''When I was pregnant, I kept on taking showers and washing my hair, just to be ready for thé moment. It took longer than I thought and I started reading this great book of a woman who sailed around the world on her own. Her story was so fascinating that I forgot to shower and guess what…..that was the day my boys came!''
Maternity leave is the perfect time for reading the books that were on my list for ages. It's like going back to the days that I was in high school and read six books at the time: when I got bored of one I just put it aside and kept on going with another. Now, as my thoughts are not occupied full time with work anymore, I can finally lose myself again in the realities of books. One book comes with me to the pool, two are next to my bed, one is in the living room, a fifth in the study and the sixth book is for in between. These are some of the books that currently attempt to distract my mind from baby thoughts:
The second book I read from bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay is 'A secret kept', the story of a troubled family in France. Just like her earlier work 'Sarah's key', it is a breathe-taking narrative that immerses you in complex family relationships and strong emotions. I will definitely go to the cinema when 'Sarah's key' will be released as a movie this fall starring Kristin Scott-Thomas!
From a different caliber, but definitely a light and amusing read, is 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Coincidentally, like de Rosnay's work, this book also stories a local reality in second world war and post-war times, but this time from the side of the english population. Although I have chewed on many world war details during my school years, they were focussed on the German occupation of The Netherlands. These books give me refreshing insights in what happened in France and on the English canal islands between 1940-1950.
Aside from these history classes, I am catching up on my classics with work from Oscar Wilde like 'The picture of Dorian Gray' and 'The importance of being earnest'. Further back in time Johann Wolfgang von Goethe tells the tragic story of a man head over heels in love with a married woman. 'The sorrows of young Werther' had such impact on readers in 18th century Germany that several of them committed suicide. A more fun and uplifting read are 'The Canterbury Tales' from Geoffrey Chaucer situated in the Middle Ages.
Back to 21st century reality with Andy Hoffman's memoir 'Builder's apprentice' in which he narrates about the five years of building mansions in the US. Andy is a professor in business and sustainability at the university of Michigan and I have gotten to know him a bit better during the past year. The message of the book is the one he tries to conveys to his students: follow your heart and go for passion because only then will you truly live a life of creativity. With the focus on grades, careers and security that push so many students to pursue a business degree, it is great to read Andy's personal story and see how you can do things differently and be happier.
Yesterday I finally started with a six pounder that reads like a feather: 'The shadow of the wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. My mom had been trying to persuade me to borrow it from her for years, but I was always afraid it would end up unread because of too little time. I hope our baby will give me time to finish it and I wonder how much he or she will love Barcelona, bookstores and black & white movies which are some of the main ingredients of this enticing narrative.
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