If you know me well, you know that I have no problem spending money. Whether it be on friends, family, or myself – no matter the amount of money in my bank account, I have never been able to refrain from buying what I want to buy. This has caused some problems from time to time, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Today, we’re going to talk about books.
I like to call myself a ‘collector’ of books, because I have way more books in my collection that I haven’t read yet vs ones I have read (but, isn’t that what most book lovers are like?). On June 1st I went to Target with my brother to buy another book case, and of course I stopped by the book aisle.
I am going to take a moment here to say, PLEASE support your locally owned independent bookstores. My personal favorite shop is Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston on Newbury Street. I shopped at Target on this occasion because it was the only place selling books near me during a pandemic.
In total, I bought 5 books.
BOOK 1: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I have wanted to read this book for ages. I never had the chance to buy it, so when I saw it on the shelf (for 20% off – score!) I had to buy it. One of my best friends, Mikaela, read this book already and she told me how great it was. How could I refuse?
Here’s the summary of the book from the Amazon listing for anyone interested in reading it:
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
BOOK 2: Fierce Fairy Tales by Nikita Gil
I had never been incredible interested in poetry, but when I picked up Greek Goddesses by Gil, I fell in love with her work. I know I’m late to the party, but Gil is nothing less than an amazing modern poet. I love fairy tales and their retellings, so I knew Gil wouldn’t disappoint me – I cannot wait to read this piece.
Here’s the summary from the Amazon listing:
Traditional fairy tales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.
But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
BOOK 3: Circe by Madeline Miller
I have been dying to read this book. Not only did I find the cover absolutely stunning, but I love learning about greek gods and goddesses. Madeline Miller is one of my friends favorite authors, but I have yet to actually sit down and read one of her novels. Circe drew me in faster than I could ever imagine. I will definitely buy another copy of this book in a hardcover, but for $13, I couldn’t not buy this copy.
Summary from Amazon:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.
BOOK 4: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Genoff
I have a wide range of genres I like to read – anything from fiction, to fantasy, to science fiction, and even historical fiction. I can’t remember where I saw this book before, but I didn’t have time to think before I picked up the book and put it in my cart. My first major piece of writing I ever completed was a historical fiction piece, and I have fallen more and more in love with the genre since then.
Summary from Amazon:
One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.
BOOK 5: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas.
I can remember the craze a handful of my friends were in when this book was coming out. I even let a friend buy the book through my membership at Barnes and Noble so she could get the book faster. At the time, I wasn’t super interested in reading the book – after all, a pandemic was starting to set in and I was being whisked away from my second home. However, Dante – one of my best friends – actually stopped reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo so he could read this piece. I saw it, and I had to buy it. This completed my Target book shopping excursion.
Summary from Amazon:
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life―working hard all day and partying all night―until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose―to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion―one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom―and the power of love.
BONUS BUY: The Princess Diarest by Carrie Fisher.
When I got home from shopping, I checked the mail – I actually had a book in the mail! This book I had purchased online from Books-A-Million that was back ordered, so it didn’t come with the rest of my other books.
Carrie Fisher has always been one of my heroes – my badass space princess. When I learned she had a book about her diaries from the filming of Star Wars I knew I wanted to buy the book. I saw it whilst I was shopping for some LGBTQ+ literature and did not hesitate to put it in my cart.
Summary from Amazon:
When Carrie Fisher discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before her passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.
With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.
And with that, my book shopping for the week came to an end. Well, not really – that grind never stops. Check back in next week when my next shipment of books come in: autobiographies, novels, and stories by POC authors.