Monday, March 15, 2021

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.

Maternity leave is continuing to aid my reading life, though it will sadly be coming to an end soon (though I am very excited to see my coworkers again). Here's everything I've finished this past month!

Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts: Ricketts lays bare the realities of racism through statistics and stories and helps guide the reader through introspective exercises to equip themselves to do the work of racial justice. Unfortunately, I found some of the messaging and terminology muddled and I don't think the book offers a clear way forward.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: This was just as fantastic as everyone had told me it would be. Chambers has nailed it all: the sci-fi world-building, the found family, the high-tension climax, the balance between "there's a way out of every bad situation" and "everyone isn't unscathed in the end." I immediately picked up the rest of the series.

Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief: This was a reread and it continues to be my go-to recommendation for new parents; I found it immensely helpful for planning our approach to sleep with this baby. So far all of her advice has been spot-on and easy to follow!

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater: I quite enjoyed this reread myself, but my 6-year-old thought it was a little boring. I thought it was fun to see the silly ways they adapted to having penguins in their home. My son had a hard time caring about the logistics of caring for the penguins or the family's money problems. Glad we tried it anyway!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: This sequel has quite a different tone from the original, though it takes place in the same universe. Told through two very different stories, this is a quiet book about learning to be human. At times I felt the stories dragged, but I found the ending to be both sweet and satisfying.

They Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie: This includes many of my least favorite elements of Christie's books, and certain aspects of the plot didn't make sense either. On the plus side, I did enjoy figuring out the whole mystery myself for once!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers: Very different than the first two Wayfarers books, here Chambers has imagined what it would involve for humans to leave behind Earth completely and why people might still be aboard the homesteaders generations later. I liked the characters and the themes, but without much of a plot it couldn't always hold my attention.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi:
This book deserves all the hype it's received. Kendi has packed an immense amount of valuable material into only a few hundred pages, and he's made it both readable and relevant to a wide variety of readers. It's incredibly valuable for providing a roadmap forward, which so many books in this realm don't do.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole: This is a sweet romance novella that made for a quick read. I enjoyed the story and the characters, even if the plot structure required that one character keep something a secret longer than made sense.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow: This was an immersive fantasy story with excellent narration on audio. There's magic, mystery, action, and heartache, and it's also a reflection of the problems with the white capitalist patriarchy. Some parts of the plot didn't always make sense, but on the whole I liked it.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: There's a lot of solid content in here, lines or passages that I think succinctly get at the need for a feminist consciousness, particularly when raising children. It's unfortunately quite heteronormative and cisnormative, though, and in general I didn't find anything new or surprising here.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: My 6-year-old got a bit bored at points, but on the whole he really liked this. As for me, I have found Dahl's books less charming and more disturbing as I've gotten older, and this was the first read-aloud with my son where I skipped over some problematic bits as I went.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Red, White & Royal Blue and Paradise Lost
Five years ago I was reading: Cold Sassy Tree, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Book of Mormon, and Borders / La Frontera
Ten years ago I was reading: Committed

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