YES I AM ACTUALLY KEEPING A PROMISE I MADE TO MYSELF.
I AM SHOOKETH.
WIG IS SNATCHED.
BLOGGERS EVERYWHERE ARE GASPING WITH SURPRISE.
I know, I know, I can’t believe it either, but goddamn December was a good reading month! I don’t mean to toot my own horn or anything, but I read a few books.
Look at me patting myself on the back like the queen I am.
Ok, so I wrote a December TBR post at the beginning of the month, and you all seemed to really enjoy it! Which saturated my soul with an everlasting love, so thank you, friends! So, I did say that I would write a ‘Wrap Up’ post to see if I actually did stick with the books I wanted to read, if I read any books at all, or if I flipped the script and read random ass books.
I have to say that it was a little bit of both.
I’ve rambled for a bit, let’s just get on with it.
1.Milk of the Moon by Sen Rajah is a poetry collection that forced me to change how I understand literature can be. It was an innovative and daring endeavour into the boundaries between literary genius and ridiculousness. It was written from the perspective of Sen Rajah’s psychosis, called Milk, who narrated Rajah’s life through her voice. In this sense, Milk acted as a mediator that both was Rajah and was not. It was confusing in some instances, but Rajah certainly has talent, no one can deny that. If you want to read my full-length review as part of the blog tour for Milk of the Moon, then you can read it here.
2.This book was not on my December TBR list at all, because it was a spontaneous purchase after I published my post. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking has been a book that I have always wanted to read, but always thought that it was far too scientific for me to be able to follow.
Oh, how wrong I was.
On a whim, I purchased it because I have always been so utterly fascinated with space, time and black holes and singularities that I needed to read it.
I only wished I could have read it whilst he was still alive – the way Hawking writes is a blessing. As the reader, you literally can feel the passion and love he has for what he does. He brings science, space and time alive through critical analysis but also humour and anecdotes. Reading this book was literally being in a constant state of having my mind blown – I never really thought too much about the origin of the universe, nor too much on the whole space-time situation, because it makes my brain hurt and then I end up in an existential crisis because goddamn, how did everything come about? How did the universe become the universe as we know it? What is the universe? Why the universe?
Hawking demonstrates that scientists now are in a constant battle in trying to figure out the theory of everything. I must admit, the two chapters on Black Holes were absolutely incredible and mind-blowing and I am absolutely fascinated. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing a little more about space, time and the universe – but don’t be alarmed about the science speak, Hawking as the most amazing ability to, not simplify, but clearly explain the scientific in a way that even I could understand it and follow along.
This book would have to be one of my favourite non-fiction books and it will take up a special space on my bookshelf.
3.Casper Pearl’s Chuck Steak was my third book of December and it was a wild effing ride. You ever read a book where the character is so utterly ridiculous and the narrative is so out-of-this-world insane? I was on a wild ride with Casper Pearl’s Chuck Steak. Described as a satirical action thriller, Chuck Steak is everything a 90s action movie would be, including the absolutely insane action scenes, the killer one-liners and the twist and turns of the plot – I felt like I was reading a Bruce Willis-esque movie. It was kind of an insane and unpredictable story that really did surprise me, but in some ways it felt lacking in terms of its character development, the ‘villain’ and the narrative itself. You can read my full-length review here.
4.This book was a happy surprise. See, my sister-from-another-mister Hannah and I always bookswap. And by bookswap, I mean we take piles of books from each other’s bookshelves to read when we have the time. It’s a system that has worked flawlessly for three years because we trust each other with the other’s books – which for a bookwitch like me, is the highest form of trust there is. The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin was a hidden gem. Mystery, crime, suspense, a twist and a surprise same-sex couple who has a happy ending?! It was a YES from me. I have a mini review of this book posted here.
5.Rebecca Holland’s Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse is a poetry collection that I also read in December and I’m so happy I did. She writes so beautifully and with so much rawness that you can’t help but not feel the emotions pouring off the page. I highly recommend this small chapbook of poems, because you will not be disappointed. I did write a review on this collection and you can read it here.
6.Look at me at number 6. Ok, I then read Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi and this one was and still is one that I’m not all that sure about. Was it good? Yes, I guess. Would I read it again? Nope. Would I recommend it? Maybe, depending on the person. It was an overall cute read but there were a few problematic aspects to it that just made the novel annoying to read. I won’t go in too much detail since I am a part of the blog tour for this book in a couple weeks, but it relies on stereotypes of how young people are; I’m talking about girls being bitchy towards each other because ‘we’re competition’, mental illness being trivialised to “so-and-so makes depression look cool”, the female protagonist having being raped when she was a teenager but her trauma – and yes, the way she treats her mum is an aspect of her trauma – is not helped, it’s more just briefly mentioned and then it’s not referred to again. The writing itself was good, but it was trying too hard to be ‘relatable’. The amount of pop culture references was cringe-worthy. We get it. You’re on twitter. You’re hip with the young people. It was a bit of a hit and miss for me.
7.This book was absolutely incredible and it definitely stirred my soul. Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill was a beautiful, amazing, incredible roar of a book and I loved it with everything in me. I have been a major fan of Gill’s work since Wild Embers and she does not disappoint. I will have a ‘mini review’ scheduled in a few weeks – everything is on my Google Calendar so I try to schedule reviews weeks in advance – where I talk a bit about why I loved it so much. Here’s an excerpt of my review:
Do you ever read a book and it makes you stop and consider the world around you and you feel this fire start to rise from the tips of your toes and it surges upward and you open your mouth to roar out all the fire?
Well, that was this for me…
Her words have the capability to completely shatter you with their honest and rawness and then carefully cradle you until you’re healed.
I highly recommend picking this collection up because it really is magnificent.
8.This book was a spontaneous read because it was originally a spontaneous purchase. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi was a surprisingly fantastic book. It follows the high school experience of Shirini, a young girl who is unfortunately experiencing the worst kind of treatment by her community because of her faith. Shirini is a Muslim-American, living in the direct aftermath of 9/11 and, honestly, if you are really sensitive to racism and extreme forms of bullying and discrimination, this book is not for you. Although being a story of first love, it really is an exploration of racism and Islamophobia. At times, I had to put the book down because I was getting too emotional – what Shirini had to go through, and what people now go through because of their faith or their race or their culture, disgusts me. Shirini is an incredibly strong and powerful young girl and I adore that so much. If you also enjoyed this book, and I do recommend like everyone to read it, you will also enjoy When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah and is basically quite similar, but it is specific to the Australian Muslim experience and it is a beautifully written story that is oh so powerful.
9.Although this is an audiobook, I’m still counting it because it still is a book! My very first audiobook, I decided to read Hunted by Meagan Spooner because I quite enjoy Spooner’s writing and her book that she co-authored with Amie Kaufman, Unearthed, was absolutely incredible. So I decided to give this book a shot. Now, Hunted is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and it is set in a type of Medieval Russia, which is awesome, but I still don’t quite know about the whole ‘falling in love with your captor who you think may also have killed your father’. Because, in this case, even though the Beast did not kill her father, he still is extremely problematic. And it is not romantic. How can you fall in love with anyone, cursed or not who keeps you captive? How can someone with a brain fall in love with someone who does that, let alone become friends with them? You can only excuse his behaviour as the result of his ‘curse’ so much until it becomes ridiculous. Ugh. But the writing was magnificent, although incredibly slow and descriptive, and the overall setting was fabulous. I don’t think I enjoyed this book though – I definitely would not re-read it. Definite Stockholm Syndrome.
I think that’s it. As you can see, I did not stick with my December TBR which is not surprising, but it’s kind of funny how easily I can get sidetracked when exposed to other books. Let me know what you guys read in December! I can’t believe it’s 2019.
Until next time, friends! Happy reading!