Review: The Kiss by Anton Chekhov

As much as I like to be a cynic about love, it’s pieces of writing like “The Kiss” that serve to remind me just how timeless the topic of love is. I’ve been hopping from one book to another with seemingly nothing to please my impatient head-space. Until this story came to my notice, thanks to Tavi Gevinson’s blurb in Rookie on Love (how I got to reread my old review of Rookie is another story): “I just don’t trust words a whole lot, and wonder if writing this, too, takes the air out of the whole thing, like in the Chekhov story “The Kiss,” where the sad loner shares the story of an improbable romantic encounter with his male colleagues and, upon hearing it out loud, experiences the whole thing as woefully insignificant.”

This loner mindset sounded eerily familiar… It was all I needed to dive straight in. Truthfully, I was waiting to be disappointed like with all my previous readings. Thankfully, I was not.

This book left me in awe. My own words will fail me here so I’m opting to showcase the brilliant way this author can put words to thoughts. I felt seen, which is the one key thing I look for in books. I haven’t felt that in a while. Like, romanticizing someone you met briefly to deflect from your not-so-romantic situation? Check. Completely losing track of what they looked like and reconstructing them in your mind? Check. Realizing you have no idea how to visualize them and feel defeated? Check. Knowing full well that you’re in over your head with a simple encounter and yet still overthinking it? Check.

At first when the brigade was setting off on the march he tried to persuade himself that the incident of the kiss could only be interesting as a mysterious little adventure, that it was in reality trivial, and to think of it seriously, to say the least of it, was stupid; but now he bade farewell to logic and gave himself up to dreams. . . .

This is a gem. Thankfully, there are many capturing moments that I cherished:

Like, thinking of all the reasons you’ll never see them again, but then: The “inner voice,” which so often deceives lovers, whispered to him for some reason that he would be sure to see her . . . and he was tortured by the questions, How he should meet her? What he would talk to her about?

The days flowed by, one very much like another. All those days Ryabovitch felt, thought, and behaved as though he were in love. Every morning when his orderly handed him water to wash with, and he sluiced his head with cold water, he thought there was something warm and delightful in his life.

To add to the glamor of this piece, I have to share this beautiful song cover of Slow Dancing in the Dark.

Check out this gorgeous piece of writing for yourself through my Amazon Affiliate link: 

Bite-Size Book Review: Croc Attack! by Assaf Gavron

Croc Attack!Croc Attack! by Assaf Gavron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I didn’t have time for the safe side. Who has?”

An immersive first chapter made even more impressive by the fact that the author translated his own work.* However, flipping to the next chapter to find that this was a dual point perspective book on a POV I didn’t care for was disappointing.

  • I laughed when I read the following quote in the book I was reading right after Croc Attack! by Andrew Sean Greer, “Less.”

“He wonders when their conversations had begun to sound like a novel in translation.”

Still, try out the first chapter just to see for yourself what it holds:


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Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Me before reading the explicit peach scene:

Me after:

But in all seriousness, I wish I would’ve taken the plunge and read this back in 2017 when I was going through the same intense feelings Elio was experiencing. It would’ve made me like this book a lot more. I did come across this quote at the time that made me nearly pick up the book:

“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had not changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dreammaking and strange remembrance.”

I feel like reading this now (thanks to my local library holding a copy), however, when I’m not in that state of mind of almost feverish, obsession with somebody’s existence, it just doesn’t hold the same impact for me. Especially when I came across this oldie but goodie of a video on Youtube that made it hard for a minute thereafter to take the infatuation serious.

All I could hear was “Luuuuu-ke, we’re going to get maaaaaaried” during Elio’s grand proclamations of love.

On a more serious note, I feel like, throughout the book, I was waiting for that moment to hit us as to why exactly Elio fell for Oliver so hard. Was it simply the setting of summer, being seventeen, and having nothing better to do than obsess over every tangible move of their new summer houseguest. Or was it simply that when you start catching feelings you’re already too deep in to go back? Especially when said person is constantly around the corner, never knowing when and where they might appear next, which only adds to the perpetual train of thought circling around them on when you might see them next and what witty thing you might reply in case they end up talking to you… exhausting.

“The thud my heart gave when I saw him unannounced both terrified and thrilled me.”

“Not knowing whether he’d show up at the dinner table was torture. But bearable. Not daring to ask whether he’d be there was the real ordeal. Having my heart jump when I suddenly heard his voice or saw him seated at his seat when I’d almost given up hoping he’d be among us tonight eventually blossomed like a poisoned flower.”

The constant cycle of wanting them gone from your thoughts but never being willing to put an end to it yourself. Man, I don’t know how to bear through the intensity of all that more than once in my lifetime. Or does it never appear that intense the second time around?

I did appreciate how the author captured the “Oh, I’m getting over him any minute now” to then seeing Oliver and instantly forgetting; rinse and repeat. It captures, like he so perfectly worded, the addictive quality of it.

“I knew the feeling wouldn’t last long and that, as with all addicts, it was easy to forswear an addiction immediately after a fix.”

Also, I’m perpetually frightened at the power another person can hold over your state of mind when you’re first in the deep end of it:

“Just a word, a gaze, and I was in heaven.”

All in all, this was a quality trip down memory lane, forever grateful to be out of that state of mine but nonetheless pleased to look at it in hindsight. But the explicitness was sometimes a tad too much for me.

Check it out for yourself with both the book and its movie adaption, and do so with my Amazon Affiliate: