The Goldfinch, Shoe Dog, The Girls, All the Light We Cannot See, When Breath Becomes Air

I’m constantly in pursuit of my next good read. I poke and prod those around me, prying into what they’re reading, and I scour the New York Times and Washington Post ‘Best Books’ lists. My thought process for this post is – what better way to get what you want than by giving it? So I give, to whoever seeks, a series dedicated to the books I bury myself in.

The satisfaction of creasing the spine of a new book, the words just waiting there on the pages, waiting for me to read them, as if they’re written just for me. The characters waiting for me to breathe life into them. Waiting for me to assemble their faces and devour their lives, their wishes and woes, their triumphs and tragedies.

Disappearing into these constructed worlds is such a big part of my world – and I know I’m not alone in this.

Here are a some of my recent reads:


The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

I hauled this heavy one with me to La Romana and it doubled as an umbrella, sheltering me from the sweltering sun. It was also a mesmerizing work of literary fiction, creating scenes with such delicacy and detail. The book follows the life of sweet and ruined Theodore Decker, beginning with the tragic and brutal loss of his mother. Without his mother, Theo loses his compass, both in direction and morality. We accompany him throughout his heartache and turmoil.

Theo’s story makes us wonder if life is simply dealing with the cards we’re dealt  or if we’re the dealer ourselves. Does our fate define us or does our entrenched character?

img_6521Shoe Dog
Phil Knight

This is one of Mike’s reads, pulled from our slouching bookshelf. It’s the quite interesting story of Nike – and its rise and fall and rise and fall (etc.). It’s an enjoyable read although I must say it’s hard to reconcile the voice of Phil Knight with the marketing magnate that is Nike today. It just goes to show how one man’s vision can be fostered into something extraordinary. It’s a good story of dedication in the face of defeat, of camaraderie, and of the painful and exciting pursuit of making your mark on the world.

img_6562The Girls
Emma Cline

I read The Girls this summer in all of three days. From the very first page, it pulls you into Evie Boyd’s twisted, tantalizing life, and it doesn’t release you until the last. On a sunny Sunday, I posted up on our balcony with a glass of wine and didn’t move a muscle until the setting sun had me straining to read the words on the pages, too spellbound to move inside.

This book will leave you breathless, really – I caught myself holding my breath as Evie’s struggles only entangled her more deeply, more dangerously.

Cline paints a chilling portrait of the loneliness and desperation of young girls – and of their struggle for release from its grasp as they become women.

img_6590All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

I loved this book, the brunt of which it now bears – the corners of the paperback curled and frayed. We follow Marie-Laure from Nazi occupied Paris to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where she lives an isolated life, desperately seeking to make a connection to the outside world. At the same time, we’re introduced to Werner, an orphan living in a small town in Germany – his yearning for escape only trapping him in a much more terrible place.

Anthony Doerr creates something uplifting and riveting in the characters’ hollows of despair. This book is a beautiful wartime tale of selfless love, endless fear and the collision of lives in a treacherous time.


When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi

This is a book that, in putting it down, you will never close. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Paul Kalanithi has given us something truly great, truly monumental – he shares with us the story of his extraordinary life and his beautiful mind and words.

As Paul writes to us of his search for meaning, his exploration of the paradoxes of being human, and of his grappling with time, it is immediately evident that this man was called up into the life that he lived, pulled down the path of his profession by a strong moral force. It also becomes evident that, in holding this book, we have been given something  with the power to transform the colours of the lives we’ve created for ourselves.

Paul’s memoir is deeply moving and intimate, his writing lyrical. There’s a bare truth in his words – a rare vulnerability.

In our relentlessly future-oriented lives, we live only for what’s ahead, pushing ourselves towards a greater tomorrow. But what if our tomorrow slips through our fingers? Without anything left to hold before us, how do we live? What do we live for?

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