I have been reading a lot lately. Here are some of my recent reads. (Also an audiobook)
Committed - Elizabeth Gilbert
“You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.”
Gilbert did it again. I loved Eat Pray Love, so I was excited to see she wrote another book continuing her love story. Only this one was realistic. And more research based and so different yet so good. If you are married, engaged, hoping to get married someday, please read it. I think it's great that she admits that you can have your problems and still love each other more than anything. One note though - it's heavily researched meaning there are a lot of studies and expert advice thrown in. I love that kind of thing (blame it on my podcast addiction) but some people might find it boring. Also, she's very liberal about same-sex marriage, so if that kind of thing offends you maybe skip this one.
State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
“She understood in life that a person was only allowed one trip down to hell.”
I'll confess before I rave, that it took me awhile to get into this. I started it in Lake Powell last summer and the first ten pages didn't catch my interest so I put it down. It was just sitting there and my sister Lacey loved it so I packed it in my bag and took it to Peru. Okay wow. WOW. This book is a must-read. I don't even know where to start. It felt so real to me, probably because I read it while I was also in the Amazon and kept thinking, "Yes, yes, yes." The jungle really is that crazy. It was obvious she went there and was writing from experience. The storyline is incredible - so well done and so engaging. I wish I could read it again for the first time and now I want to read everything Ann Patchett has written. (By the way, my sister lives in Nashville close to Ann Patchett's bookstore Parnassus Books and my sister and I have plans to stalk her.)
Fairest - Gail Carson Levine
“I was born singing. Most babies cry, I sang an aria.”
I think we all read Ella Enchanted and fell in love. I hoped to feel the same way with Fairest. I mean, it was a New York Times Bestseller and Gail Carson Levine wrote it. The story line was cute, and pretty original but I really wasn't captivated like I thought I might be. Also, I think Ella Enchanted is a great read for all ages - even adults, but this one was a little below my level and that's coming from a girl who loves YAF. If you love fairytales maybe give it a try, but otherwise this one was a miss for me.
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. as we were. as we are no longer. as we will one day not be at all.”
I bought this book after seeing The Conversation when Gwyneth Paltrow mentions reading it. Pathetic, I know. I thought it was honest from the first page. Not engaging, not thrilling but honest. Didion describes her grief in such a real way. She doesn't make it this elaborate thing that "celebrates our humanity". She exposes grief. She mourns through her writing and it is painful to read but also so beautiful. Anyone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one could benefit from it but I think also anyone who likes to read would enjoy it. It is hard at times to read about the loss of her husband. It made me think hard about what I would do if I lost Kevin - how I would mourn, what things I would miss.
World War Z - Max Brooks
“The monsters that rose from the dead, they are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts”
So yeah I listened to this on audiobook and yeah it is about zombies. I was sort of avoiding that theme, associating it with werewolves and vampires but this book is none of those. It's also not YAF at all. A very adult-male kind of book, although I liked it. My sister Melissa recommended it and it made for the perfect drive-to-Arizona audiobook. I thought audio was cool, because it is told from a lot of different points of view and they have different narrators for each one. The stories all told different aspects of the war and it became so real to me that I couldn't sleep that night for fear of zombies. It was awesome, and engaging and I was so sad when it ended. Seriously one of the most original stories I've read. Just a warning though - it is pretty violent and there is some bad language.
Obviously this is a random scattering of my recent reads but I just listed the ones I thought of first. What should I read next? I have my eye on The Red Tent and Bel Canto after loving State of Wonder.