Week 3: Compact and Compelling

Hello and Happy Easter!

I celebrated Easter this morning with a large group of friends and neighbors on a beautiful bluff looking out over the islands, and then spent most of the afternoon reading a book in the sunshine, so life is feeling pretty wonderful right about now.

Books I finished this week

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The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively

This is a wonderful, funny, quirky and sometimes unsettling set of stories about relationships, love, family, and sometimes ghosts. I haven’t read her Booker Prize winning novel Moon Tiger, but after reading this collection, I think I am going to track it down.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

For such a short novel, this book is a masterpiece. I really really loved it! I don’t know what I was expecting from the descriptions, but the book was something different. It is written with a lyricism and brevity that is hard to describe, and while the story moves swiftly, the characters are well-developed and emotionally complex. I don’t want to say anymore because the joy of this book is in the discovery. It has been described as like the Underground Railroad, and in terms of the structure and plot I can see this comparison. However, while both books have incredible writing, the writing style of the authors is very different.

What went well

Both of these books were really compelling, and I enjoyed reading them.The other thing that was fun this week was that in the process of moving, I found some boxes of old children’s books I had forgotten I had. It was so much fun to pull them out and remember all the wonderful stories I loved as a child! I was also happy to be reminded of the strong female heroines that I was influenced by (there will be a post on this later this week!)

What didn’t go well

I am in the process of moving, so it was harder to focus on reading this week, and although I finished 2 books, they were both short and I was actually already halfway through one of them. I know for many people 2 books in a week is a lot, but personally I wish I could have read more.

Next week

I still have about 8 hours left in The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and my mom gave me a book called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Joyce is British, and after Penelope Lively, I am totally in the mood for another British story. I might also pick up Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams if I feel in the mood for some nonfiction.


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