Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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.

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee: This was very cute! It felt authentically middle school to me. There were a couple of plot threads that I feel like got lost along the way and the ending felt a bit rushed, but if you're looking for something that's cute and sweet and has f/f rep for a younger audience, this is a great pick.

Paradise of the Blind by Dương Thu Hương: I thought the author had an evocative writing style that made the setting come alive, but the main character was more a symbol than someone with a personality, and I had trouble connecting with her.

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper: This was an engaging story of the author's attempts to solve a decades-old murder. This is less of a classic true-crime narrative and more about how people become invested in stories, and how that shapes not only what people think happened in the past but also what happens going forward.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman: This is a transformational book that lived up to the major buzz that's been around it for months. Reflecting on the realities of our limited time and the necessity of dealing with life's unpredictabilities, Burkeman takes off the pressure to "get on top of things" or to spend your life a particular way. This was my Best of the Bunch for May.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: Oluo's writing is pitch perfect — direct yet compassionate, succinct yet comprehensive, balancing statistics and personal anecdotes so that neither outweighs the other. She covers all the most common conversation topics around race where well-meaning (usually white) people put their foot in their mouth, from "What about class?" to "Why can't I touch your hair?"

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer: This was a short but impactful book. Palmer uses some of his personal life experiences — including some vulnerable, less flattering ones — to show why it's critical that we focus more on living as our authentic, unique selves than on pursuing a life that aligns to a prescribed set of morals or a cultural definition of success.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding: What's disappointing about this book is that there are some really great parts, particularly the commentary of how society treats single women, but they're drowned out by Bridget's constant whining, calorie counting, uncharitable thoughts about other people, and perpetual lack of realism when making future plans. On the whole, this wasn't horrible, but it definitely wasn't for me.

Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson: Stevenson has compiled and clearly organized all the different areas that could potentially affect your sleep, everything from exercise and nutrition to room temperature and light exposure, but unfortunately the details of each chapter veer far into pseudoscience.

Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple by Agatha Christie: The Miss Marple stories in this collection all come from prior collections, it turns out, and so I'd read several of them already, but unlike her novels, these were short enough that many of the solutions hadn't stuck in my brain and still felt fresh to me.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar: This was super fun to revisit with my 7-year-old. While there were definitely some aspects of this 1978 publication that didn't quite hold up to 2022 scrutiny, on the whole it was just as ridiculous and funny as I remembered it, and at times an excellent satire of life in school.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Road Trip, The Case of the Counterfeit Painting, and Boy Erased
Five years ago I was reading: The Storyteller and Vanity Fair
Ten years ago I was reading: The Wisdom of Crowds

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