This is not being a good several weeks for reading. Or blogging. Sorry.
Reading Update: Today is Thursday, April 10. I am three days late with this update. As of today, I have read 32 out of 52 books — two new ones since the last update.
Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi was not a pleasant read, but I’m glad I read it anyway (and I would read more by this author if I found more of her books). It’s a novel — or is it? the lines between fact and fiction are very blurred here — about an Egyptian woman condemned to death for killing her pimp. She is telling her life’s story to a psychologist, showing how she ended up in such a situation, and in doing so casts a light on the darkness that is a poor woman’s life in Egypt. The narrator, Firdaus, is bitter and hard and ready to die. She has learned about man’s worship of money and control, and she has learned the value of her own well-marketed sexuality — and, ultimately, how impossible it is for a woman to have any value in her society. WaPZ is ugly and raw. It’s very short, very direct. It reads so much like the transcript of someone just speaking aloud — someone with no formal education but great innate intelligence — that it’s hard to believe that it is really a work of fiction at all.
The Selection Stories: The Prince & the Guard by Kiera Cass was a nice change of pace from WaPZ. This is the 2.5 book in a highly enjoyable YA trilogy (book 3 comes out this May) and contains two novellas and a sneak peak of the finale. I won’t get into it too much, but the series itself is a bit of a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor, and is excellent leisure reading for people who like their fairy tales to have a lot of gray area.
Currently Reading: I am currently reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Styxx, the companion novel to the book that launched my paranormal romance habit, Acheron. A word to the wise: the first halves of both books are far from romantic, and are extremely hard on the heart. Acheron and Styxx are identical twins born in a time before the fall of Atlantis — but one of them is the son of a destructive goddess, and their mortal parents reject, to varying degrees, both sons. One is sold into sexual slavery, and the other is subject to dreadful familial abuse, finally culminating in the worst sort of sexual abuse. It is heartsickening, and truly well done, because the protagonist of this book — for whom GREAT sympathy is felt — is the villain of other books in the series, and Kenyon does a marvelous job of bringing him to life. I guess I’m kind of doing my post-read review now, but fear not; the second half of the book, if it mirrors Acheron, will change pace drastically and give me something new to write about.
Looking Ahead: I’m planning to read Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts after Styxx. There are a few YA books that recently came into our library that I’d like to read as well, but I think I’m going to prioritize The False Prince because its author is coming to visit our school in a couple of weeks.