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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Three Books I'm Reading Now, 3/25/24 Edition

The Books I'm Reading Now

I'm listening to Kaveh Akbar's novel Martyr!; I'm reading to C. J. Wray's sassy multiple-timeline historical fiction novel about sisters who served pivotal roles in World War II, The Excitements; and I'm reading Allison Pataki's most recent historical fiction, about a little-known trailblazer, Finding Margaret Fuller.

What are you reading these days, bookworms?


01 Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar

Cyrus Shams is an orphaned young adult, the child of Iranian immigrants, an addict, and an alcoholic. He is also a self-doubting poet.

As Cyrus sinks again and again into the careless, distracted, volatile ups and downs of a constant barrage of various drugs and alcohol, his obsession with the concept of a life worth living--and a notable death--seems to sometimes be all that tethers him to existence.

He seeks meaning in art, in a close, sometimes-sexual friendship, and in the idea of trying to craft his book. The level of his passion for the topic of martyrdom is off-putting to most of those around him, and his substance abuse keeps him at a distance from his feelings.

The tone is difficult to pin down; there is dark humor, a dark thread of tragedy, and a story that could potentially go in various directions.

I'm listening to Martyr! as an audiobook.


02 The Excitements by C. J. Wray

In C. J. Wray's The Excitements, Archie's great-aunts Josephine and Penny are a handful. He's busy ushering them to commemorative World War II events, attempting to monitor their uninhibited speech, and trying to keep the two elderly veterans safe.

He begins wondering about unexplained aspects of his own family history, and when the three of them travel to Paris for the sisters to receive Légion d'honneur awards for helping to liberate France, surprising facts begin to surface about the sisters' past--and they may be related to his own life.

The Excitements is told in various timelines as past events are illuminated. It's part historical fiction with wonderful World War II details and part sassy modern-day tale about women who are notable for far more than just their advanced age.

You might also like the books on my Greedy Reading List Six Books about Brave Female Spies.


03 Finding Margaret Fuller by Allison Pataki

When Margaret Fuller became part of Ralph Waldo Emerson's creative, opinionated circle of friends, she grew into the heart of the Transcendentalists--as well as the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's shocking Hester Prynne, a role model for Louisa May Alcott, and Emerson's muse.

But as the first woman admitted into Harvard's library, the first female foreign news correspondent for legendary editor Horace Greeley, and the center of an international scandal when she unapologetically takes a Roman count as a lover, Margaret Fuller was a trailblazer.

I received a prepublication version of this recently published book courtesy of NetGalley and Ballantine Books.

Allison Pataki is also the author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, Sisi, The Queen's Fortune, and The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, as well as the nonfiction memoir Beauty in the Broken Places.


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