Let's Talk About Books Baby!

September

Books Bought:
The Children Act- Ian McEwan
Adultery- Paulo Coelho
Wild- Cheryl Strayed
Tiny Beautiful Things- Cheryl Strayed
Torch- Cheryl Strayed

Books Read:
Cutting for Stone- Abraham Verghese
Adultery- Paulo Coelho
The Secret History- Donna Tartt
The Children Act- Ian McEwan
The Lovers- Vendela Vida

Wow!  September was a crazy good month for books!  First let me tell you about the Cheryl Strayed event I went to in Fort Collins.  For those of you who haven't heard of Cheryl Strayed you're about to!  Her book Wild about her life saving trek down on the Pacific Crest Trail has been turned into a movie, starring Reese Witherspoon, in theaters this December!  It's debuted at Telluride and there has been a lot of buzz around Miss Witherspoon's performance!  I had previously read Wild and Cheryl's book of essays called Tiny Beautiful Things and I love them both!  They are the kinds of books that when you finish you know they were good but then you even grow to love them more as you realize that it's been months and you've read lots of books since them, yet, they are the ones you are still thinking of.  Anyways, both of those books I had checked out from the library but since I was going to this event, I bought them to get them signed.  

Highlights of her talk in Fort Collins:  Cheryl talked a lot about her mom (understandably so since Cheryl just had a birthday where she has now passed how old her mom was when she died, plus the movie is coming out and Cheryl's real daughter plays the younger Cheryl in the movie which brought up weird motherly feelings and realizations, and her mom is a driving force in how Cheryl got to where she is).  One thing that really resonated with me is that when her mom died, Cheryl got really destructive and was doing really bad things to her body and one day it's like it clicked that even though she was trying to show the world how sad she was without her mom, in a way, she realized she was dishonoring her mother's work by destroying herself.  I liked this because sometimes I feel I do things to myself (overeat) because I'm sad and because some really shitty things happened or I'm stuck in a rut, but I never think about how this must make my mom feel.  I'm sure this isn't what she wanted for me, and I know she loves me no matter what, but I just like the way this made me feel that I should honor my body because it is my mom's work of art.  Weird, I know.  Anyways...

I also really loved when she was in this outdoorsy store to get a shovel to dig her car out of the snow, she saw this book for the Pacific Crest Trail at the counter and she thought, "wow, that's really something, maybe, if I can just attach myself to something this magnificent then I might become magnificent too."  I liked this because this is how I feel about yoga... like yoga is this most beautiful practice and if I can just implement it in my life (be brave enough too) and then live it then I might be beautiful too.

I like how when Cheryl was on the trail she said she didn't do nearly the amount of thinking and analyzing that she thought she was going to do, it was more how can I walk this many miles with no water and no toenails to make it to shelter for the night?  It was about survival.  She said, "physical suffering, deprivation, was what I actually needed".  I think about this all the time (the irony, I know).  If I could just stop sitting around thinking and get up and move... just walk, just learn to love walking.  I feel like I've been on the emotional journey, I've done the spiritual thing, now I need to work it all out physically.   

Anyways, if you haven't read Wild or Tiny Beautiful Things I HIGHLY recommend both!  I also picked up her other book Torch that I've never read before so hopefully I will get around to that one soon!

The other two books that I bought this month, I ended up reading (go me!) so let's start with those:

Ian McEwan, how I love thee. McEwan's books are always so beautifully twisted.  This one is about a judge in the UK who has to deal with cases involving children.  She often gets stuck making a decision for what's in the children's best interest when their parents or guardians can't agree.  We see a few of her interesting cases, but we also get to see her marriage and how it is unraveling.  I just love the way McEwan writes, definitely one of the better books that I've read that was released in 2014.

Paulo Coelho.  I'm new to reading his books, I've only ever previously read The Alchemist which I loved, so I was expecting to feel the same about this book.  I know that this book was making a lot of statements about how we've all grown bored and complacent, and how we feel entitled to give into our every little whim or indulgence, how we can justify things in our heads or place blame on others.  Bottom line, the main character in this book is a repulsive woman, which makes it very hard to love this book.  I think most of us can probably recognize some of her gross behaviors in ourselves, but this woman was unbearable. 

Now onto some of the other books....

Cutting for Stone had been on my list for a very long time and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it!  I have to admit it took me a while to get through it... the first 100 pages lagged for me, but I stuck with it because when a book has a heavy religious story line, mixed with culture & history I just KNOW it's going to be good.  It did not disappoint.  Once I finally got going with it, it was hard to put down.  I see why it was such a successful novel and I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

After reading and loving The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I knew that it wouldn't be long before I would get my hands on her first book that many call a cult classic: The Secret History.  This lady is legit.  Girl can write.  And she keeps you captured from the get go!  I loved this book and all of its' super twisted characters, I loved the setting, I loved the descriptions.  Sooooo good!  I'm scared to read the book that she wrote between The Secret History and The Goldfinch because apparently it wasn't well received when it came out.  But seeing as how she took about 11 years between the second and her last, I'm sure I'll have to read it just to tide me over until she someday (hopefully) releases a fourth book. 

And lastly... I've had The Lovers by Vendela Vida on my shelf for a couple of years now.  I've been hesitant to read it because I wasn't a big fan of another book of hers that I read, but I've wanted to read it because I really want to like her because she's married to my love Dave Eggers.  So, I'm not sure what made me grab for this one at this particular time, but when I opened it I realized it takes place in Turkey (which seems to have a gravitational pull on my attention lately), so I curled up in my chair and I started to read.  I loved it.  It doesn't end in a way that I thought it would and maybe that's part of why I liked it so much.  But it was just a simple story of grieving and coming to terms with life's little abuses.  I think when/if Vendela ever puts another book out, I will look forward to reading it and I don't think it will sit on my shelves for years. 

Which brings me to the question... why do I buy books only to let them sit there for so long unopened?  I'm not sure, I've done this for as long as I can remember.  But I know that there are times when a book calls to me in the store, but by the time I've finished whatever book I may have already been reading at that time, then I'm no longer in the mood for the new book I bought.  But sometimes, I end up reading them exactly when I need to, which makes it feel like it's all pre-destined.  Or maybe I'm just an addict.  My eyes are bigger than the speed in which they actually can read.  Who knows?  But it's kind of like when you buy an album and for whatever reason it just doesn't get a lot of play only to years later suddenly become your favorite album.  Timing.  They say it's everything.

What books have you ever bought and let sit on your shelf for way too long before getting around to cracking the spine?