May wrap-up

Me faltan cuatro reseñas de este mes: Profesora Haná, de Reem Bassiouney; Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother & her Daughters, de Maria José Silveira; Las aventuras de Alicia en el país de las maravillas, de Lewis Carroll y el Canon holmesiano completo, de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tuve mucho trabajo y quise dedicarme a leer más que a escribir, aunque creo que eso también debería cambiar, porque tengo que invertir más tiempo en mi blog. En fin… este es mi post fin de mes.

Leí cuatro libros. Además, terminé el Canon holmesiano, que empecé en enero. Mi intención era que todos fueran de autoras, pero tuve que meter a Lewis Carroll para el reto de motivos mensuales.

Aquí vienen las estadísticas.

Libros leídos: 4 (no voy a contar el Canon, porque son 4 novelas y 56 cuentos recogidos en 5 libros, así que ese será otro post)

  • Profesora Haná, de Reem Bassiouney
  • Heart Berries, de Terese Marie Mailhot
  • Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother & her Daughters, de Maria José Silveira
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, de Lewis Carroll

Autor: 1

Autoras: 3

Traducidos de otra lengua que no sea inglés: 2 (portugués al inglés y árabe al español)

Retos completados: 10 😀

Mayo fue un buen mes 🙂

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I’m still missing 4 reviews for this month: Professor Haná, by Reem Bassiouney; Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother & her Daughters, by Maria José Silveira; and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, de Lewis Carroll. I also finished the whole Sherlock Holmes Canon, but that will be a long post on it’s own and I won’t count it to this month’s statistics. I wanted to read only female authors, but I had to read Alice for the monthly motif challenge, so…

Let’s see what we’ve got.

Books read: 4

  • Profesora Haná, by Reem Bassiouney
  • Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot
  • Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother & her Daughters, by Maria José Silveira
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Male: 1

Female: 3

Translated from a language other than English: 2 (Portuguese to English and Arabic to Spanish)

Challenges prompts completed: 10 😀

May was a great month…

Book Review: Heart Berries

Love is tactile learning, always, first and foremost.

Back in February I intended to write about how the Slate Audio Book Club basically went on a hiatus. The podcast was hosted by Katy Waldman, and she moved from Slate to The New Yorker. I think they didn’t find anyone else who wanted to do it. If I’m honest I’ll say that I really didn’t like Katy Waldman’s tone, I found it boring most of the time, but I agreed with her almost always, and I admired her clarity and her evident passion for books and literature. Also, Slate’s ABC Podcast was very important for me, during my reading recovery, so when she said she was gone and then there were just two other episodes before they stating officially that the book club would be on a hiatus, I was crushed.

Fortunately, almost synchronically I found out about another book club. I’ve been following Guerrilla Feminism account on Instagram for years. I love how Lachrista Greco just says it as it is. No bullshit. And I love how many things she’s made me learn, especially about my own privilege. She started a feminist book club in her Patreon, and when I found out about it I wanted in. Unfortunately the first book they read was Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge, and there was absolutely no way for me to get it at a reasonable price in time to read it. Amazon Mexico didn’t have it, it always said “out of stock”, Amazon.com charged me half the price of the book just for shipping, Book Depository has always taken +6 weeks to get me books, Gandhi almost doubled the price for “importing fees”… So I decided to wait until the next book.

And it was Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot. It’s such an amazing little book. I feel bad for using positive adjectives, because reading it was a harrowing experience, but I loved it. Mailhot is a writer from an indian reservation and in Heart Berries she wrote a coming of age memoir with such lyricism and imagery… Of course the book deals with “white women”, but not in a way to “make them realize”, I actually don’t think it’s written for white people. But it’s painful to think on all that discrimination, that is the same that indigenous people live in Mexico. Systemic, bureaucratic, permanent. Even if we don’t want to face it.

The book is incredibly sad, incredibly lonely. But in the sadness and loneliness it founds beauty, an excruciating beauty.

What I must say, though, is that as much as I marked passages and underlined sentences, I also kept looking how many pages were left until the end of the chapter. I’m not sure if it was because it talked about things hard to read (death, suicidal thoughts, rape, infidelity…) or just the language was heavy. In the GF discussion I compared it to honey, so dense and even painfully slow moving, but delicious. But it definitely isn’t a sweet book. I wish I had a better analogy.

Self-esteem is a white invention to further separate one person from another. It asks people to assess their value and implies people have worth. It seems like identity capitalism.

March wrap up

March started as an incredibly busy month. I was swamped with work and by the end of the month I thought I was barely going to finish two books. Fortunately, things cleared up and I was able to read a couple more. I’m still trying to catch-up from last month’s one book, but I’m still behind by two for my yearly goal. This month’s books were very interesting, and diverse (not in a Diversity with capital D way, but varied and different), and I enjoyed them very very much. I’m happy with my speed at the end of the month, I wish I can keep at it for the coming days.

So these are my March books:

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Books read: 5

  • The Book of Mirrors, E. O. Chirovichi
  • Five Weeks in a Balloon, Jules Verne
  • A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
  • The Witches, Roald Dahl
  • Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Petersen

Male: 4

Female: 1 (fuck)

Spanish: 3

English: 2

Translated from a language other than English: 2 (Japanese and French)

Translated from English: 1

Challenges prompts completed: 9/107

The Book of Mirrors, by E. O. Chirovici

I completely forgot to write the review about a book I read this month. I want to be held accountable, so I’ll write it now.

Every person who loves books loves books about books or libraries or writers, so when I learned that the book of the month of my pseudo-book club for the radio show A Todo Terreno was going to be The Book of Mirrors, by E. O. Chirovichi, a Romanian author, I was excited.

I did like it, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to the hype. It’s a fast reading book, as every crime novel should be, and it’s interesting. It’s divided in three sections, each narrated by a different person. First, it’s the editor who receives this manuscript titled The Book of Mirrors (oh! A book within a book, it has to be good!), claiming to be a tell-all account of the unsolved murder of a Princeton professor back in the eighties. Then, it’s the journalist hired by the publisher to find out the rest of the manuscript or the real story, because the author died before sending the last part. And then, it’s the ex-police officer who makes it his quest to solve the mystery.

I expected so much more, after reading that even Iceland bought the rights of the book before it had been published (and tried) in the US and UK markets. It’s a good crime book, I can totally envision a movie based on The Book of Mirrors, but I don’t think the characters are that likable, and in the end, the resolution seems so unimportant… which isn’t necessarily bad, though. I can see how the editors felt the particularity in Chirovici’s voice, and I wish they translate him more, because I believe it’s important to enrich the global market with diverse voices. But, at least for my taste and extremely personally because books about books are my absolute favorite, it just didn’t fulfill my expectations.

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Have you read Chirovichi? Have you ever read any of his Romanian novels? Are they better than The Book of Mirrors?

Will we ever be able to have an equitable world?

So I just finished reading The Power, by Naomi Alderman. It’s such an interesting book. It happens in a world were women have acquired a “power” that makes them superior to men in a way. The story inside the story (of a male writer emailing a female writer for input on this new book he wrote, and it is what we read) happens in a familiar world, dare I say the early 21st century? And then is when “the power” wakes up in young women first, and then all…

What I find the most interesting of this Margaret Atwood endorsed book is the questions it makes you formulate. I basically disagree with its portrayal of the feminine world because I fundamentally believe that if something like this were to happen to women, we wouldn’t turn crazy and men-like… But I’m not even sure if this is what Alderman is proposing… Is it that this book is more intended for men to read and compare? Is it a cautionary tale? Are we really inferior/superior?

I found the parts were rolls are reversed incredibly well written. Like, how did you do it Naomi!? I imagined myself writing them “normally” (the power character as male, and the dominated one as female) and then just changing the names… what a great exercise in writing! Especially in the email exchange between the authors (Neil Adam Armon ―the male writer, an anagram of Naomi Alderman’s own name― and Naomi, the female writer who suggests the book to be published under a woman’s name hehehe) you can read exactly the tones we use in a correspondence between a female who is under a male counterpart, even if it’s just a perceived hierarchy…

There were some difficult parts to read. The violence, the rapes, the blood, the war crimes… and also the more subtle (and exactly because of that the more hurtful?) inequality: “Every book you write is assessed as part of ‘men’s literature’”, or “I’ll ask my assistant if he’ll sort out some dates for us to have lunch.” We are still living in a world where this actually happens, just the other way around. Is there a way out of it? Will there ever be?

The Power, by Naomi Alderman, was the winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Alderman is also the cocreator and lead writer of the fantastic app: Zombies, Run! How cool is that!?

What a f***ing amazing book is Her Body and Other Parties

He Body and other Parties

I read Her Body and other Parties for the Slate Audio Book Club. What an amazing trip it was. I have been busy so I couldn’t read as much as I wanted, but I’m sure that if I had had the chance, I would have read it in one sitting.

Her Body and other Parties is a collection of eight stories, one just as amazing as the next. All of them have a feminist (profoundly feminist) voice, and are so weird and bizarre… I’m not sure if they could be catalogued as science fiction, but I while I was reading I felt that this book and its characters could perfectly coexist in the Black Mirror’s universe. There are even gory episodes, described masterfully, and violence so feminine that is eerie.

This book was also my entry for the January Monthly Motif Reading Challenge: Diversify your reading. Carmen Maria Machado is an American writer whose father was Cuban, so I guess you could say we’re the same race. But I chose her for the diversify your reading prompt, because she lives with her wife in Philadelphia, so she has a sexual orientation different to mine (I’m a straight cis… I know… boriiing).

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Her Body and other Parties will definitely be in my favorites for years and years to come, I’m sure (so, if anyone wants to gift me the hardcover, it’d be very very welcome). And I’m super excited about her next book to be published in 2019: House in Indiana: A Memoir.

 

Have you read Carmen Maria Machado? Do you love her like I do?