I have a reputation for getting my hands on a book and whipping through it in a day or two. It really is an awful way to go about reading something because I don’t give myself time to slowly enjoy them, but I get so drawn into stories that I simply can’t put the book down. Of the books listed below, I read three of them in one day. Traveling often presents a lot of “down time” whether you’re in a car, on a plane, or riding a train, it takes time to get somewhere new. A great way to pass the time, of course, is to bring along a book (or a Kindle). Here is a review of four books I’ve recently read and a look at what is coming up next on my list!
The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keenan
Ohhh reading this book brought so many emotions. Marina Keenan is a Yale graduate who was tragically killed in a car accident at 22 years old. She had a beautiful mind, wrote profound words, and had the intent to become an author. After she passed, her professors and family decided to get together and publish a collection of her work in honor of Marina. Her writing is beyond anything I’ve read. Her stories travel deep into the heart and soul of humanity. She questions the status quo of what most people accept as life. Her writing is honest and funny and beautiful and sad.
There are many good quotes in her stories, but this is one of my favorites: “Do you wanna leave soon? No, I want enough time to be in love with everything…” Read more of her passages here.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
By now I am sure you’ve heard of Wild, most likely from the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. But I have to add it to the list. Wild is based on the life of Cheryl Strayed, a lost soul following a divorce, the loss of her mother, and a struggle with addiction. One day she decided to pack up her life and hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone. Cheryl Strayed’s raw writing and honest, tough assessment of herself and her life were almost difficult to read at times–but her writing makes you want to read on forever. Wild is an inspiring book, especially for those who are drawn to the idea of solo travel and/or looking to nature for healing. This is the kind of book that makes you want to buy a backpack and leave. You can read more about Cheryl Strayed in Eva’s post here.
This is one of my favorite passages from Wild: ““It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B. It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
I had mixed feelings about this novel. It’s a murder mystery book that takes place in a dreary suburb of present day London. The book was dark. It was one of those books where you don’t even know who to feel bad for because everyone is just an utter disaster. But I read the whole book in the span of one day because the story is so captivating, so I certainly suggest you give it a try. Especially if you are taking a train somewhere and even more especially if that train is in London! Kidding, but honestly a lot of the story happens as a girl peers out her window of the train she takes to London every day, imagining a story for the couple she can see from her train window to pass the time, until one day she witnesses something that she can’t keep to herself. I think they are also making a movie about this book so I am excited to check that out too!
Quote from the book: “When did you become so weak?” I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went, I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.”
The Martian – Andy Weir
I am slightly interested in (obsessed) with space and although Weir’s book, The Martian, is fiction, it reads like nonfiction. Weir clearly did his research and put a lot of thought and effort into portraying the reality of being stranded on Mars. As I read his words, I felt as though I was alone on the red planet too. The movie, starring Matt Damon, is also worth a look but I promise you the book is so much better. The main character is also hilarious which helps to keep the book moving along at a quick pace– I even laughed to myself a few times. The Martian is a story of one man’s survival and a look into how the world can come together in a time of need.
Here’s a quote from the book: “The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
Up next: On the Road – Jack Kerouac
The next book I plan on reading is On the Road. I have seen this reviewed positively by a few other travel bloggers so I am really looking forward to starting in on it. It is based on Kerouac’s travels across America with his friends in the 1950s. I will let you know what I think of it when I’m through.