As July comes to a close, (the summer is flying by!), here are my thoughts on some recent reads.
The Lowland: This book by Pulitzer winner Jumpa Lahiri was a compelling one. The story is about two brothers, who come of age in India and end up living very different lives. During the 1960s, Udayan the younger brother becomes involved in the Naxilite political movement and Subhash who chooses to emigrate to the U.S. to study. Udayan’s involvement in the Naxilite movement puts his wife and parents at risk and they are forced to deal with the consequences of his actions. I enjoyed Lahiri’s descriptive style of writing in her previous book, The Namesake and I liked the Lowland as well. The Lowland gave me a bit of background on a political movement in India I was unfamiliar with. The characters were sufficiently complex and the way the story unfolded helped the reader to understand the main characters better. The universal themes that the book touched on like familial and sibling tension, tragic deaths of family members, and parental expectations made for a story many people can probably relate to. If you are looking for something to balance out a lighter, beach-friendly read, you may want to add The Lowland to your reading list.
Every Day is for the Thief: This novel by Nigerian American writer, Teju Cole follows an unnamed protagonist on his journey home to Nigeria after being away for 15 years. It compares and contrasts the differences in the culture of his homeland since he left and his thoughts on whether these changes are good or bad. He also seems to battle with his decision to emigrate to the US and wonder what life is like for those who never left. There are photographs dispersed through out the book to punctuate the actions that took place in each chapter. I enjoyed this book for its honesty and brevity. With some books, I feel that the authors don’t know when to stop the story and keep going long after the story should have stopped, but I didn’t get that feeling with this book. It’s a quick but thought provoking read.
The Signature of All Things: As a memoir lover, I read (and enjoyed) the book that made Elizabeth Gilbert a house-hold name: Eat, Pray Love. I had never read any of her fiction, so I was interested in seeing if I enjoyed her latest novel as much as I enjoyed her autobiographical writing. This book was interesting, but I can’t say it quite reached my expectations. That being said, if you like sweeping stories and fascinating details about past eras, this book is worth the read. The book which takes place across England, Philadelphia, Tahiti, and Holland starts off in the 1800s. The story revolves around the unique life of Alma Whitaker, who was a botanist during a time when women (and African Americans among others) had limited or no freedom at all over their own lives. It was also interesting to read about The Whitaker home and its grounds, which almost functioned as a character in the story because of the attention to detail it was given.
NOW READING: I was in need of a lighter read after these last few books, so I’m now reading Delicious.
What have you read lately?