So I’ve been trying to get back into reading. I hate commuting and let’s be honest, reading a book is more entertaining than Candy Crush.
Here’s a run down of my latest reads:
P.S. From Paris: Marc Levy – translated by Sam Taylor
A sweet little book from French author, Marc Levy, tells the story of an English actress and an American author in Paris who befriend each other.
Cute story, typical rom com stuff. Paris being Paris there’s a romance and complications.
I always find after a gap in reading, I need something to ease me back into it. This did the job perfectly.
The Lonely Londoners: Sam Selvon
This book was written by Trinidadian author Sam Selvon in 1956 and tells the story of life in London of the Windrush generation. It takes a while to get into, you have to read it with a Caribbean accent to get the sense of drama and familiarity the characters have with each other.
The didn’t have it easy in London and I guess that, from my point of view, it seems like it was an experience that was shared by Irish immigrants to London in the 40s/50s and 60s. Selvon beautifully captures the alienation that the Caribbean community feels away from home and how the community is separated by the native Londoners. He also carves out a of the joyful Caribbean community and the fun times they shared.
While it can be a tough read, there were a few times I found myself re-reading an odd page a few times to get the meaning and phraseology down, it is a really important book, showing the way the people of the Windrush and immigrants were treated and how people lived in London at the time. Definitely worth a read.
The Shadow of the Wind: Carlos Ruiz Zafón – translated by Lucia Graves
A work colleague gave me a loan of this book, I must have had it for about a year before picking it up.
10 year old Daniel Sempere finds a book, The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax that leads him on a path of many discoveries. Wanting to find out more about the author and why he has the last surviving copy of the book, Daniel becomes, I guess, an amateur sleuth.
There are many layers and strands to the book, lots of interweaving of people and threads. Zafón excellently shows us what life in Barcelona was like after the war and beautifully builds the life of Carax before the war. 80 percent of the book is great but towards the end, a letter from one of the characters, makes everything fall a bit flat. It’s almost like, ‘How do I get this thing finished? Oh, I know! I’ll get one character to have knowledge of all the secrets.’
A really enjoyable read up until the letter was sent. This is the first in a series of 4 books by Zafón, I’m still contemplating whether I should read the next one.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well: Meik Wiking
This was actually a lovely little read heading into the deep dark of winter. The book is written by Meik Wiking, who works at the Happiness Research Institute, what a job!
The book explores what hygge is, you know, getting all snuggledy on the couch in winter, the room dimly lit by candles and a nice big mug of tea along with it. You know the drill, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of bloggers sitting in windows with a cuppa and a lit candle.
Along the way, there are tips for games nights and recipes (which are pretty meat based). An easy read which cements the viewpoint that we should actually enjoy our lives more and step out of the rat race. Time is running out, for us all!
White Tiger: Aravind Adiga
This is debut from Indian author Aravind Adiga and follows our main character, Balram, as he tries to overcome the social struggles in India as he tries to climb the ladder from being born into a lower caste, working as a tea boy in a in his village to a gain himself a higher social standing.
The book takes the form of a series of late night letters written to the Prime Minister of China who is about to embark on a trip to India. Balram writes to tell him of what real life is like in his India, not just what the government want to Chinese leader to see.
White Tiger is a book about trying to achieve your goals and stepping into the light. (Balram’s home area is even referred to as The Darkness). It’s a book about having to adapt to a changing world and how the gap becomes greater all the time between the village and the city. It’s looks at sacrifice and the lengths people will go to, to step into the light even if that means murder and may have repercussions on your family at home.
Interesting book, the first that I’ve read by an Indian author and winner of the Booker Prize 2008.
If you’ve read any of these or have any recommendations, please do let me know.