It’s been a chilly and fast-paced month so far. Been able to fit some reading in, though…these are the most recent additions:
Every Patchett book I’ve read since Bel Canto pales in comparison. To be sure, Patchett writes beautifully, and she clearly puts effort into research. But State of Wonder, like Patron Saint of Liars (also NOT recommended), is filled with just one too many plot holes. State of Wonder was at least double the size of her masterpiece, but the emotional power and development of the characters was about a quarter of Bel Canto’s, if that. Probably a bit of a spoiler here, but the main climax of the book – what Marina discovers after finding the crazed researcher she’s searching for in the middle of the Amazon – is that a chemical has been discovered in the trees (Avatar, anyone?) that enables women to continue having babies until they die. Menopause doesn’t exist. Now, I haven’t had children yet, but I’m going to venture a guess that no rational woman would EMBRACE the offer to continue dealing with pregnancy, birth, and potential complications when they are 70, 80, 90 years old. How many women would eat the bark from some magical tree just so that they can keep poppin’ out babies for their entire lives (especially given our extreme overpopulation)??!? Stick with Bel Canto if I haven’t scared you away from Ann Patchett permanently :). And remember that The Magician’s Assistant and Run are both awesome too (Run is for young adults but still good!!).
Oh man, what a thrill these were. They were the first modern-day additions to my Kindle (after I greedily downloaded most of the interesting books that were printed before copyright law), and I breezed through them in three days. The last two books aren’t nearly as well executed as the first, but they are still worth reading. What people have been saying is true: they are intense, graphic, unsettling, and utterly absorbing. Definitely not just for young adults; Collins has created a chillingly believable dystopia. Plus, the movie version is coming out March 23rd….I can’t wait!!
I’m a huge fan of Tynan and his enviable lifestyle and attitude. He approaches life with confidence and curiosity, which I find admirable. In this e-book, Tynan has compiled the most important tips for travelling cheaply and minimizing your possessions and lifestyle. He sold everything he owned and travelled around the world for 2 years, which provided the backbone for the book (but he’s continued travelling and being a badass ever since). There is some extremely valuable information in here. Highly recommended.
I had nightmares almost every night during the weeks I spent reading this book; thought I’d put that there as a disclaimer. Though it’s not surprising, given Murakami’s trademark surrealist style. He writes about the strangest things in the calmest tone, David Lynch-esque. In this book, Murakami switches back and forth between characters, describing parallel worlds, zombie-like alter egos, murders, ghosts, creatures from the woods called Little People, and cults with the same strange style. I liked this one the best of all of his books so far (though Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are close seconds), and felt emotionally attached to the characters by the end. Extremely unique and one-of-a-kind masterpiece…part thriller, part love story, and part fantasy.
I feel like I’m starting to reach a new level in my meditation practice after the last 4 months of 1-2 times a week (i.e. I’m gaining slightly more control over my scattered mind). This book offered some helpful techniques to use on a daily basis in order to increase your mindfulness and appreciation for the gifts life offers us. The author is a doctor as well as an abbess in a monastery. Quite an interesting life, and also lent some support to her claims that effective and consistent mindfulness practice has effects not only on your personal life and interactions, but also on your physical body and memory. I read this in the car on the way back from Portland/Cannon Beach, before our tire blew out and we frantically pulled over into the snow in the middle of nowhere to wait hours for a towing truck and then waited in Lacey at Tire Dogs for them to make our car drive-able again. …Okay, deep breaths…. :)
Also, I found this amazing site this morning. It will probably only appeal to me and some select family members, but it made my day! Love Austen and Masterpiece Theatre <3