Posted in Books

My Favorite Books of 2019

I meant to publish this yesterday for Top Ten Tuesday.

Instead, after three family Christmases and a miserable four-hour ride in a cramped truck, I stayed in bed and read all day.

As a consequence, some last-minute books snuck their way onto my Top 10 list.

It’s a Cinderella story and a plot twist all in one!

2019

Texts From Jane Eyre and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Daniel M. Lavery*

I liked this book enough to gift copies to my friends.

The Little Women conversation was very gratifying. I felt seen.

Laurie + Jo or Single Jo. These are the only options.

Get Friedrich out of here.

 

* Lavery initially published this book under a name he no longer uses, hence the lack of accompanying book image.

 

Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars

Technically, I finished this at 12:45 AM on January 1st, 2020.

Since I read the bulk of it in 2019, I’m counting this as a 2019 read.

I appreciated this book so much.

So many books I read have interesting premises but no soul.

This book had a lot of feelings in a world that I didn’t want to leave.

I know I read this on the LAST DAY of 2019, so recency theory is at play, but this book had one of my favorite endings of the year.

Bittersweet, just the way I like it.

Also…THERE WAS A BI BOI. Or a pan boi.

Either way, a NON-MONO BOI.

 

How to Be Alone (If You Want to and Even If You Don’t) by Lane Moore

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This book touched some really deep places in me.

It gave me closure for an awful 2017 friend breakup that I hadn’t been able to process.

I am forever grateful.

 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dean

I don’t want to oversell one of the plot twists, but…

…I SCREAMED.

I read a lot of great graphic novels in 2019. This was the best one.

The emotional honesty was really refreshing.

 

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

(CW: rape, sexual assault)

Stars

I had to lock my feelings about this book in a box and put them away. Otherwise, I would not have been able to function.

This book has nuance and commentary and excellent representation.

It’s heartbreaking and so well-done.

This book gave me the words I needed to come out, so of course it’s going on the list.

 

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

(CW: racism, rape, misogynoir)

Eloquent Rage

Every single one of the sentences in this book is a gorgeous work of art.

I finished this book very recently and I’m struggling to verbalize the impression it left.

All I can say is, “Wow.”

If you want a comprehensive understanding of intersectionality, this is your book.

 

Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky

Astro Poets

I chose a number of “fun” books for this list because they made me laugh and provided a helpful distraction.

Dimitrov and Lasky gave me a joyful breakdown of the zodiac, which was what I needed after the chaos of NaNoWriMo.

This book was fun and fast and helpful. It earned a spot on my “Nonfiction/Reference” shelf.

 

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado

(CW: physical and emotional abuse)

In the Dream House

Super ambitious, very well done.

I’ve never read a memoir in this style; Machado killed it.

This book was creative without being gimmicky and very brave in its content.

I am in love with the writing style.

 

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

RWRB

WHAT DO I EVEN SAY??

This book covered a lot of territory, but it did it right!

The ending ACTUALLY made me weep. I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS.

This book gave me so much hope for 2020.

My heart is full.

 

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

TYSI

This is the only new favorite I reread this year.

The rep is SO GOOD.

The anxiety rep is really moving, but what really got me was the on-the-page demisexual rep.

Johnson likened demisexual attraction to turning on a dimmer switch, which made me cheer. Yes! Accurate! This is how it feels!

Then Martin the Surprise Bi described his attraction to different genders and I loved it. More bi bois!

I’m so glad this book came out.

2019

That’s my list. I’ll have more 2019 posts coming in the next few days.

See y’all later. I’m off to watch Cats.

Posted in Books

MAKE-YOU-CRY MONDAY: Rin Sohma and Tohru Honda

Minor Fruits Basket spoilers today. If you don’t want to know who the horse of the zodiac is, read no further.

I have a pattern: whenever I read Fruits Basket, I cry.

The series’ halfway point is usually where I get emotional. People think Fruits Basket is just a dumb shojo manga (I could name names…you know who you are), but there’s some really intense stuff in it.

This time around, I started sobbing in volume 4.

However, I just finished Volume 14, which is a real doozy, so today’s post is about Rin Sohma.

Rin, much like Ronan Lynch, has had a messed-up life. It would be hard enough being possessed by an ancient spirit. Imagine your love life complicated by the fact that whenever someone of the opposite sex hugs you, you turn into a horse.

Imagine your happy family shattered the first time you questioned the sincerity of its happiness.

Imagine developing ulcers due to the stress and having your parents punish you for it.

This all happens to Rin Sohma BEFORE the story even starts.

You might have noticed some similarities in the characters I’m drawn to. A lot of the characters I like are really, really mean. Rin lashes out at everyone, does questionable things to obtain information, and says hurtful things to little kids. She hits her boyfriend and, as a horse, tries to kick Tohru in the face.

But Rin would do anything for the people she loves and is honest about what she needs. After the head of the family calls her “pathetic,” “completely hopeless,” and “rotten to the core,” then PUSHES HER OUT A WINDOW, all Rin thinks as she falls is:

But Haru did want me. There was someone who wanted me, even though I had been told that I was unwanted. I’m happy… What a happy thing.

Rin later admits why she is so mean to “kind” people:

I hate for kind people to suffer. To see them get hurt.

She pushes away her loving boyfriend and Tohru Honda because she can’t stand to seem them become collateral damage.

She finally breaks down in front of Tohru and admits her weakness. She ends up crying in Tohru’s arms for hours.

Being alone

Tohru tells her something that hit me really hard: “Being by yourself is scary. Being alone is a frightening way to live.”

Hear, hear.

Later, Rin reflects on why Tohru is such a calming influence for everyone around her.

People can’t help but be drawn to someone like her. People who know how scary it is to be alone can’t help loving others.

This makes me wonder about the people in my life who are always happy. What sorts of things have happened to them that I don’t know about?

Stop relating to my real life, Fruits Basket!

Just hold me, Kyo.

Need cheering up?
Look at this picture! All the animals! See how happy they all are!

Yeah…not my best find.

[Note: I realize today is Tuesday. I was doing some other writing yesterday and completely forgot about blogging.]