I’m Reading This So Hard Right Now: Everything

This is a desperate catch-up post because the books I’ve yet to “review” (blather about is more apt) are piling up and threatening to kill me. Rather than waiting for Dr. Robin Zasio to rush in with her sandy hair and sea-like eyes and rescue me from unsteady pyramids of hoarded library books, I’m just gonna bust out some impressions from these books and move the hell on with my life.

♥ Wildthorn by Jane Eagland is another one of the many wonderful suggestions I got from  the Seattle Public Library’s Reader Advisory program. It comes complete with the creepiest setting ever, a Victorian asylum. There’s lots of deceit and intrigue in this piece of YA Lit, lots of it reminding me of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, where normal human emotions exhibited in women are treated as mental illnesses (OK, a woman creeping in the patterns of Victorian wallpaper isn’t normal, but you get the drift). That’s probably the scariest part of this book: Homosexuality treated as insanity. Here’s a little snippet:

“Come on, you great dollop, move.” I stumble and she punces me on the back with her fist. 

Patients under the beds are dragged out and we’re hustled through the doorway and along the corridor. All the time, the attendants chivvy us with blows.

We scramble through a door into a bleak courtyard overshadowed by high walls. I stagger a few paces, using a wall as support, but I haven’t the strength to stand. I collapse on to the hard ground and it takes me a while to get my breath back, for the shuddering in my body to subside.

This must be our exercise yard. There are a few snowdrops in one corner, but they’re lying on top of the soil, their blooms crushed. The light hurts my eyes–above our heads is a square of blue sky, so bright I can’t look at it. The air is fresh and sharp and I breathe in great lungfuls. How long since I’ve been outside? Not since the night I tried to escape…

No one is walking. They carry on as they did inside while the attendants stand around gossiping. Some patients squat in the dirt. One piles stones up in a heap, another is eating a snowdrop. Out here the rampaging ones have more room to fling themselves about and I hunch up close to the wall, trying to keep out of their way. Some are amusing themselves by throwing things over the boundary. One has a crust in her hand, which she launches with a whoop, while another tips out her shoes. A brown lump falls out–and I suddenly realize, with a little shiver of revulsion, that’s it’s excrement. This is hurled over with a scream of glee. The shoes follow after.

Something sharp strikes my head.

“Come on, you booby. Time to go in.”

The attendant move off, her keys dangling from her hand, leaving me stunned, but not from the blow.

What roots me to the spot is the realization that to her, I’m no different from the others. I’m one of these lots, abandoned souls.

I’ve entered the lowest circle of hell and there is no escape.

Wildthorn, by Jean Eagland, pgs. 218-219

It was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT literature in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult Category.

Rookie Yearbook One. I have already gushed too much about this. Buy it already, for yourself or for your library’s collection. My only complaint about this book is that they didn’t include enough plus-sized models, which was too bad, as overall it had a really lovely body-positive message. I’m adding all of its playlists to my Spotify account as we speak.

♥ This is possibly my favorite Seattle Public Library recommendation, and I left it for last because I really despise time travel stories. But I shouldn’t have waited so long for this piece of majesty, because it’s dreamy and lovely and a perfect example of magic realism done well. Even Francesca Lia Block called it “real enchantment”. I should have known! Seriously. I’m so glad SPL led me to this book. Radiant Days even managed to teach me about 1800’s French poet Arthur Rimaud. Tricksy novel. Teaching me things about the world when I least suspect it. Check out this little something I picked out, just for you:

Arthur started as though I’d awakened him; turned and nodded. Carefully, he folded the pages and put them back into his coat. “The poems I’m working on now are better. These are…” He paused, frowning. “Old-fashioned. Pretty words and pictures. People want poetry to be a nursemaid. I want to be a murderer and a thief. Art should be like this–” He took my hand, pointing at the fresh scab where I’d cut myself on the fish-bone key. “I should be ugly, and hurt so you can feel it. That’s what makes it powerful.”

p. 136

Yeah, that’s also the quote from the back of the book, but trust me, it’s a good one.

I wish I could say that was the last of my backlog of books, hunties, but that would be a lie. Bloggers who post every day, how do you do it? I feel like I’m always playing a game of catch-up-sies.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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