It has been, unsurprisingly, a weird time over the past couple months. What with the pandemic and all, and my reading has been all over the place as a result. I’m not one of those people who have been devouring books as an escape, although I’m very jealous of them. Instead, I’ve been struggling to actually sit down and read without being incredibly aware of the fact that I’m reading and it being a struggle. So these are the books that I haven’t just thrown back onto my to-be-read pile within ten pages!
Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris
This is my favourites author debut and I didn’t love it. Charlaine Harris is my go-to. But it took her a couple go’s before she got the voice that I love so much now. It definitely makes me think I should give some other authors another try if I didn’t like their debut…
Atlas Alone by Emma Newman*
This was what I wanted from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; immersive video games, post-nuclear apocalypse, real life consequences. It’s great! I read Planetfall last year and Atlas Alone really solidified how Emma Newman is one of those writers, like Charlaine Harris, where I seem to match with them. I just love their writing style so much that I will follow them anywhere.
I did have some weird feelings about the representation of asexuality in this one though. But I’m not asexual and that isn’t my place, so I went searching around and found some own-voices reviews. Please check them out for further detail; Sarah didn’t like the rep (spoilers in this one), Mairi did like the rep (spoiler-free).
“It’s the sense of total mental absorption that I love, the fading of my own noisy mind into the background with only the work filling the space.”
Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes*
This is the first space opera style novel that I’ve enjoyed! I really want to like the sub-genre. I’ve tried many a different book in attempt but I’ve never found one that has done it for me. But space cats? I had to. So when I was sent this, it took me a couple of weeks to build the courage to pick it up. I’m going to do a full review on it and I am so looking forward to the sequel!
“Favours are delicious,” Pink said. “I ask myself, ‘Dr. Jones, what do you want to eat for lunch?’ and favours are the first thing-“
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salib
This is required reading for my last essay of my term at uni and I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it. However, it’s pretty interesting to read about. The author specifically chose to work with the stereotypes that both the West and the East have of Arab-Africans. So its the perfect book for an essay based on subverting readers expectations. It’s just a little unfortunate that it didn’t subvert my expectations that I wouldn’t have fun reading it. Post-modernist texts are not my favourite.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Stress has been making it hard for me to focus and enjoy reading, as weird as that may seem in a wrap-up of seven books. But it has, at times, felt like a bit of a chore. So I listened to the audiobook of The Bell Jar on a weird hunch and yeah, Plath describes the exact feeling. I loved this completely. And want to re-read it and do a full review on how much it meant for me in these weird times.
“The letters grew barbs and rams’ horns. I watched them separate, each from the other, and jiggle up and down in a silly way.”
The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler*
I have a full review of this one coming soon!
Lady Susan by Jane Austen
This may be a controversial opinion, because when I asked the question: what Jane Austen should I start with? Nobody said Lady Susan. But over the past couple years I’ve read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey in one month, and Persuasion. So I feel pretty confident in saying- Lady Susan is a good starter Austen.
It’s an epistolary novel, so told in letters. And it’s about a truly awful society woman who is trying to get her daughter, and herself, married again. At less than 100 pages you get a real glimpse into Austen’s style without the pressure of staring down 500 pages of prose.
“-for the pleasure of learning that the danger is over, is perhaps dearly purchased by all that you have previously suffered.”
What books have you been reading lately?