I’m going to start a new segment on this blog where every month, I’ll post a list of 5 books I’ve read along with their jacket copy and a short review of each.
And without further ado:
In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. (Goodreads)
So I actually read this one for my final project in Philosophy. We were given a list of books to choose from, and this one caught my eye because my dad had been bugging me to read it for ages. So I read it, and yeah, it was a bit slow getting into at first, but I read the last half all at once because I couldn’t put it down. It’s very different from my usual reading tastes, but that’s probably one of the things I liked about it best. It was true literature, and I could really sink my teeth into it and get lost in it. I loved McMurphy, and I loved watching him teach the other men to become “strong” again. The ending broke my heart, too, but it was probably the only way a book like Cuckoo’s Nest could have ended. I learned so much from this book, and I am so grateful that I took the time to read it. Buy it
THE SECOND SEX by Simone de Beauvoir
Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, and brilliantly introduced by Judith Thurman, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterpiece weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to analyze the Western notion of “woman” and to explore the power of sexuality.
Sixty years after its initial publication, The Second Sex is still as eye-opening and pertinent as ever. This triumphant and genuinely revolutionary book began as an exceptional woman’s attempt to find out who and what she was. Drawing on extensive interviews with women of every age and station of life, masterfully synthesizing research about women’s bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles, The Second Sex is an encyclopedic and cogently argued document about inequality and enforced “otherness.”
This long-awaited new translation pays particular attention to the existentialist terms and French nuances that may have been misconstrued in the first English edition; restores Beauvoir’s phrasing, rhythms, and tone; and reinstates significant portions of the “Myths” and “History” chapters that were originally cut due to length, including accounts of more than seventy female figures.
A vital and life-changing work that has dramatically revised the way women talk and think about themselves, Beauvoir’s magisterial treatise continues to provoke and inspire. (Goodreads)
I haven’t even finished reading this book, but I already love it. Actually, I didn’t even get to the second page of the introduction without grinning. I’ve admired Simone de Beauvoir ever since I learned about her type of existentialism in my Philosophy class, and this only got worse when I did my French final project on her. I find her super cool for so many reasons, and reading THE SECOND SEX just cemented this. I enjoy her take on feminism and how well she presents her argument. She unapologetically stood for what she believed in and did what she felt was right for her, not caring about what anyone else thought of her. Buy here
One for you to read with your daughter:
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. (Goodreads)
So this is probably the fifth Sarah Dessen novel I’ve read thus far, and I think this one is in my top three favourites of hers and maybe even tied with THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. That, coincidentally, brings me to another of the things I like about this book and Sarah Dessen’s writing in general: she gives characters from her other novels cameos the one you’re reading. In ALONG FOR THE RIDE, Nate Cross from LOCK AND KEY is mentioned as well as Harriet’s key necklaces, and my personal favourite, the connections with THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. Jason Talbot is back, and he even mentions Wes as a “juvenile delinquent with a tattoo” which made my day.
I really liked this book because it was different from Sarah Dessen’s other stories. Auden’s parents were very flawed but they recognized this, and, at the end of the book, tried to overcome these flaws, which I liked. Auden was a very interesting character and I enjoyed reading as she grew from this shy, sheltered being who was forced to grow up too fast to this person who wanted to be someone of her own right. And Eli. Frankly, I was kind of bummed at first because I’ve previously written a character named Eli who wears faded blue hoodies and has dark hair and green eyes, but I got over this pretty quickly (Although it was kind of weird because I’ve never read this book before, but hey,). Like Auden, I really enjoyed watching him return to his former self.
What were some of the books you’ve read in the last month? I’m always open to more book recommendations – leave me a comment below!