#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Summer Reads

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

All information can be found here.

The weather’s heating up, the days are getting longer. Even if it’s not sunny, even if it rains all the time (Thank you, Belgium), we still have our summer reads to get us in the summer-mood.

Here are five books I’d recommend.

Tigers in Red Weather – Liza Klaussmann (buy)

tigers in red weather Liza Klaussmann

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.

Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena’s husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.

This book is all about secrets. Everyone has details about their life they’d rather keep hidden. I loved the atmosphere in this book, it felt like I was there on that island. Don’t expect a super in dept murder mystery because that’s not what this is. It’s about a family that doesn’t really get along. About putting on masks to protect yourself. Intrigued? Go on, give it a go…

This is what happy looks like – Jennifer E. Smith (buy)

this is what happy looks life Jennifer E Smith

When a young movie star accidentally sends a small-town girl an email about his pet pig, the two teens strike up a witty correspondence during which they share their views on everything without revealing their actual identities, an episode that causes a relationship to develop which ultimately transforms when the actor chooses the girl’s hometown for the setting of his latest film.

This was cute and fluffy and the story takes place over the summer. I’m not a big contemporary reader but there’s just something about summer and contemporary fiction that makes them fit together perfectly.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (buy)

outlander diana gabaldon

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I’m putting this on my list because I started reading it while on holiday in the Provence. I FLEW through it. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series since but I really enjoyed this one! If you want something you can immerse yourself in, this might be the one.

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd (buy)

The secret life of bees Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come

This.is.such.a.great.book!!! I LOVED this book when I read it and I can still see myself sitting in the sun being completely overwhelmed by this story. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out!

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (buy)

station eleven emily st john mandel

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

If you would like something more thrilling to read on those hot summer days, this is one to put on your list. I know that a lot of people have already read this one but I couldn’t not include it. This is a beautiful dystopian story about the different ways someone can ‘survive’. It’s also the next book for Sanne‘s #EndOfTheWorldBookClub , you might want to check that one out 😉

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#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Future Classics

All Top 5 Wednesday information and topics can be found here.

A lot of popular modern fiction already feels like classics so I’m not going with “The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” or “Never let me go”. These are books that, according to me, stand a real chance of becoming classics.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

book thief markus zusak

I think this one will be on a lot of people’s lists but I couldn’t not put it on mine. The World Wars are topics that will be read until the end of time and the writing style (Death telling you the story) is so memorable, I mean come on.. it’s the perfect pick. It’s already a bit of a classic. It was published in 2006 and there are still people that are only discovering it now so I’m sure there will be people reading it for the first time in ten, twenty, thirty years.

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

station eleven emily st john mandel

Dystopian fiction has been a huge thing in recent years so I wanted to put it on this list. The book that stood out the most for me was Station Eleven. I still can’t quite put my finger on why I love it so much but it just stays with me. I think one of the reasons is because it was written with such attention to the humanity of the characters. I will never get over the man who said “I’d thought I was the only one“. Not sure if this book will stand the test of time but it certainly deserves to.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

night circus erin morgenstern

A typical example of – you either love it or hate it – but the people who like it all seem to absolutely love it. That’s why this one has all the potential of becoming a classic. The fans will carry it into eternity.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

the hate u give angie thomas

Let me start by saying that I have not yet read this book so I can not share my own opinion with you. Why then put this book on my list? Well, the reason is simple. Even without having read it, I understand the importance of this book. I really hope it’s as good as everyone has been telling me and I hope that lots and lots of people will read it. The subject matter reflects our world today and I hope that future readers will talk about this book in a “back in the day when….” kind of way. One can dream, right..

Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Always

(x)

I don’t really need to explain this, do I?

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Review

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel ****

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What was lost in the collapse: almost everything,
almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

On a snowy night, a virus spreads like wildfire through cities, countries, the world. Most people die, some survive.
Twenty years later, a group of actors and musicians travels from settlement to settlement, performing Shakespeare.
If civilization was lost, what would you preserve?
And how far would you go to protect it?

Part of this book follows the life of Arthur before the virus, before the collapse. How he became famous, how his relationships failed and how he wishes he could have done things differently.
I both liked and disliked him. Or maybe I shoud say that I pitied and disliked him.

By the time he returns to Toronto for another movie, he can’t go out in public without being photographed..

This reminded me of how I sometimes feel when I see how celebrities can be ambushed and stalked. Their truths turned into lies. Words pulled out of context. As if the moment they became ‘celebrities’ they stopped being human.
Still, Arthur made some pretty stupid/selfish/bad {take your pick} choices and that’s why I disliked him. The way he treats others, the way his life turns into one big act..

..Miranda could almost see the script: ‘Arthur looks up. Beat.’ Was he acting? She couldn’t tell.

And he had it easy, he lived his life before the collapse.

After the virus hit and you survived, there were two options.. You either locked yourself away or you tried to get away. On way or another, eventually you walked.
Kirsten walked the whole first year, but she doesn’t remember that time. Maybe it’s for the best, maybe she wouldn’t even want to remember.
Now she’s part of the Travelling Symphony, they are her family, friends and everything in between. Not everyone survives in the same way. Different people look in different directions. Some look at the people around them and others look up towards the heavens.
So when a prophet starts calling the shots, the Symphony is split up.
Losing people is hard.

Hell is the absence of the people you long for.

This book is beautiful. The different characters all add to the general feel of the story. They are all connected even though not all of them are aware of that fact.
Everyone deals with what happens in their own way. Everyone makes different decisions.
I honestly don’t think I would have survived. You have to be really strong to make it through.

There was one point towards the end where I was wondering if maybe there were too many characters for such short book. But then it picked up speed again and it all came together beautifully.
It’s not that there were characters that I would have left out, I liked all of them because they all have their own part to tell.

And in the end it wathe smallest voice that sang the loudest.
The scene that really made me tear up, had no main characters in it.

There were tears on his face.
“Okay,” someone said, “but why are you crying?”
“I’d thought I was the only one,” he said.

Imagine that.. imagine being the last person alive.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you should give it a chance.
I thought it was amazing and I’ve been writing this review for the past three days.
I wanted to do it justice..

Love

Ellen