Wednesday, July 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.

This past month my son and I have been at my parents' house so they could help out with him, and it's amazing what a difference this has made in my reading life!

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli: There were many aspects of this book that I liked, but the overall construction of it was too artistic, too metaphorical for my taste. I appreciate what Luiselli was trying to do, and I would still like to read her nonfiction book, but this novel wasn't for me.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: This was a reread for book club, and I enjoyed it even more the second time. This time through I came close to crying at the end, and I better understand why Summers ended it the way she did. Very powerful.

Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis: This book is just what it says in the title — an overview of the intersections of gender, race, and class throughout history, specifically looking at the feminist movements and how they did or did not incorporate women who were Black or were not upper or middle class. Davis covers a lot of ground in a short book, and it's clear why this book is still highly recommended four decades later.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby: Tisby provides a history of systemic racism in the United States, specifically through the lens of Christianity. This wouldn't be my go-to recommendation for a general history of systemic racism, but it's an excellent choice for any conservative Christian who may be newly open to learning about the church's historical and contemporary complicity with systemic racism.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram: It's always great to read a YA book that doesn't feel like every other YA book I've ever read. This was lovely and sweet and a nice change of pace. Definitely recommended if you can get past the near-constant Star Trek and Lord of the Rings references.

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale: This is a thoroughly sourced summary of all the areas of society in which policing has made things worse rather than better, including schools, mental illness, homelessness, gangs, and border control. If you want to better understand the current "defund the police" movement, this is an excellent overview of the main arguments. Definitely recommended.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: I liked the first part of this book — we're placed into an Earth overcome with radioactive dust where most people have fled to a new colony on Mars. After that, though, I felt like the plot wandered around a lot. Beyond the engaging premise, it was just one of those books about a self-absorbed guy going through an existential crisis who keeps changing his mind about what he wants to do next, and we're supposed to care because there's symbolism and stuff.

Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli: This was exactly what I was hoping for! We revisit the characters from Creekwood through the emails they send each other during their freshman year of college. It was funny and sweet, just like you'd expect. A nice little return to this world and these characters!

You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy: This one was definitely a mixed bag for me. I think, on the whole, I came away with some food for thought on how to be a better listener. However, I had several large concerns with the author's approach to this topic, from overgeneralizations to audist language. This isn't one I'd go out of my way to recommend.

For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity by Liz Plank: Plank details all the ways that gender roles and toxic masculinity hurt men, too, and how gender equality and giving men more freedom to have emotions and explore their true interests is beneficial to all genders. I thought this was interesting but not too surprising and could have been organized and edited better.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming: Having David Tennant read me a children's book while I'm sick in bed was just about perfect. The story is a bit outdated and some bits don't always make sense, as you'd expect from a children's book, but on the whole I thought it was a fun mix of delightful and thrilling (and so much better than the movie!).

The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine N. Aron: I read this on Anne's recommendation that this is less triggering for an HSP than the adult version. I think this book is helpful for getting a general overview of this particular temperament, but I found a lot of the general parenting advice questionable; her specialty is on temperament, not parenting. This might be helpful as an introduction to highly sensitive people, and children in particular, but I wouldn't recommend following all of her parenting advice.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: Kendall details the many issues that aren't counted as "feminist issues" because they don't uniquely affect women, and yet if you look at the lives of marginalized women, the issues that are most pressing in their lives are largely ignored by mainstream feminism. This book is valuable for anyone interested in social justice, but particularly for white, middle/upper class feminists who may not understand why those different from them can feel left out of the feminist movement.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: I never read this one as a kid, but I probably would have liked it. I liked books where kids had to solve a problem on their own through ingenuity and hard work. In this case, the main character is trying to hide and care for a dog that a local man has been mistreating. Nowadays this wouldn't be the first book I'd recommend for a classroom (there are more than enough books about white boys and their dogs) but I'm glad to have finally read this.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green: I couldn't put this down. I really love this duology — it's relevant and funny and action-packed and thoughtful and a kind of science fiction that speaks to the experiences of Internet content creators in a way that I haven't seen elsewhere. This book doesn't have the puzzle-solving element that I loved so much in the first book, but it was still a highly satisfying read.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: There Are No Children Here
Five years ago I was reading: The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Woman in White
Ten years ago I was reading: Angela's Ashes

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