Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Wilde is talented at building suspense and heightening tension. Through Dorian Gray's life, we see that a life in pursuit of pleasure, while appealing in theory, requires a level of selfishness that will ultimately lead to being hated, paranoid, and cruel. The audio narration was well done, though I think it would be a good read in any format.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder: Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, is a complex and fascinating figure who draws guidance from Catholic liberation theology and who focuses always on helping the patient in front of him, cost-effectiveness be damned. Our book club had a great discussion from this book.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: For some reason I expected this book to be dense and esoteric, but it wasn't — it was very readable. The book was published at a time when women were caught between the generational expectations of happy housewife and working feminist. These compounding pressures, along with a 19-year-old's typical paralysis about the future, are manifested vividly through the protagonist's mental breakdown. If you haven't read this before, it's definitely worth picking up.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: This is a mixed bag (some parts drag on way too long), but there was plenty that was funny, sweet, or clever to keep me reading. If all you know of Don Quixote is his attacks on windmills, you don't even know the first quarter of his long story!

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas: This was a reread, and I enjoyed it almost as much the second time around, knowing everything that was going to happen (an impressive feat, since my first reading was driven mostly by suspense!). Haas wrote it very intentionally so that you misinterpret certain things without actually being lied to. This is still my go-to recommendation if you liked Gone Girl.

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball: This is a sweet, if somewhat dated, play about five bridesmaids who all dislike the bride. It has the typical combination of personal revelations, sarcastic commentary on other people, and witty remarks that you would expect in an intimately staged play like this.

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King: Co-authored by the daughter of one of the authors of the original How to Talk..., this was a great refresher on the parenting strategies that defuse day-to-day battles with kids and equip them to handle their emotions and solve problems as they grow older. I love that this version focuses on young children and even has a section on kids with SPD and/or autism.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand: This book feels like the antidote to the awfulness of All the Bright Places; it handles the topic of suicide much more skillfully and does not romanticize it. It speaks honestly to the process of grief and to the emotional mess that's left in the wake of someone's suicide. It's not free from YA clich├ęs, but overall it's well done and worth a read. (Bring tissues!)

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

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