Here we are with my next round of most recent reads! Today’s post is mostly Eurovisionathon reads, but there’s one sneaky book included as well. So without further ado, we’re going to jump right in.
Shadows on the Tundra by Dalia Grinkevičiūtė
This was my third read for Eurovisionathon and my pick for Lithuania. This is the author’s account of the mass removal of Lithuanians from their homes to remote gulags during WWII and the horrors she faced. I’m struggling to find the words to describe this—it was horrific, bleak and it never lets up. There are no chapters or sections so in a way, it feels like you never get a break as the reader—it feels a little as if you are stuck in there with Grinkevičiūtė. As awful as the story is, it’s one that I’m glad I read and I’d urge others to pick it up too. That being said, if you’re someone who can’t read about medical things in detail, I’d probably skip this—Grinkevičiūtė talks extensively about the scurvy, frostbite, dysentery and malnutrition of the people around her, but if you think you can make it through that, it’s definitely worth the read to learn more about this event from a firsthand account.
Lovelight Farms (Lovelight #1) by B.K Borison
After a couple of intense reads lately, I definitely needed something fun and light and this was literally perfect. I saw the second book in this series on Instagram about a week ago and immediately knew I needed it. Light contemporary romances have just been my thing lately and this one sounded so cute. And it so was—it was just straight up joyful and adorable. The relationship between Stella and Luka is just precious and I loved every second of this. I think it’s been a little while since I finished a book that just made my heart feel so full after reading it and I’m just so glad I decided to read it. I’m not a holiday romance person and this does take place in the lead up to Christmas, it’s really about more than just the holiday season and I really enjoyed it for that. In fact, I loved it so much that I ordered physical copies of this one and book two because I definitely need them on my shelves so I can come back to them again and again.
Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes
This was my fourth read for Eurovisionathon and my pick for Greece. I read A Thousand Ships, which is Haynes’ novel about the women of the Trojan wars and I ended up really disliking it, but at that point, I’d already ordered this one for myself. I was a little nervous but I had this feeling I’d enjoy her non-fiction writing style more and as it turns out, I was totally right. This is really interesting because it doesn’t just retell the stories of different women in Greek myth, but it discusses the different plays, poems and etc that the characters appeared in Ancient Greece (and Rome) as well as a few modern versions and compares how different the women can be portrayed from story to story. I was also surprised by how funny Haynes is—her humour never takes away from the analysis but it does provide a nice little break here and there to keep things from getting too heavy. While I wasn’t a fan of her fiction work, I would definitely recommend this work of Haynes to everyone!
The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking
This was my fifth read for Eurovisionathon and my pick for Denmark. This was also a gift from one of my favourite people, Inge, more than a few years ago so I’m very excited to have finally read it. So this is a little hard to review because it’s a book about happiness including statistics from across the world and tips on ways to bring a little more happiness into your life. This is my third book of Wiking’s and all of them have made me feel more relaxed and light after reading them—some of the things in here aren’t relevant to me at all (specifically the children related parts), but there were also a few things I’d like to try. All of Wiking’s books make wonderful gifts (I should know since Inge sent me two of the three) and are just excellent feel-good non-fiction reads.
The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas
This was my sixth read for Eurovisionathon and my pick for France. As you can see, I was really starting to ramp up my reading for it now that we’d passed the halfway point for the readathon. I don’t really know how to start talking about this one because I feel kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. On one hand, it was a quick read and there were some really deep and interesting passages. But on the other hand, there was a lot I had issues with. For one, this is a book about a women’s asylum in the 1880s and I get really upset and angry with the way disabled and mentally ill people, specifically women, were treated historically so I didn’t have a great time reading about that, especially as I felt like this had a complicated relationship with that too. By that, I mean that the book felt like it swapped between critiquing the idea and agreeing with it. I also feel that the story wasn’t strong enough—it feels very jumbled and there are a lot of things that happen that have no bearing on the story at all. But it was strangely intriguing so I don’t really know.
And so there we are, those are the reads for today’s post. I’ll catch you all again soon.