We finally had a bit of sunlight last week, after endless weeks of fog (yay, November), so I gathered some courage and went running and whew, I’m so unfit now it’s a miracle I survived that weak-ass run. I’m hoping to go a bit more often now, even with the cold (I actually like running in the cold, 1000x better than in the heat). I read a LOT this week, mostly because I listened to audiobooks on my preferred unreasonably-fast speed & mostly listening to short books (~5h), so I ended up finishing 6 books (I only had like 20min left on Evil Has a Name and 10% or so of Vivek Oji) and starting 2 more.
This week I received from Netgalley:
This week I bought:
I’ve already read Bad Blood but wanted a physical copy to re-read at some point! I also bought Mostly Hero a while ago, but forgot to haul it here, apparently.
It’s nearly the end of the month and a lot of us have been affected by Pandemic-related slumps, and are starting to fall behind on our reading challenges… so help with that, I’ve compiled eight books I enjoyed and one I’d love to read ASAP which are fast, engaging reads, from non-fiction to horror and magical realism.
Synopsis: The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.
Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.
To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.
That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.
Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.
A Man by Keiichiro Hirano, translated by Eli K.P. William
Categories: Mystery, Translated Fiction
First Publication Date: 1 June 2020
Synopsis: Akira Kido is a divorce attorney whose own marriage is in danger of being destroyed by emotional disconnect. With a midlife crisis looming, Kido’s life is upended by the reemergence of a former client, Rié Takemoto. She wants Kido to investigate a dead man—her recently deceased husband, Daisuké. Upon his death she discovered that he’d been living a lie. His name, his past, his entire identity belonged to someone else, a total stranger. The investigation draws Kido into two intriguing mysteries: finding out who Rié’s husband really was and discovering more about the man he pretended to be. Soon, with each new revelation, Kido will come to share the obsession with—and the lure of—erasing one life to create a new one.
It’s been quite a week – I am so ready for Christmas vacations. I’m on a good way to getting my TBR below 170 books, although I’ve been deviating a lot from what I planned to read.
As a way to control my TBR while also not losing track of books that are vaguely on my radar but I’m not very decided about, especially those I keep adding and then removing from my TBR, I created a “on-my-radar” list, where I am gleefully adding books (I added 60 in like… 2, 3 days?) so I no longer have to debate whether to add something to my TBR or not. As a result, my TBR is smaller and consists of stuff I actually want to read, plus a “shadow” TBR of stuff I might want to get to at some point but don’t feel actually pressured to read. I think this will work well!
Synopsis: They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
Clio is a very good friend of mine who is a historian and loves reading (you should check out Clio’s Board Games, it’s BRILLIANT and the latest post is about women’s enfranchisement and it’s *chef’s kiss*). So obviously I was going to explore this, and Clio kindly agreed to write a recommendation post for Non-Fiction November! I’ve just posted my amateur recs if you want to check them out. Now, I give the word to my esteemed guest!
Sometimes, when you read or watch something exciting, it sends an additional shiver down your spine to see that little note “Based on a true story”. That’s what I love about reading non-fiction – all of it is a true story! Now, you only have to find those true stories that are exciting in the first place. And that’s where this post comes in. Based on my reading record of roughly two thirds non-fiction to one third fiction, here are some books which are insightful, relevant, and at the same time, riveting. For the most complex characters and most captivating plots, I encourage you to read history – but there are gems found to be elsewhere in non-fiction as well.
I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Milk Fed is the story of a young Jewish woman who goes through an emotional detox from her mother and meets a woman at a local yoghurt place. She has internalized fatphobia and a severe eating disorder, controlling every minute or her life so as not to get fat. Serious trigger warnings here for eating disorder, self-harm, toxic family relationships and homophobia. I loved the writing in this book, Melissa Broder’s sharp, dry and sarcastic tone makes anything she writes a delight to read. However, I found this book quite uninspired at times and the ending left me thinking – that’s it? Perhaps I’m seriously burned-out from the Disaster Woman trope (as I’ve mentioned a few times), but watching things unfold made me cringe so hard. I just found myself not really wanting to pick this up very often, but at least it was a quick read, and it’s definitely a bold story.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Categories: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
First Publication Date: January 26, 2016
I had a bit of a mixed experience with All the Birds in the Sky, namely that I loved the world building, thought the whimsical touches really worked for it and the humor was on-point, I even loved some of the characters, but also found myself skimming through the book a lot and I did not care for the ending. This is an adult novel that felt very often to me like middle grade, with its on-the-nose themes, which I did not really enjoy. A lot happens in this 300-page novel, making it feel much longer and be quite an immersive read, so if the writing style works for you, I think this will be a very interesting read!
I can’t believe it’s November. Less than two months and this year is over. So weird. I picked up a few nonfic reads this week, FINALLY. I have read more nonfic than usual this year, but I’ve been craving more lately and I’m glad to get some off my list. The weather is quite awful and everything is closed now due to light lockdown, so I had plenty of opportunity to read this week.
From Netgalley and Edelweiss I received:
I’m a bit nervous because I saw mixed reviews for The Sanatorium and also because the translator of Permafrost is the same as for Eartheater, which had a writing style I did not like (and might have been the translation’s fault). We will see! I’m excited to finally read Ali Smith, though. And The Animals in That Country is giving me I Hold a Wolf by the Ears and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead vibes.
November has just started and a lot of us realize at this point we’ve been reading lots of fiction all year and would like to catch up with something different. I particularly enjoy Non-Fiction November because it makes me realize all the books that have been on my radar sometimes for years but I haven’t picked up because I’m normally more focused on recent fiction releases, plus it’s a great opportunity to hype amazing books I haven’t recommended often enough.
I realize that since I read so much more fiction than nonfic, most of the books below are no news to most of you, but I’m hoping something will spark your interest – I’ve separated the books by theme and offered a few different options on each, depending on what you like to read. I’m hoping on future recommendation posts to add some books on feminism and more biographies. Let me know in the comments your favorite recent nonfic read!
First I’m selecting here some books that I can only describe as “history but make it thrilling“, starting with The Endurance by Caroline Alexander, telling the story of Shackleton’s disastrous/heroic Antarctic expedition during WWI times. It’s full of photos, which I really enjoy. Next we have one of my favorite topics to read about, Space Race by Deborah Cadbury. It has everything: space, geniuses, political drama, things exploding. I don’t love von Braun’s charecterization here, but it’s still a great book! And last, one of the best books I’ve read in my life: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe tells a true story of murder in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. It’s intriguing, intense and so humane, a very good introduction for those who don’t know much about the conflict.
I also loved The Calculus Wars by Jason Bardi several years ago and I’m looking forward to reading a biography of von Braun (which I’m hoping is a more sober portrait).