“Me Before You”

I just finished “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes…. and wow. Just wow.

I loved it. It broke my heart, I knew it would, and yet, I still loved it.

It’s the kind of book that once you figure out what is going on, you have a pretty good idea of how things are going to end, but you keep reading anyway. Knowing full well that you’re only going to love the characters more with each page, only making the ending that much more difficult to handle, you plow ahead, trying to savor every sentence. (Come on, you didn’t pick up “The Fault in Our Stars” expecting miracles either, did you?)

The story centers on a young girl in a sleepy tourist town in the UK who ends up being a caregiver, for a quadriplegic who was previously a very successful (and ruthless) business man who lived a large (and indulgent) life.

What follows is a story that will make you question what it means to allow a person to make their own decisions, what it could look like to stand by someone, and love and care for them in sickness and in health. It will make you mad that so many stores, restaurants, events and entire cities are completely inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

But you should read it anyway – read it and experience the melting of Will, a hardened person who has had everything taken away from him. Read it to feel your world expand, and you, like Clark, will feel the opportunities and privileges of being in control of your own two feet unfurl in front of you.

Read it and when you finish it, lace up your running shoes, or walking shoes, or put the leash on your dog because you can. And set off in the direction of your choosing, because you can. And know that each step you choose is a blessing.

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2013 Reads

I have tried on at least two occasions to keep a “book log”, or reading journal, or really any sort of record of the books I have read in a year, but I always taper off after a few books / weeks. Since I enjoy blogging about books I have read, I think I’ll try my hand at a book log here, and I’ll update this post as I read more books. Also, it might serve as a quick way to know what books I would recommend, if you decided to ask me.

Ideally I will link the below titles to their corresponding post on the blog. Of course, this means I have to blog about all, or almost all of the books I read, but that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

So to start –

January

Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan – Recommend. 

More of a character piece than a plot piece, but those might be my favorite. I really liked the heroine, Serena, and for McEwan fans, I would say this is nowhere near as dark as Atonement.

Winter of the Worlds, Ken Follett – Recommend, but read Book One first.

Because it is part of “The Century Trilogy”, the who/what major historical event / where is a bit contrived, but it’s worth it. It’s a wonderfully intricate character web, if you will.

Grace: A Memoir, Grace Coddington – Indifferent on the reco.

As I wrote in my post on this book – it was interesting, and I learned from it, but as far as memoirs go, it was lacking the and this made my life feel ____, or XYZ happened and I was never the same. It was more of a play-by-play than my favorite memoirs – but if you love fashion (check) and pretend to know things about photography (check), you should read it. It won’t take too long.

February

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store, Robin Sloan – Recommend Passively.

Book club book that surprised me by its current-ness. More mentions of Google, Twitter, different generations of Macs than most fiction (that I read), but it was good storyline and a quick read. Perfect for a 3 hour flight.  Apparently, the hardback cover glows, but I read it on my Kindle, so I had no idea!

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain – Wouldn’t really recommend…

Also, a Book Club select, and it was a fiction book that teetered on non-fiction with the thoroughly researched dialogue. The most interesting part of the book – learning about the trip and obsession with Spain that inspired The Sun Also Rises. Mostly, The Paris Wife, made me want to read more Hemingway (not necessarily more Paula McClain).

March

Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss – RECOMMEND! 

Salt Sugar Fat is a fascinating nonfiction book I have forced onto almost everyone I know… but the book tells the story of the evolution of the packaged food industry. Written by a former investigative reporter, you can count on lots of facts, substantiation, details… definitely worth reading.

A Song of Fire and Ice, George R. R. Martin – Recommend 

Finished! Finally! I won’t say anything until the TV season wraps – but you should read it. In order.

I know I normally just post the cover of the book, but I found this picture of George RR and thought it was worth posting. He’s so Gandolf/Dumbledore/Peter Jackson-esque, I had to post it.

March

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman – Recommend