It only makes sense that HBO would feature a powerhouse vocalist like Florence Welch on the closing credits of its second episode. The song that was premiered was called, “Jenny of Oldstones.” By the end of the episode, Daniel Portman, who plays Podrick Payne began singing Welch’s song, and then it slowly transitioned to the credits, and to Florence’s goddess voice.
In an interview, Florence spoke about how she loves how the idea of enemies banding together to fight a greater problem mimics what must happen in our society regarding the climate crisis, and chatted about what went in to creating the song.
“They just had a simple, stripped back, lilting melody. The notes of it sounded like a Celtic folk song to me. I thought it was really beautiful. I love the idea of dancing with ghosts and never wanting to leave. That totally makes sense to me. I feel like I do that every night on stage.
I worked with Thomas Bartlett on “High as Hope,” and he’s a piano genius. He helped formulate the chords, and then I kind of added my choir, my hellish soprano. We just tried to keep within the “Game of Thrones” world, to retain the ghostliness of it.”
Interestingly enough, the Game of Thrones producers originally wanted Florence to sing “The Rains of Castamere.” Welch turned it down at the time, but Benioff and Weiss never let go of the idea.
“We’ve always been huge fans of Florence’s music,” they said in a joint statement. “So the opportunity to hear her otherworldly voice on our show was always at the forefront of our minds. We’re still pleasantly shocked that she agreed to sing ‘Jenny of Oldstones,’ and we’re in love with the result.”
April is coming to an end, and Earth day is today so much like our dear Earth won’t stop turning, out books recommendations won’t stop coming. Our picks of the week will help you enjoy this spring weather in a heavenly fashion as you relax with some of the hottest releases of the moment!
What do the three books we are presenting have one thing in common: nuance and complex storytelling in the realm of women, and female empowerment. Sounds exciting, right? Hopefully these books will be the perfect ones for you to enjoy a picnic with, to curl up with or, in the case of our Coffee Shop Read, to go out with.
So, without further ado, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!
One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.
While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women―all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in―have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?
Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.
Besides the rave reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, and Margaret Atwood herself who said that much of Women Talking “could be out [the world ] of The Handmaid’s Tale,” its themes of shedding light of the oppression of women—in an enlighting and poetic writing style will keep your eyes glued on the page! This is Miriam Towes’ sixth novel, (the same amount of novels as the great, Jane Austen!) And as prolific as she is, Towes’ writing is artistic, and poetic, her characters resonating with readers all over the world. Women Talkingis an absolute must-read, and Towes’ hypnotic prose makes it all the more worthwhile.
Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day after her family self-destructed. The day her father ruined her mother’s life. The day Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. The day of Brandon Phipp’s party.
Now Magpie is called a slut in the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been as socially exiled as she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a magical place called Near.
Near is perfect – a place where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. At first, Near is a peaceful escape, but soon it becomes something darker, somewhere nightmares lurk and hidden truths come to light. Soon it becomes a place where Magpie can do anything she wants…even get her revenge.
You Must Not Miss is an intoxicating, twisted tale of magic, menace, and the monsters that live inside us all.
Katerina Leno’sYou Must Not Miss is a brilliantly suspenseful story that explores themes of friendship, family, feminism and revenge, as well as fantasy. When she conjures up a world of her own called, Near, a place that was meant as an escape, Magpie’s dreams turn into a nightmare. Through Leno shows us that women are more nuanced than just being ‘polite,’ thanks to her creation of Magpie Lewis. Magpie experiences trauma of being bullied in her high school and turns that pain into a weapon. It is always refreshing to see women in fiction taking control of their out-of-control situation. This is the perfect book to fly through on your commute, or in your favorite coffee shop, as it will keep you absorbed right to the end.
In the wake of the apocalypse, Flora has come of age in a highly gendered post-plague society where females have become a precious, coveted, hunted, and endangered commodity. But Flora does not participate in the economy that trades in bodies. An anathema in a world that prizes procreation above all else, she is an outsider everywhere she goes, including the thriving all-female city of Shy.
Now navigating a blighted landscape, Flora, her friends, and a sullen young slave she adopts as her own child leave their oppressive pasts behind to find their place in the world. They seek refuge aboard a ship where gender is fluid, where the dynamic is uneasy, and where rumors flow of a bold new reproductive strategy.
When the promise of a miraculous hope for humanity’s future tears Flora’s makeshift family asunder, she must choose: protect the safe haven she’s built or risk everything to defy oppression, whatever its provenance.
This novel will rock your world, with the amazing world contained within its pages. It is the final installment of Elison’s Road to Nowhere trilogy, and is told from the perspective of Flora, a transwoman raised as a sex slave. Kirkus Reviews notes that the books “tells her story from essentially two points of view: as an old woman writing her autobiography after many years of residence on Bambritch (Bainbridge) Island near Settle (Seattle) as an invasion looms; and as a younger woman continuing the plot from The Book of Etta (2017), sprinkled with memories of her difficult childhood and adolescence.”
A feminist dystopia unlike the others, Ellison explores themes of feminism, LGBTQ+ people’s rights, women’s rights, the commodification and governmental control of women’s bodies through the lens of expertly crafted dystopia, and a brilliant protagonist in Flora. Meg Elison is a talent, and this book is proof of that, no doubt about it! Elison, an LGBTQ+ writer and essayist and was a long-time columnist and editor for the award-winning Daily Californian at Berkeley, who lists Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Oscar Wilde, Stephen King among her many influences. Publishers Weekly and Booklist have praised the book, along with Kirkus Reviews who called it “A thoughtful extrapolation of contemporary gender and sexuality issues in need of wider discussion and understanding.”
Happy birthday Internet! Today the Internet turns thirty-years-old. It’s been a long thirty years. In fact, I barely a remember a time before the Internet, but I’m only twenty-two.
In a nutshell, the Internet has done a lot for us. Some good, some bad, but mostly it gave us neutral tools that we, as a collective, outright abused. So thank you, Internet for these 10 things you gave us!
10. It’s easier to buy books
Can you image going outside of your house and looking for a book, traversing through dark and shady bookstores, digging in trashcans looking for that one book? Well not anymore! Thanks to various sites, and the websites belonging to independent bookstores, we can now just simply type in the name of the book and find the best deal available!
Or, on the flip side, we can spend hours on the internet looking through every book in existence for the book that just catches our eyes.
Support indie bookstores though. For real.
The only issue is having to wait to get the book. No more grabbing the book and leaving. Nope! Our primary mode of buying contains a lot of waiting.
9. Easier to sell books
I got these piles of books and I want to get rid of them. Do I throw them out? Nah, I need some cash to buy some other books, and maybe pay off my student loans. What to do, what to do?
Well, thanks to the internet I can go online and sell the books. Millions of people just like me are looking to buy books and I might have what they’re looking for! And the odds are higher than when before the internet was around, given those millions of people I mentioned before.
Have you written a book and you can’t just wait for the public to read it? Having trouble finding an agent or publisher? Well, self-publishing might be for you.
You have more creative control and, according to Editage, “Traditionally published books have a limited shelf life in the bookstore and are periodically removed to make way for newly published books. Self-published books, on the other hand, are always available in online bookstores and can be discovered and purchased months and years after the book is published.”
The cons? The bookstore’s won’t see your book unless you get traditionally published, but at least they will always be in the online store! Plus, you get immediate statistics on who bought your book.
But be wary: There are a lot of scams out there. As with everywhere on the internet.
7. Traditional Publishing
There are a lot of working parts to make a book a reality. The writer has to maintain contact with their agent, their cover designer, their editors. All these moving parts, and no easy way to stay in contact.
Not anymore. Thanks to the internet, you can just email all these people.
Haven’t been published but have a ready manuscript? Then you have to pitch your book. Back in the day writers sent out letters:
No longer. Well it’s an option, but why not just email them? It’s quick, easy, and costs nothing.
In 2012 The Pew Research Center found that in February that 21% of adults in America were reading from an e-readers.
And why wouldn’t they? E-readers take up a lot less space than books, you can fit them all on your tablet, and many more books are available at the tip of your finger. As long as your tablet is charged, then you have not only one book for your commute, but an entire library.
Imagine if you had to carry your entire library with you?
It would only be better if the books actually read themselves to you. Oh wait…
You can buy a book and a celebrity will read it to you! It’s like when you were a kid and you had a bedtime story, except this time you’ve never met this person! Plus, all these listenable books are ready with only a touch. You can fit as many as you like in your phone, so no “My house is filled with all these gigantic books” problems.
Now when you go to the gym, you can have earbuds and listen to your books.
Isn’t that great? And going off the “I’m at the gym working out and I’m reading” motif, you can read and do many other things. Multitasking for the win. Complex has you covered with a top 10 list of books you can listen to while driving.
The Times even found that “[commuters who may not have picked up a paperback since leaving university are increasingly listening to audiobooks on the way to work as it is seen as more relaxing than reading.”
The best part? All these listenable books are ready with only a touch. According to National Public Radio, “Now they’re a $1 billion industry with more than 35,000 titles published in 2013 alone.”
Unless you bought a book and it doesn’t have an audio book. Then you’re stuck to doing things the old fashioned way, like a peasant.
Why stop at listening to someone reading a book when you can listen to people talk about books. Podcasts have you covered.
Here The Guardian lists ten (Ten!) places where you can listen to your book talk. Reviews, discussions, podcasts have them all.
It’s the largest site for readers. Need to know how far you are in your current book? Goodreads give you a percentage. Need to know how long you’ve been reading Game of Thrones?
Goodreads gives you the date you started. Need a book recommendation? Need to see what your friends are reading? Goodreads is the Facebook for book readers. Thank you Internet.
2. Fan Fiction
Now you can share your Harry Potter fan-fiction and you can read other people’s Lord of the Rings fan-fiction. You can flex your creative muscles, to stain those the calves of those sentences, to tighten those wordy hamstrings, training you to become the new generation of writers.
Plus you can change the ending to Game of Thrones if you don’t like it. (You might not like it.)What could be better?
The Best Thing Ever
Are you ready?
Be warned, this is by far the best thing the Internet has ever given us….
What’s Women’s History Month if we don’t shine a spotlight on our queer sisters? These books all feature a leading lesbian character, and were released this year. I am happy to say that there are many, but I made a little list of what I think are the most promising reads that you can have in your shelf! Goodreadsand Book Riot inspired the selections. Take a look!
Former child music prodigy Lily Croft spends most days in her home office crunching numbers and analyzing data as an actuary. Once she filled concert halls across the world, until the pressure got to be too much and forced her retreat. When her boss hands her a temporary assignment, Lily has to leave the safety of working from home to work with people at an office. She keeps her head down and stays focused, but one night on her way to the train station, she hears music wafting from The Leading Note and the life and feelings she suppressed for over a decade bubble up to the surface.
Lily is inexplicably drawn to Hope D’Marco, Leading Note’s gorgeous and brilliant founder. But falling for Hope and re-exploring her passion for music force Lily to face her past. Will she go back into hiding, or have the courage to confront the consequences of her past and present colliding?
On a cold day deep in the heart of winter, Rowan’s father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing a single, white rose. The rose is followed by the Huntress, a figure out of legend. Tall, cruel, and achingly beautiful, she brings Rowan back with her to a mountain fastness populated solely by the creatures of the hunt. Rowan, who once scorned the villagers for their superstitions, now finds herself at the heart of a curse with roots as deep as the mountains, ruled by an old magic that is as insidious as the touch of the winter rose.
Torn between her family loyalties, her guilty relief at escaping her betrothal to the charming but arrogant Avery Lockland, and her complicated feelings for the Huntress, Rowan must find a way to break the curse before it destroys everything she loves. There is only one problem―if she can find a way to lift the curse, she will have to return to the life she left behind. And the only thing more unbearable than endless winter is facing a lifetime of springs without the Huntress.
Willa’s darkness enters Hesper’s light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces, and Hesper shuts her out. She runs, following her fractured family back to her grandfather’s hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, looking for the origin story that he is no longer able to tell. But once in Tbilisi, cracks appear in her grandfather’s history- and a massive flood is heading toward Georgia, threatening any hope for repair.
Meanwhile, heartbroken Willa is so desperate to leave New York that she joins a group trip for Jewish twentysomethings to visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, hoping to override her emotional state. When it proves to be more fraught than home, she must come to terms with her past-the ancestral past, her romantic past, and the past that can lead her forward.
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn’t so absolute.
Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.
Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.
A gritty novel that doesn’t shy away from the darkest corners of ourselves, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali provides a timely and achingly honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture and proves that love, above all else, has the power to change the world.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are having a really tough year: Not only is their father overseas with the military and their working overtime to make ends meet, but each girl is struggling with her own unique problems. Whether it’s school woes, health issues, boy troubles, or simply feeling lost, the March sisters all need the same thing: support from each other. By coming together–and sharing lots of laughs and tears–these four young women find the courage to discover who they truly are as individuals…and as a family.
Meg is the eldest March. She has a taste for the finer things in life–especially when it comes to clothes and parties–and dreams of marrying rich and leaving her five-floor walk-up apartment behind.
Jo pushes her siblings to be true to themselves, yet feels like no one will accept her for who she truly is. Her passion for writing gives her an outlet to feel worthy in the eyes of her friends and family.
Beth is the timid sister with a voice begging to be heard. Guitar in hand, her courage inspires her siblings to seize the day and not take life for granted.
Amy may be the baby of the family, but she has the biggest personality. Though she loves to fight with her sisters, her tough exterior protects a vulnerable heart that worries about her family’s future.
Disneyland’s new Star Wars themed attraction, Galaxy’s Edge, is coming next year. But unlike most themed areas in amusement parks, this one ties directly into the Star Wars canon. In anticipation for the opening, Disney is releasing new tie-in material to help explain the backstory of this new attraction.
This includes the new novel Black Spire which is written by Delilah S. Dawson, the same author of the movie tie-in novel Phasma. It will tell the story of how General Leia dispatched a top spy to the planet of Batuu (a location in the park) in search of Resistance fighters.
Image Via StarWars.com
Two more novels are also on their way. A Crash Of Fate will be a young adult novel about two friends separated at a young are only to reunite on Batuu as two vastly different people. Star Wars: Myths and Fables will be a collection of stories centered around various areas in the Star Wars galaxies, with two directly tying into Galaxy’s Edge.
Images Via StarWars.com
A five-issue comic book miniseries will also debut this April titled Galaxy’s Edge and will follow a series of smugglers and merchants around Batuu and other edges of the galaxy.
Does this make you more excited for the upcoming park?