The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Let me now posit this: ‘dignity’ has to do crucially with a butler’s ability not to abandon the professional being he inhabits.

The Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day is a novel that tells the first-person account of Stevens, a head butler at Darlington Hall. My wife recommended this book to me since she was impressed with the rave reviews of Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. Although we typically read different genres, the book’s focus on the role of a butler caught my attention, particularly given my interest in the character of Alfred in The Dark Knight trilogy.

Stevens’ employer, Mr. Farraday, suggests he take some time off while he’s away. Despite his initial reluctance, Stevens decides to take a road trip to visit a former colleague, Miss Kenton, for whom he has fond feelings, but never confessed due to his interpretation of dignity. The story centers around Stevens’ pursuit of what dignity means and the qualities of a great butler. Through reflecting on his past experiences, Stevens demonstrates how he exhibits dignity and possesses the qualities of a great butler. However as the story nears the end, Stevens begins to doubt his interpretation of dignity, as he realizes that even though he has completely given himself to his profession and serving his employer, it came at the expense of hiding his own feelings and personal opinions.

“I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can’t even say I made my own mistakes. Really — one has to ask oneself — what dignity is there in that?”

The Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro

While I enjoyed the book’s focus on these topics, I found that not all of Stevens’ past experiences contributed meaningfully to his character development. At times, similar points were conveyed and reinforced by different experiences. However, I appreciated the book’s insights into the demanding nature of the butler profession and exploring what it means to have dignity.

Overall, The Remains of the Day offers a unique perspective on the role of a butler. While it may not appeal to all readers, its exploration of Stevens’ character and the demanding nature of his profession make it a worthwhile read for those interested in the topic.

1984 by George Orwell

Whenever a conversation at work mentioned 1984, it seemed like a novel was always brought up and an understanding was shared among the people who got the reference. Although I tend not to read fiction, there came a time when I decided to add it to my reading list despite knowing as much about the book as its title can possibly suggest.

1984 by George Orwell takes place in a dystopian setting where the Party, a totalitarian government led by the Big Brother, closely monitors everyone’s actions and demands complete loyalty.

There is the Ministry of Truth, which rather than upholding the truth, dictates what the truth is. This is achieved by the constant rewriting and falsifying of past records to serve the Party. The ministry also created a new language, Newspeak, to limit the thoughts that can possibly be expressed. One of the words introduced is doublethink, which is the practice of believing in contradicting statements while forgetting that the contradiction exists. The truth is constantly changing and any level of questioning can quickly caused your entire existence to be erased.

The Party eliminates any rebellious thoughts through the Ministry of Love. It instills love to the Big Brother through mass surveillance, fear, and torture. The Thought Police are the secret police who discovers and punishes thoughts unapproved by the Party. People who show any level of opposition through their actions, words, facial expressions, or even what was said in their dreams are brought to the Ministry of Love where they’ll learn to love the Big Brother.

Winston Smith, who works for the Ministry of Truth, is not contempt with the current way of living. Although Winston is adept at conforming outwardly to appear loyal to the Party, his rebellious desire grows with each passing day.

Julia, who also works for the Ministry of Truth, confessed her love to Winston in secrecy one day. They quickly became lovers and would spend time together out of the view of surveillance. Winston and Julia agreed that when they get caught, there’s one thing the Party can’t take away from them, which is their love towards each other.

There are stories about a secret organization called the Brotherhood whose focus is to take down the Party. O’Brien, an inner member of the Party, was believed by Winston to be working for the Brotherhood. Winston’s suspicious appears to be validated when O’Brien asked Winston and Julia the sacrifice they are willing to make to overthrow the Party.

Winston and Julia continued to meet up in their hiding place until one day when they got caught by the Thought Police. To Winston’s surprise, the person who disciplines him is O’Brien. O’Brien then carried out physical and mental tortures on Winston. The goal is not to extract information, which Winston had already given all up, but to completely remove any thoughts against the Party. Even though Winston was able to stick with his beliefs during the initial torturing, he finally betrayed his love for Julia when he was brought to Room 101, the dreaded room where you are faced with your deepest fears. Winston was then released before his eventual execution.

Winston and Julia encountered each other one day. They both confessed that they had betrayed each other, which when you do, you don’t feel the same way about the other person. They no longer have feelings for each other and went their separate ways. As Winston was about to get executed, Winston thought to himself that he had finally won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

It’s hard to put into words the feeling of reading 1984. I was expecting Winston to find his way to the Brotherhood and to overthrow the Big Brother. However, there came a time when I realized that there is no way out. It makes you ponder what can happen if a group of intelligent people with a pure pursuit of power has the technology and resource to perform mass surveillance on the public.

I’m still amazed at George Orwell’s ability to provide such in depth details on how a dystopian world with a totalitarian government will look like. Contrary to the usual endings where the protagonist will achieve certain level of victory, an ending of complete defeat of the protagonist’s character is not only thrilling for the readers but also fitting for the dystopian setting.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

My parents escaped Việt Nam on a boat so their children could grow up in freedom.

Our parent-child relationship is one that we seldom reflect upon. In the illustrated memoir, The Best We Could Do, Thi Bui examines her relationship with her parents and how their history of having to live through the Indochina wars have impacted who they are today.

Thi Bui is a novelist born in Vietnam, three months before the end of the Vietnam war. In an effort to become closer to her parents, Thi began to inquire about her family’s background and their journey of escaping to the United States as refugees in 1978.

The Best We Could Do started with Thi in labor and concluded with Thi and her son, however the plot is mainly revolved around Thi’s parents, Bố and Má (father and mother in Vietnamese). The lives they led before they met each other were very different. Má’s father was the chief of public works for the government so she grew up living in a big house in Cambodia with servants, cooks, and gardeners. Má was always the top student in class and won many awards. On the other hand, Bố’s family had to survive by whatever means they had during the Second World War. One night Bố watched his father beat his mother and threw her out. As a result, Bố was never able to develop a close relationship with his parents.

Afraid of my father, craving safety and comfort. I had no idea that the terror I felt was only the long shadow of his own.

There were trouble in Cambodia where Vietnamese people were being killed, which forced Má’s family back to Vietnam. Bố looking to avoid joining the army, applied and passed the exams to join a teacher’s college, where he met Má. Even though Má’s family was not fond of Bố, they still ended up married. During the Vietnam war, bombings happened regularly and they had to survive skyrocketing inflation with fixed teachers’ salaries. Friends, neighbours, and students were killed and people including children were incentivized and taught to spy on each other including their parents.

There is no single story of that day, April 30, 1975. In Việt Nam today, among the victors, it is called Liberation Day. Overseas, among expats like my parents, it is remembered as the day we lost our country.

After South Vietnam lost the Vietnam war, living conditions were still poor. People in the south were name called and distrusted. Families were constantly monitored and could at any moment be separated. With the changed currency and inflation once again, there was a daily survival for food. Bố and Má then decided to flee Vietnam and was able to escape via boat and reached Malaysia in 1978.

The Best We Could Do is the first illustrated novel I’ve ever read. It’s an easy read and the graphics helped visualize the living conditions during the wars. The plot is well told and I’m impressed at how truthful Thi was at examining her vulnerabilities and her relationship with her parents. I enjoyed reading this book and I’ve learned a lot about Vietnam and got a glimpse of life during the Vietnam war.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Plot Summary

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is based on the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, during World War II.

In April 1942, Lale was forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Due to his positivity and his ability to speak multiple languages, Lale quickly became a figure other captives gravitated towards and was put to work by his captors as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist).

As a Tätowierer, Lale was responsible for permanently marking his fellow prisoners for identification. One day in July 1942, Lale came across a young woman who he was to tattoo the number 34902 on her arm. They were captivated by each other’s gaze and soon fell in love. Lale then vowed to survive the camp and marry her.

Living in an environment where tomorrow is not guaranteed, Lale had to find ways to navigate through the cruelties and to find the strength and will to survive.


Book Review

The story centers on Lale’s experience of the Holocaust and how he manages to survive. It is succinct and it doesn’t deviate from the main plot. Not too many characters are fully developed but it feels just right to focus on Lale and his perspective. I didn’t find it emotional due to how quickly characters seem to be introduced and taken away, however, it is very engaging and is a great read.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz not only shows the cruelties of concentration camps but also the power of togetherness. Lale was close to death multiple times and although his resourcefulness is crucial to his survival, it is the help of his friends as well as his enemies that keeps him alive.

Even though this story is not entirely true, I was able to learn a lot about the Holocaust and the perspective of someone living through it. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books with historical context.


Have you read this book? And is there any book you would recommend? I’ll love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill: I used The Book of Negroes as the title for my novel, in Canada, because it derives from a historical document of the same name kept by British naval officers at the tail end of the American Revolutionary War. It documents the 3,000 blacks who had served the King in the war and were fleeing Manhattan for Canada in 1783. Unless you were in The Book of Negroes, you couldn’t escape to Canada. My character, an African woman named Aminata Diallo whose story is based on this history, has to get into the book before she gets out.

Plot Summary

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill is a novel that narrates the life of Aminata Diallo,  who was abducted from her village, Bayo, at the age of 11. Aminata was bright beyond her years and even at a young age had learned from her mom how to be a midwife and from his father how to read. Using the skills she learned, Aminata took on the role of a midwife and eventually learned how to communicate in English as well. During the slave voyage to South Carolina, a boy her age, Chekura, who had been forced to help the slave traders, had cared and grown close to Aminata.

When the ship arrived at South Carolina, the captives who survived were sold and dispersed in a slave auction. Even though this separated Aminata and Chekura, they sought out one another and their affection for each other grew as time went on. This novel is centered on Aminata’s pursuit of freedom and her dream to return to Bayo.

Book Review

The Book of Negroes is a book that makes you understand the cruelty of slavery and the implications of not being free. The storyline is compact and successfully communicated the different nuances of the challenges Aminata faced. Despite having introduced many characters throughout the novel, the character development is brilliantly done. You can feel connected to the characters and have an understanding of all the different perspectives presented.

The Book of Negroes goes into great extent detailing the cruelties humans can do to each other. However, it also shows how far having a strong will can go in helping you achieve your dreams. Being separated by slavery, Aminata and Chekura were able to stay loyal to each other no matter the distance or danger presented in their way.

The book is beautifully written and provides a good understanding of what living in slavery means. You learn to relate and care for the characters and especially Aminata Diallo. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys great character development or to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of what it means to live in slavery.


What book are you currently reading? I’d love to hear any books that you’d recommend as well!

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Before heading back to Taiwan to visit my family during my vacation, I decided to change up the pace and pick up some books that aren’t learning focused like the management books that I’ve been reading so far. One of the books on the discount section that immediately caught my attention was the Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. The movie was released just a few months ago and I’ve already been hearing great reviews from my friends who’ve watched it. I was able to finish reading it during my vacation and I’ll say it’s a great read especially when you are looking to unwind and relax.

Plot Summary

Rachel Chu and Nick Young are a young couple living in the States who are both professors at the New York University. They have been dating for a few years and are still madly in love.

When Nick invited Rachel to visit his family in Singapore and to attend his best friend’s wedding, Rachel accepted without any inclination of what is about to happen. As Nick has been raised up to not discuss his background, Rachel never knew Nick’s family along with their background and the tradition that comes with being in a crazy rich family.

Nick’s family is among the top 10 wealthiest in Asia. With the amount of wealth and the associated social status that comes with it, the vast majority of Nick’s extended family grew up with a sense of entitlement and materialism that Rachel is unaccustomed to and disliked. Before Nick and Rachel even set foot in Singapore, Nick’s Mom, Eleanor Young, as well as numerous women who are obsessed with prestige and pride have begun to scheme against Rachel and her relationship with Nick. Rachel and Nick’s relationship is challenged as they have to navigate through the obstacles that come from the cultural difference as well as the disapproval from Nick’s family.


Book Review

The book started out introducing numerous characters that are in Eleanor Young’s social circle. It is hard to follow the storyline at times as too many characters are being introduced around the same time. However, as the character development of Rachel and Nick strengthens, it becomes clear how each character is related to Nick’s family and the story really starts to kick off.

The Crazy Rich Asians shows the different people dynamic of a crazy rich Asian family. Growing up in an environment surrounded by wealth, it shows how people can have a sense of entitlement and even look down upon those who come from families who are less fortunate financially. Despite that, although the environment you grow up with can strongly affect your value system, there are also people like Nick who are down to earth and modest.

People often focus on the positive impact that comes with wealth. Whereas this novel also demonstrates the negative impact it can have on your value system and social circle. It uses different characters to explain how each person handles wealth and its impact on their lives.

I’ll refrain from spoilers, but I do not particularly enjoy the ending. I’ll prefer it to focus more on the relationship between Nick and Rachel and how they face and resolve the obstacles that Nick’s family presents. However, all in all, I really enjoy the book and the change of pace from the usual management type books that I’ve been reading. Here’s a link of the book and as always please let me know your feedback and your thoughts. 🙂

I’m currently reading High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove.

Reseña: Aleph de Paulo Coelho



La autobiografía de Paulo Coelho, Aleph, narra su viaje recorriendo Europa y Asia en el tren Transiberiano. Aunque Paulo fue un autor de renombre, sentí incompleto y infeliz. En su viaje, conoció a Hilal, una joven violinista a la que amó y tracionó 500 años antes. Por causa de este acto de traición, Paulo todavía no podía encontrar la verdadera felicidad. Juntos descubrieron sus pasados y se ayudaron mutualmente a recuperar sus vidas y vivir en el ahora.

Opiníon Personal

Aleph es una toma única de autobiografía de Paulo. Permite que los lectores entienden sus pensamientos, sus creencias, y la dinámica que tuvo con las personas que lo rodean. El argumento principal de la historia gira alrededor a él comprendiendo su pasado con Hilal y pidiéndole perdón.

Encontré la conversación espiritual sobre universos paralelos y el autodescubrimiento un poco arrastrado y redundante a veces. Prefiero sus otros libros como La Espía y El Alquimista que me trajeron nuevas experiencias y conocimientos. Este no es un libro que recomiendo, pero aquí está si eres fanático de su estilo de escritura.

Estoy leyendo High Output Management de Andrew S. Grove.

Reseña: La Espía de Paulo Coelho



Paulo Coelho narra una historia sobre Mata Hari quién terminó siendo ejecutada como espía en la Primera Guerra Mundial. Mata Hari, cuyo nombre real es Margaretha Zelle, fue una bailarina muy famosa que alcanzó la fama debido a su belleza y su deseo de cumplir sus sueños.

Todos sabemos que no moriré a causa de este alegato estúpido de espionaje, sino porque decidí ser quien siempre soñé y el precio de un sueño siempre es alto.

Por causa de las limitaciones impuestas a las mujeres, Mata aprendió muy temprano cómo seducir y manipular a los hombres para obtener lo que quiere. Fue una luchadora capaz de superar todos los obstáculos que se presentan en la cumplimiento de sus sueños. A medida que envejecía, su fama desvanecía con su belleza. Atrapada en tiempos de guerra, accedió a ser una espía para Alemania para escapar de la pobreza y regresar a Francia. Como Mata no tenía la intención de ser una espía, nunca proporcionó información útil sobre Francia a Alemania. Sin embargo, cuando Francia vio indicios de que Mata era una espía para Alemania, fue ejecutada a pesar de no tener ninguna evidencia concreta en su contra.

Opiníon Personal

Esta ficción histórica está narrada desde dos perspectivas, una carta de Mata Hari a su abogado y otra carta de su abogado a Mata Hari. La carta de Mata Hari ofrece una gran perspectiva sobre cómo se convirtió en la persona que era y las luchas internas que tenía. Señala la desigualdad que enfrentaron las mujeres y el precio que las mujeres necesitaban pagar para cumplir sus sueños. Para la carta de su abogado, ofrece una perspectiva diferente y muestra cómo el mundo estaba tratando a las mujeres como Mata Hari.

Disfruté mucho el desarrollo del personaje de Mata Hari. Te hace pensar en la desigualdad y los desafíos de perseguir tus sueños. Te recomiendo este libro si te gusta el desarrollo de personajes en un contexto histórico.

Estoy leyendo Aleph de Paulo Coelho.

Reseña: El Alquimista de Paulo Coelho

Hola a todos! Antes de leer este libro, he escuchado cosas buenas sobre eso. El Alquimista – Una Fábula Para Seguir Tus Suenos ha sido aclamado como una de las novelas más importantes de la década. Es asombroso cómo Paulo puede demostrar sus ideas como una fábula tan emocionante e encantador.



La historia es sobre un muchacho se llama Santiago, un joven pastor en Andalucia, quien tiene un sueño repetido en el que encontrará un tesero escondido en las Pirámides de Egipto. Para entender su sueño, viene a una adivina que le dice que va a encontrar un tesero en las Pirámides de Egipto. Después de hablar con la advina, se encuentra un anciano, el rey de Salem, quien le dijo sobre la Leyenda Personal y la importancia de seguir sus sueños. Santiago decidió ir a Egipto y vendió sus ovejas para obtener el dinero necesario. ¡El viaje comienza!

Opinión Personal

Leyenda Personal es lo que una persona siempre quiere cumplir. Esta fábula demuestra la importancia de seguir sus sueños. Se necesita ser paciente y continuar trabajando para sus sueños. El viaje para alcanzar sus sueños no es facil, pero si trabaja duro y cree en su sueño, puede alcanzarlo. El historia tambien muestra por qué tanta gente no puede alcanzar sus sueños. Necesitas creer en tus sueños y en ti mismo pero tambien necesitas tomar la decisión de seguir tus sueños. Durante el viaje de seguir tus sueños, hay muchas cosas que pueden detenerte. Por ejemplo, muchas personas están contentas con sus vidas y no quieren arriesgarse mucho por sus sueños. En otros casos, las personas dejan de seguir sus sueños cuando se encuentran una problema. El libro nos enseña a no darnos por vencidos en nuestros sueños incluso cuando nos encontramos con problemas. Cuando sigues tus sueños, es tan importante para centrarte en tus sueños como en disfrutar el viaje.


Esta es mi segunda reseña en español! Es un libro que recomendaré. Perdoname otra vez por los errores en mi español, es una idioma muy difícil para mí. Gracias por su tiempo para leer mi reseña y quisiera saber tus pensamientos de este libro tambien. 🙂


Estoy leyendo Rework de Jason Fried.

Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban

Para mejora mi español, he leido algunos libros en espanol. Y esta vez terminé leer Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban. Leí todos los libros en la serie de Harry Potter cuando era un estudiante para la escuela secundaria. Pero en aquel entonces leí los libros en inglés para mejora mi inglés. Después de todos estos años, regresé a leer Harry Potter y aún me da mucho gusto.

Es mi primera vez que escribí un post en espanol, entonces perdóname si encuentras muchos errores con mi español. Lo agradeceré si dejame saber mi errores. Entonces, compartiré contigo un sinopsis y mis pensamientos de este libro.
!Atención: contiene spoiler!



Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban es el tercero libro de la serie Harry Potter. Harry Potter tiene 13 años y esta estudiando en un escuela para magos que se llama Hogwarts. Durante el verano, vives con tus tios que son muggles, no se pueden hacer magia, porque los padres de Harry fue asesinado por el malvado Voldemort. Mientras tanto, un asesino serie con magicos poderes, Sirius Black, ha escapado Azkaban. Sirius Black ha ayudado Voldemort y ha tracionado los padres de Harry. ¿Con Sirius Black centrado a Harry, como puede Harry queda en salvo de Sirius Black en su tercer año en Hogwarts?

Opinión Personal

Todos, incluido Harry, creen que Sirius Black he tracionado los padres de Harry y quiere matarlo. Cuando Harry descubrió que Sirius es su padrino y el mejor amigo de su padre, Harry odiaba Sirius aún más. Solo hasta cerca del final del libro, fue relevado que Sirius no tracionó los padres de Harry y es el otro amigo de su padre, Peter Pettigrew, que los tracionó. Para la sorpresa de todo (incluyéndome debido a mi malo recuerdo jaja), Peter ha vivido con las familia de Ron, el amigo de Harry, por doce años como una rata. Me gusta mucho estos giros inesperados y los desarollos de personajes de Harry y los amigos de su padres.


No puedo escribir bien en espanol ahora, entonces mi reseña en espanol es muy corto. Espero que puedo mejorar rapido y no escribo como un niño jaja. Gracias por su timepo para leer mi reseña y quisiera saber tus pensamientos de este libro tambien.

Estoy leyendo El Alquimista de Paulo Coelho.