At the beginning of the year I was behind on my reading. Behind is relative as I didn’t set a goal of have a reason I had to read (no school grades depended on it, my job didn’t require it), but behind what I normally read in a given month or year. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t read a novel for 2 years — while I was in graduate school. Even for month after graduation, I just couldn’t dig into anything that wasn’t business related. Novels just weren’t working for me.
But then, I finally found a book that kept my attention and that I didn’t feel guilt about reading. Why would I feel guilty reading a book? It was mother’s guilt working in my brain. Guilt that I should be spending time with my kids, instead of doing something for myself. I know, I know, this is not how to be a good mother. So, once I found a good book, I plowed through it. And then I found another, and another. So, finally, I can say I’ve read several good books this year. Here are a few of my favorites — all would make great book club choices!
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This book intrigued me because it’s about Anne Frank. I love stories about young Anne and have been mesmerized by her true story for years. I’ve visited the house where she and her family hid. This is a novel and is actually about Anne’s sister. It’s true she had a sister, but the novel takes creative license to tell a story about how her sister lives and how she tries to create a new life as Margot, in America. She keeps her real identity a secret even when her sisters Diary becomes a major motion picture. This book intrigued me to read a novel again and it would make a great discussion for a book club!
Jodi Picoult is an amazing writer. I hadn’t read anything from her previously, but I got a hold of this book and couldn’t put it down. The Storyteller is a modern-day tale about a young woman who is befriended by an old man. He wants her to help him die. As you read on, you learn about his past and are transported back to WWII and Nazi Germany, learning about the SS officers and the terrible things that happened to the prisoners at the concentration camps. You also learn that the young woman’s grandmother was one of the prisoners in Auschwitz. This book is so compelling. You just can’t put it down. You’re taken in by the stories of the past, and you wonder in the present if the young woman is going to help the old man take his own life. You keep reading, you keep wondering, and then you are surprised at the end. This book is remarkable — I only wish I had a book group to discuss it with when I finished reading it.
My mother sent me this book knowing I was desperate for a good read. She reads a lot — seriously, more than anyone I know — and I trust her recommendations. I posted a photo of this book to Facebook telling my friends about it as I started to read. Immediate reaction was positive, saying I’d like it. One friend said she read it in a day. That’s enough to get me to read any book.
The text is easy to read and light, although the subject matter can seem heavy. Will Traynor has a tragic accident leaving him paralyzed and unable to live his big, rich life. A young woman is hired to be his caregiver, helping with his daily needs (mainly his mood) and the tale starts to unfold as these two get to know one another.
Will he live? Will he die? Will they fall in love? Is any of it enough? These are the questions that get you to the end of the book. Once it’s over you keep thinking about it.
and my FAVORITE book of the year:
It was a toss-up between Me Before You and eleanor & park, but I had to go with the latter because of how it made me feel. This is such a sweet read. Young love at its best. This book absolutely transports you back to your youth. You’re back in high school with this couple. You feel their pain. You enjoy their highs. You embrace their story. I devoured this book and didn’t want it to end.