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Calendar Girls: March 2019

Hey all, Dani here.

This was such a hard month for me to choose a book for Calendar Girls…and it had nothing to do with the theme. Nope instead it is because I had to completely change my process for looking over books and choosing honorable mentions and my final pick. Normally I go into my library and look over all of my book spines, making a list of books that fit the theme, and then I narrow down my selections from there. But I couldn’t do that this month because 3/4 of my books are packed up in boxes!

Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was started by Flavia and Melanie, but is now being hosted by Katie and Adrienne. They are all wonderful ladies, and you should check out their lovely blogs. Oh, and if you go to either Katie or Adrienne‘s Calendar Girls post each month, they will have links to all the other wonderful book bloggers participating in this event.

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First, more about the Calendar Girls. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.

Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and both Katie and Adrienne will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!

Oh, and you don’t have to identify as female to join the Calendar Girls. We welcome readers of all types. So if this sounds like fun for you, join us in all of the fun bookish conversations.

All right, and now it is time to start talking about the March theme. Are you ready for it?

The theme for March is…

Women’s History Month

Book with a Strong Female Character

Let me just start by saying that nowadays that phrase “strong female character” actually bothers me a bit. To me a strong character, whether male or female, is one who is more fully realized, who can be vulnerable or weak and nobody thinks of them as less because of it. This character may have struggles, but they work to become better or to overcome. They are both strong and weak and that is totally fine. But it seems like there are many people out there who think of a strong female character as kick-ass, take-no-shit, doesn’t need a romance, etc. Basically they want a masculine character, just with boobs. I want the full spectrum of characters.

Anyway, let’s jump into some honorable mentions.

I think I’ll start off by talking about Celaena/Aelin from the Throne of Glass series. See, what I think makes her a strong female character is that she is a kick-ass fighter, but she also loves dresses and sweets and being “girly.” She starts off with the belief that she doesn’t need anyone, but she learns to start relying on and accepting help from her friends–though let’s be honest, she does do a lot of decision making on her own without thinking about them. She is sometimes a very frustrating character, but that is fine with me. I don’t have to like a character all the time.

I really want to talk about Shane from Again, But Better by Christine Riccio, but it doesn’t come out until May 7, and I’m still in the process of writing my review. But I’ll just say that I don’t always agree with some of Shane’s decisions, but I like that she struggles with social anxiety and yet still puts herself out there. I think that makes her a strong character. (Oh, and my review will be up sometime in April, but I really enjoyed this book, so I’m already adding it to my top books and my recommendations list).

I also feel like I need to talk about Rasmira from Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller. She is a talented warrior, but is lacking when it comes to feminine skills and such. But through the book she learns to open herself up and trust others and reveal her issues and vulnerabilities. I think it ends up making her a much better future leader to her people and an even more badass character.

With this list, I definitely feel the need to bring up Harper from A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Harper is a character who happens to have cerebral palsy, which some would consider a huge flaw or weakness. But Harper doesn’t really let that slow her down. She has learned to adapt her life because of her limitations, but she is still a fierce and independent woman, with a penchant for compassion and understanding.

I could also mention many of the female characters from Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. Or Millie Roper from Borderline by Mishell Baker. Or Vasya from The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Or Safi and Iseult from Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series. There are so many awesome female characters from so many books that I’ve read that I could put on here. They fight past anxieties or mental illnesses or prejudices or whatever others want to throw their way. They laugh, and love, and cry, and fight. They support each other and dream of what their futures could be. It is these sorts of dynamic characters that really grab my interest and help me devour book after book.

But, my top choice for this month’s theme is a book I read in 2017 and I thought it would be a cute and geeky light-hearted novel about female friendship. It ended up being so much more than that, which is probably why I’m still raving about it almost two years later.

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When I started reading this, it seemed like a cute, light, and fun read with a nice focus on female friendship. However, there was a point in the story where it turned quite serious and deeper. The issues the girls face between anxiety and ADHD, and how that affects their lives when it comes to their friendships and relationships really made this story so much better and made the characters so much stronger. I loved that Kat and Meg’s friendship started because of their shared interest in YouTube gamer LumberLegs and his LotS speed run fail videos. And I really really related to the characters, especially when it came to Meg and her feelings about her dad (technically stepdad) leaving her and her family. So, I am so glad that I read this book. I like that it focused on two female characters who each faced their own weaknesses and found a new strength by helping each other over those weakness hurdles. This is what makes for strong female characters to me.

All righty then, I suppose that is all from me today. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content (and likely more nervous rambling about the upcoming move because we’re still being faced with little speed bumps that are making the last couple weeks before closing a bit more complicated).

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