I ordered a puzzle at the beginning of quarantine that just showed up this week. Because of my obsessive personality (read below in my review of Mexican Gothic for more reference), I have done next to nothing except work on that puzzle for the last day. The good news? I’ve finished two audiobooks!
Before moving onto some #minibookreviews, here are some recent posts:
What have you been reading (and loving) this week?
Last Week’s Reads:
📱 *** Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I have no idea why this month seems to be filled with super creepy themed books, but add this one to that list as well. The story includes a crazy (maybe??) cousin, a haunted house, and ghosts from a long time past. On the surface, the scare factor is high, but the true genius of this story is in it’s many, many layers.
I personally felt like there was a lot to the story that probably flew over my head. (I also think my overthinking brain decided to overanalyze this book, trying to find some deeper meaning to the whole story.) The symbolism and the history of Mexico’s fascination with eugenics after the Revolution were things I had to research to gain a better understanding. Having said that, I’m sure there’s still a lot behind it that I may have missed, and because of those concerns, this book has proven hard for me to fairly rate.
Bottom line: this is a totally engrossing and atmospheric read. This is the first book I’ve read by Moreno-Garcia (though Gods of Jade and Shadow has been on my shelf for quite some time now), and I’m interested to see how a second book by her goes for me. I believe I can appreciate some of the nuance she was trying to layer into the story, but I also believe my obsession for finding a deeper meaning probably distracted me from the overall enjoyment. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
🎧 *** Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
I had tried to listen to this one a few months ago and it was quickly evident that my brain wasn’t in the correct space to focus on this story. I’m so glad I came back to it!
Díaz’ childhood was difficult. Her parents divorced, she moved from Puerto Rico to Miami Beach, she lived in neighborhoods where kids carried guns. She went to jail for stabbing her brother, and she struggled to find and embrace her true identity.
But for all those things that feel hard and heavy, there’s also a sense of survival and hope. Díaz is just one of those types of people that have seen a lot and come out better for it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Trigger warnings: Attempted suicide, depression, drug and alcohol use, schizophrenia, sexual assault, etc.
🎧 *** Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers by Helena Dea Bala
I know this book worked for so many of you, but it just didn’t for me. Maybe my expectations were a little off, but I was thinking it would be more along the lines of Dear Sugar. I was looking for some solid analysis vs a regurgitation of stories. Because the author basically relayed the stories verbatim, it felt disjointed and rough to me. I know she didn’t want to detract from the authenticity of the stories, but it felt jolted to me. Also, all of the stories felt repetitive – married, divorced (“I don’t blame him/her.”), blah blah blah. It was quite depressing and I gained absolutely nothing from listening to it. 😬🤷🏼♀️ By looking at the reviews around bookstagram, I feel like I’m in the minority on this one but it’s not something I’ll find myself recommending. ⭐️⭐️
*** Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
We should be anticipating the beginning of the summer Olympics right now, but because COVID has canceled everything this year, I settled for reading about gymnastics instead. Orenstein delivered a great story about the sport, the dedication required by its players and coaches, and really put me in the mood to watch Simone Biles fly effortlessly through the air. I appreciate this book for what it is – a light, easy, quick, and distracting read. I loved the part about the gymnastics and the Olympics, but the romance part of the book…not so much. Avery and Ryan just lacked the spark and reading the parts about their budding romance left me bored and unsatisfied. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
📱 *** Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, is one of my all-time favorite books so to say I’ve been highly anticipating her sophomore novel is a total understatement. I’ve seen only great things and I can’t wait to immerse myself back into a world created by Gyasi!
🎧 *** His & Hers by Alice Feeney
I’m seeing mostly positive reviews of this one and I’m taking a chance by listening to it on audio, but I’m excited to expand my usualy listening preferences to this book!
📖 Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by: Ibram X. Kendi
Maybe just about halfway through…my current thoughts: this needs to be added to high school and college curriculums everywhere. Valuable and insightful and soooo very different than the “history” I learned in high school.
DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):
📖 If You Tell: A True Story About Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen
I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book at a different time in my reading life, but lately I’ve been read a slew of dark and depressing books and I just couldn’t get into this one! DNF @ 8%.
🔖 Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
I am shocked at all the high praise this book has received. I read the first 50 pages and it was a real struggle. I found the writing dull and boring…and even though I read some reviews that said it took awhile to get into, I found that I just don’t care. DNF @ 11%.