“All the Light We Cannot See” Review

This book wasn’t what I expected. Sometimes it felt, for me, to be a little too true-to-life to be an entirely comfortable read. It was, however, a book that I couldn’t walk away from. Why couldn’t I walk away from it? It was just a book. Just words on paper, telling a story about people who don’t actually exist, a time that is being forgotten and reworked until it’s unrecognizable from what I learned in grade school, places I’ve never been and probably will never go even though I really really want to travel, and experiences I will never have.

So what did this book say to me? Why did I read it? Was it merely because the book was engaging. Telling me a story that I had never heard before in such a way that I did not want to put the book down until I had discovered every secret? Why did I like this book? Well, I was always a history geek. History was my favorite subject in school. I would read every bit of my history book and ace all my tests in this subject. Is it because this book dealt with a part of history that I’ve been fascinated by since I first heard about it? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the book is well written. The characters are real people you can see if you close your eyes and concentrate. The pacing is superb. Anthony Doerr moves back and forth through time, but it wasn’t confusing. At least for me. I read it in three or four days. I had to reach the end and find out what happened to these people. The ending did not disappoint me, although it was a surprise and not at all what I was expecting.

A definite recommend to anyone who likes historical novels about WWII or about people fighting to survive impossible lives.

Thoughts on Diverse Book Offerings

I think when people say they just want to read a good story, they’re really saying they just want to read a book by someone like themselves and they don’t think a PoC can craft a good story. I’ve read books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Khaled Hosseini. They showed me a part of life that I may (nay, most definitely will) never experience. Does that negate my own experience? I don’t think so. This world is a kaleidoscope of colors: brown, yellow, white, red, black. Ok, I know those color designations could be offensive. I don’t mean to be really. It’s a known fact that reading about someone else’s experiences creates empathy for others. A reader is more empathetic of someone than a non-reader.

So how does one read more diversely? By reading more diverse books, on purpose. This means (for me, too) seeking out those books that are different from our own experiences. Seeking out books that might make us uncomfortable. Really, it’s when we start to become uncomfortable that we stretch our imaginations to the point that we can step into someone else’s moccasins, as the saying goes, and see through another’s eyes. I want to travel the world, but I just don’t have the funds, so until the day comes when I can set out to conquer the world, books can open those doors for me right here and right now.

The Heart-Shaped Box

Ok, so I picked this book up from my library and left it lying around for two or three weeks before I finally started reading. And then I read it in less than 24 hours. Why? It started off strong and every time you thought there might be a climax and the end, it cooled down. It came on strong, tapered off before starting all over again, each time intensifying a little more. I honestly did not think that Joe Hill Joe Hillwould be able to maintain the tension, but he did. I tore through the pages with increasing speed. In fact, I was turning the pages so quickly I thought I might get a papercut, and this book does not allow you to brush off something as seemingly benign as a paercut or a splinter or a needle prick. All in all, this novel was a good beginning. The suspense and terror started early on and did not relent for a moment. Definite recommmend.

Only downside is the frequent use of prfanity. Otherwise, a very excellent book.

The Sunne in Splendour

I’ve become interested in the War of the Roses, or the Cousins’ War, whatever you wish to call it. I can trace the interest back to the announcement of the discovery of King Richard III’s remains in Leicester. I have read Philippa Gregory (Author)‘s version of these events and, while I find them fascinating, I felt they were a little lacking in the historical department. In my search for more accurate depictions of these very intriguing, confusing events, I came across Sharon Kay Penman‘s name. When I discovered The Sunne in Splendour, I jumped at the chance to read it, because I had heard such wonderful praise of both the author and the book. I can say without a doubt that this was a wonderful retelling of the War of the Roses. She was able to bring to life a very controversial man. Richard was not a man that history spoke kindly of, but Ms. Penman was able to bring a great deal of warmth and sympathy to the character. It is unfortunate that so much of this man’s life remains shrouded in mystery and controversy (thanks in large part to the Tudors and those who did half-hearted histories of the time and couldn’t be bothered with doing any more substantial digging than what the Tudors put out) but Ms. Penman was able to breathe life into the characters. Although I knew the ending and was on some level prepared for it, I was still shocked and felt the loss when Richard was killed at Bosworth field. I hope that, one day, his name can be cleared in the disappearence of his nephews, although I will not hold my breath. With the discovery of his remains in Leicester, I do hope that he will be able to rest in peace and more people will be inspired to look into his history and clear up the misconceptions that we have.

All in all, this book, though pretty large, is still a total recommend on my part.

Lionheart

This book took me a very long time to read. It wasn’t because of the length (it being only(!) 589 pages long.)The only thing I can think of that caused me to take the length of time it took me was because of the subject matter. The Sunne in Splendour took me awhile to read as well, probably for the same reason. Because of the historical nature of this novel, I was unable to lose myself in the book as I normally do.

On the other hand, I don’t think anyone could feel as though nothing happened in the book. In fact, if it weren’t based on historical events, I’d have trouble believing that it could have happened. So many events occurred that would seem to be outlandish if they weren’t based on true events. It is amazing that someone like King Richard Coeur de Lion could exist. He just seems too far for life. He is an endlessly fascinating guy, but how could he not be with Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine as parents?

2001: A Space Odyssey

** spoiler alert ** Well, after careful consideration, I have to say… the book is infinitely better than the movie. The ending of the movie is a bit confusing, but only because it is difficult to understand someone’s interior thinking without some type of narration. Books, on the other hand, well, they don’t have that problem, do they? It’s easier to understand that Bowman becomes “one with the Universe”. He returns to Earth, but not even he is sure why. I’m waiting for the next book from my library. Will it explain more? I don’t know, but Arthur C. Clarke has certainly dragged me into his unique view of the Universe.

The Start of a New Year

Once again I find myself at the start of a brand New Year with nothing new to show from the previous one. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. They never work. However, this year, I’m going to do something different. I do hereby resolve to finally finish my Thesis. By putting it out in the world, I’m kind of hoping that I can force myself to finish it. This will start my third year working on it. I have this idea that once I finish I can move on from the bookstore. As much as I dislike the bookstore, you would think that I had better motivation for finishing it.

I think I’ve been afraid to finish it. I have no idea what comes after I finish it. I have no plans for my life after. I finally have to begin my life. I’ve been stuck in limbo for about ten years. It’s comfortable and I’m content. It’s a bad place to be. I’m going to begin tomorrow, because, well, why wait till the actual New Year. I’ve wasted enough time dillydallying around with my paper. I want to finish, even though I am very afraid of starting the next chapter. I have to finally close this year and this chapter out. I need to begin my life with or without the necessary courage. Most likely, without.