Good Reads : Paula McLain + Melanie Benjamin


Without fail, he and Polo wait at the door for me when I come home. Without fail, he brings a glass of water to bed because he knows I’ll ask for it at a later point in time. Without fail, I drive him crazy (no, really, Jasmine you’re driving me crazy!!). Without fail, I’ll beg to get into a photobooth…case in point at last Saturday’s wedding:

And without fail, he knows I need a book to maintain balance in my life (apparently watching Jersey Shore isn’t considered an intellectual activity). In light of this, when I’m on the verge of falling over the edge, we go to a bookstore and roam the aisles for soul food. Because, without fail, it means he loves me.

Here’s a few good books I’ve read lately…
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Okay, so this book? Ah-maze. Written fluidly and I was lost in its pages for a few days…when I finished the last chapter, I made JD promise we’d live in Paris for a few weeks next year. No, really, Jasmine you’re driving me crazy!! The story is historical fiction based on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadie Hemingway, and their struggles to start his writing career. Her sacrifice, diligence, and love melted my heart and though it ends with sadness and pain, her life was truly remarkable. LOVED it.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Being so intrigued with Hemingway’s personal life, I read his autobiography. It’s incredible to read his words in light of McLain’s research and juxtapose both versions. His tight, lean writing painted his life in Paris and Europe with beauty. I was especially fond of his chapter on hunger. Essentially, he says hungry artists are better artists because they want it more. It being writing for Hemingway, but I applied it to any artform, especially photography and how hunger for precision, success and authenticity reveals itself in need. And want.

Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus. This series of short essays by McManus was a nice break from my usual reading. Every chapter reveals McManus’ insight on love, specifically the role God plays in loving humanity. More than anything, it challenged me to love beyond what I think I’m capable of. For this, I’m thankful.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. Oh, wow. This book hit me like a swig of Nyquil. Soon enough I was dreaming of rabbit holes and Cheshire cats. I bought this book and was glued to it since I’ve always been fascinated with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The story is told through the voice of Alice, the real life girl for whom the story is dedicated. As the daughter of the Dean of Oxford (where Lewis taught mathematics), he befriended Alice and their story unfolds in the strangest of ways, revealing a new side to this child protagonist…who eventually grows up outside of Wonderland. A truly delightful read.

If you have book recommendations (I prefer only AWESOME BOOKS), please feel free to let me know what they are since I’m always on the look out for good reads! Happy Tuesday!