Tag Archives: 5 Stars

Heartbreak at Sea

light between oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 343 pages

This is the story of Tom, who after returning to Australia after fighting in World War I feels adrift. Luckily he’s able to find his new calling as a lighthouse keeper and is stationed on Janus Rock, one of the most remote stations off the coast. While on shore leave he meets Isabel who after only seeing each other a few times (he’s only on the mainland for a few days every 6 months) get married and she joins him on the Island. What begins as an adventure between two people in love becomes lonely and isolating as Isabel suffers repeated miscarriages. They finally have a chance at happiness again when a dinghy washes up on shore with a crying child. Not until years later do Tom and Isabel realize that their decision to adopt the baby as their own has had devastating consequences for another family.

The Light Between Oceans had been on my radar since it was published a few years ago. It was on bestseller lists seemingly forever, it won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction, and many of my library internet friends had read and enjoyed it. What finally convinced me to pick it up was the trailer for the upcoming movie adaption, which I hadn’t even realized was happening. Go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait.

Are you near tears? I was, so of course I decided I needed to read the book as soon as possible. Although the plot was somewhat predictable once I knew what was going on, the book was amazing due to it’s well constructed characters. Tom, Isabel and the rest of the cast are all good people at heart* who make terrible decisions and then have to live with them. The complexities of the moral dilemma these characters find themselves in was portrayed extremely well. In another author’s hands, there easily could have been villains, but in this case the motivations for each character are clear and you have sympathy for each and every person.

*Ok, Isabel is crazy-pants, but I’m blaming that on postpartum depression.

This was Stedman’s first novel and definitely isn’t perfect, but overall it was a wonderful read and now I can’t wait to watch the movie.

Two 2014 Favorites

I’m sneaking one last review on here before 2015 begins. I realized last night that I had yet to review two of my favorite books that I read this year (quite possibly my top two favorite books).

All the Light We Cannot See

Cover of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAuthor: Anthony Doerr
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 531 pages

Towards the end of World War II, the seaside city of Saint-Malo, France is bombed by the Allies. Werner, a young German soldier with a innate understanding of electronics is trapped underneath the rubble with a radio. Across the city, a blind girl, Marie Laure, finds herself alone in her uncle’s home, hiding from a Nazi treasure hunter obsessed with a precious jewel in her possession, with a radio transmitter and her braille copy of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

There are so many beautiful details in this book, particularly surrounding the story of Marie Laure and her father. Her father, the master of locks at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, builts miniature replicas of their neighborhood to help Marie Laure learn how to navigate on her own. Werner’s life is more difficult, but he remains inspired by a strange radio broadcast he heard with his sister as a child.

Besides the details, the writing is very beautiful. The prose can be a bit dense at times, however Doerr counters this with very short chapters with give the book some breathing room. I really wish I would have had time to read this one more slowly. Since I was reading it for class I had to clip through it at a very fast pace. I’m planning on a reread once it’s published in paperback (June 2016).

Station Eleven

cover of Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelAuthor: Emily St. John Mandel
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Literary Fiction/Science Fiction (very light)
Length: 333 pages

I’m going to use a word here to describe Station Eleven, but I don’t want you to let it turn you off the book. Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic (but not dystopian) novel set in the near future after the Georgian Flu wipes out most of the Earth’s population as well as crippling most technologies. Small communities have formed, often near wherever a group of people happened to be at the time the flu hit.

However, this isn’t a particularly science fiction-y book. The story is not centered on survival or plot or what happens next. Rather, the story moves back and forth in time (pre- and post-flu) weaving together multiple characters, but focused on the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who travel across North America performing, because “survival is insufficient.” Station Eleven examines art, humanity, memory, and those things that may survive us: the smart phone in the Museum of Civilization, an obscure sci-fi graphic novel, a Star Trek quote, Shakespeare’s plays.

The title of the book comes from the title of a graphic novel one of the characters creates over many years about a failing, partially flooded space station now consisting of interconnected islands led by Dr. Eleven and the group of people hiding in the Undersea who only want to return to a ruined, alien-dominated Earth. I wanted this graphic novel to be real. I really wanted this graphic novel to be real. Sadly, it is not, although the cover designer, Nathan Burton, did illustrate a few pages.

And like All the Light We Cannot See, the writing in Station Eleven was absolutely beautiful to read.

Books About Books

I was lovingly describing Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind to a friend the other day. She seemed a bit unimpressed with my elevator pitch for one of my favorite books, and said, “You really like books about books.”

This is very true. I love books about books. I have a GoodReads shelf devoted to them. According to this list, I’ve read six books about books this year. I push them up to the top of my reading list.  BookRiot runs an irregular series called Genre Kryptonite, in which readers discuss genres or tropes they have a weak spot for. Books about books are one of my biggest genre kryptonites. Today, I’m going to write mini-reviews of the four I’ve read most recently.

Also, you should read Shadow of the Wind.

84, Charing Cross Road/The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

book cover: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene HanffAuthor: Helene Hanff
Rating: 5 stars/3.5 stars
Genre: Epistolary/Memoir
Length: 97 pages/144 pages

The very slim volume of 84, Charing Cross Road has been sitting on my bookshelves for two years, ever since a lovely book friend gave me her copy when she was moving and told me all book lovers should read it. The book sits on my shelf at eye level, and has been calling my name ever since. “Look at me!” it called. “I’m very short. I’m charming. I’m a book for book lovers.”

I finally picked up 84, Charing Cross Road last week, and it was wonderful. It is a collection of letters exchanged over twenty years between Helene Hanff, a script writer living in New York city, and Frank Doel, a bookseller at a used bookstore in London (located at 84, Charing Cross Road). Helene, who has a specific taste in books, is witty and sarcastic and overdramatic at times. Her outlandish letters are a stark contrast to Frank’s responses: formal, polite, and reserved.

The two start off corresponding after Hanff begins ordering books from the store. However, hearing about the food shortages and rations in post-WWI UK, Helene begins sending the bookstore baskets of gifts, including many hard-to-find items. A friendship slowly grows between Helene and Frank, conducted solely through letters. It’s understated and real and heart-warming.

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is a sequel of sorts to 84, Charing Cross Road. The publication of 84, Charing Cross Road makes it possible for Helene visit the UK. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is the journal she kept during the trip. While it is nice to see Helene finally visit England, it seems much more self-aware and planned than 84, Charing Cross Road, which consisted of letters that weren’t written for anyone else to read.

5 stars to 84, Charing Cross Road and 3.5 stars to The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

The Moment of Everything

book cover: The Moment of Everything by Shelly KingAuthor: Shelly King
Rating: 2.5 stars
Genre: Fiction
Length: 288 pages

The Moment of Everything had, well, everything going for it. A young woman loses her job and reinvents herself while working in a bookstore. There’s quirky bookstore workers and a cranky bookstore cat. She discovers the record of a romance between two unknown bookstore customers who don’t know each other, but left notes for each other in the margins of an old, used book.

I’ll start off by saying this is a fine book. It reminded me a bit of the set-up for Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (another book about books that you must read if you haven’t yet): an unemployed young tech worker/graphic designer in Silicon Valley looking for some sort of direction in life discovers something unusual or secret while working in a bookstore. It’s a perfectly enjoyable book.

Yet, the book just didn’t quite ring true for me, especially the characters. I didn’t really click with Maggie, the main character, or bought into her relationship with Rahjit. And to my disappointment, the romance blossoming between two characters who only know each other through the notes they leave in the margins of the book turned out to be a minor plot point.

2.5 stars.

I received an advanced copy of The Moment of Everything from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

book cover: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinAuthor: Gabrielle Zevin
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Fiction
Length: 260 pages

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry reads like a giant celebration of books and reading and stories and second chances, along with a good helping of little book/publishing jokes and references.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The premise of the book is this: A.J. Fikry runs a bookstore. He’s irascible. He doesn’t much like people. His store is struggling. And he isn’t doing so well personally since the death of his wife, who kept the bookstore running and also was the people-person of the pair.  Also, he’s a bit of a book snob. Here he describes his tastes:

“I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.”

The two things happen. His valuable edition of Tamarlane by Edgar Allen Poe, which is meant to fund his early retirement, is stolen. And a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep. The contents of this “mysterious package” are completely different than what I imagined, and it sent the story somewhere very different than I had imagined. I had read a bunch of reviews, so kudos to everyone for keeping that under wraps.

The books was loads of fun to read, as well as being a heart-warming tale. 4.5 stars.

P.S. If the judgmental quote about reading annoys you, rest assured A.J. does not feel the same about books by the end.

Ancillary Space

cover of Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieTitle: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword
Author: Ann Leckie
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 409 pages, 359 pages

Synopsis: Breq used to be a starship. She was the AI for the ship Justice of Toren, able to directly command hundreds of bodies, known as ancillaries. Now, this former spaceship has lost almost everything. Reduced to one body (the former One Esk Nineteen), Breq has her mind set on one objective–finding a weapon that will allow her to kill one body of Anaander Mianaai, Lord of the Radch, who she believes is responsible for her current condition.

Ancillary Justice is interwoven with scenes from the past. We learn the heart-breaking tale of what happened to Justice of Toren during a planet annexation that goes horribly wrong. Specifically, we get to better understand the singing One Esk Nineteen, who served and cared deeply for Lieutenant Awn.

Ancillary Sword picks up a week after the end of Ancillary Justice. We are no longer jumping back and forth in time, having learned the secrets that lead to Breq’s reduction to one body. Breq is made Fleet Captain of the ship Mercy of Kalr, whose former captain trained the crew to act as ancillaries. Breq is joined by Seivarden and the “baby lieutenant” Tisarwat, and sent to guard Athoek Station, a far-reaching system known mainly for cultivating tea. Of more importance to Breq, Athoek is the home of her beloved Lieutenant Awn’s younger sister. Once there, Breq immediately begins investigating several outside threats as well and a few internal inconsistencies that point to something not quite right at Athoek Station.

Several things make Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword unique. First, the book is written from the point-of-view of a former starship AI that used to control thousands of bodies. The point-of-view is unusual and strange, as readers sometime get glimpses of multiple events happening simultaneously. Second, Breq’s language does not have any concept of gender, so Breq struggles to identify who is masculine and feminine. She uses ‘she’ by default, as well as feminine words such as daughter and sister to represent child and sibling. In many cases, the reader never learns the sex of a character (most character do not seem to have a preferred gender, either). These two qualities make both Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword a very unique reading experience.

Review: I’m glad I read Ancillary Justice before I knew that there was a lot of hype surrounding this book.  Ancillary Justice has (deservedly) won multiple awards. Around the Internet, people are also raving about the books (The Book Smugglers, Tor, NPR, io9). When I read it for class this summer, however, the response in class was not positive at all. Because of this, for awhile Ancillary Justice felt like my own little secret–an awesome sci-fi book that only I knew about or appreciated.

That’s ridiculous of course. We’ve since seen Ancillary Justice win the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Arthur C. Clarke, so apparently I’m not the only one that loves these books after all. They don’t need my loving protection.

Because of the unusual perspective of Breq (spaceship AI in a culture that doesn’t differentiate genders), reading Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword can be a bit disorienting, but in the best way possible. If you’re someone who needs to be able to visualize characters, these books might be frustrating. In most cases, you’ll never figure out the biological sex or the gender of the characters. Reading the book really challenges you to think about how you think about gender. (Side note: as another win for the book, a majority of characters, if not all, are people of color.) Also, Leckie has some spectacular pieces of writing, particularly during flashbacks, where she tries to capture what it might be like to be one consciousness experiencing multiple situations through multiple bodies. It’s absolutely stunning.

Aside from the two defining features of these books, the stories themselves were very interesting. In fact, I’m writing this review right now instead of working on schoolwork because I could not stop thinking about Ancillary Sword. The books move at a slightly slower pace than most sci-fi and are rich in detail, but tackle a lot of interesting issues: identity, colonialism, culture and language, systemic inequality, etc. I especially love the explorations of whether a starship AI can care about and form attachments to the people on the ship as well as the nuances of what happens to an ancillary’s personality when they are made into an ancillary.

Breq is a unique narrator. She comes off very distant and unemotional, even cold (due to the fact that she is an AI). Breq experiences everything in a strange dichotomy–very closely (Breq can often read the emotions people are feeling as the Justice of Toren or by linking in with Mercy of Kalr) accompanied by a strange emotional distance due to the fact that Breq does not understand everything the way you or I would.

What really drew me in, besides the unique narration, were various relationships between characters: particularly One Esk Nineteen and Lieutenant Awn, Breq and Seivarden (particularly in Sword–Seivarden annoyed me a bit in Justice), and Breq and Tisarwat. I also loved the small details that enriched the characters and the world they inhabit. One example is the singing. Breq has a habit of collecting songs and constantly singing or humming to herself without knowing. She acts this way even as an ancillary that is part of a ship, which individualizes her (and also raises questions about how the former identities of people influence the ancillaries they become). Once in command of the Mercy of Kalr, some of Breq’s crew pick up the habit and start singing as well.

Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword (named after the ships, by the way–Justice of Toren and Sword of Atagaris) are definitely worth a read if you enjoy sci-fi. Sadly, Ancillary Sword was just published, which means I’ll have to wait ages for the final book in the trilogy, Ancillary Mercy!

5 stars for both.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Lies We Tell Ourselves Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Historical Fiction
Length: 368 pages

Where do I even begin? I loved this. Pure and simple love. Which might seem like the wrong emotion when thinking of the subject matter and how  truly difficult it was to read, but I just wanted to gather everyone of those poor kids and hug them. I kept wanting to just shout “Ok, bring it in” and throw my arms around them and hug them. This book gave me the chills, made me want to cry, and yet I could I couldn’t stop reading!

I think overall I preferred the narrative from Sarah’s point of view, but it was nice to see the growth in Linda from her point of view. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that dealt with race issues the way this book does. Page one it begins, there is no tiptoeing around the issue of desegregating the schools we jump into the first day of school for these 10 kids that are thrust into an all-white school that is, shall we say, less than pleased to see them.

Lie #1
There’s no need to be afraid.

As they approach the school everyone is waiting from them outside and they are shouting at them. They are jostled, elbowed, tripped, and they haven’t even made it inside the building. It was like a train-wreck that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. I felt embarrassed for the south, the United States, and the people that were forced to endure that kind of humiliation.

“We’re inside.
It’s done. We did it. We’re in the school.
But the white people are still staring at us. Shouting at us.
They’re all around me. And they still look hungry.”

“We haven’t been sitting ten seconds when everyone else who was sitting on the front row stands up, all in one smooth motion, and files out.
For the second time this morning, I wonder if the white people rehearsed that.”

Every time a group of people changed seats leaving one of them alone just broke my heart. It made my chest hurt. My throat just burned, either with sadness or with anger, or both. I just couldn’t settle on one emotion. I can’t imagine treating people this way and I am thankful that I was not raised to treat anyone as though they don’t matter or that they are different than I am so I treat them differently.

I can understand why some of the kids that don’t hurl insults don’t help, they would then become a target, but the teachers blatantly ignoring it just fills me with rage. I’m sure there was pressure from higher ups not to interfere unless they had to, or even in some places that would have cost a teacher their job because they didn’t agree with the majority opinion. But..every adult that stood by and let it happen made it me want to cry or break something. While I am very non-confrontational, I hope that I would say something or do something if I saw such cruelty. I hope that I am never faced with making that decision, because if I chose wrong I don’t know that I could forgive myself.

The other main issue at hand in this book is the fact that Sarah finds herself attracted to another girl and can’t stop beating herself up about how wrong that is. Now not only is she one of ten black students in a newly desegregated school, but she is also a lesbian with no way of dealing with all her pain. AND on top of that her new crush is white. This girl just can’t catch a break from herself or the world.

There was also a lot of religion questioning that I found interesting. Sarah did a lot of praying and talked frequently of her church, but she would question why God would allow them to go through this or why if he was watching over them that he had to do his job from so far away. That broke my heart all over again.

I was slightly disappointed that Linda didn’t grow as much as I wanted her to, but she definitely made some giant leaps in the right direction. The amount she changed was very believable, anything more would have seemed outrageous due to length of time the book spans, but I just wanted everyone to realize how wrong they were and get some karma for how horribly they acted. Just punch them all in the face, repeatedly, and call it a day.

Chuck. For some reason my heart went out to him the most. Maybe because he was supposed to be the protector of the girls, the younger boys, and also try to survive this new school with his head held high. He also had a lot to lose because the was most likely to be ganged up on in a fight with the assholes from his new school. I worried about him and I found myself actually flinching when I thought something bad was going to happen to him…..he actually made me cry a bit.

This book is not necessarily easy to read. There is no shying away from what people call them and the language itself may be too offensive for some, but it’s pretty damn accurate for what these people were forced to endure. The idea that anyone could be treated that way just kills me.

I highly recommend this book. I’ve never read a book quite like it and I don’t think I ever will again.

#TheArchivedNeedsaThirdBook

    


Titles: The Archived (#1), The Unbound (#2)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 328 pages, 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis:

Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper. She helps maintain the separation between our world and the Archive–where lives are stored as Histories after death, only able to be read by Librarians. But sometimes, the Histories wake up and try to escape. Since a young age, Mackenzie was trained by her grandfather to track these Histories down and return them to the Archive. When her family moves to an old hotel-turned-apartments following the death of her younger brother, Mackenzie must try to deal with her grief, the quirky boy-next-door, a mysterious old murder, an unusual number of escaping Histories, and a mysterious boy in the shadows between worlds.

Review:

So, Zelda has already posted reviews of The Archived and The Unbound, so I’ll keep my thoughts short.

I loved these two books. Obviously, I love the library elements of the world. The afterlife as an archive. Returns. Librarians (especially David Tennant Roland). But, I also loved the creepy hotel and secret passages unlocked by special keys. Being able to “read” histories. An old, unsolved murder.

Mackenzie is a great lead character. Strong, relatable, independent, yet flawed and uncertain at times. I appreciate that she is physically and mentally strong character (she would totally win in a fist-fight), but she wasn’t solely defined by her strength. She deals with grief, makes mistakes and tries to fix them, worries about if she’s doing the right thing, and struggles to balance the different parts of her life.

I’ll admit, Wesley (aka “Guyliner”) was a bit much for me at times, but I got used to it. Now, I can usually forgive Wesley his quirkiness.

Apparently, it is uncertain whether the series will be continued, which is why I thought I’d get my vote for the series out there (and the source of the hashtag post title). The books are really fun, interesting reads, and Victoria Schwab should get a chance to finish them!

Two Owls Review Gone with the Wind

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18405.Gone_with_the_Wind?from_search=true

Gone with the Wind is held up as one of the greatest American classics. The story of the rising and falling fortunes of the fiery, independent, selfish Scarlett O’Hara and the rascally Rhett Butler is set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Georgia. Two of our parliament recently read the book for a book club, and gathered here for a discussion.

Sonya: After loving the film version of this historical novel, I never thought that the book could be as good. Having finished Gone with the Wind, I can honestly say that it has become one of my all-time favorite books. Margaret Mitchell’s narrative is so easy to read and yet so beautiful.

Madeleine: I have never seen the film version! I’m actually glad I hadn’t seen the movie before reading the book. Besides knowing a few things (it’s about the Civil War and it’s aftermath, the main couple is Scarlett/Rhett, and there are a lot of fancy dresses), it was all completely new to me.

I also loved the book, but I don’t know if it would make it into my all-time favorites. I need some more time to think about it. There were some bits that I really struggled with in this book (more on this later). What really made the book for me was the characters.

Sonya: I think that is what she does best! We get to see Scarlett journey from naïve, selfish Southern belle to a destitute woman who is willing to do anything to keep food in her stomach and Tara under her feet, and then finally in the end to a person that finally understands herself and what is really important to her.

Madeleine: Margaret Mitchell took a really big risk making her main character a dislikable character. I loved and hated Scarlett. I was cheering for her throughout the whole book, except for the stage of life that you skipped: her selfish, malicious, ignorant behavior after earning back her fortune. She annoyed me enough that I stopped cheering for her for awhile.

I like Scarlett best when she’s at Tara. She needs Tara to keep her grounded.

My other favorite character is Melanie. She’s an easy character to love, but I love the unexpected strength she shows throughout the novel and her unflinching loyalty to Scarlett, who doesn’t deserve it. She’s wonderful.

Sonya: I also liked Melanie, and thought that Ashley did not deserve her. Rhett is the other character that I find so enthralling and mysterious. (BTW, Clark Gable could not have portrayed him better in the movie.)

Madeleine: Obviously. 🙂

Sonya: Even after finishing the novel, I still don’t really have a sense of who he really is. Even though he is a scoundrel, I can’t help but cheer for him and hope that Scarlett can realize how wonderful he is.

Madeleine: I was actually more impressed by Rhett’s character development through the novel. He changes and becomes a better person a lot more than Scarlett does. I’m not totally convinced that Scarlett has changed by the end. But I absolutely loved them together. Whenever Rhett walked onto the page, I always got very excited. The dialogue! The wit!

Sonya: Every scene with Scarlett and Rhett was just bursting with well-wrought dialogue, and consequently I could practically feel the sparks between these two coming off the pages. I so hoped that this story would be happy in the end (even though I know from the movie that it’s not), and I always think that somehow Scarlett does get him back. I sure hope that she does.

Madeleine: When I first finished the book, I felt the same. Having had some time to digest the book a bit, I like the open ending. I don’t know if Rhett will ever let Scarlett back into his life. He was burned pretty badly. I hope Scarlett stays at Tara. Tara makes Scarlett a better person; I don’t know if Rhett does.

Sonya: The other aspect of Gone with the Wind is its insight into Southern life before the Civil War, during the war, and the war’s aftermath. Naturally, as a child I learned how the South consisted of inhumane bad guys keeping slaves in bondage, and then the North swept in and saved the slaves from their awful plight.

I absolutely do not condone slavery, but I will say that it was interesting to see this time in American history from the point of view of a Southerner. Even if Mitchell is biased, this fictional account gives us another perspective to ponder, and I found it fascinating. Mitchell really shows that war is war, and there are going to be bad and good people on both sides of the conflict.

Madeleine: Ah, here we are, the parts I really struggled with in the book, and that I have to separate from the book when making my judgements. I agree that the Southern point-of-view is very interesting, and I know that contextually Margaret Mitchell is just reflecting the period she’s writing from, but I really struggled with the racism in the book. In fact, I might’ve given up on it if I weren’t reading for a group.

The book romanticizes slavery, and does so very subtly. If you aren’t paying attention, it is easy to buy into this romanticization. In our book club, we had someone argue that it wasn’t that bad because the slaves were treated well by their masters who saw them as part of the family. This point-of-view takes something horrible and completely unjust, owning people and forcing them to work for you, and turns it into something kind and paternalistic.

Again, I understand that we have to take context into consideration, but I really struggled with how to respond to it. Book Riot ran an interesting series of posts on this exact issue last year. I’ll leave you with those: “I Couldn’t Finish GONE WITH THE WIND Because it Was So Racist” and the response “Let’s Talk About Racism in the Classics.”

Stepping off my soap box, I still enjoyed Gone with the Wind and give it 5 stars. Aside from it’s size, the book is very accessible and wonderfully written. Margaret Mitchell made me love a rather unpleasant character and wrote interesting enough stories that I didn’t complain about the 1000 page love triangle. Read it.

Sonya: Overall, Gone with the Wind fabulous read that I will recommend to pretty much everybody. It’s a commitment to read as it’s so long but it is definitely worth it. I was hooked from the beginning and never wanted it to end. A solid 5 stars.