One of my goals this year is to read more books just for the fun of it. The sad part about being an English teacher is that I often get so busy I don't have time to read what I want to read; all I read is what I assign to my students. I started off on the right foot by reading Water for Elephants on our honeymoon. It was pretty good, and definitely a different story, but for all the rave reviews, I was expecting something more. Since then, I've been averaging a little over a book a month, which is a huge improvement for me!
However, I'm starting to notice a trend in my book choices. Most of them are depressing! I think that people have died in all but one of the books I've read since January. I actually read two books over spring break. The first was A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. As the title suggests, this is an autobiographical account of the wars in Sierra Leone. The author was 12 when war reached his village, and he was eventually "recruited" to become a soldier. He vividly describes some of the torture and death that he witnessed (and even inflicted) during this time.
After that, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, the most recent book by Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner. The book was absolutely gripping. It's set almost entirely in Afghanistan, beginning in 1970s and finishing in more-or-less modern day. The main characters of the book are women, which is a very interesting perspective to see. However, these women are rejected by society, see their families die, are forced to marry and then are beaten, verbally abused, and raped by their husbands. The book also gives an Afghani view of the political scene in this country, including the rise and "governing" of the Taliban.
The question now becomes...what to read next? The next books that I have easily available to me are John Krakauer's Into Thin Air (a story of climbing Mt. Everest...where people die) and Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey (the stories of five people who die when a rope bridge breaks and sends them plunging into a gulf). Any suggestions for some lighter reading? Maybe I need to go back to Sophie Kinsella for a little chick-lit. (By the way...her latest, Remember Me?, is really good!)