22 November, 2011

Reading by Moonlight

Title: Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life
Author: Brenda Walker
Genre: Non Fiction - Memoir
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads: The first time Brenda Walker packed her bag to go into hospital, she wondered which book to take with her. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life had been built around reading and writing. Now she was also a patient, being treated for breast cancer, fighting for her life and afraid for herself and her family. But turning to medicine didn't mean she turned away from fiction. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.
In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different books and authors helped her through the tumultuous process of recovery. As well as offering wonderful introductions and insights into the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda shows how the very process of reading – surrendering and then regathering yourself – echoes the process of healing.
Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures, throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the stories that come to us in times of jeopardy. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.

What I thought: I reserved, borrowed and returned this book twice before I actually got to read it on my third attempt. I wonder if I partly put it off because of the subject matter. My most wonderful mother in law (and I mean that sincerely, she is wonderful) is currently battling cancer. Not breast cancer, but cancer all the same. And at times, this book bought me to tears, just wondering if she was feeling the same way Brenda Walker describes her own feelings are various parts of her journey. To me the book read like a battle with cancer. I wouldn't say it was uplifting but anger iducing, tiring, causing self doubt, defiant and relentless. Walker's ability to draw comfort and parrallels with books was wonderful. I know there have been many times in my life when what I have been reading seems to reflect my life and I wonder if during those times you subconciously select those books, looking for direction or needing to identify with someone else and know you are not alone.
This book is worth it, just don't go into it thinking you will walk out feeling up lifted and triumphant. It is an honest account of one woman's  journey.

Recommended for: those who want a truthful, gritty account of dealing with cancer.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge