SO MUCH TO READ AND SO LITTLE TIME
I set a goal for myself this year: to read 25 books. While I didn’t make it to that goal, I am on track to finish 18 by years end with three other books started. As with most things, some were better than others with a couple of particular standouts.
First of all, I read 4 books by Louise Penny, to bring me up to her second last book in the Detective Gamache series. These are ‘go to’ books for me. I love the stories and especially the characters within the books. The relationship between Gamache and his second in command, Beauvoir, is tested throughout these books and culminates in a climactic ending. While I am eager to read the last one, I felt the need to take a break before finishing all the books in the series so far.
Another book in a series that I particularly liked was Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Prisoner of Heaven. This is the third book in a series, the first and best is The Shadow of the Wind. The three books are not sequential, but rather have overlapping time periods and characters, weaving together a picture of a time period in Spain rather than providing various sides or a sequential narrative to one story. The Shadow of the Wind will remain one of my favourite books of all time. The beauty and of the story and the incredible imagination that it took to create still remains with me to this day. I do not recommend reading the three books in a row, but rather pacing the time between as they are better as independent works of art.
At the end of August, we planned a trip to Europe for 15 days. A cousin of mine got married outside Paris and so we decided to turn the trip into a vacation as well. This was my first visit to France, and leading up to us departing, I read two books written by Americans living in Paris: Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard and Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Duckerman. The latter turned into one of my favourites this year. Bringing up BebU is cleaver, funny, insightful and well researched. Her story is enjoyable not only as a parenting book but also as a commentary on American and French culture and relationships in general. While I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, this is definitely worth the time.
Three other books that stood out for me were:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The City and the City by China Mieville
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Handmaid’s Tale is the first book by Margaret Atwood that I have read and I was not disappointed. The story is unique, interesting and filled with social commentary on gender relations, stereotypes and exploitation throughout time. While the plot is set during a future time, it is more poingnant today than ever. I have at least one of her books on my list for 2015. The Mieville book was a total surprise. I picked this up to read while in Cuba last winter, knowing nothing about the story or the author. Set in eastern Europe, The City and the City is a tale like no other that tells little to the reader until the final pages of the book. Bizarre and complicated, this tale was very, very interesting. I would only recommend reading it if you have time to sit down and commit to the book – it is not something that you can come back to over a period of time due to the complexity of the story. The final book I want to highlight is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book due to the hype of the movie that was released this year (I have yet to watch it). This dark and haunting story captivated me and I read the book in one weekend. While the climax is not what I expected I would recommend this book as a very interesting read.
Happy reading in 2015.