Thursday, April 21, 2016

March in books

March was a weird month in terms of reading. Remember how I was reading like crazy in January and February? Yeah, that sort of fizzled out for the whole of March. Even the Re-Readalong couldn't save me. I read nine books in March... five of those were for uni and one was my read-a-long of The Crimson Petal and the White, which I've already talked about so much that I won't repeat myself here. Out of the three books that are left, two of them are strong candidates for my top ten of the year, so it's definitely not all bad :)

Alexander Hamilton, American by Richard Brookhiser

Like most of the internet, I'm pretty obsessed with the musical Hamilton and I fancied finding out more about the man himself and his ridiculous life. This looked to be the best biography my university library had. It's only about 200 pages- so much more manageable than the famous Ron Chernow biography- and it's a pretty straight-forward read. It was interesting to read something that's not my usual fare- I don't go in for political biographies, or American history, all that much. But, yeah. I learned things. So this was decent.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I've talked before about how I love YA that deals with mental health issues. I picked this up randomly in Waterstones one day and read the blurb and the main character is on the same medication as me, so that was kind of... not nice exactly but new and interesting and reassuring? And then I went away and read up on this a bit more and found out that it's feministy as well as dealing with mental health problems, so I knew then I just had to read it. I'm happy to say it was just as good, if not even better than I'd hoped! So, Evie's just started college and is hoping to make a fresh start away from being 'the girl who went crazy'. She's struggled with OCD but is doing well in recovery. That's another thing I love that we definitely don't see enough- characters living with mental health problems, not just the drama of when they first manifest or particularly low points. The only other book I can think of that does this is Will Grayson Will Grayson and it's not something we see anywhere nearly enough. Anyway, Evie doesn't want her friends to know but at the same time feels bad about it, and worries that maybe she's getting worse again. And yes, there's feministy bits with the issues the main characters face as teenage girls, and yeah, I'm pretty much in love with this book. It's first in a series- I think the others follow Evie's friends, Lottie and Amber- so I can't wait to get my hands on those as well. Highly recommended.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Oooh, now this was a strange wee one. It's going to be difficult to describe. So, it's set in a possibly-future world where the earth is flooded and people are divided into 'landlockers' and 'damplings' (people who live on land and people who live on the sea) and there's all sorts of complicated stuff going on between them. North and her bear are performers in a sort of floating circus, and through one thing and another she meets and befriends a landlocker called Callanish, who's a Gracekeeper- someone who attends to the dead. Honestly, the whole world is so well developed- the whole thing is just really magical and watery and slightly melancholy. I loved this.

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