May 14, 2014

Recently Read

1Q84, by Haruki Marakami.  This is a fascinating book, and it kept me engaged, but at the end I wasn't satisfied.  It is extremely long, and the payoff just wasn't there for me.   It is thoughtful, and the images are painted masterfully, and again, I actually did enjoy reading it, if only to attempt to understand the point behind creating such an intricate and complex world.  At the end, though, I didn't feel like I was walking away with any newfound knowledge or understanding - I was mostly glad it was over.

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell.  Wonderful book.  My sister had been telling me to read this for a while, and she finally just brought it to me!  It's a love story about two teenagers, with the same target audience as The Fault in Our Stars.  The story takes place in Omaha.  Eleanor is the new girl in school.  She's a chubby, poor, awkward redhead, with an unhappy home life (putting it mildly).  Park is half-Korean, quiet, likes comic books and alternative (good) music and feels different from everyone else, especially his father.  They connect.  And the ending will make you cry and feel happy at the same time.

You Are Not Special: ... And Other Encouragements, by David McCullough, Jr.  Remember that commencement speech I linked to a couple years ago?  No?  Well, if you don't, here it is again.  Link through for the full transcript or check out the video on YouTube - it's worth reading or watching.  His speech was aimed at his graduating students at Wellesley High School, here in Massachusetts.  Wellesley is an affluent town, and the students are therefore raised with the knowledge that they are privileged.  Expectations are high.  Ivy league colleges are often the goal.  His statement - "you are not special" - was meant to alleviate some of that pressure.  He expanded on the themes of his speech in this book.  It's a very valuable message, and I definitely agree.  He conveys his thoughts on achievement, parental involvement, club and travel sports, gender/race/class divides...  At times he goes on tangents, but there are many passages that resonated with me, especially those around "learning for learning's sake" as opposed to getting the grade.  I'd definitely recommend this book.

1 comment:

  1. I have been itching to get to the library, but over vacation I read The Alchemist, and I just don't know how anything will ever compare.


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