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Tales & Tiger Lily: September 2020


My sister recently joined bookstagram as @talesandtigerlily. Her name is Caroline, and Tiger Lily is her adorable sidekick (pictured above). Since she's discovered a love of reading, I've had the best time talking about books with her. Be sure to check out her introduction post to get to know her better. Once a month, you get a new installment of Tales & Tiger Lily. In each post, she reviews three of her favorite reads from the previous month and ends with a list of everything she read with ratings (and links to reviews, if applicable). Her top three from September:


THIN GIRLS BY DIANA CLARKE
“Something I have learned: to love is to worry about your beloved until you die. Something else I have learned: to be loved is to have your beloved worry about you until they die.” 

Thin Girls is the story of twin sisters, Lily and Rose, who have struggled with their bodies and food since childhood. The novel is told through the voice of Rose, and her dilemmas are utterly heart-wrenching. She spends much of her time at a rehab center for anorexia. Lily has her own set of struggles as she has been with many abusive men and eventually finds herself caught up in a cult-diet group led by a faux-feminist.

This novel explored so much of what it means to be a woman in a world with the pressure to look perfect. We get the perspective of someone who has an extreme eating disorder, but we also get a look at how our toxic dieting culture affects all of us. From skinny teas to tracking calories, this novel makes it clear that this should not be normal. I adored the redeeming qualities of sisterhood, love, and friendship — the beautiful things in life that we often take for granted. But most importantly, the novel’s message offers hope — that we may always struggle with certain things, but we can choose to be a little better each and every day.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Clarke’s writing is gorgeous, and there were so many moments I learned something new or wanted to write down a quote. It is a very heavy read, and sometimes I had the same feelings as when I read My Dark Vanessa. However, I have discovered that the books that make me the most uncomfortable, are the books I’ll never forget. | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ

BETTY BY TIFFANY MCDANIEL
“A girl comes of age against the knife, Betty. But the woman she becomes must decide if the blade will cut deep enough to rip her apart or if she will find the strength to leap with her arms out and dare herself to fly in a world that seems to break like glass around her.”

Betty is a story inspired by the author’s mother’s life. It begins at her childhood and takes the reader through the years as she comes of age. It’s set in the foothills of the Appalachians which is a character of its own— a place of poverty and violence. Let me tell you something — I sure do love an Appalachian story.

As the story unfolds, family secrets of abuse, shame, and mental illness are brought to the light. I never really write about trigger warnings, but this book has a lot of them. To be honest, there are scenes I wish I could get out of my mind. It is an extremely sad yet absolutely stunning novel. I cried and felt a bit depressed after I read it, but I’m telling you it was worth it. At times I felt the trauma the characters dealt with was just unbearable. However, there is hope sprinkled through the pages. All you can do is long for a better future and healing for Betty. She is strong, resilient, and one of the fiercest characters I’ve ever met. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVE this book. I don’t even know how to put to words my adoration for it. The setting, the gorgeous writing, the characters, the way I felt every emotion under the sun— I have nothing negative to say about it. I give it all the stars in the galaxy. I don’t know if it will be my favorite book of the year, but I would be willing to bet a bottle of moonshine on it . | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ

THE SONG OF ACHILLES BY MADELINE MILLER
“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”

Circe is one of my top 10 favorite books I’ve read this year, so I don’t know why I waited so long to read The Song of Achilles. It tells the story of Patroclus, a young prince who meets Achilles while in exile. Patroclus, so sweet and a bit insecure, is mesmerized by Achilles’ complete confidence and beauty. I love how the book was written from Patroclus’ perspective — I adored him. There was such a gentleness to his spirit, and I felt attached to him by the end of the novel.

I felt so invested in the characters, and I was saddened by the events that unfolded. The battles scenes were gripping, and I felt so nervous reading it even though I already knew the outcome. I also loved the other characters, Chiron and Briseis, while I abhorred Agamemnon and Thetis (seriously I wanted to stab Agamemnon). 

The love between Patroclus and Achilles was beautiful. I didn’t want the story to end, and it made me wish I knew more about Greek mythology. Circe is still my favorite, but I really loved Song of Achilles, too. Miller’s writing is perfect for my taste, as it has just the right amount of flowery language. I followed along with the audiobook, and I highly recommend it: the narrator’s voice was on point. Can the publisher please make an edition as beautiful as Circe? I need them matching next to each other on my shelf.  | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ.5


Recapping the Rest of Caroline's September Reads:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ • Review
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Verity by Colleen Hoover | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Sisters by Daisy Johnson | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ  Review
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ  Review
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ  Review
The Mountains Sing by Nguyแป…n Phan Quแบฟ Mai | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ  Review
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ (not pictured) 

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