Vacation reading

I love reading book reviews on blogs. That's how I've discovered Jodi Picoult over at "My Life in a nutshell". "Plain truth" was the first book I read from her.....good reading but not exactly blowing myself away either. Last summer I was blown away by her "My sister's keeper". So from now on I keep an eye on the shelf "PI" at the library to check out her other books ;). But in London I had actually bought "Change of heart"

I must say that I was a bit annoyed by the incredible "miracles" that seem to happen that forced me to be either a believer or non-believer as well, as the other people in the book. Why didn't Jodi simply write another emotional roller-coaster full of personal dilemma's, ethics and legal problems? Why this annoying layer in the otherwise such brilliantly developped plot.

But she won me over. After a while it didn't matter anymore: what mattered was the convict's life or death, the sick girls life or death, their family's and friend's emotions. At the end I was glad to be wearing dark sunglasses near the pool as I had some teary eyes.
Yep Jodi did it again....she caught me in the plot and dragged me on onto the end.

1,5 year ago I had read the Kite Runner from Khaled Hosseini and I was captivated by the horror , sadness and hope of the events. I remember being disgusted by the torture, having the tendency to turn my head away as if I didn't want to know what would follow because I feared the worst...yet a minute later I was picking it up again because I was hooked and had to read on.

At such moments I always have to think of "Friends". Do you know the episode where Joey is reading a book that is so scary he needs to put it into the freezer? And then he's reading Rachel's book "Little Women" and has to put it in the freezer too when Beth's going to die.
Sometimes books are too good, plots are too thrilling, the stories are such a captivating rollercoaster that I feel needing a break and putting the book in the freezer. That's because I need a small break but equally because I don't want it to be over yet. I want to hold on to it a bit longer just as well. Just before the last 10 pages of the book, I'll go for a swim, empty the dishwasher, ...but I end up reading even before starting or finishing that other activity. hahaha.

Anyway, "A thousand splendid suns" by Khaled Hosseini is such a book too. I was a big confused as the backside promised me a story about 2 woman and chapter after chapter it was only dealing with one woman Miriam. A fine story, but I don't like promises that are not being kept so I did feel a bit restless until Laila was introduced as well....and then I was waiting until their roads would cross. And then they did and it was time to put the book in the freezer and out again and in again and out again and ....

Since I read Luisa's post this week, I realise why this is such a splendid bood: she explains that good books appeal to both intellect and emotions. Oh boy this book does both for sure.
The fate of Miriam and Laila is so cruel, their friendship so beautiful, .... You can only love them and pray for their lives and their happiness in this world ruled by violence and death. While following there lives you can't help wondering as well how the western world has screwed up the politics in the area, what the news broadcasts we still get from the area in reality could mean for people like Miriam and Laila living in the area, ... Even though this story is fiction, it might not be. There were/are Miriams and Laila's in Afghanistan and that makes this book so choking.
Everything is also written so visually that you see it all happening in front of your face

"When nana saw the bowl, her face flushed red and her upper lip shivered and her eyes, both the lazy one and the good, settled on Miriam in a flat , unblinking way."

Whaa both the lazy one and the good......such a sentence on the first page already. A must read book!

(by the way, I own both books in English so you can borrow my copy if you live nearby )


I have great difficulties with emotionally-wrenching books. C loved The Kite Runner, but I've still been overwhelmed at the thought of reading it.
anno said…
Mmmm.... that first sentence does sound awfully compelling. I've been thinking about picking this one up; this post might be just the nudge I needed.
Luisa Perkins said…
I have A Thousand Splendid Suns--I just need to read it now!
Snooker said…
The Kite Runner and Thousand Splendid Suns are both absolutely excellent books, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Your thoughts about the freezer syndrome of a book are quite interesting. I'm a little different. When I find a book very involving and excellently written I will find myself reading even faster, changing my lifestyle so that I have even more time to read the book. I find myself reading until the wee hours of the morning on a work day just so that I can get it all "IN" me.

My freezer syndrome is AFTER the book. Normally I finish one book and pick the next up quite quickly. But occasionally I find that after an especially excellent book I need a break from reading. It is probably half that I just want to assimilate what I've read and half that I need a break from the intensity of what was a fantastic book.

After such a "freeze" I sometimes even just go right back to the book and read it once more to catch all the lovely nuances.

Both of the above-mentioned books are of this variety. After The Kite Runner I had a two week hiatus from reading... a LONG time in my world. It was so delicious I just HAD to THINK about it.
Goofball said…
@snooker: oh my freezer syndrome doesn't contradict with the fact that I seem to find amazingly a lot of reading time when I read a good book. Reading in bath, reading during lunchtime at work behind my desk instead of going to the cantine, reading on the toilet, .... Yet I keep interrupting myself for a couple of minutes as well, but I never last long. It's like the story is too strong, I need some digestion time or I feel guilty for not doing other chores. But then I get pulled in by the book again and I pick it up again.

And yes, the non-reading time after a good book is familiar to me too! Didn't read anything for the last 2 weeks , but now I'm reading again :)
Lesley said…
I think Jodi Picoult is my all-time fave author! Jenn turned me onto her with Plain Truth which was okay but just like you My Sister's Keeper was what keeps me going back for more. I just finished re-reading Change of Heart. That book definitely evokes a lot of emotions.
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns and thought it was great! I have yet to read The Kite Runner but it's on my summer reading list.
Did you see the movie for My Sister's Keeper?

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