What I’ve Been Reading: Highlights

*obligatory mention of how I’m terrible at posting consistently*

Now that I got that out of the way, here are my favorite reads of the past five months!

20820994 I´ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This was such a beautiful book. I read it in a day because I couldn’t stop. The writing style, a mix of beautiful prose and some odd extract that helped a lot with the symbolism and character development, was so enchanting that it made me want to read every thing that Nelson has written and will ever write. I was a bit lukewarm about the romance but the dynamics and characters worked so well that I didn’t mind. Coming from a family of artists, I aslo felt that this is also one of the few books that accurate portrays what being an artist is like as opposed to having one of the characters know how to draw to “spice up” or whatever.

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

After finishing Crooked KingdomI was left craving all more of the Grisha world. I read Shadow and Bone many years ago but I never picked up the sequel. I’m kind of glad I didn’t because I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I did. So last fall I binge-read the whole trilogy (something I rarely do) and loved it. There were few things that I have problems with (that I may discuss later), but overall I adored the characters especially Nikolai. Siege and Storm was my favorite out of the three because of the character development. The whole scene in which they fly above the Fold reminded me of why I love fantasy as genre.

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Another book that reminded me why I love fantasy! This was a very different reading experience from what I’m normally used to as it is not one of those books that you just can’t put down. There is very little tension in some sections and for the most part the conflicts are internal and understated. It is a very cerebral book in a way: it works best when you know your fantasy tropes. I love weird, meta, self-aware books and dry humor so I was bound to enjoy this one, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It managed both whimsy and realism. Just please don’t go into these books expecting Harry Potter because thematically and tonally they’re anything but.

1433Hamlet by William Shakespeare

English major here! I’d been wanting to read this play for years but I was pretty intimidated by… well, everything about it. My attempts at reading Shakespeare on my own had been a disaster before, so I’m glad I powered through this one. Actually I quite enjoyed it, though I’m sure that a lot flew over my poor 21st-century head. I definitely see myself re-reading this play in the future.

 

8490112Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

This was the first book I finished in 2017 and what a great start! Laini Taylor is known for her beautiful writing, so I shouldn’t have been taken by surprise but I was. What kept me hooked, however, was the characters and worldbuilding. That Taylor manages to establish them so well in such a short time left me very impressed and invested. The book has just the right amount of whimsy and quirk to be endearing rather than annoyning; it never feels forced. It also has a rare sort of poetic beauty that is hard to find. I haven’t picked up the next two books but, if they are anything like the first one, I might gain a new favorite YA series.

23841432Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong 

I first encountered Vuong’s writing when I read “Prayer for the Newly Damned” in class. After reading the whole collection, I would still say that is my favorite one, but his writing shines throughout the whole collection. It’s hard for me to write about it because it was such a visceral experience. I ended up in the floor crying and loving every second of it. I don’t read poetry regularly, so this was a great reminder of why I should. Vuong has a very distinct voice, and I’m sure he’ll only become more acclaimed (he is only 28!) so if you are looking for different voices to add to your reading I have to recommend this one.

29939230A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

This was probably my most anticipated release of the year and it did not disappoint. I cried, laugh, and craved for more. As a conclusion, it works perfectly both when it comes to the the themes and the characters. I was not expecting to become so invested in Holland’s story, which makes this one of those rare series where I loved every single main character. The atmosphere of the whole book was also superb in a way that only a series finale can be. It was far darker than its predecessors but it never felt forced or grimdark because it was earned. The series as a whole is far more character and world driven and this book did nothing to change that, so I do get why some readers might find these books slow. But this book was everything I wanted and needed.

What have you been reading lately?

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