Book Review | Beyond The Bright Sea

32623542Synopsis

“Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. 

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.”

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

“I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.”

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While middle grade is not typically a genre I usually gravitate towards, I have to honestly say that this story warmed my heart. Lauren Wolk, the highly acclaimed author of Wolf Hollow, another middle grade book, delights us with a story about self discovery, adventure and most important of all, family. In Beyond the Bright Sea, we follow the story of Crow, a little girl who happened to wash up on the shores of Cuttyhunk Island tied on a skiff, and was found and saved by Osh, a man who would take care of her as if she were his own daughter. As Crow grows up, and her curiosity in everything that surrounds her increases, she starts questioning not only her own origins, but also something that strikes her as very odd: the fact that Osh and her have lived secluded on their cottage built from materials of shipwrecks away from the other inhabitants of the island, except for Miss Maggie.

The story focuses on Crow’s struggle to come to terms with the fact that she does not know her own history, who her real parents are, or why she was sent away on a skiff all alone when she was only a baby, and her determination to change that. From there, the story unfolds in the journey that Crow sets herself upon in order to discover the truth about her past and about why everyone on the island seem to stay away from her every time they see her. And the truth is soon revealed, when Crow learns that the reason lies behind the fact that the islanders think that she came from Penikese, a former leprosarium nearby, where people were sent to live and, eventually, die. Crow feels her heart shatter at the thought of her possibly being born from lepers and being a leper herself. This is where Wolk does wonders through her storytelling skills. She tackles such hard issues like prejudice against otherness, discrimination by people, who in their own ignorance, let their ungrounded fears take hold of their minds instead of seeking out information about those who are not like them, or so they think. It is their prejudice and fear that Crow is a leper that leads them to ostracize her, even to the point of not letting her get near other children, like when she tries to go to the island school to learn alongside other kids and is turned down due to their schoolmaster’s fear of contagion. Examples like this discrimination that Crow has to endure plague the book, and I think that Lauren creates a very wise contrast of how differently two kinds of people react to when faced with the unknown. While the islanders turn their backs on Crow, even when they are not certain as to whether Crow is a leper or not, Osh and Miss Maggie took Crow into their lives as soon as she appeared on the island, and have been their guardians and her “adoptive” family ever since.

One of the aspects I liked the most about this book was the message underlying the story. The concept of family isn’t a black and white matter in this book, as it shouldn’t be in real life either I think, because for Crow, in this case someone whose ancestors are unknown, Osh and Miss Maggie have been the paternal and maternal images she has ever known. Even though she feels curious about her past and where she comes from, and she seeks out the truth about who her parents were, the entire point of the book is that the sense of belonging to a family does not always come from blood ties, but from those ties one can establish with other people whom one may not be related to by blood. It is those relationships Crow established with Osh and Miss Maggie that makes her understand where is her place in this world, and come to the conclusion that it is by their side.

The story is well-paced, with the action and adventure parts of the story being evenly distributed throughout the entire novel, with certain peaks of mysterious events happening at specific points in the story to further the plotline. I found the whole mystery with the treasure and Mr. Kendall, the fake birdkeeper, to be intriguing, yet not as interesting as the characters’ interactions with each other. It is in those scenes, where we see the dynamic between Crow and the people who love her and whom she loves back, the parts of the book where I found myself enjoying it the most. And even though the ending may come abruptly, with Crow’s search for her brother not coming to a closure -though I do have my suspicions as to whom her brother may be, but that is just a theory of mine-, I think that Wolk’s decision to leave it as an open ending in regards that aspect of the plotline was the right one, since it does nothing but strengthen the message she tried to send, that it is not where we come from or who we come from, but where we are and what we do with who we are that defines us.

Lauren Wolk creates in Beyond the Bright Sea an atmospheric novel set in an isolated island, filled with adventure, mystery and characters that will warm your heart and will stay with you for a long while. I could not recommend this book enough to anyone that wants a fast-paced book about self discovery, with well-rounded characters, and a touch of adventure that will only leave you wanting for more.

* This galley is the first stage of printer’s proofs, which has not been corrected by the author, publisher, or printer. All quotations are based on uncorrected text that may be subject to future change.

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Book Review | Everything I Never Told You

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Synopsis:

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.”

Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Blackfriars
Pages: 304

I think I’m amongst the minority when it comes to this book, since I didn’t particularly think it lived up to the hype that has been going on for a while on booktube. That being said, I don’t think this book was bad either, but I do think that it lacked in major aspects of the story, specifically in plotline.

The beginning of the book was everything I expected from it, but as I got further into it, the story and my attention started dwindling until I just couldn’t wait for the book to be finally over. The starting sentence deceives you into thinking you are about to engage in a thriller book, looking for clues among the story to try to understand or anticipate what really happened to Lydia. Was she murdered? How did she end up in the lake? But it is the opposite of that. The story is more focused on the characters and their backgrounds than on the actual investigation which is what you are led to believe by the blurb on the back. I think it was this misguiding that made me expect something this book had never intended to be: a Lovely Bones kind of book. And it is not me who says so, since that is what is written in the cover of the book.

Since the story is told intertwining two temporal points of view, one from the present from the moment Lydia disappears and is later found dead, to her family grieving her death and the police investigating what actually happened, and the other point of view from the past before Lydia disappears, we start getting little bits of information on what might actually have happened that led to Lydia’s death. I think one reason why the story developed extremely slowly it was because of this way of structuring it, and the fact that each chapter lasted 15 pages or so, didn’t help either in making the story more intriguing.

But my disappointment came specifically from the characters themselves and the whole “plot” of this book. In order to understand what the characters experience in this story we have to know that we are being given a perspective of what it was like to be a person of color living in the US during that period of time, when racism and discrimination was extremely prevalent, and when social movements had begun years ago in their fight for their equal rights. Having said this, it was heartbreaking to read about the discrimination James mostly, but also his kids, had to go through their entire lives because of their race. But no amount of sympathy could make me care at all for this characters because of their horrible, horrible decisions they continuously kept making throughout the entire book. I think that I should mention first how horrible Lydia’s parents were. James and Marilyn are the definition of what a parent with failed dreams should NEVER do to their kids, unless you want to leave them with permanent trauma. And this is where the whole conflict of the story arises, Lydia’s parents imposing their own failed dreams onto their kids, their desire to see in their kids what they could never do when they were growing up, and not in a healthy way, I must say. Marilyn, Lydia’s mother, had always wanted to graduate from college and be a medical doctor, going against her own mother’s wishes, to be the wife of a Harvard man and forever be a housewife taking care of her children, but her dreams were shattered when she found out she was pregnant with her first child, Nath. Because of this, she will soon become a smothering mother who will want Lydia to follow the path she never could, with no regard for what Lydia wanted or cared for. And then we have James, the father, who had to suffer the cruelty of kids and adults, and their discrimination towards his race. James was never the popular kid, he could never feel like he belonged anywhere, mainly because he was Chinese and society at that moment was incredibly racist, even more so than today. So when he had Nath and Lydia, he saw in them the perfect opportunity for them to never become or be what he was when he was a child: a loner without any friends. It is because of this that he will become a bit obsessive with Lydia’s social life as well as Nath’s, feeling at points embarrassment at his own son for taking after himself. And so we start to see the pressure Lydia’s parents had put on her, and how trapped she felt in her own life, and this is when I started to anticipate how things were going to end.

There was nothing in these characters that made me care for them, because they all found themselves making terrible decisions, and being completely horrible to one another. And yet, I have to admit that this book is an excellent portrait of a dysfunctional family whose secrets and lies resurface once the loss of Lydia hits them. And in that, I have to congratulate Celeste Ng, because not many could have represented with such perfection the toll it takes being part of a family like that.

Even though Everything I Never Told You wasn’t one of my favorite reads of this year, I have to recommend this debut novel to anyone interested in reading a book that focuses on character portrayals, family dynamics and discussions of discrimination among society and how this can affect the lives of many people. Celeste Ng does wonders with the portrayal of a bi-racial family in the middle of the 1970s, but don’t go into this book expecting a Lovely Bones kind of book like I did, because this is definitely not it.

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Top 5 Wednesday | T5W

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Good afternoon lovely people! Today’s topic for Top 5 Wednesday is to talk or write about our favorite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or that are written by LGBTQ+ authors. If you don’t know what Top 5 Wednesday is you can go visit this link T5W where everything is explained, but basically, it is a weekly book meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and Samantha from thoughtsontomes on booktube. Each week, on Wednesdays, we get a different topic related to books for us to talk about. So let’s just get into the prompt for today’s topic!

Books Featuring LGBTQ+ characters/ Written by LGBTQ+ authors

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

24248704To be honest, I think this book is my favorite young adult contemporary book I’ve read so far. I don’t typically go for this genre because I think that I’ve grown out of it for a long time now, but this book IS EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED FROM A YA CONTEMPORARY. The story follows Jude and her twin brother Noah after a terrible loss leaves them estranged from each other. I don’t think I can tell you anything else without spoiling the entire plot of this book, but please, give this book a chance because it will leave you an emotional mess. It deals with suffering, struggling to come to terms with things that happen in life and with who you are, and being able to let things go and accept yourself. But one of the things that I loved the most was the writing of Jandy Nelson which is extremely poetic and beautifully done. In general terms, this whole book is aesthetically beautiful.

Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

23437156Bless Leigh Bardugo for having created this masterpiece of a duology that is Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. If you don’t know these books I’m afraid you have been living under a rock, and PLEASE, go read them! Bardugo based this duology in the same Russian-inspired Grisha universe as in her Grisha Trilogy, but these books are so much more grim and mature that I don’t know if I would categorize them as YA. The story follows the Dregs, a group of six delinquents and nobodies, who embark on a nearly impossible heist in order to earn their prize: money. Soon we come to find out that not all of them are after the money, and we get to see the backgrounds of each one of these diverse characters that will soon become your problematic faves. The Ravkan atmosphere, the snarky dialogues and most importantly the characters will have you swooning over this duology.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets Of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

25183221This book broke my heart into a million tiny pieces and then proceeded to put them back together so tenderly I couldn’t pass the chance to recommend it to everyone. Set in the late 80’s in the US, here we follow Aristotle and Dante and their friendship as it develops into more than a friendship, and all the obstacles these two mexican-american teens have to go through in their journey of self-discovery and acceptance. This book tackles discrimination, coming to understanding one’s identity, and love in all its forms. This is another YA contemporary that made me fall in love with the genre all over again, even if only for a little while. I could not recommend this enough to anyone who feels doubtful or lost as regards their own sexuality. This book comes as a breath of fresh air when so many things are going terribly wrong in this world.

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11)

13570854This one is hard to talk about since it is the 11th book in a series. Yes, you read right, the 11th book in a never-ending Paranormal Romance series. The Black Dagger Brotherhood books follow the story of a group of warrior vampires who live in the city of Caldwell in the US, and their continuous war with their enemies, creatures called Lessers who seek to destroy them. Each book in the series follows the story of one of these brothers and their relationships to their respective love interests, and this one follows Quinn and Blay’s story. I’ve been obsessed with these books since I was in high school, and I don’t think I’ve ever come upon another vampire series that was as captivating and action-packed as this one. So if you are into the paranormal with a touch of violence and the occasional bloodshed and steamy relationships then this one’s definitely for you.

The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)

25786523This sci-fi book became one of my favorite books of 2016. The story follows a spaceship crew whose jobs is to punch wormholes in the universe so that everyone can use them as portals to travel from planet to planet. Even though it is a sci-fi book, it deals less with spacey stuff and more with the characters’ lives and cultural differences, since the crew is made up of a diverse pick of different races, alien species and humans. This book tackles a lot of important issues like war, politics, discrimination, gender and sexuality. It is about different species coming together, learning about their differences and understanding and accepting one another as equals. It is not only a book that features LGBTQ+ characters, but also one that explores every single aspect of how different we all can be and still be able to coexist peacefully. You should give this book a chance even if you are not into sci-fi, because it is so much more than just that, trust me.

So these are my picks for favorite books at the moment that feature LGBTQ+ characters. There are so much more that I would have wanted to include as well, but this list would be never-ending. But if you’d like to check them out, you can find them on my Goodreads page on my LGBTQ shelf. Now, what are your favorites? Are you interested in diverse books that feature LGBTQ content? Let me know down below in the comments! Until next time 🙂

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Book Review | Exit West

Hello everyone!! Today’s review has been one I’ve very much anticipated doing ever since I saw this book was coming out. I have to admit that this cover caught my eye the first time I saw it on Goodreads, and after reading the synopsis I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP. And boy, this book did not disappoint at all in my opinion. The author of Exit West is the well-known Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid who wrote the famous The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which unfortunately, I have not read yet. But for now, let’s get into the review, shall we?

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“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.”

Exit West follows the story of a couple of young lovers, Nadia and Saeed, who lives in a middle-eastern country which happens to be on the brink of civil war. Hamid decides to not name this country, but rather to let the location and name be as vague as possible, in a way of adding to the idea that “this could literally be anywhere in the real world where things like this happen all the time”. The story starts with the introduction of our main characters: Saeed, on the one hand, who is a very reliable and religious man that lives with his parents, and on the other hand, Nadia, who lives alone after her parents decide to cut ties with her because of her decision to be more independent. The story then unfollows when the two characters meet and decide to start seeing each other secretly in her apartment since Nadia lives by herself, and in this country it’s not a good thing for a woman to be seen in public with a man to whom she is not married. Yet, their relationship is hindered by the differences Nadia and Saeed have in terms of religion and by their country’s laws. But when civil war strikes, they are faced with the reality of a country that grows more and more violent and unstable, and the decision to find a way out of the hell they are living in. And this is where Hamid introduces his element of magical realism: secret doors that act as magical portals to different countries in the world. The rumor of these doors appearing suddenly in certain places starts spreading, and Nadia and Saeed decide that it’s their chance to finally be able to leave their homeland.

“for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind”

Imagine what it would be like if people suffering from civil war or dictatorships in their countries could actually cross a door and appear safely on the other side of it, in another part of the world? I think that what Hamid was trying to point out here is how easy things could actually be if we just set ourselves to help those who need help. The element of doors that one could easily cross to find oneself safe is not the image that we see everyday in the news though, where more and more people are dying fleeing unsuccessfully the horrors of their countries. And it is this magical realism element that makes this book so good. In between the story of our lovers, Nadie and Saeed, Hamid intertwines stories from all over the world, from different people opening up these portals and finding on the other side what they so desperetaly need: love, compassion, understanding, a better life.

Even though I went into this book with a totally different expectation of it, this book left me satisfied with the message that underlies in the story. It is true that this is not an action-packed book, we don’t have fight scenes, we don’t have much adventure going on, we merely follow the couple going through the portals in search for a chance at a better life, yet it is through the eyes of these two characters that we are almost forced to put ourselves in their shoes and experience what they are experiencing in their journey as refugees. At moments the story can be depressing and emotional, when we see how both of the main characters go through feelings of displacement -of not knowing what their place in the world is anymore-; we see Saeed missing his homeland, his parents, and feeling completely disconnected to Nadia and finding solace in his religion, and we see Nadia hurting because of the distance that now seems to exist between her and Saeed.

I don’t think this book is for everyone, and at the same time I would recommend this book to all of you, so that you could see a different point of view of an issue that so happens to be all over our news lately, and that keeps getting worse and worse. Hamid’s writing is dreamlike, enthralling and leaves you wanting for more from a novel that touches so many different emotions and important issues for us to discuss as human beings. Because just like Hamid says so in his book, we are all migrants through time.

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY

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Hi everyone! Today’s topic for Top 5 Wednesday is Top SFF Books on Your TBR. Since Fantasy is my favorite genre it was almost impossible for me to choose which ones are at the top of my TBR, especially since so many new books keep coming out and I keep adding them to my never-ending pile of books to read. But, nonetheless, I was able to pick a few that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, so I decided to share them with you. Let’s start with my picks for fantasy TBR:

♥ The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: Of course my fantasy TBR list would have at least ONE Sanderson book, and let’s just say that this one is a mammoth of a book. Partly the reason why I have yet to pick this one up is its length, and partly is the fact that not only is this book over 1,000 pages long, but it’s also the first of a TEN BOOK SERIES. Yep, you read that right, 10 books! How can I start this when there are only 2 books out there so far? How will I cope with wanting to know how the series continues once I’m done with those two? Like I said, more than a reason for it to have been on my TBR list for a while now.

♥ The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: I have heard so many good things about this series that I still don’t know what is taking me so damn long to pick up the book and start reading it. It’s got all I like in a fantasy book: morally gray characters, bromances, a band of thieves, intrigue… I mean seriously, there is no excuse for me not to be reading this one.

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♥ Daughter of The Forest by Juliet Marillier: I have to admit that this one I did start reading at one point in my past but decided to put it down since I wasn’t feeling it, but since then, my reading tastes have changed drastically and I don’t think that would be my opinion on this book anymore. Basically, The Daughter of The Forest has influences of celtic culture, magic, druids, a horrible step-mother and a female protagonist that is a badass. Need I say more?

♥ Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb: This one is a tricky one, because in order for me to read this I need to read three more books before this second trilogy. I know, confusing but also intimidating. Robin Hobb is a genius when it comes to her fantasy books, and I’ve only read the first book in the first trilogy, so it’s probably gonna be a while before I get my hands on Ship of Magic.

As for science fiction, I have to say I don’t have many books on my TBR, since I’m not that much of a sci-fi reader, yet I do have one book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while now:

♥ A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: This one is the continuation of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet which is mainly a character-driven book that is based on space, and it follows a ship crew whose job is to punch holes in the middle of space so that spaceships can use them to hop from planet to planet. It’s got different types of aliens, humans, androids, and it tackles so many relevant issues such as sexual orientation, gender, politics, and more. The first book was definitely one of my favorite reads of last year, and I can’t wait to see how the duology finishes!

 

El Hermano Mayor te está vigilando

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1984-by-george-orwellCreo que es posible afirmar que la gran mayoría de las personas han oído hablar sobre este libro, y más aun en estos últimos tiempos, donde las novelas de Orwell en especial han tomado una increíble relevancia teniendo en cuenta los hechos que están ocurriendo en todo el mundo. Comencé a introducirme en la literatura de Orwell con “Animales en la granja” hace un par de años; otra de sus novelas más famosas y aclamadas por ser una gran alegoría sobre la revolución rusa, y una introspectiva al socialismo comunista de la Unión Soviética de ese entonces, y quedé maravillada por la creatividad de Orwell y la simpleza con la que retrató en unas pocas páginas un tema tan complejo como el autoritarismo soviético. No es coincidencia que las ventas de 1984 se hayan disparado en estos últimos tiempos, donde pareciera como si estuviésemos viviendo en medio de una distopía sacada directamente de un libro por la cantidad de hechos de la actualidad que parecen irreales e imposibles de creer, razón por la cual decidí que ya era hora de tener esta novela en mis manos y por fin poder leerla, y debo decir que 1984 es una obra maestra por donde se la mire, y mas aún George Orwell, el cerebro detrás de la creación de una novela que se volvería hoy en día nuevamente relevante, no solo debido a la dureza de la trama, sino por la cantidad de hechos que parecen haber sido predichos tal y como aparecen descritos en este libro. Si bien hay muchas situaciones de la novela que son bastante similares a lo que hoy en día sucede en el mundo, hay otras que resulta difícil de creer que pudieran llegar a suceder, así que mejor comienzo a analizar qué me pareció 1984.

En un principio, creo que es necesario explicar algunas cuestiones básicas de esta novela y de dónde sacó la inspiración George Orwell. En 1984, el mundo se encuentra dividido en tres grandes estados, Eurasia, Esteasia y Oceanía. Se dice que Orwell intentó plasmar en su novela su visión extrema de lo que podría haber sucedido luego de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando los Nazis fueron derrotados y Estados Unidos, Rusia y el Reino Unido deciden dividir la Alemania Nazi y prácticamente el resto de Europa. En este caso, el Reino Unido, hogar de nuestro personaje principal, forma parte de Oceanía y se encuentra en una guerra constante e interminable con Esteasia y Eurasia, dependiendo de lo que el Partido disponga. Es muy fácil encontrar en 1984 las propias opiniones de Orwell sobre el socialismo, o por lo menos, lo que la Rusia soviética y la Alemania Nazi e incluso el socialismo inglés en realidad representaban, ya que esto se ve plasmado perfectamente en la novela en el totalitarismo y fascismo en el que Londres se ve sumergida. La falta de alimentos y la pésima calidad de éstos, el nivel precario de vida de los londinenses, la constante vigilancia, la propaganda política, la Policía del Pensamiento y muchas cosas más son ejemplos similares a lo ocurrido en el comunismo y nazismo. Ahora, vayamos a la historia en sí.

La novela comienza con nuestro personaje principal llamado Winston Smith, un hombre de mediana edad que trabaja para el Departamento de Archivos, donde básicamente se encarga de “rectificar” información de los periódicos según lo que ordene el Hermano Mayor. Y es que esta es una práctica de lo más común y esencial del llamado Partido, cambiar constantemente los datos de la realidad en la que viven y eliminar cualquier tipo de archivo anterior o rastro que pueda servir de prueba como para que alguien llegue a dudar en lo más mínimo de lo que predican. Y sin embargo, es el mismo Winston quien comienza a dudar cada vez más de la verdadera consigna del Partido, duda incluso de la existencia del Hermano Mayor y decide rebelarse de alguna forma posible ante semejante sistema opresor al que se ve subordinado. Pero la pregunta es de qué forma puede alguien rebelarse ante un totalitarismo tan fanático en el que uno es vigilado las 24 horas del día, no sólo por las demás personas sino también a través de las llamadas telepantallas, televisores que espían en cualquier momento del día los movimientos y el habla de todos aquellos que posean una. Es aquí cuando Winston decide comenzar a escribir en un diario que tiene en su departamento sus verdaderos pensamientos y sus deseos de que el Partido sea derrocado, y también sus ansias de encontrar la denominada “Hermandad”, la cual se cree que es una organización clandestina opositora cuyo fin es el derrocamiento del Partido. Su vida comienza a correr peligro desde el momento en que comienza a escribir en su diario, ya que lo que él está haciendo, actuar en contra del Partido incluso tan sólo sea mentalmente, es denominado “crimental” -crimen mental en nuevalengua- el cual es penado con la ejecución.

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Sin embargo, ninguna posible consecuencia hará que Winston de marcha atrás en su búsqueda de aliados en su rebelión y es así como conoce a Julia, una compañera de trabajo en el Departamento de Archivos. Luego de encontrar un lugar aislado sin telepantallas ni micrófonos que los puedan escuchar, comienzan a tener un amorío, cosa que también está totalmente prohibida por el Partido, y deciden mantener su relación encontrándose cuando sea y donde sea. Si bien en un principio entretuve la idea de que Julia fuera en realidad una espía del Partido intentando atrapar a Winston en actos ilícitos, esto no llega a suceder, pero la traición no tarda en llegar por parte de otro personaje que nos es presentado más hacia la mitad del libro, O´Brien. O’Brien forma parte del Partido Interno y se presenta también como miembro de la Hermandad, dispuesto a reclutar a Winston y Julia para que formen parte de ella. Aquí es la parte en donde el libro se torna un poco denso a mi parecer. Es que O’Brien decide darle a Winston el libro o manifiesto supuestamente escrito por Goldstein, un histórico opositor al Partido, y por lo tanto, enemigo número uno de toda Oceanía. En ese manifiesto Goldstein escribe las verdades del Partido, de cómo la guerra es en realidad una farsa que deben perpetuar para mantener a la gente subordinada y feliz, de cómo los miembros del Partido Interno gozan de un estilo de vida ostentoso mientras mantienen al resto de la sociedad en la pobreza y de cúal es el motivo ulterior de perpetuarse en el poder. Es en uno de estos encuentros entre Winston y Julia cuando se ponen a leer el libro y son aprehendidos por la Policía del Pensamiento, para luego ser llevados al Ministerio del Amor, conocido como el centro de detención y tortura de criminales y opositores.

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Es hacia el final del libro cuando nos es revelado que fue O’Brien en realidad quien los detuvo y comienza su proceso de interrogación y tortura de Winston, quien no puede creer que haya sido engañado al pensar que O’Brien podría haber formado parte de la Hermandad. Y es aquí donde entra en juego el término que Orwell utiliza tanto, el “doblepiensa”. El doblepiensa básicamente es la capacidad que tienen todos los miembros del Partido de creer que dos afirmaciones totalmente contradictorias sean verdad al mismo tiempo. Y O’Brien es la encarnación perfecta del doblepiensa; él cree en el régimen al que sirve, y sin embargo, es capaz de fingir ser un revolucionario que busca su derrocamiento. Y no solo en él encontramos ejemplos de doblepiensa, sino en los mismos nombres de los Ministerios: el Ministerio de la Verdad se dedica a mentir y falsificar noticias, el Ministerio de la Paz se dedica a perpetuar la guerra, y así con todos los demás.

Como vemos, el Partido utiliza todos los métodos posibles para controlar y mantener a la población sumida en la subordinación, cosa que sucede muy usualmente a través del lenguaje, y es interesante pensar en cómo ésta es otra realidad que sucedió en el pasado y que Orwell incorpora a su novela. Cuando los colonizadores imperialistas decidían colonizar un nuevo país no sólo lo hacían por la fuerza cometiendo genocidios, sino que también lo hacían a través de la imposición de sus valores, su ideología y su idioma. El hecho de erradicar los idiomas originales de estas civilizaciones les permitía quitarles aquello que los unía, lo que les permitía mantener su identidad y esto mismo sucede aquí. Si bien el idioma es el mismo, los cambios que el Partido introduce en esta nueva forma del idioma llamada “nuevalengua” tiene como fin restringir o limitar el pensamiento de la sociedad. Este fin se ve logrado a través de la eliminación de palabras consideradas por ellos como “innecesarias” -como los antónimos, comparativos y superlativos- y también y aún mas importante, eliminando las connotaciones de ciertas palabras que según ellos son ilegales -como el término libertad que solo puede ser utilizado en ocasiones como “este lugar está libre” pero NUNCA para hablar sobre pensamiento libre, o personas libres-. Además de estas eliminaciones, también se encuentran las palabras compuestas que unen dos términos distintos en uno solo, con el fin también no solo de acortar el vocabulario del idioma, sino también para ahorrar tiempo, permitiendo así que las personas tengan cada vez menos tiempo para razonar. Es increíble pensar como Orwell se las arregla para crear algo tan irreal, pero que termina siendo completamente lógico si uno se pone a pensar en la finalidad que esta nueva lengua tiene: es simple y llanamente una manera más de controlar y someter a la sociedad y de continuar un proceso de lavado de cerebro por parte del régimen.

“El pensamiento será totalmente distinto. De hecho, no existirá pensamiento tal como lo entendemos hoy. La ortodoxia equivale a no pensar, a no tener la necesidad de pensar. La ortodoxia es la inconsciencia”.

Pero es el final del libro lo que te deja pasmado y pensando que no puede ser que termine así ¿verdad?. En el final, Winston logra por fin el cometido de O’Brien y del Partido de entender finalmente el doblepiensa y de creer en él. Luego de sufrir torturas e interrogatorios, Winston se quiebra y acepta el hecho de que el Partido puede llegar a tener razón y logra rendirse al doblepiensa, logra creer que el Partido no está luchando ninguna guerra -a estas alturas la guerra era con África- y a la vez, cuando se anuncia a través de las telepantallas la victoria y la apropiación de África como nuevo territorio de Oceanía, le sonríe al retrato del Hermano Mayor y admite que luego de 40 años, por fin lo ama.

Lo que más me llamó la atención de 1984 -además de la trama- es cuán apropiado y relevante son muchos de los hechos descritos en ese libro con la realidad que personalmente vivimos hoy en día. Las menciones de cómo constantemente cambiaban los datos de la realidad, cómo dibujaban cifras totalmente inexistentes respecto a la pobreza, el crecimiento del país, la producción de bienes, es sumamente similar a lo que lamentablemente vivimos en Argentina durante mucho tiempo. Y no es ninguna coincidencia que sean estos partidos supuestamente de izquierda aquellos que siguen este mismo libreto, incluso en el mismo epílogo del libro se menciona los pensamientos de Orwell en relación a su novela en los que él mismo cree que estos movimientos izquierdistas que supuestamente profesaban la lucha por las clases trabajadoras y contra el capitalismo, eran en realidad partidos cuyo único interés era perpetuarse en el poder y para ello era necesario utilizar a las masas, por sus ideales y resentimiento de clase, traicionándolas una y otra vez. Resulta casi imposible realizar una lectura de esta novela sin analizar el matiz político que tiñe esta historia -siendo éste el punto clave de la misma- y sin compararla con la actualidad de los partidos políticos, en especial los de Latinoamérica, en los cuales podemos encontrar muchísimas similitudes con el Socing -socialismo inglés- de 1984 de Orwell.

Creo que no me queda más nada para agregar. Orwell se ha convertido en uno de mis autores favoritos no sólo por su estilo sino por la creatividad de sus tramas, la forma en que logra relatar varios períodos oscuros de nuestra historia en sátiras que siguen siendo relevantes y lo seguirán siendo en el futuro sin duda alguna.

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ANTICIPATED NEW RELEASES | APRIL

A new month has already started, and I couldn’t pass the chance to shout out these amazing looking books that are coming out this April. Hopefully, I will be able to get to them this month, but I’m extremely far behind on all the other releases that have already come out so far, so fingers crossed I can find the time to read all of them! Now, let’s jump right into them, shall we?

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED
by Becky Albertalli

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

RED SISTER
by Mark Lawrence

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

THE CHOSEN
by J.R. Ward

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love… or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

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MARLENA
by Julie Buntin

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blond hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts—first drink, first cigarette, first kiss—while Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

SAGA VOL.7
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.

A MILLION JUNES
by Emily Henry

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

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Which new releases are you eager to get your hands on? Let me know down below in the comments! Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy reading!

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