The Summer Reading Challenge is over. But my conversations about books aren’t. So, today I bring you part 2 of my mini reviews. I’ve read quite a many good books but I’m sharing my thoughts on only five books that left a great impression on me.
5. Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave by Elena Ferrante
Ferrante say the things I sometimes think and wouldn’t dare voice out loud. She doesn’t only know how the female psyche works; she gives it a name, a place and a feeling to go with. Relationships among friends are as complex and real as they can be.
What I also liked about this book is the glossary of families or characters. It made it easy to connect events from previous books as this is Novel 3 of 5; a series of novels. I didn’t feel I’ve missed out much because I haven’t read the first two. They seem to work well as standalone.
4. A Day with John Keats by May Byron
I always go back to classics, and I seldom get disappointed. This is a wonderful short read that gives a glimpse to Keats’ life, thoughts and writing process; more of a behind the scenes with the inclusion of some of my favourite poems: Endymion, Autumn, Ode to a Nightingale, etc.
The reader gets another impression that Keats took his vocation seriously. For instance, he is quoted as saying “Whenever I feel vapourish, I rouse myself, wash, and put on a clean shirt; brush my hair and clothes, tie my shoe-strings neatly, and in fact adonize as if I were going out; then all clean and comfortable, I sit down to write.” And write, he did!
3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
So much has been written about this book that I feel I don’t have anything more of value to add. As I mentioned before, Mrs O’s story is really inspiring. One of my favourite quotes…
“but not for one second did I think I’d be sliding into some glamorous, easy role. Nobody who has the words ‘first’ and ‘black’ attached to them ever would. I stood at the foot of the mountain, knowing I’d need to climb my way into favor.” I nod both in agreement and to salute her journey.
2. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
This book drew me immediately. I went in deep and fast, hypnotized by every word, and kept turning pages until I realised I was halfway. I thought of preparing dinner but decided on a Chinese takeaway instead, because I simply couldn’t put it down. So yeah, I read the entire thing in a single day.
I enjoyed this book, insomuch that I didn’t have the urge to pick up another book afterwards. That is real magic!
1. A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader by edited by Maria Popova et al.
I’ve talked about this book before here but I come back to it, because it is my BEST read this summer. I’ve never felt so much joy reading experts from all walks of life talk about books and their love for reading.
There are all sorts of letters (profound, educational, personal, relatable or simply funny) in this book. Some (to name a few) that touched me immensely are by Steven Pinker, Pamela Paul, Alain de Botton, Anne Lamott and Helen Fagin, who reads her touching letter at Brain Pickings.
This is one of those books you can read over and over again. I highly recommend it to every reader, regardless of age.
Huh…did you notice my impactful reads are mostly by female authors? Well, keep an eye for a post on how I managed to diversify my reads this summer!
I’m always happy to hear your thoughts.