Autumn by Ali Smith
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Hello Readers! I'm doing something new from now on; I used to always include a "Books Bought" section to these book posts. I did this because the person I was modelling these posts after, Nick Hornby, had always done that for his blog and then for his book, Ten Years In The Tub. As a friend and financial guru recently expressed to me my identity as a book lover doesn't have to be equated to how many books I buy. So let's just focus on books read from here on out, that's what we always talk about anyways.
First off, let's start with Autumn by Ali Smith. Is anyone else noticing that fictional novels are taking a turn towards being super driven by the divisive political issues of our time? Making me wonder does life imitate art as they say? Or vice versa? Smith's latest (which was short listed for the Man Booker Prize) takes on a world where the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, a world where people talk about building actual walls to divide each other. The story moves a long through a woman who is home visiting her mother and the old man from next door who is now in a hospital and dying. The woman flashes back to stories from when she was young and the building of this unique friendship. The book covers art, companionship, and freedom. It's really quite lovely if you are a fan of Smith's style.
Next up: a new collection of poetry from the young woman helping to make poetry hip again, Rupi Kaur. Rupi is multi-talented, not only does she write all the poems, she draws all the artwork! This newest collection is divided up in five sections: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. You know my little sacral chakra is in LOVE with these themes, right?! Here are a few of my favorite poems from The Sun and Her Flowers:
is not waiting inside a church
or sitting above the temple's steps
is the refugee's breath as she's running
is living in the starving child's belly
is the heartbeat of the protest
does not rest between pages
written by holy men
lives between the sweaty thighs
of women's bodies sold for money
was last seen washing the homeless man's feet
is not as unreachable as
they'd like you to think
my god is beating inside us infinitely
SWEET GOD... isn't that beautiful?!?! Here's another one:
leaving her country
was not easy for my mother
i still catch her searching for it
in foreign films
and the international food aisle
And lastly, this little golden nugget:
if i am the longest relationship
of my life
isn't it time to
with the person
i lie in bed with each night
LOVE! I have to say I am one of the biggest fans of poetry's revival... especially when it has a feminist flair. Well done, Rupi! Well done.
Next up... my love affair with Philippa Gregory continues... you know I eat up these War of the Roses and Tudor novels like candy, this one I was particularly excited to finally get to because I would not watch the Starz series of the book until I've read it. Thankfully, after many hours logged poolside in Mexico I was finally able to delve in!
So, The White Princess... like a lot of Philippa's books I found myself thinking it could've been a lot shorter if it wasn't so redundant. And even though I'm a few books behind in this series, I also found myself thinking it's a good thing she's announced she's moving on from this time period. She has come at it from every person's perspective and pretty much exhausted the story lines, that said I one time impressed a Tudor England professor on my extensive knowledge of the family tree of John of Gaunt. I'm practically a Tudor scholar at this point. If this stuff is your jam, I recommend this book. I'm super excited to see what Starz did with the series since I thoroughly enjoyed their series on The White Queen.
And lastly, Home Fire. This book ranks right up there with Exit West in my opinion (although Home Fire did not move up to the shortlist for the Man Booker like Exit West did). It is phenomenal. Again, it is another book drenched in the political topics of our time: the merging of cultures, the making of a radical, the people they hurt, the people they leave behind, the fear they breed. Home Fire tells a story of a sister and her siblings (twins) that she practically raised. The story is told through multiple people's voices, but it feels seamless. It also helps to give weight to all of the many issues that are plaguing our times.
I find it to be so funny that last night I saw the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2017 are now up for voting. Exit West and Home Fire are both nominated for Best Fiction this year. Ultimately, I chose Exit West, what would you choose?