Saturday, August 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.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann: This is a fascinating and horrifying true crime story from a century ago. I wasn't quite as riveted as I've been by some narrative nonfiction, but overall it was a well written book with an important lesson about yet another way that white America controlled and decimated an entire people.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: This was a reread for book club (my recommendation). It was interesting to hear the (very long) introduction to the 10th anniversary edition this time around, about the things that have changed and those that haven't over the past 10 years. I'm encouraged by how many people have read this book or, just recently, are picking it up for the first time, though I'm not sure how far we've gotten on the path to dismantling the system.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera: I love the intention behind this book and the way that it showcases the complicated and problematic nature of white feminism. I think that's important for anyone who hasn't thought about those things before! But y'all, the writing was rough. I kept getting distracted from the story by everything that didn't make sense. I needed the novel to work as a novel, in addition to a lesson on feminism.

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene: Before reading this book, I watched some videos Greene had done outlining his method of collaborative problem solving, and I didn't feel like they were particular useful. I thought, though, that the book was clearly written and generally realistic about how these conversations are likely to go. If you're not already making space for listening to your kids talk about their frustrations and challenges without imposing solutions, this lays out exactly how to go about it.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson: This was my Best of the Bunch for July. Watson manages to cover a lot of ground in not a very long book, and she does it at a level that's accessible for young adults. As time goes on, Jade finds ways to speak up for herself in her friendship, at her school, and with her mentor. It's an empowering read that doesn't downplay the realities of Jade's life.

Lovely War by Julie Berry: I was skeptical about this at first, both the outer frame of Greek gods telling a story and the initial chapters of what seems to be a straightforward, sappy love story set amid World War I. But then we're introduced to more characters (in both the outer and inner frames) and the complexity of the tale deepens. This is not just a love story; it's a well-researched historical novel about World War I, including the horrific realities of life in the trenches and the frightening racism faced by African American soldiers.

Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School ed. by Mica Pollock: This is a collection of about 60 essays offering suggestions at both the theoretical and practical levels for being antiracist educators. There are essays by people from a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds (including white educators) and each one takes only a few minutes to read, so it's easy to imagine that someone could read one essay per day or per week and then use the prompts at the end of each essay to develop actionable plans to apply to their classroom immediately.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney: I ended up enjoying this more than I expected to, for a book that's literally just a woman taking a walk through New York City on New Year's Eve and thinking back over her life. Despite the frequent recommendations, I don't know if I would have picked this up if my book club hadn't chosen "a book set in a single day" as the month's theme, but I'm glad I did!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Guardians of the West and Severance
Five years ago I was reading: Mr. Popper's Penguins, Madame Bovary, The Girl with All the Gifts, and Nervous Conditions
Ten years ago I was reading: The Lost Symbol

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