when i was little i loved to read. i read all the time and have distinct memories of my parents telling me to stop reading at the dinner table (i sigh when i think of that because my future children will likely read at the table too but i suspect it will be emails and text messages not novels). i've never thought of reading as an "escape" as some others describe it (my life was good, no need for escapism), but rather an alternate reality - one that was usually far more interesting than my own!
to this day i can't fall asleep without first reading a little something. and generally when i find a really good book, i'll forsake all other activity until it's finished. below are some of the books i read last year and my thoughts on them (spoiler, i recommend them all!)
me before you by jojo moyes
this story snuck up on me. it begins from his perspective and it is a prologue of mysterious characters and a sudden accident (not a spoiler, that's on the back of the book :) but then in the first chapter you're in a little english town and she's talking about how many steps it takes to get to her front door. and all i could think was "who cares?? what happened to the dashing young man from before?"
and then suddenly, the plot is on fire! in a slow burn, can't stop turning the pages, are they gonna kiss yet kinda way. it's a love story, but in the most profound way as they both have life changing decisions to make.
gone girl by gillian flynn
this novel...my goodness! it's the story of a woman who goes missing and most of it takes place back at home with the husband. but don't think for a second that you know what's going on...or what's going to happen. flynn never once lets you assume you've figured out her characters. i'm sorry, but that's all i can really tell you without ruining any of it. it's twisted and surprising and feisty and you should definitely read it. if only to feel superior about yourself and confirm that you are not in fact, a sociopath.
what alice forgot by liane moriarty
the thing about this one is that the summary sounds really really numb. woman knocks head at gym, forgets 10 years and thinks she's 29 instead of 39. i don't think that could scream silly beach read any more if it tried. but it actually really resonated with me because i'm a big believer in "you Never know what is going to happen in life, or who you will become as a person." and let me tell you...the main character has changed so immensely you can hardly believe she is the same woman! and the whole time you're rooting for her and her husband who are on the rocks. cause really...he seems awesome so whats the problem. and then she gets her memory back and suddenly in ONE chapter you understand everything. and you understand the power of time and relationships and love. also it's set in australia which is cool.
a fine balance by rohinton mistry
omg saddest book ever. but that doesn't mean it isn't amazing and you shouldn't read it - even if you spend the whole book rooting for characters whose lives will never truly come to fruition. the plot focuses on two indian men who carry the skill of sewing and an endless supply of optimism. the story is set in the slums of india - a theme i am obsessed with lately and have read at least four books about (the space between us, secret daughter). something about the frightening descriptions of it really opens your eyes to the realities in other parts of the world.
midwives by chris bohjalian
this one is a little blurry as i read it almost a year ago now but some stories just stick with you. there are a lot of midwifery themed books nowadays (rock it old school at the very beginning and read the red tent!), but this one was really well written. its about a middle aged midwife who experiences a birth gone very very wrong and the legal consequences. it's a fascinating look at the comparison of home births vs hospital births - and the comfort and safety of both.