If you remember a month or so ago, I shared my resolutions – one of which being to read 1 book a month in 2018. Resolutions usually feel so daunting, but this one has been such a refreshing activity. I immediately selected 12 books and am quickly going through them. I may need book suggestions to finish out the year, so if you have them, by all means share them below!
With all the connectivity in my daily life, it’s nice to be able to shut off those notifications for an hour or so and lose myself in the pages of a story. I usually read before bed, allowing my eyes to rest from screen time before bedtime. If I have a load of laundry going on a Saturday, I’ll curl up on my couch with the book I’m reading rather than endlessly watch Youtube videos or a movie (both of which I still do, just not as often).
This resolution began in the Philadelphia International Airport. I had read “I, Mona Lisa” on my way to Jersey for Christmas and happily spent my 10-day vacation reading til all hours of the night, like I used to do when growing up. So, having just consumed this book, I was hungry for more.
Popping into a magazine/concession/book stall in the airport, my eyes flitted from title to title and, tucked away in the corner, was “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. I vaguely remembered a blogger I follow on Instagram – who is an avid reader – raving about this book, so I spent the $27 (phew, airports really do up-charge!) and happily started to read.
“All the Light We Cannot See” tells the story of a blind girl, a German boy genius growing up in a mining community, and a mystical stone during World War II. The chapters are short and move you quite quickly through the book. One chapter will grip your stomach in anxiety while the next brings about smiles. On and on it goes until the last page where you wish the story never ends. There are some mysterious bits that give you the freedom to decide what happened to certain characters. And then there are events that happen to characters that make you cry out, “No!!!” and wish to throw the book against the wall. But then, how would you know what happens at the end?
I won’t give away any spoilers, won’t tell you what happens to the characters. I will tell you the descriptive journey Doerr takes you certainly earned him the Pulitzer Prize. Telling the story through the mind of a blind child seems quite difficult, and he does this beautifully; which is why you instantly become attached to the characters. They’re living, breathing people within these pages. Their neighborhoods and villages buzz with activity that pull you right to the center of it all.
World War II historical fiction books have a knack for being gruesome. I know, I’ve read my fair share in middle and high school, still lured in by the stories authors tell using the War backdrop. Doerr doesn’t get too graphic (you may disagree with me) compared to some of the other World War II books out there. There are a few scenes that are heartrendingly disturbing, however he has a knack of describing what happens within only a few sentences and then transports you to the next chapter that is much calmer so you can regroup. It’s honestly a roller coaster read, but not like the ones where you’re sick at the end of it.
Poetically written, with loving characters. If you’re looking for a book to excite you into reading again, pick this one up. It doesn’t disappoint.