I am always reading something. I have always been that way. Ever since I was privy to the magic of letters transfigured into words, sound, meaning and understanding I have been a lover of books and reading. Sometimes, however, I stray from the path of literature and I voraciously consume other content: magazines, blogs, photographs. Lately I have regained my appetite for literature and I have been eating up book after book. Here are my latest reads and my thoughts on each. If you have read any of these, let me know what you thought in the comments below, or tell me what you are reading lately.
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
Sheri Fink (Crown, 2013)
This book follows the journey of the staff and patients at New Orlean’s Memorial Hospital as Hurricane Katrina rages and the flood waters rise. So many things went wrong with disaster management and after the storm clears questions arise about decisions made by the hospital staff. While the content is sad, I enjoyed Fink’s writing style and the amount of detail she weaves into her story. She has certainly done her research, and while we will never know the whole truth this book is an interesting look at what happens to humanity when life hangs in the balance. The whole end section of this book is full of references if you wish to continue your reading about the events surrounding the hospital and investigation.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts
Susan Cain (Broadway Books, 2013)
This book explained so many aspects of my own personality to me! I have always felt like an introvert, but then I have no problem sharing my innermost thoughts with the right people. Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’ illuminated the spectrum of introversion and extroversion and the traits that may be present in both. Now I understand why I hunger for ‘real conversation’ and need time alone to recharge. I highly recommend this book if you want to gain insight into your own personality, and also relationships with those around you who may be similar, or lie on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow
Peter Hoeg (translated, 1995, Delta)
I cannot decide whether I enjoyed or endured this story. It took me forever to finally reach the end and I was left with the feeling that I hadn’t quite understood the larger themes Hoeg was trying to convey through the story of the strange Smilla. Some of his descriptive devices are enjoyable, but overall I felt like I was viewing the deeper meaning through a snowstorm.
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath (1963, reprinted by Faber & Faber)
I loved this book. I have written before about episodes of mild depression that I have experienced in the past, and the descriptions offered by Esther about the feeling of being inside a bell jar while life continues its hustle and bustle around spoke to my experiences precisely. More than that this story is about coming of age as a woman in a time where there are so many options open for you to pursue, and the pressure to choose your life path so early in life. I would highly recommend this to senior high school students or university students and anyone who is standing at the crossroads trapped in their own bell jar.
Geraldine Brooks (2006, Penguin)
‘Little Women‘ was one of my favourite books as a child and young adult, and Geraldine Brooks is my favourite author, so I cannot believe that it took me so long to finally pick up this volume. Rarely do I sit still for long stretches of time, but I finished this book over a weekend in large greedy gobbles. Against a backdrop of the American Civil War, March is a story about love, honour, family and the scars that our past choices leave on our conscious. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I don’t have to, the folks at the Pulitzer Prizes awarded it winner status in 2006.
The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh (2011, Ballantine Books)
I struggled with the main character Victoria throughout this entire book; however, I think this may have been the author’s intention so that you could feel the inner conflict that haunts Victoria until nearly the end. As a flower lover (as you have probably garnered if you follow me on Instagram) I found the information about floral meanings interesting and the way Victoria uses flowers and bouquets to express the feelings she cannot speak aloud. This book swept me into its story and I didn’t want it to end. I do hope that Diffenbaugh continues to write because I really enjoyed her style.
That’s all folks! Right now I am deeply involved in ‘The Bronze Horseman‘, which was recommended to me by my friend Jess. I’m blaming her for the circles under my eyes because I cannot put this book down.
Tell me dear readers, what are you reading at the moment? Any opinions on the books I have been reading recently? Also, you can now find me on Good Reads if you’d like.