What I Read in May

My last couple of reading months have been quite eventful. I got out of a rut, finished a massive project and bought the first book from the Bridgerton series (the duke stills live rent free in my mind). I also only read good books this year.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Let’s start by the big project, and one of the best books I ever read. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most famous, adapted and reworked stories in entertainment history. Revenge and the iconic Brazilian telenovela Brazil Avenue were inspired by the novel, and there are so many movie adaptations.

This novel tells the story of Edmond Dantès, a sweet and loving sailor that is falsely accused of a crime by a colleague that is jealous of him, an acquaintance that has a crush on his fiancé, and a solicitor trying to protect his reputation. Throughout his time in prison, Dantès meets Abbot Faria, who helps him figure out what happened and makes him the heir to his fortune. After the sailor manages to run away from jail, he finds himself with plenty of free time and money to pursue his revenge.

I call this book a project not only because of the size (my edition has 1301 pages), but also because of the emotional rollercoaster it is. I felt excited, angry, got in a reading rut, was confused, then happy, and the last 200 pages were page turners. It was a journey that lasted months and many hours, and that I’m very glad to have experienced.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

I’m a firm believer that Margaret Atwood should win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and my contribution this month is talking about one of her books. Alias Grace is a historic fiction inspired by the real-life story of Grace Marks, a Canadian maid accused of murdering her boss and his lover with the help of James McDermott, another servant. Even though Marks was convicted for the crime, many believed she wasn’t guilty. Basically, it is another story of a woman suffering the consequences for a man’s mistake.

What I love about this novel is how Atwood explores the mind of Grace, and how multidimensional the character is. Miss Marks seems sweet and innocent on the outside, but we know she lies to protect herself and friends, and she never tells the whole story in order to not seem suspicious or wiser than her condition suggests. And still, we feel a lot of sympathy for the character.

Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis

Dom Casmurro is a Brazilian classic that more people should read. It tells the story of Bentinho, his wife Capitu, and their friend Escobar. The novel starts when the couple are still kids, and ends with an elderly Bentinho. As with every book by Machado de Assis, it is difficult to explain the plot and why it is so amazing. But I invite you to help solve a 120-year-old mystery: did Capitu cheat?

(I think they were a trouple. And, if Capitu wasn’t part of this trouple, she should have cheated.)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart is one of the most important books in African literature, and is also the debut novel of Chinua Achebe. Which is difficult to believe, because it is so well written. The first book in The African Triology tells the story of Okonkwo and his family, and their experience pre-colonization and after the Europeans arrived in Nigeria.

This book is so beautiful and sad at the same time. While I don’t love Okonkwo as a person, I still felt bad for what he (and his tribe had to go through).  And that’s what makes this novel so wonderful. At the same time you don’t like the way a character acts, it makes you experience and realize how bad colonization actually is.

Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics is a great place to start studying intersectional feminism. bell hooks managed to write a book that is rich in information but also easy to understand.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk is a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, so my expectations for this book were high. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead tells the story of Janina, an elderly woman obsessed with William Blake, and a series of mysterious murders that happens in the tiny polish village she lives in. This novel has so many weird details, and the characters are very odd and interesting. And the plot twist is magnificent.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay inspired by two lectures Virginia Woolf gave in Newnham college and Girton College in 1928. It talks about the literal and figurative space of women in literature, and how it differs from the one of male authors. This is essay is incredible, very important and still relevant. A must read for any feminist and/or literature lover.

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