Hey hey friends! How are you? What have you been reading recently?
Today, I just have a quick reading update post for a reading challenge that I created for myself! If you didn’t know, I wrote a blog post back in February talking about the 28 books I wanted to read before I turned 28 in August. It is now May and I am seriously considering the fact that I may have overestimated myself in terms of what I could read before August haha.
But! I have been able to read a few of them and am currently in halfway through another.
Since February, I have read 6 books on this list. I am not the happiest of girlies with that amount but my reading has been weird the past few months, so I’m trying to be nicer to myself. Out of the six, I have given 3 books five stars, 1 book 4.5 stars, 1 book 4 stars and 1 book 3.5 stars. So overall, these books are really working for me! I have enjoyed all of them which is definitely what I was hoping for when planning this reading challenge.
The books I have read you will all be very familiar with as I have spoken about each of them in various other blog posts. But I’ll just give a quick recap about my thoughts (and links to posts where I talk more about them!) and then briefly talk about my reading plans for the future of this list, like which books I’m going to be prioritising to read sooner, etc.
So, shall we begin?
𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚏𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜
I think I’ve only just recently screamed about this book here and here, but 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝑫𝒂𝒎𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝑮. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 was absolutely brilliant, fierce, emotional, and rage-inducing. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially to any Australians who read my blog posts! 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝑮. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 has one of the most engaging voices I have read in non-fiction, and she explores the myriad of ways that systemic oppression, genocide and the white supremacist history and legacy of colonisation in Australia continues to impact her and her family. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 is a Noongar woman (which means that the country of her family and her ancestors is in the South-west area of Western Australia) and the way she writes of her experiences, her interections with feminism and her identity, blew me away. I have nothing but exceptional things to say about this book.
𝑵𝒂𝒕𝒂𝒔𝒉𝒂 𝑩𝒓𝒐𝒘𝒏’𝒔, 𝑨𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒍𝒚 is a novella that packs a punch. The book follows an unnamed narrator who is a Black British woman going about her life, trying to maintain a level of normalcy after discovering that her health is in serious decline. We observe the macro and micro aggressions she faces at her workplace, walking down the street – essentially just existing. She is a successful woman and her success rubs many white men the wrong way. She was moulded herself into the sort of person that is acceptable; she is a banker, doesn’t rock the boat, is palatable to the white people who surround her and as a result, she feels disconnected to her identity and her sense of self. We see the legacy of trauma that colonisation has especially on immigrant families from those colonised countries – especially the legacy of violence. This was ultimately incredibly powerful and provoking and I implore everyone to read it. I also spoke about it here.
𝚏𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚊 𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚏 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜
𝑴𝒂𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒙 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒂𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒏 𝑮𝒓𝒐𝒇𝒇 was a book that entirely surprised me. A historical fiction novel that I loved?! A miracle! I had never read a Lauren Groff book before so I went in with next to no expectations because the way that people described the book seemed slighly unhinged but incredibly fascinating. I loved it. The book centres the main protagonist, Marie, who is described as a giantess and a woman who is unlike any other woman most of the aristocracy have known. Marie grew up with her mother and her auties who all hunted, rode horses and did things that were considered ‘abnormal’ for women to do. Her mother was raped (I think) or had a relationship with the King of France (was it France or England? My memory is shot) and Marie was the result of that so when her mother died, Marie decided to go to the King. The court just doesn’t know how to handle Marie, so essentially Marie is sent to manage an abbey in bumfuck, France with the hope that everyone would forget her existence.
What follows is Marie being a bad bitch and creating one of the most wealthy and powerful abbey’s in the country. She was meant to be the abbess and ensures the safety and protection of all the women under her – in ways that some might say are a bit too much. But Marie’s heart is the right place, most of the time. Also, Marie is a lesbian nun and I love her. The book actually touches on the idea of women of that time, choosing to go to convents or abbey’s in order to ensure they don’t have to get married – either because they don’t like the man their family wants them to marry or because their sexual attraction leans more towards the same gender. It was fascinating and awesome and I love queer nuns. I do think however, that the audience for this book would be possibly niche as the way it’s written is interesting. I think when I talked about this book here, I said that it reminded me of 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒍 𝒀𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓, and I do still stand by that only because of they way it was written. It felt slightly stream of consciousness, fragmented in parts, incredibly beautiful and lyrical but also quite abstract? All I know is that it was a fantastic book and a wonderful reading experience.
𝚏𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜
The only four star book of this list was 𝑶𝒖𝒓 𝑽𝒊𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑬𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒍𝒐𝒆 𝑮𝒐𝒏𝒈. Now, I have talked about this book so much as it had it’s own dedicated blog post (read that here), so I won’t talk much about it. All I will say is that it was a really good conclusion to the 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐃𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐝𝐮𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 but it didn’t necessarily wow me. I think Chloe Gong has such incredible potential, but her writing and pacing needs some slight work.
𝚝𝚑𝚛𝚎𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚊 𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚏 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜
Ooo. Okay. So this book is really bloody hard to talk about, only because I really don’t know how to talk about it. 𝑬𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒚𝒂𝒌𝒂 𝑴𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒂 was unlike anything I have ever read. It is also slightly different to Murata’s bestselling novel, 𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏. The main character thinks she communicates with an alien (through her stuffed toy), her cousin thinks he’s an alien, there’s incest and under-age sex, paedophilia and sexual assault – and mental health in the world run by capitalism. I don’t know if I would recommend it to anyone – purely because I still don’t quite understand this book. It’s one of those that I don’t understand if the main character’s feelings and experiences are real or a way to deal with being abused by her family and by her teacher. I talk more about it here.
6 down, 22 to go!
That feels like so many!
I think my plan going forward is to finish the book I am in the middle of reading and have been since March (whoops), which is 𝑴𝒊𝒅𝒅𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑮𝒆𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒆 𝑬𝒍𝒊𝒐𝒕. I am in love with it but my brain hasn’t been the greatest with dense classics at the moment. I then think I want to tackle the more shorter books on this list, so 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒆 𝑮𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒅, 𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝑻𝒐 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝑲𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒆, a 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝑴𝒚 𝑩𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒇 𝑩𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒚. I think those are the ones that I’m going to focus on since I feel like I could knock them all out in a week or so. In terms of the larger books on this list, well I think I’m fucked. The priority after finishing 𝑴𝒊𝒅𝒅𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒉 will either be 𝟏𝑸𝟖𝟒 𝒐𝒓 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝑴𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒆 𝑪𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐…which one do you recommend? Can you let me know, please? I need help deciding!
Most of this month will be taken up by a blog post that I’m hoping to complete and in order to do so I need to read a few books for it…I am really excited about it but as a result, my reading month will not have a lot of room for the big books and classics on this list! Pray for me!
Anyway! Thank you all so much for reading!!!!! I really appreciate it, as always.
I hope you are all having a wonderful start to the weekend and are reading incredible books.
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,