Sunday, November 15, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit 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.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: I enjoyed this reread from grade school, though I was surprised at how little actually happens in the course of the book. The plot was a little formulaic, but the historical and geographical details woven in still made it a good read, and it's a good introduction for children to WWII and the Holocaust.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens: Despite the length, I quite enjoyed this read, which I highly recommend on audio. It's certainly not the most realistic of plots, but the length of time one spends in Copperfield's world makes both the characters and the plot lively and memorable.

Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa: This was not my kind of book. It was convoluted and steeped in sex and violence, and not much actually happens during the "present day" of the plot — just a lot of flashbacks and retellings. I only finished it because it was a book club pick.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart: This was a nice ending to the series, even if probably wraps up a bit too tidily for some readers. For myself, I like a good happy ending, so I enjoyed it.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: As powerful and blunt as James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time but written for the current generation. Coates addresses racial identity, police prejudice, and the ways in which his son's experience in the world is both hopefully different and painfully similar to his own experience growing up black and male.

Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews: This mystery was a fun read, which was exactly what I was looking for. There's a lot of humor drawn from the array of absurd situations and people that make up the book, so don't expect anything too realistic, but do look forward to some laughs.

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber: My favorite book of October. An inspiring, challenging, and hilarious follow-up to Pastrix.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange: This short book/play should not be mistaken for light reading. As the characters share Shange's poems, they talk about rape, abortion, and domestic violence as well as personal empowerment, female friendship, and sexual pleasure. Some parts were too dense for me to grasp (poetry was never my forte), but most of it was clear and evocative.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore: This thought-provoking memoir/biography traces the life paths of two boys named Wes Moore, both from the same area of the Baltimore. I think the author falls short of his goal of illustrating what exactly made the difference between the Rhodes Scholar and the felon, but both stories are interesting nonetheless.

Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth: I quite enjoyed this novella about the rise and fall of a summer love. I'm not sure I personally connected with the larger themes about time and nostalgia and divided loyalties, but I did enjoy the enveloping nature of the prose. It's worth a read.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: This book had so much potential, and I actually liked the mystery itself, but there were so many things about the book I disliked: the unrelatable narrator, the overt racism, the odd plot holes, the cliché climix... I know many people love it, but it wasn't for me.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand: This was an amazing, masterfully written biography that 100% deserves its high praise. Be aware that there are graphic descriptions of violence and illness, but they are necessary to the story. If you're willing to have your emotions rattled in every direction for the sake of a good story, pick up this book.

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

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