2014 will be remembered as my personal Annus Horribilis when it comes to reading. I have not read as much as I had set out to do and also I read a lot of disappointing ones. I have been on a luckier streak lately and I hope this will continue in the new year.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
'The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life - or at least shoved up so hard against someone else's life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window - is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.'
This book is not the kind I would normally pick by myself but the story of Will and Louisa is truly beautiful. A former top lawyer-CEO brilliant, adventurous sees his life dashed by an accident meets young lackluster caretaker that has never left the limits of her town. I was worried it would be a bit too sappy but I have come truly attached to both characters as they develop an unlikely friendship. I couldn't put it down
Yellow Crocus by Leila Ibrahim.
"Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk in her breasts"
As a mother this book was just heart breaking. A mother taken away from her child to serve as a wet nurse for her master's newborn daughter. An intense relationship forms between Mattie and Elizabeth that will transform both their lives. It is a beautiful story of love and redemption in the antebellum south.
The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills>
"She reminded me of expatriates I spent time with in England and Spain, in Mexico and Paraguay. They navigate two places very well: the country where they were raised and the one in which they live. They may not be fully understood on either one and that's fine by them. There's some privacy in that, even a bit of mystery, an unknowable quality, that follows them back and forth."
I keep going back and forth on this one. Harper Lee is one of my favorite authors and I have always wondered why she never wrote anything after To Kill a Mockingbird. Marja Mills was able to develop a friendship and become a neighbor to both Harper Lee and her sister Alice. Her book is a series of anecdotes on the sisters lives. Two things bothered me. First the book was published long after the passing of both sisters and I can't help but wonder why and there are also allusions to the facts the Harper Lee was lesbian which knowing her secretive nature I doubt she would have given permission to even mention it. The other is that I find that the book lacks structure, it's chronological but I was left with the feeling of having read a People Magazine special report rather than an insightful book about a very talented woman.