books read in 2017

Listen, I write a lot for school and for my other blog (which my best friend and I write together and which is, imo, a v good blog. I'm proud of it.) so writing here has taken a serious backseat to the rest of my writing life. BUT new year new blogging goals, and I want to write a little bit about the books I'm reading, since it helps me remember them better. And so, in chronological order (I think), the books I read in 2017 (not including a few short picture books):
  • The Happiness Project / Gretchen Rubin - this book is nice and I liked it. I feel like I was pretty late to the Gretchen Rubin train, but it's a nice train to be on. 
  • What We See When We Read / Peter Mendelsund - I read this for a class in my second semester, and it's quite good. When I first read it I made a note that it was "a little monolithic", which probably gives you some insight into how much academia is seeping into my brain. What can I say, I like to read about reading. 
  • Partners in Crime / Agatha Christie - whenever I'm in a reading rut Tommy and Tuppence are there to bolster me up. 
  • The Life-Changing Magic of not Giving a F*ck / Sarah Knight - this was a good, quick lil book and I recommend it! I listened to the audiobook version and I feel like I could be pals with Sarah Knight. There's a new book out with a similar title which I feel a strange antipathy towards. 
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone / JK Rowling - do I need to explain Harry Potter to anyone?
  • I'm Judging You / Luvvie Ajayi - HELLO EVERYONE I recommend you read this book ASAP, also the audiobook version is a PURE DELIGHT. 
  • White Rapids / Pascal Blanchet - this is a great little piece of Canadiana! And it's about a bit of Quebec history that I didn't know anything about. 
  • Bitch Planet, vol. 1 / Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro - not for everyone but I enjoyed it. 
  • The Rosie Project / Greame Simsion - another book I read way after everyone else! A good pal gave me her copy and I stayed up til 4:00 am to finish it. 
  • Wishful Drinking / Carrie Fisher - the audiobook is absolutely PERFECT for a three hour car ride. 
  • Sunshine / Robin McKinley - I've been a Robin McKinley fan for a long time so why I didn't pick this one up is a mystery to me. Actually tbh it's probably because of a misplaced prejudice against vampires and a weird self-congratulatory attitude about having only read Dracula and no other vampire stories. Get over yourself, past Glynis. Literally no one cares about your opinions on Twilight, just let people enjoy things. 
  • The Miniaturist / Jessie Burton - this was...fine. I feel like there was a lot of wasted potential in the ideas and storytelling. 
  • There is no Right Way to Meditate / Yumi Sakugawa - very short, very cute. 
  • Witches of East End / Melissa de la Cruz - this book was really dumb but I liked reading it. 
  • My Friend Dahmer / Derf Backderf - do not, I repeat, DO NOT delve into Jeffrey Dahmer's wikipedia page directly before bed after finishing this book! It is a bad idea! The book is good though!
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane / Katherine Howe - more witches! Plus now I like the name Deliverance?
  • Every Heart a Doorway / Seanan McGuire - a book about children who go through a door into another world and then end up back on earth and now they're dealing with it. It's good! 
  • Vengeance Road / Erin Bowman - if you liked True Grit (and let's be honest, who didn't), you'll like Vengeance Road. There's revenge. There's riding horses through the desert. There's good representation of indigenous peoples (as far as I can tell! I'm white! Feel free to correct me on this one!). 
  • Giant Days, vol. 4 / John Allison, Max Serin - I've said it before and I'll say it again: I will read anything John Allison writes. 
  • Go Ask Alice / "Anonymous" - here's the two-sentence review I wrote on this book when I finished it, because I will not spend one more iota of mental effort on thinking about it: "Greetings friends! Not only is this book 100% fake it is also: complete shite!" 
  • The Outside Circle / Patti Laboucane-Benson, Kelly Mellings - this should be required reading for all Canadians. It lays out inter-generational trauma in an understandable and immediate way. PLEASE READ IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN. 
  • Queer: A Graphic History / Meg-John Barker, Julia Scheele - chock full of good, rigorous, academic work. If you find yourself saying "what the hell is queer theory" then I recommend this book! 
  • Jane, the Fox & Me / Fanny Britt - delightful! lovely! poignant!
  • Unquiet Past / Kelley Armstrong - oh hello, did you order one deus ex machina? 
  • The Winter People / Jennifer McMahon - spooky scary! A fun read with some solid creepiness that I quite enjoyed. 
  • Uprooted / Naomi Novik - another audiobook which is definitely worth the many, many hours it takes to get through it. A sort-of retelling of Beauty and the Beast. 
  • How to Be a Woman / Caitlin Moran - listen, Caitlin Moran's feminism is not perfect, but then, neither is mine. I really like this book regardless. 
  • Fatty Legs / Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret (Olemaun) Pokiak-Fenton - a true story of one girl's experience in a residential school in the north. Very short, lots of illustrations, highly recommend. 
  • Lily Renee, Escape Artist / Trina Robbins - not quite what I was expecting but still good. 
  • Whose Body? / Dorothy L. Sayers - I don't think I'll ever get tired of British crime writers. 
  • Spill Zone, vol. 1 / Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland - VERY GOOD, MUCH RECOMMEND
  • Magpie Murders / Anthony Horowitz - I know this is getting rave reviews but honestly the more I think about it the more it bugs me. Motives in the story seem very........unmotivating. It's not BAD, it's just not my favorite. 
  • Austenland / Shannon Hale - Shannon Hale, like Robin McKinley, has been a longtime fave and this book was just as fun and silly as I wanted it to be. 
  • A Murder for Her Majesty / Beth Hilgartner - Christmas is a good time to reread faves from your youth. Shout out to this book for making young Glynis want to be in a choir. 


Aurora Leigh Part Three Which I Didn't Read, Oops

   My body has been attacking me and term papers etc are heaping up and so I have to admit that I did not read this weeks section of Aurora Leigh, and I am sorry.

   What I DID read was Alice's and Jenny's posts about the last part and here are my impressions:

  • Once again EBB goes off on how good, pure, noble, etc poetry is, and how it transcends everything else. At some point I feel like we'll be like "we get it, Elizabeth, poetry is good." 
  • Romney is a fake-woke bro and is also: the worst. Also he gets married too much. 
  • England has always hated France and probably always will? Remember reading Villette and Lucy Snow is like "I hate three things: France, Catholics, and everything else"
  • Victorians were the worst AND I always get mad when people are like "I was born in the wrong generation!!!!!!!111!" because really? You think so? 
   I'm going to do my best to read this difficult book in time for the last post. Who can say if I will be successful? Only time. 


Aurora Leighdalong, Books 1 & 2

   And so begins our foray into a novel-in-verse about a woman who becomes a poet, and so far, it is equal parts delightful and impenetrable. So many thanks to Alice and Jenny for organizing.

    A RECAP: Aurora Leigh is born in Italy, and is an orphan by the time she's 13, at which point she's shipped off to England and to grow up in her aunt's care but DON'T WORRY, this aunt isn't as bad as Jane Eyre's aunt. She grows up rather under the aunt's thumb and her cousin visits sometimes, then she talks a lot about how much she loves nature and then she finds her father's book collection in her aunt's attic and spends the next ~fifty thousand pages talking about how amazing poets are and how they are closer to God than the rest of us.

Aurora and Chuck would get along, I think

   She starts writing poetry, but then on her twentieth birthday her cousin Romney finds her book of poems (which she hid in a tree near a stream, of course) and first tells her that women can't be poets (even though he didn't read anything she wrote so like...get stuffed, Romney. Although I am glad you did a small amount of privacy-respecting), does some general insulting, and then proposes to her. Aurora is like "hell no," and I applaud her.

Aurora reacting to Romney's proposal

   Her aunt is like "gurl you're going to be poor when I die, marry your cousin to secure your future," and Aurora is still like "hell no," and honestly I respect her resolve, also cousin Romney is v rude. Six weeks later the aunt dies from...sitting? and Romney tries to give Aurora a bunch of money and she's like "keep it, I'm outta here" and goes to London to be a poet.

   At one point Romney says, "When Egypt's slain, I say, let Miriam sing! / Before...where's Moses?" and honestly Romney, you need to read the Bible again and then you need to start getting better opinions. I feel like he's going to come back as a romantic interest for Aurora, and I'm mad about it. He's rude and mean, and I don't like him. I do like Aurora, and how she's very principled and does things like preserve ivy crowns in a drawer because PERSONAL SYMBOLISM.

   A lot happens, and a lot doesn't happen. During the nature and poet parts I was like "please, EBB, spare me" but there are so many good lines in this book that I can't complain. If reading this first portion didn't remind you of Bright Star then I have to assume you haven't seen Bright Star, and I feel like you should because it's a good movie, and very pretty. Look at these gifs and tell me that's not Aurora, I dare you.


Sometimes all you can do to make yourself read again is find one subject that holds your attention and lean into it with all your strength. My reading resolution of 52 books a year has been a true challenge in both 2016 and 2017, and so far this year I've only managed to squeak through 14. But, a few of those books lately have gone more smoothly, have held my attention more firmly, have kept me coming back to them and working through them. What an enormous relief. They've all been books about magic and witches, magic and witches. If there's a woman in them learning her own power through magic I'm there.

16 hour long audiobooks? Put them in my ears, as long as there's stories about Baba Yaga and spell-casting. Ebooks when I don't usually make good use of my Kobo? I'll pay attention as long as someone is researching the Salem Witch Trails while simultaneously discovering her own magic. Heck, I'll even read Witches of East End EVEN THOUGH it's dumb.

Please, for the love of my reading-hungry brain, suggest witch books to me.


too much head stabbing

   The movies are AS FOLLOWS:

  1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (86)
  2. Lion (16)
  3. Logan (17)
  4. Sense and Sensibilty (08)
  5. Sunshine (07)
   Ferris Bueller, always funny. Lion, always crying. Logan, always anxious. Sense and Sensibility, always proper. Sunshine, always concentrating on something else to free myself from Space Fear. 

   If you haven't seen Lion, I recommend that you do. It is beautiful and sad and Sunny Pawar is the most adorable child on the planet. I am not kidding when I say that I basically started crying a few minutes in and didn't stop until the end of the movie. If you're in an emotionally fragile state, maybe wait for a bit to watch this one. But do watch it! It's good. 

   LOGAN IS NOT A FUN ROMP THROUGH THE WOODS. BEWARE. I heard it described as feeling like a two-hour long anxiety attack and guess what: that's right on the money. It was good and I enjoyed it AND I felt exhausted at the end! I don't know if I'll ever watch it again. To me it felt like a logical progression from the rest of the X-Men movies; to Josh it felt like a re-hash of old ideas with nothing new besides more violence and f-bombs. And there is a lot of violence. Some of it seemed exploitative to me, or maybe the movie was just trying to get across the senselessness of it? I am not sure. I'm also not sure if this movie did what it was meant to do. All in all, I say it is very of the times. Could have done with ~75% less head-stabbing. 

   Sense and Sensibility the mini-series is a masterpiece, here I stand I can do no other. Down with Lucy Steele. 

   I am not good at watching scary movies even when I want to watch them and my experience with Sunshine was no exception. It was stressful! I spent a good deal of time either looking at my phone or intently embroidering. But it was also good? And I didn't get Space Nightmares, so that's also good? Some scientists/astronauts have to go shoot a bomb into the sun to re-start it. Things go wrong! The calls are coming from inside the house! Space!