Before quarantine started, I stocked up on books the way others were stocking up on toilet paper. I borrowed from friends, visited the local second hand shop… and even when everything was closed and seeing friends wasn’t allowed, here in Munich people would leave their old books at their doorstep and well… I took a couple.
It made sense in my head. Lockdown is coming, there will be nothing to do, I will need all the books to keep me company. And yet, somehow my reading habit took a hard hit. I’m a creature of habit, and I had gotten used to my 45 minute commute to and from work being the dedicated reading time. But of course with working from home there was no commuting, and during my free time I felt I needed stronger distractions to keep my head away from the horrible things I had seen on the news that day.
But I did manage to squeeze a couple of books here and there. Mostly from my makeshift balcony (aka my windowsill) while looking over at the empty streets and listening to the birds.
Where the Crawdads Sing
I am aware this book has been on everybody’s lips for a while now, but I simply couldn’t leave it out because it has by far been my favourite book I have read all year. I will recommend it to you, your friends, your family members and your pets. It could be because I read it in Mexico under an umbrella next to the sea, but I am convinced that’s not the only reason why.
Where the Crawdads Sing is escapism at its finest. It depicts the marsh and the animals that inhabit it so vividly I wasn’t sure if I was really in Mexico or in North Carolina instead. And somehow, by the lovely way the marsh was described, I wouldn’t have minded trading. It tells the story of a little girl who is abandoned by her family and how she grows up in the middle of the marsh, teaching herself abut the animals and plants that surround her, and confronting huge amounts of prejudice from the people in the neighbouring town.
I had me hooked from page 1, not necessarily because the story was thrilling (yet), but because of the beautiful way it was written, and because of the deep connection I felt with the main character.
I know, I know, two 5 stars in a row… am I crazy? Ninth House didn’t touch me as deeply as Where the Crawdads Sing did, but it did really entertain me. I finished it in under a week, because this is one of those books that you just CANNOT PUT DOWN.
If, like me, when you were younger you were an avid consumer of anything fantasy, I think you will really enjoy this read. In my adult years (look at me mum, I am all grown up now) I have longed to find books that made me feel like reading Harry Potter or The Hunger Games did, and I have usually been disappointed by their rushed and superficial narrative that was simply too young for me. Ninth House, however, feels more adult.
It tells the story of Alex, a Yale freshman, and the hidden lives of Yale’s secret societies. Reality blurs with fantasy and you find yourself wondering how much of what you are reading could actually be true.
Today will be Different
This was a perfect book for the beginning of lockdown. Author of Where’d you go Bernadette , Maria Temple always manages to make me laugh. With a more-than-relatable main character, the book was an easy, pleasant read, that reminded me I am not the only one wishing I could be just a bit better: thinking that if only today I did the dishes before dinner, wore SPF, smiled to strangers, ate healthier… then Today would be different.
Such a fun Age
A book that is also on everyone’s lips, especially since the BLM movement, and one that I also really enjoyed. This book deal with two topics I have no experience with: Motherhood and race: It tells the story of an inter-racial relationship between a rich and privileged suburban Mum and her babysitter, and it somehow made me connect with every character, depending who it was narrating it I could see the point of view of each one of them and found myself thinking “yeah, that makes sense”.
It made me think a lot about a subject that had seemed scary and unapproachable in the past, while keeping me wanting to turn to the next page every step of the way.
Shadow and Bone
Having loved Ninth House as much as I did, I thought to give another book by Leigh Bardugo a try. I was especially excited about this one, thinking that as it is the first one of a trilogy, if I loved it I would have reading material for a while… but honestly I didn’t love it. It wasn’t bad, it kept me hooked enough to want to finish it, but I am not sure if enough to read #2 and 3. It was a bit too young and innocent, things happened too fast, love stories were obvious from the second paragraph… it didn’t surprise me once.
The story takes place in the imaginary world of Ravka, which seems to be stuck in the middle ages, where there are kings and queens, monsters and wizards (Grishas)… hello every fantasy book ever? I do apologize if I am sounding too harsh, I did enjoy it enough to give it three stars, just not enough to truly recommend it.
Right now I am a bit stuck with my reading… I am in the middle of a book I am not really enjoying and I am not excited enough about anything in my TBR shelve to put it down and start something else… So I keep reading the same thing veeeery sloooowly. Maybe I need to go book shopping. Please do leave your recommendations in the comments!