5 books I really, really NEED to read!

My TBR* is currently over 400 books long, and one day I will get around to reading every single one of them, but until that day, there will always be some of them that manage to creep their way up the list, on the basis of being made of awesome. These are five books that have pushed their way up so far that I cannot wait to read them!

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I’ve never been a loud woman. Even when I manage to get a handle of my social anxiety, I doubt very much I will be a loud woman, but this book isn’t so much about being an extrovert, as it is about finding your own voice: the one that’s buried beneath decades of ‘that’s not very ladylike’, and your endless apologies; the one that’s convinced you you’re not worth anything because of how you look, and the one that’s taught you how ‘we don’t talk about that’.
Shrill is about women, regardless of shape, size, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, binary or non-binary, finding their voices from buried below the ones that have kept us quiet for centuries.

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One of my favourite things as a reader is unexpectedly falling in love with a book. Last year, that happened to me with Max Wirestone’s The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, an unashamedly geeky and hilarious murder mystery, which celebrated the eccentricities of fandoms, with a fish-out-of-water tale of a woman who unexpectedly finds herself embroiled in the weird wonderful world of MMORPGs. I gave it four stars, and ended my review with the phrase ‘[I] really, really hope we see more of Dahlia Moss in the future!’ Thus why I’m so excited for this follow up, The Astonishing Mistakes of Dahlia Moss. I cannot wait to read more of the ridiculous but wonderful circumstances Dahlia ends up in.

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Another sequel to one of my favourites of 2016, Now I Rise is the second in The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White, which started last Summer with the wonderful, And I Darken. This is an AU story about what would have happened if Vlad the Impaler had actually been a woman. The result is the effortlessly vicious, Lada Dracul, who is the kind of leading lady protagonist I worship. She’s such a dark and complex character, which you simply cannot predict, and who never betrays her own morals and beliefs. We need more ladies like her in the realms of fantasy fiction!

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This is one of those books I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read yet. Me, who laps up epic fantasy like a cat drinking milk.
If you, like me, have failed at life, because have so far not read this book, The Name of the Wind is the story of Kvothe, an all-powerful wizard, told in the style of a coming-of-age story, through the eyes of the character himself.
I’ve heard nothing but great things and five-starred reviews about this book, and the glorious style in which Patrick Rothfuss writes.
The question is: do I read it or listen to the audiobook?
As always, thoughts always welcomed!

 

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Every once in a while you hear about a book you just know you’re going to be willing to do anything to get your hands on. This year, for me, that book is Lisa Lueddecke’s debut novel A Shiver of Snow and Sky. Everything I have seen and heard about this sounds amazing, and also, incredibly beautiful. The first page preview Lisa shared back in October only confirms that. I love it when authors write with that lyrically poetic style, there’s something magical about it that only helps to further immerse you into the world they’ve crafted. The writing, the cover, EVERYTHING about this book is beautiful, and I cannot wait to read it!

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*My Goodreads TBR, at least. My actual list of every book I want to read doesn’t exist as it would make me cry every time I looked at it and realised that I’ll never reach the end of it!

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Jodi Picoult’s greatest book so far.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the representation of people of colour within the publishing industry. In both areas, those being published and those doing the publishing, PoC are shockingly unrepresented, and with ignorant and misleading comments repeatedly being made by those higher up in the industry (and in other industries), it is a risky move right now to be releasing a book broaching the topic of racism, if you’re white.

Yet, that’s the move Jodi Picoult has found herself in, with her latest novel, Small Great Things.

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Ruth has been a midwife for years. She is brilliant at her job, and prides herself on understanding the needs of every mother-t0-be who steps onto the ward. That is until a couple request she is taken off their case, for no other reason than the colour of her skin. But when Ruth discovers their newborn son is struggling to breathe, she must decide to help him herself and go against their wishes, or find help elsewhere, and risk not finding anyone in time to save him.

Told from multiple points-of-view, Small Great Things is a truly moving, and at times, disturbing, examination of race relations in America. Picoult cleverly retells various moments in the story from differing perspectives, to try and force the reader to understand all sides.

It is wonderfully written, even if it is still very difficult to even begin to understand a Neo-Nazi’s motivations, (or, from a British POV, how it’s even legal for them to hold rallies and protests!).

Ruth’s gradual realisation of how much ingrained racism still exists in modern day USA is conveyed very cleverly, and helps not only open her eyes to it, but also the reader’s.

“It is amazing how you can look in a mirror your whole life and think you are seeing yourself clearly. And then one day, you peel off a filmy gray layer of hypocrisy, and you realize you’ve never truly seen yourself at all.

I still question whether it is right for a white author to be broaching this topic, when there are many authors of colour who could bring a more personal approach to it, and who rarely get the opportunity to have their own voices heard, and I would’ve liked more perspectives from the other African American characters, because there were a few too many white characters given a voice over theirs, in my opinion.

Overall though, I will say that Jodi Picoult has produced a very interesting book, that exceeds the expectations I had, and which is probably one of the most well-written books of her career so far.

3.5/5

Small Great Things is published November 22nd

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.