It has been a while since I posted my last book haul but if I wait any longer to post this one, writing it would take forever. Because I went overboard. But I have also read quite a few of the books I bought already, so that’s at least something.
So Sad Today by Melissa Broder
Blurb: So sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad?
She asks herself these questions over and over here, turning them into a darkly mesmerising and strangely uplifting reading experience through coruscating honesty and a total lack of self-deceit.
Sexually confused, a recovering addict, suffering from an eating disorder and marked by one very strange sex fetish: Broder’s life is full of extremes. But from her days working for a Tantric nonprofit in San Francisco to caring for a severely ill husband, there’s no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. When she started an anonymous Twitter feed @sosadtoday to express her darkest feelings, her unflinching frankness and twisted humour soon gained a huge cult following.
In its treatment of anxiety, depression, illness and instability; by its fearless exploration of the author’s romantic relationships (romantic is an expanded term in her hands); and with its inventive imagery and deadpan humour, So Sad Today is radical. It is an unapologetic, unblinkingly intimate book that splays out a soul and a prose of unusual beauty.
As you can see below I went a bit over-board with the Kate Daniels books but I could NOT stop reading them. For most of the month I was more or less up to date with my ARCs and as such could just read what I want to read and apparently I wanted to read pretty much a whole series in a month. And then I went on a requesting spree on NetGalley (so my reading will be a bit more balanced next month).
Books read in July:
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race: 3 out of 5 stars
Favourite of the month:
I mean, the obvious answer is all the Kate Daniels books. I had so much fun reading them and I cannot wait to finish the series. It might not be the best thing to have ever been written but I am enjoying it so much and I am so very invested in everybody’s journey. (My mini-reviews for the first five books can be found here.)
I also really enjoyed Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds; her stories are intricately structured and wonderfully human. I now own all her books and will have to get to her two remaining novels soon.
I have read the ridiculous amount of 13 books (with 3916) pages this month, which is the most I have read in I don’t even know how long. Of these 13 books, one was written by a man, five were written by women, and seven were written by a husband and wife team. I read seven fantasy books, three short story collections, one essay collection, one dystopian novel, and one literary fiction novel.
Books I should get to next:
I have a few ARCs I want to get to this month, most importantly City of Lies by Sam Hawke and Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young. I also hope to read Everything Under as soon as I finish The Mars Room. I also finally caved and bought myself a copy of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence and won’t be able to hold off reading for much longer. The rave reviews for this one are serious.
Alice wrote a great review of My Brilliant Friend, a book I have been wanting to read for ages, and made me even more excited for it. Talking of which, has anybody read the German translation? Is it wort reading or do I better pick up the English version?
If you are as excited about the Man Booker Prize longlist announcement you should check out Rachel’s and Elle’s thoughts on the list. (PS: If you talked about the Prize somewhere, please do let me know, I want to read everybody’s thoughts!)
An interview with the last speaker of a language. A chronicle of the final seven days of a town that is about to be razed to the ground by an invading army. The lonely voyage of an elephant from Kerala to a princess’s palace in Morocco. A fabled cook who flavours his food with precious stones. A coterie of international diplomats trapped in near-Earth orbit. These, and the other stories can be found in this collection.
Some of these stories are breathtakingly beautiful – and others are ever so slightly forgettable. I have problems reviewing short story collections at the best of times, but especially with this one. One a sentence by sentence level, this is stunning. The first story (“Swimmer Among the Stars”) starts like this:
“As a rule, the last speaker of a language not longer uses it. Ethnographers show up at the door with digital recorders, ready to archive every declension, each instance of the genitive, the idiosyncratic function of verbal suffixes. But this display hardly counts as normal speech. It simply confirms to the last speaker, that the old world of her mind is cut adrift from humans and can only be pulped into a computer.” – like seriously, stunning, stunning, stunning.
But even though I adore the way Kanishk Tharoor constructs his sentences, with their flow and ebb and wonderful eloquent excursion, the stories themselves did not always work for me. When the plot and the language converged, as they did in my favourite of these stories (“Tale of the Teahouse”) the result is breathtaking in that way that makes me clutch a book to my heart. But when they don’t, all the beautiful language in the world can not connect me to the story, this was especially the case in “The Mirrors of Iskandar” – a story told in short vignettes that felt laboured to me.
But still, even though not everything worked for me here, the mastery of language and tone is enough for me to pick up whatever the author writes next. And, can we have a moment of appreciation for this beautiful cover?