Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What I've Been Reading Lately (Twitterature)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Twitterature to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork: Reread of a favorite. Marcelo, who has an Asperger's-like condition, must navigate office politics and ethical questions in his first "real" job. My book club found the ending too neat but the book charming.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker: I should have hated it — plot holes and unanswered questions galore — but the writing was too beautiful and the story too sweet not to steal my heart.

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry: Insightful and chock-full of research about how black American women are perceived and how they perceive themselves, both historically and today.

More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership and Faith by Kathy Khang, Christie Heller de Leon, Asifa Dean, and Tracey Gee: Interesting personal stories bogged down in too many platitudes and too much Christianese. Glossed over too many things and provided little solid research.

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter: Fun chick lit ruined for me by the main heartthrob's lack of respect for the protagonist's "no."

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: Wild, wonderful, funny novel that weaves in topics of family, psychology, animal rights, parenting, and memory. Highly recommended and would be great to discuss.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Written around the start of the 20th century, it's valuable for its historical insights, though the patronizing generalizations got to me after a while.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy: A book I can appreciate even if I didn't like it that much (but then I don't like much post-apocalyptic literature). Pretty damn depressing, but asks some important questions about morality and parenting.

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry: A great examination of how we are our best and worst selves with our family members. Sad, funny, and insightful, except the ending is weird and totally out of line with the rest of the book.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai: Malala and her family have a fascinating and worthwhile story, but I wish it had been written as a biography rather than a memoir because most of it is not Malala's own personal experience. Still worth the read.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson: This absurd satirical comedy will not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it hilarious and wonderful. It's like a mix of Terry Pratchett, Forrest Gump, and Ocean's Eleven.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor: Why didn't I ever read this in school? Like To Kill a Mockingbird, it deals with racism in the American South in the 1930s, but in contrast, it's written by a black woman, narrated by a black girl, and her black father is the hero. Deals well with both the reality of racism and the reality of how black families prepare their children for a racist world.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult: As a Picoult fan and gay rights advocate, I was sorely disappointed in this book. It tried to cram too many arguments in and contributed to bisexual erasure and transphobia. Thumbs down.

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh: Absolutely fascinating firsthand look at poverty, corruption, and gang activity from Venkatesh's field research. A heartbreaking but important read for anyone who wants to discuss these issues.

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan: Koly's story is inspiring, but the book read too much like the American author was trying to squeeze in as much vocabulary and Indian culture as possible. Would be great for a middle-grade unit teaching kids about India, but wasn't a favorite as far as stories go.

What have you been reading this month? Share over at Modern Mrs. Darcy!

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  1. You've got some great books here!!! Some of them I read growing up, some of them I want to read now, and some of them, I've never even heard of!

  2. I hadn't heard of a lot of these books either until I opted to make an intentional effort this year to read more authors of color and went looking for recommendations. It's been a great way to branch out in what I read!

  3. I love Anne's blog, but these link ups are extra great! :)

    ~ Victoria