This Week, I Read… (#7)

17 - I Am Malala

#17 – I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

  • Read: 2/10/16 – 2/13/16
  • Provenance: Library (oops, I request the Young Reader’s edition instead of the original…I read it anyway.)
  • Challenge: BookRiot Read Harder 2016
  • Task: A nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

I’ve wanted to read this since I saw her interview on The Daily Show last year.  She was a phenomal guest, speaking about her experience and her mission for girls’ education with more poise than I think I’ve ever seen in someone her age.

And the book did not disappoint in that regard.  It was engaging, and while I was familiar enough with her story to know the broad strokes, I enjoyed getting the finer points, too; hearing about what her life and schooling were like before the increasing threat and presence of the Taliban, and the lengths she and her family went to in order to keep her going to school when it was forbidden.

18 - Three Simple Rules

#18 – Three Simple Rules, by Nikki Sloane

I actually read this in one sitting.  Granted, it was a long afternoon on the couch because I was sick, but what’s better than a free romance to wile away the day when you’re under the weather?  (Sadly, it’s not on sale anymore, I checked so I could encourage more people to pick it up while it was, if it still was.)

When I browse the free bestsellers on Amazon, it doesn’t take much more than an eye-catching cover and a halfway-decent blurb to get me to “purchase” it.  And if I start reading and I don’t like it, well, I only wasted a few minutes, right?

But this was an engaging read right from the start.  Sure, the premise, it’s a little out there, but well within my tolerance and ability to suspend disbelief. (I’ve seen romances spun out of inciting incidents far less believable.)

The characters were well-developed, and they actually have jobs. Real jobs, that they have to go to sometimes, and where they have to work.  Because sweet baby Jesus, does it bother me when characters have blow-off jobs that never seem to need them to be at work, or to have any sorts of skills whatsoever.  (I remember ages ago reading about jobs for movie characters–there was a spell where everyone in a rom-com was in advertising, specifically so their job never affected the story.  Not that I, personally, think advertising is a blow-off job, but everyone in Hollywood seemed to think so, apparently.)

But, Elena, I hear you say, it’s an office romance.  Of course they have jobs, that’s the office part.  But you might be surprised how many office romances still manage to not convince me the protagonists work for a living.

Anyway, now that I’ve gone on a tear about that, I’ll sum up by saying, I enjoyed this book, I found a new author to read, and I fully intend to purchase further installments in the series.  Which means this free sample did its job.

19 - The Night Circus.JPG

#19 – The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Why the hell didn’t I read this sooner?  I got it for Christmas, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for a whole month and a half, and I wasn’t reading it?

I adored this book. It’s plenty long, but I actually wish it were longer, because I didn’t want it to be over.  I want to read more about this lovely and strange circus, with its lovely and strange characters.

It reminded me, in some ways, of Neverwhere, the first Neil Gaiman I ever read.  Not because of any obvious connection between the stories, but because of the tone of the settings.  Both are so vivid and natural-seeming, despite being markedly otherwordly.  It’s the kind of careful construction on the part of the author that is just breathtaking when done right–and here, it’s perfect.

It’s even echoed in the arc of the story with the balancing act of creating and maintaining the circus itself.

And the romance?  Y’all know me, I dig romance, and I loved this one.  But there’s so much more going on here that I’m actually surprised the back-cover blurb and quotes are focusing on the romance, because it’s only one thread among many, and the greatest love in this book isn’t between Celia and Marco, it’s between the circus and its devoted patrons, which has an echo again in the devotion to the book from its readers.  Seriously, people LOVE this book.  And now, I’m one of them.

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