Friday, December 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 World According to Garp by John Irving: Maybe this was cutting-edge dark comedy in the 1970s, but I found it to be mostly an exercise in gratuitous sex and violence mixed with some ambiguous commentary on feminism and awful stereotypes of a whole range of people.

To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite: This is your typical inspirational schoolteacher story, with the twist that Braithwaite was a black teacher for predominately white children in a poor area of London in the 1950s. It's dated (particularly with regards to gender roles), but ultimately I thought it was well-written and provided a good blend of classroom scenes, Braithwaite's thoughts, his personal life, and larger school politics.

Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie: This was OK as far as the mystery went, but for the terrible compilation of various stereotypes (from the superstitious and ignorant African to the snooty French girl to the redhead with a "fiery temper") I think you can give this one a pass.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson: This was a quiet book about a grandmother and granddaughter who spend much of the year on a small island off the coast of Finland. It was sweet, but ultimately I'm not sure how much I'll remember about it.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein: I enjoyed this much more than I expected. It provides a nice mix of action and philosophy as we see our cultural customs through the lens of a man raised on Mars, who starts off the book as lost and naïve and ends up as a powerful character who can either be read as a Christ figure or a classic cult leader. It was fascinating and a book I'd love to discuss with others.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander: This book was absolutely phenomenal, if you can use such a term to describe a book so devastating. With masterful organization and clear prose, Alexander lays out the case that the War on Drugs has created a "racial undercaste" that aligns with the cultural stereotype of the "criminalblackman," disenfrancishing an entire swath of the American people in much the same way that the Jim Crow era did. This is a painful but highly necessary read.

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

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