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The 12 Books Project

The 12 Books Project is my personal goal to read a minimum of 12 books a year and to share the books I've read. It started when I realised that I only read a total of three books last year, and that was because I had time to kill while I was on the plane travelling from Melbourne to KL. It is quite sad because I used to be an avid reader. In fact, I grew up with weekends at the book store indulging in books of different genre. However, as responsibilities grew and distraction increased (damn you Netflix, funny videos and Steve!), I find the amount and quality of books I read every year has been steadily declining.

I've been keeping track of my reading on my personal journal and so far, I am three books behind. So I hope by announcing this project on a public domain will keep me motivated and disciplined to spend less time looking at internet memes, and more time discovering the joy of reading.

Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng
I love a good thriller, especially one led by female characters: Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train etc. Perhaps it's something to do with women defying the stereotype of being feminine and "good". Instead these thrillers present womenkind as complex, raw beings that we are.

Everything I Never Told You is about the sudden disappearance of teenager, Lydia Lee who is found dead in a lake, drown by either suicide or murder. I couldn't figure it out by the end of the book whether it was a suicide or a murder so it was a confusing read.

The death of Lydia sets the scene for readers to dive into the dysfunctional marriage and family of mixed-race Chinese-American couple James and Marilyn. It's a gripping page-turner, but the way the ending dealt with was rather underwhelming...

The Grown Up - Gillian Flynn
I thoroughly enjoyed all three of Gillian Flynn's full-length novels, and this short story did not disappoint. It is an incredibly spooky short about a haunted house, the neurotic owner and a female "psychic". The narrative voice in this novella is similar to that of Ms Flynn's previous novels.

This is not really a "lunchbreak-at-the-staff-lounge" type of read though with attention-grabbing opening lines like this:

“I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.”

Moving along...

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
I don't think this book needs introduction in 2017. The 1985 book was adapted into a Hulu TV series starring Elizabeth Moss, Alexis Biedel and Samira Riley (RIP Poussey Washington). While I haven't watched the TV series, the dystopian novel is about a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government. Atwood  explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain individualism and independence.

It raises internal questions about how much we should trust "the system". The part where Offred recalls waking up to her bank account and social security being wiped out by the government keeps coming back to me whenever I use Paywave or EFTPOS.

Be right back, withdrawing all my money and hiding it at home.