Friday, October 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.

Here's what I read this past month, including what I've been reading to my son!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Laini Taylor's beautiful writing came alive with Steve West's masterful audiobook narration. The start was a little slow, but the characters all felt so real, the world-building was excellent, and the romance was actually enjoyable despite technically being kind of instalove. I really enjoyed my time spent in this other world and plan to read the sequel.

Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford: Ford covers a lot of "issues" in this memoir — having an incarcerated parent, surviving sexual assault, experiencing neglect and abuse — but she balances these hard truths with other truths, about the care and closeness she experienced from family members and friends, about the confidence in boundary-setting she found after going away to college, and about the healing she found through therapy and time.

The Space Mission Adventure by Sharon M. Draper: The Black Dinosaurs go to space camp, where they participate in simulated space missions and learn a lot about space travel. This was a more contained kind of adventure/mystery than the previous books, but my 6-year-old and I enjoyed it either way.

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea: Urrea is a talented writer, dropping the reader into the midst of a large family gathering. That said, it's exhausting enough attending an actual family gathering, and I don't know that I got much from the literary experience of sitting through someone else's, particularly as the book focused almost exclusively on the men, who were engaged in some kind of ongoing pissing match with each other.

Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families by Nicole Lynn Lewis: Lewis deftly combines her own story of teen parenthood with both statistics and the stories of the young parents her organization serves today. Through her stark honesty, she helps the reader understand the many factors that shaped her life, detailing the ways she barely escaped falling through the cracks to be able to begin and then successfully complete a college degree.

Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: So glad I finally picked this up! This makes excellent use of the graphic novel format (even if it's a little gory for my taste). There's suspense and action and humor, and I'm definitely interested in continuing the series.

Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data by Stephen Few: This is a pretty good overview of the best design principles for dashboards. I was familiar with much of it already, but I found it a thorough review of the practical considerations that make dashboards easier or harder to use. The screenshots are from 2006, so they're pretty hilarious and not exactly representative of what you'd see today, but they still get the point across.

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen: I had a hard time relating to this. The author's target audience seems to be college students, as there are various references to classes and papers and tests. Most of the jokes were ones I've seen elsewhere before, and the themes of lack of self-control, poor self-image, and periods being the worst thing in the world just didn't resonate with where I am in my life.

The Backyard Animal Show by Sharon M. Draper: Draper is skillful at working in important topics through stories of kids having adventures. In this fifth book in the series, the Black Dinosaurs have a pet show gone awry that is grounded in lessons about deforestation and habitat destruction. Sad there's only one book left in the series!

A Psalm of the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers: This was just lovely. Chambers has written a book for this moment, for those who have been burnt out by the pandemic or by late-stage capitalism, who need permission to try something new or to just sit with a cup of tea for a bit without accomplishing anything. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller: Miller is an incredibly talented writer, and she did an admirable job narrating her own audiobook. Through a minutely detailed account of the aftermath of her assault by Brock Turner in 2015, she gives the reader a visceral sense of what it's like not just being a survivor of assault but surviving the court process that is involved in trying to get justice.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Young adult books can be wildly hit or miss for me, and this one had most of the attributes that make one a miss. The writing and editing were sloppy, the adults don't seem to care what happens, there's painfully token diversity, and the love interest in the alphahole of all YA alphaholes. I was not a fan.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Ace, The Vanishing Half, and Sabriel
Five years ago I was reading: A Little Life, Adoption Parenting, La traduction est une histoire d'amour, and On the Road
Ten years ago I was reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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