The site launch derailed my blogging for a few months, so I decided to share my reads from the past three months instead of splitting it up by month. This season has been crazy with little time (and energy) to read. On top of that, most of the books I read were dense or long, which shortened my list a bit. I enjoyed most of them, but I’m looking forward to some quick reads this summer to change my pace.
Asymmetry // Lisa Halliday
I finished this book, and was like what the heck just happened in the previous 300 pages?! That’s my way of saying that I didn’t enjoy this read. The writing was beautiful, but I had a difficult time following the story. It was disjointed and not easy to connect the “symmetry” between the two tales. The story begins with a young woman who falls for an older, famous writer. Half of the novel depicts their (explicit) relationship/arrangement. Then, the story jumps to an Iraqi man grappling with life after 9/11. I give it a 2/5.
The English Patient // Michael Ondaatje
This was my second Ondaatje book this year, and I enjoyed this one much more that Warlight. His writing is exquisite, dream-like. Every book I have read of his has forced me to slow down to appreciate his intentional choice of words and character development. This book became a movie in the ’90s and won a slew of awards. The story begins post-WWII in a remote Italian village. A nurse tends to a severely burned patient, and she refuses to leave him despite the fact that everyone nearby has left the town. Two other soldiers find their villa, and all of their stories are told in flashbacks. The story reveals the complexity of war and the difficult choices people make for love and country. 4/5.
Stocks For The Long Run // Jeremy Siegel
Investing books are boring. Not going to lie. However, I found this incredibly helpful in understanding stock trends for the century and the best (and safest) ways to invest. The basic theory behind his writing is that long-term investments are the most secure way of growing wealth. Even through the Great Depression and the drop in the ’80s, stocks consistently increase in value, as long as they can appreciate over long periods of time. His theory is backed up with a ton of data and graphs that are easy to understand. This is a great read if you’re beginning to learn about trading stocks. 4/5.
The Immortalists // Chloe Benjamin
This book left me thinking about it for weeks. The story begins with a family of children that want to meet with a fortune teller to find out when they will die. Their fortunes are revealed, and the book profiles each person and the effects this decision had on their life. Benjamin was incredible at getting you to care about each person. Even though their stories are short, she makes you feel as though you know each of them. The book questions mortality and how we spend our days. In a sense, is it better to be able to control our destiny with stress or to live freely without any knowledge of death? I highly recommend. 5/5.
The Lost Girls of Paris // Pam Jenoff
This was a quick read, and I gobbled it up in a few sittings. It is set during and post-WWII. A woman finds a briefcase with photos of woman operatives during the war. She searches for the truth behind the images, and the stories are woven in between her quest. It was enjoyable but not my favorite WWII-era novel. 4/5.
Homegoing // Yaa Gyasi
I’ve never read a story like this one before, and I mean that with praise. Gyasi profiles the lineage of an African family. Two sisters start the story. One is traded into slavery, the other marries a white colonist. The book begins centuries ago and finishes in present day. Each chapter is a different story of one of their descendants, profiling the insanely heartbreaking history of African-American culture. There were so many things brought to light that I never even thought about or knew. This was one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I would recommend it to anyone I know. 5/5.
The Huntress // Kate Quinn
The book is set in post-WWII with a journalist who has become a nazi-hunter. He is after “the Huntress,” who killed his brother during the war. Other stories are woven in to tell her story, along with those she destroyed. This was a unique WWII story, and I couldn’t believe that some of it had actually happened in real life. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and it is perfect for those who love historical fiction. 5/5.
We Must Be Brave // Frances Liardet
I read many WWII-era books this spring, but this one was quite different. The story profiled a civilian, raised in the countryside of England. During the bombings, a child is found, and her mother is missing. The woman takes the child in her custody until it is discovered that her mom had died in a raid. The book profiles her own history and how strangers can become family. It is a heartbreaking read, and I always felt sad while reading the book. It wasn’t my favorite, mostly because of how depressing the storyline was, but I also couldn’t put it down. 3/5.