On My Bookshelf this month:
The Accidental Empress | The incredible story of Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Austria. At the age of 15, she accompanies her older sister, who was betrothed to the young Emporor Franz Josef, to Austria. Though shortly thereafter, she and Franz Josef fall in love and he instead chooses to marry her, making her the Empress of the great great Austro-Hungarian empire. It is a fascinating look into 19th century Europe, and ignited my desire to learn everything there is to know about the Hapsburgs and Imperial Vienna. This book was also the motivation behind my trip to Bad Ischl. | “A deity does not quake simply because the crowd yells. An empress stands fixed, immutable: the calm that continues on, even as the world rages.”
To Kill a Mockingbird | This was my absolute favorite book in High School, and I wanted to re-read it before the release of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set a Watchman. I can confidently say that this is still the best book I have ever read. Hidden beneath the sweet story of two children living with their lawyer father in the South during the Great Depression is a book that touches on race, equality, morality, innocence, kindness, hatred, and empathy. There is a reason why this book has won a Pulitzer Prize and is considered a masterpiece of American Literature. | “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
We Should All be Feminists | Based on the very popular TEDx talk by the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains feminism for the 21st century. | “Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women…The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
The Night Circus | Two illusionists are chosen at a young age to take part in a competition that will last the rest of their lives. The arena for the competition is a very magical circus. “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.” If you have the opportunity, listen to the audio version of this book. It is wonderful! | “Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”
Have you read any good books lately?