Hey there deerlings!
It’s been a while. I would entertain you with the tales of woe and adventure that have kept me from you since my last post. But in reality it’s super boring and actually isn’t that entertaining. We bought a house and moved and then we’ve been on stay at home orders for COVID-19 ever since. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to navigate from a very “branch-specific” job to working from home and while it hasn’t been difficult, it’s been an adjustment that I wasn’t really prepared for.
One of the benefits of this, is that I’ve been exposed to so much more bookish information and I discovered Booklist Queen and I am OBSESSED! One, the website is just so clean, beautiful, and easy to navigate. And on top of that, there is a book a week reading challenge that Rachel has been so kind to include Monthly graphics to allow focus on that month’s weekly challenges!
Now, I don’t know about you. But whenever I’m given a prompt list like this, I can get a little overwhelmed with options to fulfill each one of the prompts. So for me, setting a TBR is super important because otherwise I’m going to get decision fatigue and just read Harry Potter all over again.
That’s where this post comes in. I thought it would be cool to pair the monthly challenges that Booklist Queen has created with a recommendation posts. So every month going forward, I’ll be sharing that month’s challenge and 1-2 books that I would use to fulfill the prompts! These might be books on my actual monthly TBR, or they’re books that I just think would be a great fit for the challenge.
Famous Author You’ve Never Read
I’ve actually never read Kate Atkinson, so for this one I would choose Transcription. I first heard about it on BookRiot’s All the Books podcast and it sounded absolutely fantastic!
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.
Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.
Set in Asia
There are so many I could choose from now! For this prompt I have to go with The Silence of Bones by June Hur. Partly because it was freaking amazing and partly because it is on sale as of today! I really enjoyed this historical mystery set in Korea and highly suggest that you go read it immediately.
I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.
1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
Another great, shorter option would be The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo. This is a beautifully written magical realism novella that is reminiscent of Vietnamese and Chinese period dramas.
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.
A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.
Reread a Childhood Favorite
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Don’t ask, just read it. If you’ve already read it, try it in a different format.
“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transportation for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.”
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves… But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss…
I have two options for you and I am obsessed with one, and excited to read the second
Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. It’s not secret that I absolutely LOVE Reese Witherspoon, she’s literally my style icon and I just love her attitude about everything. So when this memoir/how to guide came out last year I couldn’t resist!
Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.
Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favourite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.
It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
I’m not going to lie, I have NO idea who this lady is, but after reading the summary for this I am just super excited to read this for the Paper & Glam Book Club next month. If you’re reading along with us, and want to get ahead maybe use this for your April Booklist challenge!
Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.
None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.
Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.
By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.
And there you have it deerlings, a list of recommendations to kick off April’s reading challenge from The Booklist Queen! I am currently going on a blogging journey trying to figure out my style with Scones & Tomes so please continue to bear with me as I work on my theme, content, and overall online presence!