As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:
- (★★★★★): Loved it
- (★★★★): Really liked it
- (★★★): Liked it enough
- (★★): Didn’t care for it
Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Genre: Historical fiction, sci-fi
GoodReads rating: 4.27 / 5 (136,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via Overdrive)
PopSugar prompt: A genre hybrid.
Summary: Dana, an African-American woman, is transported back in time from 1979 to antebellum Maryland. Each time with a purpose to save a white man Rufus. When she realizes her connection to Rufus, she must secure his, and her, future.
Warning: This book contains themes of extreme racial violence, rape and misogyny.
Thoughts: The GoodReads summary literally describes this as a genre hybrid, so I could think of no better book for this prompt. This book is daring, fascinating and introspective. Although I feel if it was written today, there would be more analysis between Dana and her white husband, who was also transported to back for a time. Probably not one of my new favorites, but still entertaining and groundbreaking.
Other adaptations: There is a graphic novel adaptation, but not much else in the media.
Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates
Genre: Non-fiction, feminism
GoodReads rating: 4.41 / 5 (1,800 ratings)
Medium used: Hardcover (purchased from The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds, WA)
Summary: Bates explores the online “manosphere” space where men are violently misogynistic and how that translates to real-life attacks. “Drawing parallels with other extremist movements around the world, Bates seeks to understand what attracts men to the movement, how it grooms and radicalizes boys, how it operates, and what can be done to stop it. Most urgently of all, she traces the pathways this extreme ideology has taken from the darkest corners of the internet to emerge covertly in our mainstream media, our playgrounds, and our parliament.”
Warning: This book contains themes of extreme misogyny and violence.
Thoughts: I loved her other book, Everyday Sexism. I’ll reiterate this warning again: this book is very hard to read. It’s about some of the most extreme forms of violence against women. Much like Everyday Sexism, this book only touches on trans and minority/ Indigenous women who face violence at a multiplier rate than white women. On one hand, I can see how Bates (a white woman) doesn’t want to talk about issues that aren’t her lived experience, but something would be better than nothing.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Genre: Fiction, mystery, suspense
GoodReads rating: 3.87/ 5 (2,038,000 ratings)
Medium used: Hardcover (stolen from my family)
PopSugar prompt: A book that takes place in multiple countries.
Summary: When the curator of the Louvre Museum is found dead bearing bizarre symbols and Robert Langdon’s name, the Harvard symbolist is unwittingly entangled in the great search for the “Holy Grail” with other, more dangerous enemies.
Warning: This book contains mention of self-harm.
Thoughts: Feminine divine? Weird religious cults? This book had my name written all over it from the get-go. This is my first Dan Brown book and although this is the second book in a “series,” you don’t need tor read the first book to understand this one. They vaguely reference “the events in Venice” and the romantic interest of the last book, which of course were quickly replaced with a different poorly-written female character. I also didn’t care for the overly descriptive settings. It’s like overhearing Angelos arguing, “Why did you take the 10 to the 405 to the 101 when you could have just taken the 210 to the 134?”: it doesn’t make any sense to anyone but the locals. I’ve been to Paris and London a dozen times and still barely followed. Despite this, I found it massively entertaining, I read the whole 400+ pages in three days. It really helps that most of the short chapters end in a cliffhanger so it’s easy to keep reading. I’d recommend this to people who like quick, exciting reads. But good Lord, this book has a lot of mixed reviews. I had no idea there was so much discourse about Dan Brown. A lot of it has to do with the way Brown carries himself and advertises his work, which I won’t get into as I’ve heard nothing about it and frankly don’t care that much. One review said something along the lines of “I don’t expect every movie I watch to be an Academy Award Winner, not every book I read has to be high literature.” It’s like The Avengers of books: is it good literature? Not exactly. Is it entertaining with mass appeal? Absolutely. Call me a sucker.
Other adaptations: I’ve never seen the Ron Howard movie starring Tom Hanks (who I don’t really see as Langdon if I’m being honest), but it doesn’t have great reviews.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: Young adult, LGBTQ+, horror
GoodReads rating: 3.53 / 5 (47,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via Overdrive)
PopSugar prompt: A book with something broken on the cover.
Summary: Over the last year and a half, the “Tox” has been ravaging the secluded Raxter School for Girls: killing off the adults, causing deformities to the girls and making the woods outside the school walls wild. Offshore from a Navy base, they are hopeful for a cure. When Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, she finds and unlikely ally in closed-off Reese as they uncover the mystery of Byatt’s disappearance and the origin of the Tox itself.
Warning: This book contains themes of body horror.
Thoughts: I freaking loved this. This concept was so fresh and hard to put down. I felt the characters could have used a bit more developing and the romance kind of came out of nowhere but those issues took a backseat to the gag-worthy plot. This is more for a pubescent audience but my god, is it still entertaining.
Have you read any of these?
Photo by Radu Marcusu.