Recently Read | Quick Lit | February 2019
Time for a new quick lit! I’m sharing what I’ve been reading over the past month and giving you little summaries of what I thought about each. This year, my goal is to read fewer books but choose ones that have been on my list for awhile, ones that I already own, books written by authors from marginalized groups, or ones that I think will be in some way challenging for me. It’s been tough getting through some of the ones that are outside of my comfort zone (We Cast a Shadow, The Gunslinger), but I LOVE the feeling when I finish. So far, I’m enjoying the experience.
Here’s what I’ve been working through!
The Dreamers has been everywhere on Instagram and right in my reading wheelhouse. A mysterious illness hits a college campus in a fictional town in California, causing victims to fall asleep and not wake up. I thought the writing was gorgeous and not too over the top.- but there were a lot of characters to keep track of. I think I would have liked it more overall if we got a little more action with the focus on fewer specific characters- but that’s just personal preference.
This was one of the most intense and all consuming thrillers I’ve read in awhile. Darby Thorne is a college student who is heading back to home Utah after her mother received a serious medical diagnosis. On the way, she gets stuck in a blizzard and pulls over to the nearest rest stop. She’s there with four strangers and while she’s in the parking lot trying to get cell phone reception, she sees that a child is locked in the back of a van.
This one really worked for me! It’s so intense and brutal but it really had me on the edge of my seat. It’s extreme and at times teetered the edge of believability, but the characters kept me engaged and I had to see how it ended. It’s been getting a ton of hype, but in this thriller lover’s opinion, the hype is warranted. I expect it’ll be on my favorite thriller of the year list and I can definitely see this being made into a movie.
I have mixed feelings about this. I picked it up because it's a pick for Reece Witherspoon’s book club and it met the criteria for a nonviolent true crime book for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. It’s about a fire at the LA library that destroyed something like 400,000 books, making it the largest library fire in history. It’s simultaneously a love letter to libraries and speculation about how the fire got started. I’m glad I read it and it was interesting, but some of the parts were super dry. I think it could have used some editing overall and I don’t recommend it on audio- the author narrates and I didn’t love it.
I picked up An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good for the obvious reasons- both the cover and the title are fantastic. Our protagonist has lived in the same apartment for the majority of her life, and she’s going to do whatever she needs to to keep things the way she likes it. Delightful, or as delightful as a book about an 88 year old murderer can be.
The Line That Held Us initially grabbed me because it was marketed as “Appalachian Noir”. While hunting, a man accidentally shoots another man and tries to cover up the accidental death. The man that he’s shot is a part of the most notoriously dangerous families in the area, and the decisions he makes leads all of those involved down a terrifying and destructive path. All told, I’d recommend this to those that don’t mind brutality and like stories set in small towns with complicated relationships between its residents. The writing was solid and and oddly haunting.
Reading this book was such an experience. It’s being called the movie Get Out meets The Sellout. We have an unnamed Black narrator in an unnamed Southern town sometime in “post post racial” America. He’s doing what he feels is best to protect his biracial son. He wants him to go through a legal and popular procedure called demelanization, which will turn his black skin and features more white.
I liked the narrator’s tone and really went through the range of emotions reading this. It's not an easy read- I'm not used to reading satire and was uncomfortable many times- but that's the point. It was a great reminder that books don't need to make you happy for them to be a worthwhile reading experience. I found it to be an incredible debut and an author to keep an eye on.
This was excellent! It’s an essay collection written by black women authors about the importance of inclusivity in literature. The contributing authors talk about their personal connection to reading the feeling they got when they first recognized themselves on the page. Loved the recommendation lists for additional reading. I’m glad I have a copy of this in my collection!
Have you ever read a book so fast that you walked away a little sad to have wasted your first read of it? Yeah, that was me and On the Come Up. I loved Angie Thomas’s debut, The Hate U Give, but I wasn’t sure how well I’d like her sophomore novel. Friends, this is as good as THUG. Angie Thomas is so incredibly skilled. She’s able to take marginalized characters and really share their story. OTCU is about an emerging talent in rap who’s trying to get out from under the weight of her community and frm the shadow of her murdered father. The story addresses poverty, systemic racism, rap culture, drugs, gangs, and more and I’m so happy a book like this exists. Thomas gives these issues such nuance and I walked away really feeling like I had more of an understanding of these character’s situations and motivations. Really loved it. I’m also so impressed with her own rap skills!
I finally finished book one of The Dark Tower series! It’s my goal to get through all of them this year and I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was a Western and that it’s a fight of good versus evil (??) and that’s about it. I went through a lot of emotions reading this, but finally got comfortable in the "not knowing”. By the end, I started to connect with Roland (the gunslinger) and am curious to see how book two starts and how the rest of the series unfolds.
This is not going to be breaking news to most of you, but Milk and Honey is a work of art. I picked it up to meet the read a poetry book category for Book Riot’s Read Harder and was reminded how much I used to love poetry way back in the day. The words are sparse but pack an incredible punch. She covers relationships, family, abuse, love, body image, and the overall human experience. This book would make a great gift- I’m planning to get myself a copy too.
How’s your reading been going? Let me know if there are any “must reads” you’ve recently read that I need to put on my radar!
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