My week of living bookishly

It’s strange how time seems to pass both slowly and quickly during this pandemic… despite what an alarmingly large number of my fellow Americans are doing, we are still very much living the quarantine life at my house, with no plans to discontinue anytime soon. Now that school for the kids is officially on break, and I’ve settled into a routine working from home most of the week, it feels like my reading time is improving in quantity and quality. Hooray! Read on for some notes from my last week:

Books I finished

I managed to finish not one, not two, but THREE books from my ridiculous NetGalley backlog this week. I think I’m going to finally make it to that elusive 80% ratio in June, if I can stop myself from requesting new books for a hot minute. 😬

First up, The Winter Sisters by Tim Westover.

I like the concept of this well-written book: historical fiction with a bit of magical realism, set in a mountain community in Georgia in 1822. Dr. Waycross joins his modern medical training together with the local healers (and possible witches) the Winter Sisters as a rabid panther stalks the woods. Folklore, superstition, and plenty of humor come together nicely, but I would have preferred more of the sisters and less of the doctor. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Next, I finished Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade.

This was a hard book to review, as it was slow to grab my attention, far more interesting in the middle, and then just sort of fizzled at the end. It has an interesting premise: what if the chosen one falls and the sidekick has to save the day? I enjoyed the humor and banter, but not so much the writing: the plot skips around in a jarring manner and I like my fantasy with more complete world-building. Not sure I will continue with this series. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Finally, I finished The Book of V. by Anna Solomon.

This was my favorite book of the week for sure. See my review here on the blog. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Books in progress

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’m working on a reread together with my Litsy-based, online JA fan club, the #PemberLittens. Several of us are taking a chapter-a-day approach and it’s been really fun to read along with these ladies and take it slow.

2666 by Roberto Bolaño. I’m listening to the amazing audiobook for this chunkster. I chose it for a read around the world challenge on Litsy (I needed a book by a Chilean author) because it’s also on the #1001Books to read before you die list that I’m slowly chipping away at. This book is intense!

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I’m reading this book for a postal book club, the theme of which was retellings. So far, it’s definitely a darker sort-of-retelling of Peter Pan, and Pan is pretty dark to begin with.

Miscellany and Etcetera

Caught up on Mondays with Michelle Obama with the kiddo. ❤️ Check it out!

We LOVED the second story the most!

Watched the new Emma movie. Again.

I freaking love this movie!

Watched both the 1995 Sense & Sensibility movie and the 2008 miniseries, because a chapter-a-day was getting super hard to stick to. 😳

Me too, Marianne. Me too.

Watched a great zoom discussion with Sally Rooney, the stars and director of the Normal People series on Waterstones’ YouTube and then talked myself out of binging the whole show again because I needed to work. 😂

All in all, a good week. Monday is a holiday here, so I’m hopeful that I can get some good reading time in and hit some of my crazy May goals.

Until next time, take care of you!

Review: The Book of V. by Anna Solomon

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book, but I’m late reading and reviewing. The Book of V. was released May 5, 2020. I may have dragged my feet just a little as I saw several early reviews that were less than favorable… when will I learn not to look at reviews before reading? I should have trusted the impulse that made me request it in the first place. I loved this book.

In The Book of V., Anna Solomon has masterfully entwined the stories of three women: biblical Queen Esther in 478 BC; Lily, a mother/second wife/daughter in Brooklyn 2016; and Vivian, wife of a senator in 1970s Washington DC. Parts of the stories of Esther and her predecessor, Vashti, are paralleled in the stories of Vivian and Lily, but all of their experiences spotlight the struggles of women throughout the ages.

The Book of V. had been described by some as a Jewish book as it deals with Esther and other Jewish characters. I’m not a religious person, but from my perspective, this isn’t a religious book as much as literary fiction with religious characters. The writing is beautiful and succinct. Despite their similarities, each woman has a clear and distinct narrative voice, and for the most part, their stories are powerful in their very mundanity. I believe all women can relate to some of the themes here, just for having lived their lives in a world run by men. Queen Esther’s story includes a refreshing bit of magical realism, Vivian’s story has a dreamlike quality, and Lily’s is almost the quintessential modern-day mom experience. Through these stories, Solomon examines sexuality, feminism, motherhood, friendship, marriage, faith, and so much more in a truly creative, lyrical style.

The Book of V. is an interesting, complex, and thought-provoking book. Thank you to Netflix, the publisher, and the author for my copy in exchange for an honest review.