I read a total of eleven books this month.
I'm a little disappointed that, despite my goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month, I didn't get to finish my February pick. I'm also disappointed that I didn't get a chance to read a screenplay this month, so there will not be a bonus screenplay read. On the bright side, this month was amazing for poetry reads. Of the eleven books I read, nine of them were poetry collections or anthologies. The other two books were a novel and a classic novel, respectively, fulfilling my goal of reading a work of fiction and a classic work each month. Hopefully in March I'll be able to make up my non-fiction and screenplay deficit!
Because I read so much this month, I decided to break up this post into two parts. In this one, I'll cover my fiction pick and four poetry books. In part two, I'll cover my classic pick and five poetry books. Advanced copies or copies I received in exchange for a fair review will be noted.
BONFIRE BY KRYSTEN RITTER
This book is very Gillian Flynn-meets-Erin Brockovich. It plays on unreliable narration, small town scrutiny, and conspiracy. What begins as an environmental lawyer's quest to bring clean water to her hometown quickly spirals into the uncovering of a massive conspiracy that may finally bring answers to a ten year old case of a missing teen. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout this book, and each one is more important than the next. Everything you learn throughout the story comes back in some way or another at the end. The narrator, and the reader in turn, spend a lot of time lost in a fog of confusion over who to trust and what to believe. This kind of absorbent writing hooks you from the get-go and doesn't let go until you reach the last page. This is a gripping, interesting, fascinating thriller that I truly could not put down until I finally hit the back cover. I love Krysten Ritter's acting, and now I can confidently say that I adore her writing as well. She knows her characters inside and out, and uses them to drive every moment of her story.
HOWLING AT THE MOON BY DARSHANA SURESH
This is an exquisite collection of poetry. It's so thoughtful and heartfelt, and is truly written from the soul. It's a book that grabs onto your heart and doesn't let go. Suresh is such a wonderful talent and I'm so grateful to have found her words. She has an incredible of writing about hard topics, about things that a lot of people would consider ugly or would want to hide, with a gentle but honest hand. Though the content of the book can oftentimes be heavy, Suresh's spirit remains light and hopeful even in its darkest moments. I truly cannot wait to read more from this incredible poet.
SMALL TALK BY THERESA SOPKO
I was given an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Small Talk was released on February 21, 2018 and is now available on Amazon.
I adore the concept of this book. Sopko uses typical small talk prompts, such as talking about the weather and asking after someone's parents, and gives deeply honest answers through poetry. Her pieces are incredibly intimate, and many of them offer a sense of nostalgia that spurred up my own memories of my childhood home and all the things I did as a kid. She has this truly beautiful way of reaching into your soul and stirring around all the feelings you've kept hidden inside. In sharing her own thoughts and feelings and memories she made me think on my own, and that's some truly powerful poetry. I couldn't recommend this book enough - it's beautiful.
ELLIPSIS: POEMS OF DISASTER BY JORDAN TONEY
I'm forever a sucker for narrative poetry, and this book certainly did not disappoint! I will say that it took about thirty pages or so for me to feel truly hooked, but once I was, this book would not let go. While apocalypse stories are not uncommon these days, this one is unique. Tones of desperation and confusion were felt throughout, and each chapter brought in some new change to this wildly spinning, ever-unstable world. It felt as though I were reading some form of mythic history. Toney certainly has an incredible way of viewing the world, and a wonderful talent for storytelling.
HUMMINGBIRD BY SOPHIA ELAINE HANSON
There is something incredibly unique and refreshing about Sophia's poetry, though I can't quite put my finger on what that is. I think it's something beneath the words and their quiet simplicity. She writes as though jotting down notes; as though keeping track of her life in the way people do when they're trying to make sense of things. It turns the book into a complete narrative, and kept me sucked in throughout. The illustrations by Munise Sertel were a beautiful touch and helped to elevate the words. This is a beautiful little book, and is something I can see myself recommending to anyone going through heartbreak. The words bring both relatability and perspective.