The big chill-out

priyanks By priyanks, 22nd Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Mind, Body & Spirit

Cocooning yourself on your sofa with a good book is a great way to chill out and forget the day's stresses. If you feel relaxed when you go to bed, you're more likely to get your beauty sleep. So banish all thoughts of your job and treat yourself to a little me-time before you turn in.

Switch off at the end of the day with a great read.... Books that can make you cry...

1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
This story jumps from subject to subject - from the nature of being to the importance of coincidences - just as if you were thinking to yourself. It's set in Prague in 1968, at a time of great political upheaval, but for me it's essentially about a husband and a wife who can't reconcile their ideas on love. Tomas is unfaithful and Tereza can't imagine sex without deep feelings. It's heartbreaking that his affairs cause her such anguish, she even dreams she's jabbing needles under her fingernails, as physical pain would be more bearable. But there are also many tender moments.

2. Things I want my daughters to know by Elizabeth Noble
A mother passes on words of wisdom to her four daughters through letters, knowing she's dying of cancer. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions while reading this book. The letters are uplifting and sometimes shocking, but sadness also creeps in - on days she feels terribly sick or mourns the time she won't have with her family. I felt for her daughters, having to live without her. It makes you appreciate the bonds between women.

3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Paralyzed and speechless after a stroke, Bauby, the former editor of French Elle, dictated this memoir by blinking one eyelid. It records his lonely existence in hospital where, at 45, he's as dependent as a newborn and can only dream of stroking his son's silky hair or waking up beside his lover.

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Slow-witted giant Lennie and his friend George are migrant workers in California during the Great Depression. They turn up at a ranch having being run off the last one after Lennie innocently petted a girl in a red dress because he loved the material. I found the friendship between Lennie and George extremely touching. The childlike Lennie is always in trouble but George looks after him even though he often feels frustrated. The ranch is situated near Soledad - which means solitude in Spanish. And it's sad that all the characters in the story are so lonely and powerless - George who fantasizes about buying his own piece of land where Lennie can keep rabbits, the crippled Crooks who has to stay in a room on his own, old Candy who can't bear to shoot his ancient dog, and the bored, provocative wife of the ranch owner's son, whose dreams of being a movie star is in tatters. At the end, I found it impossible not to shed tears.

5. After you'd gone by Maggie O'Farrell
From the first page, you know Alice tried to kill herself. Throughout the rest of the novel, you are given jigsaw pieces of her life that you fit together to discover what made her do this. Alice is quirky and complex, and I was especially engrossed in the parts about her love affair with John. Their life in London seems so real and is beautifully described in vivid detail - their first meeting, date, kiss, night together. I saw myself in Alice's world and was caught up in her emotions. So when things in her life start to go wrong, like her I felt inconsolable.

6. Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann
This moving book is about two men's memories of love. In one strand of the story, set in 1917 during the Great War,Moritz is trying to get home to the woman he loves across the frozen Siberian wilderness. In another strand set in 1992, Leo's girlfriend Eleni dies in an accident in Ecuador. There are many tear-jerking moments - for example, Leo's pain when he has to deal with the cold details of flying Eleni's body home, and Moritz's despair at failing to save his friend from freezing to death. The mysterious links between the two story strands kept me intrigued.


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author avatar priyanks
i m interested in writing articles about whatever fancies me

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author avatar Denise O
23rd Jul 2011 (#)

These all sound like great books. We had to read 'Of mice and men' for school, I am so glad we were. One of my favorite books. Thank you for sharing.:)

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