Thursday, September 6, 2018

Recent Reads

I keep going through phases where I'm reading a ton of new and then I go a few weeks where I have no new library books and work my way through a Harry Potter or The Devil Wears Prada for the eight hundredth time. And yes, those are really my two repeat reads as I only have a couple books on my Kindle I've actually purchased haha ;) This summer I managed to get a ton of new books in, here are a few of my favorites:

Love and Other Words
This could be considered more of an easy beach read - it jumps between the story of childhood best friends who fall in love in high school, and the present day when they meet again as adults. While it has all the hallmarks of a fun, easy summer read, the emotions and the characters definitely go deeper than that. It had me completely sobbing at one point, but was a beautiful story that I couldn't put down.

The Female Persuasion 
I've loved Meg Wolitzer's other novels, and this one was no different. It follows Greer as she goes off to college and make sense of her life, and ends up meeting her feminist idol who gives Greer her first big break. She slowly grows and finds her ambition and true calling in the world, while dealing with her long term boyfriend whose life is falling apart. It's a fun fluffy novel that also deals with real social issues - definitely a must read!

This and The Female Persuasion have been the most talked about books I've seen this year, and really it did not disappoint. This is a memoir following a girl as she grows up in an extremely sheltered fundamentalist Mormon household. As she grows from a kid idolizing her family and barely receiving a homeschool education to a young woman striving to go to college, it's incredibly interesting to see her world view change. The story includes a lot of violence, partially through neglect and partially through abuse, and honestly had me incredibly nervous for the majority of the story. It's a glimpse into another world that exists in modern day America and was completely fascinating, it was by no means an easy read but I flew through the book.

The Zookeeper's Wife
I was interested in reading this after seeing the preview for the movie, and I have to tell you, I did not realize the book was non-fiction. Like through a good chunk of the book I thought it was fiction, and I was totally floored to find out the characters and the things they did were real. This follows the story of the family that took care of the Warsaw zoo and continued to live there through the Nazi occupation. The zoo ended up functioning as a hiding place for hundreds of people hiding from the Nazis, with a few incredible stories of saving individuals and close calls. Since this is non-fiction there are some history lessons sprinkled throughout that you might find dry but I found them fascinating, especially the parts about Nazi zookeepers breeding animals during the war to try to recreate extinct species and basically succeeding. If you're into history and love World War II stories, then this is the book for you.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Much like Educated, I found this book completely fascinating as a look into another culture. The book is non-fiction and was written based on interviews with six North Korean defectors, including those who planned for years to try to escape, people who left out of necessity, and even one mother who was a true believer in the doctrine of North Korea but was tricked into leaving. It was truly heartbreaking, especially during the famine years, but such an interesting look into a culture that's so isolated and controlled.

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