Monday, September 30, 2019

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
by Tembi Locke

Published: 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Memoir, Recipes, Sicily
Hardback: 352
Rating: 5
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
In Sicily, every story begins with a marriage or a death.

It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of him marrying a black American woman, an actress no less. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forges on. They build a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopt at birth. Eventually, they reconcile with Saro’s family just as he faces a formidable cancer that will consume all their dreams.

From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family and his origins, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother in law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s incredible romance—an indelible love story that leaps off the pages.


My two-bits:

Inspiring and comforting read with much love, laughter and food despite sadness.

Yummy recipes included.

PeekAbook: Sicilian Pesto recipe



~*~

* part of Reese's Book Club 2019 (here)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 9.29.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin art exhibit with his piece of 2,000 dragons at the deYoung museum


2. Monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News! -got truffles this time around as the tasting was a repeat for local chocolate artisans, 9th and Larkin

3. Indian summer with warm autumn colored evening skies

~*~

Bought:

The Execution of Justice
by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
-Mystery, Austria | Goodreads

FOR my face-to-face group, Foreign Mystery Book Club - November pick.

Monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News!
September pick: Oktoberfest truffles


Library:

Swiss Vendetta
(Agnes Luthi Mysteries #1)
by Tracee de Hahn
-Mystery, Switzerland | Goodreads

FOR my face-to-face group, Foreign Mystery Book Club - October pick.


The Handmaid's Tale:
The Graphic Novel
by Renée Nault (Adapter, Artist)
based on novel by Margaret Atwood
-Dystopia, Graphic Novel | Goodreads

REFRESH my memory before reading the sequel, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

Celebrate ¡VIVA! Annual Celebration of Latino Hispanic Heritage:

Dinner
by César Aira
-Novella, Zombies, Argentina| Goodreads

Gods of Jade and Shadow
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
-Fantasy, Historical, Mythology, Mexico | Goodreads

The Shape of the Ruins
by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
-Literary, Historical, Columbia| Goodreads


Freebie: from Free Little Library

Sing To It
by Amy Hempel
-Short Stories, Literary | Goodreads

COVER love and heard good things about this one.

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Murder in the Bastille by Cara Black

Murder in the Bastille
by Cara Black

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
YouTube | Twitter

Published: 2004
Publisher: Soho Crime
Genre: Mystery, France, Paris
Hardback: 276
Rating: 4

Aimée Leduc Investigation series:
Murder in the Marais (1999)
Murder in Belleville (2000)
Murder in the Sentier (2003)
Murder in the Bastille (2004)
Murder in Clichy (2005)
Murder in Montmartre (2006)
Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis (2007)
Murder in the Rue de Paradis (2008)
Murder in the Latin Quarter (2009)
Murder in the Palais Royale (2010)
Murder in Passy (2011)
Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (2012)
Murder Below Montparnasse (2013)
Murder In Pigalle (2014)
Murder on the Champ de Mars (2015)
Murder on the Quai (2016)
Murder in Saint-Germain (2017)
Muder on the Left Bank (2018)
Murder in Bel-Air (2019)

First sentence(s):
Aimée Leduc felt the air shift, the floating candles waver, as a woman murmuring into a cell phone, wearing a black silk Chinese jacket identical to Aimée's sat down on the restaurant banquette next to her.

Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc is all dressed up in her new Chinese silk jacket, supposedly a designer’s “exclusive,” for dinner with a difficult client at an elegant restaurant in the Bastille district. She is chagrined to see that the woman seated at the very next table is wearing an identical jacket. When the woman leaves her cell phone on the table, Aimée follows her to return it and is attacked in the shadowy Passage Boule Blanche. When she regains consciousness, Aimée finds that she is blind. Nevertheless, she is told she is lucky; the woman she was following was found in the next passage, murdered.

Aimée is determined to identify her attacker. Was he actually a serial killer targeting showy blondes, as the police insist? Was he really after the other woman? Or was Aimée his intended victim?


My two-bits:

Mystery solving continues in Paris. Aimée's detective parter, Rene gets fleshed out more with some details on his background.

Aimée is presented with an additional challenge of working with a disability.

Got me googling black silk Chinese embroidered jackets. So pretty.

~*~

* part of Paris in July (here)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom

Winter in Madrid
by C.J. Sansom

Published: 2006
Publisher: Pan Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Spain
Paperback: 549
Rating: 4
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
Bernie had lain at the foot of the knoll for hours, half conscious.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, a privileged young man who was recently traumatized by his experience in Dunkirk and is now a reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of Sandy Forsyth, an old school friend turned shadowy Madrid businessman, Brett finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories. Meanwhile, Sandy’s girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own—to find her former lover Bernie Piper, whose passion for the Communist cause led him into the International Brigades and who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

My two-bits:
Not so much a murder mystery, but more a historical of post the Spanish Civil War period in Madrid.

The state of the people, politics and espionage are covered.

A romance and an unexpected end kept me reading through this chunkster.

~*~

* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Blog All About It: Crunch

Hollow Kingdom
by Kira Jane Buxton
-Dystopia, Humor, Zombies | Goodreads

READ: with favorite crunchy snack - Cheetos

So, I was forced to bring in the big guns: Cheetos, those delectable, radioactive poofs.
-chapter 5, page 27



CRUNCH SIGHTINGS:

Hunger
A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay
-Memoir | Goodreads

I can still remember the crunch of it beneath my bare feet as I snuck out the next morning.
-chapter 26



On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong
-Literary, Poetry, LGBTQ | Goodreads

"I don't need to read," you said, your expression crunched, and pushed away from the table.
-chapter 1, page 5



EAT:

Cap'n Crunch cookie
from Jane on Fillmore


LOL:

Cap'n Crunch's
Halloween Crunch
Ghosts Turn Your Milk GREEN!

~*~

* part of the Blog All About It Challenge (here)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell

Published: 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, UK
Hardback: 359
Rating: 4
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
Those months, the months befoe she disappeared, were the best months.

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.

Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?

Who still has secrets to hide?


My two-bits:
That lady was nuts!

Certain parts were so sad. But the mystery was compelling.

~*~

* listened to the audio version

* part of Author binge: Lisa Jewell (here)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found You
by Lisa Jewell
narrated by Helen Duff

Published: 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Hardback: 352
Rating: 4
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
Alice Lake lives in a house by the sea.

'How long have you been sitting out here?'
'I got here yesterday.'
'Where did you come from?'
'I have no idea.'

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.


My two-bits:
Unrealiable characters kept me on edge with this story.

Ended up liking one of the unreliables.

The topic of dissociative amnesia is introduced with this story - amazing how the mind protects.

Includes a touch of romance.

~*~

* Filipino characters mentioned

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Author binge: Lisa Jewell (here)

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

The Last House Guest
by Megan Miranda
Published: 2019
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Maine
Paperback: 336
Rating: 4
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
I almost went back for her.

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of - but that's just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable - until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can't help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie's brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they're saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.


My two-bits:
Captures the small town summer feels with a mystery that kept me guessing.

Got me thinking of the haves and have nots.

~*~

* part of Reese's Book Club 2019 (here)

* part of Books and States challenge (here): Maine

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 9.22.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Listening to Billie Eilish's Bad Guy --- duh

2. Eating Mid-Autumn Festival Chinese Mooncakes

3. Pre-dawn photography session at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza bus pad - shadows


~*~

Author event:

A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
-Historical, Russia, Moscow | Goodreads

Bookshop in West Portal won an instagram challenge which granted them a visit from Amor Towles for Q&A.

Bookshop West Portal
Winner of the #agentlemaninmoscowcontest
hosted by Penguin Books


Akin
author: by Emma Donoghue
-Historical, Mystery, France | Goodreads

Bookshop in West Portal hosted a Q&A with Emma Donoghue to celebrate her new release, Akin.


Library:

Supper Club
by Lara Williams
-Contemporary, Feminism | Goodreads

THIS blurb got me…

A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites--and their physical spaces--that posits the question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?

Savage Appetites
Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession
by Rachel Monroe
-True Crime | Goodreads

SOME dark matter with women.

Fox 8
by George Saunders
-Short story | Goodreads

IMPULSE pick up from library shelf.


AND watched: on DVD

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2010)
Une bouteille à la mer (original title)
Director/Writer: Thierry Binisti
Writer: Valérie Zenatti
Stars: Agathe Bonitzer, Mahmud Shalaby, Hiam Abbass
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Tal is 17 years old. Naim is 20. She's Israeli. He's Palestinian. She lives in Jerusalem. He lives in Gaza. They were born in a land of scorched earth, where fathers bury their children. They must endure an explosive situation that is not of their choosing at an age where young people are falling in love and taking their place in adult life. A bottle thrown in the sea and a correspondence by email nurture the slender hope that their relationship might give them the strength to confront this harsh reality to grapple with it, and thereby ever so slightly change it. Only 60 miles separate them but how many bombings, check-points, sleepless nights and bloodstained days stand between them?

ELEMENTS of friendship, hope, peace permeate throughout.

Rocketman (2019)
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Lee Hall
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
-Biography, Drama, Music | imdb | my rating: 5

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.

FANTASTICAL musical rendition (with favorite hit songs) of Elton John's life from childhood to present had some sad but feel good moments.

IT chapter 2 (2019)
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Gary Dauberman
Based on book by: Stephen King
Stars: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
-Drama, Fantasy, Horror | imdb | my rating: 4

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

FACING fears and a certain clown equals scary times.

Downton Abbey (2019)
Director: Michael Engler
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Based on tv series: Downton Abbey
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.

LOTS of smiling, chuckling, snickering while watching Downton Abbey in a tizzy for preparation and hosting responsibilities for the King and Queen of England.

Ms. Purple (2019)
Director/Writer: Justin Chon
Writer: Chris Dinh
Stars: Jake Choi, Tiffany Chu, Mark Krenik
-Drama, American Korean | imdb | my rating: 5

MS. PURPLE, from award-winning filmmaker Justin Chon (Gook), is the poignant story of the family loyalties of an Asian American brother and sister, set in a dreamy vision of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, reminiscent of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love.

Kasie (Tiffany Chu) struggles to take care of her comatose father at home, refusing to put him in hospice, because he raised her and her brother when their mother abandoned them. Kasie works as a Koreatown karaoke hostess, making good money keeping obnoxious drunken businessmen happy, and is well able to handle herself, but when her father’s in-home nurse quits, she is desperate. She calls her estranged brother Carey (Teddy Lee) to come home and help care for their father, and he agrees. As they reconnect over their dying father, Kasie and Carey confront the deep emotional wounds of their difficult shared past, attempting to mend their relationship.

Winner, Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature, Dallas International Film Festival.



This screening included a Q&A session with Tiffany Chu (actor), Alex Chi (producer) and moderated by Masashi Niwano, Festival & Exhibition Director at the Center for Asian American Media.

BEAUTIFULLY done with colors, soundtrack and quiet scenes.

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Man Booker Prize Reading Challenge 2019

Man Booker Prize
Reading Challenge

official site

~*~

The short list was announced on September 3 and it always excites me to see. Going to work my way through the list.

The winner will be announced on October 14.

WINNER: two this year
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

~*~

Books on the short list:

The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood
-Dystopia, Feminism | Goodreads

Ducks, Newburyport
by Lucy Ellmann
-Contemporary, Literary | Goodreads

Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
-Contemporary, Short Stories | Goodreads

An Orchestra of Minorities
by Chigozie Obioma
-Literary, Africa, Nigeria | Goodreads

Quichotte
by Salman Rushdie
-Contemporary, Literary | Goodreads

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
by Elif Shafak
-Contemporary, Literary | Goodreads

Friday, September 20, 2019

Mr. Flood's Last Resort by Jess Kidd

Mr. Flood's Last Resort
by Jess Kidd

Published: 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Magical Realism, Ireland
Hardback: 252
Rating: 5
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
He has a curious way of moving through his rubbish.

Maud Drennan is a dedicated caregiver whose sunny disposition masks a deep sadness. A tragic childhood event left her haunted, in the company of a cast of prattling saints who pop in and out of her life like tourists. Other than visiting her agoraphobic neighbor, Maud keeps to herself, finding solace in her work and in her humble existence–until she meets Mr. Flood.

Cathal Flood is a menace by all accounts. The lone occupant of a Gothic mansion crawling with feral cats, he has been waging war against his son’s attempts to put him into an old-age home and sent his last caretaker running for the madhouse. But Maud is this impossible man’s last chance: if she can help him get the house in order, he just might be able to stay. So the unlikely pair begins to cooperate, bonding over their shared love of Irish folktales and mutual dislike of Mr. Flood’s overbearing son.

Still, shadows are growing in the cluttered corners of the mansion, hinting at buried family secrets, and reminding Maud that she doesn’t really know this man at all. When the forgotten case of a missing schoolgirl comes to light, she starts poking around, and a full-steam search for answers begins.


My two-bits:
Loved the paranormal (ghosts) and mystery mix.

The characters were quirky, colorful and fun to follow through this story.

PeekAbook: Loved the illustrations at the chapter headings


~*~

* part of ibc book club (here)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Audition by Ryū Murakami

Audition
by Ryū Murakami
translated by Ralph McCarthy

Published: 2010
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Japan
Paperback: 192
Rating: 5
Goodreads

First sentence(s):
"Why don't you find yourself a new wife, Pops?"

Zombie sighting:
Yamasake Asami loked like a sleepwalker, or a zombie , plodding unsteadily after Shige with one arm raised before her.
-chapter 12, page 188

Documentary-maker Aoyama hasn't dated anyone in the seven years since the death of his beloved wife, Ryoko. Now even his teenage son Shige has suggested he think about remarrying. So when his best friend Yoshikawa comes up with a plan to hold fake film auditions so that Aoyama can choose a new bride, he decides to go along with the idea.

My two-bits:
I watched the movie version of this awhile ago and found it hair-raising.

The original story from the book follows suit but with its characters fleshed out especially regarding the bride-to-be. We get to see where her crazy comes from.

Also, this story gives off a different vibe which turns out just as good.

~*~

* weekly theme: Japan - horror

Monday, September 16, 2019

Super Sushi Ramen Express by Michael Booth

Super Sushi Ramen Express
One Family's Journey Through the Belly of Japan
by Michael Booth
narrated by Ralph Lister
Published: 2016
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Memoir, Food, Travel
Hardback: 336
Rating: 5
Goodreads

First sentence(s):
It had started off as a perfectly temperate discussion about the relative merits of French and Japanese cuisines.

Japan is the pre-eminent food nation on earth. The Japanese go to the most extraordinary lengths and expense to eat the finest, most delectable, and downright freakiest food imaginable. Their creativity, dedication and ingenuity, not to mention courage in the face of dishes such as cod sperm, whale penis and octopus ice cream, is only now beginning to be fully appreciated in the sushi-saturated West, as are the remarkable health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet.

Inspired by Shizuo Tsuji's classic book, Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art, food and travel writer Michael Booth sets off to take the culinary pulse of contemporary Japan, learning fascinating tips and recipes that few westerners have been privy to before. Accompanied by with two fussy eaters under the age of six, he and his wife travel the length of the country, from bear-infested, beer-loving Hokkaido to snake-infested, seaweed-loving Okinawa.

Along the way, they dine with - and score a surprising victory over - sumos; meet the indigenous Ainu; drink coffee at the dog café; pamper the world's most expensive cows with massage and beer; discover the secret of the Okinawan people's remarkable longevity; share a seaside lunch with free-diving, female abalone hunters; and meet the greatest chefs working in Japan today. Less happily, they trash a Zen garden, witness a mass fugu slaughter, are traumatised by an encounter with giant crabs, and attempt a calamitous cooking demonstration for the lunching ladies of Kyoto. They also ask, 'Who are you?' to the most famous TV stars in Japan.

What do the Japanese know about food? Perhaps more than anyone on else on earth, judging by this fascinating and funny journey through an extraordinary food-obsessed country.


My two-bits:

Loved the details and historical bits on Japanese food including convenience store offerings, sumo wrestler's diet, tempura, umami, etc.

Side stories with family members were cute.

~*~

* weekly theme: Japan - food

* listened to the audio version

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima

The Sound of Waves
by Yukio Mishima
Published: 1956
Publisher: Berkley Medallion
Paperback: 141
Rating: 5
Goodreads

First sentence(s):
Uta-Jima--song Island--has only about fourteen hundred inhabitants and a coastline of something under three miles.

Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. It tells of Shinji, a young fisherman and Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. Shinji is entranced at the sight of Hatsue in the twilight on the beach and they fall in love. When the villagers' gossip threatens to divide them, Shinji must risk his life to prove his worth.

My two-bits:

Beautiful love story with folktale feels.

Loved the unexpected ways this storytelling went.

~*~

* weekly theme: Japan - small town

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Sea of Japan by Keita Nagano

The Sea of Japan
by Keita Nagano

Published: September 2019
Publisher: SparkPress
Genre: Women's Fiction, Japan
Paperback: 344
Rating: 5
Goodreads

First sentence(s):
I was okay with living in a town where work was boring, there was not entertainment, and almost nobody spoke English when I thought I could leave whenever I wanted.

After fleeing a disastrous teaching job (and a bad gambling habit) in Boston, Lindsey starts teaching English in Hime, a small fishing town in Japan. One morning, while trying to snap the perfect ocean sunrise photo for her mother, she slips off a rock at the edge of Toyama Bay, hits her head, and plunges into the sea―and in doing so, sets off an unexpected chain of events.

When Lindsey comes to in the hospital, she learns that she owes her life to a young man named Ichiro―a local fisherman who also happens to be the older brother of one of her students. She begins to spend time with her lifesaver, and in the ensuing months, she becomes increasingly enmeshed in her new life: when she is not busy teaching, she splits her time between an apprenticeship with the local master sushi chef and going out fishing with Ichiro. As she and Ichiro grow closer, however, she also learns that not all is well in Hime, and she is drawn into a war to stop the town next door from overfishing their shared bay. Soon, she, Ichiro, and her pastrami-obsessed best friend, Judy―the person who talked Lindsey into coming to Japan in the first place―are spending all their free time working together to rescue the town. But when their efforts backfire, Hime gets closer to falling apart―putting Lindsey’s friends, her budding relationship with Ichiro, and her career in jeopardy. To save Hime, Lindsey realizes, she’ll have to become a true American fisherwoman and fight for her new home with everything she has.


My two-bits:

Loved getting exposed to the small town fishing village in this story. I really felt the sense of community and history through the eyes of the protagonist.

Also loved the character growth.

~*~

* part of blog tour

* weekly theme: Japan - small town

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata
translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
narrated by Nancy Wu

Published: 2018
Publisher: Portobello Books
Genre: Contemporary, Japan
Paperback: 163
Rating: 5
Goodreads

First sentence(s):
A convenience store is a world of sound.

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis—but will it be for the better?


My two-bits:

Oh, the pressures to be "normal".

I found myself chuckling at the interaction between the quirky characters.

Loved the character growth of the protagonist.

Appreciation for convenience stores. Definitely a place to visit when in Japan.

~*~

* weekly theme: Japan - conformity

* listened to the audio version
 
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