I totally forgot to do a reading round-up in December, but that’s okay because I only finished one book that month and spent the rest of it getting completely consumed with Gone with the Wind.
I finally grabbed this at the library after seeing too many people recommend it. Very few YA books can hold my attention these days, and I wasn’t expecting much — so I was surprised by how much I got pulled into the story. As usual in YA, Etienne was just a little too perfect, but a darling teen romance just the same.
One word: wrenching. Gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching, brain-wrenching.
About halfway through, I told my mom that I had just learned more about Reconstruction than I ever did or could have from high school history classes (I dimly remember memorizing the definitions to “key terms” Carpetbaggers and Scallawags, but that’s about it). I literally could not with just about everything society stood for and believed in. I mean, “we should be proud of our honorable men for joining the Ku Klux Klan”?? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I know, I know, different time, different place, different society, but ugh.
And Scarlett. You idiotic, selfish, unscrupulous fool. I’ll try not to give away any spoilers for the remaining 5 people who haven’t read the book/seen the movie, but it’s a true testament to Margaret Mitchell that she somehow gets you to root for such a character. The worst part was, she has the worst happen to her again and again and again, and then FINALLY she has these revelations and epiphanies and you start to hope for, like, two pages, and it all comes crashing down again — and then, in the last two paragraphs, it’s like she hasn’t changed a bit and you might as well be back at the start of the book. It’s almost Orwellian.
God, I wish I could take, like, a college seminar on this book! There’s SO MUCH in there — from the history, to all sorts of “isms” — classism, racism, feminism, and on and on — to the Mitchell’s literary techniques and language, to the themes of survival and family and who’s really the hero of this book?? and loyalty and love…I could so easily just discuss this books for hours.
You know what’s weird? Reading this book right after Gone with the Wind. Kindred even mentions GWTW and not in a flattering light.
I picked this up because I saw it on the Nerdette Instagram. First I got Octavia Butler confused with Octavia Spencer and was like “wait, that actress wrote a book?” and then I remembered I actually read Kindred back in 8th grade or so, but couldn’t remember a damn thing about it.
It took me awhile to get into it because a lot of the book kinda reads like “creative way to teach a history lesson!” with the dialogue and inner monologues just sort of spouting researched facts. Like, “of course they didn’t have penicillin in 1815” or “I remembered from my research that owners didn’t want slaves learning to read and write because they could write passes to give themselves passage North.”
But overall? Good read.
Another books I was surprised by. I haven’t read any Jojo Moyes — but now I want to read all of her books. Despite getting a little confused at the beginning — it was hard to keep characters straight — once I got into the story, I was in it. And even though I thought I had the plot allll figured out about halfway through, she threw some twists in at the end that kept me fully engaged. This took me about 10 days to read but I probably could’ve finished in half the time, if I was willing to stay up past midnight to keep reading. I wanted to! Moyes is great at ending chapters on cliffhangers. But I was “responsible” and “went to sleep at a reasonable hour” (ha!) and shit.
hmm, maybe I should get back to non-fiction?
What are you reading?