Friday Five

Five Books for 2012

The Hunger Games Series
I didn’t like this series the first time around when I read it in 2011. You can see that in the poorly maintained book section page. Somewhere along the way of rereading it before our Mid-service conference when I planned to see the movie version with other PCVs, I fell in love. Not ‘rock my world Harry Potter obsessive’ love, but somewhere a few notches below. It quickly became my fall-back read when I would want a short little tryst into reading until I would find half the day gone as I would reread one of the books once again. It broadened my perspective and I tried a few other dystopia, futuristic young adult series (Matched and Divergent) that I enjoyed. I must say though, the first cut is the deepest.

Sense and Sensibility
Oh Jane, you’re just not in my life enough. As with any period novels, I had a few minor troubles with some of the words, but Austen’s story tickled my brain and kept me satisfied imagining my way out of rural Thailand. I knew the general direction of Sense and Sensibility well from my Mom’s and my love for the movie version, but I liked the book even more. I was surprised how much difference there was with the original story, but that’s what always happens when Hollywood gets involved. I think Emma will be next.

Shantaram
Is there any other way to say: a 900 page epic? An escaped Australian convict flees to India becomes a slum doctor, falls in love, is thrown in jail, rises through the ranks of a mob family and goes to war. A fascinating saga just in broad terms, but what really hooked me in to finish was the stories within the story. Getting a ‘bear hug’ and the lessons learned from seemingly simple situations and people. This book forced me to sit back and digest things about my life and the world during and after finishing it. A sequel is scheduled for release in May. I look forward to the feast.

Unaccustomed Earth
A collection of short stories by Indian author, Jhumpa Lahiri, I found amongst Jeff’s things when I hid out for the week at his house. I got so invested in all of the characters, their lives, and relationships, each one had me hoping for more when I turned the last page. I especially enjoyed the last and longest story, which twisted me back to Thailand. I really look forward to exploring more from Lahiri.

The Plot Against America
This was my first Phillip Roth novel and it left me craving for me. Another sort of dystopia/alternate reality type of novel in that Charles Lindbergh wins over Roosevelt’s bid for a third term. Each page is so dense, you feel like you have to reread paragraphs to make sure you caught everything, but not in a ‘I don’t know what’s going on in this book’ kind of way. The only question now is, which of his do I read next?

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