I haven’t read a lot for pleasure these past two (and a half) months since my previous Books post. But there have been quite a few books in my life, mostly manuals for the courses I’m taking. I added two of those to this list because they are really great books.
The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud: I loved this book. It’s the kind of book from which I learn about writing, because the plot is not much to talk about, but the characters are so incredibly interesting and alive and truly unforgettable. And the way in which authors manage to capture your interest like that, from apparently nothing, is just fascinating. Otherwise, of course, it’s just a book about middle class problems, which might put some off, but I didn’t mind.
The Living Goddesses, by Marija Gimbutas: This is a very interesting study of Marija Gimbutas about ancient civilizations and their cultures that evolved around women figures. Marija Gimbutas was a very respected researcher until she came up with the theory that Old Europe civilizations were matriarchal, based on all the archaeological evidence and theorizing (which is how this is done by everybody). But her theories were never fully accepted by her peers. We don’t need to wonder why. Anyway, the book is such an interesting insight into the spiritual and daily life of ancient humans, that I recommended it highly.
Season of the Dragonflies, by Sarah Creech: This book seemed very promising, about magic and sisterhood. But it turned out to me more of a romance type of story, than anything else. I think it makes efforts to go further than that, but it doesn’t, really. Nonetheless, I did enjoy reading it. It’s a fun read. Just not what I was expecting, I guess. If you are into magic realism and stories about women, go ahead and try this book.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel: This is not my usual read, and I don’t even remember how this book came on my radar, but it did and I enjoyed reading it, although in retrospect I think my time could have been used better. It’s an interesting story (post-apocaliptic sort of thing where almost everyone is dead on Earth except for a few not-so-lucky survivors) and the writing is captivating too. But the premise is rather ridiculous: about two decades after the virus-caused apocalypse, survivors live a primitive life, with no electricity and no technology. They don’t try to rebuild anything and just fight amongst each other for the resources that are becoming scarcer. I don’t know if I can recommend this to anyone. Only if you want to get angry at how absurd everything seems, then go ahead.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams and The Practical Guide to Information Design, by Ronnie Lipton: If you are interested in learning design, these books are amazing. They teach you all the basics that you need to know. I am keeping these books for my reference library.
Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson: I wish the detective was a woman, but the case does involve many very interesting women characters who are victims, but also criminals and survivors, and generally have very memorable presences. I enjoyed the book and I’m going to pick up more of Kate Atkinson’s.
Nude, by Nuala Ni Chonchuir: My friend, writer and artist Rachel Fenton, gifted me this book. Her gifts are always the best. It’s a beautiful book, another lesson in how beautiful and unexpected writing can be in a masterful hand. I highly recommend it.
It’s so you, by Michelle Tea: Stories about women and the meaning of their clothes. What’s not to like?