After a short pause became a slightly longer pause, I’m back and ready to carry on with the next instalment of The Reading List. The blogging paused but the reading didn’t, and I have enough to write about for weeks!
The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick
Pat Peoples is trying to get his life back on track after leaving a psychiatric hospital, and amongst his aims is reconciliation with his wife Nikki. He has left hospital with the new purpose of being nice to everyone, and always hunting for the silver lining. When he befriends Tiffany, certain plans he thought he had set in stone start to become unstuck.
I saw the film before reading the book, and the film is amazing, but the book just has the edge for me. It was heart-warming, funny, sad, moving… It’s about believable human relationships and also about Pat’s relationship with himself. It’s perfectly written and one I would pick up again.
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Fanny Price is patient and watchful, and this simply follows her growing up amongst family relationships, society pressures, and the expectations of marriage.
It feels like one of those books you ‘should’ read, especially having studied an English Literature degree, but all I really have to say is it’s exactly what I expected. I did quite like the heroine, although many find her patience annoying… but overall I found the book nice, and not ‘wow’.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
Mariam, aged 15, is sent to marry 45 year-old Rasheed in Kabel. Two decades later, 15 year-old Laila joins Mariam’s unhappy home. The bond between the two women grows, and offers protection to them both.
Under the shadow of Taliban rule, this book contains starvation, brutality and fear, but love triumphs. It is absolutely stunning, and brought tears to my eyes multiple times. The characters are so fully-formed, and the story is amazing. There is an exquisite simplicity to the way the story is told, and nothing is overdone, which can be a hard thing to achieve. Through its simplicity, the horror of the situation comes through in such an authentic way, and the result is beautiful. I won’t be forgetting this one any time soon.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Through the eyes of Scout and Jem, the novel follows their father, a lawyer, as he defends a mockingbird – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Set in the Deep South in the 1930s, this novel is steeped with prejudice, hypocrisy, race and class.
Again, it is the simplicity of certain elements of this book that make it most hard-hitting. I don’t often return to books, as there are so many to be read, but I’m glad something made me come back to this classic.
So there we have it, as random a mix as ever! The next instalment will be on the way soon…
What have you been reading recently?