The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was an interesting and enjoyable read. It is the story of Cora’s journey to freedom through the Underground Railroad, which is literally an underground railroad (I had to do a quick search to verify I did not miss something during my history classes). Cora escaped from a cotton plantation in Georgia. Being abandoned by her mother at a young age left her marked and an outcast. Her journey took her through the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Indiana. Throughout her journey she is chased relentlessly by a slave catcher, Arnold Ridgeway. There are parts that are difficult to read given the brutality of slavery. Add this book to your to read list, if it is not already on it.
New Year’s Resolution: 1 of 12 books
I have not posted in over a year and a half, but I have also not been consistent at blogging. Yet, I would read consistently. So, I was disappointed to realize how very few books I have read since my last posting.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read a book a month, which I think is doable. Happy New Year!
I had every intention of posting my list of favorite books for 2015 back in January! I guess it’s better late than never.
My favorite book for 2015 is…The Night Circus by Erin Morgentern. This is such a beautiful story that it is a bit challenging to summarize without misleading people. It was not the story I expected, but I ended up loving it…maybe because I have a soft spot for circuses and magic. The story starts as a competition between two ancient magicians that set their pupils against each other. The circus is the venue for the competition. As the competition evolves and the players discover who their rival is, they change the game. Rather than outperforming one another with their exhibits/performances, they begin to court each other by collaborating, and the result is a wondrous dreamlike circus. However, there is one rule that they are unaware of and that is that only one can be left standing. As a side note, I think cirque du soleil should base one of their shows on this book.
Two other books that I really enjoyed reading were Girl on Train by Paula Hawkins and Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline. Girl on Train is thriller in which none of the narrators can be trusted. Some people have said it is the next Gone Girl. I did not think so and I liked it better. Orphan Train is the story of the friendship between two very different people, a 91-year-old lady, Vivian, and a teenage girl, Molly. I enjoyed the story, but it could also be that I have a very special spot in my heart for Anne of Green Gables, and you can see a similarity between Anne’s story and Vivian’s.
What was your favorite book (or books) for 2014? What reading really caught your attention? Sparked your interest? Changed your world? Made you laugh?
It has been a very long time since I have posted anything. So I think I will start off by responding to the Booking Through Thursday meme regarding your favorite book of 2014.
My favorite book of 2014 is City of Thieves by David Benioff. The story is about two Soviet prisoners, Lev and Kolya, sent on an impossible mission to procure a dozen eggs within five days or be executed. The story is set during the siege of Leningrad. Lev is a scrawny, shy, young Jew. Kolya is a handsome, reckless, ladies man and Cossack deserter. They are the most unlikely pair that end up forming a bond as their mission progresses. I enjoyed the story because it has excellent character development and the dialogue is entertaining. The book is an easy read and highly recommend it.
Two other books that I really enjoyed reading were Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is about a daughter’s search for her missing mother. Ethan Frome is the story of the tragic and miserable life of Ethan Frome.
I’m on vacation this week. I didn’t go anywhere exciting or exotic, I’m just not at work. Spending time puttering around the house, playing with the dog and … oh yeah. Reading. A lot.
Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation? Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?
It depends on the type of vacation. If it’s a staycation or visiting family or friends, I tend to read a lot more. I don’t really save up any special books; I just keep going down my TBR list. However, if I am going way to a place I have never been before I find that I don’t really read that much because I spend most of my time exploring. I usually pack the book I am currently reading so that I can read on my way there and back. If I am nearly finished with the book I pack an extra one.
You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.
What book do you pick up?
During stressful times, I pick up a Pride and Prejudice retelling. I find it fascinating how creative writers can be with retelling a classic. Can you tell I have a soft spot for Pride and Prejudice? I recently read A Wife for Mr. Darcy and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do; both were rather enjoyable. However, if I had to pick between the two I would pick Only Mr. Darcy Will Do. My other go to book(s) would be Anne of Green Gables series.
This was a book I bought when I went on a book shopping frenzy. I had not really heard of the book but the title and description were interesting enough. So when I started reading the book I was disappointed and had a hard time getting through the first part of the book. However, I stuck to the book and was pleasantly surprised.
Part of the reason I had a hard time with the first part of the book was that it was too philosophical. Philosophy was never my favorite subject and will probably never be, mainly because I don’t really get answers. I find that I usually end up with more questions. I also found the characters a bit off-putting. At first it seems that both of the protagonists think they are above others, a little condescending.
The story is narrated by the two protagonists, Renee and Paloma, alternating chapters. Renee is a 54-year-old widow concierge of a posh Parisian apartment building and Paloma is a 12-year-old tenant planning to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. They are both intellectuals who have been disappointed with life and hide their true selves by playing the roles society has dealt them. I found the character of Paloma a bit unconvincing. Renee’s character becomes more dimensional after she shares her history. It explains why she believes people of different social classes cannot mix. I also found it interesting that both had this affinity for Japanese culture.
The story picks up after a new tenant moves in, Monsieur Ozu. Both the characters are so wrapped up in themselves that they failed to notice they were kindred spirits. It is not until Monsieur Ozu brings them together that they see how much they both have in common. It is also this connection that allows the two of them to open up and confide in each other. They also begin to realize that they do not have to follow the status quo and can be themselves.
For me the best part of the book was the story of Jean Arthens and the camellias; beauty in its simplicity can give us hope. Although, I struggled with the book I did enjoy the end even if it was dramatic and unexpected. The one thing this book left me with is that sometimes we are all too busy and wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t see each other. So it might not be a bad idea to take time to observe people—who knows we may find a kindred spirit.