Current Reads #1: Baby Dragons, Giant Sandworms, & Lost Astronauts… OH MY!

Happy Sunday morning to you all! I hope the weekend has been treating all of you rather well. I’ve managed to acquire a cold… while Summer is still going strong… How? I have no idea, but it really sucks. Aside from the ick, my weekend has been pretty fun thus far.

For today’s post, I decided to share some of the books that are currently holding my attention, rather raptly no less. This upcoming week will consist mostly of anime-related posts, so I figured I’d squeeze in some bookish content while I can. I’m proud to say the vast majority of these are adult fantasy or hard science-fiction novels. These genres have been satiating much of my bookish thirsts and it has been glorious! So far, I would definitely recommend all of these titles. Here’s to hoping that that won’t change!

The Butlerian Jihad (The Legends of Dune #1) by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Out of all four titles that I’m going to be sharing, I am most wholeheartedly obsessed with this book right here. For September, Sir Betrothed and I started doing reading challenges. Basically, he will toss me a book from his shelf every month for me to check out, and I’ll be doing the same for him. My first pick was the first instalment of what is one of my most-beloved science-fiction serials of all time! He read through the Dune Saga by Frank Herbert last year, so now I can show him all of the lore and history. After he began reading it, I became so unbelievably excited, that I decided to read it along with him. I bought the e-book and here we are. I have no shame, nor any regrets! This will be third (or fourth) time reading this trilogy.

The novel takes place 10,000 years before the events of Dune and shows us how the universe became addicts to the spice: melange. The book (well, the trilogy as a whole) also illustrates the establishment of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and how Freman became riders of Shaitan (sandworms).

The Martian by Andy Weir

Sir Betrothed’s book pick for me was The Martian. He read it, loved it, and figured I’d love it too. So far, he hasn’t been wrong. Mark has been one hilariously delightful character to read about.

In case if anyone hasn’t heard of this novel, it revolves around a guy, an engineer specifically, named Mark Watney. Along with four other people, he embarked onto a journey to Mars. They were the very first people to walk on this desolate planet. But then a fierce and violent sandstorm hits the planet, causing the team to flee Mars. But Mark didn’t quite make it. After receiving a severe injury, his teammates assumed he had died and left him behind. Plot twist: he didn’t die! Now he has to figure out how to survive until he can shanghai himself a rescuing.

Watney’s humour and the real-science utilised to write this novel has made it bloody addicting.

Dragon Champion (Age of Fire #1) by E.E Knight

I haven’t quite started reading this yet, but I plan on diving into it later today… That is if I can tear myself away from The Butlerian Jihad for more than five minutes… No shame, no shame…

In this series, dragons are a dying breed. Deep within a cave, a fresh brood of dragons has hatched, the last of their kind. But then dwarves invade the cave and leave behind bloodshed and death in their wake. One tiny, scaleless dragon pup escapes. Determined to survive,  he sets out on a journey to find more of his kind.

Grade-A classic fantasy right here. As someone who loves dragons, I knew I had to dive into it… Just need to stop fawning over deadly fucking sandworms first… Damn you, Dune…

Stained by Abda Khan

Last but not least, and on a more serious note, I began reading this #OwnVoices Pakistani narrative yesterday. It is powerful, intense, revealing, and terribly raw in regards to rape culture, especially within conservative circles.

Selina is a beautiful, intelligent, British-born Pakistani young woman, who recently lost her father. She struggles to cope with life in the midst of this loss, particularly where her studies are concerned. Matters go from bad to worse, when a trusted family friend from the mosque offers to tutor her, and rapes her instead. With the threat of dishonour to her family at her back, Selina goes to extreme lengths to avoid scandal, and prevent shame being brought to her widowed mother’s door.

I have to read this book in small doses. To be blunt: as a rape survivor, this book is exceedingly difficult for me to read. It brings up so much of my own trauma, occasionally causing some severe anxiety and even panic attacks. But I am determined to read this novel to its finale. Why? Well…

Rape is a crime that is seldom ever reported, more so if you’re a part of a close-knit conservative community. This could be religious, or even familial. With Stained specifically, the novel thus far has been doing a phenomenal job of illustrating the stigma that women face when dealing with being raped. It’s rarely ever construed as being the rapist’s fault. It’s always the same speech: “You must have done something to make them do it.” When I read a book where a woman who faces such ignorant beliefs and suffocating environments, watching them struggle and eventually overcome the challenges ahead them with strength and conviction, it helps me to better process what happened to me. It gives me hope and motivates me to keep moving forward. It also helps me realise that as victims we are not the ones to blame. We should NEVER be blamed. Yet rape culture is always perpetuated, for whatever dumb-fuck reasons, and the fear of being honest about being a victim of this crime will always be a difficult choice to make so long as this culture keeps being eternalised. By reading and supporting important books like this, I hope to fight and raise awareness for rape culture and the abominable stigma placed on the victims.