Christmas 2012: Books I Recommend

I’ve already posted the books that I’ve been coveting this year, but I wanted to share my suggestions for stocking stuffers with you guys! I’ve read all of the books below this year and HIGHLY recommend them. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Astray by Emma Donoghue
  • I’ll admit I’m usually not a fan of short stories – just when you get to know the characters they leave! However, since discovering The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits while on the Kenyon-Exeter Program (2010-2011) I have fallen in love with Donoghue’s short fiction. She has an amazing ability to introduce and develop characters in a very small space. Her newest collection, Astray, is about comings and goings, immigrations and emigrations.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • This is the only one that I didn’t discover in the past year. I snuck it in here because the sequel, Shadow of Night came out this summer. There’s so much to love about A Discover of Witches – set in the Bodleian Library, involves hints (or a lot, really) of the supernatural, strong female characters… Check out my view the sequel here.
The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Previously reviewed here.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Though her newest novel Gone Girl has received much critical acclaim, I prefer her earlier work. Sharp Objects was a bit of an underground classic at my high school and it became a secret code for my best friend and I. “WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart.”

Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by Rachel Joyce

Published July 24, 2012

Mode read: ARC

Summary:  The book follows the story of one middle-aged man’s journey across England by foot. When Harold Fry finds out that an old co-worker is dying, he immediately leaves his home and begins the journey to say goodbye. Though many people think Harold is crazy — including his wife — he continues his journey, largely without outside help. When the media begins following Harold the purpose of his walk gets distorted and he has to fight to remember why he started his journey in the first place.

Bechdel Test?: With a male main character, this doesn’t really come up. So much of the book is focused on Harold’s inner journey that there isn’t much time to see women conversing.

Rating: 4/5

There are so many things to love about this book: the English countryside, a lovable (if a little silly) man, a broken family, an epic journey and a sweet premise. I was definitely pulled along for the ride (or walk as it were) with Harold Fry and I found myself wanting even more. If I am not mistaken, this is Joyce’s first novel and a rather amazing one at that! The only thing that would’ve made it more enjoyable for me is a little more action during certain chapters; at times I felt as though the contemplative silence Fry was feeling wasn’t quite enough to keep the story going.

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