May Reads | The Life of K: May Reads

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

May Reads

You know I'm always reading so it feels weird to have only read 4 books in May. In my defense, The Poisonwood Bible was long. Good, but long. Though if I had to pick a favourite, it would be The Book Thief. Such a great story. The Paulo Coelho books were good too, but I think I'm getting tired of his style. Onto the books!

19. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it -- from garden seeds to Scripture -- is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

My thoughts

I've had this book for years and I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick it up. Last month when I asked for book suggestions, a few people recommended this so I grabbed it. I'm glad I did! What an interesting story of a family who goes on a mission to the Congo. I pulled my hair out reading of the things Nathan Price did - from how he treated his family to the people of Congo. A religious zealot who is so determined to "do the right thing".. cringe-worthy.

When the girls go to a grocery store after years of living in the Congo, the description of the amount of food and the lack of smell really hit me. We really are fortunate with our access to food and clean water.

So many parts of this book will stick with me.

20. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My thoughts

Now this was a great book! Narrated by Death, which is an interesting choice, we follow Liesel through childhood. I'm not a big fan of wartime books, but this story was different. And seeing how non-Nazi Germans survived Hitler - or didn't - was interesting.

21. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho


Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

My thoughts

While this was an interesting story, parts of it rubbed me the wrong way, and I found myself very angry at one character in particular.

22. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho


'The Pilgrimage' recounts the spectacular trials of Paolo Coelho and his mysterious mentor, Petrus, as they journey across Spain in search of a miraculous sword.

The Pilgrimage paved the way to Paulo Coehlo's international bestselling novel The Alchemist. In many ways, these two volumes are companions—to truly comprehend one, you must read the other.

Step inside this captivating account of Paulo Coehlo's pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one's own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight

My thoughts

I'm sorry to say that after reading so many of Coelho's books, I'm a little tired of his style so my thoughts on this book may not be as great as if I'd read it at another time. The story was interesting, like his other books, but I was confused as to whether it was fact or fiction. Don't get me wrong - it was interesting but unbelievable and I couldn't get past the mythical/magical parts.

And that's that! What are you reading?

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