observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

ones that make me think

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles William Eliot

Most often I’m sitting in bed or in the chair bedside my bed reading. It seems I’m so busy during the day that bedtime is the quietest and most conducive to reading. I’ve tried reading while my husband watches TV but all the noise and distraction interferes with really getting into the novel.

books, www.dianeschuller.com

books waiting to be savoured (419 is for book club)

As promised, I’m finally sharing a few thoughts about a couple of the books I’ve read recently. Sharing my thoughts on what I’ve read definitely does not constitute a review, though I do recommend many of the books I’ve read. Both of the books I’ve read recently would fall into the category of “recommended reading”.

Room: A Novelby Emma Donoghue was a selection by one of the members in my book club. It definitely did not disappoint. Room is written entirely in the voice of the 5 year old protagonist who was born in and held captive with his mother, living in nothing more than a room.  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to deal with reading an entire novel from the voice and perspective of a five year old boy but, after only a few pages, I quickly got over that. We all know of so many different cases that have come to light in recent years about girls held captive for years and, in a few cases, the young women have given birth during their captivity. Surprisingly, Donoghue’s book was conceived and published before the first cases were discovered. What I will say about this novel is that it really made me think much more earnestly about what life must be like in that circumstance. Because of how well Donoghue wrote this novel to portray the methods Jack’s mother employed to survive in such conditions, was commendable and made it all very believable. Something else this book did was cause me to give deeper consideration to just how difficult life must be for those who are eventually discovered and freed. Freedom always comes at a price. Donoghue awakens the reader to that reality. Lots of interesting discussion in book club over this one.

The other book I recommend will come as no surprise if you’ve read some of my other recommendations. Ever since reading her first novel, I have become a fan of Lisa Genova. In my view everyone who reads should read her first novel — everyone. Still Alice is utterly amazing and I recommend you read the novel synopsis and people’s reviews if you’re interested in checking it out — I highly recommend that one. That is one in-depth and powerful novel about a person with Alzheimers. Okay, so I got side-tracked talking about her first novel (her second one is also very good). In Love Anthony Genova writes another unique novel but this one involves autism. She not only helps the reader get into the head of a child with autism but through adept storytelling she helps us see how parents and others are affected when a family lives with a child who has autism. I dare you to read the final chapter without shedding a tear (tear of hope, I might add). Genova’s degrees in biopsychology and PhD in neuroscience truly influences her writing. This is why she has such a great understanding about the human brain. Although her first novel is by far my favourite of hers, each of these other two are truly worthy novels.

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” ~Harper Lee

What book have you read recently that you wish others would read? Do you keep a reading journal? I do and yes, I record every book I read including my comments. Nerdy isn’t it?

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Gabriele - October 10, 2013 - 7:28 pm

I will accept your recommendation of Still Alice and the newer book by this author. Thank-you. I am reading “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is not like her memoir. A novel, it tells a story about a young woman who is a botanist and who truly is alive to all living things. I love it, so far.

Susan - October 11, 2013 - 10:44 am

I’m currently reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by British writer Mark Haddon. It is told from the perspective of a teenager who’s disabilities place him somewhere on the autism spectrum. Mr Haddon has worked with autistic children and I find his characterization rings true. I’d like to read Love Anthony for comparison. I highly recommend Mr Haddon’s book. I see you have Will Ferguson’s 419 in your pile. This is on my reading list.

Sherry at Still and All - October 11, 2013 - 9:40 pm

I’m reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog right now and loving it. I read Still Alice and I’m with you 100%. Wish more people would read it and become aware of an issue that is going to become almost epidemic in future years. It’s one of the few books I would read again. I have also read the Curious Incident…like Susan…and it was a favourite. I’m curious to hear what you think about Louise Penny’s book. I’ve heard good things…I’m curious about Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, but will probably wait on that one. I have so many others in line before it…Happy Thanksgiving to you Diane.

lisa - October 13, 2013 - 9:12 am

I’m with you, Diane on reading without distraction. Just cannot do it when there is a television on or when there is lots going on around me.

I read Still Alice, and was moved to tears throughout the entire book. Both my mom and my grandparents suffered through Alzheimer’s.

Kelly @ JAX does design - October 20, 2013 - 7:29 pm

I’ve been debating reading Room for over a year. It sounds like it could be a disturbing book, and I’ve read varying reviews. But seeing as you give it a thumbs up, I think I’ll finally give it a try 🙂

One of my very favourite books is The Girl Who Came Home. And I recently read The Lighthouse Keeper, which I really enjoyed.