Some Recent Reads

Here are some books I have read recently and what I thought!

  • The Sorrows of Young Werther by Wolfgang von Goethe: I recently read this for a lit. class and really enjoyed it. Well written (the translation was, my German is definitely not up to the task of reading the original) and full of human emotion it looks at how irrational we are and challenges the reader to look at the characters and question their actions and emotions as well as the reader's own. It reminded me of a quote by Oscar Wilde: “I wonder who it was defined man as a rational animal. It was the most premature definition ever given. Man is many things, but he is not rational.”

  • Serena by Ron Rash: One of the best contemporary novels I have read in a while! It helps that the book is set in the area I am from and currently reside, but even to those not from the North Carolina mountains it is still an amazing setting. The Great Depression era and the rural (and often inhospitable) setting set a dramatic backdrop. It is a plus for anyone interested in Appalachian culture. The story is incredible and the characters are complex and interesting. It reminded me of the novel Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (also set in Western North Carolina) and Atonement by Ian McEwan (I cannot really explain the connection there, it just sort of happened in my mind).
  • The Black City by George Sand: Another lit. class reading that I enjoyed. I don't have a particular interest in France during the industrial revolution era, but Sand makes the characters so relatable and the setting so vivid that it is impossible not to get drawn in. As a college student I also enjoyed the whole "should I follow my dreams or play it safe" aspect. The main character sees these people who have labored their whole lives and are in a rut and strives to go beyond that. This is a pretty universal thing, and it is nice to be encouraged to follow one's dream in a society that values practicality. 
These are just a few examples of my recent reads and my opinions. I am in no way an expert reviewer, I just know what I like and hope people with similar tastes can gain some sort of insight!


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