Saturday, September 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 End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe: I really liked this memoir of the last few years of Schwalbe's mother's life and the books they discussed together. It's part reflections on reading, part Being Mortal-esque reflections on quality vs. longevity of life, and part biography of his mother's remarkable life, all of which I enjoyed.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman: This has been recommended to me for years, and I'm so glad I finally picked it up. Through the lens of one girl's medical drama, it's a comprehensive look at the importance and difficulties of crosscultural communication.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: This was my third-ever read of this book (in preparation for actually reading the whole series this time), and I found the full-cast audio production delightful. Pullman has created a fascinating world and an immersive, action-packed plot.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie: I enjoyed some of the unique concepts underpinning this world (the idea of a consciousness with many bodies, and a language without gendered pronouns rendered into English with exclusively female pronouns) but their execution wasn't quite airtight enough for me and left me with questions and frustrations. I also had trouble keeping the people and places straight, which was vital for understanding the twists and turns of the plot. Still definitely recommended for sci-fi fans, but it wasn't a favorite for me.

Talking Across the Divide: How to Communicate with People You Disagree with and Maybe Even Change the World by Justin Lee: This is a solid guide to why and how we should communicate with those we disagree with. Having worked at the intersection of the Christian community and the LGBTQ community for decades, Lee's examples lean a little too heavily in that direction and he conflates separate communities with mutually exclusive belief systems, but on the whole it's a good read.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock: This is an excellent and, dare I say, important memoir that fills a gap among existing narratives with Mock's story of being a trans woman of color growing up in poverty. Her experience differed greatly from those white, middle- to upper-class trans kids who comprise many of the stories we know and who have had access to educational resources and health care that Mock never had. Her writing style can be a bit clunky at times, but the story itself is worth the read.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel: Yay, I finally read this! I'm probably not the target audience because I'd already typed myself in all the frameworks she covers, but if you're looking for a comprehensive yet easy-to-read introduction to the best-researched personality frameworks out there, I highly recommend this.

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel: It's an Anne Bogel kind of month! Her new release is the perfect gift for a fellow bibliophile: nothing too profound, but a sweet, slim read about life as a reader that will have you nodding or laughing in recognition.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein: This took a bit to get into because there's a lot of backstory, but ultimately it pays off with this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale of how a low point in Hungary's history allowed a bumbling, alcoholic hockey goalie to commit 29 robberies over the course of a decade.

Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks: This may be my favorite book of the year. Brooks captures perfectly what it is like to be a parent in modern-day America, how the majority of your decisions are spurred by fear of screwing up your kid or fear of judgment from others. She delves into history, psychology, and real-life tales of mothers (including herself) who faced criminal charges for trusting their kids with a tiny bit of independence. I read the whole thing in under 24 hours.

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane: Mathabane published this story of growing up black in apartheid South Africa while apartheid was still the law, so in his effort to show Americans why apartheid needed to end, the book is a bit bleak as it's mainly a catalog of one atrocity after another without much else thrown in. Still, he succeeds in clearly documenting why apartheid was a horrific system and how rare it was that he made it out.

City of Thieves by David Benioff: This was a pretty straightforward quest story wrapped in the setting of WWII Russia, which I find well written but predictable. My biggest complaint was that every time the narrator met a female character, he spent the following pages mentally undressing her or wondering what it would be like to sleep with her.

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

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Leviathan Wakes and Bleak House
Five years ago I was reading: How to Be a Woman
Ten years ago I was reading: The Runaway Jury

No comments:

Post a Comment