The Mystery Blogger Award

Last week I was nominated for two awards by the amazing Tia from Tall Blonde Tales! Go check her blog out, she writes some great posts which are definitely worth the read! Tia’s been a wonderful blogging peer from the start and I was super excited to be nominated by her. She’s also initiating Blogmas on her blog so check that out too! So, thanks Tia for the nominations. Anyway, I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger and Liebster Award and since I want to focus on both, this will be a two-part awards post. Onto the Mystery Blogger Award!

“The Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

Source- https://www.okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/ image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. Nominate other bloggers of your choice
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 things about myself:

  1. I can eat sushi for breakfast everyday if you ask me to.
  2. Sketching is my go-to during writers’ block.
  3. I’m one of those teens who’s crazy about her parents. (I mean, I’m not ashamed to say that I’m one of those rare ones :))

My best posts:

I’ve loved writing all my posts but if I had to pick favorites I think The Bechdel Test: A Call for Representation for it was a topic that I’d spent months thinking about and finally sharing my thoughts on it felt great. In terms of book reviews, I would pick Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee because it was not only an exceptional book which I enjoyed reviewing, but it also featured some of my best writing in my opinion!

Tall Blonde Tales’ Questions:

What have you done this week that made you feel good about yourself? 

Especially this year, anytime I complete the tasks lined up on my to-do list is when I feel the most accomplished. I’m proud to say that I successfully managed to check off everything on my list this week and it sure does feel good.

What were the last 5 emojis you used? 

💜🙈😟😍🤷‍♀

Describe the most embarrassing incident of your life.

Sports and I, don’t exactly get along, but that never stopped me from playing them whenever I got the chance to! So, once some friends asked if I’d like to join them in a game of football. Now, I didn’t and still don’t know how to play. Yet, I agreed and went on to play with utmost confidence- the stars weren’t in my favour. Throughout the game, I scored goals for the other team, kicked the ball off the field and I’m pretty sure ‘the weather’ wasn’t the reason the game ended early. Gosh, even writing about it makes me cringe in embarrassment.

What is your best achievement in blogging till now? 

Undoubtedly, my best achievement has to be being nominated for the awards. I’m so glad I started my blog because I love writing for it and interacting with everyone on the blogosphere. But, the nomination is my best achievement.

[Weird question] If you could switch places with one actor in any scene in any movie/tv show, which would it be?

I would love to be Saoirse Ronan as Jo in Little Women. It’s one of my favorite movies for a lot of reasons- the cast, the plot and it was also the last movie I saw in a theatre before they were closed. Honestly, you can name any of her scenes in the movie and I’d happily switch places.

My Questions for my Nominees:

  1. If you could interview any famous person (a celebrity, an author, a world leader even an activist) who would it be?
  2. What’s the first thing on your bucket list?
  3. What motivated you to start your blog?
  4. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
  5. [Weird Question] Would you rather be in a musical on Broadway or part of an acapella group?

Finally, my Nominees:

Banter Republic

My Healthy and Wealthy Life

Fun With Philosophy

Caffeinated Fae

Yuvi’s Buzz

My One Penny Wisdom

I enjoyed writing this awards post and can’t wait to read my nominees’ answers to my questions, and learn more about them as well!

Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles is a historical fiction that features the retelling of the story of one of the greatest heroes of Greek mythology: Achilles from the point of view of his most ardent admirer, Patroclus. If you’re familiar with Homer’s ‘Illiad’, you probably know of Achilles and Patroclus. Achilles- the prophesied warrior, best of the Greeks and a man who was idolized throughout his life. Patroclus- quite the opposite, an exile who was mostly deemed a coward because he abhorred the battlefield. There’s not much mythology tells us about Patroclus. I think the situation is so because he wasn’t a warrior, and lived in a society which then revolved around war, regarding any other qualities in a man insignificant. But Patroclus never wanted to be in the spotlight. We see how in the book too, he hardly draws any attention to himself.

I was skeptical about reading this book at first, having never been too fond of Achilles according to what I’d read about him. But Patroclus’ narration is such a refreshing perspective that it changed the way I saw Achilles, it even made me feel sorry for him. Mythology only saw Achilles as a fearless, skilled warrior and a ruthless savior. But Patroclus saw him as more than that. He knew Achilles before anyone cared about him. While most stories only talk about Achilles during the Trojan War, this book begins when he was still a child. When Patroclus was first exiled to Phthia, the kingdom of which Achilles was prince.

Patroclus loved him for many reasons. Achilles befriended him when nobody would, he always said what he meant. While others longed for that twisted game they called honour- he didn’t care about it. He pushed Patroclus to embrace himself for who he was. The book names countless other reasons as to why he stuck by him and they’ve been expressed almost poetically to the extent that I wanted to read them again and again. One of the biggest things I realized from reading this is that Patroclus shaped Achilles to be who he was during the Trojan War. It seemed like he was not only his confidante but conscience, shaping his actions and making him the hero everyone loved. Without Patroclus, Achilles would’ve been lost, and he was.

I was curious to see how the story would move along after Patroclus’ death. According to the Illiad, revenge for Patroclus’ death was the reason Achilles went on a killing spree and ultimately ended the Trojan War. The last few chapters of the book are heartbreaking, when Patroclus watches Achilles as a spirit, begging him to stop. The Illiad’s focus on the Trojan War was to show the loss, grief, and suffering war causes. The Song of Achilles also highlights the same because the Trojan War changed Achilles and Patroclus’ lives. The two were unwilling to go in the first place.

After I read this, I wondered why classics like the Illiad and stories of heroes like Achilles and the world he lived in, are still relevant today? But that could be asked of any classic or epic. Maybe it’s because they gave rise to ideas which we continue to value today, or love stories and figures we can still idolize. For instance, Patroclus’ longing to fit in, how the Greeks would do anything to maintain their honour and pride, their belief in togetherness and numbers, wars over differences. I can’t figure out if that’s the world refusing to learn from history or just the way it’s meant to be.

Final thoughts~ I love that the author sheds light on storylines and characters which are mostly ignored in the classics. They add a new perspective instead of the monotonous ones. Instead of descriptions of the battlefield and bloodshed we get to read about the atmosphere on the sidelines, where wives and workers anxiously waited for the war to end. I strongly suggest this book even if you’re unfamiliar with Greek mythology because the author provides sufficient background.

“Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another. We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?”

                                                                        -Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles.

OTHER REVIEWS OF THE BOOK:

Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles- Book Review

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Is History Trying to Tell Us Something?

In two of the last books I read, Pachinko and The Bastard of Istanbul I saw a common theme; that our past lives within the present, and history often repeats itself, when we don’t know it. Now, these thoughts are much too overwhelming to analyze. I don’t know about you, but knowing that certain instances I’ve seen are just the past recurring? To me, that sounds like the plot of a fantasy novel, where the world is stuck in some sort of punishment. Considering the human race is one that thrives on the idea of ‘different’, I am shocked that we even let history repeat itself!

What’s common between the people that history, that the world idolizes? What makes them inspiring? It’s the fact that they all thought unique. They innovated and brought unconventional ideas to the table. When someone doesn’t stick to the ‘status quo’, that’s the start of every great movement, the beginning of every revolution. No-one wants to be ordinary! We’re ordered to think differently. Yet, every revolutionaries’ story begins with society condemning them… But that’s a debate for another time.

I’m not saying different is bad, uniqueness makes the world better. But I’m surprised that history can still repeat itself when all each generation wants to do is make their mark, ensure that their new ideas are recorded in history books.

source: https://pin.it/3WrAgwK

Above is one of the many common quotes you read about time. We’ve all heard or read that phrase: history repeats itself when we choose to ignore it- or a variation of it. I completely agree. We see it happening even now- with the same tragedies, discrimination, and issues faced by us decades ago, still prevalent. Every day, I see yet another disturbing act of violence making the headlines, another case of injustice taking place, and think: why? Why aren’t we learning from history?

So, as I pen this blog post I realize that yes, history does repeat itself when we ignore the past when we rule it out because we often feel that the world has evolved. But, that posed yet another puzzling question in my head. As the world fights the COVID 19 pandemic, analyses have come to show that a full-scale pandemic seems to occur every 100 years. Examples of this are the Plague in 1720, Cholera in 1820, and the Spanish flu in 1918. Finally, right on time, we are currently in a pandemic in 2020.

We also see striking similarities between these pandemics whether in their effects or how they are conducted. Now, here’s where I am confused. If this is another act of history-repetition, what exactly are we to learn from it? If the past indeed repeats itself because we ignore it- what about the Plague or even the Coronavirus are we disregarding? This is truly something I want to understand so if you have a theory do tell me about it!

OTHER BLOG POSTS ON THE TOPIC:

Why Does History Repeat Itself?

Infinite Loop

Does History Repeat Itself When We Refuse To Acknowledge It?

Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This book is a great work of fiction, spanning over nearly 100 years and two countries. It begins in Korea, 1911 and by the end, we’ve reached Japan, 1989. But the author has blended the storylines very well and seamlessly taken the story along, so the change in characters and periods doesn’t seem abrupt at all. Since the book ranges across four generations of characters, it highlights how one’s history plays a huge role in a person’s life and how, as the phrase goes- has a tendency to repeat itself. It shows how a defining moment of one’s life continues to define and affect the actions of generations down the line.

The plot is centered around one Sunja, a woman born in a small town in Korea. It begins with her father, whose memory and wise words are remembered by her till the end of the book. Her grandparents ran a lodging house, which is passed down to her parents, whose story we are told too. That’s another thing I liked about the book- everyone’s story and point of view is told. In any situation, we read about what each person involved is thinking at that moment, even if it’s just a few lines. Anyway, Sunja spends the first sixteen years of her life at the lodging house until she marries a kind pastor, staying there, and goes with him to Japan.

The story then moves to the city of Osaka in Japan where Sunja stays with her brother and sister-in-law and her husband. We are then introduced to another dynamic and focus of the book which is the treatment of Korean immigrants in pre-WW2 Japan. I didn’t know this tension between the two regions existed and it was a saddening insight into what so many families must have faced.

We see how Sunja’s new family who were rich in Korea are made to live in a ghetto and work odd jobs in order to survive. Not only them, but she tells us about all the Koreans she knew in Japan who were reduced from riches to rags and who struggled to make ends meet. Every character faces some form of prosecution and discrimination at some point. But despite all they were facing, the family made the best of what they had and found a way to be happy.

At certain points in the book, it seemed like their situation was impossible and there was no way out, but somehow they survived, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Of all things, the characters’ resilience and survival instinct was in my opinion, portrayed very well throughout the book. It was shown in various contexts and not only inspiring but well-thought-out as well.

The book ends on a sad note for most characters, but there is a ray of hope and an assurance given to us, letting us subtly know that the characters will be alright. As always, I loved reading about a new culture, a new history. Pachinko also passes the Bechdel test

Final thoughts- I didn’t realize the relation between the name of the book and the story until the last few chapters. Pachinko is a Japanese pinball game and a gambling business of sorts. Both of Sunja’s sons were involved in the pachinko business and it eventually becomes the family business. Many relations are made between the game of pachinko and the game of life in the book. So, I felt the name was a smart pick because, in a way, pachinko represents the life of Koreans in Japan and life in general as well!

Which other books with similar themes to Pachinko have you read?

Living every day in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.

~ Min Jin Lee, Pachinko.

OTHER REVIEWS OF THE BOOK:

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: A Great Epic

PACHINKO- A REVIEW

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee