Reading in April

Happy Monday, denizens of the internet! And welcome to May, the month of AP exams, college graduations, and the cusp of summer.

Following the smash-hit reading I did in March, April was more of a cricket-chirp. Between all the teaching, performing, traveling, and catch-up sleeping, I only read two books.

[sad trombone]

Luckily we make up for quantity with quality, as they were both quite good. Let’s talk!

THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Margaret Atwood

handmaid

I have long heard this book mentioned in the same breath as 1984, A BRAVE NEW WORLD, and FAHRENHEIT 451, something that has always bemused me, given the title. It sounds more like a medieval romance than a dystopian thriller, and yet.

And yet.

This book is terrifying. This book is amazing. This book will fill you with helpless rage and humorless smiles.

I raced through it with a beating heart. It is required dystopian reading, as a citizen of the soon-to-be future, as a woman, as someone who lives in this world with women.

Needless to say, I liked it.

EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, Seanan McGuire.

heart

This book is the after-ever-after story any fan of YA portal fantasy needs to read. Narnia, Golden Compass, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, all tales of children whisked off to strange fairy-lands, these tales all culminate with the adventurers returned to some version of normal life, irrevocably changed. DOORWAY asks us to look at what would *really* happen if a teenager vanished, and then returned their parents with stories of magical realms and strange creatures–and it isn’t pretty.

I enjoyed the dark fairy-tale vibes this short tale has, but the plot–a rushed, generic horror/mystery–was not the best part of it. That award goes to the little asides about each of the characters, fleshed out as they were in broken, ethereal glory. I wish this story had been longer, so as to explore more of them, and to give the plot more time to breathe and build tension.

But still, this is exactly the book I wanted to read, about the consequences of living between the worlds of fantasy and reality.

Here’s to more reading time in May!

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