Whew one last one for the month! This is probably going to be hella long, so Let’s just dive into it:
- Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
- Rating: 4.75/5
- Thoughts: This is a stunning historical record. This is a book you should read if you live in the united states. (Or maybe not even then. It just has a ton more context for US citizens) It is powerful and absolutely heartbreaking account of the native american plight during the height of the manifest destiny and the mythic american west. There was SO much research put into this – it’s clear that this was a subject that Brown really really cared about getting right and sharing an accurate story with the world. It’s weird to say this about a nonfiction book, but the prose in this is incredible. Brown’s writing is immaculate – he weave a tale about each of these people and tribes, littered with these poignant descriptions and this deep deep (and extremely appropriate) melancholy. There are a ton of first hand accounts cited, and the world echoed from these sources are powerful and just. So much. This is a hard book to read – I found myself only able to get through one chapter a day or I’d just be filled with this unending rage and sadness. But it was an incredible read – definitely wholeheartedly recommend.
- There are some elements that I don’t think have aged as well, this coming from the 1970s and all, but not enough to really take away from this novel.
- Also content warnings for: pretty horrifically described gore and genocide. I’m sure you expect that from this but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
- The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
- Rating: 3/5
- Thoughts: This is probably my least favorite Agatha Christie book that I’ve picked up. Mostly because Hastings is just. The worst. He’s the absolute worst in this book. It wasn’t as big of issue in the other two Christie novels I read because either 1) he wasn’t insufferably into half of the female cast or 2) he wasn’t in the novel at all. In this novel he’s just. The WORST. He constantly does the dumbest things. It is by some miracle that Poirot keeps him around. I also thought the mystery wasn’t as compelling as the last two. I wonder if it’s because I’m coming out of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which is an absolutely phenomenally constructed mystery, that this one seems like it’s on the weak side. I’m still going down the Poirot/Christie rabbit hole myself, but if you aren’t attached to reading the whole Poirot series, I’d skip this one. It’s fine enough, but it’s nothing special.
- Also now that I’m on my third Christie novel can she like… stop trying to write romance. I know it’s the 20’s but you’re BAD at it
- Human Acts by Han Kang, Translated by Deborah Smith
- Rating: 5/5
- Thoughts: You need to read this book. Or listen to this book. I picked this audiobook up from my library and it was SO MUCH. There is so much pure tragedy in these stories, so much grief and pain and humanity. It’s told from several POV’s and all of them are really important in painting the picture and telling this specific story. The prose is also just. It’s perfect. It is so good. Smith is a wonderful translator. And it’s just? This is such powerful story about a time period in South Korean history that we are STILL feeling the echoes of. There are quotes in this book and parts of the story that are STILL rolling through my head, weeks later. I want to own a copy of this book – which is kind of wild. I know I’m gushing but just. This is a hard read, for sure, but it’s also incredibly moving and genuine.
- I must say, after reading some other reviews, I recommend picking up the audiobook. I can see what a lot of people are saying about the novel sounding a bit odd at times, but I think the audiobook really helps with that. At least, I didn’t notice it as much while listening to it.
- Content warnings for: Horrifically described gore and murder, sexual assault, rape and suicide. This is also a really really hard book to get through sometimes. I promise you, if you’re up for it, it’s worth it.
- Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen
- Rating: 2/5
- Thoughts: Hoooooo Boy I’m kinda…. mad at this series. I picked up the first book a couple years ago and finally got around to this one and…. it’s so. It’s just not good. The pacing in this book is atrocious. It takes SO long for anything to happen – and not in a good way! I feel like only half of the slow pacing is used to help develop the main cast, the rest is just to meander. You don’t really get to the crux of the main story until at least 70-75% through the novel (Incidientally, my favorite part of the book). The rest is like “oh look at all this coincidental stuff we’re going to have happen in order to GET to the crux of this novel”It also does these like… homages to other fantasy that I don’t think really work as well they intended. They kind of just come off as like “oh… okay… you wasted my time for this? Cool I guess”
- Also this is going to sound weird but…. there’s a LOT of internalized misogyny throughout this whole novel. Not even from the main characters, which while it bothers me, doesn’t bother me as much as like…. the own author’s weird built in narrative misogyny. It’s pretty weird how almost all the female characters are kind of talked down to or treated pretty damn poorly. Which really sucks, because I think there are some really interesting characters – the narrative just treats them like garbage.
- And…. there is a scene where the main cast in coerced into having a debauched night and it’s…. really not addressed super well? It was super fucking gross to read. And results in something at the end of the book that makes me feel even grosser.
- There was also a preview of the third book in my copy that I read. And I absolutely hated it? I have no interest in reading anymore of this series after this book. It sounds like it’s a going to be a damn drag. It’s a shame too, since I really do like the main character (Half black and Half Native, Bi and trans!!!! it should be good enough to get me through this series!!!!) and about half of the main cast. They’re just not enough to make me want to read anymore. It’s totally cool if you’re into this – I just. Could not deal with it anymore.
- Content warnings for: Dubious/Non-consensual sex, Gore.
That’s it for this month — tune in same time next month for more.