April was a weird reading month, as you might have gathered from the title. I took forever to finish Jane Eyre, a classic I had started in March and ran a book club on in mid April. And then I raced through two books in one week while on holiday. Some months are simply like that. If I crunch down the numbers, I haven´t read that much in April, especially not when I think of how much time off I had and how little of it I spent reading. But the three books I did read in April turned out full of powerful lessons and generated some pretty awesome conversations, both with others, and with myself. And so, let´s see what I read for this #monthlybookclub.
Charlotte Bronte´s Jane Eyre
I read Jane Eyre for this month´s digital book club and was actually going to write a separate post just about this book, but I think I´ll just make space for it here. But where to even begin? Jane Eyre is definitely the heroine the Victorians needed in the mid 19th century. Now Charlotte Bronte might have drawn inspiration from her own being when contouring Jane´s character, but regardless of whether she had a tangible muse or not, she has done a fantastic job at character building. While she leaves most of the other characters in the shadows, the way she developed Jane´s character is truly something. The book starts off slow, and maybe finishes a bit too fast, but throughout its 300+ pages, it paints a splendid picture of young Jane´s Bildung, from a persecuted orphan in the car of her cold aunt, to a young pupil and eventually teacher at the Lowood Institution, a school for poor and orphaned girl, to a composed governess at Thornfield Hall and eventually a principal of a small school. Throughout Jane´s journey, Bronte introduces first and foremost the topic of feminism, but also secondary topics like class, religion and even the effects of colonialism. It is a rich book, with many (potentially unintended) metaphors and lessons and I absolutely loved discussing it in our second digital book club edition!
Esther Perel´s Mating in Captivity
Alright, so the “relationship saver” status I gave this book might be a bit misleading. Mating in Captivity is not necessarily a book for couples in distress, but rather an essential book for all couples who recognise the strain that a long term monogamous relationship can have on one´s sex life. Esther Perel is a brilliant relationship therapist, who writes extremely practical books not based on studies and numbers, but rather on her own experiences with her patients. Real life stories, about real couples that are invested in making it work in the long run, without losing the playful eroticism so vital in any couple. I truly loved this book, as well as her other, A State of Affairs. Written with empathy and without judgement, and with proper practical advices anyone can follow.
Matt Haig´s The Midnight Library
I have been seeing this book absolutely everywhere – on Instagram, in bookstores, on friends´ nightstands. And you might think that meant I had to buy it, but I don´t always work like that. Especially when it comes to contemporary books, it often takes me a while to jump on the train. But I found myself in Porto on holidays this month and since I can barely travel anywhere new without buying a book, I ended up getting this one. And oh, what an utterly brilliant idea. I loved, loved, loved The Midnight Library. I found Nora, the main character, so easy to like. I found the book so easy to read. I found the idea of a midnight library (without giving you any spoilers) so plainly brilliant. The book has traces (some more elaborated than others) of all the lovely things: philosophy, music, travel. But more than anything it´s about growth and strength of overcoming difficulties, particularly depression. It might be called the midnight library, but it´s a serious ray of sunshine through the darkness of a depressing night.