Thursday, March 15, 2018

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 Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose: This was excellent, and it's shocking that Roose wrote this at age 19 because the writing is fantastic. Roose took a semester off from Brown University to spend at Liberty University in order to better understand evangelical culture. The book was at turns fascinating, amusing, enlightening, and confirming of my own thoughts and beliefs. I think there's a lot to reap from it, whether you grew up evangelical or have never met an evangelical.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards: This was kind of a cross between The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom Tollbooth (with a bit of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory thrown in). It was cute and creative. I had trouble getting on board with the main characters, though, because they essentially spent the book trying to invade the Whangdoodle's space for no other reason than pure curiosity, even if in the end their visit ended up being a blessing.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl: This book is intense, in a good way. It's suspenseful and twisty and fascinating and incorporates mixed media to great effect, including newspaper clippings, website screenshots, and magazine articles. Every so often there's a twist that flips everything 180 degrees. Just don't expect super-likable characters or a sensitively diverse cast.

The Stand by Stephen King: This was my first Stephen King, and his writing is just phenomenal in the way he's able to develop characters and describe settings. It was an in-depth, detailed imagining of life in the months after a super-flu kills almost everyone. Unfortunately it was also super racist... and not so good with the female characters either... or people with disabilities...

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig: I enjoyed this more than I expected once I got in the rhythm of it. It's a semi-autobiographical depiction of Pirsig's explorations in philosophy that led to his mental breakdown, about which he (or the narrator) is reflecting while on a cross-country motorcycle trip with his son. I found the book's ideas interesting but not earth-shattering or immediately applicable to my life in any obvious way, or else I'm sure I would have become another one of Pirsig's devoted fans.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin: Rubin talks about the research on habit-building within her own framework of the Four Tendencies. She unfortunately pads this out with lots of verbatim conversations with her friends, family members, and acquaintances, and she is too fixated on weight for my taste. This is one of those books where the value of the content doesn't match the quality of the execution, so I would actually highly recommend it despite having a lot of problems with it!

Third Girl by Agatha Christie: This is a middle-of-the-pack Poirot mystery for me. I always enjoy one with Ariadne Oliver in it, but it's clear that Christie was getting tired of writing Poirot by this point. All in all, not one I'd go out of my way to recommend, but not one you necessarily need to skip either.

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Julie King and Joanna Faber: I found this just as valuable the second time through — maybe more now that my son is old enough to use many of the techniques. I'm also reminded how useful these techniques are for people who aren't children! I hope to revisit this book again in the future for a valuable refresher.

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

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