Reciprocity in action: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I have a new favourite book.

The idea of ‘favourites’ of any media is, as you are aware, complex. It depends on where you are, your emotions at the time of reading, and often who is asking your opinion. However, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer will be the title I pull out when someone asks me my favourite book from now on.

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[Goodreads]

Continue reading “Reciprocity in action: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer”

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You can blame these childhood books

Hello! Welcome to #BookishBloggersUnite, a group of book nerd friends sharing our passions. This week we’re talking about books that influenced us as children.

When I started school I read every book in the school library before my first year was up. That should give you an idea of two things: first, that I treat my interests like a personal challenge and second, that books had a huge impact on my life from the start.

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The 10 most popular books on my TBR

Booktube is a great source of inspiration. One day I might start my own YouTube channel but as it stands I live in a basement apartment with roughly 18 minutes of natural light a day so it hasn’t yet been viable.

I mention this because I got the idea for this post from this video by abookolive. In it she looks at her Goodreads To Be Read (TBR) list and goes through to find the most popular books on there by amount of reviews. It was an interesting video and made me curious about my own since I have recently pruned my TBR for the first time in… well, ever.

Here goes.

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Number of ratings: 946,962

Average rating: 4.28

Honestly, I’m not completely sold on this book even though it’s on my TBR and everyone loves it. The setting is not for me but I have heard the characters are compelling so maybe it is time to whip out this beast of a book and go with it.

And no I haven’t seen the movie either.

Continue reading “The 10 most popular books on my TBR”

Recent favourite reads – May 2018

Turns out that I read a lot. That’s always been true but thanks to Book Riot Insiders I am turbo-charged. In April I hit my yearly goal of 52 books; as of writing I am at 56. I’m now aiming for 100 books in 2018 though I’m not too worried about hitting it.

Since I’ve read way too many books it makes sense to share some recent favourites. In no particular order here they are:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo32620332.jpg by Taylor Jenkins Reid

You know when you pick up a book and it’s exactly what you need at that moment? That was this book. It’s a light read but full of intense, vivid characters and a satisfying conclusion. At heart it’s a deep look into the lives of two women a generation apart and how so much (and yet very little) has changed.

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

AUUGH. INCOHERENT RAMBLINGS IS ALL I CAN MANAGE FOR THIS GLORIOUS BOOK. Genetic engineering. A romance between a dolphin and a crab. Drugs. Good and evil. Gods and their morality. Robots. AI uprisings. WHAT. HOW IS THIS ALL IN ONE BOOK. HOW IS THAT BOOK STILL AWESOME.

White Tears by Hari Kunzu

It is difficult to tell you why I enjoyed this book because to do so gives away too much and will take away from your enjoyment. Let’s just say that this book isn’t what you expect it to be and that it is written in an absorbing, beautiful, stark style that hits you right where it hurts.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Here’s one of those buzz-worthy books of recent times. Turns out it’s worth the hype. Circe is a daughter of Helios, the sun god, but she doesn’t discover her own powers for a long time. By that point she is already shunned by her family and though she ends up in exile, she becomes a central part of many stories in Greek mythology. In this book we don’t follow those stories; Circe is at the centre for once. She is not an easy character to love but Madeline Miller has a way with building up obnoxious yet endearing people.

 

What books have you been enjoying lately?

My life in books tag

Once in a while when you are lacking in ideas for content through general brain fuzz, it’s fun to do a book tag. I got this from over at Talking Tales so check out their post too.

1. Find a book for each of your initials.

This is a tricky one since my legal name and the name I go by are different, and even then my nickname is more me than the name I go by. In other words, I have a complicated relationship with my names. I’m going with my nickname for my first name – my second names both start with the same letter, so that works out well.

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The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K Le Guin

In my eternal hunt for audiobooks to make walking the dog slightly more exciting for me (the dog has a blast with or without a good story), I picked up The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursular K. Le Guin. This was, no doubt, inspired by her recent death. I have never been a fan of her due to the fact I’ve read very little she’s done, but I’ve respected her from afar.

Ursula K Le Guin - The Left Hand of DarknessConsidering all my own issues with gender and all the current focus on gender identity in the public zeitgeist, I decided to pick up this one that’s about a world where people are not men or women, but both (or neither). This is definitely going to work for me, I decided. I love sci-fi. I love gender shit. This is the book for me.

Apparently I was hasty.

The books is good, don’t get me wrong. It investigates the ‘strange’ world from the point of view of an outsider who struggles to understand the way things are communicated. However, I found a lot of the exposition incredibly clunky, often drowning in words packed with more syllables than necessary for the context. Not ideal for an audiobook. There’s also a boring, long-winded bit in the middle which nonetheless does give you a deeper attachment to the main characters and their relationship. I almost gave up.

Some metaphors are clunky as hell too, but I enjoyed a lot of them. I also enjoyed how Le Guin thought about how we would view everything – society, relationships, even life/death – if we were not so entrapped in our dualism.

All said, The Left Hand of Darkness is a stunning classic book on gender issues in sci-fi and should be viewed as such (and enjoyed by many); it’s just not a book for me.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

It’s been a while since I read this book but I can’t stop thinking about it. Despite originally getting it out as a library book, I now own a copy. I’m considering doing a reread soon even though I have a to-be-read pile taller than my fiance (and it’s about 500 pages). This book, written by the fabulous Mackenzi Lee, is everything I want in life.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.jpgMonty is a bit of an asshole. He’s also desperately in love with his best friend, Percy, and is about to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe with him (and Felicity, Monty’s nerdy sister). In a time when it is definitely frowned upon to lust after your male best friend, Monty spends a lot of time managing his emotions and figuring out how to behave.

This could easily dissolve into a book about historical homophobia; a subject that has its place, though perhaps not on my shelves (I’m a more hopeful person). Instead the book is gleeful, ridiculous, and incredibly touching. Every character is vivid. Monty is a complex character, not a useless fop as initially seen, and we explore issues of race and gender throughout. It’s a delicious book, full to the brim with flavour.

My goodness. This book. This book is one that you pick up off the shelf and hug because you love the characters so much. This book is one where you preorder the sequel before you’ve finished the first half of it. (P.S: don’t read a summary of the sequel before you read the first one. It has spoilers.)

This book is for you. Pick it up and fall in love with Monty and his disjointed family just as I did.