Photo courtesy of Pinterest.
Today I wanted to share with you some of the books that have been piling up on my bedside table for the past month. I recently read an article which said that if you read silently for just six minutes you will slow down your heart rate and significantly reduce your stress levels. Isn’t that worth knowing? Although, in my case, I could probably do with putting down my books and actually raising the old heart rate occasionally!
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez ~ This is what we are reading in Book Club currently. The book is set in Kabul (surprise!) and focuses on five very different women whose lives converge at a local coffee shop. I found the story very readable from the outset. I especially enjoyed the fascinating insights into daily life on the streets of Afghanistan, so often concealed behind negative news headlines. Unfortunately though, I found the characters a bit shallow and one-dimensional, especially the more peripheral characters. I wouldn’t call it ‘chick lit’ exactly but it sometimes veered dangerously close and some of the scenarios seemed a little far-fetched. There are some similarities with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns but it lacked the same depth. I think it would make a good beach read. 3/5
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett ~ This book is a complete delight. I may be an adult now but the magic of the secret garden still lures me back time and time again, just like the characters in the story. I love the redemptive power that the garden holds; the way that it draws people together and brings them back to life, giving them a sense of purpose and restoration in spite of hardship and sadness. The little girl who played Mary Lennox in the film went to the same Junior School as me and I remember one day we all toddled off to the cinema to see the movie when it was released. Now that I have finished the book I am dying to watch it again! Very deserving of 5/5.
Every Woman’s Marriage by Shannon Ethridge ~ I like to read books about marriage on quite a regular basis. As I was a fairly young bride I know I still have a lot to growing to do in this area and I find it useful to learn from those with more experience. The main appeal of this book for me was the author’s honesty and frankness. She shares many stories from her own marriage, particularly in relation to mistakes that she has made, and her husband also offers his perspectives on the same incidents, which is very helpful and interesting. I found it to be a really positive book which encourages and spurs you on towards a deeper connection with your other half. 4/5
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard ~ This is a collection of Annie Dillard’s thoughts on writing books as a profession and the particular frustrations and privileges that accompany it. I have never wanted to write a book myself so I read this purely out of interest. Dillard writes in a clever, descriptive way about the sometimes painful realities of churning out a new book and I was fascinated by some of her observations: “How fondly I recall thinking, in the old days, that to write you needed paper, pen and a lap. How appalled I was to discover that, in order to write so much as a sonnet, you need a warehouse…You lay your pages along the table’s edge and pace out the work. You walk along the rows; you weed bits, move bits, and dig out bits, bent over the rows with full hands like a gardener”. I do not think I would have the patience or self-motivation to write a book but I was very interested to understand more about what it involved. If novel writing is something that you are considering then this would be an excellent and eye-opening read. 4/5
I love chatting with friends about what they are reading at the moment and scribbling down any burning recommendations they might have. With the summer holidays on the horizon my thoughts are already turning to which books will be squeezing their way into my suitcase. Have you read anything wonderful recently? I would love to have some new recommendations!