Top Ten Books That Would Make Great Father’s Day Gifts

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all about father’s day! By my own is a pretty big reader, so I’m definitely thinking of him in this list, but these books can apply to virtually any dad. There’s a certain dad-ness to them. I might even get him a couple of these!

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1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett — The humor in this book is so of-its-time it’s golden.

2. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut — Another humorous book, but this one errs on the darker side and has some harrowing descriptions of World War II. The tone is what makes this book worth it. (Or so it goes.)

3. Faithful Place by Tana French — This is novel is part of a larger series (The Dublin Murder Squad), but it stands on its own pretty well. Family life is at the front and center of this mystery novel, and the narrator’s love for his young daughter is quite touching.

4. I, Claudius by Robert Graves — Another vaguely-humorous historical novel, only this time set in Ancient Rome. My dad is a historian like the Roman emperor that chronicles his life in this novel, so it works in many levels.

5. Station Eleven by Emily St. Mendel — There is something for everyone in this book. It tackles art and how it makes us human without ever falling into cliches.

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6. Maus by Art Spiegelman — This graphic novel is equally focused on the artist’s relationship with his ageing father and the latter’s experiences as a Jewish man during WWII. I’m actually cheating here because it was my dad that recommended this to me.

7. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood — Written in typical Atwood fashion, this novel is about the end of the world brought about by GMOs and corporations.

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — Though this is typically considered YA, its unusual style and narrator make it appealing to any reader. There is also a beautiful relationship between the protagonist and her foster father.

9. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón — This is a mystery set in post-civil-war Barcelona filled with twists and an enthralling atmosphere. The narrator’s relationship with his father also plays a role, though much smaller than other examples on this list.

10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi — Similarly to Station Eleven, I feel like everyone can get something out of this book. There’s something about graphic novels that makes me think of my dad, so there’s that.

Spring Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up

Again I’m late. At least this time it was like… ten days and not months. In case you don’t know, Bookish Bingo is hosted over at Pretty Deadly Reviews and you should check out the summer round!

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  • Paranormal – The Haunting of Hill House
  • Just words on the cover – King Lear
  • Sisters – The Sky is Everywhere 😥
  • Magic – The Night Circus
  • Nonfiction – Negotiating with the Dead
  • Series Finale – A ConJuring of Light
  • Politics/Gov’t (can be fiction or nonfiction) – Julius Caesar
  • Purple cover – The Lies of Locke Lamora
  • Over 500 pages – Days of Blood and Starlight
  • Multi POV –The Female of the Species
  • Adapted to TV/movie – The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Witches – Faust
  • Historical – Maus
  • Retelling – A Court of Mist and Fury
  • Scary – Vicious
  • Blue Cover – A Streetcar Named Desire

Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR That Are Outside My Favorite Genres

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about our TBRs! If you look at my blog, you can easily see that my favorite genres are fantasy and YA fiction (if one can call that a genre). That said, I’ve looking to expand my reading habits and added a ton different genres to my TBR, from children’s literature to non-fiction. Some of this genres I’ve enjoyed in the past, some I’ve never read, but I’m excited about all these.

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1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery –All the discussion regarding the Netflix adaptation has me intrigued. People seem to have a lot of love for this book, and the setting is unlike most of the things I read.

2. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde –I’ve read The Importance of Being Earnest three times at different points for school and university, and I really enjoyed Wilde’s writing, more so than in his novel. I watched the 1999 movie recently and have wanted to read the original play ever since.

3. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren –I follow Victoria Schwab on Twitter and there she constantly raves about this book. I’m hoping that this will the non-fiction book that I’ll fall head over heels in love with and be left craving for more.

4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated the World in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente –I’ve been dying to read a book by Valente after hearing so many good things about her writing. This middle grade book sounds delightful.

5. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield –A mystery-gothic novel that I’ve heard is super intriguing and has great twists!

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6. The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch — My dad gave me this book for my birthday and called it one of his favorites. Although it seems denser than what I normally read, I want to give it a try.

7. Hard Times by Charles Dickens —A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite classics and my best friend gave me this book for my birthday (I have a reputation). It’s the perfect excuse to read some more Dickens and thankfully it’s not as long as some of his other novels.

8. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller –I’ve heard some mix… opinions about this book, but I still want to try it for myself, especially after reading The Iliad, which I loved, last semester.

9. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta –I normally don’t read YA Contemporary, but people seem to love  Marchetta’s writing. Like really, really love, very, very passionately. I can’t wait to see why.

10. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee –The only book on this list that hasn’t been release, and the hype is high in this one. It had me at bisexual protagonist in a historical setting but everything else sounds so fun.

Book Review: The Female of the Species

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Title: The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Content warning for discussion of rape and sexual assault.

The best way I can describe this book is that it feels like a punch in the gut. Even though it wasn’t truly the book for me, I’m glad that it exists because it really looks at rape culture unflinchingly. It’s a very violent and graphic book, but never in a way that feels gratuitous. But yeah, don’t go into this book expecting sunshine, puppies and rainbows. (Though there are puppies… but you’ll wish there weren’t.)

Overall, I think that the book handled the topic at hand masterfully. It is kind of an “issue book” in that the themes are more important than the plot, but even then I wasn’t expecting something so raw. The ramifications of violence are never left unexplored, and they are very well thought out. It’s not an easy subject, so the book doesn’t offer easy answers. The characters don’t stand on soapboxes, instead they are flawed and screw up many times, getting called out when necessary. For example, Peekay holds some misogynistic views on your stereotypical mean girl Branley, but Alex never agrees and the book itself never frames Branley as a caricature, but as a full-fledged character. It truly speaks volumes that this book gets across its message without having to sacrifice its humanness.

As I said, the book’s messages are mostly conveyed through moments. Some really great one at that. McGinnis shows a lot of nuance in her portrayal of rape culture by including the big ones (like the horrific murder of Alex’s sister, Anna) along with the little ones like lewd comments or double standards. There is a particularly great moment when Alex points out how easily little remarks go unexamined and how “no one protested because this is our language now.”

The writing also perfectly reflected that. It is crass when it needs to be, but most of all it is honest. Alex proclaims at one point, “My language is shocking,” and McGinnis’ own often is. It is very effective in its simpleness, especially given how it is written in first person present tense aka probably my least favorite tense to read. These aren’t the squeaky-clean kids that never swear or discuss sex, and the book is so much better for it.

Now, about Alex, I had never seen a character like her in YA. In a way she reminded me a lot of Jessica Jones because of how the narrative depicted her anger as valid. Alex has many reasons to be angry and unapologetically so. It’s sadly rare to see this in female protagonists still, outside of YA even. Her violent side is definitely not downplayed or portrayed as something to be looked up, so she’s a genuinely morally grey and flawed character.  There’s a lot more to her, too, like her love for animals or her kindness. Although Jack and Peekay, the other narrators, are also well developed, Alex steals the book thanks to how unique her voice is.

Where this book kind of lost me was the plot. There isn’t much of one. It just sort of slogs through a school year with random things happening. The characters are compelling enough that I kept reading, don’t get me wrong. However, there are some sections where the only stakes are the romantic relationships between the characters where I just couldn’t. Those just aren’t the things I latched onto as a reader. Then the ending just comes out of nowhere when things are looking up for the characters. Though the ending serves the themes and messages fittingly, it doesn’t fully serve the plot. These issues were what kept me from fully connecting to this book.

 

This isn’t your typical YA contemporary for sure. I fully recommend it if you’re looking for a smart, unflinching book and prepared for its heavy topics.