I read four books in January and really enjoyed three of them. I probably should have DNF'd the one I didn't like (Girl Runner), but I just couldn't do it. While I'm not too happy I spent time slugging through it, I am glad I finished it since it's a book I've owned for a few years and had been wanting to read. Now I can happily donate it to my neighbourhood's Little Free Library!
Here's what I read:
1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: This was a hard book for me to put my thoughts about in writing. How do you judge a book written by a man while he was dying? A man who was intelligent beyond belief and who would have continued to make enormous contributions in the field of medicine had he not left this Earth too soon? I have nothing but tremendous respect for Kalanithi. And I can't even begin to pretend I know what he or his family went through during those last years of his life. That being said, while I found the first part of his book interesting from a clinical/medical viewpoint (having been a nurse myself), it wasn't until the epilogue that I was truly moved and brought to tears. A poignant read, it is really only the epilogue that has stuck with me since I finished this book. (4/5 stars)
2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: I adored this book! It's been sitting on my shelf for ages and I'm so glad I finally picked it up. It's one of those subtle, charming and lovely books that just hits you with all the feels when you least expect it. It's about loss and love and family and how when you least expect it, the right people (both young and old), will find their way into your life. It's also a book about books and bookstores and book lovers and it was truly a wonderful read. I can't imagine anyone (especially a fellow book lover) not loving this one! (5/5 stars)
3. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty: This is a story about secrets. One's we tell and one's we take to our grave. It's also a story about relationships: husband and wife, mother and daughter, mother and son, as well as other various relationships within one's own family. It was complex, but not confusing, although it did take me several chapters to really get into. At first, there's not a lot that seems to tie these different characters together, but as the book progresses, so does Morality's gift of storytelling. I love how her characters start to come together and how even the littlest of decisions effects their future. When John-Paul's wife, Cecelia, finds a letter written to her by her husband years ago, on the birth date of their first daughter, he asks her not to open it. When she realizes how distraught John-Paul is over the idea of her reading the letter, Cecelia knows she needs to read it. What possible secret could he be keeping from her? The contents of the letter changes everything.
This book made me think of the butterfly effect; how every little decision we make, both intentional or not, alters our future. We think we know our closest family and friends, but in truth, we all have secrets, big and small. My favourite part of this book was the epilogue. It really illustrated how if we knew the secrets our family kept, it would change everything. It was really powerful and it gave a unique way to wrap up loose ends, something that is rarely done in books (but that I appreciate when done right). This was my third Moriarty book, and while it was my least favourite of the three, I still really enjoyed it. (4/5 stars)
4. Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder: This is the book I should have DNF'd. It took me forever to get into as the story really jumps around and with no dates or anything to tie into the timeline, I found it so confusing trying to figure out where we were. I found none of the characters that interesting which is saying a lot since the main character, Aggie, is one of the first women to compete in the Olympics in running. I mean, this SHOULD be a fascinating story. What I thought was going to be a story about running, and Aggie's Olympic experience, I found that to be too small a part of the book. Overall, it was a sad story, but not a very compelling, sad story. I was so glad when I finally read the last page. (2/5 stars).
What have you been reading lately?
Are you a fan of Liane Moriarty's books?