I managed to get more reading done in November than I had the previous few months. This could be due to the cooler weather and ample couch/puppy snuggle time OR simply because I’m procrastinating at life – either way, here’s last month’s list!
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
I’m a closet lover of all things apocalyptic YA fiction. My interest started with The Hunger Games and very quickly blossomed into near obsession given all the choices out there. This book, however, had a refreshing spin on the genre. Set in Australia, a group of teenagers are welcomed back from a week long camping trip by discovering that a war has started in their small town. They come together to face all sorts of adversities, making difficult choices along the way. While this book didn’t receive nearly as much hype as the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Maze Runner franchises – it’s definitely worth adding to any self-respecting YA collection.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Like many, I assume, I was “forced” to read To Kill a Mockingbird in my high school English class. Doing so at such a young, non-understanding age, I can now appreciate that I had NO idea about the true nature of the story. Be warned that the language has quite the initial shock, but once you break through the words and listen to the actual STORY, what surfaces is the essence of heart-felt humanity. Bonus: I listened to this as an audio book with Sissy Spacek as the narrator – her southern drawl made a HUGE difference in making this book come alive.
Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
I chose to read this book just before the U.S. election in the hopes that it would serve as a reminder of how far women have come – and how far we still must go. While the outcome of the election wasn’t what I (or many) had hoped, I will still hold on to bell hooks’ belief that in spite of great adversity the opportunity for right to prevail is always present. And while the focus of women’s rights is a strong (and sore) topic to some, what this book highlighted most for me is that the class divide among women deserves more attention than the overarching definition of feminism alone.
Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Maya Angelou
Simply amazing. Twenty-two pages of literary freedom. I read it out loud several times – there’s a big difference between hearing the words instead of just reading them. A must-read for everyone – especially women.
Him Standing by Richard Wagamese
This was a very quick read – only 129 short pages. While not my favourite writing of Richard Wagamese, true to his style is the story within a story. Lack of character development was replaced with a tale of good overcoming evil and the importance of living a balanced life – that is, when you are cloaked in too much darkness, it is imperative that you bathe yourself in light.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
This book first shocked me, then pissed me off, and finally educated me. Having taken a strong interest in women’s issues over the past year, I am SO glad I chose to read this one. My main takeaway has been the copious layers there are to women’s rights – that demanding equal pay, exclaiming pro-choice ideals, or simply slapping on a ‘Proud Feminist’ button merely scratch the surface of what the real “fight for women” is all about. Race, religion, and social economic status play more prominent roles and, in many cases, dig deeper into what it means to be a woman – especially in places where being a woman can literally get you killed. The stories in this book profoundly affected me and will, no doubt, stay with me for quite some time.