Three Books I'm Reading Now, 3/10/21 Edition
What I'm Reading Now
The books I've got on my nightstand and on my Kindle at the moment: a turn-of-the century story about outlaws, finding identity, eschewing societal fears and superstition, and belonging; a mystery novel about a brave young woman shaped by her Native American heritage; and a young adult book set in an alternate world where women hold the clues to the future but are subsumed into a male-dominated society as tools to be owned and controlled.
Clicking on the covers below takes you to the books on Bookshop, where you can buy books online and benefit independent booksellers.
I'd love to hear which books you're reading and enjoying these days, bookworms! Greedy readers want to know!
01 Outlawed by Anna North
It's 1894, and seventeen-year-old Ada is a newlywed, falling into the path set out for her as a young married woman--with an aim of becoming a mother--in her small town.
But when time goes by and she doesn't conceive a child, she is labeled "barren" and suspected of witchcraft, of having negative effects throughout the community, and of wielding vague, threatening, dark power.
She flees to a convent, where she quickly establishes that she is not destined to become a nun, then she joins up with The Hole in the Wall Gang, a group of outlaws led by The Kid and with a motley crew of followers, as their healer.
Cue the intrigue, exploration of gender and power roles, unconventional friendship, and danger.
02 Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Teenaged Daunis Fontaine has never fit into her hometown or the Ojibwe reservation. She must stay home from college to care for her ailing mother, which puts on hold her hopes for her future.
When she meets Jamie, a handsome young man on her brother's hockey team, he seems like a much-needed bright spot in her life--but Daunis is sure that he's hiding something. And when she witnesses a shocking murder, Daunis finds herself in the middle of an FBI investigation of a drug ring. With her knowledge of traditional Ojibwe medicine and her brave willingness to go undercover, Daunis will unearth dark secrets that could tear apart her community.
Boulley's story is soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground. I received a prepublication version of this book, which will be published March 16, courtesy of Henry Holt and Company and NetGalley.
03 Body of Stars by Laura Maylene Walter
In Body of Stars, debut author Walter imagines a world in which each young woman's body shows patterns of markings (freckles, moles, and birthmarks) that offer clues to not only the girl's future, but to the future of those around her.
As each young woman enters her magical "changeling" period in which her permanent markings (which carry more specific predictions than those she's born with) emerge, she is irresistible to others and highly susceptible to attack and abduction.
So far I'm reading this with some difficulty, largely because of the male characters' general entitlement and unchecked power (and threat of rape and attack), as well as their obsession with (and their creepy demands to examine) the girls' naked bodies and markings--including those of their own sisters and daughters. This feels disturbingly fetishistic so far.
I received a prepublication version of this book, which will be published March 16, courtesy of Dutton Books and NetGalley.