Summer reads reviews!

I picked some heavy books this summer and fell behind schedule, but I do not regret my choices! I started the summer off so strong with one of the best books I have ever read and it took me around 3 weeks to finish! (Life, you know!) I also started a whole bunch of books in a moment of indecisiveness, and I’ll have to finish them at some point too. I read 3 books this summer and here they are:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Published: October 22nd 2013 by Little, Brown
Genre: Literary fiction, contemporary
Pages: 864

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The story begins in New York with thirteen year old Theo and his mother visiting the museum. When a bomb goes off and Theo’s world changes instantly and is thrown off track into darkness that it can never quite shake.

I can best describe the book by two of it’s own quotes:

“Even the sidewalk felt like it might break under my feet and I might drop through Fifty-Seventh Street into some pit where I never stopped falling.”

“Tormented by what was happening, yet unable to stop it, I hovered around and watched the apartment vanishing piece by piece, like a bee watching its hive being destroyed.”

Theo’s life is thrown off track and he starts falling, losing all control as he watches life happen to him, more than he lives it. I can relate to that in many ways. Allowing yourself to be a victim of your circumstance.

Where do I begin?

First of all, this book is a brick, coming in at around 864 pages (paperback version). But it’s so worth it! Oh, is it worth it!

It’s the epitome of how the mighty mississippi begins so small you can walk few steps across and it turns into a massive river that would swallow you whole. If you’ve ever heard of a story where something has gotten completely out of hand, and wondered “how did that happen?” this book is your answer to that. It’s the ultimate snowball. And at the same time, it’s so innocent and so loving. I found it heartbreaking in so many ways, and exciting in so many others. It is so beautifully written and despite it’s length, it felt so short. And isn’t that just like life?_____________

The Dry by Jane Harper
Published: May 31st 2016 by Macmillan Australia
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Thriller
Pages: 352

The Dry by Jane Harper

 

This is a book set in rural Australia in the middle of a drought. Aaron Falk is a detective visiting his hometown after his friend allegedly shot his wife and child and then put the gun on himself.

While I thought the premise of the book was exciting enough, I just couldn’t get into it. I tried and I tried and I kept getting distracted. Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it was because I kept picturing the book as an episode of “cold case” switching back and forth between past and present. I don’t know.

I feel lost and hopeless. I so wanted to love this book, but it was just ok for me. Even after finishing and thinking “this is a great story, but I’m not excited about it” I’m afraid I’ll never know why this one didn’t sit right with me.

I can’t in my heart recommend it, but I wouldn’t say an ill word about it either, it’s a great book that just wasn’t for me.
___________

Two sisters : Into the syrian jihad by Åsne Seierstad
Expected Publication internationally: February 13th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 352

two sisters

Between the guilty pleasure fiction and mysteries I love reading non-fiction. There were years where that’s all I read and I’ve come to have a particular taste when it comes to it. It needs to flow still and it needs to feel like a story. It needs to feel personal and close.

Unfortunately, this didn’t.

The story is about two sisters from Somalia, growing up in a small town outside Oslo in Norway who become radicalized and flee to Syria to join the Islamic state. Since I myself come from this small town and I went to the same school as these girls, I was intrigued, who wouldn’t be?

Now I see all praises go out to this author by the norwegian media and by all means, I recognize the massive task it must have been to piece together all the details of this story. She’s interviewed many people, read through countless correspondence and laid out an objective and factual map of accounts. And that’s exactly what it feels like. A factsheet. There is little to none emotion in this book, if not for the desperate father chasing his daughters down and trying to get them home. Unfortunately, his material is scarce and the rest is just boring.

But do I still have faith in this book? Yes, I do. I believe this book is useful and excellent in trying to help family, friends and society as a whole keep their eyes open and know what to look for. It’s not like these girls were radicalized in a day and just left. They had been planning this for a whole year! They knew what they were doing! The school noticed, the teachers, the friends, the community and the family, but nobody did anything, and why not? Or why should they? Just because people start acting differently, what are you supposed to do about it?

This book is great for giving you the warning signals, now it’s up to us to figure out what to do when we see them.

 

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