Bookcase in the Bedroom - Part One
As a way to keep myself doing it, I am intermittently going to talk about books I have recently read, what I would recommend, what I wouldn't and what I'm looking forward to on my next to-read shelf. My to be read shelf is in my bedroom, below my makeup and hair accoutrements and above my shoes. That may tell you more about my character than I care to reveal.
But before I get into this inaugural bookshelf post, can I just ask: Does anyone else feel personally offended by this interior design trend to turn all your books spine backwards? Like what is the point? How will you ever find the book you want? It doesn't even look all that aesthetically pleasing. Even if you never intended to read the books and were doing it for the look … why not just buy a bunch of books with white covers? Ok. Rant over.
So first up on my must-read is Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho. I found this listed on a read more writers-of-colour post, and as I like fantasy, I thought I'd give it a go. Now, I hadn't ever consciously logged that much of the fantasy I read has a particular form/structure/language – see, I can't even tell you what it is – but it makes me comfortable. I know I'm reading a fantasy. For me, Sorceror to the Crown read a lot more like a regency novel – Austen et al. MY expectation, therefore, made it a bit difficult to initially get into … but once I got over my preconceived notions of what fantasy should be, I was blown away. It's just enough magic, intrigue, personal character development and romance to tick all of my boxes. So, if you like fantasy and want a new take on a magic society and system based within a 'real world', definitely check this one.
It turns out that I haven't recently read any stinkers at this point so I have decided to talk about a second book that I loved. What happened to you? By James Catchpole and Illustrated by Karen George is a children's book about a little boy with one leg who wants to play pirates. As an amputee myself, I, of course, had to immediately by this but what I love is that it tackles a difficult to talk about the subject in a lovely way and has wonderful instructions for parents in the back. When I get stared at because of my disabilities, "I just wish they'd ask" because the idea that there would be a third way where people are actually just respectful of my privacy seemed such an alien concept. This book shows it is possible to teach children to be respectful of disabled people and view them as human beings, not freaks.
Next on the shelf is to finish The Binding by Bridget Collins. The story follows a farmboy, Emmet, who lives in a world where books are forbidden as they are used to hold people's secrets – there is an "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind' feel to it. I am about a third of the way through this book, and I am really enjoying the concept. It is one of those books that does not feel out and out of fantasy but just enough to satisfy my desire for magic. I found it a little difficult to get into – I am never into work that is kind of set after a mysterious period of unconsciousness as it pushes me to frustrated rather than intrigued. I was pleased to see a portrayal of disability's effect on a character's life, although I recover within this first third and so far doesn't seem to have a long-term impact on their character. It felt disappointing because it felt disability was used as a plot point to make the character stronger and for them to 'get over' rather than a unique aspect of the character. Parts of this are hard going in terms of the text feeling dense, and the story at times seems stale. However, I will persevere and perhaps write more of my thoughts down the line.
Have you read any of the books I talk about here? Let me know in the comments what you think, and of course, if you have any recommendations of your own.