Let’s talk about death. “Really?”, you ask. Really. Let’s talk about death because we all talk about life too much. We have bucket lists, to-do lists, and plans. We encourage each other to live rather than waste away. We tweet out tear-jerking, motivational quotes pulled from the likes of Oscar Wilde and paint dreamy futures that have no foreseeable end. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
But in the words of Woody Allen, I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens, most of us (okay, practically all of us) shy away from the one concept that is just as inevitable as life. Death.
I’m making assertions on the human condition as if I’m not a part of it, so let’s call for full disclosure. It sounds morbid to admit, but I have a high tolerance regarding anything death-related. In university, I desperately wanted to take a course called The Psychology of Death and Dying. My friends thought it was creepy and my family thought I was crazy, but it was actually a highly popular class. And when I finally got the chance to enroll, it did not disappoint. Granted, there were the occasional silent tears from students when something hit close to home and the material was depressing. Yet, there was a strange freedom in spending three hours a week talking about all things that are generally taboo in polite conversation. Suicide, palliative care, bereavement – it was nothing fabulous. But death is the less glamorous and loyal companion to life. It happens to all of us, will happen to all of us, but we forget that it’s what makes life that much more precious.
Philosophy aside, let’s talk books (finally moving on to the real point haha…I beat around the bush, it’s a talent 🙂 ). Call me hypocritical, but even though I claim to be some death-hugging-not-afraid-to-talk-about-it psycho I’m not one to go for books on the subject. I can’t do it. All those heartbreaking, sweetly-tailored stories on losing someone you love just don’t appeal to me which is why I was hesitant about reading The Fault in Our Stars. Of course, I’m an idiot because this book is the absolute best.
I’ve been a fan of Khaled Hosseini’s work since high school, where my English teacher introduced me to A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was unlike anything I’d read before. I went on to read The Kite Runner and became enchanted by the world that exists within Afghanistan, a country of which I had only heard about in war-related news. By some stroke of luck (!!!) I was fortunate enough to win a special meet-and-greet with Mr. Hosseini in the green room thanks to Cammy at Indigo Events. I can’t describe to you how over the moon I was! The whole experience was surreal. As winner, I was allowed to take a guest along so I chose one of my best friends who happens to be an even bigger fan of his. It turned out to be an overall spectacular day.
Before the event began, my friend and I were treated to front row reserved seats and a fun V.I.P experience. We were led to the back where we met Mr. Hosseini. He was every bit as gracious and kind as I’d imagined him to be. He asked me about myself, my background, and where I currently lived. He wanted to know what I had written as my contest entry (the question was “Why is Khaled Hosseini your favourite author”) so I told him that I felt his writing and characters were real and grounding. So much so, that they make me feel grateful for everything that I have in my own life. I think one of the best feelings a book can give you is a greater sense of clarity, conviction, and gratitude 🙂
From left: My friend Parul, Khaled Hosseini, and myself
So, let me just start by saying that I’m a HUGE fan of Sophie Kinsella. Who wouldn’t be? I love her candid writing style and the way you absolutely fall in love with the characters. I feel like in some dimension, Becky Bloomwood (her heroine from the Shopaholic series) and I are besties. And after reading I’ve Got Your Number, Kinsella’s got me feeling the same way about Poppy.
What’s it about? The story revolves around a charming, yet somewhat self-conscious girl named Poppy Wyatt. Although self-accomplished as a physiotherapist (and in love with what she does), Poppy tends to feel rather unworthy in regards to her well-known, university professor fiancé Magnus (this name does two things to me – make me cringe and think of a pompous, big-bellied man with a curled mustache and monocle, or it makes me crave Magnum ice cream..hmm). Magnus is what you would call “love on paper”. He’s got all the credentials, the air of a sophisticated gentleman, wealth, and family. Poppy is totally in love with the idea of him – how could you not love being engaged to someone so perfect? But of course, in pure Kinsella fashion, a whirlwind twist knocks on Poppy’s door. Everything dear to her in this picture-perfect life is suddenly put in grave danger when she (accidentally) loses her engagement ring at a pre-wedding event! Horrible, right? It gets worse. She also loses her cellphone! Imagine losing something extremely precious to you (like if one of the girls in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants lost the pants or if Hermione in Harry Potter lost the Time-Turner) and then losing the one thing that could be traced back to you with helpful information. Nothing seems to be going right for Poor Poppy.
New books smell like love. At least, that’s my opinion (and hopefully you agree!). The month has just begun (kind of…) and there have been a bunch of awesome releases and even more to look forward to. Here are some that I’m dying to get my hands on:
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie (a young woman returns home after being lost to find that life has moved on – intriguing!)
Bringing Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel (a sequel to Wolf Hall and great historical fiction)
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (part of the Mortal Instruments series)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (sequel to Divergent and a HUGE fan favourite)
The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts (part of the Inn Trilogy)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (sequel to Delirium – read it, loved it!)