There are few things on earth created by Man that I love more than books (except chocolate). So it probably comes as no surprise that one of my objectives for 2013 was to read more books. Before I was married I read at least one book a week. I was not very picky. I would go to the public library and choose four books, which I then proceeded to devour with my eyes. So, back then, reading a trashy book was not such a big deal. But now that I have limited time, I try to be more discerning. I only read books that interest me; books which will leave some mark on me or books which will give me some type of enjoyment. These are the books I read last year:
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I thought I would enjoy this book a lot more but certain parts were too slow, especially the “Pray” part. I thought Elizabeth would never leave India and get on with it. With all the rave reviews that this book received, I expected more from it. It’s not a bad book but, dare I say that I found it rather flat and boring? I do not think I would recommend it to anyone. Perhaps the movie was better. I haven’t seen it yet.
Slash by Slash with Anthony Bozza
I enjoyed this candid auto-biography of a man who was always a bit of a mystery. From his childhood, to his battle with alcohol and drugs, to his tempestuous relationship with Guns N’ Roses front-man Axl Rose, Slash takes us into the glitzy world of rock ‘n roll. My advice: if you’re not into Guns N’ Roses and eccentric guitarists, don’t bother with it.
This book I totally recommend. It is not a story with a complicated plot, with lots of twists and turns. Instead it is a story about everyday life in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. The author paints a skillful picture of three ordinary citizens; of their strength and their frailties; of what war does to a nation and how the simple act of crossing the city for water is fraught with danger. I thought it was a beautiful, thought-provoking book.
This is the third installment in the series that started with Chocolat. Joanne Harris has a special knack of making the flawed characters of a little village in France come to life. I enjoyed it but it does not have the same magic that Chocolat did.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I had been meaning to read this book for a long time but the fact that it was about Afghanistan held me back. I guess you can call it prejudice but, for me, Afghanistan meant the Taliban and that was it. This book opened my eyes to the fact that Afghanistan used to be very different and, if only for that, I am glad I read this book. The story itself is about friendship, betray and redemption.
The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato
This is a light-hearted book and not what I would call “high literature”. Having said that, the story made for an enjoyable read and there were enough unexpected twists in the plot to pique my curiosity. At the centre of the book is Renaissance Italy and Botticelli’s famous painting ‘La Primavera’.
In my opinion, this book is a tribute to the women of Afghanistan, to those that live and suffer behind the burqa. If you have not read this book, I suggest that you should. It is an eye-opener on the harsh realities of life that, for some, still exist in 21st century. This book taught me not to take the liberties that I have for granted.
So there you have it. It’s not an impressively long list but I aim to do better this year.