If I found out the Night Circus was in town, I’d be one of the first in line. The mysteries of the magical black and white world that Morgenstern creates are spell-binding.
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”
Honestly, read this book, it is so amazingly good, no wonder it’s been on so many recommended reading lists and won the Pulitzer. And, funnily, on the same day I finished reading it on my Kindle I discovered the paperback copy I’d bought months ago sitting on a shelf, forgotten. The book was so good I bought it twice! (Note to local friends – one copy up for grabs!). Set in World War II, it’s a beautiful work of historical fiction with delicious writing and characters to whom you don’t want to say goodbye.
“To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness. Beneath your world of skies and faces and buildings exists a rawer and older world, a place where surface planes disintegrate and sounds ribbon in shoals through the air.”
Ebola, Zika, these are real viruses infecting our planet and finding their way into the headlines. So, is the fundamental premise of Station Eleven, that humans are annihilated by a fast spreading airborne virus, really that far-fetched? I think not. Mandel weaves an intricate tale of survival and hope where multiple threads and stories become one. And while set in a post-apocalyptic world, it’s full of beauty.
“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”
As someone who suffers from Crohn’s Disease, a disease of the gut, I found this book really interesting. Enders tries to make the science accessible, but it’s still pretty heavy on the science, so I wouldn’t suggest this for a lazy read on the beach. And, it certainly has the most informative and frank discussion about poop that I’ve ever read. But this is a great book if you’re interested in how the working of gut affects our entire well-being.
“We humans have known since time immemorial something that science is only now discovering: our gut feeling is responsible in no small measure for how we feel. We are ‘scared shitless’ or we can be ‘pooing our pants’ with fear. We can’t get our ‘arse into gear’ if we don’t manage to complete a job. We ‘swallow’ our disappointment and need time to ‘digest’ a defeat. A nasty comment leaves a ‘bad taste in the mouth’. When we fall in love, we get ‘butterflies in our stomach’. Our ‘self’ is created in our head and our gut — no longer just in language, but increasingly also in the lab.”
A classic and one of the most influential books of all time. If you’re ever feeling sorry for yourself and that life is hopeless, give this a read. Frankl spent years in Nazi concentration camps, lost his family, and yet still found hope and meaning in life.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Reading articles and books on productivity is one of my things, doesn’t make me any more productive, but I find the study of productivity interesting. I learned about this book through a podcast I follow, The Broad Experience, and an episode that resonated deeply with me, How to Make the Most of Your Time. Vanderkam studied time logs from thousands of high-achieving women and lays bare the truth behind business and the myths about what we can and can’t fit into our 168 hours.
“When you face a choice of whether to strategize about your career, do deep work, mentor a colleague, or even enjoy some slack in your schedule, or whether to spend an hour cleaning out your inbox, just remember that your inbox will fill up again, but you’ll never get that hour back.”
If you’re looking for even more Good Reads, follow the excellent Modern Mrs. Darcy on her blog and podcast, What Should I Read Next. I’m getting tons of great new reading suggestions from her podcast, I can’t read fast enough!