Sunday, March 15, 2020

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 another reread of this book for book club. As in previous reads, I enjoyed this book even though I felt certain explanatory details could have been added for narrative continuity. The story is essentially a lesson in the history of Iran combined with Satrapi's own coming of age, and for the most part it's very well done.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown: The best part of this book is that, by the end, you're emotionally invested enough in the boys and you understand enough about the obstacles they have to overcome that — at least in my case — you will literally cry, despite knowing from the first page how it all turns out. The worst part is that it takes a long time to get to the point where you know enough to cry over a race you already know the outcome of. A long time, with a lot of very specific details about the sport of rowing. I can definitely see why this book comes so highly recommended. Just be prepared for a long, slow, immersive ride to the finish line.

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann: This was a cute romance that also managed to be a kind of Asexuality 101. It opens with a painful breakup scene, but moves on pretty quickly (a little too quickly for my taste) to a new love interest. Overall I thought it was a sweet romance with complex characters and a good explanation of what it feels like to be ace.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama: This was a good read, although it took me an abnormally long time to get through. It was fascinating to read this now, four years after the end of Obama's presidency, when it was written before he even became a senator. Whereas he shied away from explicitly talking about race when he became president, this was a raw and complicated exploration of his relationship with his race and the shifting ways that he viewed the father he barely knew. On the whole, this was a very good book and I'm glad to have read it, even if it took me a while!

Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton: On one hand, this is a classic story of a child going off to boarding school, dealing with challenging circumstances, and being targeted for ill treatment by a specific teacher. On the other hand, we gain an understanding, at a child's level, of the narrator's particular culture (Inuvialuit, one of the Inuit people) and how the school tried to strip her of her language and culture. It's well done, providing the average kid with relatable aspects while also educating them about the history of residential schools in an age-appropriate way. I'd definitely share this book with my kids.

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent by Carla Naumburg, Ph.D.: This is just what I like in a parenting book — concise, practical, and relatable. Her tone is chatty and she intentionally uses silly acronyms, so know that upfront if that's not your style, but she also has a Ph.D. and relevant experience working with different parents so she's not just armchair theorizing about what works. So far I've found her advice helpful when I've needed it; here's hoping it sticks!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: Turns out, YA fantasy? Still not my jam. I enjoyed it as an adventure story even if it was a bit formulaic and more than a bit predictable, but I could have done without all the teenagers lusting after each other. I found this to be an enjoyable read (despite the parts where I rolled my eyes or guessed aloud what was about to happen) and I see why it's popular.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: I flew through this! I found Tash immensely — sometimes painfully — relatable. She's dealing with newfound fame after her video series goes viral, and she's also dealing with family issues, college plans, and trying to figure out how and when to explain her asexuality to other people. I'm glad this book was recommended to me!

Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel: In this book, Bogel pulls together a lot of different types of "overthinking" into one book, and for each category, she offers personal examples, what approaches have worked for her, and tips for creating your own guidelines to keep yourself from overthinking in the future, including helpful questions at the end of each chapter. It's not overly prescriptive; she will simply set you on the right path toward deciding how you want to handle similar situations in the future.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Indian Horse, Becoming, and Mankiller
Five years ago I was reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Because of Winn-Dixie
Ten years ago I was reading: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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