Westlake Soul by @Rio_Youers

I have an affinity for books I like to refer to as beautifully sad. I don’t search these types of books out, rather when I read one that is such it seems to touch my soul and resonate with me. Maybe it’s due to my own internalizing and holding things in that I find the beautifully sad so relatable. The way these type of books aren’t afraid to bear all emotion is a kind of release I don’t allow myself too often.

Westlake Soul, a surfing champion, suffers a catastrophic injury, resulting in being in a vegetative state, unable to move or respond to anything. The only communication Westlake is capable of is with his beloved dog Hub. Westlake is in a battle to find his way out of his immobile prison and return to the life and relationships he cherishes.

I went into this book thinking it was a different type of story. One of horror and terror rather than one of emotion and a different kind of fear- fear of the possible end. The reader gets to know Westlake through his memories of life before his accident, and he’s a likeable dude. An easy going surfer who is happy with his life and its direction. The accident doesn’t change his mindset at all, just allows him to be even more appreciative of how he has lived so far and use that appreciation to try and find a way out of his current state.

Youers does sprinkle the book with touches of sentiment, though it is the perfect amount. Allowing the reader just enough emotion and feeling and then being able to move on. He captures emotions and feelings in realistic ways without being manipulative or duplicitous.

This is the second book of Youers I’ve read and I’ve enjoyed both in totally different ways. This one, however, is one of those books that was unexpected to me. Mainly due to the impact it had on me. Every reader has a different experience when reading a book. This one is beautifully sad to me and I couldn’t be happier with that experience.

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The Year in Reading 2017

Every year I hope to read 52 books in one year. I’ve never been able to do that and this year is no different. This year was a paltry 25 books read. I really thought I was closer to my 52 book goal but ended the year just under half of that. 

Lack of meeting my goal aside, a few of my favorites:

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi – Scalzi is a prolific sci-fi writer and this book was a bit of a departure from that style. However the quality of writing/story did not suffer at all. A fast paced and compelling story combined with excellent illustrations, this short story was my top read this year.

Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers – The Spider still tickles my brain after reading this thriller. A forgotten love with a mystery connection made this book a unique read. If you are looking for a good thriller, pick this book up.

Anything by Chuck Wendig – three books in my stack by Wendig and each one was read in two days (or less). Wendig has a way of pulling the reader in and making an intimate connection. No matter what was going on around me, I was fully engrossed in the story. It felt like a deep conversation with a close friend you only get to see every few years. I look forward to reading more of his books in 2018

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy – Technology runs our lives. What happens when nefarious entities take control of that technology is frightening.

So many books, so little time to read them.