Top 4 books from the 2nd quarter of 2019

Life got a little busy in the second quarter of 2019. I’ll be honest, life doesn’t seem to be be slowing down too much now either. But I still managed to find some time to read some great books, and here are my top four, in no particular order.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Mortician and author Caitlin Doughty does a great job of taking the reader with her on her journey to find the ‘good death’. Living in Europe at the time, I had had the opportunity to see first hand how various cultures perceived death and grieved differently than what I’d seen growing up in central Texas. This book goes beyond western cultures and looks at the human relationship with death around the world. It’s a fascinating read that left me more open-minded about other people’s traditions, and also had me questioning my own views on death.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

You might remember this book was listed as a book I wanted to check out. I pre-ordered this book from the publisher while I was living in Sweden (so I got the UK edition) and the book itself is a piece of artwork and a tribute to what all books should be (if we wanted to spend 20 pounds per book and have them all hard-bound. I recognized not everyone loves hard-bounds.)

I was surprised by this book, to be honest. I was expecting one thing, and about a third of the way into the book, I felt like I’d received something else. But then…well then this book became so much more. It’s a stunning love story set in a world where ‘fiction’ comes at a severe price to the author. Dig in and enjoy this one.

Did I mention I’m a huge book nerd? Here’s a video I took and sent to my two best friends when I received The Binding.

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Since the theme this year for Sirens is Heroes, I felt like I absolutely had to read this book. A dying superhero ends up changing Danny’s body into what she’s always wanted it to be. This YA book about a transgender teenager who struggles with her new powers was a fresh take on superhero stories, but also gave me more insight into the emotional roller-coaster of being a transgender teenager. If you like superhero books, I’d recommend this one.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Deep breath. I’ve never read Lovecraft. There, I said it. I think it’s important to get that out there because I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, but I also read it with zero background on Lovecraft. I’d be intrigued to hear what people who have read The Horror at Red Hook think of this retelling from the viewpoint of Charles Thomas Tester. But for me, the prose and the sadly still relevant themes of inequality and oppression carried the novella.

It almost makes me want to pick up Lovecraft. Except I want LaValle to rewrite all of Lovecraft, and then I’ll just read that.

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