Book Reviews · Fantasy · Memoirs · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge · Young Adult

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Two

The trouble with having a cold is that, sometimes, the germs decide that one round of illness simply isn’t enough. I’ve been on doctor-prescribed medication since Monday, and I’m feeling just as lousy as I was at the start of the week. I know that getting over an illness takes time, but I have to confess that I am sick and tired of being sick.

This week’s reading goal was to begin making a dent in my stack of library books. While I did manage to do some reading, most of the week was spent napping on the couch, since my current medication is making me pretty drowsy during the day.

A book published the month of your birthday…

The first book I read this week was House of Salt and Sorrows, which is based on the classic fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. While the original fairy tale is not my favorite story, I found that I was very impressed with Erin A. Craig’s interpretation of it.

House of Salt and Sorrows tells the story of the Thaumas sisters, who might be living under a curse. Four of the twelve sisters have died, and Annaleigh (who is now the second eldest) comes to believe that the most recent death might not have been an accident. As she begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death, her family decides to prematurely come out of mourning, and her sisters begin to secretly attend balls, dancing until their shoes fall apart.

While I loved the plot and characters, what really impressed me about the novel was the world Erin A. Craig created. In a unique twist, the novel is set on a series of islands, and the characters have a very close relationship with the sea, calling themselves the “People of the Salt.” Not only does the girls’ father make his living from the sea, but the family makes a point of returning their deceased sisters to the sea by using a watery mausoleum. The book also has a mythology all its own, which drives the narrative in a new direction than those taken by other versions of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the original fairy tale, I highly recommend giving House of Salt and Sorrows a try.

A bildungsroman…

The other two books I read this week were not part of my library stack, but I wanted to spend some time rereading Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi. This was the third time I’ve read the books, and I enjoyed them just as much as I did the first time.

Persepolis is a memoir that chronicles the author’s formative years as a child in Iran, her high school experiences in Austria, and her life as both a single and married woman after her return to Iran. Key moments in the author’s life are presented in vignettes, using a graphic novel style. Some of these moments are comedic, some are heartwarming, and others are heartbreaking.

If you haven’t read Persepolis, I highly recommend reading it in the future. The books make for a very fast read, but share valuable insights about what it is like to grow up in a war-torn country.

This week wasn’t nearly as productive as I’d planned, but I still feel like this year’s Reading Challenge is going well so far. My reading goal for next week is to finish more of the books that I requested from the library. I’m currently in the process of reading Imaginary Friend, by Stephen Chbosky, which I’m already looking forward to discussing in next week’s update. I am also hoping to be able to report a more positive change in my health by next Saturday.

Are you currently participating in the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge? Let us know about your challenge experience by leaving a comment on this post. You can also follow me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.

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