Last Week’s Reads:
*** Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein
Another fantasic book that helped lend some understanding to America’s current division – how we got here and some suggestions that could help heal that divide. It was a great companion read to Let the People Pick the President (see my review here) and it gave me a lot to think about. Perfect reading heading into the 2020 Presidential election! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
While I had high expectations for this one, I also had a lot of trepidation. “Fantasy” tends to freak me out, but I also like being pleasantly surprised. Basically, this one is hard for me because it was ok. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It was good enough to keep me intrigued, but I always have a hard time with books (usually fantasy) that have places and names you can’t pronounce. I get it – it’s part of the genre – but, for me, it’s a distraction. That’s a minor complaint, but overall I just don’t think this is going to be a book that sticks with me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
*** His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
Afia is a strong, independent, and stubborn protagonist who fights against the patriarchal society of Ghana. When she’s married to a man who doesn’t even show up to the wedding, Afia understands the job before her – turn her new husband back towards his family and away from his girlfriend. Become the only wife, woman of her husband’s heart.
But as Afia settles in her new (fancy) home, her husband, Eli, is as distracted as ever. He tells her he is on business trips, but is he really just visiting his other family?
Life as Eli’s wife is good – she has lots of money at her disposal, she is studying to be a designer, and Eli has promised to help her set up her own shop when she finishes school. But is the money and the lifestyle enough for Afia?
This book reminded me of Stay With Me…another book that opened up the Ghanaian culture to me. I loved that this was a contemporary fiction; the modern-day setting made it relatable. I was impressed with the author’s simplistic, but impressionable, writing and look forward to her future books! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Here’s how this book made me feel: 🤯😳😮🥰
That’s a true depiction of what my face did while reading this brilliant piece of writing. I have NEVER read anything like this and I could not have loved it more!
This story is an interesting journey. For the first bit (seriously, only like 20 pages or so), I was unsure of what I was reading. I was thoroughly confused and it wasn’t resonating with me. But then I hit my stride and I settled into it. I liked it well enough. Then, about halfway through, my mind started to blow up. And by the end, it was all the way blown up and I am in total shock and awe at what a masterpiece it was.
We all have those parts of ourselves that have fractured off from what the public sees. Our inner voices that speak to us and, more importantly, protect us. Obviously, these fractured selves are different for everybody – I definetly don’t have the protection mechanisms that Ada had, but I’m still well aware of the parts of myself that I diligently fight to protect. Without giving too much away – because I think it’s best to enjoy the journey blind – this is the gist of the book.
I encourage you to read it and see for yourself where you fall once you’ve finished. Because many other before me have offered up various interpretations of Ada, this would make a fascinating and fun book club discussion! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
After finishing Emezi’s brilliant debut, Freshwater (see above), I couldn’t wait to start this one!
*** The Aftergrief: Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss by Hope Edelman
Since I lost my mama seven years ago, I read a lot of books that discuss grief. I’m probably far enough along my journey of loss now that they don’t all resonate with me or teach me new things. So far, this one is a little repetitive or non-relative to me. But I truly admire Edelman and the work she’s done in the grief community so I’ll continue on!
DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):
*** Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
I know the audiobook reviews of this one are highly recommended so attempting to read it in ebook format may have been a mistake, but I’m just not invested in the story. DNF @ 32%.
*** Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett
I’m sorry to say I DNF’d this one around the 25% mark. By then I felt like I had read this story a thousand times – a tough childhood where the author demonstrates some real grit and resilience. I’m not discounting Jollett’s experience – I just wasn’t in the right mindset to have my attention caught.