Reading Reflection

Reading Reflection

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Reading Reflection

As an avid reader, it was inevitable that I would enjoy reading some of the books contained in the course. Reading has always taken me to place and the assigned books achieved the same. I have adventured in fictional narratives to powerful portrayals of history. Going through the books, I could not help but wonder how much my life practices and academic interests complement each other. These are some of the inquiries I sought to answer while reading, to determine where am most comfortable when reading. I understood that I draw more pleasure from learning, using the different writing approaches to develop a creative pedagogy for storytelling. While the course readings are different, they provided a suitable space where one could deeply and affectively engage with writing, learning different writing approaches, aligning the reader with the ability to be more creative in their writing.

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan was a creative reflection of Japan’s political history. The fictional book, based on Manga tradition, explores the current sense of political and social tension impacting young people in Japan. A common theme in the narrative is a criticism of the younger generation in its lack of ambition and enthusiasm compared to previous generations [6]. However, as seen through the main characters, most of the young people do not have hope for the future because of existing corporate walls. Isayama portrays a society isolated by a big wall, showing how Japanese culture tends to be enclosed to outsiders [6]. As per my understanding, Isayama was borrowing from the Second World War to create opportunities for hyper action and explicit bloodshed. For instance, the intermittent camps are slightly similar to Europe’s Nazi stations. Isayama uses such comparative approaches to generate tropes and imagery that inform the reader on the toll bigotry and nationalism can have on the populace. I enjoyed reading Attack on Titan because of its subtle political criticism. While the political depiction was evident, there was no clear endorsement.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

                The Silent Patient is a well-thought out book that I would recommend to anyone. The book taught on the importance of simplicity in writing. What draws in the reader is the book’s meticulous plot. The author creates a tight and well-knit narrative based on a simple notion: A popular artist murders her husband, but keeps quiet about it, escaping with the crime. However, her psychotherapist sets to bring the truth to light. Michaelides does not beat around the bush and immediately throws the reader to the heart of the story. For instance, consider the opening of the book, “Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband” {1]. The author uses concise, but detailed sentences to engage the reader. The narrative being told by the psychotherapist’s viewpoint only added to the book’s appeal. Compared to other investigative drama, the Silent Patient is not a thriller. What keeps a person glued is the question, “Why does Alicia keep quiet?” The subtle mystery forms the basis of the book, underlying its emotional appeal.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

                Collen Hoover introduced me to the power of autobiographies that seem at first as fluffy romance novels. The author provides a narrative that outlines the results of what occurs when love transforms into an abuse of power and physical violence [5]. The most noticeable part of the book came at the end, in the author’s note. Hoover reveals the main character of the book, Lily Bloom, meaning it is a reflection of the years of abuse she and her mother endured at the hands of her father. Hoover’s confession was an outright description of her intent to assist other women facing similar issues out of the situation. This commitment is seen in the statement, “She left someone she loved so that he daughters would never think that kind of relationship was okay” [5]. Even though It Ends with Us has good content, one cannot shy away from the massive impact the ending has. The closing aligns with Mathies’ description of narrative identity, which emphasizes importance of making the narrative relatable to real life problems for a more immersive readership.

Ikigai by Francesco Miralles and Hector Garcia

                Hector Garcia and Francesco Miralles’ non-fictional narrative seeks to teach on the true secrets behind life’s longevity. The book was perhaps the only motivational narrative in the class readings, and played a critical role in informing my habits and behaviours. According to the authors, living well extends beyond exercising every day and eating well [2]. A person also has to change their mindset and how they relate with others and the environment. The authors hypothesize an interplay between mindsets, diets and routines in the daily urge to keep on living [2]. Interesting in the book is how the authors directly relate having a life purpose with a longer lifespan. People that do not have a clear thing to live for end up severely decreasing their lifecycle. Ikigai is a book that should be recommended to people passing through a dark or tough period. The content is bound to help a person recover emotionally by bringing back positivity in their way of life. A recommendable inspirational piece fit for any audience.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is a fictional drama, romance novel that talks about Andrea, an optimistic designed who secures a job with a prestigious fashion magazine. Sweet and kind hearted, Andrea has to deal with a boss known for her borderline psychological and emotional torture [8]. Like the typical female protagonist, Andrea has to counter sexism and under-recognition to become successful. I perceived the book as quite enjoyable and easy to reader. The author does an incredible job of introducing the reader to unique characters. The story might not be revolutionary, but the characterization brings it to life. The narrative immerses the reader, forcing them to empathize with how difficult corporate life can be, especially in the fashion industry. On the negative side, the book did not contain any climax until the closing chapter. There is a sense of repetition in the storyline, resulting in the reader zoning out in a few instances. For instance, the reader is constantly reminded on how awful it can be working in the fashion industry. Reinforcing the thought makes the book repetitive.

No longer Human by Osamu Dazai

                I selected the book in an effort to expand my readings beyond American literature. The Japanese book was Osamu Dazai’s final work before he committed suicide in the late 40s [4]. The narrative is a semi-autobiography, offering details in Dazai’s life while connecting it to events associated with the Communist Party. Dazai’s plot outlines a tendency in Japanese literature, where content has to touch on Japan’s political history. The book emphasizes childhood depression, explaining how the protagonist moves through life experiencing issues related to mental illness in a time when it was a taboo topic [4]. I found it impressive how the author needles issues of mental illness without sounding dramatic or inhumane. For instance, consider the quote, “Now I have neither happiness nor unhappiness. Everything simply passes” [4]. The first quote in the book remains etched in the reader’s mind throughout the narrative. Even though the book is over seven decades old, the autobiographical account is highly reflective of contemporary understanding of depression and anxiety. Despite being cynical and cold, I would recommend No Longer Human to any reader.

The Alchemist by Paulo

                The Alchemist was perhaps the most insightful and purposeful reading in the list. The book follows a simple plot: Santiago travels from Spain to Egypt in search of untold treasures [3]. Along the way, the protagonist meets distinct characters that play a crucial role in shaping his attitudes, wisdom and knowledge. The character refining process outlines the book’s emotional appeal, as the pursuit of love and riches is a feat many of us are familiar with. The book made me reason whether my original dream still matters. A person must shape their path to achieve such personal goals. The book reinforced my belief that the choices we make in life and deeply shaped by the people we encounter. Therefore, every aspect of life is pre-ordained. A universal and spiritual force ensures that all things are inter-connected [3]. The most important learning point is the journey of life is the destination. One must appreciate the process that leads to goal attainment.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

                I am a longtime fan of Fredrik Bachman, ever since I read his ‘A Man called Ove’. I could tell the book will be a good read from its prologue, written in a sentimental approach that makes the reader feel whatever is inside what heartfelt by the author. The reading follows a strong relationship between a father and son, and a grandfather with his grandson [7]. The plot centers on the theme that getting old can be frightening.  The author writes with a comprehensive understanding of empathy, persuading the reader to cherish every moment in life, including the small things. The book should be assigned to a person struggling with regret. The central theme covers issues of anguish, confusion and frustration over not achieving what we wanted in life [7]. However, by enjoying the process, regret does not come even with ageing. Everytime I read one of Fredrik Bachman’s book, I ponder on the importance of fathers and fatherhood because the author has a firm but empathetic way of presenting life.


                Reading at the start of the semester appeared as a fun challenge, but with each book there has been a significant positive change in my literature efficacy. I have learned on the importance of a good plot and how changing the narrator’s perspective can complement a plot. I have also learned on the significance of ensuring a narrative is relatable by tying it to real-life issues or events. Reading many books is the only way to finding a sense of self in terms of readership and writing. For instance, I realized I enjoy fictional and melodramatic narratives more than inspirational books or autobiographies. The various genres and styles of writing imply a writer must be adaptive; able to capture different roles and situations. All these learning moments from the books are even greater in my head now that I can reflect upon them well in my writing.


  1. Michaelides, Alex, The Silent Patient. Washington, D.C.: Celadon Books, 2021.
  2. H. Garcia & F. Miralles, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. New York, NYC: Random House, 2017.
  3. P. Cuelho, The Alchemist. Washington, D.C.: HarperCollins, 2006.
  4. A. Pastor, “A Review of No Longer Human.” The Uproar, (accessed 30 April 2022).
  5. S. Mathies, “The Simulated Self: Fiction Reading and Narrative Identity”, Philosophia, vol. 48, pp. 325-345, 2020.
  6. B. Alverson, “Attack on Titan as a Reflection of Japan’s Political History”, CBR,, (accessed 30 April 2022).
  7. F. Bachman. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella. Los Angeles; Simon and Schuster, 2016.
  8. E. Knape. “Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada”, Reporter,, (accessed 30 April 2022).

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