Almost half way there! Let’s start with the bummers and work our way up from there.
The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan was just boring. Like one thing happened that I guess was supposed to be exciting but it was pretty predictable (and if I saw it coming it must have been pretty predictable because I never see anything coming) and therefore still boring. (Fiction)
“Disappointing” might be too strong a word for Tankborn by Karen Sandler. It was fine. I wasn’t really disappointing but it wasn’t earth shattering or awesome or anything. I did like that the upper class was black but Sandler just kept mentioning skin tone. There was a lot of repetition about facial structure and skin tone and trueborn and I got it. I got it. The division of classes was obviously a big topic of focus for the author but I think it would’ve had more impact if she hadn’t pointed it out so much. For instance, Devak, a trueborn, is at the marketplace and he notices in his narration that the low born people move aside for him and avert their gaze. But if he were trueborn and had lived as such his whole life, I doubt he would hardly notice how the people around him “rightly” acted. That kind of thing. Too spelled out, which is disappointing because it means Karen Sandler thinks little of my intelligence. (Young Adult, Science Fiction)
“Disappointing” is the perfect word for Uglies by Scott Westerfeld because it was fun, obviously for young readers, but entertaining, and then the moral just fell flat on its ugly face. (SPOILER) I was excited and optimistic about Shay who was all, “Eff the system! I don’t want to be pretty! I want to be interesting! I want to be me!” But THEN Miss Tally only comes around to the idea of not being surgically enhanced when a GUY tells her she’s pretty. So the moral of the story is that it’s all okay as long as a boy thinks you’re pretty. Which is disappointing. (Young Adult, Dystopian Future)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was like reading an episode of CSI! Once I finished the third part and knew why the killers killed I wasn’t super motivated to read the fourth part. Then I started it and it was interesting learning about the other people on death row, etc. I appreciated how the interview and quotes and things wove together in the story. It was like news that read like a novel. (Nonfiction, Crime)
Kate DiCamillo is just great! The Magician’s Elephant does not disappoint. It’s fun and imaginative and inspiring and heart warming – everything I’ve come to expect from our gal Kate. (Children’s Fantasy)
What are we to make of a world where stars shine
bright in the midst of so much darkness and gloom?
– The Magician’s Elephant, Kate DiCamillo
About half way through Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling I thought, “It’s alright,” but then I read these emails that Mindy made up written by an imaginary Mindy living in an alternate universe as a Latin teacher and laughed out loud through the whole thing. This book was definitely entertaining but it was also inspiring. Mindy is a really hard working woman who has perspectives I can really get on board with. (Memoir, Humor)
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it?
Flaunt it. ‘Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?
– Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
One scene in particular sticks out to me from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She is recounting listening to the Joe Louis fight and how when he won the thoughts of the people around her were, “we are the strongest people in the world.” That little story communicates volumes about culture, identity, and community/racial success. (Nonfiction, Memoir)
To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing
is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom
and the threat of eternal indecision.
– I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was both entertaining and thought provoking but I decided to include it here because I wrote a whole blog post about the thoughts it provoked in me about well-intentioned women. This novel includes a couple very interesting mysteries and some great characters. It’s about a pharmacist going to the jungle to check up on a researcher. She ends up making a bit of a home there in the jungle and it is thoughtfully entertaining hearing about her transition. (Fiction)
I will eventually (maybe) write a blog post about The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber and how he addresses reverse culture shock. When I was reading this one I liked to bring it up in conversation because then when someone asked me what the book was about I could say, “It’s about a guy who’s a missionary to aliens.” The aliens were a little boring as far as aliens go but I liked the parallels between missions in space and missions on earth. (Science Fiction)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a lot like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in that they both were books I just had to listen to. I’m not saying I listened to the audiobooks, I’m just saying that I had to check my assumptions and perceptions at the title page and listen to Maya and Chimamanda and trust and believe their experiences as an African American and Non American black woman. (Cultural Fiction, Africa)
Don’t put a Let’s Be Fair tone and say “But black people are racist too.”
Because of course we’re all prejudiced…
but racism is about the power of a group
and in America it’s white folks who have that power.
– Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie