Saturday, April 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 Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Dostoyevsky has woven a story with enough unpredictability and mystery to keep the reader going, but with characters who are unfortunately flimsy stand-ins for ideas within a morality play. I found the philosophical treatises a slog to get through but liked the drama and action that made up most of the book. I'm glad I read it, but it's definitely not high up on my list of enjoyable books.

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie: By the time Christie wrote this Poirot book, she clearly had developed a reputation for her specific brand of mystery, as she mocks herself through the characters and their discussions. So this time, she decided to make things a little more unpredictable and twisty. This is probably one of my favorites so far of the Poirot novels. If Christie's books are getting too predictable, this is a good one to shake things up.

American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus by Lisa Wade: This is an excellent overview of "hookup culture" on college campuses. Where Wade could have taken a "kids these days" approach, sounding an alarm for parents about the dangerous behavior of their children, she instead focused on making room for the voices of actual college students about the good, bad, and ugly of hookup culture (and there's a lot of ugly). She provided historical and sociological context for the stories and synthesized them into topic areas, but overall I felt she did a great job of keeping the students' personal experiences front and center — which also made for a better and more interesting read.

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh: I enjoyed this book just as much the second time around (if you can "enjoy" a book about poverty, corruption, and drug-selling gangs). Venkatesh's experiences challenge traditional media and political narratives about inner-city poverty, both liberal and conservative. The stories and the relationships are more complex than any set of statistics could ever capture.

If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino: I started out this book thinking I was going to love it — a book about reading! — but I had a hard time getting through it. The plot of the external frame gets incredibly confusing, and I got frustrated by the format of reading the beginnings of lots of different books. This is the kind of book I can see other people liking, but it wasn't a favorite for me.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: Kaur is a talented poet, and I could appreciate her writing while finding it personally hard to connect to. Her experiences of "hurting" and "loving" as a woman are very focused on sex; the second half of the book was more general and thus more relatable for me. I can see why other people love this collection, and I wouldn't be averse to reading more of her work.

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn—and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff with Diane Eyer: The premise of this book is that children learn best when they learn through play — they retain a love of learning, learn things in context, and are able to apply their learning across multiple situations in a way we just don't see with adult-structured, rote learning. If you can get past the outdated references and corny jokes, it's worth a read.

You by Caroline Kepnes: This book is pretty disturbing — it's written from the perspective of a stalker — and I found some of the plot points confusing, but it manages to be unpredictable and action-packed, so if that's your jam you might enjoy it. Just be aware that there's a lot of sexual content.

Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie: This is classic Christie: an old lady dying under suspicious circumstances, an array of possible suspects, and a sleight of hand that ensures you won't beat Poirot to solving the crime. I enjoyed the read.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: This was a nice change of pace from some of the classics I've read recently, as it's pretty much just straight-up action from beginning to end — no tangential side stories, no philosophical digressions. There was mystery, suspense, court drama, secrets, murder, and love affairs. The humor reminded me a bit of Shakespeare. Don't take it too seriously and it's a lot of fun.

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

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Thanks for supporting A Cocoon of Books!

No comments:

Post a Comment