Wild – Cheryl Strayed

wild-cheryl-strayedTitle : Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author : Cheryl Strayed

ISBN-10 :  0307476073

ISBN-13 : 978-0307476074

Paperback : 315 pages

The Plot :

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Review :

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, as the name suggests is a book about finding yourself. It is a journey of self-discovery that the author goes through where she is able to dig deep into her past and her fears. Although I did find certain sections of the book a little slow at times, overall it was a good read.

What I loved about this book were the picturesque descriptions. The one important lesson I think I took away from the read was the realisation that forgiving ourselves for past mistakes is the only way to move on and embrace how they change and define us.

Buy the Book From : https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Found-Pacific-Crest-Trail/dp/0307476073

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.cherylstrayed.com

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2305051/

 

 

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The End Of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe

the end of your life book clubTitle : The End Of Your Life Book Club

Author : Will Schwalbe

ISBN-10 :  0307594033

ISBN-13 : 978-0307594037

Paperback : 352 pages

The Plot :

“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

Review :

This has to be one of my favorite reads. The story is touching and so well told. It is wise and witty and moving. Will’s mother is most definitely a strong powerful woman who is so lovable from the very moment you are introduced to her. She is truly inspiring the way she handles her situation.

The story is heartfelt, inspiring, passionate and powerful. It is a book about parental love, loss, grief, and life but mostly it’s the power of reading and books. I highly recommend this book, full of emotions and great reading recommendations as well.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Your-Life-Book-Club/dp/0307594033

Find Out More About the Author : http://theendofyourlifebookclub.com/

Orange Is the New Black – Piper Kerman

Orange is the new blackTitle : Orange Is the New Black

Author : Piper Kerman

ISBN-10 :  0385523394

ISBN-13 : 978-0385523394

Paperback : 327 pages

The Plot :

When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten year old crime she barely resembled the reckless young woman she’d been when shortly after graduating Smith College, she’d committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her vary brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.

Kerman stent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. In Orange Is the New Black, Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behaviour and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.

Revealing, moving, and engaging, Orange Is the New Black offers unique perspective on the criminal justice system, the reasons we send so many people to prison, and what happens to them when they are there.

Review :

For the first time ever, I felt the show was better than the actual book it is based on. It is a memoir I agree but for me it just lacked depth because the other characters were really underdeveloped. It was interesting at first but got repetitive and tiring. It seemed like the story had to be stretched to fill in a certain number of pages.

I loved the character of Piper initially but disliked the constant reminder that her blonde hair and blue eyes got her a lot of perks and made it so much easier for her. The show deviates here and I liked that. The writing is light and straightforward but it lacks the makings of a great read. Overall I would recommend the show highly but the book, not so much.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Orange-New-Black-Womens-Prison/dp/0385523394/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408607160&sr=1-1&keywords=orange+is+the+new+black

Find Out More About the Author : http://piperkerman.com/

Find Out More About the Show : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2372162/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Night – Elie Wiesel

NightTitle : Night

Author : Elie Wiesel

ISBN-10: 0374500010

ISBN-13 : 978-0374500016

Paperback : 120 pages

The Plot :

Night begins in 1941, when, the narrator of the story, Elie, is twelve years old. It starts in a little town called Sighet in Transylvania. Elie is a studious, deeply religious boy with a loving family consisting of his parents and three sisters. One day, Moshe the Beadle, a Jew from Sighet, deported in 1942, with whom Elie had once studied the Kabbalah, comes back and warns the town of the impending dangers of the German army. No one listens and almost 2 years pass by. But by 1944, Germans are already in the town of Sighet and they set up two ghettos for the Jews. After a while, the Germans begin the deportation of the Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz.

The Jews of Sighet are forced into crowded cattle wagons, each car consisting of eighty people. The conditions of the train ride are horrific; they are treated no better than animals. A woman named Madame Schachter starts to go mad. Periodically, throughout the train ride, she yells about fire, flames, and the furnace. At first, the others try to quiet her. When that does not work, they merely ignore her. When the train arrives at its destination, they are at Birkenau, the reception centre for Auschwitz. The air smells of burning flesh.

At Birkenau, Elie is separated from his mother and sisters. Realizing the importance of being together, Elie and his father lie about their age. As they prepare to enter the camp, they see a ditch where babies are thrown into a burning flame. Elie cannot imagine that this is actually happening. It feels like a nightmare that he can never forget. The male Jews are shaved, showered, and given work clothes. After a long march, they enter Auschwitz, where Elie becomes number A-7713. After a brief stay at Auschwitz, they are moved to a new camp, Buna.

At Buna, Elie goes through the dehumanizing process of the concentration camps. Both he and his father experience severe beatings at the hand of the kapos (overseers). In one instance, Elie receives twenty-five strokes of the whip from Idek the Kapo for walking in on him while he is with a girl. All the prisoners are overworked and undernourished. Many lose faith in God, including Elie. He witnesses several hangings, one of a boy with an angelic face, and sees him struggle for over thirty minutes fighting for his life.

Elie and his father manage to survive through the selection process, where the unfit are condemned to the crematory. Elie suffers from a foot injury that places him in a hospital. After the surgery, the Germans decide to relocate the prisoners because of the advancement of the Russian army. The prisoners begin a long trek in the dead of winter. Many do not make it. Elie and his father support each other through the gruelling march.

The march leads to a train ride where Elie witnesses a boy kill his father for a morsel of bread. Elie is horrified at the very thought, but he realizes that he too has become callous-that he is beginning to care only about his own survival. By the end of the winter trek to Buchenwald, out of a hundred prisoners, only a dozen survive, including Elie and his father.

Although Elie’s father survives the trip, he later falls ill. Elie witnesses the slow deterioration of his father’s health and his eventual death. At Buchenweld, the Germans try in desperation to exterminate all the remaining Jews. But by this time, the Germans are close to defeat. Before the Germans can carry out Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews, there is a successful uprising in the camp by the resistance. In Buchenwald, however, Eliezer’s father dies of dysentery and physical abuse. Eliezer survives, an empty shell of a man until April 11, 1945, the day that the American army liberates the camp.

Shocking and gut wrenching, this account of the Holocaust is a stark and naked description of the concentration camp in Auschwitz. It is a very sad story and definitely very touching. I read the book to get a little better idea of what the concentration camps were and what went on there.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Night-Elie-Wiesel/dp/0374500010

Find Out More About the Author :  http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/

Oprah’s Reading Guide To Night :  http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Your-Guide-to-Night-and-Elie-Wiesel

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray loveTitle : Eat Pray Love : One Woman’s Search For Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Author : Elizabeth Gilbert

ISBN-10: 1594132666

ISBN-13 : 978-1594132667

Paperback : 631 pages

The Plot :

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love is a cross between a memoir and a travelogue. It takes you through a journey across 3 different countries, enjoying something different, each of them has to offer.

The story starts with Elizabeth Gilbert (‘Liz’) going through a horrible break up with the love of her life soon after ending her marriage. This leaves Liz emotionally drained and in a very bad place emotionally. She blames herself for the ending of both the relationships in quick succession. Liz is a travel writer and enjoys her job as she is a wanderlust. Just as things become too difficult to deal with, she decides to take a yearlong trip across 3 different countries to recuperate emotionally. The book is divided into three sections, each talking about the four months spent in a different country.

The first section starts with Italy. Here Liz goes to explore the pleasures of life (mainly of the victual kind), hence the ‘Eat’ in the title. She makes new friends and learns ‘Il bel far nientemeaning the beauty of doing nothing. Meanwhile learning and perfecting her Italian which was one of her goals. Here she finds her past haunting her and she tries to deal with it the best way she can. She makes interesting friends who introduce her to exquisite food and good stable relationships. After her 4 month stint in Italy she has a farewell feast with her friends, shows off her Italian skills, and moves on to the next leg of her journey.

In the second section Liz finds herself in an Ashram in India. Here she has come looking for the spiritual side of life, hence the ‘Pray’ in the title. She comes looking for a Guru to help her navigate a path to spiritual learning. She doesn’t get to meet the guru but does find her way spiritually. In the process she makes some new friends and they help her let go of the guilt and the past and move on to newer things.

Finally, she goes to Bali, Indonesia, looking to strike a balance between ‘Pleasures of Life’ and ‘Spirituality’. Here she manages to finally find love that is different from the past, and so the ‘Love’ in the title. Here she meets the old ninth-generation medicine man ‘Ketut’ who had predicted that she would come live with him for an extended period, during one of her previous travels. She again makes some new friends and helps them with simple things. She helps Ketut preserve his knowledge in the form of books and helps a single mother and her daughter build their dream house. In the course of all this she learns to deal with her own issues and lands up helping herself. She also falls in love with a Brazilian businessman and things seem good.

What I loved the most about the book was its simplicity. No one wants to be totally hedonistic neither does one want to be an ascetic. This book talks about the search for that balance and that is the central theme of the book. Don’t look to the book for any life altering solutions to live a better life or tips on being happy because you will be sorely disappointed. All the book does is tells you the story of a woman and how she took a break from her life for a year and gave herself the time to heal emotionally. In short it is a journey of self-discovery. It is well written for the most part but it does get slow at times. Overall a good read!

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Pray-Love-Everything-Indonesia/dp/1594132666

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

About The Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/