July = Women Authors’ Month! Okay, not technically speaking, but how else do you explain how I just happened to read four consecutive books from exclusively female authors in the month of July? Coincidence? I think not!* As Fate has dictated my reading selections to be such, I had no other choice but to humbly acquiesce to the (eclectic) choices from the Reading Gods. Here are my July reads - vive la femme!
Week 29: (25) To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf (4/5) - Virginia Woolf has such a unique writing style, it’s impossible to miss. She does this thing where she constantly shifts the book’s perspective from character to character without so much as a warning; I’ll admit it took a little bit of time to get used to, but by the end of the novel I had developed a true appreciation for her seamless and fluid transitions. The ending result is the creation of a story that is multifaceted and complex, layered with variables, differing opinions and feelings. It’s as if your whole life you’ve been visualizing time as a 2-dimensional image and you suddenly realize that no, life is a rotating 3-dimensional form that is so much more complex and detailed than you had originally imagined. I should mention that this book was also surprisingly sad and leaves you feeling a little bit empty inside when you’re finished. No, not “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” empty, but you catch my drift.
Week 29: (26) Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea - Chelsea Handler (4/5) - Chelsea is the girl that you admire for being exactly who she wants to be - a girl without any qualms or inhibitions, and who’s fun, ridicuous and a little out-of-control. However, Chelsea also happens to be the girl you’re SO glad that you’re NOT because that would be way too much embarrassment for any sane person to handle. Chelsea presents one crazy story after another (e.g. her irrational fear of red-headed men or vacationing with her father, a.k.a. “Bitch Tits”) and leaves you giggling in relief that you can have a good laugh living vicariously through her books without any of the numerous ugly strings attached.
Week 30: (27) Emma - Jane Austen (4.5/5) - Ahh, Jane Austen - you are a magnificent woman. How you hold my interest for hours on end with your lovable portrayal of disastrously imperfect protagonists is beyond me. Emma Woodhouse is a clever, rich, ”handsome” and foolishly over-confident twenty-one year old that thinks she’s immune to romance. Despite her undeniably pretentious and severely judgmental behavior, you can’t help but falling in love with her. Do you think Jane Austen would be my friend if she were alive today? I’d make tea and bake cookies. And mabe attempt to be more British and proper. I’ll even forgo wearing my Rainbow flip flops for a day and try real “ladies” shoes… now that’s what I call ”commitment.”
Week 31: (28) - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot (4/5) - A rare non-fiction piece that finagled it’s way into my reading stack. The book catalogues the story of Henrietta Lacks - a poor Southern tobacco farmer who’s cells - taken without her knowledge - have become infamous in the scientific realm. Her “HeLa” cells are the first “immortal” human cells grown in culture and have helped with some of the most important medical advances in history, including the polio vaccine, chemotheapy, cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization. However, Skloot’s novel is much more about the woman behind the “HeLa” cells - Henrietta’s life, her history and her family’s struggle to understand what exactly happened with Henrietta’s cells. Skloot spent over a decade to uncover this story of racism, poverty, science and spirituality, but what ultimately holds the book together more than anything is the author’s genuine curiosity about one woman that forever changed her life, Henrietta Lacks.
*****Okay, so apparently I celebrated this 4 months late since Women’s History Month is in March every year. But coming from a girl that gives birthday presents 10 months late, I’m gonna say this was an achievement. Positive thinking, check.