I really love a good book. I love actually holding onto a copy, turning the pages, and slowly feeling the weight in my hands shift from right to left. I always have a book I am reading and every night I crawl into bed and spend some time with it until I get sleepy. It is one of my favorite parts of my day, but if you've been reading this little blog for a while then all of this isn't news to you. Over the past couple of years, my love for books has grown, so I'm always looking for suggestions on what to read next. Its daunting to try and choose a new book without any guidance or idea of what you are looking for which leads me to the purpose of this post. I've been meaning to share some of the latest books I have read and I think now is as good a time as any. So if you love to read, want to start reading, or just have an interest in what I've had my nose in lately, this post is for you.
Ever since I graduated college and started reading again more seriously I've kept a list of all of the titles I have finished. Its nerdy I know, but there are definitely books I have forgotten that I read or times I wanted to give a suggestion and couldn't think of the name, so now I have a list and I love it.
For this post, I figured I would just share the last 5 books I've read, a few thoughts about them, and probably leave it at that. Hopefully it inspires you to try a new author, start reading for the first time in five years, or to have a book talk about something we have both read. All of those outcomes would make me very happy. So going in order from oldest to most recently read, here are the books:
1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - A very well known book by a well known author, I'm sure many of you have heard of this. This book is intense, as it gives an honest look into a life of depression and mental illness. I wouldn't recommend this to just anyone, but it truly is a wonderful book. It is beautiful and visceral as it shows you the real pain that someone who is struggling goes through. I felt a connection to the main character, as she is around my age, full of potential and just beginning to explore life's opportunities. Honestly, I didn't love every moment of reading this book, it is heart wrenching, but totally worth while, even though I won't be reading it again.
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman was suggested to me on a number of occasions, so when I went to the library and this was what was available by him, I grabbed it. I thought the concept of the book was really interesting, as it involved a pending battle between folklore and mythological deities brought over by immigrant beliefs vs. modern day gods such as the internet, telephones, credit cards, etc. The book has a modern day setting and you follow around Shadow, who has been hired to help the old gods. As he journeys and learns about his role in the battle he meets different gods from both sides, who look like normal people and much of his journey takes place in small American towns. All in all, I enjoyed this book because its fictional, surreal, somewhat fantastical, yet caused me to think about current issues and society in general. I'd definitely recommend this book, and I'll make a point to read another one of his books in the future.
3. The Wishbones by Tom Perotta - I like Tom Perotta. This is the third book I have read by him, honestly probably my least favorite of the three, but that doesn't mean I didn't still like it! That probably wasn't the best way to start out a short review but oh well. What I liked about this book, as well as his other ones, is that he really focuses on relationships. The story is about a guy in his 30's still living at home and playing in a wedding band on the weekends. He proposes to his girlfriend that he's had since high school and suddenly realizes how much his life is going to change. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts, observing the dynamics of each relationship in his life, and seeing how his thoughts and actions affect them . I think that is what I like best about Tom Perotta's writing, its always so relatable. Even though I haven't experienced what the character's may be going through, I still empathize and find myself seriously considering what I would be doing if I were in their shoes.
4. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood - As suggested in the title, this book is actually nine separate short stories, which is different then what I am used to reading. While I think I prefer becoming consumed by a longer novel, I did really enjoy moving quickly through each story. It was a nice change. Like the Perotta book I mentioned above, this one focuses a lot on relationships as well. A few of the stories are loosely connected, but mostly they each stand on their own. The stories are intense, some are creepy and dark, but all are witty and written with beautiful detail. If you have ever read Margaret Atwood then you know she has a unique and extremely eloquent voice, one that I personally love reading. I'd definitely recommend this book to just about anyone. With stories that include murder, love, horror, humor, insanity and old people, she pretty much covers all the bases. I think my two favorites were the first and the last stories, "Alphinland" and "Torching the Dusties", so yeah I think you should read this book.
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - This was the most recent book that I've finished. I loved it. I hadn't read a fiction story like this in a long time. It held my attention and I never hit a slow point, I was excited every time I sat down to read it. Its about a circus (obviously) that travels all over the world, showing up unannounced and known to be filled with the most amazing tents and experiences you could dream of. The use of real magic is what makes this circus so amazing, but that is unknown to most of the people involved. The story spans over many years and including the creation of the circus, a long standing battle between magicians, and a love story. It is told from many different perspectives, which I think gives you The author writes in a way that I was able picture every gown worn and every tent within the circus, and trust me, if it were real, it would be an amazing place to see.
Whew, that was a long one. I know a post like this probably isn't for everyone, but as a reader who loves hearing suggestions, I thought it might be a nice thing to start doing every once in a while. If you have read any of these books and want to chat about them or have any thoughts on what I should read next, please don't hesitate to leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you. Until next time, I hope you've had a lovely and restful weekend that possibly included some quality time with a good book!