Midway through December and I am four books from hitting my 2017 goal!
So far this month I’ve read 7 books, all pretty good but none really standout except for Frances Hardinge’s A Skinful of Shadows, an AU fantasy about England in ye olden times, with a heroine who houses a bear inside her skin. I’ve noticed a trend in books I’ve read this year around heroines who are so busy trying to survive that they literally cannot think beyond the horizon of survival – there are no dreams, no wide open vistas for these heroines, only gritted-teeth getting through the day, past this cruelty and then the next. Which makes them strong and present, and utterly sad. (I loved Hardinge’s The Lie Tree about a Victorian female archaeologist last year, and I’m so happy to find out she has a few other books in her backlog that I can check out!)
Some of the other novels this month:
Adelle Waldman The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. (Male author in relationships with women who are too good for him, his frustration with his own inability to commit etc etc. This was sad and toxic and very male and my friend F was right – it made me feel sad about relationships in general. So it was good, but not uplifting or redemptive at all, just very pessimistic about life and about that one guy you know who is nice but also an ass.)
Laurie Geldman Class Mom (American mothers, their involvement in their kids lives, lightly humorous, a quick read, but nothing very substantial.)
Imran Hashim Annabelle Thong (A Singaporean novel about a Chinese Catholic girl doing her Masters in Paris at the Sorbonne, looking for love and purpose. Entertaining, gave me an insight into some Singaporean quirks, but pacing was off, especially towards the end, the central love story felt just about believable but not much more than that, and I didn’t buy that Annabelle herself was a particularly likeable heroine.)
M.R Carey The Boy on the Bridge (companion of sorts to the zombie novel The Girl with all the Gifts, it was a little bit long and draggy in parts, but otherwise a page-turner. Too many people in the ensemble cast – if I hadn’t read this fairly quickly I’d have had trouble keeping track)
Angela Y. Davis Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (A collection of essays and interviews by and with renowned activist Angela Y. Davis, this was primarily very interesting to me because the whole abolition of prison-institutions is a new argument to me, although apparently I’m very very late to this party. Reminded me how important it is to stay engaged with your community, to work towards making it a better one for everybody.)
I was in Bangkok over the weekend for a conference, and dropped in at the Kinokuniya in Siam Paragon. Due to having blistered feet (didn’t want to add too much more weight to the laptop load I was carrying), and being cognizant that in March I’ll have to ship all my books back home, I picked up just three books:
- An Agatha Christie spoof,
- a tome on what it means to be a female artist (it sounded like Joan Ashby is a female counterpart to all those novels about male writers and their long-suffering wives a la this year’s movie Mother, and a little bit Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, so I’m looking forward to this one) and
- what seems to be one of these stories about a protracted, intermingling-lives, almost-but-not-quite romance. Sort of Sweet Valley Saga-ish without the reincarnation.
Four books left to the 150 goal, and just under two weeks to go to 2018! If I get stuck I might refer over to Ask a Manager’s book recommendation round-up for the year. Her recommendations are always quality.