One of my hobbies is reading and listening to audiobooks. To add some variety to the site I list the books I read each year and provide mini reviews. This is an exercise for to help me remember more of what I read, to suck less at writing, and evaluate my thoughts on each book, instead of passively absorbing them.
I’ll update this post throughout the year as I continue reading. I’d love to get some books recommended by anyone reading this or to discuss your thoughts on any of the books listed. So, please comment if you want! Here are links for past book posts; last year managed to get 48, let’s see how many come through this year!
New books will show up after this line. The newest books will be on the top so if you have seen this article before, whatever is on top is most recent! SPOILERS BELOW
By Octavia E. Butler
Last year I read a book, Kindred, by Octavia Butler for the first time and enjoyed it quite a lot. A friend encouraged me to try out of her better known books, Wild Seed. It takes place starting in the 1700s and follows the life of Anyanwu, an African woman over 300 years old. She eventually is tracked down by Doro, another “mutant” who collects and breeds gifted people – like Anyanwu.
We go on to find out that Doro has lived even longer than Anyanwu ~3500 years – and through his life has lost most of his humanity by seeing generations of people live and die before him. His long life also comes at a cost – his “host” body dies and he inhabits the nearest human at the time his body expires; furthering his inhumanity. He appears to have devoted the majority of his long life to collecting people with powers, putting them in communities, having them breed together, and trying to produce more powerful and stable people with powers.
Anyanwu is the most gifted and stable person he ever found but she is “wild” (others, who grow up in his communities grown to fear and worship him). He married her to one of his other gifted “slaves” have several offspring from her, and then kill her to prevent her disrupting his plans. However, after she marries one of his most “gifted” sons Doro eventually starts to have doubts about killing her; after some years of pursuit and tense moment over the next two hundred years. Doro comes to appreciate that Anyanwu is the only thing in his life which isn’t temporary. The book ends as Doro comes to tears while Anyanwu prepares to end her life, the only permanence Doro ever experienced.
There are two things I really like about this book. The first is the way she highlights racial issues throughout the story; they are nuanced and subtle but, in my opinion, impactful. I also really liked the development of Doro and Anyanwu throughout the story. Overall, this was a really interesting book and between this and Kindred, I will likely read more in the future.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
By Mark Twain
This was a daily deal on Audible which I had picked up a long time ago but never read. I recall reading at least parts of it in grade school or something like that but couldn’t have described the story at all. Now that I read it the story definitely doesn’t have much to it; a childlike adventure story with some funny moments. What I did enjoy though was the style of Twain’s writing. I’m planning to check out some other writing by Twain less targeted at a younger audience.
Good to Great
By Jim Collins