Five Books To Open Your Eyes

March 2, 2016

Five Books To Open Your Eyes

I love to read for all sorts of reasons, mostly it is a distraction or a chance to fall into another world even for just ten minutes. There are books I read now and I pick them up looking for that distraction and a bit of entertainment but then they surprise me and open my eyes to things I never even knew. I think about them long after I’ve finished reading, they stay with me, challenge my views and they make me see the world in a different way. Here are some of my favourite reads that have done just that – five books to open your eyes.

Orange Is The New Black – Piper Kerman

By now most people know of the TV series Orange Is The Black, we started watching it last year and loved it. I loved it so much my husband bought me the book it is based on for my birthday. I was surprised how good it was, nowhere near as dramatic as the show, a few less lesbian love affairs, but still fascinating. It really made me think about the politics behind the legal system; how the sentences can differ so drastically depending on a persons background, class or race. Piper Kerman is now involved in justice reform after seeing it from the inside and realising that there is little rehabilitation there. She was one of the lucky ones with a supportive family, money and people to turn to when she got out but so many women don’t have that. It is also tells some incredible tales about the strength of women, how resourceful they can be and how they fight for one another when they need to. I loved it.

The Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet – Jamie Ford

This is a fiction book, a beautifully written novel about a young Chinese-American boy who becomes friends with a Japanese-American girl. It is set in the US around the time of the second world war and throughout the story his friend is sent away to a Japanese internment camp that were being set up to contain citizens who were deemed a threat. The book is amazing, the story is just wonderful but I read the whole thing wondering how much of it was true. As it is outside my era and country I suppose I just hadn’t thought about things like that happening. The authors note explains that many of the events are in fact true, including the interment. He doesn’t place blame or judgement but tells it how it was, maybe hoping that people will read it and think to do better in the future.

Clandestine in Chile – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This is actually a real life story told by film director Miguel Littin who was exiled from his home country Chile. Years later he entered Chile in disguise to film the country under Pinochet’s rule and then told this tale to Gabriel Garcia Marquez who wrote it down and made it into this story told from Littin’s point of view. It is totally fascinating and despite it being incredibly dangerous for him to be there, some parts you almost laugh at. It not totally political, more a tale of adventure and a view into a country learning to live under oppression.

A Woman In Berlin – Anonymous 

I read this book quite a few years ago now and there are still parts of it I remember so clearly. It is a diary kept by a woman who was living in Berlin in 1945 as the war was ending and Russian soldiers occupied parts of the city. The things she writes are incredible insights into the unimaginable. The diaries are written more as a recount then anything else and it is chilling how normally she describes the violence and things people are willing to do simply to survive. It is gripping and historically, it’s an important story to be told but not a particularity easy one to read.

The Country Under My Skin – Gioconda Belli

A friend lent this book to me and it is another I read without having any knowledge of the history behind it. It’s an autobiography by Gioconda Belli which follows her life in Nicaragua. She spent years as a guerilla fighter at war with a dictatorship and was forced to spend a lot of her life in exile. It also shows her personal life as a mother and as a woman and I thought it was fascinating to see it all from a woman’s perspective. She doesn’t hide her emotions whether talking about politics or romance and the way the two weave into each other makes it a compelling read. Even if you have no interest in the political side of it I would still recommend it as an interesting read following a woman’s personal struggles in love, war and motherhood.

I would love to hear if you have any read any of these or if you have any books to share that have opened your eyes!

Five Books To Open Your Eyes Hayley From Home


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  • Maria (one tiny leap)

    A few that I’d love to read 🙂 I’ll definitely go get the Garcia Marquez, Jamie Ford’s and OITNB.

    Thanks for sharing xx

    March 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm Reply
  • Vicki

    I love the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – such a great read! I will have to read a few of the others you’ve mentioned

    March 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm Reply
  • Mini Travellers

    I haven’t read any of these, my list of books to read keeps getting bigger and bigger!

    March 2, 2016 at 5:27 pm Reply
  • mummyofboygirltwins

    I haven’t read any either but LOVE this list 🙂 xx

    March 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm Reply
  • Katie @mummydaddyme

    I’ve not read any of these- I have a huge amazon wish list that just keeps getting bigger and bigger at the moment! x

    March 2, 2016 at 7:25 pm Reply
  • Tracey Williams

    I really need to expand my book reading as I tend to stick to the same kind of fiction. We keep meaning to watch Orange is the new Black, and I never knew there was a book too x

    March 2, 2016 at 7:40 pm Reply
  • Sarah Christie

    These all sound fab Hayley, it takes me ages to read a book but I become totally engaged in them, I think I will try The Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet first it sounds great. I am reading Memoirs of a Geisha at the moment and wow it is incredible, the reviews were mixed but I am loving it x

    March 2, 2016 at 9:19 pm Reply
  • Esther @ Inside Out & About

    Since getting a Kindle for Christmas (and with night feeds) I am reading so much more! I really think we have similar taste so I’m so glad you shared these x

    April 9, 2016 at 10:34 pm Reply
  • Esther @ Inside Out & About

    Hayley! Are these books you own? Because I can’t seem to find most of them on my Kindle! x

    May 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm Reply
    • hayleyfromhome

      I have the first three but Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the only one on my kindle, the last two someone leant me the paperbacks! I wonder if they aren’t widely published due to the subject?! I’ll have a look and let you know if I find them xx

      May 27, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

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