I feel like maybe I should just start calling this little Inkwell introduction “Notes from the Resistance.” Since the election in November, I have felt the ever-increasing need to speak out about the alarming things that are happening in our country and around the world right now. This past week alone, Trump signed an executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven countries and restructured the National Security Council to give his senior advisor and chief strategist, neo-Nazi Stephen Bannon, a seat at the table. On the global stage, Russia’s State Duma voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that, if passed by the Federation Council and signed by Putin, would decriminalize domestic violence that does not cause “significant” bodily harm and occurs no more than once a year. Let’s just say it hasn’t been a good month for women, children, refugees, or anybody else who cares about human rights.
On the book front, I have reached a new low in my two-months-running reading slump. I’ve been dealing with some personal stuff that is making it extremely difficult to read and it’s making me very cranky. I keep hoping that things will get better but at this point, I think I need to stop stressing about how tall my review stack is and just wait to see what happens.
As rotten as January was, I received a lot of great book mail, which I will eventually read…
- Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Purchased)
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Purchased)
- The North Water by Ian McGuire (Purchased)
- Always by Sarah Jio (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt (Review Copy)
- The New Odyssey: The Story of the Twenty-First-Century Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley (Review Copy)
- Schadenfreude, a Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For by Rebecca Schuman (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (Purchased)
- Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Purchased)
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Purchased)
- God Calling, edited by A.J. Russell (Gift)
- The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy (Purchased)
- The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser (Purchased)
- Sissi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- God & Sex: What the Bible Really Says by Michael Coogan (Purchased)
- In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Mark with Maryanne Vollers (Purchased)
- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (Purchased)
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Purchased)
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (Purchased)
November in Review
This January was even worse than last January when I completed just three books. Still, at least I didn’t end up finishing zero books. I was a little worried that would happen for a while. And there was a lot of great TV to stream as well…
Books + Audiobooks
- Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham: A daily devotional meant for a wide audience. One-dimensional and mediocre at best.
- The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri (audiobook): A profoundly personal essay on book jacket art. Insightful and philosophical. Lahiri put into words thoughts I have had many times but never knew quite how to express.
Movies + Television
- 13th (2016) – A documentary on race and the American justice system. It convincingly argues that mass incarceration is a modern-day form of slavery. This is such an important film, especially considering current political events.
- The Scapegoat (2012) – An adaptation of the 1957 novel by Daphne du Maurier about a man who unwittingly trades places with his doppelganger. It’s a compelling story and Matthew Rhys is marvelous in the two main roles.
- Beasts of No Nation (2015) – The story of a boy named Agu who is forced to become a child soldier in a fictional West African country. This is such a heartbreaking film, wonderfully acted by Abraham Attah as Agu and Idris Elba as the abusive commandant of his militia.
- The Secret Life of Pets (2016) – A fun animated family film about what pets do when their owners are away from home. It’s not as great as the trailer implies but there are still plenty of laughs to be had.
- Sherlock, Season 4 (2017) – Never in a million years did I think I would voluntarily forgo watching an episode of Sherlock. This season was so bad I stopped watching halfway through the second episode. It was literally some of the worst television I have ever seen, and that’s saying something.
- The Crown, Season 1 (2016) – A docudrama about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s very well produced and Claire Foy is absolutely brilliant in the starring role.
- Good Behavior, Season 1 (2016-2017) – A new TNT show based on the book by Blake Crouch about a drug-addicted thief named Letty who becomes entangled with a hitman when she accidentally overhears his plot to kill a man’s wife and tries to stop the assassination. This show is a real gem. The characters are incredibly nuanced and Michelle Dockery is amazing as Letty.
I’m also in the process of re-watching all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve never watched them all chronologically before and I’m surprised at just how many episodes I’ve never seen, especially in the early seasons. In many ways, this feels like the first time I’ve really seen the show. I also watched a few scattered episodes of Angel–mostly the ones that directly tie into the Buffy plot. I’ve never really been able to get into Angel though because I don’t feel as invested in the characters (well, aside from Cordelia, who is very entertaining). Angel himself was one of my least-favorite characters on Buffy, so I don’t have a real interest in watching a show that centers on him.Sherlock Season 4, The Crown, + More in The Inkwell: Vol. 3, Iss. 1 >>Click To Tweet
News from the Book World
- It was recently announced that Eddie Redmayne will narrate the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them audiobook. Redmayne, of course, starred in the film adaptation of the book.
- John Hurt, the actor who played Ollivander in the Harry Potter film series, died last Friday at the age of 77. Hurt starred in a number of bookish roles over the years, including Winston Smith in the 1984 adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Control in the 2012 adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
- Roxane Gay made headlines when she pulled her forthcoming book, aptly titled How to Be Heard, from Simon & Schuster following their book deal with alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos.
- One of Trump’s proposed spending cuts would kill the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). For more on how this will impact readers and book lovers everywhere, read this article over at Book Riot.
- Sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four have skyrocketed since Donald Trump’s inauguration. Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” comment on Meet the Press may also have contributed to the sales spike.
Best of the Bookosphere
- Bookish Signs from 2017 Women’s March – Book Riot
- 75 Books for the Next Four Years – Lit Hub
- 59 Love Quotes from Books for Every Romantic – ProFlowers
- Striking Photos of Readers Around the World – BBC
- 5 of the Best Climate Change Novels – The Guardian
- 27 Books Every Woman in America Should Read – BuzzFeed
- 15 Most Anticipated Feminist Book Released of 2017 – Bustle
- 15 Books That Will Nurture Your Nerdier Side in 2017 – Science of Us
- The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 – Elle
- The 16 Most Anticipated Horror Books of 2017 – Lit Reactor
The Most Popular Posts This Month
WINTER IS COMING…And you know what that means. Books. So many books. EPIC books. Gird your Goodreads profile. Here are the 50 most exciting books hitting store shelves this winter.
In addition to the multitude of film adaptations hitting theaters this year, there are also quite a few small screen adaptations in the works. Here are nine premiering during the first half of 2017.
I struggled with frontlist titles this year, but I lucked out when it came to backlist books, especially nonfiction. Every single one of the books on this list has my highest recommendation, so if you want to take a break from all those new releases, check out these titles from your local library!
6 Books to Watch for in February6 New Books to Get Excited About in February + More in The Inkwell: Vol. 3, Iss. 1Click To Tweet
- The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- Toxic Cocktail: How Chemical Pollution is Poisoning Our Brains by Barbara Demeneix
- The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happer, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams
- The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell
What are some of the best books you read in January?