How is it July already? How are we six months into 2016? Time goes by so much faster now than I remember it going when I was in university and though I think I’m okay with that, it definitely makes it easy for time to slip away from me. On the plus side, now that it’s beautiful out, I’m spending a lot of time sitting in the sun and reading books so I can’t really complain about how I’m spending the fast moving time.
How was that for a segue, yo? Without further ado, here are some books I read lately! (Three books, to be precise. That is why the blog post is named “Books Books Books”. Titles are cleverer when you explain them.)
All The Light We Cannot See
By: Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
I know, I’m incredibly behind the times on this one – I think it was first recommended to me on the day that we finished the barre challenge back at the beginning of the year – but I had to wait for it to come in from the library for my e-reader. (Which is absolutely the best way to read books, by the way… I never thought I would be on board with not having the physical book but I love only having to carry around one thing with me.) Anyway, the book finally came in and I absolutely understood why everyone raves about it. It is just so lyrically beautiful – yes, the story is engaging and I found myself constantly trying to puzzle out how the characters end up where they end up, but the thing that really makes this book shine is how Doerr describes the world around the characters and the big and small moments in their lives. All The Light We Cannot See is the furthest thing from fluff and it is definitely a book that you need to set aside some time to really lose yourself in, but it is so worth it.
The Book Thief
By: Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
I definitely get on thematic kicks while selecting books and apparently my kick right now is World War II books. I did not give myself enough time to read The Book Thief – I think I thought it would be lighter than it was and I only had it for three weeks from the library – and I really had to push through and stay up way too late on a Thursday night to finish reading it before it expired. I didn’t mind, though – even if I was a little red-eyed from staying up late and weeping at work the next day.
This book is definitely not light and you won’t like it if you don’t care for experimental fiction. Afterall, the book is narrated by Death and it is full of definitions and facts that enhance the atmosphere of the book but break up the narrative flow.
The Royal We
By: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
Now, this book was light and it was awesome. It’s by the Go Fug Yourself girls and, like every other review says, it’s basically Kate Middleton fanfiction. The main characters are pretty much exactly what you expect from a standard rom-com, the secondary characters are quirky and awesome (especially the Prince Harry-type character, “Freddie”) pretty much exactly as you expect from a rom-com but it’s all tied up in the “royal family” conceit and it does a pretty solid job of making you feel like you are sneaking a peek behind the scenes of real life. I banged it out in two sun-soaked afternoons and I enjoyed every bit of it.