As the title suggests, this post is all about what I have been reading in the last while. Most of it has been great and some of it less so. All of it I found randomly at the public library by drifting down the rows of bookshelves and picking up what peaked my interest. I notice in writing down a few thoughts about the books I have been reading, I am seeing a few patterns about my own interests. These include that I generally tend to enjoy books that take place abroad or include other cultures, books written by women, books about women and different kinds of complicated relationships, books taking place in the past rather than the future, and books with serious themes. This is not to say this is exclusive, but just something I noticed so far. Interesting. Anyways, here is what I have been reading:
- The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam
I loved this book. The focus is on members of the Chinese expat community in Vietnam during turbulent times. I read the entire book in a few days and felt truly transported to Saigon. The flow of expatriate life also felt familiar to me. This was a juicy story full of secrets, war, betrayal, love, and action. This one I do not hesitate to recommend. Could be a movie and one that I would watch!
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I have not watched the movie that was based on this book but plan to in a few months or so. Reading the book was enjoyable and entertaining but the serious themes also gave one a bit more to reflect on. Complicated relationships between women are something I also always relate to. Written in an easy to read style.
- Hotel de Dream by Edmund White
This novel is almost two novels in one. One is about a dying writer and his final days with his partner and the other is the final story he writes about a male prostitute in New York. An interesting and short book but not my favourite by far. Exploring new subjects and lifestyles, however, is always a plus.
- The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee
A book that is definitely more than miserable at times. I related it to it however, as I am well aware of the immigrant journey and all the emotions that go along with it. As a child of immigrants, I could also relate to the next generation in many ways. I did, however, want to shake one of the main characters a few times to get her to snap out of it! It is also always nice when a book is in a local setting and you know exactly which streets and shops and areas of town they are referring to. In this case, Vancouver, BC!
- Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
This book was not my cup of tea overall. I did like some of the themes and some parts of it but overall it was a bit hard for me to devour it with enthusiasm. Dropping your life and randomly going to a different country appealed to me. The glimpse into the life of a long dead doctor who lived during a turbulent time was interesting as were the relationships he had with others. The main character was a bit annoying, however.
- Third Girl from the Left by Martha Southgate
A much faster paced book than the last. It covers three generations of African American women in a family and the complicated relationship they have with each other and the complications in their lives. A glimpse into African American Hollywood during the 70’s was new for me as was life as a bunny while maintaining a lesbian relationship. Interesting to think of different lives and times and perspectives. I always like books about crazy families since I have one as well.
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Such a smooth read! I liked this book. A gentle look into different lives. It takes place in a small town in Maine. The characters are all connected in some way to Olive Kitteridge who is, or was depending upon where in the book you are, a school teacher in this town. Moving through her life over the years was interesting. I also found it interesting to ‘observe’ the marriage Olive has. Maybe now that I am married myself (and marriage is way different than you ever expect for some reason) it is interesting to see how it moves along through time for others. Also, I liked how all these random villagers all had their own story. Much like real life. We just need to take time to notice it.