I would like to apologize for my absence in this later part of the summer. I admit that reading and writing fell by the way side, but I was working on blogging things, like finishing my wedding recaps over on Adventures to the Altar and Weddingbee. Since this is a 25 Before 25 goal, I think I get a little reprieve. I have had a chance to read a little, and with summer (sadly) winding down, I think it’s time to let you know a little bit about them.
Gold by Chris Cleave– I listened to this on audiobook way back when. After reading and being devastated by Little Bee, I wasn’t sure I could take on another Chris Cleave novel, but this story was different. Zoe and Kate are on Britain’s National Indoor Cycling team. In fact, they’re the best in the world, and with the 2012 London Games coming up, they’re neck and neck and who wins gold could be up to the slightest change in the air moisture. They’ve both been in this position before, but this time, only one of them gets to compete in the games due to a new IOC ruling. On top of that, there are Jack and Sophie, Kate’s young family. Jack is a gold-medal winning cyclist in his own right, and Sophie is their young daughter who is suffering from leukemia. With flashbacks to the past interspersed with the current races between Zoe and Kate, we find out just how close and complicated their relationship is. I enjoyed this read, but I found that it was just a little too predictable, in a way that almost made it seem impossible. 3/5
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway– The old man, Santiago, has had some bad luck in his life as a Gulf fisherman. His most trusted and loyal companion, is a young boy, who has had to move on to other boats to secure enough money/food for his family. Santiago’s luck changes when he happens upon a gigantic fish. In his quest to catch that fish, he has to journey far and be resourceful. The tale that ensues is a parable about greed and pride, and perhaps, about the difficulties of becoming old. I am the first to admit that I prefer contemporary literature to the classics. But I try to pick one up every once in a while, to make sure I am knowledgable about famous literature and to broaden my horizons. This one is only a little over one hundred pages, and is a simple read. I tried reading it a few times, but then, I realized that the only way to finish it was to read it all in one sitting. I appreciate the tale, but I need a little break from cut and dry for now. 3/5
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – A family from a small town in Afghanistan is torn apart prior to the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan and the following regime of the Taliban, and the war brought over by Americans. We learn a little of each family member and where life has led them since the first fracture in their structure. The story spans three continents, and over fifty years. From each family member, we learn a little bit more of their story, and how they are able to find each other again. I loved this book. I expected such great things from this novel, as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns ere both spectacular reads, and this one did not disappoint. I like that the story is a little different from the previous two, in that most of the story does not occur in Afghanistan, but in other countries. The language was vivid and heartfelt, and I couldn’t put the book down. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. 5/5
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- Louisa Clark has found herself in a tough position. The cafe that she worked in and loved for seven years has been closed, and she really needs to figure out a way to make money, not just for herself, but for her parents, sister, nephew and grandfather. She finds herself as a companion/caregiver to a young quadriplegic who used to be a master businessman, an adventurer, and in complete control of his life. Will now can barely use one arm and lives with his parents with additional round-the-clock care. Louisa can’t handle Will’s negative attitude and verbal abuse, but she has no choice but to keep her job, so she decides to make the best of it, especially since she’s on a limited contract. Her presence lifts his mood, and his challenges to her expand her horizons beyond their tiny town. If you liked The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, you’ll enjoy this. It’s a beautiful story about love and grief and living life to the fullest, because you never know when it will be taken away. I loved it! I cried quite a bit at the end, but I would read it again. No wonder the waiting list at the library was so long! It was so good, and I am so happy to have read it. I am now on a hunt for more of Moyes’ books. Again, this is a book I highly recommend. 5/5
What have you read this summer? Are you more a fan of the classics or contemporary literature?