I’m taking a trip to the Big Apple this Thursday for five days and five nights so expect to see a good few NYC themed posts in the next couple of weeks. To kick things off, I thought I’d let you in on what books I’ll be reading on the trip. As a major bookworm, I always take at least 3 books whenever I go abroad and – though the majority of my time will be spent walking the length and breadth of the city (not literally, obviously) and taking in the sights – I will need a good amount of literature to keep me occupied on the two 8-hour flights and the down-time I’ll have before dinner each night. Therefore, I took myself off to my local charity shop this morning and bought these four titles:
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Charmaine sees an advertisement for a project called Positron that promises you a job, a place to live, a bed to sleep in – imagine how appealing that would be if you were working in a dive bar and living in your car. She and her husband, Stan, apply at once. The only catch is that once you’re in there, you can’t get out.
Having read a couple of her titles already (Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid’s Tale), I’ve been keen to read Margaret Atwood’s other works. She is a skilled writer with an incredible imagination and I’ve loved what I’ve read of hers so far. Her writing is both captivating and terrifying as she often depicts dystopian worlds that aren’t too far from our own. I’m excited to give this one a read and, hopefully, enjoy it just as much as her others!
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
This book is one that has been on my “To Read” list for years and years but I’ve simply never gotten round to giving it a go. I read Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns last year in two days and cried every tear I had at its heartbreaking story; it was, without a doubt, one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read! Having heard so many raving reviews about The Kite Runner, I hope to feel the same about this work of his!
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer’s wares as the ultimate sin. Suddenly Vianne’s shop-cum-café means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a ‘Church not Chocolate’ battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?
This is another title that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time as I’ve heard lots of good things. The film is one of my mum’s favourites, which makes the book seem all the more familiar and welcoming. The themes of sin and religion seem all the more interesting in this unusual context and I can’t wait to see how they are explored throughout.
The Girls by Lori Lansens
In twenty-nine years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby’s eyes. Joined at the head, ‘The Girls’ (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can’t help being extraordinary. Now almost thirty, Rose and Ruby, are on the verge of becoming the oldest living craniopagus twins in history, but they are remarkable for a lot more than their unusual sisterly bond.
This is the only book of the four that I hadn’t previously heard of when walking into Cancer Research this morning. It was one of those works that I just couldn’t leave on the shelf after reading the blurb. I am always interested in literature that deals with ideas of identity and love and I can’t wait to see how Lansens delves into these themes within such an interesting and emotional subject matter.
So there you have it: the four books that will be accompanying me on my trip to New York City! At the bargain price of £3 for all four titles, there really is nothing to complain about! Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!