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Reading as a Way to See the World

According to Goodreads, I have read 31 books so far this year. As you may have guessed, I love to read.

chair and bookshelf
My Comfy Place to Read

My hubby reads the news in the morning while I read my book—generally a novel, but not always. Not only is reading my escape, it’s also a way for me to digest the world. I find that crafted stories with engaging characters can make me feel a deeper context to ‘real world’ events.

Fiction gives authors the freedom to examine events (that are generally based on ‘real life’) and stretch them as needed so they can mould them into a gripping story. Things that happening in real life often make great stories.

For instance, I’m reading The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, which is a fictionalized version of the 2008 collapsed Madoff Ponzi scheme. The characters come alive as the non-linear plot unfolds. Repercussions for individual characters become more poignant to me than how I felt when I read news articles about the real victims. This is because I know so much more about these characters-their motivations and thoughts-than any journalistic piece could provide. And I come to care about the characters (and a bit for some of the perpetrators). Their plight deepens as the plot unfurls.

I know a novel is not ‘true’ in that the particulars of the characters’ circumstances are not same as the plight the ‘real people’ went through by any means, but the novel helps me connect to the situations and the sequence of events.

I’m beginning to love novels that are based on something that happened or is still happening, and especially by authors who have a different perspective than mine, which is pretty much white middle-class Canadian. Reading is mind-opening. I get to see the world through eyes of characters from a different backgrounds. Or from different countries. Or different time periods. Or made-up worlds. And that's awesome!

Here, in no particular order, is a list of books I’ve read this year that I loved and given 5 stars on Goodreads.

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (finished Feb 28, 2022)

  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (Feb 23, 2022)

  • The Unthinkable Thing by Nicole Lundrigan (April 14, 2022) (a giveaway from Goodreads)

  • Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (April 28, 2022)

  • The Overstory by Richard Powers (Mar 16, 2022)

  • The Strangers by Katherna Vermette (Mar 8, 2022)

  • August Into Winter by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Feb 5, 2022)

  • Tainna: The Unseen Ones, Short Stories by Norma Dunning (Jan 14, 2022)

  • The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia (Jan 4, 2022)

Here are a list of books I liked a lot (4 stars).

  • The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey (May 2, 2022)

  • The Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe (May 1, 2022)

  • Lucky by Marissa Stapley (April 17, 2022)

  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (April 7, 2022)

  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Mar 27, 2022)

  • The Maid by Nina Prose (Mar 26, 2022)

  • Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mar 11, 2022)

  • Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin (Feb 21, 2022)

  • The Lover The Lake by Viginia Pesemapeo (Feb 19, 2022)

  • We, Jane by Aimee Wall (Feb 17, 2022)

These books may illuminate things for you, clarify or expand on people and/or situations. At the very least, they’ll entertain you.

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