Reading Recap: July

Just two more books to go until I hit my reading goal for the year! I have got to say I am pretty proud of myself. Who knows, maybe I might even read double my target if I keep this pace up.

This month I have learned a bit more about my reading wheelhouse, as it turns out, I adore magic realism. I’ve also read some more classic literature and surprisingly enjoyed it. I never thought classics would be something I would be into, but here we are. 

In total, this month’s reading total was six and a half. Why a half? Well, read on to find out!

Fairy Tales by Marianne Moore

Sometimes it’s vital to reread some classics, even if they are fairy tales.

Fairy Tales by Marianne Moore is a collection of three classic fairy tales, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. 

Even though I went into it knowing that the original versions are a fair bit darker than the popular Disney counterparts, this version of Sleeping Beauty threw me through a loop. I mean, the mother-in-law is so evil that due to her ogre heritage, she wants to eat her grandchildren and daughter-in-law. I didn’t see that coming, I wonder why I’ve never heard this version up until now.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Perhaps one of my new favourite novels.

The seemingly innocuous Funiculi Funicula appears like any other slightly outdated cafe. However, this cafe has something special on the menu, and I am not talking about speciality coffee, time travel.

You get one chance to go back in time.

There are a few rules to keep in mind. Such as you can’t change the past, you can only meet with people who have already visited the cafe and you can’t move from your seat while in the past. On top of all that, the one rule you must obey, you must finish your coffee before it gets cold. Fail to do so results in you becoming a ghost. 

A heart-wrenching and heart-warming novel. A truly tender read, best-served with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

I have ranted and raved about this book in a prior post. So, to understand why I loved this novel so much, please read it.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

A vampire classic that gets overshadowed by Dracula, which is a shame since this story is bloody brilliant.

Carmilla tells the story of a young woman named Laura who lives an isolated life with just her father and her two teachers. Bored and desperate for a new friend, she is delighted when the charming Carmilla ends up staying with them for a bit after a chance encounter. The two ladies bond with something akin to romance beginning to blossom.

However, Laura starts suffering horrific nightmares and other sinister scenarios are occurring around the house.

I enjoyed this novel. I have heard about the lesbian undertones. But honestly, I expected them to be subtle or even just projections. Ha, nope! It is in your face, which is surprising for a novel written in 1872. Mysterious and gothic and beautifully written, I highly recommend this classic.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper Sarah Cho

I think I was on a bit of a gothic horror kick since I followed Carmilla up with The Yellow Wallpaper. 

In this short story, a woman is confined to her room on bed rest by her worried husband after giving birth. With nothing to stimulate her, she becomes obsessed with the ugly yellow wallpaper, convinced there is someone behind it.

While short, The Yellow Wallpaper is impactful and haunting. 

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Finally got around to reading Murakami. 

Sometimes, when things go wrong in your life, a change of scenery can do the world of good. The protagonist of Killing Commendatore would agree as after he is informed of his now ex-wife that she wants a divorce, he moves to an isolated mountain house. Said house was the former home of a famous painter, fitting for our painter protagonist.

Little does he know that the house doesn’t just come with a beautiful view, but a neighbour with secrets, a hidden masterpiece and an assassination plot buried in the past. 

Bonkers and brilliant. This is another book I talked about in a previous post. I have a full review available here.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

As you probably guessed, this is the sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold

It is pretty much more of the same, with new situations and new characters while also developing the original cast. I loved it. If I had to pick, I think the first novel is the stronger of the two, but this is still a solid novel in its own right. If you loved the first novel like I did, you will love this one too.

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom

Pretty intense title, I know.

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom is a non-fiction book about, well, you read the title. 

Dark Archives is what I am currently reading at the time of writing and so far, I like it. I will be posting a full review soon, but not before I finish it. So if you are interested, keep an eye out as it should be up this Sunday.

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