Thursday, November 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.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi: This was a reread for book club, which provides a nice overview of 15 years of Iran's history while sometimes skimming over too many details of Satrapi's life during that time. Overall, it's a quick read that's an accessible history lesson and occasionally quite funny while at other times heart-wrenching.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: Another book club reread, which I followed a bit better on Kindle than on audio. I think Morrison has a lot of good pieces that she tried to cram into a single short novel, which means the impact of any one piece is diluted. Any one passage from this book could be valuable to read and dissect and discuss, but as a novel, it doesn't hang together like I would hope.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: This was an interesting plot wrapped up in one of the most irritating narrative voices I've encountered in a while. If it hadn't been so overwritten, with citations and similes and random facts, then it would have been a lot more readable and enjoyable to read.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell: This tells the story of Lewis' childhood up through the successful integration of lunch counters at the start of the civil rights movement. I knew most of the pieces of the story, but it was fascinating to be told the entire story as a complete narrative, and the integration of the story with the artwork was excellent.

It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker: I found this book very useful, even though I think it's geared slightly more toward teachers than parents. Shumaker invites the reader to question some of the societal rules around raising kids by going deep into what kind of adult thinking is at the root of some of these rules, what kids are really thinking, and how it's possible to move forward in a way that is healthy and safe for everyone while helping kids feel secure and see adults as trustworthy.

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell: It's hard to imagine this story told as impactfully in another format. It's difficult but important to see the brutality that protestors across the South encountered in the early 60s. Even when I was horrified by the events depicted on the page, the bold images and continuous narrative thread made me keep reading.

Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims: This was the first book I'd read that dove deeply into the personal experience of being a biracial person in America and how it intersects with racism in a particular way. Growing up with an African American father and a white British mother in predominantly white towns, Lythcott-Haims was othered by the whites around her while feeling isolated from the black community. This book is the story of her owning her biracial identity and then eventually embracing her identity as a black woman.

Blue Babies Pink by B.T. Harman: This is technically a blog-turned-podcast, but it's basically a straightforward audiobook. I've heard — and read — a lot of Christian LGBTQ coming out stories by now so there was nothing that surprising, but that didn't mean it wasn't heartbreaking to listen to anyway. If you are either a gay Christian looking for a story like yours, or you don't already have strong opinions about the intersection of faith and sexual orientation but are open to hearing someone's personal experience, I'd definitely recommend this story.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver: I'm not necessarily sorry to have read this, as there are certainly bits and pieces that will stay with me, but I was disappointed that this was not Kingsolver (one of my favorite authors) at her best. In trying to convey a specific message, she's lost the ability for subtlety and nuance and the whole story suffers as a result.

Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King Jr.: This was fascinating. The civil rights movement generally gets only a few pages in one's history book, which means the Montgomery bus boycott is reduced to a sentence or two. Hearing a detailed account of the logistics and all of the challenges along the way made me better appreciate what an undertaking it was.

March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell: This final volume continues the excellent artwork and story of the previous two volumes, focusing this time on the efforts to get black Americans registered to vote. I highly recommend this book series — you will likely learn a lot and gain a greater appreciation for how much the American civil rights heroes risked and sacrificed.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty: I found this a compelling read plot-wise, but the decision to tell the story from 12 different perspectives and try to give every person a personal revelation and a happy ending was a bit much. This was an enjoyable enough read, but I'll stick with recommending her best works.

How to Be Successful without Hurting Men's Feelings by Sarah Cooper: This is a short, tongue-in-cheek "advice" book that pokes fun at the impossible standards women are held to in the workplace. At times it veered off the path a bit, but in general it was spot-on in its humorous takedown of sexism, harassment, and double standards for women in the workplace.

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

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The World According to Garp and To Sir, with Love
Five years ago I was reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Roots
Ten years ago I was reading: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1

No comments:

Post a Comment