All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
This is a book that reaches into your heart… and then tears it out. Set during WWII, the book is split between the story of Marie-Laure, who has been blind since age six, and Werner, an orphan drafted by the Hitler youth. Marie-Laure ends up working for the French resistance, while Werner is working his way through Europe, destroying the resistance. As you can probably guess, their paths eventually intertwine. Aside from one key point at the end that left me a little disappointed at the lack of follow through, this book was both tragic and hopeful. I loved it.
Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
I've been fascinated by the West Memphis Three ever since I saw Paradise Lost in high school. That said, I truly don't know which side I stand on… I know that the three recently accepted the Alford Plea and were released from prison, but I don't know what I believe. From a layman's standpoint, I do think it was a stretch to find them guilty and sentence one to death based on the little evidence they had, but I also understand that there were quite a few things pointing toward the three as the perpetrators (and no, I'm not talking about wearing black or reading Stephen King or listening to heavy metal--or truly even Damien Echols' mental issues… I have students with mental issues. I can't fathom them doing this). What does bother me about this case is that it was bungled from the start, with evidence being lost and destroyed, a search party not being organized until the next day and so on. What bothers me is that, in the end, whether these three are innocent or guilty, we seem to have forgotten about the three 8 year old boys who tragically, horrifically lost their lives that day, and I guess that's why I keep reading whatever I can about it.
Daniel receives a call from his dad, telling him his mom has been institutionalized. Then he receives a call from his mom, telling him not believe his dad. And so begins a story in which we don't know who to believe--Daniel's mom, Tilde, or Daniel's dad, Chris. Tilde claims of a conspiracy, a plot to make her look insane. Chris claims she's broken down and is insane. Daniel is in the middle and must decide which parent to believe. This book was slightly reminiscent of Shutter Island, except that the bombshell twist at Shutter Island was more concealed. Still, I couldn't wait to read on and find out if Daniel would believe his mom or side with his dad.
Bankson is an anthropologist alone in the field, until he meets up with Nell and her sometimes angry husband Fen, who are escaping the volatile Mumbanyo. Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the mostly matriarchal, gentle Tam, but in the midst of this, he cannot stop thinking about Nell. This book grabbed me. Quickly. The storyline was fascinated but also the relationship between Nell, Fen and Bankson. This was a book that reminded me somewhat of The Poisonwood Bible but on a very different level. What does it take to live amongst native peoples? And what does one sacrifice or give up for the sake of science?
What are you reading?