maple is a bookbug

welcome to bookbug!


Bookbug is a book club created by Vashti and Maple (yes, me!)! Each month we will read a new book & (try to) finish it the last Sunday of each month. Each member has their own /bookbug page on their website, so we can all share our thoughts (。•̀ᴗ-)✧

updates:

february: Giovanni's Room
review is up!
january: Convenience Store Woman
review is up!
december: Crime and Punishment
review is up!


about the bookbug club

After talking about books we always wanted to read but had never gotten around to, me and Vashti decided to start our own book club! The club is going to be very casual and fun, we hope you join us!

do you want to be a bookbug?


Please click the button above to check our website!





other bugs in the garden

credits

layout base by fiziwhig edited by maple to work on neocities.
content by maple


go back to my main website by clicking the button below:

what i read in 2024


NOTE: the books listed that are not part of the book club will not have reviews, only a star-rating! for a more complete list of what i read, you can check my goodreads profile.


January

The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie
Convenience Store Woman, by Sayako Murata
Wind/Pinball, by Haruki Murakami
Frenchman's Creek, by Daphne du Maurier
A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami
O homem duplicado, by José Saramago
Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
Dance Dance Dance, by Haruki Murakami

February

Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin

my book reviews

these contain spoilers! please proceed at your own risk.


Giovanni's Room (James Baldwin)
book info Read on the Yomu app with a PDF version of it.

Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2020

book review
"Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition."
This book is such a struggle! Not to read - reading it was quick, because once you start it is hard to stop, but a struggle from beginning to end in the story. It is a bit heartbreaking to read about David and Giovanni being so confused and lost in themselves. David seems to never be happy, neither with himself, with Giovanni or with Hella. He is haunted by his own thoughts and to society's expectations of him (including his own father). I found it interesting that even with the characters I believe were definite homossexuals, mentioned 'going back' to a woman; they had accepted that they could never live their whole life any other way.

Convention is a big topic in the book. Besides the obvious convention to be straight, there was also the convention of a woman's role in life. I felt so sad for Hella, thinking that all she was good for was being next to a man (her man), and thinking she should get rid of all the rest of her, all her personality, intelligence, wishes and dreams to be whatever her husband wanted her to be. It is just another prison, a suffocating cage, just like the one David and Giovanni are in.

The room itself was described in such a way that it made me anxious while reading any scene that was in it. It made me claustrophobic!! And it felt smaller each time they went in it.

Another comment I have on the book itself is the use of French in it; being fluent in another Latin language certainly helped me, but if that is not your case, I think it would be important to stop and translate those along the way!
Convenience Store Woman (Sayaka Murata)
book info Since I'm visiting my family, I couldn't take this book out the library, and I didn't want to purchase it, so I downloaded a PDF version of it and read it on my phone (with an app called Yomu).

Publisher: Grove Press
Year: 2018

book review To be honest, I did not enjoy this book - it was a quick read, since it is a short book, but it felt too much and too little at the same time. The story and dialogues are very repetitive (up until a point, I think it worked, since that was the whole idea - how Furukura's life was structured and routine based), however, I feel as if it lacked plot. The main character needs to copy mannerisms, speech tones, etc in order to fit it with her co-workers and family; and even doing that, she doesn't feel part of society. I read her as an autistic person (I can be wrong here, as I don't really know a lot about it!), but she really does not have any personality at all besides being a store worker.

Even when something breaks off her daily routine (the arrival of Shiraha), she ends up going back to her old self. She cannot break her mold of store worker. One thing I enjoyed in the book was the questioning of what makes us as a society happy - her sister was happier thinking Furukura was in a bad, kinda abusive relationship, instead of their weird co-dependent arrangement. To be fair, I'd be concerned with both situations.

I would love if the Shiraha situation had been explored more, or made her change in some way. Furukura is too self-aware in social situations, which causes her to appear weird, but she does not realize that - she talks too much of how a "normal person" is suppose to be, while not wanting to be that. It's very controversial in my view, and I was expecting her to find happiness in an unconventional way (or maybe she did, in fact, was her happier self working in the store?).

In short, I agree with this review of the book:

"However Keiko isn't just a nonconformist, odd or eccentric person. She seemed mentally impaired - possibly autistic - which made the message rather confusing to me. The way I see it, people usually have lower expectations of a mentally impaired person, and would be more than happy if that person has a satisfactory job and is able to live independently, so the message didn't ring true to me." "I feel like there's a good novel somewhere in 'Convenience Store Woman' but Syaka Murata didn't realise it. Her commentary on conformist society and the individual is inane and unoriginal though far worse is her muddled placement of the main character within that commentary."
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
book info The edition I'm reading is, first of all, in Brazilian Portuguese (it happens that I'm currently visiting my family and I had this book since 2013 but had never read it!), by a publisher that specializes in translating directly from Russian - which I think it's much better than the other Portuguese editions where they translate it via an English translation (imagine how much you lose with that!).

Publisher: editora 34
Year:2001

book review Raskolnikov slowly gnawed at my heart and won me over as a sympathetic reader. In the beginning I could not grasp why his character was so depressed and thought so many horrible things - and I definitely could not understand why he felt the need to do that. His detachment from the rest of the world and his state of mind is still something I could not fully comprehend (thankfully, I think!). As the chapters go by, he seems to keep spiraling down in his own madness; and everything is slowly revealed to the reader (which really helps to put us as close as possible to the mind of the main character). That was one thing I enjoyed the most throughout the book, how naturally we find more details on everything that is going on! It really builds suspense and made me more emotionally attached to the story.
"The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she's not the point! The old woman was merely a sickness... I was in a hurry to step over... it wasn't a human being I killed, it was a principle! So I killed the principle, but I didn't step over, I stayed on this side... All I managed to do was kill. And I didn't even manage that, as it turns out..."
His search for an excuse for his crime is very interesting and disturbed, as he sees himself as someone superior to others, which I believe helped him to actually do it - he is already distancing himself from society, and after he commits the crime, he is even further away from it (and this alienation will only start to decrease once he confesses his crime to Sonya).
Raskolnikov kept mentioning Napoleon many times during the book, I believe as a way to justify his thoughts and actions, and to prove that he was indeed superior to the rest of society, and as such, not guilty of his crime: "(...) certain men are exempt from laws created by society, as their actions against these laws are done for the greater good." (2).
"What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds?"
He tells Sonya that he killed because he wanted to become Napoleon - and the article mentioned above is a really interesting read to understand the symbolism between them (in Russian, I used Google Translate to be able to understand it!).
When investigator Porfiry Petrovich, in the third conversation with Raskolnikov, tells him: "It's not a matter of time, but of yourself. Become the sun, everyone will see you. The sun must first of all be the sun", then he means [...] the fact that the hero, in fact, did not dare to become Napoleon, avoiding truly determination and fate last.
from the article Napoleon-Sun (Podosokorsky)

One of the things, I think, made clear for both reader and to Raskolnikov that he is in fact, not the superior being he thinks he is, is the fact that he does not profit from his crimes. He at first hides the things he has stolen, to come back later, but never does. For me, that means that he is a good person at heart, just very troubled. He is tormented by his acts day and night, until he is able to confess his crimes: the punishment of being sent to Siberia is far less harsh than living with that weight in your mind and heart.
Every character in Crime and Punishment is very well written and needed for the narrative. They are all necessary to complete the puzzle of the plot, and I could not stop reading it (Dostoyevsky really knows when to finish a chapter, and HOW to finish it!!). Also, the character of Razumikhin is very interestingly the complete opposite of Raskolnikov - and in a footnote I learned that his name comes from the Russian 'razum', meaning reason.
To conclude, I enjoyed this book much much more than I thought I would. Highly recommend it! (:

References:

1. Napoleon-Sun in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, by Nikolay N. Podosokorsky.

2. An Analysis of Crime and Punishment, by Paris Whitney.

3. Psychological Analysis and Literary Form: A Study of the Doubles in Dostoyevsky, by Lawrence Kohlberg.