April reads 2017

I’m slowly finding ways of reading more again and I’m so enjoying it. Probably twice as many pages read as last month, but, more importantly, I’m regularly carving out little spaces where I’m not too exhausted. Winner.

do not say we have nothingDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (novel)

This is a novel about the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in China in the 1950s to 1980s and the present day (sort of), and I absolutely loved it. I’m not normally a fan of multi-generational historical fiction, particularly fiction that moves between two time periods because I always much prefer one time period over the other, but I equally enjoyed and was invested in, both time periods in this. Neither is written completely linearly but everything weaves together seamlessly. It seems to mirror the symphonies described in the book, with themes repeating and circling back around, while slowly it all comes together. I loved the writing style and the way she writes about language and music and what they can mean to people who deeply love them. I wanted to hug this book.

i hate fairylandI Hate Fairyland vol 1 by Skottie Young (comics, fiction)

I found this just okay and a bit over-hyped. The problem is it’s basically one joke (a middle-aged woman trapped in the body of her six year-old self, having become bitter and extremely violent after being stuck in fairyland for so long, looking kind of cute but violently taking everything she comes across apart) over and over again.

homo deusHomo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari (non-fiction)

This is the follow-up to Sapiens (a brief history of humankind), and offers some possibilities about what the future of humans might look like. It’s not as good as Sapiens, but it’s still really interesting and worth a read. Harari is really good at challenging your basic assumptions, like whether you have a ‘self’ (yes and no) or whether countries exist (not really). I don’t agree with everything he says, but I don’t think he expects you to. As with Sapiens, though he never states them explicitly, Harari’s own view and opinions of the world and humankind comes through strongly. I imagine this annoys some people, but if you approach the whole book as an opinion and a possibility, it fits; after all, it’s impossible to be objective about humans as a group when you are one, and it’s impossible to know the future or even everything in the world in the present. Thought-provoking and interesting – some of the ideas in here are going to stay with me for a long time (particularly who it is that’s making a decision, my experiencing or my narrating self).

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