Monday, May 15, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Modern Mrs. Darcy isn't hosting Quick Lit this month, but I wanted to share a quick look at what I've read in the past month anyway. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: This was one of my favorite books I've read recently. It made me look back on my high school self with fondness, in the same way Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda did. (It contains minor spoilers from that book, so start with Simon!) Very sweet, very relatable, and a nice example of a realistically diverse cast of characters.

The Bees by Laline Paull: I had mixed feelings on this one. I liked the look into life in a beehive and the way it was translated into religious terms, but there was an odd blend of realism and fantasy, and the plot jumped around a lot.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This book manages to be a fantastic dive into the issues driving the Black Lives Matter movement while also just being a great book, with relatable characters, funny lines, suspense, drama, and a surprisingly satisfying ending. I also love that Thomas didn't try to pander to white audiences with the book; ultimately, she didn't need to.

Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie: I liked this more than the previous collection of short Poirot stories. I figured out the first two of the four cases, and then the third was a more typical murder mystery (which I can never figure out) and the last was a strange one where nothing is as it seems.

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead: I was not in a good headspace to tackle this book's complexity and dense prose. It tries to do a lot in a small space, and ultimately the resolution is anticlimactic and disappointing. This is probably a great book if you "get" it, but I never got there.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: This was cute and enjoyable. There were a couple of points that didn't quite click for me, but overall I found it a very sweet story with memorable characters, and the audiobook narrator was excellent.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie: This one held up on rereading for me, even though it's one of the few where I remembered the solution partway through. This was one of my first Agatha Christie books (if not the first) so it holds a special place in my heart regardless, but I was glad to find it was just as enjoyable and twisty as I remembered.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: At first, I found the writing to be overly simplistic and stilted and the dialogue unrealistic, but I pressed on and eventually got majorly sucked into the story. Butler did a fantastic job making 19th century chattel slavery come alive for the modern reader. I ended up really liking this book and I see now why it's been so consistently popular and highly rated.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco: A lot of reviews have described this as boring or dry with too many tangents on philosophy and religion, but I really enjoyed it. I don't know if it's because of the excellent audiobook narration or the fact that I'm Catholic and found the elements of Church history interesting, but I thought the book was engaging most of the time.

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie: This wasn't bad, but it wasn't one of the better ones. The pacing is odd, and there's a weird instalove side plot. I did like the eventual solution, but really the best part was the infuriating depiction of the tyrannical matriarch who's held absolute power over her children for so long that even as adults they can't cross her.

What have you been reading this month?

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