This was such a good reading week – I’m still busy at work, so it’s nice to have some great books to immerse myself into. None of the books I picked up this week were “cozy reads”, but all were so brilliant. I’m thinking of picking up next a book from the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist.
Weekly Wrap Up
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee / 5 stars
I’ve been meaning to read this for a loooong time. I finally decided to pick this up on audio, although I have it as an ebook already. The narration is really good, and I like listening to nonfiction, so it’s going pretty well! It’s really eye-opening and well-written.
1808 by Laurentino Gomes / ongoing
I’m highly enjoying this book, which tells the story of the Portuguese royal family escaping Napoleon’s troops and fleeing to Brazil, then being shocked by how the Brazilian colonies differed from Portugal and trying to “improve” it.
The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao / 4 stars
This is a slow-paced literary mystery/thriller (I can’t decide which it is) that I thought would be just okay, with its very dramatic first chapter and slightly overwritten style. But as the story went on, it grew on me – to the point where I think the second half of it was maybe a 5-star! Still, it took a while for me to warm to the story, which is why I gave it 4 stars in the end. I loved the intriguing plot, the twists I sometimes did not see coming at all, the dark tone of the story and its ruthlessness. I’m surprised by how many themes the author managed to put into one highly addictive story – it talks about abuse in marriage, racism, the violence in being absurdly wealthy etc. Truly a fantastic book!
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses / ongoing
This is a weird book. It tells the story of a man who works at a slaughterhouse, except… in this world, all animal meat has been turned deadly for human consumption because of a virus, and now humans are being bred for slaughter. It’s a stomach-churning concept that is very well executed and brings to light the horrors of slaughterhouses and meat consumption. I have mixed feelings about this because I kind of detest the main character – he feels like a typical sci-fi protagonist written by a white man in the 1950s to me and I resent the lack of discussion regarding consent when it comes to his “relationship” to one of the women bred for consumption. There’s still some of the book to go, so maybe that’s dealt with somehow but I simply don’t like the guy and it makes my enjoyment of the book dwindle. Still, I think the book’s execution of a difficult theme is so amazing – it’s ruthless, crude but the level of (gory) detail does not feel gratuitous.