I am a book nerd. Period. It’s a way that I truly define myself, and I believe I am a more open, a more tolerant, and a more educated person because I read. While I do indulge in a chick lit book every now and then, my true loves are books that make you think deeper about yourself and the world around you.
This summer, I did not get to read nearly as often as I wanted to. Alas, working a full time job and taking night classes on the side burdens the schedule. (Alas is one of my favorite words I learned from a book. Dumbledore taught it to me!)
However, I did get to read two very interesting, very different books this summer that I feel may leave a lasting impression on me well into my life. They are books that I probably will not recommend to anyone, and yet, they are books that I continue to come back to and consider even after I’ve finished them.
|The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce|
The first one (and the one I am most likely to recommend) is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. The novel follows the journey of an old man across England. One morning, his every day routine gets interrupted by a letter from an old coworker stating that she has cancer and is dying. When he walks to the mailbox to mail a response, he ends up walking past his mailbox, down the street, and across England to see her. Throughout his journey, Harold reveals things about his past, his son, his wife, and his future. He learns about himself and he inspires others. While the novel has very little plot (other than him walking and… walking…), it really stuck with me. Not only did it make me want to start exercising, but his self-awareness and personal growth really struck a chord. I felt like he was literally doing what I’ve been metaphorically doing lately, the soul searching and retrospective thinking to see what path my life has been on and where it should go from here.
|The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson|
The second novel is vastly different from Harold Fry. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson has won more awards than I can count on my hands, including a Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2013 Tournament of Books (knocking out The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, one of my personal favorites of all time!). I don’t usually go for Pulitzer Prize winners. I have nothing against them, but I find that books that win awards like that are usually too deep and metaphorical for my taste (I’m all about the characters and plot, not the symbolism!). However, my book club chose this book for the month, and I was excited and up for the challenge! First things first, this book is intense. It’s an undertaking to read because it is so lengthy in it’s plot. The narrative overall covers a man’s life in North Korea from the time he was born to his death, covering the time period from the Korean war to present(ish?). What fascinated me most about this book was the amazingly in-depth portrayal of North Korea. As students, we never learn about that area of the world. So little is known about their culture and government because it is mostly propaganda that comes out of the country. However, Adam Johnson (a graduate of McNeese actually!) was allowed to research in North Korea, walk among the people, and talk to some (approved) citizens. It was so interesting to me to learn about such a different area of the world where life is so drastically different from the life I know.
Overall, these two books are books that I may never read again, but I know they will stick with me for a while because they enlightened me and make me think on a deeper level.