I’m not good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I’m one of those who forgets/gives up a couple of weeks into the New Year or I’ll procrastinate and start the resolution when tulips are blooming, maybe. (What’s the rush? There’s 365 days in the year.) But this year will be different. I will not procrastinate as this resolution will be easy to keep: I resolve to read more.
Some friends gave me a gift card to Indigo for my birthday. It was so hard to choose what to buy! I spent weeks browsing through the bookshelves. I checked out reviews online and on Goodreads, and just when I thought I’d made up my mind, another book would catch my eye. I’d read the description on the book jacket and flip through its pages until I felt it would break my heart if I left the store without it. I managed to settle on these four books only because I promised myself I’d be back for more.
So, now I’ve already read two of them: The Improbability of Love and The Illegal. I gave both of them 5 stars on Goodreads.
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
Keita Ali is on the run for his life, literally. His dream is to be a marathon runner, but as an illegal, he is also on the run from Freedom State’s government officials who want to send him back to Zantoroland where he will surely meet a certain death. There is a large cast of characters. At the beginning, I’d forget who was who, but once I figured it out, I couldn’t put the book down. Hill is a terrific storyteller.
I was lucky enough to hear Lawrence Hill who was a keynote speaker at The Writers’ Union Conference in Toronto last year. He talked about his career as a writer, how he wrote The Book of Negroes, and how he and his wife sponsored a Syrian family who would be arriving in a matter of days. He was inspiring, funny, and encouraging to anyone who wants to write a book.
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
The world of art is the setting for this lighthearted novel. At its center is a painting entitled The Improbability of Love which falls into the hands of Annie McDee, a chef who is having a hard time getting over a break-up with her boyfriend. Annie buys the painting from a dusty secondhand shop as a present to a man she hopes will be her new boyfriend. When he stands her up, she keeps the painting and thinks nothing of it until a strange cast of characters show unusual interest in it. The painting which has a history of inspiring love in its owners, is one of the characters. It threw me off when Rothschild has the painting tell the story from its point of view and why people would do anything to get their hands on it. I didn’t like it at first, but eventually found that it was an effective way of revealing the painting’s history and its effect on people. The ending had an interesting twist, and shows that love is not so improbable after all.
What new books would you recommend?