Wine Wednesday: The House by the River Review

Do you recall two weeks ago when I did a review on 2 books for World Book Day? Well, here’s the third book’s review that I got during those days of free e-books and super cheap audiobook versions because I have the eBook version.

My two books for World book day were Last Train to Istanbul and A River in Darkness. Go check them both out, on top of going to my World book day post, if you want my opinions on them.

I’ve truly fallen in love with audiobooks lately. My “day job” is so dull, and to listen to podcasts and books make my job more bearable. I’m aiming this month, to decrease my spending, and get more income, through working with people who may lower my costs of things I can enjoy, and things I can’t dodge paying (mainly the electric bill, for now…stay tuned for that!).

Anyway, let’s get into this review for ya’ll. It’s been too long since World Book Day, and I told you I’d read/listen and share my thoughts.

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This little love story is the story of a woman’s 5 girls who all left her, 4 out of love for a man, that would each take them to different places outside of their small town, and their house by the river. The last girl went out on her own journey, as she went after her passion instead of love like the other sisters.

Going through the book, you take each girl’s journey, and like the girls, you almost forget about the mother, who lost each one of her children, until they get into a situation where they miss and feel the need to go back to the house by the river, but are too ashamed to go back to there.

You can see most of their struggles, and see where they should’ve gone back, or at least dove deeper into their adult relationship with their mother.

This book is a perfect lead up/reminder for Mother’s Day (at least those who participate in it). As someone who only knows the daughter side of things, and only seeing my own mother a handful of times in the almost decade, this is such a reminder of what my mother might see things.

With some of the girls’ struggles in their personal lives, I’ve also seen where my own relationships could go. The advice that the girls’ mother, let alone the influential people they meet along the way, is everything a young woman needs to hear, let alone reflect on.

If you’re interested in the book, visit:
physical copy
ebook
audio version

Try audiable if you aren’t sure about it, or haven’t yet! It’s great for long commutes (personally, over a half hour each way), or if your job is as dull as mine is, and you can at least somewhat get away with audio books. Each book you get, you keep, regardless if you keep your membership. I’ve paused mine a couple times, and enjoy re-listening to some books.

A lot of my older books were cheaper since I had the book in my kindle app, and I only had listened to so much of the book, versus reading it. Half the time, if I can’t get into a book, but want to finish it, I’ll grab the audio version and listen to it at work and it’s made the world of difference!

What fiction books have you been reading lately? Do you like reading books (physical or ebook) or do you like audio books better? I’d like to hear, so I can read/listen, review, and share on here!

See all the books I’ve read or listened to below:
House by the River
A River in Darkness
Last Train to Instanbul

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World Book Day 2018: What I Read

Going through the Google suggested articles on my phone (open your chrome app, and as long as your home page is google.com, or on google.com, scroll down, you can read suggested articles), I had an article that today was going to be World Book Day, and Amazon was giving away 9 books from around the world, translated into English for the 9 days leading up to today.

Who wouldn’t take a look at the list? Unfortunately, I think a lot. I got 3 books off the list, and got the audiobook version for $2 each, so I could partake in this day. It’s also nice to learn about other cultures, and what others went through. Fiction or true story, I’m sharing my review on 2 of the books given for free: “A River in Darkness” by Masaji Ishikawa, and “The Last Train to Istambul” by Ayse Kulin. The other one I’ll do another post on soon.

I spent most of what I could of Wednesday and Thursday last week, listening to the first book, and took my time up until today, to listen to the second. Why? Because the second one IS. SO. LONG.

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So I’ll start with “A River in Darkness”. It’s a true story from a guy who was half Korean, half Japanese, whose father got the promise of North Korea becoming a nation of its own, a paradise, which fell through. The family moved to North Korea, even though the dad was born in the south.

He stayed there through his parents’ passing, in the 90’s, and had his own family there as well. After he couldn’t afford to keep raising his family with the “lowest of low” status he had, as a Japanese man, he tries to deflect, and makes it into China, and makes it to the consulate, to try to make it back to his home, Japan, to hopefully save his family as well.

Hearing him go through the troubles he did, with hearing his parent’s death, years apart, while seeing his sister pregnant out of wedlock, to his issues with moving just from China back to Japan, is something. I even wrote in my gratitude journal, that I was glad (and am glad) and grateful for the fact that I grew up here in the States.

Listening to this story, helps me connect a bit with the distaste that the Japanese people had against Koreans, especially the North. My dad grew up in Japan, as a white boy, and was discriminated against, and grew up knowing some of these distastes of Koreans, still affecting him to this day, I’m sure.

Now let’s dive into the other book I listened to: “Last Train to Istanbul”.

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I’m so glad that I went for the audio book version of this! Kindle suggests a 9 hour reading time, and a 12 hour listening time, but OMG my attention span would make the reading time like 20 hours, I’m sure of it. But I got through just under half of it, by listening to it, just in the first “session”, during my first day back at my mundane job.

You follow a few different families, during both world wars, and it’s truly so much to take in. Hearing their differences, how they came together in their own family, for whatever reason, to eventually come to a lot of the same fears, for different reasons, is so amazing.

I can tell you though, that the second half (really the last third, just about) makes the book. The first third feels like it’s going on forever, and the second third has some “meat” to it, but the last third is where you see all of the characters’ stories come together, on that journey to Turkey. The journey to get to the train, and the train ride, you really feel their anxieties, from each stop, to while they’re blatantly going through Berlin, like if half of them weren’t Jewish, is something else. It really does end on a bittersweet note as well.

Learning and appreciating different cultures is not something that is to be frowned upon. It’s the same thing we need to do about other cultures and countries, that we need to do the same with history. They go hand in hand. So please, read, listen, and talk to others who may have lived a little differently than you. And of course, share yours when the time comes as well, with those who want to learn about yours.