I’ve only just realized I haven’t done a reading wrap up in MONTHS. Admittedly, I haven’t been reading as much lately — maybe a couple books a month. Just recently I’ve started picking up more books and finishing them quicker. So hopefully at the end of this month I’ll have more books to talk about. But for now, here’s an accumulation of the books I’ve read in the last few months.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf | 5/5 stars
Short Synopsis: This essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled Women and Fiction, and hence the essay, are considered nonfiction. The essay is seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.
Lately, I’ve been reading more Virginia Woolf. The first book I read by her was Between the Acts which didn’t impress me much but I didn’t let it steer me away from her writings and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve since enjoyed her books, and A Room of One’s Own is no exception. She touches on feminism but not in the typical way you would expect from a “feminist” book. I would really recommend everyone to read this book. It’s only about 100 pages but there’s so much to absorb. I would recommend marking your favorite passages with sticky notes. They’re great to look back on. And if you have a sense of humor you will find some of her statements to be funny because they’re true.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway | 4/5 stars
Short Synopsis: This short novel, already a modern classic, is the superbly told, tragic story of a Cuban fisherman in the Gulf Stream and the giant Marlin he kills and loses — specifically referred to in the citation accompanying the author’s Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.
This was a very fun book to read. It read almost as a storybook and felt nostalgic as if I were reading it as a kid. It wasn’t anything spectacular, I might add. But it could easily be a reflection of some part of your life. I found that it was for me at least. At times I found reading the book to be a bit pointless but I think that was the point of the story. I may be totally wrong in this assumption but if you do read it or have read it, let me know what you think in the comments.
Short Synopsis: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
I listened to this book on Audible and I don’t know if I would recommend that. I think it kind of tainted the story for me. There’s a lot of singing and songwriting in this book and to hear that on an audiobook isn’t ideal, especially by a reader whose specialty isn’t singing. This also isn’t the typical Hunger Games book that you’d expect. I did enjoy the book and probably would definitely give it 5/5 stars if it weren’t for the Audible reader.
Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon | 5/5 stars
Short Synopsis: This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who worked as a reporter for Hearst in Paris just before WWII and later as a spy for the British. Frequent jumps in time draw out the arc of Wake’s remarkable life; despite her statement early on that women’s weapons of warfare were limited to “silk stockings and red lipstick,” by the end she’s proven herself skillful at physical combat as well.
It actually took me months to finish this book. I’d say that the first half of it was just okay, but the last half of the book really picks up. I think I just found some of the writing to be a bit shallow and, dare I say, cheesy. I also found it interesting reading about this Australian woman who was so involved as a journalist and playing a crucial role as a spy. I hadn’t really read too much about this part of history so I found it very eye-opening. There were times when I wanted to cry, so if you’re a crier then you have been warned. But the book does end on the a good note so there’s that.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf | 3/5 stars
Short Synopsis: This is a vivid portrait of a single day in a woman’s life. When we meet her, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is something much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with remembrances of faraway times. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices that brought her there, hesitantly looking ahead to the unfamiliar work of growing old.
I don’t really know how I feel about this book, to be honest. I think I heard so many good things about it that my expectations for it were a bit higher than they should have been. If I took anything from this book it would be that I definitely don’t appreciate or acknowledge the small things in everyday life like they did in 1925. The fact that Virginia Woolf wrote a book about one day is beyond me. So if you like descriptive books, this one’s for you.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby | 2/5 stars
Short Synopsis: Set in 1960’s London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters.
I saw this book at the library one day and decided to pick it up. It was shelved along with other books that the library recommended so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a good story but I felt like the writing was rushed a bit and could’ve really been a longer and better book if the author wasn’t afraid to expand a bit more on some parts of the story. I would’ve really liked to read more about Sophie Straw’s life rather than be told a “long-story short” version of what happened behind the scenes. I did, however, find the story to be unique and inspiring. And there’s pictures, too!
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought about them in the comments. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my current reads.