Saturday, October 1, 2016

September Reading Round-up

                                       The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold is struggling with his marriage of 47 years. He receives an unexpected letter from his dying friend that leads him to journey across 600 miles to visit her. He believes that if he continues to keep walking, she'll live. What he didn't realize would be lessons he would learn on his journey about his past and that Maureen, his wife, is starting to miss him.

When I first started reading this, it reminded me of a non-LDS version of The Peacegiver by James Ferrell. It is quite literally a journey of a man trying to repay what was lost. Both him and his wife have been through some rough situations where they have decided to point fingers rather than come together through it all.

Then, as you would expect, a long journey like this would make anyone think about life and past regrets and trying to make amend of things. And that is just what Harold is out to do. Surprisingly Maureen is also a journey on her own even though she isn't physically walking with him. But having him gone, makes her think things differently.

I thought this was a really sweet story. It's not an absolute favorite but some great moments. Pockets of the story have lots of language just so you know. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark is desperate to find a job and one that is available to her is helping Will who is quadriplegic after suffering an accident. Both of their lives are thrown in for a loop as they grow closer together but yet there is something that is keeping them apart. 

I do have to laugh a little bit because I'm a caregiver myself (not with Lou's specific challenges) but I can sympathize her freaking out about taking Will to the hospital and finding parking and so grateful she didn't know the night before because she wouldn't be able to sleep. I've been there! That was a small way I connected with Lou. Overall I liked her as a character.

I went into this book already knowing how it ends so maybe that made me less emotionally tied to the story. But I also didn't want to see the movie before I read the book but I think I would have been fine either way. This isn't a book that I needed to read, nor one that I'm going to highly recommend, but I'm partially glad I did.

The timing of when I read this was pretty interesting. *Spoilers* I knew someone who had committed suicide just recently. Not someone particularly close but still, you never want to have someone go that way. By nature suicide is voluntary which makes it especially difficult for family members and friends. The ones left behind are always wondering "did I do enough to stop it?" "did I love them enough?" "did I do something wrong?" "what more could I have done?"

What I came away with was how does one disability be justifiable in wanting to end your life than another disability? I sort of felt like the author was trying to plead the case that it was okay. What about sacrifice and endurance and love? I think the main factor to endure this is through a belief and faith in God. When you don't believe in something after this life, it's hard to think there's anything worth living. (I love this video.)

It was hard for me to see Will tell Lou to find life, do exciting things, to love, when he was practically getting a second chance of life with her and it wasn't good enough for him. As if the pleasures of the world are more important than love you feel from family and friends (I guess for me, life worth living is spending time with those you love.)

I can't necessarily judge people for their actions because I've not been in their shoes (like Will's) but at least I would want to live as full of life as I could. *FYI, a bit of language and lot of sexual references

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Enchanting. A circus that is only open at night but you find out that the circus is really a venue for a challenge between two magicians who end up falling in love.

This was very fun to listen to on audio. Despite the fact that any female sounded like Hermoine (Jim Dale-Harry Potter audio man) and the way he did Marco's voice made him sound 10 years older than Celia, it was very well done. I can see this being a fun road trip listen. 

The way Erin used words made the book really come to life (and Jim's voice also helped) so when they described the smells of the circus, I felt like I was there. It's not a linear timeline book so a lot of jumping around which made it hard to follow. There were characters that faded from the picture that I'm still wondering how it added to the story. 

But I did love the romance in the story. Not too mushy. 

If anything, this book doesn't provide with a lot of discussion but it's just pure enjoyment. Next time though, I might try and read it instead. Maybe I'll catch some things that I seemed to miss from the audio. 

A few other books I read this month are here

Read anything good lately?

1 comment:

  1. Jules, I love how you sum up the books -- you are REALLY good at that. You tell just enough to get you interested to read the book. (but knowing me and my elementary school reading speed, I probably won't read all these!) I had no idea you read "Me before you". I had wanted to see the movie, but once I found out he committed suicide, it lost a bit of the draw for me, I like happy endings way too much. The circus book and the Harold Fry sound very interesting! Thanks for recording all of this, and inspiring me to read more. You seriously are an awesome write.