Rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year! I know, I know, it’s only September , but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start.
A couple of weeks ago I rounded up 3 awesome true-story books about journeys and adventures that I have read so far this year.
Part I here.
This week, let’s look at…
…the ones that brought something new to the table
1 // ROOM by Emma Donoghue
Original. That’s the main thing you need to know about this book.
It’s about a girl who was kidnapped at 21 and has been locked in a Old Nick’s shed for the past 6 or 7 years. In captivity, she gives birth to a son who she names Jack. We get to know what their life is like in Room, follow their dramatic escape, and take part their struggle to adjust to freedom and a normal life – which is terrifying for Jack, since he’s never known anything other than life in Room.
The twist is that whole story is told through Jack, which makes it an unforgettable read. I’ve never read anything like it – definitely haunting (but also a celebration of courage and resilience, so it’s wasn’t all horrible, thank God).
2 // The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A coming-of-age story with lots of heart and lots of wisdom!
Taking place in high school, it’s about a socially awkward and shy freshman – a wallflower – named Charlie who becomes friends with a quirky and exciting group of people. He basically falls in love with all of them (one girl in particular) and with the person he is when he’s with them, and the books is a little bit like an ode to being on the fringes of life and adulthood.
The story is a lot of more layered and thought-out than I first expected, so I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. It deals with some serious issues and some very emotional and sensitive subjects. You’ve probably heard or seen this quote from the book:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Sigh… Ain’t that the truth!
(No, I haven’t watched the movie, because as much as I try to like her and find endearing qualities, I just cannot stand Emma Watson…)
Soooo… I’ve been on a bit of a Paulo Coelho roll.
I adore Paulo Coelho, but it’s almost like I adore everything that he stands for more than I can claim to adore all of his books – because I’m way behind…! Over the past few years, I’d only read The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes and Veronika Decides to Die. My true fascination and love for him actually comes from reading and watching interviews with him. To me, he represents magic and possibilities. The belief that you can become anything you set your mind to become, and that dreams and wishes are powerful things which should never be suppressed.
Well, I finally got around to it and tackled the stack of Coelho books I had sitting in my bookcase.
Aleph ⋙ a journey of self-discovery and a very personal novel. This one really struck a chord with me because it deals with Coelho’s own real-life crisis of faith. I find it immensely comforting to know that even spiritual leaders have times when they feel frustrated and angry and at a stand-still and questions the freakin’ point of it all. A very interesting insight into Coelho’s life.
the Valkyries ⋙ I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to people who think that Paulo Coelho is “a little bit out there” as it is. I mean, the book is about a journey through the Mojave desert that Coelho and his wife undertook to try to meet his guardian angel – in the most literal sense. It contains lots of accounts of magic, rituals and angels; that kinda thing. But for me who – let’s face it – is “a little bit out there” myself, it was a wonderful read! It’s a fascinating story, and like ‘Aleph’, it focuses on the human being behind the spiritual, untouchable wise author/”magus” version of Coeolho.
the Pilgrimage ⋙ A must-read, plain and simple. The story of Coelho’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela back in the 80s. It’s one of the first books he published, some 20 years ago. This book was especially interesting to read because my cousin, on his gap year after graduating high school, embarked on this pilgrimage by himself in March. I think he’s by far one the coolest people I know for doing that. How many 19-year-old guys do you know who went on a pilgrimage by themselves instead of boozing it up in Thailand with their friends for 3 months? He is downright awesome, and my hat’s off to him. I hope he knows that.
Manual of the Warrior of Light ⋙ what a beautiful little gem! A summary of Coelho’s teachings, it can be described as a compilation of short philosophical passages. A heart-warming read!
“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”
“Warriors of light are not perfect.Their beauty lies in accepting this fact and still desiring to grow and to learn.”
“The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”
“To travel is the experience of ceasing to be the person you are trying to be, and becoming the person you really are.”
Have you read any fiction books this year that brought some new ideas; that you found original and exciting?