Normal People by Sally Rooney has been described as „the most enjoyable novel of the year“ by the Daily Telegraph. And indeed: I could hardly put it down — until I definitely needed a break near the story’s end because it was just too much. Too much sadness and missing that hit my very personal mark. For me, Rooney’s book was not enjoyable in the pleasant way one might expect reading this sentence on the cover of a book. It did not make me laugh, but it made me think. It was like a tornado of hurt that got hold of me. Gripping, interesting. A deep and intense story with intense characters. An emotional rollercoaster ride full of mental abysses and missing people though running towards them at full speed. Which the book description did not prepare me for and which I did not associate with the term „enjoyable“. Normal People got hold of me and I willingly gave myself to it. But I did not enjoy this book in the common sense of the expression.
Hold Still by Nina LaCour tells a story about loss, grief, the feeling of having terribly failed someone, about friendship, remembering and new beginnings, as the blurb indicates. But it also is about Photography and The Cure, which alone would have been enough for me to like it. However, if my feelings for this book stopped at just liking it, I would not be sitting on a balcony in the sun, writing this blogpost and listening to „Lovesong“ and „Just Like Heaven“ repeatedly right now. So, in the following, let me tell you which other feelings reading Hold Still evoked in me.
„Though it’s about a tragedy, hope and resilience are its heart.“LaCour, Nina. Hold Still (S.243). Penguin Young Readers Group. Kindle-Version.
“All the strangest things are true.“ (April Genevieve Tucholke, Wink Poppy Midnight)
Some books stay in mind for a long time. I picked this particular one up at Barnes & Noble on Broadway in New York City when I visited NYC with my best friend, Victoria, in June 2017. The story is still in my head, I remember it, I think about it. It still won’t leave, which is proof that I really enjoyed reading it. I bought Wink Poppy Midnight while waiting for Vici getting ready at the hairdresser. She had decided that she was in need of new Highlights. What else could there possibly be worth doing than getting blonde highlights in NYC…
Anyways, while Vici got her hair dyed, I strolled around the near bookstore and found this book. It took me only a few days to read it, though I still was in the most exciting city I’ve ever been to, partly because my flight back home got cancelled and I had to spend ten hours at JFK, alone and bored, because Vici would stay in the US for another two months. I was quite happy to have Wink Poppy Midnight with me because it was a gripping read, which surprised me a bit. Somehow, though it is YA, the story definitely is not mainstream. It is strange, dark and confusing in parts. And Wink Poppy Midnight is one of those books of which I will always know where and when I bought and read them.
“Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of.“ (April Genevieve Tucholke, Wink Poppy Midnight)