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Spur of the Moment February Book Haul

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Photo of an open book on a white desk.

Do you ever miss reading? I do.

I had officially read all, but one of the books I bought around Christmas and my birthday and ended up getting into a reading rut. I had no interest in reading anything. But then that longing feeling returned and I craved books to read. While I am rather frugal with my money, you know - as a college student still living at home - I went ahead and bought five new books anyway. And I rationalized the purchase because a gift card covered part of the cost.

First up we have...

#1 Vox by Christina Dalcher

I decided to read this one first because I also bought the first book of a series and would rather end with that than start with it. Also it seemed to be the best high-engaging book to start off with to get back into reading again. The chapters are short, which is nice, I figure it'll be a quick read. I'm only 50ish pages in and so far so good. It has plenty of The Handmaid's Tale vibes, so if you liked that you should give this one a read too.

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter. On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard. But this is not the end. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

#2 Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I was a fan of Jessica Jones (and I'm still a little disappointed it was cancelled), but when I found out Krysten had written a book I had to read it. And by that I mean wait like five years before actually buying the book and reading it. Whoops.

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands. But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good. Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her. With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

#3 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I'm a bit of a Dark Academia nerd, so when I first saw the trailer for the Discovery of Witches show, I was hooked. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to watching the show, so I figured I might as well read the books, (besides, the books are always better anyways).

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

This was one of the first books I found on Autism that I wanted to read. It's written by a women, and her husband, and it's all about communication skills when you're autistic. Which is probably the one thing I struggle with the most.

Using her personal experience living as a professional woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sarah Nannery, together with her husband, Larry, offers this timely communication guide for anyone on the Autism spectrum looking to successfully navigate work, life, and love. When Sarah Nannery got her first job at a small nonprofit, she thought she knew exactly what it would take to advance. But soon she realized that even with hard work and conscientiousness, she was missing key meanings and messages embedded in her colleagues' everyday requests, feedback, and praise. She had long realized her brain operated differently than others, but now she knew for sure: she had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With help from her neurotypical partner--now husband--Larry, mostly in frantic IM chats, Sarah rose to Director of Development at one of the world's largest nonprofits. Together they have tackled challenges in how Sarah navigates personal and professional relationships, how they navigate marriage and parenthood, all of which are differently challenging for someone with ASD. But she wonders, at times, how life would be different if she'd had to figure it all out herself. So, in What to Say Next, she offers advice, empathy, and straightforward strategies from her own tool-kit--not only for others who see the world differently, but for their families, partners and colleagues. In What to Say Next, Sarah breaks down everyday situations--the chat in the break room, the last-minute meeting, the unexpected run-in--in granular detail, explaining not only how to understand the goals of others, but also how to frame your own. Larry adds his thoughts from a neurotypical perspective, sharing what was going on in his brain and how he learned to listen and enlighten, while supporting and maintaining Sarah's voice. At a time when more and more people are being diagnosed with ASD--especially women and girls--this book tells important truths about what it takes to make it in a neurotypical world, and still be true to yourself.

#5 Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela with Sophie Standing (Illustrator)

And last but not least, Camouflage. This is another autistic book I found early in my journey that I wanted to read. Unfortunately, I must wait a little longer because it hasn't even shipped yet. But alas, it will get here eventually. I hope.

Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking in social situations, to friendships and relationships and the role of special interests. Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer supportive and more accessible environments for women on the spectrum.

Well that's all for now. I am officially out of my reading rut and can't wait for this long weekend to curl up in bed and read all day.

What are you reading? Is there one book you'd recommend that everyone should read at least once? Leave a comment below or connect with me on social media.

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