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The Island of Sea Women

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa Lee is the first powerful and captivating book that I read this year.

The novel is about haenyeo and female friendship. Haenyeo are sea divers and they belong to a matrifocal society, where the women provide for their families. Husbands stay at home, cook and take care of children, while women sell the captured sea creatures and earn their livelihood. The novel is set in Jeju Island when it was occupied by Japanese and later by Americans and was ravaged by violence.

The friendship between Mija and Young-sook is the key element of the novel. They grow up together, train as haenyeo, and get separated after their marriages, but keep in touch occasionally. Mija indirectly causes irreparable loss to Young-sook and they turn from best friends to enemies. Will Young-sook forgive Mija? Why did Mija act the way she did? These two questions drive the novel. I did not expect so much violence and See paints a picture that haunts you long after you put the book down.

The novel is like a rich layered chocolate cake with multiple layers of the culture of Jeju island, training and customs of haenyeo, violence on the island due to occupation by Japanese and Americans, family and friendship.

A must-read novel by See, but it is not for the weak-hearted.



Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier is a graphic novel about two sisters. Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya is sick. Maya has cystic fibrosis and the cool sea air could make her feel better.

Catrina doesn’t like moving Bahia de la Luna because she will miss her friends. The town has a secret. There are ghosts in Bahia de la Luna. Maya wants to meet a ghost, but Catrina doesn’t want to meet one. At the end of the year, when the ghosts meet their loved ones, will Catrina put aside her fear of ghosts? Will Maya make ghost friends? This novel also explores the relationship between two sisters and their fears.

This is my first time reading a graphic novel and I loved the beautiful illustrations. There was so much detail in each picture. I appreciated the sinuous drawings of the ghosts. The story itself had a logical ending, but the series of events were captivating. This is my first Raina Telgemeier novel and will definitely not be my last.

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson is a book about how to deal with life and what things you should give a f*ck about in life, because life always throws at you an array of situations that make you give a f*ck.

Everyone’s life is filled with problems. The social media paints a picture of a blissful, problem-free life for everybody else, except us, but that is not true. The goal of life should be to have better problems and problems that you can solve because solving problems gives us happiness. A rich man has problems, a poor man has problems. We would rather solve a rich man’s problems than a poor man’s. Whenever we solve a problem, that becomes the foundation for a new problem.

Have your priorities in life, that will decide what situations you want to give a f*ck about and what you do not want to give a f*ck about. We have limited time in this life and if we spend time, worrying about non-essential things that do not align with our priorities in life, we are wasting time.

Everyone has almost the same level of intelligence and similar problems in life. It takes a lot of hard work for someone to be successful. For example, only a person who is willing to spend a few years in poverty and starvation will afford to become a great artist. Only the people who enjoy working late nights and working 24×7 will rise up to become the directors or CEOs of a company. What you are willing to sacrifice will determine how far you will grow. In the end, it boils down to priorities, a person who wants to become a CEO will give more priority to the growth of the company, rather than spending time with his/her family.

So, what are the things you want to give a f*ck about?