I’ve mentioned previously that I went to Twitter to ask for book recommendations, and I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. I’ve been reading voraciously these last few months and it’s been so great. The best part about asking for recommendations from other people is that I’ve picked up a few titles that I would never have thought to read, and challenged myself to read genres that I wouldn’t have normally touched – like nonfiction!
Today marks the end of the first half of the year – have I mentioned how much I love that my birthday marks the second half of the year? I must have. Although I guess technically, mathematically, it’s off by a day or two (I just did the math, but too lazy to figure out the difference.) I’m on track to hit my book goal of 24 new books this year – although it might slow down as I slowly work my way through all five A Song of Ice and Fire books – so here is my short review on a few of the ones that I would recommend again to someone else! (If you’re reading this and recommended a book to me, thank you! I will be sure to pay it forward and pass on the joy of reading to someone else as well.)
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
– Cried on the plane while reading this. Had to wipe away tears as the flight attendant approached asking me if I wanted breakfast – the epilogue, written by his wife, was just as heartrending and sad and poignant and wow everyone should read this book. The second half is better than the first half.
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
– Read this book in about two and a half days – a really quick read. You know right from the beginning that one of the main characters is dead (not a spoiler alert, I promise) – so I wouldn’t necessarily characterize this book as a mystery since you’re not really trying to figure out who killed her or how she died, but rather read through how the other characters respond to the loss. Reading this as an Asian American who grew up in primarily white societies (until high school and college), it brought up interesting reminders of how differently people can view you when you’re not the same, and the pressures of being Asian.
Room, Emma Donoghue
– I haven’t watched the movie yet and I don’t know if I want to. Since the book is written from the boy’s perspective, you’re kept just as much in the dark as he is, except being about twenty years older and reading between the lines of what he narrates makes his predicament and how he views the world even more agonizing to read.
Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
– I feel like people have mixed reactions about this book – and I agree that what Sheryl Sandberg is advocating may not be as available to people with less opportunities – but I think it is important for women to read. And I would definitely be in favor of more women in senior management roles.
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
– Had a lot of mixed feelings when I was first reading this book, but while reading it I realized that a book is a book is a book – specific words and situations chosen by the author to relate a specific point. Even in nonfiction. It’s was hard for me to accept his notion that “you are not the worst thing you have done” especially right after reading about the Stanford rape case and the victim’s personal statement. But I realized that the cases Bryan Stevenson chose to write about were specifically chosen to highlight the discrimination that can occur especially when poverty and race are involved, and I finished the book glad that I read it, angry that justice and prejudice often exist side by side, and hopeful that there are people like Bryan Stevenson in the world.
A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
– Didn’t think I would like it – but I did, so here we are. The society is a patriarchy and cruel to women and women’s bodies, but there are also women that actively fight against that. It’s surprisingly feminist, but also doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything or create any ideal character. There are so many strong female characters, but also weak female characters. Everyone has flaws, and I sort of find myself rooting for the “bad” guys sometimes…
I hope the second half of the year is just as filled with books as the first half was.