Why should I READ more?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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At a time when we all seem overwhelmed by political news, natural disasters and constantly getting distracted by a million different things, it seems we have forgotten how good it feels to just grab a book and relax.

Why would I want to do that? You might ask.

Because picking up a book can provide escapism, comfort and it's a proven stress-relief!

There are several studies and arguments on why we should all read more, but I read somewhere that “Art can transcend the unhappiness of the every day,” which in my opinion, sums it all. 

How would you choose what to read?

You can use the NY Times Best sellers list, or you can check out Oprah's Book Club list, or you can go to your local library and actually talk to a librarian (yes, they still exist).

You can join an online Reading Challenge. To get ideas of what kind of books to read, BookRiot 2018 Read Harder Challenge is a great place to start.  Check it out on the link https://bookriot.com/2017/12/15/book-riots-2018-read-harder-challenge

To stick with your new resolution, make sure you read books you actually enjoy.  Try different types of books and see which kinds you like best: fiction, non-fiction, mystery, thriller, fantasy, romance, memoirs, biographies…

As an example: When I was in college (many moons ago), I had to read/study/analyze “The Lusiads” by Luiz Vaz de Camoes, which is one of the greatest epic poems of the Renaissance, immortalizing Portugal's voyages of discovery…blah blah blah.  I hated it.  The professor told me that I should stop reading best sellers and focus on actual literature (he was so pompous).
Thank Goodness I can read whatever I want now!

Join Goodreads (if you haven’t done it yet) to get suggestions and keep track of your list.

Join a local Book Club.  Your local Library (here it is again)  might have one.  If not, you can search in Facebook Groups for a Book Club near you.

And finally, if you're still not sure what to read, here’s my personal list of books to get you started, so HAPPY READING (if you do choose one of the books on list below, please drop a comment and let me know what you thought about it):

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
A novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.
As much as I loved "Still Alice" and all other Lisa Genova's books, "Love Anthony" is my favorite. I cried so much at the end of the book but I loved it.
Beautifully written. A must read.

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
This book tells the story of an unlikely friendship, between a mentally sharp, determinedly independent woman of 104 and the world-records-obsessed eleven-year-old boy tasked with doing odd jobs around her property.
But it’s much more than that. It’s about families, and love, and grief. It’s about a father trying to finish what his son had begun and at the same time searching for forgiveness for not loving the boy while he was alive. It’s about the invisibility of old age and the discovery that there’s always more life to be lived. It’s about being young and open, with no side and no cynicism, and an uncertain future.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Beautifully written. One of the best books I have ever read. Dr. Kalanithi would probably become one of the best writers in our century, had his life gone the way he had planned: 20 years as a neurosurgeon/neuro scientist + 20 years as a writer.  In his own words, “The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win …You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which are ceaselessly striving."

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The story as a whole seemed a little unrealistic but for the most part I found it an entertaining story line. I personally found myself getting so frustrated with the main character. She was not a likable character, and at times I just wanted her to grow up, accept the help being offered and move on. I actually finished it because I was curious to find out how the story would end.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Dark and extravagantly imagined. A few pages in and I was hooked. The story takes you in as if in a dream and we all know that in dreams anything can happen...
A fierce competition is underway - a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Orphan Train talks about a part of our American history that I was completely unaware of. Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck...

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.  I LOVED this series! I just recently found out that BBC will be releasing a TV series based on this Trilogy and I just can't wait to watch it.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Great book!
It's even strange to say that it was beautifully written, considering the story is based on horrific true facts about babies being sold to the highest bidder. It tells historical facts about children trafficking in Tennessee that lasted 30 years (1920 to 1950).  It is impossible not to get swept up by this novel. It invades your heart from the very first pages and stays there long after the book is finished.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book is brilliant! It makes you laugh, cry and fall in love with Eleanor. Yes, there are monsters in this world, but there are also good, genuine people that want nothing in return. It will make you think twice before judging someone.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history, and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Intriguing set of characters; so many twists and turns and yet, it kept my interest.
In today's age, when everyone posts how "happy" their lives are on social media, this book brings to surface the fact that everyone has secrets, some can be forgiven, some not.



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