This month I finally received my first box from Spanish book club Bookish. Milena Busquets' Gema was their February book, but due to some problems with international shipping I didn't receive it until early March. Ingrid Persaud's Love After Love was my March pick at Rare Birds Book Club. Furthermore, I read Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Haemin Sunim's The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half and Sue Monk Kidd's The Book Of Longings. They were all great books with one of them even getting a maximum five-star rating.
The Vanishing Half - Brit Bennett ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The eBook version of Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half was on sale and as I recognised the book I decided to give it a go. Funny story is that I received the Spanish version of this book in my Bookish box for March. This book also got great reviews and although I did like it, it isn't one of my favourites. The story is about twin sisters who grow up in a small, black community, solely populated by light-skinned black people. After the two sisters leave their home to find a better life, one of them decides to flee and pass for a white person, while the other marries the darkest-skinned man she can find. The sisters are estranged for decades and don't meet until their daughters bring them together. The story was very interesting and covered the different generations in the family. The fact that the two daughters accidentally met somewhere in the United States just felt a little unrealistic to me.
Gema - Milena Busquets ⭐⭐⭐
This book was the first one I officially received as part of my Bookish subscription. It arrived in a box with some goodies, including an invitation to sit in on an online interview with the author. As I received my box a little late due to shipping issues, I had only three days to finish the book before this interview. Luckily it was only a short novel! In Gema, the protagonist, now in her forties, is thinking back on her friendship with a girl in high school who died at a young age due to leukemia. She is trying to figure out if her memories of this period have changed over time. I find the idea behind this book very interesting as I myself also struggle to remember things correctly. The book, though, felt rushed to me and didn't really move me in the end.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book got a lot of raving reviews over the last couple of years and I couldn't agree more. I absolutely loved this book! Eleanor Oliphant is a woman who struggles with appropriate social skills and likes to live a very structured life. Over the course of the book you learn that Eleanor struggles with PTSD, dissociation and alcoholism, caused by a huge trauma in her childhood. Even though this is fiction, I applaud authors who incorporate mental health problems in their stories. The stigma around it is unfortunately still too big in our society. Gail Honeyman did an outstanding job on writing the character of Eleanor. This is one of those books I would definitely recommend to people.
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down - Haemin Sunim ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In this crazy time we live in, it is really hard to keep your cool. It seems like nothing exists other than corona. Have you lately spoken to friends or family without talking about it? Have you been able to watch TV without being confronted with the current situation? Hell, even some of my favourite series have written corona into their storylines. I watch movies or series to escape reality, but that doesn't even seem to be possible anymore. Because of these things, I have been trying to find calm within myself. Less TV and more books, but also trying to find ways to avoid stress when you can't avoid the topic. Haemin Sunim is a Buddhist meditation teacher and has written a book about how to live more in the moment. I don't think this book is for everyone as it touches down a lot on the spiritual side of life. If you are open to it, though, his insights are truly interesting. The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful!
Love After Love - Ingrid Persaud ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ingrid Persaud's Love After Love was my March pick at Rare Birds Book Club. The book is about an unconventional family in Trinidad in which all members are in some way looking for love. The cover of the book makes you believe this is an easy read, but it is far from that. The story touches on subjects like domestic violence, immigration, dating and finding love at a later age, homophobia and self-harm. The writer herself is Trinidad and Tobago-born and perfectly sets the scene in this book. I loved learning some things about the country's culture. The three main troubled characters definitely stay with you after finishing the book.
The Book Of Longings - Sue Monk Kidd ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sue Monk Kidd's The Book Of Longings is the fictional story of the wife of Jesus, Ana. To be fair though, I don't think I would have read this book if it wasn't on sale. I sometimes scroll through eBooks to see if there are some interesting offers. I didn't regret picking up this book, though, as it was a nice and interesting story to escape reality for a while. People do not really agree about whether Jesus had a wife or not. It isn't mentioned in the Bible, but some argue that in a way it makes sense that she is not in there. The writer did a good job telling a imaginative story of Ana.