I have good news and bad news readers. The good news is that after a near two year slump of only reading for academic reasons I’m back to my old pace of reading a couple of books a week- for pleasure! I honestly didn’t realize how much brain power reading took. Netflix became my primary method of entertainment in my down time, simply because I was too exhausted by school to read. Now that I’ve begun my gap year, I have plenty of brain power to read- and I’m taking advantage of it! Now for the bad news. Since I’m getting through a book or two a week these days I’m getting majorly behind on reviews. I just don’t have the time to write an extensive review of each book I’m reading! I’m going to keep trying to review books more consistently, if simply for the sake of creating content for the blog, but I don’t think it’ll be possible to write reviews for each book I read. So I guess expect more opinion pieces in the future rather than book reviews. It’s a great problem to have, I promise!
That being said, I want to keep y’all updated on what I’m reading. So here are some quick reviews of some of the books I’ve read in the past month.
Anglomania: A European Love Affair by Ian Buruma: My sister got this book for me for Christmas and I finally got to finish it quite recently. It’s a collection of vignettes about lovers (and haters) of England, their philosophies, cultures, and the rest of Europe’s relationship with the “Land of Hope and Glory.” (I have no idea if anyone actually calls England that. I just googled “nicknames for England” and that’s what popped up.) It’s a bit of a weighty read, but the author’s style is great and manages to “dumb down” some super complicated ideas for the average reader. I also loved reading about his personal experiences. 4 stars
The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees: This is an interesting concept- a fantasy re-imagining of the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Viola’s daughter Violetta and of course, Feste, travel to England, meet the young Mr. Shakespeare and embark on an adventure. Mixing Shakespearean characters, historical figures, and characters of Rees’ own devising, it’s a really interesting concept, but unfortunately poorly realized. The author really overcomplicates things and piles the cliches on a little too heavily for my taste. But major credit for really committing for the story. 3 stars
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks: While I don’t buy into a lot of the ideas presented by this famous feminist, I found a lot of the book really interesting. She’s a little dismissive of the younger generation’s approach to love (listen, I get it, we’re hella skeptical, but can you blame us?) and I find her hopes for a world motivated purely by love a little unrealistic. However, she points out that most problems in relationships come from hegemonic masculinity and the major influence of patriarchy in relationships, and it completely blew my mind. (As a history major I have come to realize that most of the world’s problems could have been avoided if hegemonic masculinity wasn’t a thing, but somehow I never connected that to love relationships.) I want to read more by bell hooks and I think this was a good start. Oh, by the way, I read this in connection with Emma Watson’s feminist book club. Obviously I enjoyed it a lot more than How to be a Woman. 3 stars
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: I haven’t seen Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” nor have I read her other book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this book. I find myself to be very similar to Kaling. We both have “anxious, argumentative” personalities, appreciate scheduled socializing, and have a tendency ti be attracted to men who resemble fictional characters. (Honestly, if you bear even the slightest resemblance to Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds, I’m probably halfway in love with you.) Her tone got a bit annoying at times, but overall I did really enjoy this book. I laughed out loud several times and I appreciated her honesty. 4 stars
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie: Y’all should know by now that I absolutely adore Agatha Christie. These books are absolutely timeless and consistently mind blowing. My love for Miss Marple is second only to my love for Poirot and I enjoyed this rendition of her exploits as much as any other. I really enjoyed the references to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot throughout the novel, and Miss Marple is as sassy and brilliant as ever. The only reason I can’t give this one five stars is that the plot – involving a movie star as St. Mary Mead’s newest resident – just wasn’t my cup of tea. I much prefer the books with normal people rather than, as my history professor used to say, the “bright and shiny people.” 4 stars
Bossypants by Tina Fey: Another memoir by a lady of comedy. I enjoyed this one as much I did Kaling’s book. Fey is just naturally hilarious, and as a fan of 30 Rock I loved hearing about the behind the scenes happenings at the show. Other than the 30 Rock stories, I especially loved the chapter about her disastrous honeymoon which had me nearly crying with laughter. Fey also makes some really important points about feminism (ex: she mentions a workshop she attended that asked women when they first knew they were a “woman.” Most of them recalled the first time they were catcalled. Think about that.) Again, something kept me from giving this book five stars (maybe I’ve become jaded and I’m no longer able to love books as much as I used to, who knows?) but I encourage everyone to read this, fan of Tina Fey or not. 4 stars
That’s all for now. Part 2 of this series coming soon. (Yeah there are two parts- I told you I’ve been reading a lot!)
Peace, love, and books with female protagonists.
The Book Girl
PS I no longer like the title of my blog or the moniker I’ve assigned myself. Changes are in the works! If you have any ideas for a unique title for this blog, let me know!