Summer Reading

Hello! I haven’t written in a while – I guess it has something to do with my being inconsistent with just about anything. Well, I’ve been on a 20-day vacation, I’ve visited beautiful places – Olympia, Athens, Istanbul, Lesbos, Ephesus, Cephalonia, Cinque Terre – and I was just about ready to get home. Well, maybe it would’ve been better to go to my grandparent’s beach house in Fripp Island, but that’s another story.
Anyway, I’d like to talk about my book challenge: I’ve always read a lot, but in these last 2 years I haven’t been reading as much as I would’ve liked to. So, with the help of Goodreads, I decided to register each book I read, trying to read about 50 novels a year – granted , it’s not that much, but with University going on and tv shows and movies and going out and a boyfriend, I think it’s plenty! Among all the books I’ve read, I’m going to talk about only 3, the best and most interesting, I think.
The first book I’m going to talk about is “What I talk about when I talk about running” by Haruki Murakami. I’ve read several books by Murakami, and so far I’ve enjoyed each one of them. I hate running so it was unusual for me to read this novel; it’s about so much more than only running. It talks about how this writer became a writer, how he lived his life and how he lives it now, why he runs. But most of all, I think, this book takes you close to Murakami as a person: I guess each one of us has a particular way of picturing one of their favourite authors, trying to figure out their personality by their books – “What I talk about when I talk about running” really made me understand more who Murakami is, rather than who I’d like him to be.
The second book is called “Orange is the New Black” by Piper Kerman. So, I started watching the tv show and it was ok, nothing special though. I had the occasion of reading the book, so, why not? It was quite interesting, because in this book Kerman doesn’t want to say that prison is a great place, that she had great fun while staying there, or that it’s too horrible to even talk about: she gives a pretty unpartial description of the whole deal, talking about how unfair prison is, but also about all the great friendships she had made, and that only because some people make bigger mistakes than others, it’s not that they are animals or terrible people – they maintain their humanity in a place that wants to take it away. Prison shouldn’t be a punishment, but a re-education, something that American prisons (in this case) don’t really attain to.
The last and third book was “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. I’ve already read other 2 books by this author and I quite enjoy the themes she chooses to develop. This is a dystopian novel, set in a not-so-far future where women are basically segregated for their own safety and each woman has different jobs in each household: the Marthas keep the house up, they cook and clean, raise the children, the Handmaids are used to make sure each family has an heir, if the Wife isn’t able to give one to the husband. This new society is the direct response to the violent society in which we live nowadays, in which women aren’t safe walking around at night for fear of something happening to them, in which women aren’t respected, but are blamed if something happens to them, instead of blaming the men hurting them.

All 3 novels are short and really worth the while: 3 completely different stories, but each one of them food for thought in different ways.


Anna Ilaria


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