Happy New Year everyone! What a confusing couple of weeks it has been hasn’t it? Weeks that are two or three days long… Weeks with weekdays, weeks without weekdays… That’s the holiday season for you! I feel like I got somewhat rested, but my fatigue has been over the charts lately and I will be seeing my doctor soon. And hopefully then I can put this tiring winter behind me! Other than that, I have no particular news. Just excited to be using Kaleena’s 2019 book spreadsheet now, so if you’re looking for a convenient way to keep track of your books this year, it’s a good way to go. I guess everyone’s also talking about reading goals now? I’m going to be boring and say that I set the same goal this year – 52, and even though I read 152 last year, I don’t want to increase my goal. I don’t feel like stressing myself out over the numbers at all this year! I’ve only finished one book so far, and dare I say, I will go at the pace I like 😀 What are your reading goals this year?
~ What I’ve Been Reading ~
OMG this book!!! The Enchanted April will FOR SURE be a book I will fangirl about for months. And maybe years. The people who have been following my blog for a while might know how much I love Dodie Smith’s writing and how it soothes and cheers me. Well, turns out this is written in basically the same style! It’s whimsical, it pokes fun at the characters, but in a really compassionate way, also explaining their shortcomings and their circumstances in detail and helping you understand where the characters came from. Essentially, it’s about the most mixed bag of characters you can think of – women who would neve have come to spend a month in each other’s company, if not for a random advertisement in the paper about a castle in Italy being rented for the whole month of April. It’s set in the times when women didn’t even have their own money and had to ask their husbands to be allowed to basically sneeze, so it’s incredible reading about them get so enchanted by the idea of taking a whole month to themselves – a thing quite unheard of – and going away from their drab, depressing lives. We’ve got a shy anxiety sufferer, a nurturer altruist, a ‘grumpy cat’ introvert beauty queen an older lady who’s so sure of her place in the society that she’s pretty much as movable as a rock. And these ladies are stuck in a beautiful land of summer which is actually spring in Italy, in a castle, all to themselves – going out of their comfort zone and getting to know each other and even themselves. I am a third into this book and I just hope it never ends! I’m pretty sure The Enchanted April will be one of my favorite books of the year, even though 2019 has just started. The Enchanted April is available on Project Gutenberg here for free.
Agents of APE gets published today, so you can already grab it. l’ve mentioned this book before, and it’s a fun one! Labelled as “sci-fi chick lit”, its about a woman who finds herself in a very confusing situation with an amnesia, and it’s about to become even more confusing, because whether or not she is willing to believe it, there are aliens out there, and they’re out to get her. And maybe not just her alone.
Anyway, I’m not sure it l’d label this as “sci-fi chick lit” – I think for me it feels more like a sci-fi adventure. But what constitutes chick lit anyway? We can’t really label something solely based on the fact that “chicks read it”. I’m a chick. (Sort of…) I read Scifi and loads of other stuff. But anyway, it is true that Agents of APE is kind of a genre-bender. Either way, it’s a fun adventure to read, although to me it very much so had the “first book” feel – like it’s only introducing a lot of concepts and getting the story started, so it’s moving slowly. I struggled with that a little bit and sometimes wanted things to move at a faster pace, but other than that, the story was amusing, and also touching. A lot of you will love the main character – because she truly is a strong female lead, she is powerful and she’s sure got character – the antics between her and her team mate Elliot are quite funny. But actually, for me, this is what took away from the book, cause I didn’t like the main character very much. She is incredibly stubborn and made A LOT of uninformed choices, or even emotional choices, which put a lot of people in danger. She also flat out refused to be interested in things, like any technical stuff whatsoever, how or why things worked – I personally just can’t understand why someone would do that. She wasn’t my kind of character, but despite that, I think a lot of readers will love her. Anyway, at one point I was going to give the book 3 stars because some of these reasons, as well as some others, but then things took a turn! So I’m going with 3,5, rounded to 4 in all reviewing sites. Because the ending changes everything! I definitely want to keep reading and find out what happens next. I thank the author for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review, and that hasn’t affected my opinion of it.
I’ve been reading To the Edge of the Sky for a while, and it really puts things into perspective. Not only is it a first person account of the atrocities of the Chinese cultural revolution or the hardships people had to endure during the 20th century in China, but it’s also a very touching and human-centered historical account. It’s an autobiography, and having almost finished it now, I feel like that’s how we should be studying history in schools. Because nobody really cares to read all those boring passages about politicians that we read in class. No, what really moves the soul are stories of actual people and what they lived through. Those tell the true histories of the times. And Anhua Gao tells it with such compassion for the people she’s talking about. If you’re at least a little interested in the more contemporary history of China and its people, this is a must-read for you. To the Edge of the Sky doesn’t really take sides or gush about politics – on the contrary, it explores and explains the feelings the author was feeling at the time, so you see her go from complete trust in the government to utter disillusionment and sadness over the betrayal by the ones she trusted. It’s truly touching and it will make you understand how privileged your life probably is, as it did for me – the conditions a lot of these people lived in, the hardships they were made to suffer for no good reason, are just heartbreaking. I can recommend this book to just about anyone, apart from maybe people who are very sensitive – because this book has it all – violence, hardship, disease, loss – not graphically, but it’s certainly there. I still really recommend it though. I received this book for free in exchange for my review, but that hasn’t affected my opinion of it.
[ Goodreads ]
~ What I’ve Been Bookstagramming ~
I haven’t been Bookstagramming much this week, and it’s for no book in particular, but I’m sharing anyway. And I’ll also share the photos of our New Year’s celebration table. How did you celebrate?
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We may be peasants but we sure have a noble table tonight 😂 (okay, I am actually of noble blood. But that’s really not what decides your peasant status in the 21st century 😂) anyway… So how are you celebrating tonight? 🥂🎆 #newyearseve #newyeartable #newyeardinner #dining #holidays2018
~ What I’ve Been Talking About ~
Last week I was very excited to finally talk about a topic that’s really important to me – living kindly. There’s a whole book about that! Click the picture to read more:
~ What I’ll Talk About Next Week~
Next week I’ll have a review for a dark, paranormal genre-bender of a book, The Four Women, a true marvel that will make you wonder about what happens for weeks to come! And I also have a guest post by Andrea @ Little Red Reviewer, a discussion about whether we’re sometimes a little too organized as bloggers, and do we stress ourselves out over it in vain. Come read on Wednesday and Friday!
~ What I’ve Been Hauling ~
So how has your week been? And what are you reading? What did you haul?
I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.