Tuesday, December 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.

It's been a fairly light month for reading. I've already exceeded my Goodreads goal of 125 books (last year I read 120), though, and I've been busy with holiday-related activities as well as illness, injury, and a teething baby, so that's OK with me! I'm hoping to get some more reading in during my time off work this month.

Sula by Toni Morrison: This is one of those books that I can see is well written from a literary perspective, but which I did not personally connect with or enjoy reading. I had a hard time understanding the characters' motivations and feelings around many of the events.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg: I had heard a lot of criticism of this book before I actually read it, so I was surprised to find most if not all of the criticism was unfounded. I think Sandberg does a stellar job balancing encouragement for women to lead with support for individual women's choices, and she highlights obstacles to women's success at both a macro and a micro level admirably.

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel: This book started out strong, with interesting thought experiments meant to challenge what our decisions about what's "right" are actually based on. However, it was too obviously based on a college course, with long, dry passages educating the reader about different political philosophers' beliefs. I learned a lot, but the book would have benefited from heavier editing.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith: This was a solid addition to the series, keeping me guessing until the reveal. This one was as gruesome as the last, but somehow bizarre enough that it wasn't too scarring for me. I'm looking forward to the next one already.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: It took me a while to warm up to this one, but I ended up enjoying it. Through the absurd, sad, bizarre, and funny cities conjured up by the narrator, the reader is challenged to define what a city is — whether buildings or people, legacy and history or day-to-day reality.

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup: This served primarily to verify that the fictional depictions of slavery I've read in other books are fairly accurate. Northup uses a surprisingly objective tone to describe his experiences, and he talks more about minute details of places and objects than about his own feelings or those of the people around him. From a historical perspective, I appreciate what this book was intended to do, but as a story it wasn't particularly compelling.

On heroes, lizards and passion by Zoila Ellis: It's a little bit generous to call all of these short stories, as stories generally contain some sort of narrative arc, with a climax or reveal. Taken together, though, the stories are a collection of snapshots that form a picture of the varied lives of ordinary Belizean people. The writing was a bit weak, and the editing was atrocious, but it was an interesting read overall.

Black & White by Malorie Blackman: I loved the premise of this book — a world in which blacks (Crosses) have the power and whites (naughts) were freed from slavery just 50 years earlier. However, the author chose possibly the least subtle approach to exploring the everyday effects of racism — modeling her world almost exactly on 1960s America — and the plot was like a bad soap opera. If it gets young adults thinking about issues of race and history, great, but I couldn't get into it.

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

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