Dearly: Poems by Margaret Atwood

IMG_7558I am so excited to have scored this one!!! Isn’t it gorgeous?! A HUGE thank you to @eccobooks at @harpercollins for sending me a free ARC of this new book of poems from the great Margaret Atwood! I have been anticipating the release of this since I heard it was being published and I am so so SO excited for the chance to read and review it early. This title will be released in November, so mark your calendars, Atwood fans!!

Margaret Atwood’s new book of poems is just as amazing as her work in fiction, and reminds us that she is as much a poet as talented novelist. Her simple lines are steeped in meaning and paint a hauntingly fresh view of reality.

dearlyIn Dearly, Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, she touches on a variety of themes, from love and loss to the passage of time. Some of my favorite verses brought up themes of memory and time, something that Atwood often includes in her writing. Her new poetry is as introspective and personal as ever, but this collection really resonated with me personally. Atwood lost her husband last year after a long fight with dementia. My grandmother was diagnosed with it, and I can understand and relate to the pain of coping when someone you love is starting to forget who you are.

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Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic: Moreno-Garcia, Silvia: 9780525620785: Amazon.com: Books

This was a rather disturbing read, to be honest. I think it needs a trigger warning; there is drug use, rape, cults, suicide … but the imagery is beautiful, and the symbolism is on-point. The pictures that Moreno-García paints are stunning, vivid, magical. The world building is beautiful, but the magic system was, admittedly, strange. Even though it was a bit of my comfort zone at times, I really enjoyed the story.

Mexican Gothic takes us back in time to an old-fashioned world, where women are painted as mercurial and melodramatic, and expected to “mind [their] words and learn [their] place”. In an old house darkened by rotting memories, the inhabitants desperately cling to the past. But Noemí Taboada is a modern woman, a bright light, and she will do anything in her power to save her cousin Catalina from wasting away into the darkness. But is she strong enough to save Catalina from the gloom that engulfs High Hill?

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Midnight Sun *spoilers ahead*

I saw a lot of opinions on this book, and I had worries going into it, but I honestly thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

First of all, it is fiction. We aren’t vampires, and nothing is perfect. Including Meyer’s writing. But, despite the problems with this series, it was an entertaining story and I had a good time reading it. I loved the nostalgia and the extra detail we got about Edward’s life, and that’s what makes this book a good read. And, even though Edward is a crazy vampire stalker, we know from the original books that Bella truly loved him back. And I just love a good love story!

But there is so much to unpack in this book. Lets get the problematic statements out of the way. Edwards exclusionary “you don’t belong here” comments. His true belief that humans are not “equal” to vampires. The obsessed vampire stalking. None of that behavior is acceptable, and I can understand why there is criticism around this book. But I enjoyed Midnight Sun for what it was, a new chapter to Edward and Bella’s story.

It had a very Anne Rice vibe to the writing style, with all of Edwards inner dialogue. I have seen a lot of criticism around this particular element of the writing, but I totally understood and appreciated the references to Interview With A Vampire.

I am not a super religious person myself, but I found a lot of religious symbolism in Meyer’s writing. She uses light and dark as symbols for good and bad

The very first page of the book brings up the afterlife and sin. So, I was immediately looking for that as I read through the book. I found lots of religious language, and found references to Edward committing basically all of the 7 Deadly Sins throughout the text. I also found Edward asking all of the existential questions that religion(s) attempt to answer.

“She should have died today, Edward.”

So, the vampires are playing God. Saving Bella’s life. Deciding the rapist should go to jail. Carlisle as a doctor, saving human lives, who believes “every life is precious”, pitted against Jasper’s desire to let fate take its natural course. The fact that Carlisle created another vampire like himself at all is drawing a parallel between God the Father and Carlisle the father. “We tried to live to a higher standard. A gentler, more peaceable standard. Because of our father.” What gives him the authority to make these decisions? What even controls destiny, anyway? Continue reading

Lobizona: Undocumented. Unprotected. Unafraid.

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If you enjoy magical realism, you will love Romina Garber’s newest book Lobizona. I have seen this title around on bookstagram for a while and the cover is what really drew me in. I absolutely love the art style, but the title seemed really interesting also. I was delighted to find the naked book is just as beautiful as the sleeve!

Romina Garber | Zodiac, Beautiful book covers, Book quotes

Netgalley gifted me a free e-ARC of this title, which I am so grateful for! It allowed me to start reading it, which sucked me in after the first few pages. I got about halfway through on Kindle before deciding to buy the physical copy. For one, I wanted to support this author (I devoured her Zodiac series a few years ago!) and two, I ended up taking a lot of annotations which I wanted to keep. And I bounced back and forth between the e-book and the physical copy; the e-book is amazing for reading in bed, but the physical is better for daytime reading (and is less of a strain on my eyes, TBH.)

“We use magical realism in our daily lives too. Consider our superstitions. We are always willing magic into reality—that’s our way.”

I love that this book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. As someone who is constantly trying to improve my Spanish, this is something I really appreciate seeing in new books. Garber does it well, allowing the reader to infer meaning from context clues without needing to use a translator. However, I can really appreciate having the translation dictionary available if I do need it, conveniently built into my e-reader. It saves a lot of time not having to click out of the book, and as a visual learner I enjoy seeing side-by-side translations because it really helps me understand spelling and pronunciation. Continue reading

Lore Olympus

Lore Olympus was such amazing comic! My dear friend Ciara recommended this to me, and once I got around to reading it I couldn’t put it down! I bought the last 2 episodes because I had to know what happened. 

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I also took screenshots of all my favorite scenes so I could remember them all. LOL

My favorite characters were Hera (I was surprised by how much I liked Hera!), Hermes, and Hecate as a lawyer! I had NO IDEA Hecate would be in it so much, she is one of the more elusive Greek gods that I would like to know more about. It was very cool to see her have a larger role in the story. Continue reading

Lost Horizon by James Hilton: The Origins of Shangri-La

40 Best Lost horizon images | Lost horizon, Lost, Ronald colman

It was 2013 and I was browsing old paperbacks in a local bookshop that sadly no longer exists. I remember the shop well, it was one of those cozy narrow stores that was crammed full of leaning stacks and overflowing shelves. I liked it because they had low prices on classics, and bought used books for store credit. So I shopped there a lot, always looking to add something to my collection that I didn’t already have. I had never seen or heard of this book before, but when I saw it and had to have it.

I honestly couldn’t place what drew me to Lost Horizon. Perhaps the stunning vintage paperback art style and the striking sprayed pages? Maybe it was the smell of old book that greeted me every time I flipped a page? Or simply that the short tale captured my imagination and took me on an adventure. At the time I was really into hiking and maybe I was drawn to the mountainous cover art, or maybe my wandering soul craved the isolated utopia I found within the book. I guess it was all of it, the experience as a whole.

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Lost Horizon is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopian lamasery located high in the mountains of Tibet. Though I had heard of Shangri-La before, I never really thought about what it symbolized or where it came from. Until I found Lost Horizion.

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Quotes from Things Fall Apart

61spl57YceLThis story follows the rise and the fall of a respected Nigerian Igbo leader as he challenges European colonialism and modernization. We begin to see a changing culture that starts questioning traditions, which threatens the old customs. As new beliefs and institutions are introduced to the community, the Igbo culture collapses and, for our hero, things fall apart’. tfaachebeIt is a classic tragedy and is regarded as a milestone in African literature. This copy has been with me since high school english, but I didn’t really understand the implications until I had to re-read it for African Lit. There is a lot to unpack in this book but it is incredibly influential and definitely worth reading, at least once.

“Having spoken plainly so far, Okoye said the next half a dozen sentences in proverbs. Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” ―Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

This quote alludes to the highly sophisticated art of rhetoric practiced by the Igbo by comparing food and words. The metaphor of words as food is appropriate, given the agricultural nature of Igbo society. Food is respected in Igbo culture and is regarded as the sustenance of life. They award the same value that they place on food to words, the sustenance of interaction and hence community. In the way that palm oil must be consumed, so must words and conversations. Continue reading

Internment

Amazon.com: Internment (9780316522694): Ahmed, Samira: BooksSilence is Violence was the theme for this emotional book. “If we stay silent, whats next?”

This was a crazy read. It is eerily relevant and totally frightening to imagine. Set in a dystopian future where Muslims are herded into internment camps because of the racist president’s Islamophobia, our main character fights for freedom using the only thing she has left: her voice. I liked so much about this book, because it was very realistic and illustrate the consequences if we as a people become complacent and stop fighting for our rights. Continue reading

Nikita Gill

“I will take her to the library, and introduce her to every librarian because they are where Athena lives now.”

44157727. sy475 I chose this for @book_roast’s #magicalreadathon a few months back (and paired it with her other book of poems, Fierce Fairytales, another really great read!) This one really stuck out to me between the pair of books, and I have to admit I liked it much better. I am a huge lover of Greek myths so I had a good basic understanding of the tales themselves. It was very empowering to see some new interpretations of the stories, all told from the female perspective. Considering that all of the OG myth-tellers were male (Homer, Hesoid, Ovid, Virgil, Herodotus…) this book brings a breath of fresh air to the readings. I really enjoyed the short versions of these myths retold, and I loved how the book was structured―the poems were organized like the gods’ genealogy tree, which I thought was really cohesive and gave a good sense of chronology. featuring hand-drawn illustrations by the author. If you like myths and feminism, you will like Great Goddesses.

“Does the night ever tire of the darkness? Does the sea ever tire of her own depths? Do the trees ever tire of their roots?”

39088508If you enjoy Rupi Kaur you will enjoy Nikita Gill. Fierce Fiarytales offers even more stories of empowerment that have flipped once-upon-a-time upside down. The women in this daring collection of poems, stories, and hand-drawn illustrations are anything but your delicate damsel-in-distress. In the world of Nikita Gill, the princess saves herself.

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. With a huge online following, her words have entranced hearts and minds all over the world. Follow her on Instagram at @nikita_gill.