After years of having to read books for assignments, I am finally able to read for pleasure again. There are several books that have accumulated on my ‘to-read’ list so I have slowly been working my way through them. These are four of the books that I have read this week.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. This is a story set during the Holocaust, exploring a friendship between a young German and a Jewish inmate. I would recommend watching the film before reading the story; the book lacks depth and ends quite abruptly. This is one of the few cases where the film tells a better story than the book from which it was derived. The film was stunning and horrifying, it captured the brutality and emotion of the events and led to the most heartbreaking ending. I felt less of a connection to the characters in the book, it was poorly written and it was difficult to believe the child’s inability to understand what was going on around him. The story itself is wonderful but almost belittles the horrific events that took so many innocent lives.
And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger. This is a breathtaking mixture of poetry and prose. It is philosophical and explores the intricacies of many aspects of life. The only way that I can think to describe this book is to say that it is almost like looking at life through a lens. Berger writes with such delicacy and each word is contrived in the most perfect of manners. He writes beautiful lines about mortality and love, about time and death. Everything is magnified, and upon finishing the book, nothing is quite ever the same. This is a stunning piece of work and will rest on my shelf for when I am in need of some wisdom.
The Killing by David Hewson. This is based on the Danish crime show called Forbrydelsen, which I have written about in the past. The television show was absolutely remarkable and I still remain astonished by its brilliance. The screenplay was written by Søren Sveistrup, however this book is written by a British author. The story is about a female police officer who tries to solve a murder of a nineteen year old girl. This book covers the first series and adds intensity to the characters that I had grown fond of. Hewson captures the essence of the show and is able to articulate the emotions that were portrayed so beautifully on screen. The book has a different ending, which I almost prefer because it ties everything together. It also made me wonder how Hewson was able to derive such a fantastic idea. The series is still the best thing I have ever seen but the book itself is magnificent. I applaud Hewson at his attempt to articulate such an exceptional storyline.
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire. This is a collection of poetry that is renowned for its ability to move people. The words are raw and painful. There are experiences concealed within the spaces between the lines. There is meaning and reason within each stanza. It is the most spectacular piece of work I have read since discovering Sylvia Plath. Shire uses the body as a metaphor, she writes about desire and place, about her ancestors and religion. Each time I read a poem, I discover another hidden message and I am in awe of how much she is able to convey in such a short piece of work. This deserves to be read and shared until the end of time. Warsan Shire has truly mastered the art of the written word.
If you have read any of the books mentioned, let me know your opinions on them. Also, leave me any book recommendations.