August rewind, part 1

I’ve already read seven books, and although I don’t anticipate I’ll read seven more I thought I’d do a halfway rewind. Just to make sure there isn’t one massive never-ending post at the end of August.

In the Seraphim City by Eirik Moe Dahll-Larssøn
I started this in July and finished it in August. It was given to me for free by a young lady I went to high school with. Her boyfriend wrote it and published it himself. And she asked if I would read and review it. And I got a free book in the bargain, so I said yes. I’m very easy. I really liked it. It’s sort of a detective story set in a fantasy/sci-fi world. The alchemists helped build the city, which has now stretched outside its limits and there are three levels. The alchemists are hated now, but they have one champion; Ian Allant. He’s a political activist and has fought for them. Then he’s murdered. I really liked the book. It’s well written, and well developed. The characters and the world are good and well developed. I also really liked how the mystery was resolved. I don’t think I mentioned that in my review. Yeah, it was good.

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick
I read this because of Conrad from Just a Dust Jacket. It’s not really got a plot. It’s just a woman, named Elizabeth, looking back on her life and the nights she lived and the things she did. It was really beautiful and I really loved it. It goes from event to event and it is seamless and beautiful. It’s lyrical and it’s this weird combination of fact and fiction. It features references to pop culture and people sort of belonging to the places Hardwick describes. I can’t really pin down exactly what it is that made me love it so much, it’s so… strange. It helps that I really like books where nothing happens. That’s not accurate. I like books where there isn’t really any plot. I like this episodic story of this woman going through things that happened in her life. It was amazing.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
I read this in a day, because it’s a really fast read. It was absolutely beautiful. Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir about Woodson’s childhood. She grew up in the sixties and early seventies, in both New York and South Carolina. Her mother lives in New York and her grandparents live in South Carolina, and Woodson spends a lot of her summers there. She is African American and obviously grows up around the time of Jim Crow and the end of segregation. It was interesting how the end of segregation was different in the North and South. It was fascinating and an interesting look at a woman raising her kids alone in the sixties. It’s also written in verse, and it was beautiful. It didn’t get in the way of the story, which is good. It’s important that style doesn’t get in the way of the story, so I loved that. It was so gorgeous. So, review.

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick
This I listened to on audiobook, and it was read by Kate Bolick, very well I thought. It is her look on gender roles, and how we see women who don’t conform to the idea that women are born, grow up, get married, have babies, die. It’s also a sort of study in women who wouldn’t conform. It’s a historical look at singledom and what it means to be single, and what kind of expectations you sort of break when you don’t get married and you don’t get kids, and when you don’t want to do that. It was really fascinating, and I loved reading about all these badass ladies who Kate Bolick used as her sort of guides in life. I really want to buy the book in paper and read it again and so I can read the index, this is the kind of person I am. I really liked it.

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Urban fantasy, sassy, snarky mechanic, sexy werewolves and creepy fairies, what else do you need? It’s so good. It’s the third book in the Mercy Thompson series about Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson, a shapeshifting mechanic. She lives next to the local werewolf pack and she took over the garage of her boss Zee, a part of the fae. Zee is accused of murder and Mercy, ignoring all advice and sense, tries to figure out who killed the victim, and set up Zee. It’s fun, and spunky, and Mercy is cool, and very true to herself, and Patricia Briggs is good. She’s very comfortable in her world, she knows her characters, she knows her world, and she is good at this. Also review.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
This is my first Virginia Woolf, and I definitely want to read more of hers. Like with Sleepless Nights this doesn’t really have a plot. It’s just about a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway who is throwing a party. It’s a sort of stream of consciousness thing. It goes from the mind of Mrs. Dalloway and then jumps into the thoughts of just this random person she walks past, and then from that person to someone else. And I thought that was interesting, suddenly you’re in someone else’s head. Clarissa fell in love with a young woman, when she was like 18, and she thinks about this a lot, because obviously they couldn’t act on this in the 20s, and the woman is going to be at the party. And there’s this side story of a young soldier who has shell shock and is struggling with readjusting. And it was really interesting. I really liked it. It was fascinating to see how the different people see each other, and how they think about each other.

You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart
This is YouTube’s Mamrie Hart’s memoir. Basically what it says on the tin. It’s her childhood, college years and making it as a YouTuber. She moved from college to New York to sort of make it as an actress, and eventually got into UCB and then she made YDAD. It’s funny, and I feel like Mamrie’s humor works on both YouTube and in a book, which is really good. I liked her stories and hearing more about her life, and she seems like she’d be an amazing person to hang out with. It was fine. It was fun, and fine. I enjoyed it.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
This was all over booktube, and it sounded really interesting, and it was cheap, so I thought, hey, why not. It’s a dystopian novel where women are no longer born, but made in like… pods, I guess. The girls are then raised in a school where they focus mainly on how to look the absolute best, be the ideal weight, the ideal person to attract a husband. Men are born, and raised, and every year ten men who are I guess 17-18, come to the school and pick a mate, or companion, and those girls get to be these boys’ wives. The other 20 girls are either concubines (whores) or chastities (practically nuns), who raise the next batches of girls. The main characters is freida. She used to be best friends with isabel, who was the highest ranked girl in school. Now isabel has done the unthinkable, she’s getting fat. I thought it was interesting, and good. There were parts that dragged a bit for me, the life at school is very limited, they have very little to do, so that got a bit repetitive at times. I liked that the main romantic interest, Darwin, while being sort of kind and sweet, is still a product of the world he’s grown up in, and he still thinks of women in the terms everyone else does. It would have been easy to make him this kind hero, but he is still a complete piece of shit, even though he’d probably be a kinder husband than many of the other boys. I really liked it, and while I thought I’d decided my rating the end was so emotional I bumped it up a star.

So that’s what I’ve read so far in August. Onto the last half. Also, just noticed. I've so far read mostly women. So that's... something. It's kind of cool.