Bookshelf // What I Read March 2017

Happy April, friends! I honestly can’t believe March is already over. I meant to do one of these posts each month, but February really got away from me and I think I only ended up reading 1 book on the plane to Seattle. (I finished up The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which I wrote about in the January WIR post, and was ultimately pretty good but could have been about 200 pages shorter with the same effect, tbh).

But I had a comeback in March and managed to read quite a few more books, so we’re back! Here’s what was on my shelf this month:

The Last of August, Brittany Cavallaro

I technically read this the last couple days of February, but I wanted to chat about it, so I figured it was close enough to March. In January’s post, I talked about how I picked up the first one, A Study in Charlotte, and was skeptical but fell completely in love with it. The series follows the great-great-great-grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as they have their own crazy adventures.

The Last of August is the second one in the series, and was just released Feb. 14, so I bought it up right away. I finished this one in about a day as well, and I will admit, I didn’t find it quite as enthralling as the first one, plot-wise. I felt like not as much stuff happened, but I was invested in the characters and it did a good job of revealing more about their relationship and their family lives. Plus I thought it set up the third book really well, and I now cannot wait to get my hands on that (which will probably be a long time from now, since this one literally just came out). Sigh.

Favorite quote: 

“It’s strange to grieve for your former self, and still I think it’s something that any girl understands. I’ve shed so many skins, I hardly know what I am now – muscle, maybe, or just memory. Perhaps just the will to keep going.”

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

I have never heard of a book series with just two books, but apparently this is the Six of Crows Duology. I read the first one on the recommendation (insistence) of my best friend Sam. I was skeptical, because it sounded very fantasy themed and complex and not like something I’d normally pick up. But I’d also seen these books all over Instagram, so I was curious. I finally started reading the first one, Six of Crows, on one rainy Saturday around 3 p.m. …and finished it at 4:30 the next morning. I was HOOKED, y’all.

Basically, it’s about this group of teenage thugs/con artists/thieves/criminals in a fantasy world vaguely themed on ours. There’s magic, there’s romance, there’s friendship, there’s hilarious one liners. It was just so original feeling and new and fresh and shockingly well written and incredibly inclusive and I was in love. Luckily, I had bought the second one, Crooked Kingdom for Sam for her birthday, but she’d already bought it, so I just kept it. I started that one the next afternoon after I’d caught up on sleep and finished it a couple days later. I actually liked Crooked Kingdom a bit better, coming from a narrative viewpoint. But they were seriously both so good, and I’ve been walking around in a haze, urging everyone I meet to read them ever since I finished them.

Favorite quote from Six of Crows:

“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”

Favorite quote from Crooked Kingdom:

“The world was made of miracles, unexpected earthquakes, storms that came from nowhere and might reshape a continent. The boy beside her. The future before her. Anything was possible.”

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

 

This has been on my to-be-read list for like, 2 years, so I’m so glad I finally got a chance to read it. It’s a series of essays by writer and columnist Roxane Gay, with whom I have a small obsession. She covers everything from competitive Scrabble tournaments to sexual assault with the same poise, grace, insight and, when available, humor. The essays really center around the concept of being a “bad” feminist, and how mainstream feminism so often chooses celebrities and icons to idolize as the epitome of feminism, who then become scapegoats the minute they make one wrong move. She argues that there’s no way to be a perfect feminist (although there are plenty of ways to be a problematic feminist, which is to say, not really a feminist after all). I loved this book, and I can’t wait to read her newest one, Difficult Women.

Favorite quote:

“I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.”

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

 

This is another book that I’ve been meaning to read for about a decade now. Whoops. But I was finally spurred into action last week after I watched the full trailer for the upcoming Hulu series. It’s haunting and incredible and so (unfortunately) relevant in this incredibly uncertain political climate. It’s a classic feminist text, detailing a world post-America where women have literally been stripped of all their rights and humanity, and are essentially treated as walking wombs. Women are judged on their ability to have children, as the post-nuclear society has had prolonged issues with fertility.

I think the most chilling part was the way that it supposedly happened. Basically, these extremist right wing groups took over the government, started out slow, declaring a state of emergency following staged terrorist attacks they blamed on middle-eastern groups, suspended the Constitution as a supposed matter of public security, then slowly but surely stripped away the rights of women and minorities before anyone could realize what was happening. It’s shocking, and seems like something absolutely within the realm of reality in this current time frame.

Favorite quote:

“I am not your justification for existence.”

What are you reading?

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