January Book Reviews

January is over so it is now time for me to review the books I read!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave: This novel takes place in contemporary London and tells the story of two women connected by an accident of fate; one a chic fashion magazine editor and also a recent widow, the other a refugee from Nigeria.  Since Cleave asks his readers to not share too much of the plot to avoid spoilers, I will respect his wishes.  However, I will tell you that this is a phenomenal novel.  Trying to find out how the story unfolds, I ripped through this book quite quickly.  Little Bee makes one wonder about the difference between good and bad.  Is there even a distinction? In this book, it seems like a blur.  Good people commit awful acts and vice versa.  The intensity of the emotions and the gnawing desire to know how these two women are connected will draw you in to this emotional and beautifully written book.  (I would advise against reading if scenes of sexual abuse are triggering to you)

The Boy On The Bridge by Mike Carey:  This is actually the second book in a series, the first being The Girl With All the Gifts. This is a rare instance in which I think the sequel may be even better than the original.  If you like science fiction but are tired of the cheesiness of it, this series is for you.  Carey takes a new perspective on the zombie craze which writers seem to be consumed with by viewing it from a scientific standpoint.  In this series, a disease causes people to go from normally functioning humans to ravenous “hungries,” whose only instinct is to eat.  Both the books seem to take place around the same time but from different viewpoints.  The Boy On The Bridge follows a team of scientists and soldiers who were sent from the civilization to collect data samples, but as they progress through their journey, they find a new, and possibly more threatening, strand of the disease.  Although the science behind the plot can be a bit confusing at times, the novel is overall riveting and thought-provoking.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay: This fiction book is a collection of stories about numerous women and their unique situations.  I was a bit taken back by the amounts of sexual content in this book, but the plots were incredibly fascinating.  Almost all of the stories left me pondering societal standards of some sort.  I often wondered throughout the book: What makes Roxane Gay one of the most popular authors right now?  I think it is because she is unafraid to break boundaries.  Many of the stories were so different from what I am used to reading.  Her writing is intense and bold.  Overall it was a pleasant read that brought up many questions.  Personally, I enjoy books that force me to think about unconventional situations and to pose new questions, so I really enjoyed this book.  I would recommend to most people, but especially women who feel that they are too fierce and powerful to fit in this world.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay: Yes, I know I read two books in a row by the same author.  Usually, I avoid doing this unless if I am reading a series but, considering that Gay could possibly be a future professor of mine (she teaches creative writing at Purdue), I thought I should become more familiar with her work. This novel is an absolute page-turner.  The main character, Mireille, is kidnapped while visiting her parents in Haiti.  The rest of the story follows what happens to her, how she escapes, and how her life changes.  Gay beautifully captures the mental decline of Mireille and her husband, while bringing in contrasting flashbacks from when their romance started. The characters are realistically flawed but still incredibly lovable. Once you start this book, it will be difficult to put it down and leave the characters.  An Untamed State is both a thriller and a heartbreaker, and I would highly recommend it. (do not do not do NOT read if sexual abuse scenes could be triggering for you).

I hope you will at least choose to read one of these 4 wonderful books.  I am taking suggestions for books to read and write reviews on.  The next review piece will be at the beginning of March, and I should have a social commentary coming within the next few weeks.  Thank you for reading!


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