Wednesday, June 02, 2010

April-May Reading List

Never got around to posting my April reading list, so I'm combining the last 2 months.

Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives - interesting, but not the best self-help book I've read.

Everything Happens for a Reason - Silly little short book full of quotes. I really shouldn't even list it, but I had a few favorites quotes...

"Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of." - Blaise Pascal

"There is no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - I really wanted to like this book, but I really didn't. So much so that I don't even want to elaborate.

Hanna's Daughters - found the Swedish setting fascinating. I could only imagine the characters being some of my own ancestors.

A Reliable Wife - the person that I mooched this book from off BookMooch knows the author personally and had given me his rather strong opinion of the book before I read it. Not sure if that influenced my opinion or not. The characters did seem rather preoccupied with sex, but all in all I enjoyed the book.

The Space Between Us - great. Loved the descriptions of India. Reminded me of my time there. Found the relationship between the main two characters fascinating. My favorite passage:
Bhima smiles. "Beti, the past is always present, " she says. "No such thing as bringing it up. The past is like the skin on your hand - it was there yesterday and it is here today. It never goes anywhere. Maybe when you're older you'll understand this better."

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - quick read written from the perspective of an autistic boy. While the plot was fairly predictable, I found the boy's thought process to be interestingly concrete yet disturbingly close to some of my own (what does that say about me?!?). My favorite line being, "And that is why I like timetables, because they make sure you don't get lost in time." Please tell me I'm not the only one who requires a routine lest I get easily lost in time?

The Alchemist - Another quick read that was not at all what I was expecting. Someone had told me that this is a love story, but it is really a story of self-actualization. While the whole book was filled with wisdom, my favorite parts of the book were actually the introduction and the prologue.

In the intro, the author writes of why many of us don't have the courage to confront our own dreams like the main character in the book. He writes of love being an obstacle and our fear of hurting those around us to pursue our dreams, but that "genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey." He also writes of the guilt that fills often fills our hearts at the mere possibility of getting what we want. That when close, we often make stupid mistakes and never reach our goals. I think I may be the queen of messing up as I get closer to what I want!

The prologue is the story of Narcissus who who is enthralled with his own image in the lake when he falls in and drowns. The Lake later tells the goddesses, "I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected." I've known people that make me feel that way. Ones that when I look at an old photo, I am a bit taken by what I didn't realize had been there. The person was too busy reflecting my own beauty back to me.

And I almost always have a favorite passage in a book,
"If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return." The man was speaking the language of alchemy. But the boy knew that he was referring to Fatima.
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott - romantic fiction about what could have transpired one summer for the author of Little Women. Easy, enjoyable read. Although it is known how the book will end as Louisa never married in real life, I couldn't help but hope that love would win in the end even if it wasn't until later in her life. The story line reminds me of the movie Becoming Jane. Young love that endures a lifetime despite separate lives.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - I read this in one day (partly because I was under the weather and partly because I wanted to just keep reading). Haven't done that it I-don't-know-how-long. Beautifully written novel.


Marie Green said...

So of your list, I've read:

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- I like it, actually really enjoyed it until the end, which I thought was lame.

Hanna's Daughters- read it years ago, and there's another one too, I think with the same characters (?) and really loved it.

The Curious Incident- I was TRANSFIXED by the main characters thought process. I thought that his way of thinking, though "autistic" was quite profound.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan- LOVED. Also? My feet hurt while I was reading it. Which just goes to show you how open to suggestion I am. ;)

I'm adding The Alchemist to my list...

Dawn said...

I need to go to the library and get something new to read today, so what perfect timing to find your list. I've read A Reliable Wife, and I enjoyed it, but would agree with what you said. :)