Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Novels With Nell - All The Light We Cannot See

Nell will be so proud of me that I've been reading each night before going to bed. I feel like she always makes time for it (hence the great book suggestions) whereas with blogging and school work I never really felt like I had time to to spend reading before going to sleep at night. Although all the books I read aren't specifically Nell suggested (I have a running stack of books that I want to read on my bookshelf so eventually I'll have to add hers to that) it has been a nice habit to try to form to help wind down the day. 

Here's a little fun fact for you, the illustration in the photo below was one of the first pieces of art I displayed in my room. Amanda C. Bee did it of Nell and me our freshman year and I found it all too fitting to have it land on a stack of books considering I get to have Nell talk about books on the blog! While I don't think she will be recommending these coffee table books anytime soon it makes me smile as I walk out of my room and I figured it was worth sharing! As for the book Nell is sharing, it is one that I've picked up on a number of occasions to look into and even have it on a "to read" note in my phone so maybe her recommendation is the final push! 

It’s me again, with another WWII historical fiction recommendation, and this one is in a league of its own. I kept hearing about All the Light We Cannot See and was anxious to read it, since it’s one of my favorite genres, and everyone was raving about it. Thankfully, I finally got my hands on a copy that wasn’t already on hold at the library. I read it, along with The Nightingale (previously recommended here), last summer, and I could not put this book down!  

“. . . Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).”

The book covers a long period of time, so you really get to know the characters and go through the war with them and see how they change. Not to mention, their stories intertwine; who doesn’t love when that happens in movies and books?! The San Francisco Chronicle isn’t kidding when they describe the author’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metahpors.” The descriptions made you feel like he didn’t just tell you the story, he showed you. (Anyone recognize that “don’t tell me, show me” bit from a creative writing class?) I’d find myself rereading sentences just to study the phenomenal writing (Dorothy here officially claiming that Nell may be slightly nerdy but in the best way possible).
And if you’re still unconvinced at this point, All the Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015, so you know it’s going to be good. Happy summer reading! If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought!


  1. I've been dying to read this book since my Mom recommended it to me a few months ago. Every time I go to the library it's checked out so I might just buy it!

  2. Dorothy, I read this book and surprisingly, didn't like it. Maybe historical fiction isn't for me, because one of my best friends absolutely loved that book and is quite the history fanatic! Thanks for sharing this review.

    Much love,
    Ashley |

  3. I loved this book!! Reading before bed is always a great way to relax.

  4. Can you share your "to read" list with us?


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