thoughts on: never let me go by ishiguro kazuo.

As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed – even comforted – by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now. (x)

Just a few days ago, I finished “Never Let Me Go” by Ishiguro Kazuo. (Or Kazuo Ishiguro; I’m not sure, because I have a couple different sources telling me different things? I’m not familiar with the Japanese naming convention, sorry!) A friend recommended it to me with the highest praises, telling me (and I quote) it would “rip my heart out of my chest and beat it into the ground with a baseball bat.”

Well then.

Never Let Me Go was, simply, a beautiful book. It’s easy to read; honestly, this review is going to be only a few sentences long as I’m still unable to find the words to describe what it was like reading this book. The entire time I was reading, I felt like I was at Hailsham, looking out into the fields and walking with the characters as they gossiped amongst themselves. If I could describe Never Let Me Go in a feeling or thought, it would be tucked up in your blankets, by yourself, watching it rain outside your window.

All I can say thus far is that the ending, while painful, was honestly the only way the book could end, and epitomized the tone of the entire story – nostalgic and a little sad and a little beautiful.

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a few words on earth day and peace of mind.

Last Tuesday, only a few days ago, was Earth Day. Now, I tend to err on the anti-establishment side of things and don’t usually partake in these little holidays, but even I can appreciate Earth Day. It’s a well-meaning notion, and I really do believe that we, as citizens of this planet, need to do our part to take care of our home.

And (as of yet), as there is no other known habitable planet in the universe, if we don’t, we’re pretty much screwed. But the idea of imminent doom shouldn’t be what drives people to reduce, reuse, and recycle so much as simple human courtesy.

Anyhow, for Earth Day, my English class had a mini-field trip of sorts. Well, the term “field trip” is what our teacher used, and to be honest, it’s a stretch, as the “field trip” consisted of a pretty brief walk around campus, and a rather random five-minute lucid equivalent to a nap in the grass (basically, everyone just sitting silently in a circle, contemplating life, I guess). It was kind of weird and a little unexpected and frankly, despite my support of Earth Day and recycling and other green-oriented endeavors, I’m not a nature person at all.

But the thing is, it was nice. It was peaceful, and for a few minutes, I didn’t have to worry about analyzing em dashes or keeping track of the (markedly very, very hectic) family trees and alliances in The Count of Monte Cristo. All I had to do was – well, that was the thing. I didn’t have to do anything. I could just sit and not have to think.

And I think that’s really important – not “sitting and not thinking” in particular, but just taking a breather every now and then. I’ve probably already discussed this topic at large already, but we’re all incredibly busy people. We have classes and jobs and lives and obligations of all sorts to think about; we’re not machines, every now and then we need a break.

what makes sadness or anger legitimate? age, obviously.

A few days ago, I finished All Quiet.

Wow.

I have a lot of thoughts about the ending, obviously; ranging from “oh my god my poor baby Paul and oh god Kat” to “you know, that was a pretty solid ending” to “WHAT KIND OF AN ENDING IS THAT?? I NEED A RE-WRITE WHERE EVERYONE IS HAPPY AND NO ONE DIES.” If I have time I’ll go through the parts I liked, the parts I didn’t like, etc. But in particular, today I wanted to write about this idea that stuck with me.

Paul and his companions are, evidently, not considered actual people, really. From Kantorek, they are simply young, impressionable minds to be influenced and sent to the front lines as essentially fodder. From Himmelstoss, they are nothing. From civilian society, they are war heroes, deeds, the epitome of romanticized war instead of the living repercussions of such brutality. From no sides are they thought of as actual, individual people with individual fears and dreams and desires – rather, they’re lumped in with those near to them in age or rank, and treated all the same.

It reminds me of this letter I read yesterday.

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terrible cw shoes & camaraderie

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m really into The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. (The Originals is a spin-off of TVD, and quite frankly I’m 95% sure I willed it into being.) And yes, I’m aware of all the stigma that comes with being a teenage girl with a love of all things supernatural – although I’m not sure if it’s undeserved, considering how absolutely atrocious TVD’s writing is. Trust me, no one is more ashamed and embarrassed than I am. No one prays more fervently for the show to be canceled already, for Christ’s sake, because Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder can only play 17 year old / young 20’s immortal, morally gray vampires with washboard abs for so long.

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thoughts on: all quiet on the western front by erich marie remarque

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In English class we recently started “All Quiet On The Western Front” by Erich Marie Remarque, proclaimed by the cover as ‘the greatest war novel of all time.’ The book follows the story of the Second Company through the experiences of a young student named Paul Baumer and his companions as they struggle to come to terms with how deeply the war has affected them and shaken everything they had thought to be true before enlisting in the army. And – I’ll admit – it’s a pretty great book, even if you’re not a fan of war novels.

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thoughts on: lolita by vladimir nabokov

 

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Confession: I am not actually done with Lolita, but I’ve progressed relatively far into the book during my English class’s brain fuel sessions – and from previous friends and acquaintances’ input and my own Internet sleuthing (my greatest weakness is my habitual Wikipedia-trolling in the moments where I should be doing anything but), I am already aware of how the book ends. However, I haven’t included any specifics, so for anyone who is planning to read the book and doesn’t want spoilers, it should be fairly safe.

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“what did you do over winter break?”

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In English the other day, we were given an assignment to write a funny story about our winter breaks, and why they were funny. Now, I thought I was the only one to have nothing exciting to say, but judging by the chorus of groans and “ugh”s i heard, I wasn’t alone. 
As I was writing, I got to thinking. (And Lord knows, that’s dangerous.) yeah, maybe by conventional standards I “wasted” my break. Maybe I didn’t travel or do new things or fill my social calendar with exciting parties and events. But frankly, it’s unrealistic to expect such things. 

a tale of two cities: goodbye, old friend.

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For weeks, A Tale Of Two Cities has been a constant in my backpack, my English class, and my subconscious. The novel had become a huge part of my academic life – most notoriously, the night before my English test where I stayed up until midnight to go over and do notes until my hands were cramping. Dickens’ complicated 1800’s language and obscure Greek metaphors plagued my mind. Now, our journey is over.
And, predictably, I have a few thoughts.