Reading January 2018: Hunger and Sleeping Beauties

I’m trying something a bit different this year, in hopes of keeping the blog more or less regularly updated: posting my reading recommendations at the end of each month. I will share with you my favorite reads of the month, plus other recommendations (and I’ll keep the ‘meh’ reads to myself).

My favorite two reads of January were Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, which has started me on a memoir kick, and Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. By no coincidence, both books have strong feminist overtones. Hunger is just so moving and insightful; I felt after reading it that I really knew Gay, that I understood her from the inside out. I’ve never read a book like it. Sleeping Beauties is a big, fat King epic for readers who like that kind of thing, but it’s also an incredibly perceptive view of the labor that women perform and all the pain they experience. In the story, all the women fall asleep and don’t wake up, and men are left bereft. It’s not only a thrilling page turner, but also a perfect story for this time in history.

Other books I enjoyed this month included:

  • Come Closer by Sara Gran, a short and creepy novel about a woman who is slowly being possessed by a demon. You could read it literally or as an allegory for mental illness. Very effective.
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton, a melancholy and affecting literary science-fiction novel after civilization has ended for unknown reasons. It alternates between an astronomer stranded in the Arctic and an astronaut returning from a mission to Jupiter. Character-driven and moving.
  • And highly recommended–Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig: I bought this because I follow the author on Twitter and his words are always so inspiring to me. This is a frank, honest, sometimes funny, often inspirational account of dealing with depression and anxiety, and I really needed it right now. If you are a sufferer or care for someone who does, you will find yourself underlining passages and flagging pages to return to later.

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