Thursday, December 15, 2016

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.

Families Where Grace Is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen: I liked this book but wanted more from it. The parenting advice was great but very similar to other good (secular) parenting books, and the marriage advice never got beyond "you're misinterpreting what it means for a wife to submit."

Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl: This book is both a gentle indictment of typical mission work and an exploration of the benefits and challenges of becoming friends with people whose life circumstances are vastly different than your own. I think there is a lot of valuable food for thought for those who want to assist those living in poverty or caught up in dangerous practices like street prostitution and selling drugs.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson: This reread was almost as delightful as the first time I read it. It's absurd in the best possible way, and I recently watched the movie adaptation and enjoyed that as well.

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie: This was a solid Hercule Poirot read, with all the hallmarks of a classic Christie novel — red herrings, many possible suspects, and withholding just enough detail that you're at Poirot's mercy to fit it all together. Also, Hastings has stopped being so idiotic, which is a relief.

The Girls by Emma Cline: I found this pretty rough to get through. Cline's gift is her wordsmithing, her ability to conjure the atmosphere of a moment through language so that we are in the narrator's skin. But the book doesn't have much in the way of a plot or character development, so it got boring after a while.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri: I have yet to find a collection of short stories that I love, and this was no exception. Lahiri does a nice job of painting varied pictures of the Indian immigrant experience (specifically, immigrants in the United States), and each story was interesting but not amazing.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie: Of all my Agatha Christie rereading so far, this was the first book I went into with a clear memory of the mystery's solution. It was fun to see which clues were surreptitiously dropped and which information was actually withheld so that the reader couldn't have possibly picked up on it. Some aspects stretched my disbelief a little too far, but on the whole I can see why this is one of Christie's best known works.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: This is still one of my favorite books, though I went into it with a more critical eye this time regarding gender and intersex identity. Eugenides provides it all: complex, memorable characters; unpredictable, intriguing plot lines; and subtle lessons in history and science. The Pulitzer is well deserved.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: The story itself is disturbing, but it's worth the read for the beautiful writing (except near the end when it just gets boring and weird). I recommend the audio version with Jeremy Irons narrating.

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

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