2 books a month.  I am still a book behind but at least I’m progressing!

The book that I’ve just started reading is about Lucy Atkins.  It’s called The Missing One.  It’s a daughter’s journey of discovery, of getting to know her mother after her mother’s death.  I must say it’s quite interesting because it’s several stories intertwined.  Plus there is a science-y bit that I find entirely interesting…it talks about killer whales, orcas.  When I was little, my dad and I watched this movie on TV called Orca, The Killer Whale.  It was about this whale that kills people in this village because fishermen killed his wife and unborn calf.  Does anyone remember this movie?  One scene has this woman hanging out of a house on stilts and the orca eats her leg…but just the one!

I wonder how long it’ll take me to finish this book?

the missing one book cover

 

Yelly Reads

The Good Girl

I cannot remember why I thought this would be a good idea.  I’ve signed up to do a reading challenge on Goodreads.  I’ve set my goal to reading 24 books this year.  2 books a month.  At the time I set my goal, I thought it was really doable.  My commute to work is an hour long each way and I thought, “Great, I’ll manage 2 books a month!”  It’s not as easy as it sounds though!  I’m always worried about goals that I set for myself.  I almost always start something and never finish it.  It’s an annoying trait.  I tend to procrastinate to death, until I just get to my set deadline to find out I didn’t even get to the halfway point of my goal!

I’m already a book behind.  It’s April and I’ve only just started reading my 6th book!  I bought two books of the same title.  I read the other, and it was good read.  It was by Fiona Neill.  But this book is quite the page turner.  I even read it with Alan around on the train.  I think he feels a bit ignored when I read on the train instead of talking to him.  The book, at the moment is unputdownable!

If you get the chance to, read Fiona Neill’s book too, but read this one first.  Particularly if you liked The Girl On The Train.

Oh sorry!  I meant to say, I’m reading Maria Kubica’s The Good Girl.

The Good Girl by Maria Kubica

Yelly Writes

The Reading List for 2013

I finally have my reading list for 2013 (HURRAH!).  The goal is to read these books, and add a few more.  Although, the first book in my list is fairly ambitious, even when you factor in the fact that I do read parts of it everyday as part of my daily devotion!

This is my reading list for 2013:Stack of Library Books

  1. The Bible — yes ALL of it!
  2. The Jane Austen Miscellany by Harry Berry
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  5. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  6. The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth
  7. I Remember Nothing and other reflections by Nora Ephron
  8. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
  9. Room by Emma Donoghue
  10. Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
  11. How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  12. French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

I wanted to make sure that I read books by authors that I’d never read before but I couldn’t resist adding a Philippa Gregory book because I love her books so much!  I’ve discovered that I love historical fiction and this was all because I started reading PG’s books.  I started with The Other Boleyn Girl and was hooked!

Some of the books on the list are already on my Kindle and have been languishing there for ages.  I haven’t had the opportunity (and if I’m honest, most of the time, the inclination to read!  Bad, I know!) to read them yet, so to encourage (read: prod me with a red-hot fireplace poker!) me to read them, I’m adding them to my list.

One book a month, except the Bible because I plan to read that everyday, although the Bible is still on my list of 12 books.  There are 1189 chapters in the Bible and 365 days in a year.  If I read 4 chapters a day, I’ll finish reading the Bible from cover to cover.  Big ask, yes, very definitely.  But I am determined to achieve this particular goal because, as a Christian, I am determined to be able to say that I’ve read the bible.  Properly!

As they say, each approaching new year prompts people into a frenzied goal-setting mindset.  My goal is simply to read more.  I’ve always loved to read.  It’s just giving my reading a little direction!