Book Haul + back and better than ever ✫

Hello Bookworms, FORGIVE ME FOR MY ABSENCE! I just finished my first year of university, and the course load was a little heavier than expected, so I didn’t have any time to write posts. But have no fear; I am back and better than ever. Who missed me????? (picturing cheers and tears of happiness from you guys…) As one of my first posts back from this mini-break, I’ll share some of what I’ve been reading and a few books I’ve acquired in the past year. Unfortunately, my incentive and energy to read plummeted and are only now slowly returning. I didn’t want to force myself to read at all, knowing it would’ve most likely resulted in me not even appreciating the books I was reading.

As I’m starting to read more again, I’m relying on what I know yanks me out of “slumps(I don’t even want to call it that, the word is so weird). Mini-rant, I feel like some readers are too quick to label things as slumps, thus then feeling bad about it and struggling, even more, to return to their “normal” reading schedule. My months off reading made me realize 1. it’s your life, read or don’t. It truly does NOT matter 2. what is a “slump”? Why do we feel the need to label EVERYTHING! I understand it can be a helpful word and isn’t necessarily harmful, but it often puts this unnecessary pressure on someone to get “out” of this slump, and it’s made to be something we should fear. Life is not easy, and reading, being our HOBBY and something we ENJOY, should be just that. If it’s adding more stress to my life, I don’t have time for it, or simply put, I DON’T WANT TO READ? That’s fine! Who cares? Nobody should; please stop feeling guilty, guys. 3. If I use myself as an example in the past year, my “normal” reading habits would be reading multiple books at once, on different forms of media, which, let’s keep in mind, is something I wanted to do and was giving me joy at the time. Currently, I do have time for that. I could most likely return to that schedule if I wanted, but I DON’T want to. Who’s to say that’s my “normal” schedule? It’s simply what I did at some point in my life; I evolve; we all do, as should our schedules and routines. Life is genuinely already so stressful; there are so many things out of our control that affects our mood and happiness, don’t put unadded pressures on something that should be making you happy. And if you find these things are no longer making you happy, that’s okay, that’s wonderful. You’re changing. Only you know yourself the best and what works for you, why compare yourself to others, including their reading habits.

That was a lot longer than I expected, but it’s just some thoughts I’ve been having(mainly in terms of myself).Putting that behind us, let’s go to the actual POINT of this post. I’ve acquired a few books as one does(it does not matter if I’m reading or not- if I see a book I want, she’s coming home with me). I try to borrow from the library as much as possible, but I am a huge second-hand bookshop lover, and the city my university is in has SO many it’s beautiful. Below are some books I’ve gotten this past year and cannot wait to read.

Another Atwood novel to add to my seemingly growing collection. I am not one to collect since it stresses me to own so many material things, but if I see an Atwood…I possess little willpower to stop from taking it home with me.

Cat’s Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, and artist, and woman—but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat’s Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knots of her life. (GoodReads)

What a title. I knew I’d buy this one when I saw the title if I’m honest. We have talked about this before, but yes, I judge books by their covers, including the title, colour scheme, and basically all its physical features. Sorry, not sorry…This one is high on my current tbr; it’s reasonably short nonfiction and seems so intriguing I’m sure I’ll fly through it.

Witch, Slut, Feminist: these contested identities are informing millennial women as they counter a tortuous history of misogyny with empowerment. This innovative primer highlights sexual liberation as it traces the lineage of “witch feminism.” Juxtaposing scholarly research on the demonization of women and female sexuality that has continued since the witch hunts of the early modern era with pop occulture analyses and interviews with activists, artists, scholars, and practitioners of witchcraft, this book enriches our contemporary conversations about reproductive rights, sexual pleasure, queer identity, pornography, sex work, and more. (Goodreads)

I love a good philosophy book, so that’s essentially how I ended up with this one in my possession. But, unfortunately, I know little about this book, and if I’m being frank, I don’t mind entering a text with little knowledge sometimes.

For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden, no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Proust’s life and work—his fiction, letter, and conversations—and distills from them that rare self-help manual: one that is actually helpful.

Here, tendered in prose almost as luminous as it’s subject’s, is advice on cultivating friendships, suffering successfully, recognizing love and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on the first date. And here, too, is a generously perceptive literary biography that suggests that the master is as relevant today as he was in fin de siècle Paris. At once slyly ironic and genuinely wise, How Proust Can Change Your Life is an unqualified delight. (Goodreads)

Although I’ve honestly forgotten how or when I bought this book, I am not upset, this has been on my tbr for ages, and the summary and all the reviews I’ve read, have me SO intrigued. Even though I enjoy the dystopian/science fiction genre, I find that so many novels I read from the genre fall slightly short of my expectations. I know you should never go into anything with such high anticipations, but if this one disappoints…I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself.

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist. (Goodreads)

My sister gifted this beauty for my birthday, which makes me even more excited than I would be to read it. The only other Charlotte Brontë I have is Jane Eyre(also needing to read this desperately), and this one had been on my tbr as well. However, I’ve read mixed reviews with this one, so I’m excited to form my own opinion but am still unsure which Brontë I should begin with(please help).

With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë’s most accomplished and deeply felt work, eclipsing even Jane Eyre in critical acclaim. Her narrator, the autobiographical Lucy Snowe, flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school in the town of Villette. There she unexpectedly confronts her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Ginerva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquette. The first pain brings others, and with them comes the heartache Lucy has tried so long to escape. Yet in spite of adversity and disappointment, Lucy Snowe survives to recount the unstinting vision of a turbulent life’s journey – a journey that is one of the most insightful fictional studies of a woman’s consciousness in English literature. (Goodreads)

Looking at the books in this haul already, my library is STACKED(literally and figuratively); what beauts these all are. Beloved is yet another classic I’m behind on, it’s practically essential reading, so I can’t wait to get to this one. I found this copy at one of my favourite secondhand bookshops in Toronto, and it was surprisingly in phenomenal condition.

Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature. (Goodreads)

Beyond eager for this one. Books discussing topics of mortality and philosophy are my cup of tea. Combine that with a memoir???? Sign me up.

On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.

Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this account of his affliction, he describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. (Goodreads)

This haul is genuinely making me seem like the most intelligent person alive…I mean, that may be true. But I still read silly and goofy books; guys, don’t worry. Another find from the same bookshop is this absolute beast I’m hoping to conquer eventually. I don’t have an exact timeline; she’s a little thick, so we will slowly work our way through.

Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness.  This long-awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreaking, Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was back then, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come. (Goodreads)

Another essential reading. Maybe you’ll catch me reading this on a beach in Europe this summer; if you do, please think, “Wow, that girl is so quirky and cool I wish I could be her.” Thank you very much.

Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique is filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. This 50th–anniversary edition features an afterword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen as well as a new introduction by Gail Collins. (Goodreads)

“How have I not read this yet” seems to be the recurring theme of this post.

Originally published on the eve of the 1848 European revolutions, The Communist Manifesto is a condensed and incisive account of the worldview Marx and Engels developed during their hectic intellectual and political collaboration. Formulating the principles of dialectical materialism, they believed that labor creates wealth, hence capitalism is exploitive and antithetical to freedom. (Goodreads)

Another Atwood….nobody should be surprised.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery. (Goodreads)

I will rate this five stars simply for the cover. Don’t doubt me, people!! I will do it!! Hoping the inside is as beautiful as the outside, and I highly suspect it will.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer. (Goodreads)

I’ve been on page four of this for approximately….too long..way too long. This summer, I will be reading this mark my words! This one was acquired in one of my favourite ways: stealing. Saw this cutie sitting on my mother’s dresser, and I swiped it. If she’s reading this, no, I didn’t. I was forced to write this. I promise I DON’T STEAL.

Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. While the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a timeless collection that has been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and readers throughout the centuries. (Goodreads)

In September, I picked this book up in another charming secondhand shop(it should be illegal how cute they are, how am I meant to RESIST??).

Aldo Cassidy is the naive and sentimental lover. A successful, judicious man, he is wrenched away from the ordered certainties of his life by a sudden encounter with Shamus, a wild, carousing artist and Helen, his nakedly alluring wife. (Goodreads)

Thrifted this one in January for school reading and had to include it as it’s a rare instance in which I loved the book.

A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting and defying the expected. Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction. (Goodreads)

Are any of these novels on your tbr? How have you been? Let’s catch up!


18 responses to “Book Haul + back and better than ever ✫”

  1. Congrats on finishing your first year of uni (woo!) and welcome back! What an eclectic mix of books. I’ve got Homegoing on my TBR too and this cover is seriously stunning. The book is so well-loved and has a lot of hype, which makes me a little nervous, but I hope we both love it! 😍 Happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. aw thank you so so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. why are all of those books so intelligent looking and I’m over here buying Goddess Girls

    Liked by 2 people

    1. trust me it’s all a lie 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back, Erin! Thanks for sharing all the books you’ve got. I appreciate a good nudge in the non-fiction direction every now and then 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back, hope you are getting a little break after how busy your uni year was.
    Just added Witches, Sluts, Feminists to my TBR as it sounds like an interesting read 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh hope you love it!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A very eclectic group of books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on finishing out your first year! I think bloggers especially put pressure on ourselves to constantly read. I go through spurts where I read a lot within a short period of time, but then I sometimes want a break to just binge watch a TV show. No stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Welcome back and I hope you enjoy all your new books!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks like you got some great books to keep you busy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so many exciting ones!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. welcome back Erin, have really missed your posts! love the variety of this haul. Agree with what your saying about not having the time to read and normalizing that as a blogger, I’ve felt sort of distant from the community recently because I haven’t been reading / blogging as much, but what you talked about definitely made me look at it more differently! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hello! thank you so much 🥺, i’ve missed the community. i’m so glad it helped, i hope you’ve been doing great!

      Liked by 1 person

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