Thursday, August 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.

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz: This was a well-written book, and I think it would have had a bigger impact on me had I not already read several similar books. In following one family in the Chicago projects, he manages to walk the line between hopelessness and false optimism.

Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie: Christie wrote this very last novel as her mental faculties were fading, and boy does it show. This book reads like one of those memes: "I forced a bot to read every single one of Christie's books and then write a Tommy & Tuppence novel." It could more accurately have been called "Tommy and Tuppence Go Senile and Do a Lot of Housework."

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park: Despite the sometimes simplistic middle grade style, I learned a lot from this work of historical fiction. It explains, using stories a child can understand, why Koreans resented being taken over by Japan, and it shows the characters taking actions big and small to resist the Japanese and hold on to pride in their culture.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis: I can definitely see why this book is known for being problematic. The "bad guys" is this book seem to be pretty clear stand-ins for Middle Eastern Muslims, who are depicted as being crude, unwashed, and uncivilized. Outside of that, I found it to be a decently plotted if not terribly enthralling adventure story.

Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński: If you are very interested in the former Russian/Soviet empire, or you like detailed and far-ranging travelogues, then this book is for you! I learned a lot, but I also almost put the book down partway through because it was such slow-going. It's a good book for a niche audience.

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D.: This is one of those books where you can either get hung up on specific questionable beliefs underneath the author's recommendations, or you can focus on the efficacy of the recommendations themselves, which is my preference. It's definitely meant to be read by couples together, so keep that in mind. If you and your partner are willing to approach the book with an open mind and focus on the outcomes more than the validity of the central theory, then I think this is definitely worth a read.

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino: Unlike the podcasts where I first learned about ethical non-monogamy, this book is way more focused on sex as a reason for having multiple partners. It's fairly comprehensive as a guide to considering opening up a monogamous relationship, but I wasn't thrilled with the way she talked about the LGBTQ community at times or some of the specific recommendations she made around rule-setting.

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo: This book deserves all the attention it's getting! It's an incredibly clear and concise guide to the assumptions most white people hold about racism and why they therefore get outraged at the suggestion that they might not be perfectly woke and post-racial themselves. I highly recommend it, particularly for those in the target audience of "white progressives."

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The End of Your Life Book Club and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Five years ago I was reading: Geek Love, Someone Knows My Name, and The Cross in the Closet
Ten years ago I was reading: Walden

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