Friday Reads: Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton & Winter by Ali Smith

Happy Friday! After last week’s Bout of Books readathon success, I haven’t been reading as much this week. The time I have spent reading has been incredibly enjoyable however. I’m currently engrossed in Winter by Ali Smith and Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton. Both books are exquisitely written and I’m trying to savor every sentence.

Keep scrolling to see this week’s Book Beginnings and The Friday56



Book Beginnings is a bookish meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you’re reading, along with your initial thoughts/impressions.

Book Beginnings:

Margaret the First is a rich re-imagining of the life of Margaret Cavendish, a 17th-century Duchess, writer, scientist, and philosopher. Dutton begins her brilliant novel with a twist on the traditional biography format:

The woman had eight children. The first, called Tom, in 1603, the final year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It was five daughters and three sons, and she dressed them richly but simply and cleanly to ward off sharkly habits. Margaret was the youngest. She made the world her book, took a piece of coal and marked a blank white wall.

Margaret the First, Danielle Dutton

“She made the world her book,” is now one of my favorite bookish quotations. So far, I’m finding this historical novel to be delightfully strange and exceptionally vivid. Dutton’s prose practically sparkles and explodes off the page like firecrackers. I’m currently reading this on my Kindle app, but I have a feeling I’ll be purchasing a physical copy in the near future. This stunning book is one to keep.


Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a bookish meme hosted by Freda’s Voice that asks you to: Grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56 and find a sentence that grabs you.

The Friday 56: 

This passage from Ali Smith’s Winter is so spot on:

The People in this country are in furious rages at each other after the last vote, she said, and the government we’ve got has done nothing to assuage it and instead is using people’s rage for its own political expediency. Which is a grand old fascist trick if ever I saw one, and a very dangerous game to play. And what’s happening in the United States is directly related, and probably financially related.

Art laughed out loud. Charlotte looked furious.

It’s terrifying, she said.

No it isn’t, he said.

You’re fooling yourself, she said.

The world order was changing and what was truly new, here and there, Charlotte said, was that the people in power were self-servers who’d no idea about and felt no responsibility towards history.

Winter, Ali Smith (56)

There’s something to be said for reading contemporary (literary) fiction that eloquently speaks to current events. Smith’s creative and beautifully written Seasonal Quartet is an extraordinary lens through which to view our current socio-political climate. I’m excited to find out if I’ll love Winter even more than I did Autumn; and I’m already counting down the days until the release of Spring.


What do you think about these excerpts? What is your Friday Read this week?





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