I travel occasionally for work, and of course – a book is my companion whether I’m driving or flying. Here’s what I read on my first 2 trips (out of state) of the year.
My first trip of 2018 was in February, from Illinois driving to , about a 4 hour drive – and I went from cold to colder!
The trip was a few days – from Monday – Thursday, and since it was a road trip, that meant listening to an audiobook … in this case, Exit West, authored and narrated by Mohsin Hamid – 4 hours and 42 minutes.
Exit West is the story of two young people – sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed -who meet in a country teetering on the brink of civil war, . They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors – doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.
This is a really short audiobook, and while it grabbed me at the beginning with the story of the two lovers and how they met and then how they rallied on each other in the time of civil war, the story lost me once they discovered the doors (that could take you to anywhere) and went through one of them. What follows is depressing as hell – but it seemed that the story fizzled out. We went through the drudgery of everyday life as immigrants into these new places and as squatters – and how their relationship was affected – but … I needed … more. It felt like there was no story – other than the story of their existence, but sorry – I need more from a work of fiction.
It’s not a slow paced book – but I suppose, it’s a quiet book that says – shit happens, and sometimes you’re just happy when shit is not happening to you and you find some small measure of happiness in this World … did I mention the book is rather depressing?!
The next trip was a quick one day trip to Knoxville, Tennessee – actually, it was the same day I returned from Wisconsin (evening flight). Due to some procrastination on my part – I had a straight flight there, but a layover on the way back, so I had plenty of opportunity to read, plus I woke up the next morning and headed to a coffee shop around the corner from the hotel, and had a slow morning with some tea and my book, The Power, Naomi Alderman.
The Power, Naomi Alderman
There’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
Two phrases came to mind when I read this book … “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” … And, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
I can see why this book has gotten rave reviews. It’s smart, has a clever concept, strong characters and a good story. This was one of the Books from Last Year’s Best of The Year Lists That I Wanted to Read.
My next out of state trip is to Dallas for a few days – I haven’t decided what I’m taking with me to read yet. Any suggestions? Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Were did you go on your last trip?