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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Analyzing The Old Man and the Sea

The first time I read The Old Man and the Sea was freshman year of high school. I recently won a free e-ARC from NetGalley, which is why I chose to revisit it. But I am always happy to do re-readings because I like comparing and contrasting my notes*. You can read a book one way, and have a completely different experience reading it again. There are so many different ways to read a book, and each reader has a different perspective and interpretation of it. You may even have multiple perspectives of a book you have read before, because you may be a different person than you were the first time you read it. This is true for me, because I was so young and have grown so much from the first time I read The Old Man and the Sea. Continue reading

Fat Girl Finishing School

Fat Girl Finishing School is the first full-length collection of poems from Rachel Wiley, the Queer-Biracial-Feminist poet, performer and body-positive activist whose work spans from body image, to love and loss, and feminism. Fat Girl Finishing School is a love letter to the body. When confronted with fatphobia, sexism, misogyny, and shame each poem chooses self-love, despite society’s expectations. This is a book steeped in experience, every story is striking, powerful, and unmistakably palpable.

Fat Girl Finishing School - Button Poetry

I can very much relate to this book. Unfortunately, eating disorders and anxiety are very real issues that are really hard to talk about and tackle, but this book did a great job of it. As a woman who deals with many of these issues every day, many of these verses resonated with me deeply.

Wiley’s poems create a striking and very real commentary on important issues in our society. But this collection of poems covers much more than just eating disorders―gender, race, and faith are just a few of the various themes these poems touch on. These are more than just poems; they are special stories of the struggle for personal growth, self acceptance, and understanding the human experience. More than just a book about one single identity, Fat Girl Finishing School makes intersectionality multi-dimensional. 

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The Handmaid’s Tale: Comparing The Novel To The Series

Image result for the handmaids tale book huluI read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school, and I didn’t ‘get’ it, TBH. I understood it, of course, but it didn’t resonate with me in the way my teacher had hoped it would. It wasn’t until watching the new Hulu adaptation that I was really interested in the story. But I couldn’t understand why my memories of the book were so far from what the show was saying, so I dug out my old copy, still covered in post-its and margin scribbles, and forced myself to give it a second chance. Image result for the handmaids tale hulu

With my first reading, for whatever reason, I had a very obscure picture of the world Atwood was writing about. I wasn’t able to imagine what it would be like. But, after watching the series, I was able to really picture the world of Gilead, and it made me want to understand it better. So I decided to revisit the book, and I re-read it while watching the show. It completely changed my opinion of the novel, and now I love a book that I once hated.

Although I loved both the book and the series, I can’t ignore their differences. Though both are important and relevant, they have different missions and different lessons. The ideal would be for audiences to read and watch both; they inform each other, each provides what the other lacks.  Continue reading

Rupi Kaur, The Sun And Her Flowers

The Sun and Her Flowers by [Kaur, Rupi]Books of poetry should be regarded as of the most readable genre of our time. Reader’s attention spans are shorter than they have ever been before; the average person typically will read snippets of text on social media and advertisements throughout the day, but will not sit to read a whole book. technology is changing our reading habits, and poetry offers a reading experience that mimics the way we read, today. Short and simple verses, accompanied by original drawings, is very similar to the way we read through Instagram or Twitter. Quick but effective, Rupi Kaur’s poignant poems keep readers flipping through pages, allowing readers to get lost similar to the way they can loose themselves scrolling through a feed. Her free verse poetry forgoes the difficult metaphors of what we traditionally associate poetry with, in favor of clear, plain language and simplicity. This is the type of book that can be read in a day, and will leave readers returning to it forever.

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Renee Ahdieh, Flame In The Mist

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Despite the rumors, Renée Ahdieh‘s long anticipated Flame In The Mist is more likely inspired by the story of Mulan rather than existing as a retelling of the tale. Many elements seem to echo the popular Disney’s Mulan cartoon (she cuts off her hair, saves the life of an important warrior, and lives a secret double life as a man), including one of the important quotes of the book: “Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain.” (143) 

 

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Paulo Coelho, The Spy: A Novel Of Mata Hari

Image result for the spy coelhoPaulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist and The Witch of Portobello, again bewitches readers with The Spy, a novel based on the life of Mata Hari.

Based on real events

Based around the historical facts surrounding her life and 1917 arrest, Coelho weaves together a first-hand account of what really happened during her life – how she felt, and justifies some of the reasons for her actions.

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The Prologue describes Mata’s gruesome execution by firing squad. Imagining her final moments as she gets dressed for a final time and fearlessly faces her own death with open eyes – refusing to be blindfolded.

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A Crown Of Wishes

Image result for a crown of wishesThe sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen remains equally adventurous as the first, transporting the reader to the far-away otherworldly lands of Bharata & Ujijain, Alaka and beyond, this time following Mayavati’s younger sister Gauri on her own journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Filled with adventure, politics, friendships, sisterhood, romance, illusion, transformation, sacrifices, trials and tribulations, A Crown of Wishes weaves an otherworldly story, carried on the wings of birds with feathers of glittering gold.

In A Crown of Wishes we find Gauri, the legendary warrior princess of Bharata, exiled and imprisoned in Ujijain at her brother Skanda’s command. Scorned by her people for the lies Skanda has spread, Gauri faces execution in Ujijain. But Vikram, the cunning ‘Fox Prince’ of Ujijain, sees her potential and offers Gauri a chance at redemption. Together, they enter the Tournament of Wishes with hopes of winning a wish from The Lord of Treasures that would secure them their greatest desires. Continue reading