Hello world! It’s been a long time (three months!) since my first post, and there’s a valid reason for this. For the past three months, I was living, working and travelling in the United States. It was a great experience that I’ll be talking more about on my travel + personal blog in the next few weeks.
I was very busy during this time and so I didn’t get a lot of time to read, sadly. However I did manage to finish all three of the books on my Summer TBR during my final month there whilst I was travelling which is good enough for me! So I thought I would sum up my thoughts of those books in this post.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
Thoughts: This book was definitely one of my favourites of the year so far. I actually started it whilst I was working but was too busy to get into it fully. However once I had the time travelling I was fully invested in the story. I didn’t particularly read this quickly – in fact of the three books I read travelling this was probably the one that took the most time. However this was not due to anything negative, merely that I wanted to prolong my enjoyment of this book, as well as the sometimes heavy content of the story-line. I’m a sucker for anything dystopia/post-apocalyptic, but find some worlds are unrealistic sometimes. Mandel’s world on the other hand is a very realistic portrayal of what would happen in this situation. Her writing was touching and beautiful and reading this book was a joy.
I will add as a note that the book is a very character driven one as opposed to plot-driven. My favourite books are often character-driven so I would highly recommend this to others like myself. However if you need a fast-paced plot-driven story then this might not be for you so much, but I would still recommend giving it a go. 5/5 stars.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
Thoughts: This book had its ups and downs for me. I felt like the writing style was almost trying too hard to poetic and beautiful – don’t get me wrong, at times it was, but at other times it was just a bit too much. The main character, Cadence, I didn’t particularly find likable, but she was a fairly realistic privileged teenage girl. I went into this book knowing there was a plot twist at the end and thus spent most of the book trying to figure it out, but was still surprised by the reveal. My initial reaction was shock and surprise which I was pleased with, however there wasn’t much grounding for the twist. That being said it was still plausible so it didn’t phase me too much.
This was a very quick read which I really enjoyed as the last few books I’ve read have been good, but slow going. I flew through this in about two days and overall did enjoy the book. On goodreads I rated this book a 4/5 stars initially, but have now amended that to a 3.5/5 stars.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.
Thoughts: Hosseini’s two other novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are two of my favourite books, so I’ll admit to going into this book with high expectations and thinking I knew what to expect. However, this book breaks away from some of the tropes and styles found in his other novels. It is told over the course of 9 chapters, each chapter told from a different perspective, and is set in various places around the world. At first I was hesitant to these changes, but as I read, I warmed to them. His writing, as usual, was beautiful and very easy to read. I really enjoyed that this story centered around a sibling relationship as I feel like this kind of relationship isn’t as discussed as widely was others.
There were some perspectives I enjoyed more so than others in this novel. I usually love multiple perspectives in books, but some dragged for me and I found myself forcing my way through them and looking to see when their chapter ended. That being said, I did enjoy the majority of the perspectives. This book also made me cry in the middle of the airport which is quite a feat as I am not one to cry in public! 4/5 stars.
So those are the three books I read over my summer abroad. Only reading three books has put me quite behind my reading challenge so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with that before the end of the year, and I’ll be updating this blog as I endeavor to complete it. Until then, happy reading!