Hi bookish friends,
I am getting into the grove of mindful reading and I am super happy with this. I read several poetry anthologies, stepped outside my comfort zone with some non-fiction, and generally just chose books that totally spoke to me at that moment (which made me completely abandon my to-read list for this month). I also made more time for other hobbies resulting in fewer books than what I usually read, but I am thinking this will become my new “usually”, which really doesn’t matter and so I should stop mentioning it.
Books read: 12.5
Books listened to: 0.5
Total pages read (includes “pages” from audiobooks): 3211
The First Free Women (Matty Weingast) ♠♠♠♠
This was my first encounter with these poems which are, from what I understand, groundbreaking and revolutionary. The idea of reading prose by Buddhist nuns drew me in immediately. Through the foreword I learned that this present collection was translated in a way that would convey the essence of any given poem rather than an academic, more technical approach. I don’t know how they compare to the more traditional translations but I do know that I could feel what these women were telling me. Their stories and thoughts, their struggles, their growth, and their endurance were palpable. This is definitely a book I could see myself picking up and reading over and over again. For a full review of this ARC, please check out my blog or my Goodreads post.
I recommend this poetry collection if you’re looking for a moving mix between feminist growth and spirituality.
Nineteen (Makenzie Campbell) ♠♠♠
Another poetry ARC I received for review. I had a bit of a hard time connecting to the poems, mostly because they were filled with teenage angst – a phase that I am glad I have behind me. Nevertheless, Makenzie Campbell is very talented and shows great aptitude with language. I am looking forward to reading her prose in the future as she matures in her craft. See my blog or Goodreads for a full review of this collection.
I recommend this poetry collection to anyone who is in their teenage years or is looking to (re)connect to someone that age.
The Indestructible Houseplant (Tovah Martin) ♠♠♠
As I said in my January wrap-up, I’ve become quite the proud plant parent. Naturally, I’ve been trying to find resources to give my plants the best life they could get. This guide was even for someone as new as myself to houseplants a bit too basic. The author’s writing style was easy and conversational, which I enjoyed, but I just didn’t learn much from the book. The most interesting portion was a chapter on creating little indoor gardens with miniture landscape elements etc.
This plant guide is best for a person purhcasing their first houseplant.
Mr. Rochester (Sarah Shoemaker) ♠♠♠
I absolutely adored Jane Eyre and yes, I really enjoyed how weirdly complex and at times off-putting Edward was. I was excited to get to know his experiences in this retelling. Pre-Jane Mr. Rochester was interesting and by far my favorite. Reading Edward’s side of the story once he met Jane made me not like him. He appeared too calculating and manipulative and I felt Jane deserved better. It almost ruined this romance for me.
If you loved Jane Eyre the way I did, proceed with caution.
Dreamers (Yuri Morales) ♠♠♠♠♠
What a heartfelt story! The illustrations are beautiful and the minimal text completes the experience – it adds just enought to make it a bit more special. This book is this year’s Nashville Public Library read-along and I am happy they picked it. It’s a wonderful children’s book with an important and timely message. I couldn’t believe how much this story made me think!
Everyone should read this book.
The Bear (Andrew Krivak) ♠♠♠♠♠
I feel so honored that I was able to review this ARC. While it is cassified as sci-fi and dystopian fiction, to me it read more like a fable of magical realism. We meet the last two humans on earth and follow their journey, their struggle for survival, their reconnection with nature. This was a beautiful and whimsical read despite its contextual gravity. This was my first Krivak novel but his writing and knack for storytelling made me curious to check out his other works. For a full review of The Bear, please visit my blog or my Goodreads page.
I could not recommened this novel more. This is for everyone.
When Life Gives You Lemons (Fiona Gibson) ♠♠♠♠
This was a quirky and entertaining read with just enough depth to make it more than fluff. I enjoyed the main protagonist and her “awakening” after her husband cheats on her with a colleague. Viv is middle-aged and in a rut. And who hasn’t been there?! I found it easy to relate to her despite not being middle-age or a mother. Gibson writes with an airy hand and a witty voice. Her characters are well-developed and multi-faceted (yes even the cheating husband is relatable). You can find a full review of this ARC on my blog or on Goodreads.
I recommend this book if you’re looking for a witty, yet insightful chick-lit read.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Ocean Vuong) ♠♠♠♠♠
Bam! This one hits right in the feels!!!!!!! Immediately off the bat, you can tell that Vuong is a poet. His word choices, his metaphors, and his analogies are painfully beautiful. He sets this in contrast to the deep hurt, the profound loss, and the generational struggle that makes up this story; a story written in a series of letters to the protagonist’s mother. This book should come with a string of trigger warnings: physical and mental abuse, rape, drug addiction, and racism just to name a few. Yet, somehow, this novel has just the tiniest glimmer of hope shining through each terrible event – and I can ony herald Vuong’s prose for that as the actual plot is just devastating. I read this book slowly, digisting each tidbit before moving to the next. I came across the author by accident and I am so grateful for this. I can’t keep from wondering how his work (but specifically this novel) hasn’t won a million awards?!
Read this. Digest it. Talk about it. This is a must!
The New Plant Parent (Darryl Cheng) ♠♠♠♠
I discovered Darryl Cheng on Instagram and immediately connected to his plant parenting approach of finding the right balance between light, soil aeration, and water using “scientific methodologies” such as measuring the lumens a plant experiences (aka how much light it receives) and then adjusting its watering schedule accordingly. It’s just nerdy enough to be my jam! I enjoyed his book immensily and immediately shopped for light meters. My only gripe with this guide is that it didn’t have enough information on plants that are pet-friendly – which are the only ones I am considering for my house. I have yet to find a comprehensive handbook for just those kind of plants!
This plant guide is for a person who is willing to measure light exposure, aerate their soil, and “calculate” water needs. In short, this is a bit of a geeky book.
With the Fire on High (Elizbeth Acevedo) ♠♠♠♠
I did a bit of early spring cleaning and wanted an enganging audiobook to help me pass the time. I chose With the Fire on High because I loved Acevedo’s Poet X and I too enjoy cooking and baking. This book did not disappoint. Acevedo reads it herself and she really brings the characters to life! Just like in Poet X, the characters are unique but relatable, quirky, often strong-minded, and have their own agendas. This of course leads to conflicts and interpersonal struggles, which Acevedo interweaves perfectly with the plot. The story had my attention right from the start, in fact so much, that I ended up finishing the book on my kindle in the middle of the night because I was too impatient to listen to the audiobook.
I recommend this book big time.
Women Are Some King of Magic (Amanda Lovelace) ♠♠♠♠♠, ♠♠♠♠, and ♠♠♠
This is a great collection of feminist poems contextualized through fairytales. Lovelace’s voice is raw, angry, vulnerable, conceidet, honest, questioning, and demanding all at the same time. Her poems are a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved and hated “the women” in the poems. Sometimes I wanted to hug and comfort her; sometimes I wanted to shake her until she came to her senses. Book 1 was by far my favorite – I could relate to it the most. As a comprehensive piece of work, it is obvious how much Lovelace grew while penning this prose. I am looking forward to rereading the poems at a later stage of my life and seeing if my connection with them has grown as well.
This is a great collection. Pick up any of the three depending on where in life you are.
HOW WAS YOUR FEBRUARY? DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK? THE BOOK THAT MADE THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION ON ME THIS MONTH WAS FOR SURE ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS.