Lily’s Literature #8

Welcome to the 8th installment of Lily’s Literature where I review the last three books that I recently read. I’ve been supremely proud of myself this year in the reading department. I’ve almost reached my goal of finishing 25 books this year! I know that 25 doesn’t seem like a ton, but I’m a slow reader and I like to focus on every sentence when I read. But enough about that–now onto the books.

The book that I started reading in September was a pick from one of the members in my book club. She chose Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. I had previously watched the Netflix Original TV show based on this book so I wasn’t super stoked to read the book. I feel like I can’t really get into books if I’ve already seen the movie version simply because I already know what happens. But I figured I would give it a shot because I literally have nothing else to do.Orange is the New Black book cover

The book OITNB is so extremely different from the show. As I read it, I realized that the Netflix version is totally made for Hollywood. So much of what happened in the show was never even touched on in the book. It was just about Piper’s life in prison and how she survived. The book itself was slightly dry, but very real. I liked it for that reason. I felt her pain and emotions so much more by reading her words than from watching a woman play her role.

I enjoyed reading about Piper’s journey–the events that lead her to prison, her life behind bars, and her thoughts after she was released. The characters are interesting (of course not as interesting as the Netflix version) but they add a lot of color to the pages. Overall, I enjoyed Piper’s account of prison. It’s not something that many people get to experience and it’s pretty eye-opening to see what it’s like.

After that I read a book that I had been meaning to read for a while. I had heard good things from friends and relatives so I decided to pick up Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War by Sebastian Faulks. Whenever war is involved I usually run the other way. I loathe reading about war. Any war. It’s just so blehhh. I can’t relate to it. I know many men fought and died for us and wars were the biggest part of their life, but I just can’t get into reading about them. I’ve tried though, trust me. I’ve read The Things They Carried, Catch 22, and Slaughterhouse Five all of which were just meh in my opinion. So why I thought this one would be any different, I know not.51n01ltpukl_ss500_

The story is about Stephen Wraysford, an Englishman, who ventures to the Azaire household in France to learn more about his company’s work. While in France, he falls in love with Isabelle Azaire and they have a love affair that takes them away from both his job and her life. Time wears on their relationship and Stephen eventually fights for his country during WWI. The rest of the book is a mixture of Stephen’s war-time trials and his great granddaughter’s modern (late 1970’s) life.

I really enjoyed the love story part of this book. It was VERY romantic, if you’re into that kind of thing. I wished that section of the story was longer, to be honest. I had trouble focusing on the middle of the book, during the war time, but the parts about his great granddaughter were mildly interesting. The book definitely declined for me after Part 1 though.

And lastly, I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova today. The story is about Alice Howland, a 50-year-old professor at Harvard University known for her work in the Psychology and Linguistics department. She was enthusiastic about learning and teaching about her subject of which she was  a professional. Almost suddenly, Alice starts forgetting details of her lectures, getting lost in familiar places, and forgetting to catch important flights. She goes to the doctor and learns that she has early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She struggles with her diagnosis but strongly continues on with the help of her family.still-alice

I didn’t know the extremity of the pain and heartache that Alzheimer’s could cause for both the patient and their family. I’ve never had a family member with dementia, so I couldn’t really relate to any of the situations in the book and I’m very glad for that. This story really opened my eyes to the severe changes that people go through with early onset Alzheimer’s. At the beginning of the book though, and I hate to say this, I didn’t really like Alice. I thought that she was a little too cocky and proud of her achievements. So it was almost kind of rewarding when she started forgetting things. (I know that’s horrible, but I’m a horrible person so whatever.) In the end it was sad and tragic to read about her trying to remember her own family members or how a microwave worked. It kind of reminded me of Flowers for Algernon.

Have you read any books lately?


22 thoughts on “Lily’s Literature #8

    • Ahh good for you! Non-fiction and WWII are some of my least favorite things. I don’t know how you get into it! Maybe because you’re a guy?

      Thanks Michael! You’re very kind.

  1. I just did a count and I’m on book 25 so far this year. I win! Just kidding. I’m two-thirds through A Person of Interest by Susan Choi, a book and author I knew nothing about until I picked it up on a whim at the library. The protagonist is a Math prof, nearing retirement at a mediocre university, and an all-round unpleasant, paranoid, unlikeable person. It starts out with a bombing in the office next door and goes back and forth to his student days and his friend’s marriage that he essentially ruined. It’s dense and psychological but it has enough elements of mystery/thriller to push the plot along. Plus you actually start to feel sorry for stupid Dr. Lee.

  2. sassybookworm says:

    Reblogged this on Sassy Bookworm Blog and commented:
    This is a really interesting article and touches upon something that I spoke about when I was discussing The Book Thief. When books are portrayed in TV shows or films, they often give a different impression to the audience and make the book more commercial, which can sometimes take away the original meaning of the storyline or characters. This post has also inspired me to read more and to set a target for the amount of books that I read per year!

  3. unfetteredbs says:

    I am impressed with your goal of 25 books Lily. ( a little jealous actually) I am on page 39 of Michelle.. talk about slow reader eh? I can only read a little at a time– sigh.
    I applaud how you challenge yourself.

    • Ahh thanks Audra! I’m kind of impressed with myself, not gonna lie. I’m also impressed that you’re reading Michelle! I really want to get my hands on a copy soon.

      Also, let’s not forget that I don’t have a job or kids soooo I have a lot of time. No applauding necessary. :/

      • unfetteredbs says:

        I would be vegging on the couch wants repeats of Rosanne or Friends or my beloved Archer so yes applause!! You have discipline lady and that is HUGE.

  4. Addie says:

    I spent most of the summer without TV due to renovations, so, I read a whole bunch of books. You can see how they influenced my grammar. Thanks to your review, I’m reading Gone,Girl. So far, so good. I just finished Dear Life: Stories, which was excellent!

    My father had Alzheimer’s. It’s the saddest disease in the world.

    • Well that would definitely be an ideal situation for reading. Nice! I hope you like Gone Girl as much as I did. It messes with ya! I’ll check out Dear Life: Stories and put it on my to-read list. Thanks Addie!

      That’s so awful. I can’t imagine how rough that would be. 😦

    • Catch-22 was hard for me. So many characters! But it was fun. Haven’t check out Closing Time yet…and thanks to your review I don’t think I will!

      Haha well I’ve finished 23 books so the 25 will probably be sandwiched in between my other two books in the next Lily’s Lit. I’ll try to make it exciting though! 😀

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