I decided long time ago not to deny myself the simplest pleasures of life and currently great books and hot coffee are the two primary of them.
I also realised that I have this habit of reading the last page twice. As if I was desperately trying to prolong the experience of reading the particular book and to make sure I did not miss anything. I love the feeling of longing that some books leave you with. You share character’s joy and grief, you picture shapes and colours in your head, you care so much whether it is a happy ending or not, you compare yourself with the described struggles and victories.
Books make life richer. Literature has the stunning power of touching our souls and moving our minds. It has the magical power of distraction, empathy and sensibility. It contains words and sentences that we remember. It gives us the feeling that we know somebody well. It help us to get to know ourselves better. Here my favourites from the last month:
- Haruki Murakami – After the quake:
I absolutely love Murakami. There are many books written by him I could put on this list but just take my hint: all his pieces are worth reading. After the quake is not very famous but it is a fantastic collection of short stories – perfect size for one cold evening each. Murakami has the stunning ability to create an extreme intimacy between readers and his characters. Lots of the people he writes about are so average, so grey, so bored and so uninteresting at the first glance and still there is so much to say about each of them. My favourite quote from this book:
“I want to write about people who dream and wait for the night to end, who long for the light so they can hold the ones they love.”
2. William Boyd – Sweet caress
It is a stunning and intense biography of Amory Clay, one of the very few female photographers during the World War II. It’s always great and inspirational to read about brave, smart and fearless woman. There was so much hunger in her. She didn’t want to bury it, as lots of female artists at that time did. She lived boldly, pushed herself, did not settle. It is a story of a life well lived. Favourite quote:
“Yes, my life has been very complicated but, I realise, it’s the complications that have engaged me and made me feel alive.”
3. Anthony Doerr – All the light we cannot see
It is a beautiful story about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. It gave me so much goosebumps, being in Germany and reading about the youth living here in the Nazi time, about the reality for people like me back then. One quote to take:
“When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”
4. Gail Forman – If I stay
It is an extremely moving book that you read without taking one deep breath till the very last page. It is about how complex human relationships are, how much love can transform our lives and how difficult it is to keep fighting. I had the luxury of reading this book in the middle of Italian mountains and it has given me lots to think about.
“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”
World is such a complex place to be but still so impossibly beautiful. We, imperfect people, trying to make our way through the everyday chaos, longing for something warm and safe, looking for a place to call home. We come and go, try to leave a mark, try to do something significant. We keep writing our stories and struggle to keep going forward. With all these thoughts after reading I can still feel that the air is streaming with possibility and that there are far better things ahead of us than any of those we leave behind.