The Week in Books #32

Books books books. I actually managed to finish reading one this week! Amy Parker’s collection Beasts & Children was a weird ride. The stories are all centred on a theme of, you guessed it, animals and children, and I’ve definitely noticed that since becoming a mother the way I read about children has changed. Where I was once pretty unaffected by children in books and movies I now experience sudden intense feelings when babies and kids are involved. It must be my motherly instincts kicking into overdrive, but reading about a child locked on a balcony with his dog in a rain storm while his mother stays inside with a man, or a father forcing his son to euthanize a kitten, just makes me too uncomfortable. I used to like feeling uncomfortable sometimes and I know that there are folks out there who like reading to make them uncomfortable or challenge them in some way, and if that sounds like you then you might like this book! I struggled, though. With so many books out there to enjoy I’m finding it harder to keep my focus on books that don’t do it for me.

I did like this paragraph though:

“She knew she was selfish. She suspected that having Piper had turned her into a monster. She had nothing left for anyone else, and her own meagreness frightened her. But with a small child there was just always so much to do. Jill didn’t know where her time went. She woke up at dawn and by sundown she could not tell you why she was so shattered. There were limits to to what an unrelated person should ask you for, weren’t there? Reasonable limits?”

Up next

This week I’m set to start Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s gotten great reviews and I’m looking forward to a novel with memorable characterization. From the authors website:

“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.”

Earlier this month I posted about where to buy books online that isn’t Amazon, and I was introduced to Massy Books in Vancouver. I ordered two books that I’m super excited to read and they arrived this week: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado and How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell.


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