Friday, February 15, 2019

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.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons: I didn't get the humor, maybe because I don't find poverty, mental illness, family tensions, etc. to be as funny as they're made out to be here. I liked the elements of suspense and the descriptions of the setting, but I wouldn't recommend it.

A Passage of India by E.M. Forster: I see and appreciate all that Forster was doing with this book, and it was also a bit exhausting to read. I'm glad it made a splash in 1924 Britain and possibly contributed to India's push for independence, but from 2019 standards it still feels a bit other-ing of the Indians.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese: I had hoped this would blow me away, but it never did. I enjoyed the story overall, but I never connected to the first-person narrator and he does something horrific in the latter half of the book that made me very angry!

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: This was my favorite read of January. This book is great at both a plot level and a metaphorical level. I was left satisfied but still with enough questions to want to continue the trilogy!

Home by Nnedi Okorafor: I enjoyed this as much as the first book, although it ends with a cliffhanger. I love the way Okorafor took a real-life people (the Himba) and layered in futuristic elements like mathematical meditation and space travel.

The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor: I was disappointed in the ending to this series! Although I'm still glad to have finished out the trilogy, there were tons of pieces that didn't make sense or were generally unsatisfying. I would still highly recommend the first book in the series, and then you can decide if you want to read the rest.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen: There were a lot of excellent individual phrases, passages, and observations within this book, but overall this was not my cup of tea. It turns out that I don't like dark, dramatic, literary fiction about an alcoholic Asian man with a secret any more than I've liked the same types of books about white men.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London: I'm glad to have read this again, since I really didn't remember anything from my initial read when I was younger. It was a quick listen and worth it if you like classic books, dogs, or the history of the gold rush. Just be prepared for some, shall we say, outdated language.

Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches by Hillary Frank: This was such an enjoyable read! The whole first half of the book had me laugh-crying over some of the ridiculous things people (myself included) do out of desperation to get babies to sleep, toddlers to eat, and preschoolers to get out the door fully clothed. The second half of the book I did a lot of highlighting of the excellent tips for life with siblings and older kids. I definitely recommend it for all parents of young kids — if only for the laughs!

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie: I was disappointed that the identity of the eponymous "secret adversary" was obvious from halfway through the book, but there were enough twists and turns to keep me listening, and the ending was satisfying in multiple ways. I'm looking forward to reading through the rest of the Tommy and Tuppence books!

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers: I enjoyed this much more than I expected and am glad to have read it. Despite being written in 1940, McCuller's characters who were black or deaf were portrayed with (IMO) more accuracy and nuance than a lot of what you find even in today's books. The ending is not a happy one, but it is not hopeless either, and I was glad to have read this.

Modern Kinship: A Queer Guide to Christian Marriage by David & Constantino Khalaf: This may be the best Christian marriage book I've read, period, even though I'm not the target audience. I found it helpful as a way to understand what my LGBTQ siblings-in-Christ may be experiencing, but also found their general advice about marriage to be a valuable reminder about what makes a relationship last. The authors are vulnerable about their own experiences and also incredibly practical, and the result is a book that is helpful, challenging, and beautiful.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann: I enjoyed this more than I expected; it seems like a book of short stories, but actually the characters are all tied together in some way, so you get the story of one day — the day of Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in August 1974 — from a bunch of different perspectives. The writing is beautiful, and the book draws on the power of small moments rendered in sharp detail.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I liked this much more this second time on audio than I did the first time I read it. The characters still exasperate me, but this time I understand that the story of Biafra's brief existence was the true center of the book, and I appreciated how it was brought to life.

Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber: I have loved all of Nadia Bolz-Weber's books to date, and this one is no exception. What I love most about this "sexual reformation" is that, while she illustrates how many destructive ideas about sex originate in the church, she advocates for a sexual ethic that is not separate from the Christian faith but rather deeply informed by it.

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

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, The Unlikely Disciple, and The Stand
Five years ago I was reading: Adoption, And the Mountains Echoed, and War and Peace
Ten years ago I was reading: Copyediting

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