Happy Friday, everyone! Is it just us or did it take the weekend forever to get here?! As this week comes to a close, we’d like to talk about the books we read this month as part of our 2016 Reading List. We started out easy, choosing the “book you can finish in a day” category for January! Here’s what we read.
Sarah read Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve had a celebrity crush on Ethan Hawke ever since I saw him in the Disney adaptation of White Fang. I mean, check out those boyish good looks!
The movie came out when I was three, but I saw it sometime in elementary school. It became my favorite movie so much so that, when I was in middle school, I signed up to read the actual literary work by Jack London and compare it to the movie. By choice! Let me tell you, I was sorely disappointed. And, if you’ve read Jack London, I’m sure you understand.
My sweet spot for Ethan Hawke was only solidified when I saw Dead Poet’s Society in high school, so, when I saw that he had a new book out (he’s written two others), it piqued my interest. It’s a fictional work, written in the form of a letter from Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke, a fifteenth-century Cornish knight, to his children. Sir Thomas’ letter is broken up into twenty short chapters, in parable form—with each chapter telling a story to illustrate a moral, like gratitude and honesty.
The book was originally written for Ethan Hawke’s children. He and his wife wanted to make a list of rules for the household but as they worked on it, they decided to really focus on what they believed in as a family. In Hawke’s own words, taken from his interview with Eric Lach for The New Yorker, “What has been valuable about it for me was that it gave me an excuse and permission to bring up subject matters that are very difficult to talk about with kids. How do you find the right reason to talk about why it’s good to be alone with yourself? Why solitude is important in a person’s life? What is humility?”
The book was a very quick read and, even though it’s technically written for kids, I thought it was an excellent reminder of how to be true to yourself and loving to others. I think it’s a very creative way to engage kids with ideas like justice and equality. In fact, I may save a copy for when I have kids one day. 🙂
Deborah read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
I have a confession. Despite being a generally happy, go-lucky person, I like to read dark books. Dystopian, psychological issues, twisted characters. If you’ve read or seen Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Flora Rheta Schreiber’s Sybil, then you know what I’m talking about. They’re not necessarily books that I read more than once, but I like to read them at least the one time. I think it’s because they’re so different from my world.
Speak is about Melinda’s first year of high school. She starts out on the outside because she called the cops on the big end-of-the-summer house party that practically everyone was at. Everyone hates her. What no one realizes is that the reason she called the cops wasn’t to break up the party. She called because she had just been raped by an upper classman. She has become withdrawn, and it affects her grades and her friendships. She likes her art class though, and that and her secret hideaway in an old janitor’s closet help her survive each day. Until her former best friend starts dating her rapist. She can’t let the same thing happen to her friend, so she finally uses her voice.
I found the book on a Buzzfeed list: 46 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read in a Day. There were several books that piqued my interest (I still plan on reading The Great Gatsby), but this one won out. I think, in our time, it’s a completely relatable character that speaks (no pun intended) to teens and adults alike. With her irony and slight sarcasm peaking through the pages, Melinda feels like someone you actually know. I’d definitely recommend it, but definitely be careful with the content if triggers are a problem for you.
So, how about you? Did you join us in our reading challenge? What book did you read this month?