Luna discovered a simply superb book tag – monthly birthstones! And, because I thought it was a fantastic idea and in light of the fact that September is Luna’s birth month (happy birthday, bestie!) I thought we should start with September.
Luna: It’s my birthday month! I’ll be a quarter of a century…actually, forget I ever said that. Ugh.
September’s birthstone is Sapphire – a blue and calming stone. Name a book that had a calming affect on you.
Andy: For me this would have to be Soulless by Gail Carriger.
I can’t tell you how many times I have reread this book. It’s my go-to book for when I need comfort and self-love, especially during highly stressful periods of my life – this book was a goddess-send.
Soulless is the first in a series of books covering the exploits of Alexia Tarabotti, half-Italian Victorian spinster with no soul. Set in a steampunk alternative London, where supernaturals are firmly part of the fabric of Victorian society, Soulless has everything – drama, derring-do, romance of the gruff-overbearing-Scottish-werewolf variety, and of course, plenty of tea. The series but particularly the first book, as it benefits from being a perfect standalone story complete with Happily Ever After, always leaves me with a feeling of bemused contentment. Uplifting when I’m miserable, comforting when I’m unsettled, and jolly good fun for when I just can’t make up my mind for what I want to read next.
I am going to have to go with The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I got this book when I was fourteen: my friend came into school one day and handed it to me. Apparently, it was too depressing for her and she thought I might like it! She was right, though. The Lovely Bones is one of those novels that I adore. Contemplative and a bit miserable and you feel slightly sad all the way through. I like feeling sad while reading books. I guess that’s a bit odd as it doesn’t apply to films. If I watch sad films, I will cry!
If you’ve been living under a rock and have not heard of this astounding book, The Lovely Bones follows fourteen-year old Susie Salmon after she has been raped and murdered. Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s heavy material. Yes, you will weep into the pages. But it is beautifully written and also awfully (I mean that in the best way) realistic. Susie’s family tries to cope with the loss of their eldest daughter and frequently fails. Their grief is such a tangible thing, you almost feel their pain with them. They grow up or grow old and try to deal with this sudden gap in their lives.
All the while, we have Susie’s narration. Suddenly removed from the burdens of mortality she watches the people she loves with a clearer understanding of their lives than she did before her death. She watches her killer make dollhouses, her mother as she has an affair, the boy she once loved go to medical school. She may be in Heaven but that doesn’t always give you the things you want, not when everything you truly desire is on Earth.
This probably doesn’t sound like a calming book to you. But for me, every time I pick it up I’m thrown back to the first time I read it and it can feel that nothing has changed and I feel the same as I did when I read it ten years ago. It still moves me and by the end of the book I feel that even if things are hard and grim, a happy ending might be closer than you think.
Andy: And that’s a wrap! What do you think? What books would you choose for this book tag? Let us know!