Midweek memory: The Black Magician Trilogy

Firstly please forgive any typos/errors/sloppiness. I’m quite hungover writing this.

Even though I’ve had basically nothing to do since I’ve finished my degree, I haven’t been able to read my extra book for this week – partly because it’s on Kindle app and I loaned my tablet away…if all goes to plan, that should be up this weekend. Instead, it’s time for the second instalment of the Midweek memory.

magicians guildThe Black Magician Trilogy was one of my absolute favourite fantasy series growing up. There are three in this trilogy (The Magician’s Guild, The Novice and The High Lord), as well as a standalone prequel (The Magician’s Apprentice) and a sequel trilogy, which I haven’t managed to read yet. Trudi Canavan has also written an unrelated trilogy called The Age of Five, and has just started a new series I am excited to read. It was on discovering this new series that I decided to write this blog post.

Synopsis

Our story is set in Imardin, Kyralia. Each year the magicians come out into the city to ‘purge’ the streets of the city’s poor, pushing them back to the slums. Even though the magicians are protected by a magical shield, the ‘dwells’ (slum dwellers) pelt them with rocks, which bounce off. That is, until Sonea throws a rock that pierces straight through and slams into the heads of one of the magicians, knocking him down.

The magicians, fearing a rogue magician, try to hunt Sonea down. Sonea has no idea how she made the rock fly through, but gradually her newfound powers start to get out of control, accidentally causing fires when she gets upset. Eventually her powers start to get so out of control that her friends can barely look after her, and the magicians find her, and teach her how to control these powers.

Because her powers were not ‘released’ the way others’ had to be, Sonea’s magic is incredibly strong. It is very rare for a natural magician to emerge, and very rare for a dwell to be allowed to enter the magician’s guild which is usually exclusive to the children of aristocrats. The second novel in the series follows her time as a ‘novice’, a training magician.

Things I liked

The story. It’s exciting and engaging while not being heavy-handed fantasy writing. The world is well-constructed, with class politics and likeable, relatable characters from all classes and backgrounds, as well as bad ones. The characters are three-dimensional rather than just a collection of character traits, which is a trap many YA fantasy authors fall into, in my opinion.

The characters, as always. This is one of those series, every character has me going ‘you’re my favourite’, ‘you’re my favourite’, ‘no, wait, you’re my favourite’. Lots of love for these characters.

The relationships. They don’t always do what you expect. I’ll leave it at that.

The progression of the story, Sonea’s development as a character through difficult and challenging circumstances.

Things I didn’t like

At the time there was nothing. I’ve read these books many times, but on re-reading them a couple of years ago I did find (and I and our most recent guest-poster have discussed this) that the writing style feels a bit young now. Bearing in mind this is a series meant for, probably, ages 10-16, the writing style is certainly appropriate for the age group. However, it did make it a quick and easy re-read, despite the books being about 500 pages long at the shorter end. If you feel like reading these as an adult, it has to be for the story, the characters, the relationships – everything I mentioned in the section above.

Should I read this?

If you’re looking for another Game of Thrones while you wait for the next book, this series probably isn’t for you. However, if you want an engaging story with relatable characters and a welcoming fantasy world, this might be up your alley. Plus there are already seven books in this world, what more could you want to pass the time?

black magician trilogy

 

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Magicians-Guild-Trudi-Canavan/9781841499604/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

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We Were Liars

I we-were-liars-e-lockhartfaced a difficult decision over the last few days.

What would be the first book I read after finishing my undergraduate degree?

I had a few contenders. Most of these you will see in the coming blog posts. However, this book was a treat I bought for myself to read after exam period finished, and eventually it won out over some other books, books that had been sitting on my shelf much longer.

I first came across this book two days after its publication date, about a fortnight ago. As is often the way, it was from one of my favourite BookTubers that I heard about this new young adult novel. She talked about the book without telling anything about it, but her description was enough to intrigue me into buying it. She talked about a Twitter live-read that happened last Saturday – unfortunately my book didn’t arrive in time, but I checked out some of the tweets. The general astonishment and intense emotional investment of the people reading it swayed me. If this review persuades you to read it, I urge you to check out the hashtag #liarsliveread.

Synopsis

I don’t want to go into this too much because it’ll ruin it. First I’ll give you the blurb:

We are liars

We are beautiful and privileged

We are cracked and broken

A tale of love and romance

A tale of tragedy

Which are lies?

Which is truth?

You decide

 Sounds pretty intriguing straight off. But it also sounds like a lot of young adult books out at the moment, so I was dubious going into this. It was only the quotes on the cover that persuaded me:

‘Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable’ – and that was from John Green, whose most recent novel The Fault In Our Stars I reviewed in April.

We Were Liars is narrated by Cadence Sinclair Eastman, a member of the rich and highly privileged Sinclair family, and follows her summers on Beechwood Island, Massachusetts, an island owned by the family, just off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. In particular, the summer she was fifteen. She, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and Johnny’s stepdad’s nephew, Gat (it’s complicated), are ‘the Liars’. I don’t want to tell you any more than that.

Things I liked

Cadence herself, and her relationship with Gat. You know from the second page that she thinks he is beautiful, so I hope no one thinks that is a spoiler. Following an ambiguous accident during her fifteenth summer, you may think Cady has become a rebellious teenager, dying her hair and being rude to her family. But it is through this that Lockhart disguises her mystery.

The language. Although I certainly felt as though I was in a young adult novel a lot of the time, having this as the first book I read after finishing my degree (which ended with Paradise Lost, Doctor Faustus, and The Tempest), it was so rewarding to fall into this self-conscious but simple and elegant, inherently modern, style. Like The Fault In Our Stars, it has many quotable lines of dialogue and prose, the one I’ve seen most being:

  “Can I hold your hand?” he asked.

  I put mine in his.

  “The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.”

Although the dialogue is not particularly polished (or necessarily up to grammatical persnicketing standards), it is true to the characters, both in representing their ages and their individual personalities. I find a lot of young adult novels (and novels in general – I’m looking at you, Elizabeth Kostova) can slack on dialogue, with every character speaking with identical tone, regardless of age, situation, described personality, time period, gender, emotion…

The twisting turning story. I went into this knowing there was a twist, but made a conscious decision to try not to guess because, if you know me well, you know I ruin a lot of things that way. In truth I didn’t guess until a few pages before it was revealed. She really got me with this one, I was impressed. And emotional.

The role of the grandfather. I don’t want to delve too much into this, either, but he is a much more complex and sinister figure than he seems in the opening chapters.

The intermittent fairy tales. They are not the fairy tales you know. They also don’t distract too much from the main plot, of which I am absolutely in favour.

The allusions to Wuthering Heights. They were a good distraction from the mystery itself. I approve. When planning this post as I was reading We Were Liars, I was thinking up taglines such as ‘Wuthering Heights for the modern age’, ‘Bronte in Boston’, and ‘What if Cathy and Heathcliff had had e-mail?’. When I reached the end they were all irrelevant. Damn it.

Things I didn’t like

Sometimes felt a bit young for me, but I got over that quickly.

It made me sad.

The somewhat misleading blurb, ‘Which are lies, which is truth? You decide’. I think that, eventually, there is only one truth. If you read this and disagree, please leave a comment or message me on Facebook. I’d be interested to see.

Should I read this?

That depends. Are you in the mood for a story that is simultaneously a coming of age novel, a story about mental illness and trauma, a thriller and a romance? If so…put aside a couple of hours of your day. It’s best to read it all at once.

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/We-Were-Liars-Lockhart/9781471403989/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

The Lies of Locke Lamora, and trying something a little different…

So before I get into my review of this, one of my favourite books, I want to talk about some changes I’m going to be making. As a rule, when I haven’t had work to do, I’ve liked to post twice a week, once on Wednesday and once at the weekend. Exam period has made this more difficult, and after not having read a book for last week I think something needs to be done. Hopefully I will occasionally still get guest reviews of books to put up here for when I don’t have time. But for now I’m going to introduce a Midweek Memory (heh heh alliteration) thing..let’s call it a segment. In this ‘segment’ I will write a review of a book that I’ve read in the past, either that I’ve loved (such as the review below) or that I think will be of interest to those of you who read this. If possible I will still be trying to read two books a week, however if this is not possible it will be replaced by a ‘Midweek Memory’ book. I will still be posting books I have JUST read at the weekends regardless of what happens for the Wednesday post. Telling you all this might not be interesting to you, reader, but I’m putting it down here in order to force myself to do it. I haven’t been doing this for long, but I felt it very much when I didn’t anything I’d written for a whole week. 

Now here it is, my first Midweek Memory: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

lies of locke lamora

This is the first instalment of one of my favourite fantasy series. The third book came out this year, and four more are expected of this, the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ heptalogy (and yes I had to look up that word). So far the books are The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and most recently, The Republic of Thieves. Don’t they all sound so cool? I know I thought so.

I received the first book as a prize in school (which I chose) for something like Design Technology, I don’t know why, and one of the English teachers there saw it and said, ‘Ah, I’ve been wanting to read that’ – one of the first indications in my life that normal adults read fantasy too, and not just the expected demographic of overweight single men in their mid-thirties living in their parents’ basement. Not so. Not always, anyway. For the rest of the world, it was Game of Thrones that changes their minds about fantasy for grown ups. For me it was this book.

Synopsis

I’ll give you the blurb for this one, because it sounds just that awesome.

The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman,

a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls.

Half the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor.

The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.

Slightly built, unlucky in love, and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn.

Doesn’t that sound great? Locke Lamora is the head of a band of thieves called ‘The Gentlemen Bastards’. We get most of his tragic orphan backstory through brief interludes. We open in medias res, which is a pompous literature student way of saying, in the middle of the action. Locke and his posse are in the middle of an elaborate con which involves him, in disguise, being fake-throttled by two ‘assailants’ who are part of his crew. The con is only the front of the action.

Behind the scenes, Locke and his troupe must pay homage to Capa Barsavi, head of the criminal underground. But even beyond that, darker shadows are stirring….dun dun duuun.

Things I liked

This will probably be the longest section in this review. So let’s start where I always start.

The characters. The chief bromance between Locke and Jean has them bickering like a married couple (like all the best bromances), saving each other’s life, and discovering that they are each other’s biggest weaknesses. The Gentlemen Bastards themselves. Father Chains, an eyeless priest who is neither blind nor a priest, who takes in little orphan boy Locke and teaches him the tricks of the trade. Sabetha Belacoros, the love of Locke’s life. Absent in this book but her presence is woven throughout Locke’s character. Finally reading the Republic of Thieves and SHE IS HERE. I’ve waited so long for this.

The world. Camorr is dangerous, exciting, and feels totally real. Later in the series we get to see more of the world, it’s beautifully imagined.

The interludes – useful exposition tool, very interesting. But I did skip them for the second reading.

The gore. Not afraid to rub broken glass on someone’s face or have their flesh burnt off, Lynch’s world not only says it’s dangerous, it shows you.

Unfair amount of major characters dying (yes this is in the right section). He almost rivals the great evil George R. R. Martin – who actually wrote a quote for this book, if my recommendation isn’t enough for you.

Following on from that, the story itself. It twists and turns, sometimes in ways you expect, sometimes in ways you don’t think are an option in fiction, but follow your idea of reality. Locke is an expert thief and a brilliant liar, but inevitably he screws up sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean quite a lot. To err is human, and Lynch’s characters certainly err just the right amount.

The writing style. Unselfconscious, witty, fast-paced, clever. It works. Almost worth waiting four (those who were on the ball would have had to wait six) years between Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic Of Thieves. Almost. (sidenote: the next book is expected to be out next year. Seems that was just an anomaly – fingers crossed!)

Things I didn’t like

Lynch once uses the phrase ‘came to a crescendo’. That is offensive to musicians, and just plain wrong.

Should I read this book?

Yes. And, since I discovered it has now been demoted to be £2.99 in The Works (sob), you have no excuse not to.

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Lies-Locke-Lamora-Scott-Lynch/9780575079755/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Guest post (Isobel Dixon Wilkins): The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series

Wolf_brother

So since I knew I would be deep in revision mode this week, I asked my friend Izzy to write a review of this series before exam period started. Partly to save me, partly because I wanted to know if I should read them! I’m sold. I hope you enjoy this guest post (if you’re not completely sold, I just discovered Ian McKellen reads the audio book…)

I started reading these books years ago when only the first two were out, and when my lovely mother mentioned them in passing the other day I realised I had never finished the series. I read the first book nearly ten years ago, and I still love it just as much. It is set in Finland just after the Ice Age, and the only series that has such a real picture of prehistory in the same way is the Jean M Auel books (which are set much earlier, and you should definitely read).

Synopsis

Torak is left alone in the forest at the age of eleven when his Fa dies after being attacked by a bear of terrible strength. The blurb from the back of the book is:

“Six thousand years ago, Evil stalks the land. According to legend, only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Torak and Wolf are terrified of their mission. But if they do not battle to save their world, who will?”

The six books follow Torak through his life as he and Wolf fight against a terrifying group of evil mages. They find friends among some of the clans, and enemies in others. Torak learns more about his parents and why he was brought up isolated, away from the clans.

Things I liked

Pretty much everything. These books are full of wonderful characters, I love them all.

Michelle Paver is a pro at building a feeling of dread, whenever anything bad happened I found myself just as scared as Torak. From grey moths bringing madness, to snow storms, everything is terrifying.

The imagery is great, I have such a detailed picture of forest and the characters in my mind. There’s one part in the second book where a guy rips a scab off and eats it, which still makes my stomach turn when I think of it. It was just so real.

The books get slowly darker and more tense as they go on, matching Torak getting older. Reminded me (a little) of the progression in the Harry Potter series.

Things I disliked

They are too short! Technically Young Adult books, they are easy reading and only about 300 pages each, so I got through all six in three days. I would have loved for them to have gone on much longer because I enjoyed them so much.

If I was being critical, I could say that the villains are a little one dimensional, they are evil for the sake of evil. But, given that these are only a quick, YA read, it didn’t bother me a whole lot.

Should you read it?

Well, yeah. These books are not geared towards a certain gender, nor are they too ‘Young Adult’ for all you adults to read. I started reading them when I was eleven, and they translated just as well when I read them at 21. They are fast-paced, exciting, and lovely. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying them.

chroniclesofancientdarknessspines

The complete series

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Wolf-Brother-Michelle-Paver/9780060728274/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

 

 

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

FunhomecoverPhew, just in time with this blog post. In the midst of my last two pieces of coursework as an undergrad I didn’t think I would get a book read this week. Luckily, in a surge of motivation, I started reading Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel Fun Home last night (side note – this is the Alison Bechdel of the Bechdel test: to pass the Bechdel test a film – but this works for books too in my opinion – has to have at least two named female characters, and they have to have a conversation, and it has to be not about men. Interesting how many fail this test. Anyway). I came to this through a few different avenues – first and foremost, through the musical adaptation (not unlike my last blog post…I doubt this will be a recurring theme, but you never know). The graphic novel was also recommended by my favourite BookTuber, so how could I resist?

Plus, a book that has gained the reputation ‘literary graphic novel’ during assessment time? Well, it’s practically revision at that stage.

Synopsis

The first chapter sets us up for the entire book, which is written completely out of chronological order. We learn that the narrator, Alison, is the oldest of three children, grew up in a funeral home – or ‘fun home’, geddit? – that she came out as a lesbian to her parents while she was at college and shortly thereafter her father (a closeted homosexual) killed himself. The story flits around her childhood and college experiences in a way that is very easy to follow.

Things I liked

Let’s get right into this. The literary references – OH DEAR GOD. There are so many, it’s almost over-the-top, but it’s amazing. I’ll see how many I can remember off the top of my head:

  • James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • James Joyce’s Ulysses (but not til the end)
  • Daedalus and Icarus
  • Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
  • The Odyssey
  • Colette (autobiography)
  • Virginia Woolf (several)
  • E.M. Forster’s Maurice
  • J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald – specifically The Great Gatsby but the father is obsessed with him
  • Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

Oh my. It’s so nice to see all of those in one place. Especially because most of it is the last century which is sort of MY THING right now if anyone was unaware.

The style of the art. The colour scheme is only white, black, and a watercolour bluey-turquoisey-greeny. It’s easy to adjust to; it’s very difficult to get lost between panels even if, like me, you’re not a graphic novel veteran. The line art itself is also approachable, not too polished but certainly not amateurish.

The narrative tone. Love that voice. It’s authentic, self-deprecating, honest, witty (I wrote funny here at first, but that doesn’t get across the intelligence you can feel when you read it, intelligence born of experience and not just book-learning). Brilliant.

The story. It’s sad, it’s complex, it’s funny in a bleak kind of a way. And it’s true, so that’s interesting in and of itself.

The handling of the themes (yep, I’m a literature student). This fits under the heading of the narrative, I think, but I wanted a separate comment to say Bechdel’s authenticity in talking about her own sexual development and realisations, her relationship to her father and her thoughts about their connection – in sexuality, in secrets, the fact that he killed himself so soon after she came out – and the implicit (and sometimes more than implicit) paedophilic relationships her father had with 17-year old boys. Also the handling of collegiate feminism I found interesting.

There are so many things I liked, I don’t want to ramble on too much. It was a pleasure to read, and so quick – it took maybe two hours, two and a half at most.

Things I didn’t like

Nothing. I have no criticisms of this. Flicking through it from the outside it doesn’t look as though it’s going to be as fantastic as it is. Due to the colour scheme mentioned above (which I did like overall), the tone of the book looks a bit bleak. Which, admittedly, it is. A bit. I don’t know how I would change this, but I put off reading this for a long while because the colour scheme was on the depressing side.

Should I read this book?

Damn right you should. So interesting in terms of family dynamics, LGBTQ questions, even the stuff in the background about Nixon is pretty interesting as a backdrop. Plus, something that greatly appeals to me, it delves into the question of how literature can shape the way you understand yourself and your family.

So, yes. Go get it, go read it, go recommend it to your friends. This needs to be spread around.

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Fun-Home-Alison-Bechdel/9780618871711/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

 

The Color Purple

ColorPurple

As promised, this is the ‘more serious’ book I started last week. It was a book I didn’t intend to read for a long time. I had always heard good things about it, and there was an enormous hype while I was at sixth form, my housemates tell me because it was on the curriculum at the time – even though it wasn’t on ours. It wasn’t until last year, when my brother was playing keys in the recent Mernier Chocolate Factory theatre production of The Color Purple: The Musical, which made me cry more than once, that I decided I wanted to read it. When I got home I found a copy for 50p at my favourite Bristol antique and secondhand shop, and then let it gather dust for six to eight months – this is the classic recipe for a Spiders’ library blog post.

Synopsis

This is an epistolary novel (meaning, it’s written in a series of letters) about a girl, Celie, and her sister, Nettie. Celie, constantly called ugly and small, is our main narrator, writing letters to God about her daily life. She has a difficult life, being sexually abused by her father and having two children by him, who are then taken away from her. She becomes barren as a result, and is married off to a Mr._____, who already has grown up children. Nettie, the smart and pretty daughter, moves away. The book spans many years. Celie and Nettie are separated for the majority of their lives, but never forget each other, but continue on day after day.

And then one fateful day, as is often the way, Celie meets Shug Avery, an older, sexy woman, beloved and be-lusted (neologism for ya) by all. Shug comes into town and Celie starts to understand that sisterly love is not the only kind of love…

Things I liked

The relationship between Shug and Celie. It was beautiful and complicated and simply love. Celie learning about how sexuality is not just a brutal, and mostly boring act as it was with her father and husband.

The narrative voices. When Nettie’s letters start arriving, it is easy to differentiate between the voices of the two sisters in their letters. Even if you’re like me and skip the ‘chapter x’, which in this case is replaced by the name of the recipient – either God, Celie or Nettie – you won’t lose track of who is writing which letters. Nettie is meant to be the ‘smart’ one, her writing style is grammatically correct but keeps remnants of her upbringing. Celie seems to be largely self-taught, sometimes she writes words phonetically, such as ‘appreshation’ (I think, doing this from memory).

Celie’s development through difficult times, finding love, finding a vocation, becoming her own woman. It’s great.

The character of Sofia. I loved her in the musical and she was almost as good in the book, although not quite as badass because she didn’t get to do a ton of singing along with all her other badassery.

The character of Shug. Flawed, sexy, loving, loveable. Natural. Such a woman.

 Things I didn’t like

I had no conception of how much time had passed until every once in a while someone would say ‘it’s been almost thirty years since we’ve seen each other’ or something like that. That was difficult to follow. It felt as though it spanned maybe five years, ten years at most. But that could be just because I read it over a week.

Should I read this book?

Yes. This is one of the first books I’ve read on this blog that I would recommend to anyone. Wonderful book, a joy to read. Yes, read it.

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The Book Depository

You can buy the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Color-Purple-Alice-Walker/9780156031820/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=SpidersLibrary