The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare
Ismail Kadare once called The Palace of Dreams “the most courageous book I have written; in literary terms, it is perhaps the best”. When it was first published in the author’s native country, it was immediately banned, and for good reason: the novel revolves around a secret ministry whose task is not just to spy on its citizens, but to collect and interpret their dreams. An entire nation’s unconscious is thus tapped and meticulously laid bare in the form of images and symbols of the dreaming mind. The Concert is Kadare’s most complete and devastating portrayal of totalitarian rule and mentality. Set in the period when the alliance between Mao’s China and Hoxha’s Albania was going sour, this brilliant novel depicts a world so sheltered and monotonous that political ruptures and diplomatic crises are what make life exciting.
This is next on the reading around the world list (from Albania) and I can’t wait to get started!
Notorious R.B.G: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer’s searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice’s life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don’t know, now you know
In my efforts to read more biographies, I picked this up when I thought I would need more reading for my Japan trip. Instead of listening to audiobooks on the plane, I wrote so I never got around to it until now. I’ve already started it (I mean, we’re almost a week into June) and damn this woman is amazing! If you want to read about a bad ass lady, this book is an excellent place to start.
Ash by Malinda Lo
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
This is actually going to be the July Diverse YA Book Club choice! I powered through Otherbound so quickly that I won’t pick Ash up until the review for Otherbound is done so I don’t have to wait so long to tell you what I think!
The Slade House by David Mitchell
Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.
Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .
Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.
I have this on audiobook after it was recommended to me by my brother. Since Notorious RBG, my only other audiobook queued up for this month, is less than 6 hours long, I will definitely be needed at least one more book to listen to before July hits. It looks a little bit like House of Leaves but that audiobook would be waaaaaayyyy longer and incredibly confusing (seriously, how would they do those footnotes?) so I’m looking forward to diving in.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…
One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight.
But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…
I have a large stack of books I have borrowed from others and this is at the top of that stack. Finally, I will be working my way through some long-overdue reads!
I have a feeling I’ll get to a couple other books (I still have so many from last year’s Phoenix Comicon that I need to read) but let’s take it easy this month if we can, okay?
P.S. That writer advice I said I would get during PHX Comicon? Totally got it. But this is my recovery post so you have to wait until Thursday for what some writers say you should do for your second draft.