Hey,bookworms! How have your reading goals gone so far? I’m actually not dissatisfied with how many books I’ve read in the last 3 months. My mom has been in and out of the hospital several times since the year started 😒 which means LOTS of time visiting the hospital and sitting around waiting to talk to doctors. Those are the true reasons while Ive done more reading this year,unfortunately. My mom is home and much better and so now that things have settled back down, let’s catch up. Most of my reads are picks for The Reading Women Challenge. I’m really enjoying reading again thanks to this challenge. It’s inspired some very interesting and wonderful conversations between myself and my 13yo daughter. Let’s get into it.
1) THE FORTUNATE ONES BY ED TARKINGTON:
I was expecting more from this book. I though I was going to get a murder or an illegitimate child or something along those lines. What I got was a story of an underprivileged boy who gets to be high society adjacent thanks to his mother’s “connections” via her job. There were now real twists and turns. The one actualshock was a secret revealed at the end. I didnt care for that secret because there was nothing leading to it. The characters were not special and the story reminds me of a Hallmark movie…predictable.
2) THE DIVING POOL BY YOKO OGAWA
I liked the way this was written but I had no idea what the stories were about other than a weirdo who keeps making a kid sick, a pregnant woman who becomes obsessed with eating grapefruit jam, and a dorm manager who may have killed 2 people. There was no end. The stories just ended like the writer wasn’t finished.
1) THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES BY DEESHA PHILYAW
Every story was beautifully realized and honest. I’m a church kid myself and to read some of the stories from the POV of the adult children of church folk was relatable and I saw myself in them. My favorite story was “Dear Sister” which made me tear up. Deesha definitely turned these stories into art. Can’t wait to read her again!
2) THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS BY CHLOE GONG-
OMG, this was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I think this is a YA book which made me hesitate because I’m a grown ass woman lol. However, I’m so glad I read this kind of retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It was a totally different story from R&J and I really liked that. I feel like retellings should be 80% the author’s imagination and 20% retelling. The side characters really helped tell the story and I have to say I had no idea whodunit until it was revealed. I’m officially a Chloe Gong fan and I look forward to the next installment of this series. Btw, the jacket is sooo pretty! 💛💛💛
I don’t even have the words for how this work changed me. I saw myself alot(see my thoughts on The Secret Lives of Church Ladies)when Baldwin talks about how he turned to the church and became prominent there all the while feeling like a fraud, essentially.His breakdown of religion and why Blsck people are drawn to it as well as how White people use it for their own gain. Baldwin even dissects the Muslim religion after meeting Elijah Muhammad. He seems to say that while the idea of the Muslim mission is great, perhaps it has not really been well thought out. Ugh, just very honest opinions about himself,religion, and how it affects Black people in both negativeandpositive ways.
1) THE HEART GOES LAST BY MARGARET ATWOOD –
I was expecting this to be a super heavy book about the prison system and how well intended utopias are broken..or something like that. What I got instead was a slightly dark kooky fun ride. There were Elvis sex robots, and a weird af affair…well two weird af affairs, and everyone spends one month in,one monthout in”jail” which is supposed to lower crime..idk. I enjoyed the plot and most of the characters were interesting and dark. Some things were overexplained but even the explanations are funny and wacky.
2) THE JOY LUCK CLUB-
A masterpiece. Amy Tan does a wonderful job of weaving mother-daughter relationships into how Chinese culture and beliefs shape those relationships. I remember someone comparing this book to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and I agree to an extent. One difference is that it really focuses on the mom- daughter aspect. I very much enjoyed seeing how mothers and daughters alot of times just misunderstand each other. It seems like because in Chinese culture women are taught to keep silent, they don’t have the tools to communicate in a positive way with their children,specifically daughters whom are a reflection of themselves as women. As both a grown daughter and a mother of 2,one being a daughter, I appreciate that Tan told the stories from both mothers and their daughters. It added authenticity to the overall measage for me.