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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

2016 Favorites in Books

Last year, this time, (with a 6mo keeping me busy) I managed to post my annual favorite books list around the 13th of the month. This year, I am posting on the 29th of the month. At least, we are still in January. But, next year, I have no guarantees on making this post on time. Still, maybe the benefit of being late to the party is that I am so late that you are all probably over the tiredness of reading yet another 2016 post. Right?

Truth be told, it is getting harder for me post here, pretending that everything is all right in the world. That makes it harder to blog - since November, I was expecting that "This too shall pass" but I'm not so sure now. With all that's going on, I somehow managed to write this post, so here goes my 2016 favorites.

Among the heavier, deeper, not-so-quick reads of the year, these six had a resounding impact on me:

Reality or Fiction? book of the year: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. When I read this book, I got plenty of goosebumps because so much of it sounded very relevant to the present. And that was seven months ago. I'd probably weep with despair today.

The book with many layers: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. My very first impression of Morrison after reading this book was "eh? that's it?" And then a nuance from the book revealed itself to me. And then came another one. And then more. Very soon, I realized that there were so many layers to this book and that it was one fascinating story to try to explain to someone.

The most realistic (graphic) fantasy epic: Saga by Brian Vaughan. I am still disappointed that it took me so long to read this book. It's one of the most diverse and realistic fantasy fiction out there. And those illustrations - Fiona Staples does a fabulous job bringing the story and the characters to life.

Two books with kickass women: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart and Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly. Both these books are set at a time before women (in the US) even had a voice. Both show a woman standing up to the establishment and making a change happen. One is fiction (yet based on a real character and true incident) and the other is nonfiction.

Creepiest book I ever read: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I started reading this book in a mountain cabin on a creepy windy night. Needless to say, I didn't sleep too well that night.

And then, among the lighter reads, these four stood out. I'm surprised I don't have more books below since most of the books I read last year were lighter or faster reads. I guess on some level, I still struggle to rate books that I finish reading quickly. How do you rate a book that you didn't spend a lot of time with?

If you love Mexican food, then go read Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Of course, this is not a food memoir or cookbook but Gabi knows how to talk about food (and about many other life matters too). I had to make it a point to never read this book before mealtimes because I found myself craving for Mexican food so badly (and we don't have a good Mexican restaurant in the area, so craving for it didn't mean I could satisfy it properly).

For all kinds beauty advice, Nora Ephron has it all: I Feel Bad About my Neck. I am a big fan of Ephron's movies so I was not surprised to find that I loved her essays in this book as well. They are very tongue-in-cheek humorous little pieces that occasionally felt elitist but only occasionally. Didn't dampen my interest in this book however.

The poetry book that everyone should read, even if you don't do poetry: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I can't remember how I came across this book. I think I ran into one of its poems online, then looked for the book in my library, found it, devoured it, and struggled to go back to my life. It was too good.

Finally, I've leave you with the cutest funniest LOL Picture book: Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins. If you have been wondering, yes, I read a lot of picture books last year. Mother Bruce wins the prize for being the most entertaining one of the lot. Seriously, you have to pick it - it just tickled the heck out of me.

Are any of these books on your favorites list?