Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April Reads

April reads- the good, the bad, and the wtf.

The Witches (Roald Dahl)- This is not a fairytale- it is a story about REAL witches. Disgusting, terrible, detestable witches that disguise themselves as nice old ladies. So how do you know when it's a real witch and not just an ordinary old lady? I never read Roald Dahl before the past year and just.. what have I been doing with my life! I adored this book. It was everything I could have ever hoped for. Dahl, that sweet pickled gerkin, is obviously a masterful artist of tale weaving and this is just another example of that.

 The Baby Sitter's Club #1 Kristy's Great Idea (Ann M. Martin)- Kristy and her friends all have babysitting gigs around town and love taking care of kids. Then Kristy gets a (you guessed it!) great idea- start a baby sitter's club! Four qualified sitters, one place to reach them. It has been years upon years since I read any BSB. I love them. Sure, it's like 3rd grade level reading. Whatever. Don't judge me. Still as cute as ever.

The Last Hunt (Bruce Coville)- The conclusion to The Unicorn Chronicles, we find the center of Luster, a vast, magical tree called the Axis Mundi, pierced through and dying by the magic of Beloved, who has finally found a way to enter Luster and finish the slaughtering of the unicorns that she started so many hundreds of years ago. The series is over! Sob. This was a great middle-grade read. I had a few da fuq moments in the past 3 books. If you've read them you can probably guess what they were. The conclusion of the series left me with a little to be desired. I didn't feel that everything was answered when I closed the book. Some lingering doubts, some scowls over things that happened, etc. Still action packed though and it did all come around and reveal itself for the most part by the last page.

How To Be a Woman (Caitlin Moran)- Moran browses through titillating subjects of womanhood (what is so wrong with body hair?) and interjects her feminist wonderings with sordid and often hilarious stories from her own life. I read this for Our Shared Shelf, the Emma Watson Feminist book club. Overall I gave it 4 stars (although after pondering it a bit I felt like it was more of a 3 star book for me) and I did enjoy a vast amount of it but some of it fell flat. It's a very personal book full of very personal opinions so I don't really think that what I have to say about it matters much, to be honest. I will say that there was a fair amount of casual racism and the word tranny was used at least once and that all made me feel a bit squeamish. I felt like the book was touted as being a feminist manifesto but overall it was just a memoir with some opinions thrown in and honestly, the way she used the word tranny and retard made me feel like she is just another white lady feminist and she isn't expanding feminism to be for all ages and races and abilities and genders. So. Eh. I liked it. I just didn't like some parts of it and I did not consider it a feminist book despite it being basically about female issues and such. I DID like the chapter on abortions though. A lot.

The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis)- A young boy named Shasta is on the run to Narnia and freedom with a talking horse named Bree, a young girl named Aravis and her talking horse Hwin. They discover the plan by the Calormen to invade Narnia's neighbor and ally, Archenland. They hurry forward to arrive before the Calormen army and warn the king of the oncoming invasion. So... wow the racism of this book. I know, I know. It was a different time, blah blah blah. But still! It's hard to swallow. It spoiled the entire story. It could have been such a lovely, simple, little fantasy tale but the intense racism thrown onto the Calormen characters was just too much.

The Magician's Nephew (C. S. Lewis)- Diggory and Polly are tricked by Diggory's Uncle Andrew into entering a Wood Between Worlds. A wood full of pools that can lead them to entirely new worlds... The first world they enter gives them far more than they bargained for and a whole lot of adventure. This book made up for the intense racism of the last one. It was beautiful. The perfect fairytale. Essentially this book is the origin story of Narnia and it was awesome to see how things from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe fit together into this story.

The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis)- The conclusion to the Chronicles of Narnia and Narnia itself. SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE YOUR LIFE RUINED. Okay. I was so excited to finish this series. The last book renewed my love for Narnia. I was pumped. Unfortunately it did not have that Narnia magic. It fell flat. I was so excited to see the old, beloved characters come back. Eustace! Jill! Diggory and Polly! The Pevensie children! But of course, it's not that easy is it? Because Susan has grown up and is more interested in 'lipstick, nylons and invitations'. In other words, she has become a woman and likes being a woman and being sexual. So after all that junk with Edmond and saving Edmond and forgiving him for betraying them FOR CANDY they can't put in some freaking effort with their sister if they really think she's that bad off? Of course there's also the ending which is just.. cult-tastic. Like, I know it's supposed to be a religious thing. I get that it's heaven and yadda yadda yay they get to go to heaven. But like.. they DIED. That's the end of the Narnia books? They died? The end? The story was not inclusive at all and it made me feel very iffy about it being a children's book because they are quite impressionable and there's obviously a lot of Jesus stuff in it but I guess most people know that by now so they can wait until their kids are better able to handle that sort of thing. Just so much of it seemed like very lazy, boring story telling. The characters, for the most part, are just spectators watching things happen around them and they are not an active part of it. Disappointing ending.

And that's all I've got for April! A total of 7 books and 2280 pages read for the month and 35 books of my goal of 60 and 11,238 pages for the year. I've already finished one book for May so it's looking pretty good so far! Happy reading.


  1. I loved The Witches. I remember my fifth grade teacher reading it aloud to the class, and it remains my favorite of Dahl's books.

    1. As I was reading it I kept thinking how fun this would be to read out loud. I can't wait to read it to my kids soon!