MK’s Book Reviews: All The Light We Cannot See

Les ramparts III_RET

You’ve likely heard of this book, as it was everywhere this summer. It also won a highly coveted prize.

Is it worth the hype?

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Good Reads Lately

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Been a little while since I updated you all on my reading list. Here are some recent good reads (and incidentally, you can follow my other good reads on Goodreads).

Vanishing Girls Firstly, the prose is beautiful. Lauren Oliver’s prose is always beautiful. This is the story of two sisters, distinct enough from one another but both very realistic, compelling characters, who have issues with each other in the way only sisters can. The setting is perfectly drawn. The other characters are flawed and so real. I read through this in a few days, and loved spending time in this world so much I just didn’t want the book to end. My only issue? The same one I had with all her other books: the ending. It just wasn’t my fave. But that won’t keep me from reading everything Lauren Oliver writes, and it shouldn’t keep you either.

Attachments This book was insanely cute in the way that only a Rainbow Rowell book can be. It’s actually an adult novel, in that everyone in it is in their late 20s or older, but it reads very much like Eleanor & Park and Fangirl to me–maybe because some of us (myself included) never stop being teenagers at heart. It’s a story about finding yourself and figuring out who you’re supposed to be with and what you want to do with your life. It was really well done and you should just go read it, now.

Isla and the Happily Ever After It’s no secret I loved Stephanie Perkins’s other novels, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. They were adorable, well-written, with interesting, relatable heroines and swoon-worthy boys. But I loved this one THE MOST because it struck very close to home for me: it so perfectly captures the obsessive sensation of first-time love. I’m no longer a teenager, but this book transported me back to being 18 and in love for the very first time–the butterflies, the feeling that every moment apart is total agony, the text from him after being separated meaning everything to you. I’d kind of forgotten that feeling, actually, and it was so lovely a thing to be reminded exists, especially as we get older and get into more comfortable, less fireworks-inducing stages in our love lives. Can’t wait to see what Stephanie Perkins does next!

All the Light We Cannot See This was lovely and haunting and beautifully-written and deserves every ounce of praise it’s gotten. I keep wondering when people are going to get tired of World War II stories, and the answer is, I don’t think they are, as long as talented writers like Anthony Doerr continue to bring them to live so vividly. It’s sad, as expected, but also hopeful. Just read it. And then, when you’re done, come with me on my journey back to Saint-Malo.

You can also follow along with my reading adventures on my bookish Instagram!

Lovely image found here

Friday Things

This week was interminable. But now it’s Friday!

Here are some things that made my week:

1. I’ve been dancing around this idea for pretty much the past five years, but I think we are finally, FINALLY ready to … leave NYC. Has anyone out there gone from borough to suburb, from subway rides to train rides, from tiny studios to actual houses? I’d love some more insights on what this will be like…

2. One of my favorite new writing tools: ambient noise sites. I personally can’t listen to music while I write–unless it’s lyric-less–but I love having something always available to block out the noise. My favorite is rainymood.com.

3. One of my friends told me I post too many pictures of books on my Instagram. This is false, because there’s no such thing as “too many books”, but then I decided it would be fun to create a new Instagram dedicated entirely to bookishness. If you like books too, follow me here!

Reading: All The Light We Cannot See. Finally. The prose is amazing, the characters compelling, and it takes place in one of my favorite tiny cities.

Watching: The new season of Game of Thrones, obv. Watching it with very little clue of what’s going on (because it’s diverging so much from the books) is a brand new experience. I’m not sure I like it as much as watching the stories I already know. Time shall tell.

Listening to: The National. It’s mellow, spring-y stuff. Me gusta.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wanderlusty Wednesday: Saint-Malo

Saint Malo_RETIn honor of the fact that I’ve just started reading this book (and so far, it’s amazing), today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite little places on earth: Saint-Malo.

Rampart_RETLa Ville_RETSaint-Malo is a walled port city in Bretagne, or Brittany, France. You should go there.Les ramparts II_RETWhy?

You can get there easily by train from Paris. It’s a great place to stay while exploring the area around it–you can hop a bus to the famous Mont-Saint-Michel, a ferry to the less famous but still amazing Channel Islands, which include Jersey (the namesake of my home state!) and Guernsey (the setting of this beautiful book).

Also, Saint-Malo is just a beautiful, amazing place, all by itself.Face_RETWhen I first visited I didn’t even know this city had sustained damage in World War II–that’s how well it’s been restored. You feel like you’re walking through the fifteenth century.

At low tide, you can wander the beaches and climb all over the rocks…Le Vieux Quartier_RET…it has pretty yellow lichen on its rocks, and nice messages written in the sand…Yellow Rocks II_RETJe t'aime edited…you can wander the ramparts and pretend you’re a medieval soldier–or just take in the beautiful views…

On the Ramparts_RETPresque Ile_RET… and the town inside the walls is adorable, with narrow little cobblestoned streets, boutique hotels, and amazing seafood…La Ville at Night_RETBut pay attention to the tides:Danger!Because for part of the day, the beach looks like this:Peninsula_RET… and then later that same day, it looks like this:Peninsula devient Ile_RETI’m really enjoying learning more about Saint-Malo in my book. I know I’m going to be devastated when the Allied bombers arrive, though since I spent a year living in a town where the destruction was even worse, I guess I should be used to it when visiting this region of France, whether through the pages of a book or in person.

I’ve been to Saint-Malo twice and I fully intend to go back again someday. Can you imagine living there? One can only dream…

All photos taken by me, April 2004 and April 2007