Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

A beautiful reminder of why I want to read and write

Pachinko, a story about a family generation after generation, who try to live life navigating through hardships, war, poverty, racism and all the cruel things that the world had to offer during their respective times, but still managed to find and eventually lose love yet still pushed forward to do better, to give better.

To tell the storyline in a sentence, it’s a simple life story about Korean immigrants to Japan during dire times. But that’s not as simple, as this story touches lives of each and everyone in the family, their hardship, their love, their strength and eventually their weakness that just gets you pinned down until you read the last word in the book.

The journey of a family to find Home, a place or a person that they could belong with starts from Hoonie in Yengdo, Busan and Lee takes us from Korea to Japan in a span of few years and drags us to experience the ugliness of war, poverty and racism that she and her family has to go through in order to survive, to experience the lives of those who have been overlooked or cast aside in those cruel times. She made us realize through her words that every story during those times, no matter where was worth telling. 

As I kept reading the book, I couldn’t figure out why the book was named Pachinko. It didn’t have a significant role in the story except one of the characters working and eventually running a Pachinko parlor, but after finishing the story, it made me wonder, was the Pachinko a metaphor for the lives of the characters Lee created? Because each one of her characters made some kind of gamble to survive or to belong. It was either a gamble of getting married or moving to another country or choosing their education over their sense of self or making the choice of giving up eventually, they all made a gamble of some sorts. Which I think is more fitting title than anything else.

The beauty of the story as a whole is that there are no main characters in the story. They are all main characters, they all have a story to tell and I wanted to listen to each and every one of them.

A beautiful read if knowing about people interests you.  


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

farenheit 451


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is written in a dystopian society that is a nightmare for the bibliophiles. That sums up the entire plot of the story.

The story surrounds the fireman Guy Montag and his journey like any other, doubting the way of his life, his profession and everything he was taught and believed in. He is no ordinary fireman though. His job however is not to put out fire, but to start one. He lives in a society where books are illegal and scholars are criminals and are hunted down in literal sense, while the television takes up their entire life.

“You are not like others. I’ve seen a few. I know. When I talk, you look at me, when I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon last night. Others would never do that”

-Clarisse McLallen – Fahrenheit 451

This rendezvous with his neighbour Clarisse, change his view of himself and the entirety of his life and pave way for a journey he takes with a professor in hiding to find himself as one who enjoys a bit of curiosity and who realises he is the criminal who sets books on fire. This shows how much a society can fall in absence of books.

The story paints a scary picture of a world without books, a world where imagination and creativity is a crime and you get killed for it. The most scary part is, at some point, the story doesn’t feel like a piece of fiction anymore and feels more like a prediction for literary apocalypse. Which is a scary thought considering how most take books for granted in this modern “smart” world. The story, gives a great appreciation to the books and a ego boost to the bibliophiles as it practically says, ‘without books and imagination we are doomed’.

Is it a must read? – Yes.

Will you enjoy it? – It will probably be disturbing than amusing to you, as all dystopian stories go.

Should You read it anyway? – Yes.


The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak



The Forty Rules of Love is a breathtaking piece by Elif Shafak, who took the reader on a memorable journey through love, religion, mysticism and many more through her beautiful words.

This book is a perfect example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Some may think this book is about a kind of a guide book to be a success in love, well it is in a way, but in the most poetic and unexpected way possible.

The story starts with Ella having an existential crisis over a book she is reviewing. With Ella, we take up on a journey in search of love that is beyond the understanding of an average mind.

Does this book talk about love? Friendship? Companionship? Love of God? Self-Love? Religion? Meaning of life as a whole? Yes, yes and yes to all of the above. Shafak took us on a journey with Shams a Sufi in search of a companion who can mirror him and give a meaning to his solitude. When he finds Rumi, anyone who understands solitude will ache to have a companionship like Shams and Rumi.

“I have never been to a tavern before and have never consumed wine. I don’t think drinking is the right thing to do. But I trust you fully, because I trust the Love between us”

– Rumi to Shams

These beautiful words, as simple as it might be, revealed a prospect of the heights of trust and love a person could have for another. This level of trust as purely a concept of fiction as it can be in this modern times, it makes one think how much human beings are capable when it comes to love and ache for a time where it could be possible.

The forty rules that is spread across the entire story is not just a rule for just common kind of love between a man and a woman, but for forty kinds of love and more. None of the two rules address the same kind of love. As you explore the rules one by one, you fall in love with god, with life, with yourself, with your ability to love, with another person, with humans in general and the list goes on till it come to a point where you fall in love with love itself.

After reading this book, you will never see life and the rest of the world the same way again. It will take you apart and put you back piece by piece in the most poetic way possible.


Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

sarah's key

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, a devastatingly beautiful piece of art, which destroys the reader in the best possible way.

This is a story of a young girl fighting a battle of survival for her and her brother in middle of a war that this bigger than her and beyond her understanding. This story takes us back to the war that destroyed worlds and lives of millions, later narrowing down the entire universe to that of a young girl and her journey through the cruelty of a war that robbed her of her family and childhood.

Sarah’s key is the kind of the book that leaves you aching and empty long after you finish reading it. It made me cry and it made me cringe and most importantly, it made me realize what a war with that capacity, a war fought for the desire of a few men can do to the lives unaccounted for and the voices oppressed and left unheard.

“The girl wondered: These policemen… didn’t they have families, too? Didn’t they have children? Children they went home to? How could they treat children this way? Were they told to do so, or did they act this way naturally? Were they in fact machines, not human beings? She looked closely at them. They seemed of flesh and bone. They were men. She couldn’t understand.”
– Sarah’s key

The words that brought the entire world crumbling around; the moment, this little girl lost her faith in the world around her, but never lost the faith in herself to get back to the only family she had left.

The author, by writing the story of this one young Jew girl, made her pain and suffering come to life, throbbing and thundering down on our senses and made that sufferings immortal for generations of readers to endure and remember.