Kelsey's Corner

Kelsey's Corner

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

-Albert Einstein

I'm back!
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

Well, first semester of my third year of pharmacy school happened, which means my only hobbies included attempting to get more than 4 hours of sleep per night and eating something other than takeout for 5 months of my life. Nevertheless, I survived, and I think this semester will be a bit easier, hence my first post in forever.


Pride and Prejudice is one of the books my dearest high school English teacher decided to skip and show us the movie instead, and let's be real-- who actually paid attention to movies in high school English? So I decided to see what I've been missing out on all these years. Here goes nothing!

4 Stars
Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King

The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That's all history is, after all: scar tissue.

-Brady Hartsfield


Interesting thought, even if he is a psychopath. I loved Hodges, Janey and Jerome; even neurotic Holly grew on me. I was intrigued by Brady. That's what I love about King's characters-- everyone has a story to tell. Even the random neighbor who only gets two pages of fame I feel like I know. I  do wish the reader got more insight as to what Hodges relationship was like with his wife and daughter and why they separated. 


There were a few parts when reading this novel where I found myself thinking, "hmm, what are the chances of all of those things really happening?" A culmination of unlikely events, which made a couple of situations less realistic to me. 


Lastly, I think this novel could have ended a little better. It was just a bit anticlimactic to me-- I would have liked Hodges to reflect on Janey a bit more, or some insight into how his life changed after this adventure. Did he go back to his nights on the couch watching the boob tube, or does he have a new appreciation for his life?


All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in crime fiction.

A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King

  Game of Thrones by day...

I've read the first two books, I'm finally caught up with the HBO series, and the next season won't be aired until next year? I can't wait that long! So, I decided to pick the books back up. This is the third book in the five book series (a sixth hopefully making it's debut next year) and should be pretty similar to the third and fourth seasons of the show, but I don't want to miss anything. So here goes nothing with this 1100 page tome!


  King by night...

I needed some King in my life after that last novel! Love the characters, love the plot, can't wait to see what surprises King will throw at me in this one.

3 Stars
Great story, needs more character development
Hopeless - Colleen Hoover

The things that knock you down in life are tests, forcing you to make a choice between giving in and remaining on the ground or wiping the dirt off and standing up even taller than you did before you were knocked down.


The day Sky left her father, she quite literally did this. She stood up, brushed the dirt off her shorts, and moved on with her life. She didn't let the hardships of her life define who she was. I admire how Holder and Sky are able to verbalize their emotions so clearly and work through their pain together. 


There are more, less unpredictable, surprises in this book and it actually makes for quite the story line. I just felt like I was being told a story the majority of the time, instead of living in it. I like books where I can feel the characters and I can feel myself living with them. I like books where I miss the characters when I'm done reading and I want to read more about them. This story has so much potential, I just wish there was more character development so I could feel the pain of Sky and Holder, instead of simply feeling empathy for the hardships of others.

Reading progress update: I've read 63%.
Hopeless - Colleen Hoover

My progress on this one is slow because there are so many more interesting things to do. Like binge watch Game of Thrones... Anyways, the entire book thus far involves Sky and Holder gawking over each other. About how much they like each other and the attraction they feel for each other. There isn’t enough character development for either of the protagonists for me to even like them all that much, so it’s hard to believe the extent of their claimed passion for each other. It just seems like a superficial relationship, which I guess is more believable considering they are only in high school, but it’s just not all that interesting to read about. But who cares how superficial their relationship is? There is some great secret that Holder is holding back and it will be so interesting it will be worth the wait, right? Wrong- because the moment Sky has her first flash back, you can easily predict his secret. Unless there is more to the secret that I have yet to learn about—so fingers crossed that the last 40% of this book is more interesting. 

What am I getting myself into...
Hopeless - Colleen Hoover

This book is about a teenage girl, Sky, who has been home schooled her entire life until her senior year of high school. It is on her first day that she meets Holder, who insists on learning everything about her and isn't at all who he's claiming to be...


So I’m kind of sick of the “I can’t have you but I’m going to have you anyways” young adult dramas… the outcome is always the same- girl falls in love with boy, girl learns something critical about boy that any normal human being would turn and run from, girl loves boy anyways, how sweet, happy ever after. But I’ve heard great things about this one so I figure I’ll give it a whirl and see what all the fuss is about.


So far I’m about two chapters in and all I’ve gathered about the main character, Sky, is that she likes to make out with a lot of guys but she never “feels” anything for them (except for Holder, obviously). If you’ve ever read Gone Girl, then I think Sky is comparable to “cool girl” Amy, who acts like a girl she thinks guys are attracted to, despite her dislike for other naïve girls who do that. The main character in Hopeless seems like a “cool girl” Sky who goes through the motions with a boy but doesn’t show any interest in him in order to seem superior. Anyways, hopefully these first two chapters aren’t indicative of the rest of the book… I don’t know how many more teenage make out sessions I can read through…

4 Stars
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini


I finished this book just in time for the interview and book signing with Khaled Hosseini in Chapel Hill (the interview was amazing; check out more details below!). 


This book is eye opening to what it was like to live in Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban. I never imagined growing up in Afghanistan would be like this. I don't think my mind had the capacity to imagine life in Afghanistan during those difficult decades, or the pain and suffering of innocent civilians living in Afghanistan, until I saw it through the eyes of Amir. Hosseini admits in his interview that his prose is far from flowery, and borderline utilitarian. This book is humbling. I enjoyed learning about Afghani culture through a character who seemed so real to me. The beauty of this book is that I see myself in Amir. I understand the dissonance he feels over wronging someone and I felt his desire to make things right. 


Spoiler ahead! Scroll down below the line for more on Hosseini's interview 

“What’s going to happen to you, you say? All those years, that’s what I was trying to teach you, how to never have to ask that question.”  -Baba


Perhaps Baba's impassiveness towards Amir is because he is scared he has failed as a father- failed to teach his son not to be like him. He sees himself in Amir and it angers him that Hassan, the product of his infidelity, is less like him than Amir is. 


When Amir and Baba move to America, my heart swells for Baba’s newfound love and pride for his son. Finally Baba’s icy attitude towards Amir has thawed, and he has a newfound modesty since the move to America, their relationship is warming up, and then they hit me with THIS? He has cancer? A lot of big things like this are happening in Amir’s life at this point in the book- a lot of important things. But I don’t feel like the pace of the book is matching the intensity of the events in his life. I want to see more examples of Baba showing his love to Amir. And I don’t love Soraya. How can I? I know nothing about her. I just wish there was more character development during this part of the book.


The biggest takeaway I got from the interview with Khaled Hosseini was that he doesn’t have a “lesson” in mind when writing a book. He just writes and the characters come to him and develop in his mind. But why then do I feel as though Sohrab’s accident and subsequent silence was added as an afterthought? Perhaps this part of the book was added to prove a point that no matter what you do to redeem yourself, that doesn't necessarily mean a happy ending will follow. 


"And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good." -Rahim Khan


Maybe we can all learn a little bit from Baba.

Interview & Book Signing with Khaled Hosseini

“Ever since I was a little boy, I have had this voice, in my head -and not in a psychotic way- that I’ve always felt compelled to let speak once in a while. From the time I was a boy, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this voice- first in Farsi, then in French, and then in English when I moved to the US when I was 15. And over time there is a certain rhythm, tempo, cadence, and quality of that voice that I’ve become very familiar with and very comfortable with. I can sit and try to write like somebody else, but eventually what happens is I step back to my own voice. And that is one way I know how to communicate. My prose is far from flowery, and borderline utilitarian, but whatever goals it sets for itself, I think it does a good job at accomplishing those things. There is a clarity in my prose that I think people like, a directness, talking about a given experience, that people appreciate. It is something that I noticed when I was very young.” -Khaled Hosseini


I'm glad I got to hear Hosseini speak about the three books he's written. He spoke about how he never starts out with a theme in mind for his books. He just starts writing, and lets the theme or lesson develop naturally. Once he takes a step back and realizes what the message of his work is becoming, only then does he go back and make certain points stronger to highlight that message. 


Interesting fact: he does math in his head in Farsi, but he can no longer write prose in Farsi.


Check out his newest book, And the Mountains Echoed, I can't wait to read my copy!

Reading progress update: I've read 51%.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

This book definitely requires the comfort of an over-sized fuzzy blanket in bed on a Saturday morning! Oh! And leftover s'mores cheesecake for breakfast... in lieu of my morning run...


Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

One minute I fall in love with this book and the next I hate it and I am almost in tears. I love it because it is impossible to remind myself that this is “just a fiction book”. I don’t get the opportunity because every page of the book you feel like you are reading a page from Amir’s diary. You feel like you are there, living through his moments of happiness and pain with him. I hate it because it is real; no skirting around the cold truth and no euphemisms. 


My favorite feature on the Kindle Fire is the ability to click on a word or place and look it up in the dictionary or follow a link to its Wikipedia page. This is an especially valuable feature for this book because I am able to learn about some Afghanistan history so I can better understand the tribulations of Amir.

The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

I chose this book because I heard the movie was good, and the author, Khaled Hosseini, is coming to speak in Chapel Hill next week, so I figured I should probably read at least one of his books if I was going to attend the talk. I am glad I chose this one.

I have finally succumbed to the blogging world...

When I was younger (I’m talking elementary school) I loved to write, and I was actually pretty good. Now I am in pharmacy school, probably the furthest from writing I could possibly get on the passion spectrum. The only literary passion that has remained after all those years of chemistry and biology classes is reading. I am starting this blog for fun because I want to share my love of reading with others. I want to rekindle my love of writing, strengthen my writing skills, and get better at expressing my opinions. My favorite part of a book is the way it makes me feel after I have read the last page, and I want to master the ability to capture those feelings and transform them into words.