Friday, October 9, 2015

September Book Talk // Recap

It's been a really long time since I did one of these recaps! So much has happened here on the blog and I've read a bunch of different things since my August book talk too (though even in that I didn't really link back to different blog posts? Oops?). So here we go - let me know what you've read, reviewed, etc. this past month as well. Mine could probably be summarized with: "Christina is terrible at TBR lists."

So, first up, from the blog: I got my bookish rounds back on a weekly basis! Woohoo! You can check out edition 87 (this week), edition 86, edition 85, edition 84, and edition 83. (There are more blog posts, but this is only from between now and my August book talk). The only change is that so far this month, I've just been too tired to include book blogger discussions. I hope to do this in the future, but since it's the last thing that I do on those posts, it's the one I most often skip when exhaustion takes over.

This month, I also read and reviewed Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Serpentine by Cindy Pon, and The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. I read but did not review Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (my thoughts are too complicated for a blog post or booktube video - we can have a discussion on this but expect it to be long), Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz translated by Dick Davis (aka a book of Persian poetry; I enjoyed it but have been told that no translation can ever match the original. Also looking forward to comparing it to another book of poetry on Hafez since Dick Davis takes a literal interpretation to most of Hafez's poetry while others view him as a very famous, mystical Sufi poet), The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (which I will review in the future), The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (heyhey this was on my list of 2015 debuts I wanted to read, so that counts, right?), Humans of New York (I only recently discovered the blog & was curious to see what the book would be like; was slightly disappointed the captions weren't there as often but perhaps they'll be more featured in the upcoming Humans of New York: Stories?), Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier, Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters #2) by Juliet Marillier, and Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters #3) by Juliet Marillier.

Because I loved Daughter of The Forest so much, I created a list of recommendations of adult fiction that seemed suited for YA readers.

If you're interested, I'm also giving away Zeroes, This Raging Light, One, Mirrored, and the Wild Ones - some as ARCs, some as hardcovers.

What I just read & absolutely loved was Six Myths of our time by Marina Warner.

I had a feeling that I was going to love it when in the introduction, Marina Warner quotes Roland Barthes: Myth transforms history into nature.

Particularly relevant to all the YA I read was Warner's third essay, "Little Angels, Little Monsters: Keeping Childhood Innocent." So many of the most popular YA - Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The 5th Wave, Twilight, Divergent - end with or prominently feature the idea of the child as a stand-in symbol for hope, for the innocence of the future generations and the betterment therein of society. Time and time again I wondered how we got to a place where we placed such undue pressure and responsibility on a child and the child as a symbol. This essay gets into that and more. (Actually, I want to email my old kidlit professor and ask her whether she's read this essay or heard Marina Warner as she gave these lectures on the BBC. "Little Angels, Little Monsters" felt so, so relevant to everything that we had discussed; Warner even mentioned Bettelheim, who analyzed fairy tales with a Freudian lens. (Because of Bettelheim, every time I see Cinderella's slipper now, I think of the supposed representation of her sexuality i.e. her vagina.)).

Some reviews suggest that this book is dated. Maybe some of the cultural references are dated (the things that are referred to in the present are obviously no longer so), but the points that Warner makes on she-monsters (and motherhood/femininity, the role of women), modern masculinity, the concept of national identity, fairy tale beasts and cannibalism (and colonialism) still feel rather relevant to me. In fact, her last essay, "Home: Our Famous Island Race," is directly applicable to the Refugee crisis today. I appreciated the feminist lens and the broad-ranging approach Warner took to deconstructing these myths, and I will definitely be reading more of her work.

(I also am looking forward to reading some of the work she mentions here. Salman Rushdie's Imaginary Homelands? Derek Walcott's work? Yes, please!)

On an unrelated note, I am currently in a sort of YA book slump. Not much in the mood of reading YA fiction even though I've got a bunch of books that I ought to review or that I keep putting off - books that were released in the summer and with each day, are just being added to my TBR pile. That's in part why you see a book of Persian poetry, a cultural critique book, and a photography book amid some adult and YA fiction. I like to read beyond YA but rarely am in a slump like this. Maybe next month I'll be reading completely unrelated things as well. Who knows? I can't be trusted to follow TBR lists haha.

Next week, I know that I'll be reading a lot though. I'll be doing menial work at my job, and so I'll be able to listen to some audiobooks. Right now queued up are: Carrie by Stephen King, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, and the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I actually got to about halfway in Carrie, but I was in the YA fiction funk and not much in the mood to listen to audiobooks while walking to work (why do I get into these moods???), so then I let it expire before finishing. But it was already on Prom Night, and I want to see it through to the end. It's interesting to me to see how King told this YA story before YA was popular. It seems like nowadays, it would be considered experimental, with the different PoVs and excerpts from the books on Carrie and the incidents and so on.

I also got pretty far in Monster this summer, via audiobooksync, but it's on my work computer and when I was no longer doing menial work but trying to write a script that would recode my data, I couldn't listen any more... and it fell back. The Black Count I started to listen to last week, and it was really interesting. I appreciate the historical background and the in-depth look at Alexandre Dumas's life (and his family + heritage). Everything I Never Told You? Everyone seems to be raving about this one. And the Goldfinch I started last year, but that was around the time that I found out about my best friend's suicide and I didn't care to keep looking for the book.

We'll see if I actually read some of these lol. Y'all know how terrible I am with reading lists.

So, that's what I read this past month! What have you been reading and/or reviewing? What are you most looking forward to reading in October? Have you read anything that I mentioned here or are you interested in reading anything I mentioned here? Let me know!

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