This past month or so has been an unusual one for me and my reading habits. I am about 40% into several different audiobooks, which I alternate listening to, and I also loved every book I read for this installment of My Month In Reads, so I won't do a countdown, I'll just do them in chronological order. Keep it mind that I read all these while travelling, which I always find just simply makes books better. Also, these were all actual books, with the exception of those by Miranda July, which were audiobooks.
The Passion - Jeanette Winterson
This story takes place in the early 1800's while Napoleon is trying to conquer the world. It starts out feeling like historical fiction, but slowly grows into a magical, mystical, gender-bending, sexual tale. Webbed feet, cross-dressing, gambling, love: they're all there. I loved this book and I'll definitely read more by Jeanette Winterson. This is the kind of book where you have to actually try, and think to understand what's happening, but not so much that it's alienating, just enough to wake you up on the inside.
How Should A Person Be - Sheila Heti
Ugh, another killer book by Sheila Heti. I have such a huge crush on Sheila Heti. This book felt like something written by a less frustrating, Canadian Lena Dunham. The book is a sort of non-fictional, sort of fictional account of female friendship, and how it affects who we are and who we will become. There were countless moments in this book that I could directly relate my experiences to. It made me think about female friendships, and I decided that they are twice as complicated and ten times harder too maintain than romantic relationships (coming from a straight woman). That's why Broad City is so amazing - nobody really has unconditionally loving platonic friendships that last forever and where you hang out every day. So this book is about navigating that real stuff - fights you get in when you both buy the same dress, dealing with being hurt by friends when they don't even know it, and I don't mean that this stuff is fluffy. It's real. If you've ever struggled with friendship, and thought about how those relationships affect who you are as a person, read this book.
The Collector - John Fowles
I picked this one up to add a little diversity to my reading pile for our trip to Chile. I don't read many thrillers, and I was shocked at how creepy I felt while reading this book. I think that means that the writing was good. It involves a british countryside/kidnapping/basement situation. It was creepy creepy creeeeeepy at first, then started to get more cerebral and literary as the book went on, which was good, because then I too felt more cerebral and literary and less creeped out. This book served as a great page-turner for a 8-hour bus ride along the coast of Chile. Maybe now I'll be able to read the Magus by John Fowles, which has been heavily recommended to me, but scared me way the hell too much. Also, don't lean into the backs of white vans.
No One Belongs Here More Than You - Stories By Miranda July
Miranda July is such a fucking weirdo and I love it. Her stories are weird, and interesting, but they're even more weird and interesting when she is the one narrating them. The protagonists in her stories range from teenage girls to 40-year old men to bored and confused women. I listened to these stories one at a time, taking time in between to let each tale marinate. I would often listen to a story on the beach, or on a bus, as an appetizer to either a nap or reading words on a page or staring out the window. The way that she narrates brought me in and sparked my inner awkward, sad, lonely parts. It's there, probably in all of us. Also, her voices for her male characters, or confused sales clerks, were hysterical in the most subtle ways. Right now I just want to dive deep into her entire world, read all her books and watch all of her movies. I love an artful female force that just keeps producing and I can never get enough.
The First Bad Man - Miranda July
Yep, like I said, I just couldn't get enough of Miranda July. This book is weird, and weird, and weirder and weirder and weirder and so damn weird. I was a bit unsure about this book at first - I wasn't sure if the characters were as intriguing as some of the ones I loved most from her short stories. However, this book is insane and I loved it for that. I don't even want to tell you about it because I don't want to ruin it for you, but it's about a relationship that warps and evolves more than I ever thought possible. Get ready for 8 hours of Miranda July and one of the most bizarre books you'll ever read (or listen to).
There we have it! What are you reading this month?