This year, Book Riot has challenged readers to step out of their comfort zone and read books they might otherwise stay away from (details here). So far, I’ve completed 6 of the challenges. (You can read about my first update here.)
4. A Short Story Collection: Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Berman—As the title suggests, the stories in this collection deal with women who have been overlooked by popular history. Some I had heard of; others I hadn’t. While the writing was very enjoyable on its own, I had lots of fun looking up and finding out about the subject of each story. The arc that is tying all the stories together is the fact that almost every woman is presented not at the pinnacle of her fame, but later, when the supporters and money have gone and her body is starting to fail her. I recommend it. Thanks to Leah, whose review inspired me to read it.
5. A Book That Is a Retelling of a Classic Story: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi—The book’s blurb presents this as a retelling of Snow White. While there are obvious elements of the fairy tale, this particular selling point turned out to be rather weak. The story is set in Massachusetts and builds on the shaky race relations of the 1950s. I liked how the book explored how insecurity and protectiveness can turn a woman into an evil stepmother. But several crucial characters never came to life for me, and the transgender twist at the end was unnecessary in my opinion. I picked up the book because of Yasmine Rose, who really liked the book.
6. A Book Published in 2015: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller—This was a fun book. Inspired by a 2011 news story about a boy who returns after living in the wilderness for years, this book tells the story of 8-year-old Peggy, whose survivalist father takes her away from London to live in a run-down hut, cut off from civilization. Told from Peggy’s point of view, it slowly becomes clear that not all is as it seems. I really liked the delicate buildup of suspense and the questionable reliability of the narrator. Naomi at Consumed by Ink first brought this book to my attention.