The Value of Life

I recently finished the Man Booker International Award short list-er, A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk. This book was a big one. It’s a little over 600 pages, pretty small print, and for some reason is extra large.  This book took me about 3 weeks to read, which is crazy long for me. And during that three week span, I spent a lot of actual time reading this book. Now that I’ve dissuaded you from reading this book, let me actually tell you about it.

This book follows Melvut, first a boy then a man living in Istanbul. It’s literally his life story. And he did not live a very big life. Melvut was from a small village in Turkey. He went to live with his father in the city to make money to send back to his family in the village. They worked as street vendors. Melvut was supposed to go to school to be a doctor, but it’s hard to focus on your studies when you’re literally walking the streets all day and night for your food. Melvut drops out of school and continues to work as a street vendor. He gets wrapped up in some communist politics; he sees a pretty girl at a wedding; he writes her letters while he does mandatory military service. He runs away with the girl after the military service. He finds out its the wrong girl. He marries her anyway and falls deeply in love having 2 daughters. His wife dies at 30. He struggles to make money. He eventually married her sister (the girl he actually thought was pretty). They live in a little one room house. Then a high rise is built and they live there. The end. 

That was a pretty dense paragraph, but I wanted to show you the potential futility in the book. If you’re someone who really enjoys immersing themselves in cultures, this book would be write up your alley since it follows Turkey through the modernization of the 21st century. If you’re not one of these people, you might be missing the exciting and eventful plot. But what does that mean for our lives? Unless you are one of the lucky ones who has an opportunity to influence the masses and do historic things, you will probably lead a little life. I lead a little life; where I hold a modest job, have a couple dozen followers, and the ability to see my friends who live close. In a lot of ways, I live a life like Melvut does in the novel.

In the novel, Melvut felt as though he had a strangeness in his mind. Although throughout the book, I’m not sure that was proven as fact. I think he just had the same ambitions and failings that a lot of people had and continue to have. While I was reading this novel, I felt a kinship with Melvut. I wanted him to be happy, and I wanted safety for his family. I was frustrated when he felt like he had his back to the wall, and was joyful when he got a break from his suffering. The elegance with which Pamuk wrote (and Oklap translated) Melvut’s life carried over very well into English. Even though I was not familiar with Turkey at all, I still felt transported to Melvut’s time, as he walked the streets of Istanbul selling boza. It is clear why Pamuk won a Nobel Prize in literature. And I am grateful that Pamuk brought such life and importance to Melvut. And, in his own way, is letting us each know living a little life is okay.

Until Next Time World…

Shelf Control

So I’ve been working a lot and pretty uninspired, but I wanted to post something today. I’ve heard of these things called “book memes” and I decided to see if there were any cool ones for Wednesday. I found this one, hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies about current unread books on your bookshelf. Since I’ve packed away most of my books, I didn’t have that many on my shelf to choose from. However, my pick this week is Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson.

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The Goodreads Blurb:

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she’s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noël Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth graders.

As she gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who his father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless only-in-Hollywood moments, Be Frank With Me is a captivating and heartwarming story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

How I Got It: 

I have the uncorrected proof that my friend lent to me earlier this year. (She won the proof in a Goodreads giveaway because she is lucky and I am not.)

Why I Want To Read It:

I love books about writers and other books. This one seems to tie in some nice family drama, which always makes for a fun and entertaining read. My friend also enjoyed it, and she has good taste.

When I Am Going To Read It:

This is one of my next 10 books that I’ll read. So I will definitely finish this in the next two months. I’m determined to not let the library distract me too much.


That was pretty fun! Get ready for these weekly from now on.

Until Next Time World…

Dystopian Fevor

I don’t remember if I’ve said it hear yet or not, but I’m not a fan of dystopian literature. After The Giver, I was pretty much tapped out. I’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy, but overall was unimpressed with the plot. (Very impressed with the character development though.) All that being said – dystopian novels are very popular among the blogging/YouTube scene. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to those novels people rave about, because it’s just not my scene. However, I had previously read two books by Patrick Ness A Monster Calls and The Rest of Us Just Live Here, both of which I enjoyed to varying degrees. So when I saw so many people raving about the Chaos Walking trilogy, I had to check it out.

When I first began to read The Knife of Letting Go, my immediate thought was confusion. I wasn’t expecting a regional dialect and was taken aback. After I got over that small hump, I had to adjust to Ness’s writing style which is a mix of thoughts and spoken words. As the trilogy went on, the written style made more and more sense considering the world building  that happens over the course of the series. Our main protagonist is a not quite “13” year old boy named Todd. He has a dog that he’s impartial to named Manchee, whose thoughts can be heard on this planet he lives on called “New World.” After the first few chapters we are introduced to our other protagonist, Viola, who has just arrived to the New World from a ship bringing more settlers.

The overall premise of this New World is that humans came from what we consider earth, to start a new community free from the inconveniences (I think pollution and war.) of the old world. However, this New World has devolved into the same bad habits of the Old World. Genocide, war, lying, and destruction to name a few. I read through the first book pretty fast, and there was enough of a cliff hanger at the end of that book to keep me reading along. I finished the second book amidst my road trip to Georgia, at a slower pace. I wasn’t quite as interested in the story, and I found myself disagreeing with a lot of what the characters were saying or doing. I just finished the third book as a part of #tometopple and all I have to say is

WOW

That will make sense to you if you’ve read a print copy of the books. I truly had no idea what Patrick Ness was doing until I was half way through the third book. Ness crafted a world full of characters that were so human like, that you didn’t know who was good or who was bad. You didn’t know what you would do in their shoes or if that would make you good or bad. I’ve seen really good things written about this series, and I’ve seen really bad things written about it. What I will leave you with, as someone who doesn’t generally like this genre, is that you have to read the entire series to understand the power behind Ness’s story. I gave this book increasing stars as I read on (3 for the first, 4 for the second, and 5 for the third). For the overall series, I would give a very solid 4 star review. It’s not often that I put down over 1500 pages of reading and think – I need to revisit that soon. But I definitely need to revisit The Chaos Walking trilogy soon. If you haven’t read this book yet, I definitely encourage you to pick it up.

Until Next Time World…

June TBR & #tometopple

I don’t normally plan out what I’m going to read in the course of a month, but this June is a little different. I’m moving toward the end of the month, and all of my books are already packed away in little boxes, as you can see below.

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So I had to be selective and actually choose which books I was going to attempt to read during this month, because I probably won’t unpack my books again until July. The other reason that I’m planning a specific TBR this month is because I’m participating in #tometopple hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Here’s the link to the video introducing the readathon, the link to the video where she talks about specific challenges and her list, and her blog to sign up for the readathon! Sam is really great. If you’re interested in sci-fi/fantasy books, she reviews a lot of them.

Now that I’ve talked about all of that – let’s get into what I’m going to read this June.

I’m still #manbookering, because there were a lot of books on that long list. Currently reading Ladivine by Marie NDiaye, which is a family drama about a mother with a secret that her daughter must discover after her mother is brutally murdered. It didn’t make the shortlist (which I can see why being half way through the book), but has been enjoyable so far. I’m also reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater because everyone and their moms are talking about this series. I’m only 20% through the book, but I’m not in love. We’ll see how I feel about it by the end of the book. The other books I plan on starting shortly are listed below; the ones in red I plan on reading as a part of #tometopple / the Uncovered Book Club June pick.

So if this list holds true, I’ll read at least 9 books in June. Hopefully I’ll get through some of these pretty quickly and be able to read more like 12-15. I also don’t know if I’ll love the Raven Boys series…so I might have to finish all of those this month. It’s also pride month(!!!) so I have to read some sort of queer literature this month as well. I have my work cut out for me!

Until Next Time World…

May Wrap Up

MAY! I had a goal for May to read more books than I had the past two months, and I think I reach my goal. I read some long, hard books. I crossed off more categories on my Read Harder Challenge list. I listened to more audiobooks than I have in any other month this year. Overall, I’m pleased with how I started out my first summer reading month. As always, my top 5 books are in red. I actually DNF’d the book with the star, needless to say, not my favorite.

  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  2. Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
  3. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  4. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  5. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  6. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  7. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  8. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  9. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
  10. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  11. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  12. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
  13. If I Were Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  14. Lumberjanes. vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
  15. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes*

 

Until Next Time World…

Vegetarianism

I was a vegetarian in college. Being a vegetarian was such a defining part of my character that people who knew me then still ask if I eat meat or not because they can’t remember. It’s an interesting thing. I recently joined Max and Raleen’s new book club on Goodreads entitled Uncovered Book Club, where Raleen’s choice of the month was Jonathan Safran Foer’s non-fiction work entitled Eating Animals. Having been a vegetarian and previously liking some of Foer’s writing, I decided to skip over endless books on my TBR to read this.

My biggest takeaway from this book was also my biggest shock. I expected the book to be about vegetarianism, it’s superior lifestyle, and the numerous environmental benefits that lifestyle has on society. In a lot of ways, this book did just that. Before he gets into the nitty gritty of the meatless lifestyle, Foer invites the reader to examine their philosophy around animals, and ultimately life. For example, how do we choose what animals are acceptable to eat and what animals are not? Foer goes through several iterations on how we could define acceptable animals to eat. He uses intelligence, companionship, and culture to attempt to create an algorithm for how US citizens (as he is one) choose their meat. I thought this was amazing.

Have you ever really thought about why we find it so unacceptable for someone to say they’ve had dog before, but people frequently eat rabbit when others have bunnies for pets? Why do we feel no shame in eating pig (and trust me, I think bacon is delicious) when often times pigs are more intelligent than our dogs and cats? Why do we as a country spend so much money euthanizing dogs and cats to put them in mass graves, while there are starving people in most major cities? Even though I had chosen a meatless lifestyle at one point in my life, I had never given any of this much thought. As I read about Foer’s experiences learning about a variety of chicken, pork, fish, and beef producers, I kept thinking back to his philosophical argument. This is important to me, because I consider myself a person who has reasons behind her moral stances, but this book exposed me to an area where my reasoning was weak if even there at all.

There’s nothing revolutionary about this book. A lot of the bad Foer exposes is bad that is known to most people. It definitely made me reconsider my diet and I’ve already implemented changes cutting out turkey, chicken, and pork completely out of my diet again. However, I did enjoy his discovery of range free livestock. I wasn’t very familiar with particular major company or brands, so it was nice that these individual farmers got a decent amount of space in his book.

Overall, I gave this book 4 our of 5 stars on Goodreads, because it helped me open my mind to something I wasn’t quiet seeing. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, but if you like philosophy I think this would be a good book to have in your queue. Foer writes with such conviction and such dedication, that it inspires to the reader to apply more rigor to their lives and their morals.

Until Next Time World…

Summer Book Recommendations

Hi all! I’ve been seeing a lot of my non-book obsessed friends asking on various social media sites about book recommendations for the summer. Since I literally blog about books, I thought I’d make a post about just that. I’m going to recommend ten books, most of which I have read of varying genres. For those of you who read my blog somewhat consistently, there will be some repeats. Now I’ll begin my list in no particular order.

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ve talked about this novel a bunch on my blog, because it’s amazing! It follows the dual narration of a brother and sister, the catch is that they’re speaking from two different times. Jude, the sister is in the “present” and trying to uncover something that happened 3 years ago. Noah, the brother, is in the “past” three years ago. It’s a lovely tale of struggle, triumph, and family.

 

 

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve already lent this book out to a co-worker this summer. This is a great beach read. A light comedy about a woman who loses her engagement ring and instead finds a phone in the trash. Hilarity ensues as we watch our heroine try to sort her life back together. This is definitely a good book if you want to read something that doesn’t require a lot of energy.

 

 

 

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I live for this book. It’s a series of shorter essays that all revolve around pop culture in some regard. It’s also the type of pop culture I am actually aware of, and not just obscure movies I’ve never seen. The author uses these pop culture references to talk about feminism, what it means to others and what it means to her. She gets a lot of bonus points for including queer topics and topics of race and gender. It’s really a remarkable book.

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This selection is for all you Harry Potter fans. V.E. Schwab has not only created one world, but 3* worlds of magic for you to fall in love with after the first page. This is going to be a trilogy, with the first two books already released. I’ve read both of the books, and they’re pretty good. It doesn’t take too long to get through either of them, so they’ll be fast and entertaining reads.

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Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

My love for Mindy Kaling knows no bounds. This is why I bought Hulu when they picked up her show, The Mindy Project. I’ve already reviewed her book; so you should already know it’s hilarious and perfect. It’s broken down into simple chapters that allow you to stop at any point without losing the cohesiveness of a story. It’s a perfect read for road trips, laying out by the pool, or relaxing in the shade of a tree.

 

 

 

Did You Ever Have a Family? by Bill Clegg

This pick is for those of you who like literary fiction. This is the fictional debut of Bill Clegg, who masterful crafts a story told through 7 different narrators about small town life, family, rumors, and finding peace after tragedy. I wouldn’t call this a lighthearted book, but it is definitely something that is easy to immerse yourself in. Bonus points: there are a number of beach scenes in the novel. A review of this book was my first this year if you want to check that out.

 

 

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Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

This is one of my favorite YA contemporary books. There are basically four distinct stories, where the connecting factor is a girl named Leila who is traveling across North America. There’s even a scene where a couple of teens try to illegal cross the border into Canada. If you’re looking for a fun feel good read with a happy ending, this is definitely the book for you.

 

 

 

The Love of Her Life by Harriet Evans

If you want a chick flick in book form this is it. I kept this book on my shelf for a couple of years (and a couple of states) before I finally got around to reading it on a road trip from Nebraska to Connecticut. I’m not sure what took me so long. This book is all love story, part mystery, and a real pager turner. There’s a movie by this name that doesn’t hold a candle to the book. It’s definitely appropriate for a fun beach read. It’s also a slightly longer book, so you won’t need to bring multiple with you unless you’re a fast reader.

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

This is the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner. For those of you who like historical fiction, especially WWII fiction, this book is right up your alley. It follows two children, one from Germany and one from France, and their stories as they try to survive the war that is causing so much devastation around them. This is a pretty large book, and it starts off very slow. There’s a lot of scene setting that becomes especially important later on, but you have to get through the first couple of chapters. This book is definitely worth adding to your reading list, as it is sure to become a classic.

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Last but certainly not least is a pick for those of you who like thrillers. Even though this was such a widely popular series, I still meet people who have never taken the time to read this book. It’s full of great character development, mystery, a little chaos, and a hell of a strong female protagonist. I know a lot of people are worried that this book is very dark, and there are rape scenes in this book. However, Larsson created a world where his characters get even and ultimately remain honest while doing so. I think that if you haven’t given this book a try, this should be the summer to start.

 

This are my recommendations for your summer reading list. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but I also feel there’s an abundance of book reviews that dedicate their time and effort solely to fantasy reviews so I’ll leave that to the experts. I also don’t read science fiction; so if you need recommendations on that, I’ll link you to HailsHeartsNYC‘s recommendations for science fiction.

The Sims!: A Booktag

I recently saw Booktuber, hailsheartsnyc, make a book tag based on The Sims. Since I love The Sims, I thought that this would be a fun thing to bring to the blog. Without further ado, let’s get to the tag!

 

THE QUESTIONS

1. The Original Sims~ Best Author Debut ~ Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani

Trail of Broken Wings

I read this novel last year, and it immediately made it’s way on my all-time favorite books list. It’s a touching family drama about an Indian American family coming to grips with their overreaching father/husband and the lasting effects his presence had in their lives.

2. The Grim Reaper ~ Saddest Character Death ~ The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner 

The Serpent King

This is also a debut novel; it was released this year by Jeff Zentner. I’m not going to spoil the book for anyone, because I really do think it is worth reading. However, the character death in this book was so unexpected that gut-wrenching. I definitely recommend this book!

3. Sims Getting Stuck ~  A Character That Just Got In The Way ~ Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Made You Up

I was really struggling and trying to remember the character’s name, but I can’t for the life of me. The main character, Alex, works at a diner of some sort with another male character. That character needed to go. I felt he often got in the way of the budding relationship between Alex and Miles. I also think that he was a flat character, and I didn’t need him in my life. This book also was written by a VERY young writer. She’s a boss a proves and good authorship is just good authorship. Definitely check this book out.

4. Simlish ~ Book With Amazing Writing ~ How To Talk To a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

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I’ve mentioned this book before on my blog, because Jonathan Tropper is one of my favorite authors. I really enjoyed the perspective of the main character in this novel, who was a writer. He was hilarious, and I think that Trooper always does a good job writing the writing that his characters are supposed to be creating. More people should read his novels!

5. Expansion Packs ~ Series Where the Books Kept on Getting Better ~ Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab

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This is sort of a cop out because the third book hasn’t come out yet, but I feel that these novels have just been getting better. I’m not a big magical realism person (i.e. Harry Potter is okay…), and so I thought the first book was just okay. However, I found myself really enjoying the second book, which I feel allowed us to gain more insight about the key characters. I’m excited for the third installment, and I’ll probably end up buying all these books.

6. Sims Romance ~  Worst Case of Insta Love ~ The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

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I wrote a review of this book earlier this year. It’s amazing, and it has the worst case of insta love. But you know what, it’s great. I actually don’t mind instalove. I want instalove. You want to be with someone and just know. While I don’t really think that’s a thing, it’d save everyone a hell of a lot of time if it was.

7. Cheats ~ A Book That Was Entirely Unrealistic ~ My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and other Black Holes

I enjoyed this book at the surface; I really did. However, this book sparked all sort of crazy thoughts about these books that are highlighting, if not glorifying mental illness. This book focuses on two teens, who are both battling depression among other things. The two are an unlikely pair, through their struggles they find a romantic connection and blahblahblah. UNREALISTIC. It’s hard to talk about without spoiling it, but let’s just say I’m not so sure that high school jocks would fall in love with a nerdy, lonely, and sad girl just because they happened to talk to one another. I’m not sure this book gives someone hope as much as it sets unrealistic expectations of HS romance and what there is to live for in life.

8. Needs Fulfillment ~ Character Who Made All the Wrong Decisions ~ Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom 

Not If I see You First

Parker, the protagonist of this novel, is blind. The novel revolves around her ability to be closed to the world due to her physical disability. She refuses to let it limit her ability, which I found inspiring. However, I was frustrated with her character throughout the book. I thought she made crazy wrong decision after decision. I know that’s one of the reasons people seem to dislike this book, because they dislike her character. But even though she was frustrating to read about, she was very realistic. We all make a lot of mistakes when we should know better.

9. Error code 12: ~ Series That Started Off Great, then Went Downhill ~ The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Series

This one is kind of not fair, because I’ve literally read like 4 series in my life. And I already used one of them for the others series question. I LOVE LOVE Sophie Kinsella, and I would recommend every single one of her novels (including the ones as Madeline Wickham). However, The Shopaholic Series has got to stop at some point. Shopaholic and Sister was a little too much for me, but there are 8 books in total in the series. I still need to read the last one, but sometimes you can beat a horse to death.

10. The Sims vortex ~ Book or Series that Completely Engrossed You ~ Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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One very exciting Friday night last year I had just finished another YA book and thought that I still had another couple of minutes to read. I picked up Everything, Everything and then it was over. I read this book in one sitting, no bathroom or food breaks, constantly text messaging my friend Katie to tell her about the book. Although the ending is a little wonky, I definitely would recommend reading this cute book.

Happiness

So this is definitely going to be a continued talk and review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, because I really did honestly just like it that much. Another theme this book explored, in a very discrete way, is happiness. The scene that sparked my thoughts around this is when Louisa is talking to Nathan (Will’s personal nurse) about Will’s happiness. She asks Nathan if he thinks that Will is happier since she’s come around, and Nathan states that he thinks Will just likes when Louisa is happy. This isn’t a revolutionary concept, but it sparked an important question. Are you truly happy just by seeing other people happy?

I can think of a couple potential examples, even though I haven’t experienced a lot of them. One that seems to fit the mold would be parenthood. I don’t have kids, nor do I want them, so I can’t be sure – but it seems as thought parents thrive off of their children’s happiness. I’ve always said the love of a parent for their child seems unfathomable to me, because I’m not sure children have the capability of expressing such love for their parents. Parents, generally, seem happy when their children are healthy, receive awards, thrive in social situations, and become successful adults. A lot of people talk about parenthood being the most enjoyable part of their life. It’s easy to see how a small human’s whole presence can help contribute or take away from a parent’s happiness.

However, I can also think of a couple of examples that might be contrary to this. Postpartum depression is the first that comes to mind. Acknowledging that this is a very serious disease that effects parents, generally mothers, after birth, their mental and physical well-being is not wrapped up in how well their child may be doing. It’s important for these parents to work on their own well-being, as a separate issue than the well-being of their children. There is also the example of the absentee parent. The image that society presents of parents are those that are involved and concerned about their children’s lives. As unfortunate as it is, that is not always the case for families. For some, children are a burden that contributes to a person’s lack of happiness.

Another, and perhaps the most relevant to the novel, would be happiness that is derived from the happiness of a significant other. Can you truly live a happy life based on the happiness of your significant other? For me, I find that when my partner is in a negative headspace or mood that affects me much more than when he is in a good mood. On the other hand, my favorite thing about people is the passion they show when they’re talking about something that is of great interest to them. When my partner is excited about something, that enthusiasm is contagious. It is often seen as dangerous and detrimental to have one’s happiness tied up in another person’s. Young women are often (sexist, because it’s far less common for men to be arbitrarily told this) told not to rely on a man for their happiness. While this is usually said out of concern for the person, it seems this piece of advice and what is typically “expected” out of partnership often differ.

I’m not really sure where I fall on this topic, but the fact that Me Before You sparked this train of thought is a telling of how powerful the novel can be for a person. What do you think about this?

Until Next Time World…

Sometimes I Just Can’t…

Last week I took a road trip home to visit my mom. Being the avid reader that I am, I was really excited to get some “reading” done on my 36 hour drive to and from Georgia. Well, there was a debacle with the audiobooks I got from Audible, which meant that I was only able to really listen to one audiobook for the majority of my drive; thanks to my local library. Since I listen to all of my audiobooks and double speed, I was without a good story for the majority of my trip. When I stopped before the last 4 hours of my drive back home, I found out Audible is pretty great, and I could return the bum audiobooks easily. Uncertain about what to use my credit on, I decided to cave and listen to Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

I just finished this book yesterday, and I’m not sure I have all the words to express my true feelings about it. At the core of the book, it’s set up like a very unlikely love story. But the story allows the reader to reflect on how they love, live their life, and view their particular set of circumstances. I didn’t know a lot going into the book, other than it was going to be a movie, but I think that most other people are a little more in tune with popular best sellers. The overwhelming hype about this book from the book community and general pop culture set made me a little hesitant, but now I’m totally a fan girl.

I’ve talked about physical disability on my blog before, and I think this novel does a great job alerting the general population to some of the struggles of quadriplegics. Moyes didn’t stop and a general caricature of the condition, but consistently referred to the illnesses that frequently occur, the support systems available, and the mental states of the people who are affected. I think that this was great, because it added a grittiness to the book that usually isn’t seen in popular literature. Moyes did a good job of not making Will’s pain a stick, but an unfortunately intimate part of the reader’s experience with him.

I also think I read this book at a pretty good time, because I’ve been floating around the idea of a book talk around depression and suicide. I think that this book presents a different and interesting perspective to many of the fictional books I’ve been reading focusing on this topic. It explores the topic in a different, but real way. The concept of assisted suicide has, and probably always will be, controversial. Moyes again does a great job of approaching a touchy issues, giving the reader to examine their own thoughts on the issue at hand.

It’s not often that I truly read a book that makes my reflect on my own experiences. However, Me Before You did this for me. Two nights ago, when I was about half way through with the book, I dreamt myself into the world of Ms. Clark and Will. It was a very weird experience, that sort of left me unsettled. I think that this probably means there are some things that I need to examine in my own life, but it’s not every book that will allow the reader to transcend the story and find personal meaning.

I would HIGHLY encourage all of you to go out and pick up this book. I didn’t find it to be overly sad, but it did present some hard facts of life that many people have to face. It’s been added to my all time favorites list, and I can’t imagine the book that would bump it off.

Until Next Time World…