I should be doing something more productive like working on my Fulbright essays or my novel, but I’ve had a rather tiring day at work and I haven’t had my daily coffee so my brain is fizzling out. So therefore, to waste time until I can go home and eat a hearty dinner (yes, I’m also starving), I’m going to do this tag, which I got from Rachel!
RECENTLY WATCHED: The last book you finished reading.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust! You can find the book review on here if you’re so inclined (it’s just the previous entry on my blog) but I liked it a lot! I didn’t love it with all my heart, but I definitely enjoyed it and I appreciated what it was trying to do. Also, fantastic character work!
TOP PICKS: A book that has been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.
The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. Rachel actually recommended this book to me a while ago because it’s about women in 19th century London, which really is enough to get me to check out any book. Plus it’s shelved as LGBT and it features two female characters, so that bodes very very well! I tried to get it out of my library but apparently it’s only been published in England so far, so they couldn’t purchase it! I might buy it myself at some point unless I see plans for it to be published in the US.
RECENTLY ADDED: The last book you bought.
I went to a used bookstore and found Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and a delightfully pulpy edition of Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan LeFanu! Rachel has sung the praises of the former (if I’m remembering correctly), so I’m excited to read it, and the latter is part of my whole ~exploring Gothic classics~ phase but it also sounds so cool?? It’s a locked room mystery?? With occult and supernatural themes?? Bring it on. Also, I don’t know if this “counts” but State of Sorrow was this month’s FairyLoot book, and I definitely paid money for that, so I’m putting it on here.
POPULAR ON NETFLIX: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading.)
In YA/fantasy circles, Truthwitch and the Shades of Magic series are pretty well known! I’ve read both, loved both.
Also famous in YA circles is The Winner’s Curse, a book that is highly praised and has actually been recommended to me several times, but…maybe when it was published it seemed original but now, with a thousand other YA plots similar to it, it feels very derivative. I have little interest in reading it because there are so many other books that take on similar themes and do it better. And then, of course, there’s John Green’s Looking for Alaska, which sounds like embodiment of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope with a side of brooding white boy, and, yeah, no thanks.
COMEDIES: A funny book.
I’m reading Godsgrave now, and it’s hilarious. Which is strange for a book that is steeped in slavery and blood and guts, but the narrator is so freaking funny. I’ve literally laughed out loud so many times when reading this book. There’s such dry tongue-in-cheek humor here that I love. Of course the first book was hilarious too, but I feel like the humor has really found its feet here (or maybe I’m just more used to it). To be clear, though, this book is definitely not a comedy.
DRAMAS: A character who is a drama queen/king.
If there’s one thing I remember about The Diviners, it’s that Evie O’Neill was a complete and utter drama queen. She’s a clairvoyant who…is sent to live in the city with her uncle? I think? Anyway I remember her being very dramatic and big-hearted and spirited and I’m so excited to read this entire series once the fourth and final book is released (or at least announced). Also, because I definitely don’t see people complaining about this enough, WHY did they change the cover design???
ANIMATED: A book with cartoons on the cover.
I kind of took this to mean some kind of cartoonish art? Which few of the books I’ve read seemed to have, but perhaps Uprooted fits the bill? I feel like I read this book so long ago but it was just in 2016, wasn’t it? True to form, I’ve forgotten most of it, but I remember the writing was pretty, there was a great female friendship that should have been Sapphic but alas, and an actually decent heterosexual romance that I did not hate? But I also remember being very quizzical about a rapist character being humanized.
WATCH IT AGAIN: A book or series that you want to re-read.
I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone back in 2013. I liked it a lot, though it was exciting and well-written and pretty original! I’m not sure why I never continued with the series, though? I’ve been meaning to re-read the first book because I’ve forgotten nearly everything (of course), and because Laini Taylor is one of those authors that everyone loves.
DOCUMENTARIES: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.
I read a lot of non-fiction so I’m going to have a hard time recommending just one, so I’m choosing my top three, books that are super important but still accessible and readable and not super dry or academic. The New Jim Crow is probably the one that folks are most familiar with, and its summary is, basically, if you think the U.S. has any sort of fair justice system, prepare to have your entire belief system shattered. It focuses specifically on racial injustice but in the process also reveals a legal system that is fundamentally broken.
Queer Injustice does a similar thing, only it focuses on the arbitrary criminalization of LGBT people. This was one of the first non-fiction books I ever read, and it was the first book that made me realize that non-fiction could be so engaging.
Finally, Do Muslim Women Need Saving is a book that on its face seems to be about a rather obvious and simple concept but actually delves deep into a big philosophical question: why are Western values considered the best values? Why is sexual freedom considered the height of freedom? Why do we assume that the West’s version of enlightenment/freedom/democracy is what the entire world needs to adhere to? In a world shaped by imperialism and colonialism what do those things even mean? It’s a mindfuck in the best way.
ACTION AND ADVENTURE: An action-packed book.
Empress of a Thousand Skies is a book that made my jaw-drop with the amount of chapter cliffhangers it had. But it never really felt cheap, it was just exciting and fast-paced. I’m really annoyed though because even though I literally read it last year I’ve already forgotten half of what happened so I’ll probably have to re-read or at least skim it before picking up the sequel.
NEW RELEASES: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.
There are so many incredible YA fantasy books coming out this year and the next that I’m losing track. Some of the ones I’m really, really excited about – like Emily A. Duncan’s Something Dark and Holy – don’t have covers yet, so I’m going to go with Destiny Soria’s Beneath the Citadel. I really liked this authors historical fantasy novel even though it wasn’t as gripping as I had hoped, but I’m really looking forward to her high fantasy debut! But do allow me to say that I loathe this cover because it looks like something out of Nickelodeon’s Secrets of the Hidden Temple circa 2005. Not a great look.