Books are meant to be shared. And I promise, no spoilers!
I’m back for volume three of Recently Read. Sharing my thoughts and reviews on the books I’ve read in the past few weeks. You can read volume 1 and volume 2 and volume 3 and volume 4 here. Have you read any of these books?
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Five out of Five Stars
“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
“So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”
Best book I’ve read in a long time. Breathtaking, lyrical, and beautiful.
This books takes place in Germany and France during World War 2. Marie Laure is a blind girl living with her nurturing father in Paris. After the occupation, Marie Laure and her father escape to the seaside village of Saint-Malo where they attempt to live out the brutality of the war. Werner is a German orphan whose gift for working on radios lands him a place in a heartless Nazi training camp.
I hate to give too much else away, because no summary of this book will give it justice. This is a book that I wanted to stay up all night to finish but also one that I wanted to never end so I could relish it forever.
Doerr reminds us that there are multitudes of signals out in the world, ways for us to connect to each other, to remind us we are all similar beings, living out a short life here on earth. We need to remember, to take the time, open my ears and listen. To try to see all we can. To believe. That good CAN win.
The central theme in this book is power. The whole world tries to spin on the notion of power, when we should really be choosing love, traditional, raw sacrificial love. Somehow this book takes a similar story line and makes it feel new.
I couldn’t recommend it enough!
China Dolls by Lisa See
2 out of 5 stars
“When fortune comes, do not enjoy all of it; when advantage comes, do not take all of it.”
I’m not sure if it’s because I started this right after I finished the amazing “All The Light We Cannot See” but this book felt so shallow and boring.
I was surprised at my reaction because I have thoroughly enjoyed Lisa See’s other books, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” and “Joy’s Dream” (among others) and thought this would be the same.
China Dolls is written in the perspective of three women narratives all living in Chinatown in San Francisco leading up to and during World War 2. Life was certainly not easy for these women, who were all escaping from their own pasts. But, I feel like this book didn’t really dig deep enough into the pain and the emotion. It read more like a young adult novel, interesting but light and easy.
There is darkness here, and I didn’t like how See alluded to it but then was too afraid to dig deep into it.
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
4 out of 5 stars
“They’ve drummed the miraculous out of you, but you don’t want it to be like that. You want the miraculous. You want everything to still be new.”
This book was nothing like I thought it was going to be, a light and fun coming of age young adult novel. (and no I haven’t seen the movie yet). But for a YA book this is a very dark and depressing novel with believable and gripping characters that reminded me a lot of “The Catcher in the Rye”.
Sutter is a boy we all knew growing up. The arrogant, charming, class clown and party guy that is in reality suffering deeply. Sutter is a barely functioning alcoholic and Tharp shows teen alcoholism in such an honest and raw way. This teenager is a character that is so set on saving others, so preoccupied with seeing himself as a savior because he is terrified to save himself.
At times you’ll hate Sutter’s voice but he is also undeniably lovable to the point where he just keep breaking your heart, all the way to the end of the novel.
Although this was a quick read, Sutter’s story will stick with me.
What have you been reading?