End Of Summer Reading
Trying to find time to read with Bug around is impossible. Children suck the adult out of you. Prior to her birth I could knock out a 400 page book in a weekend if I was into it. Now my reading list has includes anything that rhymes, includes animals talking, and written by Dr. Seuss. It doesn’t bother me since I know that in the long run, but I’m yearning for something a little more than one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, tall fish, small fish, old fish, new fish…
Bug is a year now and things have…um…settled? What I’m trying to get at is that in the last few months I have been able to read again. Adult books. Wonderful books that don’t include talking fish. It’s magical. Here is a list of what I went through this summer:
The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club: The story is about a girl, Cassandra, from Seattle who loves lists and has her life planned out. She than looses her job and boyfriend all in the same day, picks up and goes to Buenos Aires. R’s mom gave me this book and I have to admit I was freaked out because the first chapter was pretty much the story of my life (with the exception of R leaving me). The entire time I kept thinking “is she trying to tell me something?”
Besides the paranoia it was an easy read with a great message: life is meant for something more than we can ever imagine.. All we have to do is let it take us where it will and possibilities are endless. Sometimes we need to be fearless, ignore the naysayers, and just believe in ourselves. Yes, I see a lot of myself in Cassandra maybe that’s what I liked about the book. Okay, I’m ending this before I get any cheesier. It’s a good book with a great message. Just trust me.
The Help: This book has been everywhere and I know that everyone is now onto the Millennium, but The Help has become one of those books that has set the standard for any book I read now. Everything I read will be compared to this novel.
The Help is one of the most powerful and wonderfully written books that I have come across. Each character came alive in my mind. They were like onions: as their layers were peeled away more of who they really were. Their evolution was beautiful. With each of the three main characters Minnie, AibIleen, and Skeeter we got to see their front that they put up to the world, how their friends view them, and their inner most thoughts. Their evolution through the book is inspiring; pushing each of them past their limits to discover some thing more about who they are. Their joy and heartache became my own. Each page was a journey into what became a second life to me. And the villains how I hated them. I was afraid of them. Good villains aren’t hard to come by, but when someone can write one so well that you find yourself loathing them that in my book speaks volumes.
The story did involve some heavy issues. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife in some chapters. When the characters were scared I was on the edge of my seat. When there was trouble I was biting my nails. Crying, cheering, and just living their lives with them. However there were parts that were so funny that I laughing out loud. Minnie was hilarious. Well, maybe not her, but at least some of the situations that she found herself in were.
Pearl of China: I’m a huge fan of Anchee Min. She writes from her life growing up in Communist China and events from her past are intertwined into the books she writes. I really have a hard time understanding why more people don’t read her. Whatever the reason I wasn’t really looking forward to Pearl of China. It was suppose to follow the story of Pearl S. Buck (author of The Good Earth among many others) through her childhood in China and later her exile to America. Why was I hesitant? I’m not sure. The book was great.
The story is told through the eyes of Willow, who is a friend of Pearl invented by Min. The first half of the book shows how Pearl’s father brought Christianity to China and how Willow’s father helps to “sell” Jesus to the Chinese. Willow’s father is hysterical in a very unintentional way.
The second half of the book is a little fast. Communism spreads and Willow is caught up in it and force to denounce Pearl. Willow doesn’t agree with Mao which comes with comes with consequences. This is where Min usually shines. Although she gave the reader a taste of communism and life in China (I’m trying really hard here not to give any spoilers) she doesn’t explore many of the atrocities in-depth. However I like to think Min was focusing more on the invisible friendship between Pearl and Willow than the politics of the country. Not one of the best Anchee Min books, but very good.
What have you been reading this summer?