Wednesday, August 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.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf: This was a reread for book club. She argues well that without the societal and monetary structures in place, even women of genius did not have the ability to write good fiction in previous centuries (previous to the 20th century). The structure she uses of a fictional narrator is a little odd, but I think ultimately it works to showcase her points.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: It's hard to pitch the end of a series just right, and this certainly wasn't perfect, but it hit a lot of beautiful notes along the way. There were a few aspects that bugged me, but overall I enjoyed this finale to the series and wouldn't mind rereading the series someday.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: I do not understand how this book is so highly rated. The writing is awful and the two main characters have no personality. They are just stand-ins meant to educate us on the author's key points, while the present-day narrator also goes through a bunch of personal drama for no apparent reason. There are so many better books out there, both about the Holocaust and the occupation of France during World War II.

Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka: The techniques in this book are helpful, but the more important aspect is simply the acknowledgement that yes, your child is "normal but more" (her phrase) and they're not the only one out there. We're already using many of her techniques, but the overall philosophy was still excellent (even if the book seems targeted at stay-at-home moms with high-earning spouses).

Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief: This book is primarily for parents of newborns, so I'm tucking it away for our next kid, but I still liked it a lot. Rather than selling a particular sleep method, Dubief boils down the existing methods into two main buckets and then shows you step by step how to accomplish each approach. Her humor didn't always land with me, but I'd recommend the book anyway for the valuable information.

Enchanter's End Game by David Eddings: It's unfortunate that this series ends with my least favorite parts of high fantasy — there's a lot of political and military strategy combined with the characters walking long distances. I still enjoyed finishing out my reread of this series, even though I previously enjoyed the follow-up Malloreon series more and am looking forward to rereading that.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon: This is a compilation of several things I don't like in one book: hardboiled detective novels, alternate histories, stereotypical female characters, and self-loathing, alcoholic, lying protagonists who break all the rules and put themselves in constant danger. Despite all that, it was moderately interesting and kept me reading, but I can't say I'd recommend it.

The Professor and the Madman: Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester: This was a very interesting story told by not a great writer. At times the information given was directly contradictory, which was frustrating, and the book could have been better edited. Still, if you're interested in the OED's history, then it might be worth the less-than-stellar organization and writing.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: This 100% stood up to rereading and is still one of my favorite books. I love everything, from the fascinating segues into psychological experiments to the ruminations on memory, from the heartbreaking family drama to the larger-than-life character of Harlow. I'm looking forward to my book club's discussion.

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

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Infinite Jest and Bel Canto
Five years ago I was reading: The Age of Innocence and The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Ten years ago I was reading: The Book of Sarahs

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