Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

#1 Books by Lois Lowry

So, while the original intent of starting this blog was to document and remind myself of things I like about my life in Japan, I thought maybe I’d broaden the concept.  This blog will be about things I like in general.

Yes I live in Japan.  No I don’t spend my evenings watching Japanese TV or reading Japanese books.  I like to go home and do English-related things.  Listening to Japanese all day and having to speak it sometimes too can be tiring.  English things (TV, books, etc) are more relaxing.

So I wanted to introduce a series of books I absolutely love.  It’s apparently known as “The Giver Series” though technically each book can and does stand alone.  It’s just that there’s a slight cross over of characters.  Maybe not between the first and second books (though I’m just now re-reading the second) but characters from books one and two take part in book three (something that completely blew my mind when I figured it out because I didn’t know about it before reading it).  Also, it’s technically young-adult fiction but I still enjoy them even now.

I first read The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) in probably middle school as part of required reading.

I remember being fascinated by it.  I loved the highly controlled society.  I loved how everything was the same – that is, everyone went through the same stages and did the same things.  That was immensely comforting to me, who often felt “different” from other kids.  Maybe just because I was a bit shy though.

I also liked how the adults of the community chose what each kid would be for their profession.  I use to believe very strongly that I had a very limited view of myself, and that other people could see more clearly who I was and what I should be doing.  However in our present-day society, we don’t have people to make decisions for us like that.  We can rely on a parent or a partner or someone close to us to direct us, but nobody really wants to do that job entirely for us (unless they’re manipulative, and those people do exist).  I used to have immense trouble making decisions – even small ones, so of course I wanted the burden of making small AND large decisions off of me.

Also of note, this is perhaps the only book I’ve read multiple times.  I usually read books only once.  This one I’ve read maybe 5 or 6 times.

I read Gathering Blue during some summer in high school, randomly picked out from the library.

It’s about a girl living in a very unfriendly society who was born with a bum leg.  After the death of her mother, the community wants her out, but she fights to stay.  She’s very talented with her hands at weaving – that’s her gift.  But the rest of the community doesn’t value her and only sees her imperfections.  A good book to remind us that we all have our talents and our weaknesses – some more visible than others.

I haven’t read this book since high school but am re-reading it now.





I  just finished Messenger a few weeks ago.  I really enjoyed it.

As mentioned earlier, it totally blew my mind a few characters were included from the previous two books.  In fact, it’s because of that that I’m re-reading Gathering Blue.  One character is mentioned by name but another isn’t, so it took me a while to catch on.

The book went by all too fast however, whether because it’s young-adult fiction and easy to read, or because it was short, or just because I soaked it up.  It was a good read though.






This book is technically not a part of the above series (which contains just those 3 books).

I recently purchased Gossamer on my kindle and have only gotten through a chapter or two so far.  It’s a tad more fantasy than the previous three books (which are simply dystopias set in a normal human world).  This book involves fairies who give dreams to people, and focuses the life of a very young, somewhat clumsy apprentice fairy.  Seems like a cute read.

A brief search on amazon shows that there are plenty more books out there by Lois Lowry.  Perhaps some day I’ll get to read more when I’m back in the US and have access to a library.  Until then I’ve been buying books for my kindle, and I only want to spend so much on entertainment so I’m limiting how often I actually buy a book.  Though, the kindle is wonderful by the way!  I enjoy it thoroughly.  My boyfriend has a sony ebook reader instead, and uses it all the time (far more than I).



If you’re curious, here’s the kindle I bought:

Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

Though, I got the white version of it.

And here’s the pink cover I use for it and really appreciate:

CE Compass Pink Leather Cover Case for Kindle 3 (3rd Third Generation 6″ Kindle Wi-Fi + 3G)

It’s really cheap ($11.52) and really good quality. It’s got a magnetic fastener, and a bit of cushion on the leather. I carry around my kindle in my backpack all the time and it holds up real well.

For easy access, here’s links to the books I just mentioned, on amazon.com:

Also for the first 3 books, they are sold in a set as well:

The Worlds of Lois Lowry 3 Copy Boxed Set (The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Messenger)

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