What I'm Reading... #6
Hope you guys are doing okay and sorry about the ridiculously long absence! I was in Australia for two weeks, if you couldn't tell from the sudden jump in my Instagram feed to somewhere with abundant amounts of sunshine. Then I was in Seoul for about three days and flew straight back to London. I've been all over the place and haven't really had the time to really sit down and sort through everything and get my life together. I do have my photo diary from the Australia trip coming up soon but in the mean time I thought I'd do a little review of the books I read before I left for this trip. I'm surprised that this What I'm Reading series have been one of the most regularly posted posts on nnyley. It's strange because I've always been a lover of books but never thought I was eloquent enough to express my thoughts or feelings on what I was reading. If I am not too extremely busy and even during university, I would read around or more than 10 books a month which I didn't realise was more than the average (well one statistics tell me so anyway). Anyway, let's get straight into it!
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
This book was strange. It's not that I didn't like it per se but more like I couldn't relate to the story most of the time and it was just so so so SLOW! It's about a religious group of families who go on a kind of pilgrimage with the purpose of curing the protagonist's brother who, for some reason, is mute. Okay so the two main reasons why it wasn't as amazing as I thought it'd be is because 1) it is very religious. More so than I could have thought. 2) As mentioned, it's really very slow-paced and to get to any kind of action, it took like three quarters of the book then everything happened so quickly in the last few chapters that I was left feeling so rushed. I think essentially, if you like slow paced thriller books this would be perfect for you but to me, the pace of the book lost me. It also has supernatural elements in it, or at least I think it does but I feel like a lot of the things in this book is left for the readers to decide, adding to the mystery. In a way, I think it could've worked well as a shorter book but as it is, I didn't really enjoy it. However, one thing I have to say about this book is that I really liked the relationship between the main character and his brother. It was endearing how these two communicated and how they explicitly trust each other to look out for each other.
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
I'm surprised I liked this book because it wasn't what I expected. It's about a couple and their journey from the beginning (so like when they meet) to their marriage and after, which is something that rarely gets talked about. The book goes between the narrative of Rabih and Kirsten, the couple, and also Alain de Botton's philosophy on love. I think the reason why I thought I wouldn't like this book is because it deals a lot with a married couple and their problems, which I, obviously, cannot really relate to as much. The thing is though, their problems aren't exclusively confined to those of married couples but I think branches out to friendships, couples, or even families. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying this but the main idea in this book is that one can only be in love fully when one has given up on perfection. That's a really important thing I think because falling in love is easy, well anything in the beginning is easy, but maintaining that love takes a lot of hard work and that is what the book essentially deals with.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Okay so I have to just say a quick thing about why I gave the Handmaid's Tale a 5 out of 5. The story was great, the way it was written was great but without the epilogue, I would've given this a 4 out of 5. The epilogue is so genius and I loved it. By now, you guys probably would've heard of this book since the US election and the Hulu series, but just in case you haven't, I'll try to explain it quickly. It's about Offred, a handmaid who lives in a dystopian world where women are basically not allowed to anything, including work, read, or write. They don't have any privacy whatsoever and they are not regarded as individuals. Her only role is to have children and what I think was so interesting was her constant portrayal of memories from her life before where she could wander the streets with whatever she wanted to wear, work in a job, and raise her own child with her family. It's scary to think about this kind of world but even scarier to think that something like this could be on its way in the near future.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I LOVED THIS BOOK. The essay form made it especially easier to read as the chapters itself were divided thematically and were short but more than that the way Roxane Gay writes about the world today and her experiences as a woman was highly entertaining and engaging. I think this is a book every woman should have on their list as it really did teach me a lot. Feminism is something that a number of people I think, including women themselves, shy away from because it has negative connotations. Yet, even from the onset of this book Roxane Gay talks about what it means to be a "bad feminist" and that striving for "perfection" often hinders the progress of the feminist movement.
Before I end this post, I just wanted to make a quick note for you guys who have already read the Handmaid's Tale and point you in the direction of Lucy Williams' blog where she talked about the book as part of the book club. Hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading x