If there’s one thing I love about interning in New York City it’s the commute. Weird, right? However, it’s an hour and a half to kill, an hour and a half of sitting in (almost) silence, an hour and a half of situated dreaminess where my attention is hardly required. I sit, my book in my lap, as the gentle movement of the train transports me to the rowdy city streets and I cannot possibly think of a better way to spend this hour and a half.
Since I started my internship on September 12th, to be exact, I have read a total of 5 novels (currently working on my 6th) and of course, I have something to say about all of them:
I started with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I fell in love with this piece of work. I didn’t care for the story as much as I cared for the brilliant, beautiful writing, but it still kept my attention. It’s about a young woman living and working in New York City during the 1930’s (so, you know, somewhat relatable). As she attends all sorts of events and mingles with the elite, she watches her best friend’s romance with the man she’s in love with unfold right before her eyes. There is a secret, though, which is kind of exposed during the first couple of pages of the novel; however, the climax is not what you would expect. If not for the story, it’s a must read for Amor Towles’ incredible representation of New York City in the 1930’s and immaculate writing style.
Next, huge change up here, I crept into the erie world of Stephen King in his novel Gerald’s Game. I am the classic victim of spotting a movie trailer on my Facebook timeline and immediately picking up a copy of the book so I can read it before watching the movie. I did it with It and there I was, doing it again with Gerald’s Game. But, to put it simply, I’m glad I did. I find reviewing King’s novels especially difficult because it’s King! Of course it’s amazing! But I will harp on one aspect I’m sure you have all heard before: it is not for the faint of heart. I have an especially strong stomach when it comes to blood, gore, anything particularly unsettling, but this made me have to stop. Breathe. And try not to vomit right there on the train. Probably not a great selling point, but I will say that it was worth it. This novel takes you through the inner workings of Jessie’s mind as she tries to escape from the handcuffs her husband, to Jessie’s discontent, strapped her in. As Jessie protests the fore-play, she kicks her husband in the stomach before he (from what we can assume) begins to rape her; thus, prompting his heart attack and leaving Jessie to fend for herself, hands bound, in an isolated cabin. She starts to hear voices, starts to see things that may not be there, and starts to suffer from horrible flash-backs. Pick up this novel, and you’ll feel trapped right there with her. Seriously. I thought I was going crazy when I read this book.
Here we have yet another example of me falling victim to movie trailers with Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I first spotted this movie trailer when I caught the premiere of It in theaters and was immediately intrigued. I had to know who’d done it! And after reading The Rules of Civility, where the main character immersed herself in Christie novels, I was even more inclined to pick one up myself. This was my first (and I suppose only) Christie novel and, please do not kill me for saying this, I was not that impressed. I don’t blame Christie for that, however, I just think the story line wasn’t for me. Without going into too much detail, it was about a murder taking place on a train carrying 14 (now 13) passengers. With the train stopped for hours due to dreadful weather conditions, the famous, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must crack the case and figure out which of the passengers is responsible and why. The writing was simple, eloquent, and easy to follow. However, for some reason, the movie trailer had captivated me a lot more than the written plot. I also was not that pleased with the outcome. That is not to say I won’t give Agatha Christie another shot, as she isn’t well-known for nothing, but for now I’m just looking forward to the film.
Onwards to The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Ugh. A classic. And for good reason! As a 23 year-old struggling to find her purpose in life, or her “personal legend,” this book was timely and extremely fitting. I think it is my new favorite. After reading, I purchased it at Barnes and Nobel and plan to go back, re-read, and write down all of the lessons this book bares because trust me; there are many. The story is about a young shepherd boy from Spain named Santiago who dreams about finding a hidden treasure at the pyramids in Egypt. He is told by a King that he must fulfill this prophecy, although he is weary to leave behind his life as a shepherd, and follow his “personal legend” because that is what he was meant to do. The story focuses a lot on the universe working in your favor and how important it is to have the utter-most faith in its path. I highly recommend this book if you have big dreams and believe there is no way to achieve them, if you believe you’re not doing what you are meant to be doing, or if you just want a quick, easy read for your morning commute.
Lastly! And fitting for Halloween is In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. God, I (quite shamefully) loved this book. I say shamefully because it isn’t the type of story I normally go for. It harbors The Girl on The Train or Gone Girl kind of vibes (for lack of a better word) and, typically, those are not novels I set out to read. If you enjoyed those books you will absolutely love this one. It’s one of those can’t-put-down-must-keep-reading-and-figure-out-what-happened kind of books that will literally keep you up all night reading (with ALL the lights on). The story is about a young woman named Nora who, after living the past couple of years in complete solitude, gets invited to her ex-best friend’s bachelorette party; a weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. Though reluctant to go, she attends and what happens there is a complete tsunami of secrets, lies, and blood shed. Nora’s past with her ex-friend, her ex-boyfriend, and herself is discovered with a murder mystery thrown in the mix. Do I have your interest yet? I’ve heard a lot of qualms with Nora’s character from other reviewers, but in my opinion following her specifically was the best part. The story is written in almost a stream of consciousness. Whatever Nora is thinking at any given moment, no matter how minuscule or choppy, is what you are reading. It actually feels like you are right there with Nora, or rather, that you are Nora. Living the very real, very frightful moments as they happen, which really makes the book impossible to put down.
All in all, some great reads this past month! I’m currently working on The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald and will throw that in with the next four I read for another review. Thanks for reading! Comment below if you have read any of these and have similar thoughts, or if I’ve inspired you to pick one of these up at your local library 🙂