Book 387: The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood

Atwood, Margaret - The Heart Goes LastI didn’t quite get this one read before it’s release, but considering how busy I’ve been, having it read and posted within a week of its release, September 29, is pretty impressive! Any time there is a new Atwood, I get excited. Margaret Atwood is the Queen of Speculative Fiction, among other things. So when I had the opportunity to request a copy and the publisher, Nan A. Talese granted it*, I was over the moon.

I still have a few older Atwood’s on my shelf to read, but the last I read was Stone Mattress and I really liked where she was going. This being said, I’ve seen quite a few reviews recently of The Heart Goes Last where I’ve wanted to slap the reviewers and say WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK? Mostly people were complaining they had bought the first few chapters on a website and then had to buy the whole book to find out what happened (Hello, single song releases?! Do we not remember the “old days” of the 1990s – early 2000s?) As this doesn’t affect me and most readers, I don’t see why it’s important so don’t let that impact your judgement!

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Book 386: The Void of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #3) – Jeff Wheeler

Wheeler, Jeff - The Void of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #3)This was one of those books that makes you feel so much that you can’t really respond to it. I lost track of the number of times I teared up because of what was happening in the story. Seriously, within the first 100 pages I’m pretty sure I teared up at least three times. Unfortunately, most of you will have to wait to read it until it’s released on October 27, but you should read it, trust me.

It’s always hard to finish a story, but when it’s written well and has great characters it’s that much harder. A small part of me wasn’t sad because I still have The Lost Abbey to explore when it’s finally released as a collection, but the rest of me is exhausted from living Maia’s story in such a short span of time. Having finished The Banished of Muirwood and The Ciphers of Muirwood rapidly and diving right into this, thanks to 47North*, I’ve been fully immersed in Muirwood for a little over a week (and longer if you count my binge of the first trilogy late last month).

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Book 385: The Ciphers of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #2) – Jeff Wheeler

Wheeler, Jeff - The Ciphers of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #2)Picking up right where The Banished of Muirwood leaves off, The Ciphers of Muirwood, or at least Jeff Wheeler, has given me hope for the middle novel of a trilogy. Wheeler talks about this in the afterword of this novel and The Blight of Muirwood and how he loves the middle novel and how it allows for characters to expand and the story to move forward. I can’t wait to re-read The Lord of the Rings and think of it this way rather than my usual, ugh the middle book. Hopefully, it’ll give me a new perspective.

This book gives us more of Maia. It goes more in-depth into her family history and answers some of the outstanding questions of the first book. I was concerned at first as it appeared to be mirroring a bit too much Lia’s journey in the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, but ultimately it was different. There will be potential spoilers to the first book in this series and to the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, so be aware.

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Book 384: The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #1) – Jeff Wheeler

Wheeler, Jeff - The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #1)I should keep track of when I eat my words on this blog. I thought for sure it would be some time before I revisited Muirwood, but lo and behold here I am not even a month later delving right back in.

Having access to early releases is both a boon and the bane of book bloggers. Occasionally you get access to works you’re desperate to read (i.e. any Margaret Atwood, keep an eye out) and you get access to books you’re not sure you’re going to read, but when given the opportunity you jump and this was one of those occasions.

I’m grateful to the publisher, 47North, for providing access to Jeff Wheeler’s new Muirwood trilogy: The Covenant of Muirwood, even if it did mess up my reading schedule. They provided these in return for an honest opinion and I’ve received no compensation. I’m sad I missed the window on The Lost Abbey (#1), but I think I’d rather read that in one go rather than as a serial comic.

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Book 372: Not Gay – Jane Ward

Ward, Jane - Not Gay“Straight boys and men, I believe, already have all of the information and proclivities they need to manufacture situations that facilitate homosexual (and heterosexual) activity.” (165)

FINALLY! Academia is talking about fluidity of male sexuality (perceived, lack thereof, the dangers of, etc.). We’ve come a long way from Foucault, Butler, Muñoz. When we’re now looking at the idea that “heterosexuality is, in part, a fetishization of the normal,” (35) and no one is batting an eye. We’re starting to get somewhere.

One of the biggest critiques I had while pursuing my master’s degree was the lack of research, or even recognition, of the fluidity of male sexuality. So much of what we discussed resolved solely on women, women’s sexuality and feminists critique.

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Book 364: Burn After Writing – Sharon Jones

Jones, Sharon - Burn After WritingThere seem to be two types of self-help/reflection books that are making huge impacts on the book selling industry these days. You have the artsy “adult coloring books,” of which I’ve bought plenty for relatives and recommend to friends. And you have the ones more suited to those that love words and wordplay like How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad) and Burn After Writing.

These books/journals/art projects ask you to take time out of your everyday life and either forget about it (coloring) or look at the things that have the potential to make you happy or sad and dissect them. They use activities like drawing, list-making, word associations and many other activities to get you to think about things differently than you do on a regular basis.

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July Recap 2015

2015 07-28 Abandoned BoatGoodbye July and Hello August! I don’t necessarily hate the summer, but the heat and humidity always get to me in a way that cold and snow can’t. It’s seriously warmed up here in Boston we’re facing our third 90º+ (32C) day this week and I feel so groggy and slow .

Some of this comes from my finally kicking my butt back into gear and walking again, every step right?!, but the heat is just oppressive, it makes me not want to do anything. On the plus side, spending most of my time in Southie, I do get to walk along the ocean and there’s usually a great breeze so it’s cooler, but it’s still so hot! When this posts I’ve already walked more than 40 miles! Hopefully I can keep it going.

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