August I continued my reading challenge, here are the last four books I managed to squeeze in before the change of season – enjoy!
Why we should go Vegan – Magnus Vinding (2014)
As part of my reading challenge, I needed to find a book which would make me ‘smarter’. I only finished my degree last year, so definitely did not want to launch into anything too heavy or high-brown, so, taking into consideration today’s age and where we are at; I chose this book. Why we should go vegan, by Magnus Vinding.
I think Vegans are incredibly strong and brave and I champion their efforts. I don’t want to turn this blog post into some hotly debatable space for/against veganism, but what I did appreciate was Magnus’ ability to champion veganism in a practical, respectful and factual fashion. No personal attacks against meat-eaters, just facts on why we are ruining the environment. Cruelty aside (not that I ever put this aside, I do eat limited animal products), we are, in truth, destroying the environment.
I certainly won’t be going vegan anytime soon but I have made changes where I can (for now). I only use beauty products which are cruelty and animal free – the only exception is if I have products with honey in it. I do not drink cow’s milk (have never liked it or where it comes from) and I try to limit my meat intake to 1-3 times per week; and when I do it is always organic and free-range. I know that some vegan’s scoff at this, that perhaps I am not trying hard enough; and I will be honest, I don’t have the desire to go vegan with my diet, despite the knowledge and awareness I have. But I am working on it.
Read this if you are after a concise and respectful argument in why we need to end the abuse of other beings. You don’t have to become vegan, but we do have a responsibility to acknowledge the damage we are responsible for.
Room – Emma Donoghue (2010)
This book is told entirely from the point of view of five-year-old Jack. Jack who lives inside a room and has always lived inside this room. This book is inventive, funny and will rip your heart out through your stomach. Room is home to Jack and his Ma, it is the prison of Old Nick. This is all Jack knows, until they (he and his Ma) plan their escape.
I found this book to be amazing, I don’t have children so I wasn’t quite ready for the naivety of Jack, I am in my thirties so I don’t remember seeing the world so one-dimensional at that age. The story of his Ma, who has been held captive in a room by her kidnapper for seven years, with her five year old son had my heart in my mouth in several parts, and my stomach churning in others.
I also watched the movie after I read the book and I feel it gave a better representation of Ma’s point of view, I was able to connect more with that and I cried in the movie but not in the book. In saying that, I think people who are parents would be more likely to cry in both. I loved this book, it was beautifully written and it will stay with me for a long time.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (1847)
I will never NOT be a huge fan of Catherine and Heathcliff, ever! Oh, I know they are dysfunctional, I know they are terrible people and I know the story itself is dark and without reprieve. HOWEVER, I still absolutely love it. I think Heathcliff is a mastermind, he is cruel and crazy but I find it romantic how tragically in love with Catherine he is and the lengths he goes to reclaim is pride and overcome the humiliation from his life. I love that we never find out where he comes from, all we know if he is dark and mysterious and seriously messed up!
Catherine is cruel and unkind and in a way ‘gets her own’ for her treatment of others. The revenge is messed up, the story told is depressing and I cannot get enough of it. I love Wuthering Heights and if I could have my way, I would name my son Heath (Husband says no as he knows how I felt about Heath Ledger – RIP). The story is chaotic, and complex and it really highlights the dark crevices inside our souls, if we choose to avoid shining light on them. It is not the first time I have read Wuthering Heights and it will not be the last. It is a classic in my eyes and I will forever love reading about this dark romance between Heathcliff and Catherine in the moorland setting.
The History of Us – Leah Stewart (2013)
Leah Stewart has several novels, The History of Us being her fourth I believe and follows three grown siblings returning to their childhood home to face a family secret. The story was an easy read and well-written, it makes you realise we (families) are all complex and we all have our secrets and difficulties. I definitely related to the difficult Grandmother and the different relationships Eloise has with her nieces and nephew. My heart ached for Eloise, as her entire life is put on hold and the trajectory changes in order to care for her orphaned nieces and nephew. The story follows two decades and the change in Eloise, as well as the need for the three children to lead their own lives and follow their own path.
It did remind me to cherish everything we have, prioritise what should be prioritised and remember that nothing is forever, so we may as well do our very best whilst we are here and love our loved ones fiercely and boldly.
To be continued…