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Post 14 – A book that made you cry

As ever, thanks to Blogs of a Bookaholic for creating this challenge. 🙂

Here’s a little secret that only people like my closest friends; Tavi, Ellie… and a couple of cinemas-worth of people know: I cry really easily over books, films (although to a lesser extent now), poetry and songs.

Each book’s a new friend to me and so the characters’ concerns and endings can haunt me for days, weeks or even years- on a day walk last Sunday I started to well up simply because I saw a green light at the harbour and was reminded of a quote from the Great Gatsby:

“I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

It’s not only the sad moments that make reduce me to tears. Happy endings and the promise of forever – na zawsze, kochanie – can also do the same, although those are happy tears and come far less frequently.

So yes, I’m ridiculously sentimental, to quote Fitzgerald again (I’m in a Fitzgerald mood today, apologies to all), “a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”

It is that quote that’s guided me in my choice of book today.

Letter From an Unknown Woman – Stefan Zweig

‘To you who never knew me… my child died yesterday’.

The story:
on his birthday, a famous writer receives a letter from a woman he does not know but who has loved him since she was a girl. As her life ebbs away at each stroke of her pen, he learns about a love he never believed could exist.

I read and reviewed this novella back in March 2012 and goodness, it was heart-breaking to read. Imagine loving someone for the whole of your life and knowing that they’ll never really notice you, even when you’re conversing with them. Even if you spend the night together, for them it’ll be meaningless. Even if you send them a bunch of their favourite flowers on their birthday every year, they won’t ever care to find out who they’re from.

OK, I’m welling up just thinking about this story. Time to get on with less unhappy things. 🙂

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Post 7: A Guilty Pleasure Book

As ever, thanks to Blogs of a Bookaholic for creating this challenge. 🙂

This is a tough post that I’ve been dragging my heels over! Thus far, all books I’ve ever read have fallen into two categories: those I’ve enjoyed and those I haven’t. All books that fall into the former category aren’t ones I feel guilty about reading or admitting to reading. There have however been some that I was surprised to find myself enjoying. So this post’ll be a ‘yay’ type one about a book (and genre) that blew my mind.

I feel duty-bound to point out to anyone who gets to the last paragraph that younger-me had lots of preconceived notions about the world, including chick-lit. I also feel duty-bound to point out that one of the joys of having these preconceived notions was- and still is- to have them challenged and re-evaluate them. I am a Humanities student, after all. 😉

The book in question’s called The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison.SecretShoppersRevenge

The story follows the lives of three women: single-mum-and-not-loving-it Emily, recently unemployed Sandie and Grazia, a glamorous widow who’s lived beyond her means so long that she’s almost out of cash. The three are thrown together when offered jobs as mystery shoppers for the same company.

I know it may sound a tad formulaic but this book challenged quite a few of the preconceptions I had about chick-lit. For starters its three main characters were all distinct characters with different life experiences and different outlooks on life. Each chapter’s written through the viewpoint of one of the three and Harrison really gets the different voices and perspectives on the world across. Each character has a distinct story line but the three band together and support each other over the story.

It wasn’t just the variety of supportive, intelligent female characters that won me over to the genre. Harrison also included a sub-plot that celebrated the family-oriented and creative approach of Central and Eastern Europeans which was pretty darn socially advanced at the time of publication (2008) when England as a whole was still pretty much against immigrants from that neck of the woods… not that Eastern Europeans get the best media portrayal in 2014 either, but it’s improved a little for non-Romanians and non-Bulgarians

By espousing such modern and socially-minded views, Harrison made me realise that instead of being a superficial and capitalist genre that epitomised everything I disliked about literature aimed at women (such as ‘women’s’ magazines that always tell us that we can look better and lose more weight and that it is these things that should give us our sense of self and self-worth), chick-lit is something that can be read with pride and joy.

 

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Avengers Assemble!

I’ve been staring at the blinking cursor for over ten minutes, trying to think of what to write about.

Ten minutes considering which of the myriad of texts I’ve read since the last time I blogged I should review. I’m stumped. After months of not really writing anything, I think I’ve forgotten how to go about it, but I’d still like to relax by writing about books.

Austin! I’ve lost my mojo!!

To ease myself back into the process, I’m going to take part in the 30 day book blogging challenge hosted by Blogs of a Bookaholic.

However, as you and I know just how difficult it can be to sit down and juggle writing about books with things like life (aka. actually reading books), I’m going to aim for one post every two-three days!

So expect 30 posts over the next 90 days. 😉

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in 2014 Reading Challenges

 

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