Wednesday 9 May 2018

Recent Reads #5: A Shiver of Snow and Sky, In Search of Our Mothers Gardens, Penguin Mini Moderns

April was a pretty fantastic reading month for me, I finished off a book I'd been reading for about a month and managed to get seven books read in total! I reduced my massive TBR quite a bit and even got a new bookcase so I can see my TBR more clearly, hopefully it'll shame me into reading my own damn books! Now let's get into the reviews...

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens by Alice Walker | ☆☆☆☆.5
Published in 1983, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose is a collection composed of 36 separate pieces written by Alice Walker. The essays, articles, reviews, statements, and speeches were written between 1966 and 1982.

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens is an essay collection from Alice Walker, who is perhaps best known for writing The Color Purple. I bought it in a charity shop years ago and I don't think this particular edition is actually in print anymore so it feels kind of special.

In this collection Alice writes about a range of topics from black folklore of the south to Martin Luther King, single motherhood, feminism and the creative process. The essays vary in length but each is a little gem. It is not the responsibility of people of colour to educate white people, but I did feel like I learnt so much from these essays. Reading about feminism and civil rights from a black woman's perspective at a time of such political upheaval is absolutely invaluable.

I also loved reading about Alice Walker's creative process and her reflection on writing and the research it involves.  The passion, the drive, the history and the mythology behind The Color Purple leaps out from these essays. Walker was heavily inspired by Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and I really enjoyed reading about Walker's fight to uncover Neale Hurston's fate and bring her brilliance back into public knowledge. Although this book took me a while to read (it's fairly dense), I was never bored as Alice Walker's writing is incredible.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke | ☆☆☆
After reading (and loving) The Bear and the Nightingale earlier in the year, I was in the mood for another wintry atmospheric fantasy so I had such high hopes for A Shiver of Snow and Sky but sadly I was left feeling a bit disappointed. I've heard people compare this book's world-building to Leigh Bardugo and I have to say I disagree. The world-building was one of the main elements that let me down. The mythology and fantasy aspects were a little out of the blue and it was hard to feel the supposedly deep history of this isolated island.I found it very hard to connect to the main characters. There was some insta-love without much depth, as most of the relationship building happened pre-book and we were just supposed to accept this deep connection between the two when in fact their chemistry/connection wasn't developed enough on the page. The writing was a little clunky and I didn't understand a lot of the characters' motivations. This book had so much potential which for me it sadly didn't live up to.

The Problem That Has No Name by Betty Friedan |☆☆☆☆
I was absolutely delighted when the lovely folks at penguin sent over a few of their new Penguin Mini Modern Classics. This selection from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique is an interesting look at what inspired the 'second wave' of feminism. I quite honestly am rather uninformed on this particular period of feminism and this snippet of Friedan's work made me want to read more. I'm excited to get through a few more from this collection in the coming months.


What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments or tweet me!

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