Last year I made a resolution to myself that I would read more books - and it is a resolution that I managed to keep. I read ten books last year, which may not seem like much. But I only find time to read during the weekend or before I fall asleep. So I am happy with my ten books, especially since I went on a reading sabbatical between August and October. I'm not sure why. It probably has something to do with the tiresome summer heat. Anyway, here's a look at five of the books that I read last year. Since I don't want this post to get too long we will have a look at the other five books some other time.
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
This book was a page-turner. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. It is the story of one woman's attempt to turn wrong into right. In many ways, it is a tragic and heart-breaking novel. But in the end, it is a story of redemption. This novel is well-written and researched and gives a wonderful insight into the world of lighthouse keepers. I had no idea that such a career existed and that the person manning the lighthouse would be living on a small island all by himself or accompanied by just his close family.
“It astounds him that the tiny life of the girl means more to him than all the millennia before it. He struggles to make sense of his emotions – how he can feel both tenderness and unease when she kisses him goodnight, or presents a grazed knee for him to kiss better with the magic power that only a parent has.For Isabel, too, he is torn between the desire he feels for her, the love, and the sense that he cannot breathe. The two sensations grate at one another, unresolved.”
This is the author's first novel and is a New York Times top ten bestseller.
This is Gonna Hurt: Music, Life and Photography Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx by Nikiki Sixx
What can I say about this book except that you have to love rock music and, specifically, a band called Motley Crue to enjoy it? Motley Crue played their last concert last December. Nikki was the bassist. Back in the bad old 80s he almost died of a heroin overdose but, somehow, he's still here. He wrote about his addiction in his brutally honest book 'The Heroin Diaries'. This is the sequel to that book. This is Gonna Hurt is described as "a deeply personal look through the eyes of a real rock star at a stark, post-addiction world."
“Life can be cruel. It´s been my struggle, my personal battle, my obsession to make people see that different isn´t always bad.”
This is also a New York Times bestseller but I won't suggest that you read it unless you want to look at the dark side of life.
Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
If I had to sum up this book in just one sentence I would say that this is the story of a prostitute in search of herself and in search of love - not passion but real love, the kind of love that sets us free. But since the author is Coelho, it is much more than that. Eleven Minutes is a journey, of sorts, a journey that starts in Rio de Janeiro and ends in Paris. It is the journey of an innocent-girl-turned-prostitute who loses her soul for a while, only to gain it back in the most beautiful way possible. This is by no means a tacky book. I would go so far as to say that this is Coelho's ode to love.
“Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.”
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
A letter that was not meant to be opened. A secret that was not meant to be shared. It is a dark secret; a secret that threatens to destroy a family that, to those on the outside looking in, appears to be perfect. It is a compelling, bitter-sweet story - sometimes funny, sometimes sad but always a good read.
“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It's probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”
East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
It is 1928 and three young English women are on their way to India: one to get married, the other to be her bridesmaid and the third to act as their chaperone for the length of the journey. East of the Sun takes us to a world that has long faded away: colonial India and the sharp contrast between the rich socialites and the poverty that, to this day, is the fate of so many Indian people. I expected a bit more from this book. For some reason, I thought that it lacked a proper climax. I kept expecting something to happen but nothing really did until the last one third of the book. I don't want to sound like I'm saying that this is a bad book - it isn't. I just think it could have been developed better.
“She had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach, like when you're swimming and you want to put your feet down on something solid, but the water's deeper than you think and there's nothing there.”
… to be continued.
In the meantime, I came across this reading challenge on Facebook that I thought I would shsre with you:
image via The Modern Mrs Darcy
So what do you all think? Are you up to the challenge? I think I'll give it a try.
Links to the books: