Another month another small pile of books read (I say small because I know some people manage to read 25+ books a month so this appears to be a tiny tiny pile) - but my intention of reading more in 2014 is still holding strong. You'll notice that Cosmos is missing from the photograph - this because I packed it away for moving and totally forgot I hadn't taken it's photograph yet ... oops.
So what pages have I been turning in February?
Everyone leaves school with their memories of reading Of Mice and Men, having studied the book over 12 years ago, I thought it was high time I took to exploring some more of John Steinbeck's work. While The Winter of Our Discontent isn't credited as being one of Steinbeck's best works (although it did win the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature), it was his last and follows a man experiencing somewhat of a mid life crisis as he battles his role as a husband, father, shop assistant and friend alongside the legancy of his family. He is a man disillusioned with life and everyone seems restless. Questions of mortality, social status and keeping up with the Jones will keep you reading through to the end, which itself is haunting.
Big Maria* is one of those epic tales - not in terms of the size of the book but through the adventure that unravels. Three down and outs come together to scour for the forgotten gold mines that just happen to be within the middle of an American artillery range. Nothing is simple - maps are lost under a flooded city, bus crashes, bullets flying and cancer all play a part. Straight up honest humour is met with characters you might not necessarily warm to, but in fact that makes them more real - they may be total losers, but many of us in life are just that.
Originally published to accompany the TV show of the same name, Cosmos by Carl Sagan documents, explores and often predicts how science and civilisation developed together and their roles in our future. Cosmos is still a controversial read for some, especially those who swear by the Bible - there's even suggestions of having to repent if you choose to read this within Goodreads reviews. But that is by the by. Sagan is an excellent narrator in depicting how we as humans are part of the larger system of planets and space, but what intrigued me most was how life, how plants and space discovery may change in the future. While it's a great read for the lay person, at times the text did drift off, often repeat and end up in maths formulas that lost me many a time.Oh and if you happen to get the chance to watch the remake of Cosmos which began last night on Fox/Nat Geo - it's a must watch!
While I don't overly reach for memoirs, I was struck by just how much I enjoyed reading Mermaid* - a book documenting the life of Eileen a girl born without legs. Mermaid comes to share her exploration of family life, religion, of dealing with a disability and the unspoken truth about her mother taking thalidomide. It's funny, heartbreaking and heart-warming, it's touching and inspiring which I say about very few books.
I'd love to hear what you've been reading lately.
*Big Maria and Mermaid were Goodreads First Reads giveaway wins in 2012 and 2014 respectively.