Friday, March 2, 2012

It's NZ Book Month!

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

― Dr. Seuss
Guess what! Not only is March the beginning of my favourite season - autumn! But, it's also New Zealand Book Month - a whole month dedicated to books! Yes it's a tad nerdy to be excited about book month, but hell, I am a nerd when it comes to books, you learn to love it.
So I hope Dr Seuss, my favourite childhood author (I still have a very battered copy of The Lorax on my book shelf) has provided you with some inspiration, and you can look forward to some more in the coming weeks as I share with you more quotes from my favourite authors.

And here is my Top Five list of books I think you should read this month because they're really quite good.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
A warning before you start reading this one: Put aside a couple of years because this is a seven-book series and once you get halfway through Cross Stitch, Jamie and Claire Fraser will rule your life.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is 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 stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach - an "outlander" - in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in 1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. Link

Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Even if you have seen the movie, I still highly recommend you read Water for Elephants. The movie does the book very proud, but misses out a bit of detail - even some of the characters. It's one of the best books I have ever read.
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski is tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It is the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.
It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And Rosie, an untrainable elephant who is the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grows among this unlikely trio is one of love and trust, and, ultimately, their only hope for survival. Link

Goodbye Sarajevo, by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield
It is very hard to wrap your head around the fact that this is a true story, every word. But it's brilliant, and a poignant reminder that no matter how hard things get here in New Zealand with natural disasters and the up-and-down economy, we are one of the luckiest countries in the world to have been spared from war.
May, 1992. Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave.
But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact; their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka battles for survival in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life. Their mother, working for a humanitarian organization, is unable to reach them and their father retreats inside himself, desperately shocked by what is happening to his city.
But when Atka finds work as a translator in an old smoky radio station, and then with Andrew, a photojournalist from New Zealand, life takes an unexpected turn, and the remarkable events that follow change her life, and those of her family forever. Link

One Day, by David Nicholls
Although it didn't blow my mind at first like I thought it would, being a bestseller and all, it grew on me. The thing I loved about it was how it focussed on the unique friendship between a guy and a girl more than a tear-jerking love story. Having male friends myself who I love to pieces I had many "that's totally us" moments while reading One Day.
15th July 1988. Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.
So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year which follows?
One Day is a funny/sad love story spanning twenty years, a book about growing up – how we change, how we stay the same. Link

The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons
It's the beginning of another series, but rest assured this one is only three books long - three long books you will struggle to put down. It is an incredible story of human courage, survival and finding love is the midst of World War II when the world felt like it was coming to an end in Leningrad, Russia.
Leningrad 1941: Two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents. It is a hard, impoverished life, yet the Metanovs know many who are not as fortunate as they.
The family routine is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. On that fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.
Tatiana and her family suffer as Hitler’s army advances on Leningrad, and the Russian winter closes in. With bombs falling and the city under siege, Tatiana and Alexander are drawn to each other in an impossible love. It is a love that could tear Tatiana’s family apart, a love that carries a secret that could mean death for anyone who hears it.
Confronted on the one hand by Hitler’s unstoppable war machine, and on the other by a Soviet system determined to crush the human spirit, Tatiana and Alexander are pitted against the very tide of history, at a turning point in the century that made the modern world. Link

1 comment:

  1. I have read some of these and will look up the rest. It's so fun to hear people talk about March and Fall in the same breath. In Canada - spring supposedly begins in March. (in reality it is more likely to begin in June but that's another story.)