Take it Easy.

This morning, I pulled myself up with the morning sun to shuffle my bones through an early run.

I went out, knowing that I was going to take it easy.  Taking it easy turned out to be one of the kindest things I’ve allowed myself over the past couple years. Continue reading

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Recent Reads: Everything Everything

Everything Everything

Nicola Yoon

Fiction | Young Adult

Cover_EverythingEverything

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 


 

So, remember when you read The Fault In Our Stars in a single sitting, huddled under your blanket, completely unaware that the rest of the world was passing by, and completely unashamed that you were hanging on to every word of a teenage love story?  No?  Just me?

Fine.

But if you are in search for such a read, this one’s it.  I shirked all of my domestic responsibilities for a day as I (accidentally) read Everything Everything in a single sitting.

Yoon’s writing style puts you right in the scene with all its electric, teenage-romance glory: it was the literary equivalent to sitting next to your first crush on your parents’ couch, each of your hands resting on the space in between you, and all your nerves firing as you painstakingly shift your hand in the hopes it will eventually brush against his.   Talk about angst.

Of course, it has its downfalls: the story line is not at all original (I’m looking at you, Fault In Our Stars), and the one truly interesting plot twist is left completely unexamined.  I’d love to chalk it up to the Young Adult genre, but I’ve read other YA novels with more complexity and depth.

But, is it worth the read?  Yep!

Recommended as a guilty-pleasure and great beach-read, for those looking to get fully engrossed in a teenage love story, or who just need to turn their brain off for a couple hours.

Not recommended for: those looking for a complicated and original piece of literature.

Recent Reads: Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer

Fiction

everything is illuminated

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

By turns comic and tragic, but always passionate, wildly inventive, and touched with an indelible humanity, this debut novel is a powerful, deeply felt story of searching: for the past, family, and truth.

Recent Reads: Strength In What Remains

 Strength in What Remains

Tracy Kidder

Non-Fiction | Biography

strength in what remains

A young man arrives in the big city with two hundred dollars in his pocket, no English at all, and memories of horror so fresh that he sometimes confuses past and present.  When Deo first told me about his beginning in New York, I had a simple thought: “I would not have survived.”  And then, two years later, he enrolls in an Ivy League university.  How did this happen?  Where did he find the strength, and how had he won the beneficence of strangers?  How had it felt to be him?

 

A friend lent this book to me, and I could absolutely see why she loved it.  She’s one of my college friends, who went on to become a lawyer, defending immigrant youth on the brink of deportation.  She’s insanely intelligent and hard-working, possesses a level of integrity that few achieve, and fights tooth and nail for social justice.  So it’s evident why Deo’s refugee story of him escaping genocide and successfully rebuilding his life in the US would strike a cord with my friend.  His story is her life’s work.

I wanted to love this book, but I had a hard time connecting with it.  Kidder’s style was journalistic, so lacked some of the more emotional writing that I’m drawn to.  I wanted to know more about Deo’s thoughts and feelings, rather than just the facts of his refugee experience.

That said, Deo’s story, in and of itself, is both horrific and inspiring.  “Strength In What Remains” gave a voice to those who suffered through the genocides in Rwanda and Burundi, and gave light to the struggles refugees face to only survive.  And the book itself did get some great reviews from those that are actually qualified to give their literary opinions.  The writing style just wasn’t for me.

Worth a read?  Sure.  Recommended for those that like a journalistic writing style, are looking for a cerebral read, like to find inspiration in others’ success, or want to know more about the Rwandan/Burundian genocides.