I am lucky enough to have spent a week with my sister in Virginia recently! I tagged along for my husband’s business trip, rented a car, and drove out to her dorm (more like an apartment) every day while he was a work. We spent time going to the mall, visiting puppies at the pet store, watching Married at First Sight, and eating Chick- fil- A. My sister also walked me around her beautiful tree lined campus, showing me her classrooms, as well as the on campus coffee shop, Cafe Moka. That’s where I spent part of my time when she was in class. The PB Moka Frozen Latte was amazing! Plus, the college kids did not snark at my complicated soy and decaf order…that time. Luckily my sister had a few classes canceled that week- so we got to spend even more time together. Sister time is the best. It was also fun to travel with my husband. I love taking adventures with him. I’m so glad I got down to Virginia Beach before the baby is born!
Although seeing my sister was the best part of the trip, I also enjoyed a freshly made hotel bed and a tidied room every day- as well as a yummy (and expensive ) room service breakfast. It was nice not to cook or clean for a week. I’d say that I spent most of the time that I was in my hotel room reading until my husband would roll over and mumble, “Turn off the lights. Go to sleep!” Between the plane, the hotel room, and the coffee shop, I read more than I have in a very long time. It was so, so nice. I also got lucky with my book choices, so now I am here to review them for you! It just so happens that they have all been made into movies that have been or will be released soon. I cannot speak for the movies, although I have heard good things- but I do recommend these books.
Here’s What I Read:
Room, By Emma Donoghue
This book is told from the perspective of 5 year old Jack. He chronicles his and Ma’s days spent in Room, which to Jack, is the whole world. They spend their days playing, reading, exercising, and once a day, they climb onto the table and scream up at the sky light- the only window that exists in Room. The reader quickly comes to the sinister conclusion that Ma is actually a young woman being held captive by a man Jack calls Old Nick, and Jack is the child who was born to her in captivity. Although the premise is horrifying, the story is riveting and is ultimately one of survival, and the love that connects a mother and her child. I could not put this book down. I do not want to say more and give anything away!
Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
Eilis is a young woman living a fairly contended, if predictable life in Ireland with her mother and an older sister Rose, whom she adores. She goes to dances with girlfriends, and works a job below her education level to help support her family. Rose and her friend, Father Flood, a priest visiting from America arrange to send Eilis to America, where they believe more opportunities for her to succeed await. Eilis goes along with this plan, although it is very clear that she was never asked if she wanted to leave home. At first, Eilis is crippled by homesickness and has trouble making friends. However, once she starts taking night classes to move up at work and falls in love with a young Italian man, Eilis’ confidence begins to grow. When circumstances bring her back to Ireland, she faces the decision about where her heart and her home actually lie. Eilis is a frustrating heroine, continuously letting life happen to her, instead of taking a more active role. It is a constant struggle for her to take charge, although there are times when she does manage to stand up for what she wants. By the end of the story, it does feel as if Eilis is painted into a corner, although she does face the choices that she has made, leaving the reader just as torn as she is. It is a beautiful story with an imperfect heroine. Perhaps that is what makes Eilis so relatable.
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
So, I actually read the sequel to this book on my trip- but I am not going to tell you anything about it because I loved this book so much more and don’t want to give anything away! This book tells the story of Louisa Clark, a young woman killing time in her small town because she is afraid to ask for more out of life, and because she believes she doesn’t deserve more. When she finds herself suddenly unemployed, Louisa takes a job caring for a quadriplegic man named Will Traynor. Although Louisa is intimidated by his sarcasm and haughty attitude, the two eventually forge a strong bond, and Louisa realizes there is more to Will, and her job than she initially thought. They both manage to change one another’s lives, and Will helps Louisa to come to terms with an abusive past, and let go of old demons so that she can begin living again.
So there you have it- three book recommendations! Have you read any of these or seen the movies yet? If you are a real life friend or family member and would like to borrow one of these books- I am happy to share! However, you must promise to sit down and discuss it with me over good coffee and maybe this bread. I made it this morning and it is quite delicious:)