Seven books from September to December: Poaching, Paranoia, Persecution, Powwow, Productivity, Pregnancy & Painting

Bridget Chase
4 min readJan 2, 2020

In the months of September to December, I listened to five audiobooks and read two books. Here are seven micro-reviews.


by James A. McLaughlin

I can’t pretend that Bearskin kept me enthralled the whole way through, but at its best it was really on fire. While the main character often felt flat, there was enough action to keep most of his dullness in my peripherals. This definitely should have been a fire-side cabin read — perhaps the thrill of the cartel amidst the Appalachians would have been more thrilling if I too was surrounded by the elements during my listen. Trigger warning for sexual assault.

Read if: you want to experience a little danger in the wilderness without having to pitch a tent
2.5 out of 5 🐻


by Tara Westover

I spent most of this book with my jaw hanging open. At one point, I actually had to pause the narrative and Google whether or not this was in fact a memoir. Incredibly inspiring, this book made me appreciative of my parents’ agnosticism and especially grateful for Advil.

Read if: you want to scream internally for 12 hours and 11 minutes, hoping that naturopaths are right about the healing powers of essential oils
5 out of 5 💊

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

Let’s skip the necessary steps of exclaiming how iconic this dystopia was and jump right to my primary annoyance: Atwood chose — perhaps — the most boring woman possible to follow during an oppressive regime. Queer women, trans women, women of colour, socioeconomically disadvantaged women, and all of the intersections that come within those groups would have been far more interesting to profile. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, it’s just unfortunate that the depth of this world was limited by her choice of character.

Read if: you want a little, privileged taste of what modern dystopia could look like (or you just want to feel better about binging the Hulu show)
3 out of 5 👁

There There

by Tommy Orange

This may be my favourite novel of the year. It hits all of my literary pleasure points: a wide range of extremely unique characters that don’t get lost in the “who is this again?” mix; a slow burn leading to that final moment of reckoning; a deliciously unsatisfying ending. Come for the Hemingway Foundation Award, stay for the distinctive prose, and thank me later for the impact.

Read if: you want to better understand modern Indigenous perspectives through twelve characters who each feel brighter than the next
5 out of 5 🕷

Free to Focus

by Michael Hyatt

A breath of fresh air in the productivity genre, Hyatt has done something that only one or two other self-help gurus have managed: he’s written a book that is mostly useful. Lacking the excess carbs that most “here’s how to change your life” explainers have, Free to Focus centres around the practical. And for once, I’ll actually advise you to do the suggested homework — it’s shockingly handy.

Read if: you want some help crafting a functional productivity system without 250 pages of fluff
3 out of 5 ✂️

Split Tooth

by Tanya Tagaq

It’s hard to review a book like this. Split Tooth is less of a novel and more of an experience. More often than not, it is so hard to read that you are forced to reread. If I said I enjoyed it, I would be lying. But I appreciated every single word. Massive trigger warning for abuse of all sorts.

Read if: you want to feel, feel and feel some more
5 out of 5 ❄️

Killing Commendatore

by Haruki Murakami

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I consider myself a bit of a Murakami connoisseur. I’ve read a large amount of his work, and was excited to compare. This beast of a book was reminiscent of some of his older fiction, with realism trumping surrealism, playing host to a fairly straight-forward plot. That said, it suffered the opposite fate of IQ84 — while IQ84 was too much plot for its pages, this was too many pages for the plot. Even still, it was a fun and easy to get lost in.

Read if: you want to tick off a lot of boxes in Murakami Bingo.
4 out of 5 🗡

Bridget does reviews on the books she has read or listened to. Some reviews will be better than others — but let’s get real, so will some books.



Bridget Chase

An arts and culture writer, focused on language, linguistics and life 🐭👟 || Words here: || Work there: