Of course I preordered Barack Obama’s new book, A Promised Land! Yesterday, I was constantly looking out my window to see if the mailman had put it on my doorstep yet. I also had to finish up Caste (see below), so I was ready to tackle a new book. Thankfully, I finished so I’m in the proper headspace for a new story!
If you need me, I’ll be curled up on the couch with the new Barack Obama book!
Onto the books I read last week…
Last Week’s Reads:
*** 🎧 Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
I truly don’t know where I fall with this one. Overall, I think I liked it. I listened to it on audio and I really enjoyed the narrarator! As for the plot, I liked it too. It easily conveyed the mundanity of life: grocery list items that I actually found fascinating, and the simple pleasures a family has when they take the time out of crazy life to slow down a bit and enjoy a weekend away. I think Alam presented these things simplistically on purpose – and to emphasize just how much would change when something mysterious begins to happen.
At the end of the book, I’m not really sure what happened. I think I have an idea, but at the very least, it felt slightly familiar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to relate to the idea that some unseen force makes it feel safer at home, that travel becomes a thing of the past, and that trust in others is immediately one of the first things to disappear.
This book won’t be for everyone – if you’re not ok with a ending that ties everything up nice and tidy, don’t even attempt this one! In the end, you’re left with more questions than answers and, even for me, that aspect is pretty frustrating. This would be a great book club pick because I think the discussion and others’ interpretation would add more to the overall experience. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
*** Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West
If you’re a 1980-1990s movie buff at all, I think you’ll enjoy this book. Right off the bat, I knew I was not the intended audience for this essay collection because I don’t watch movies. And even when I do, I don’t remember them.
Because I’ve been a die hard fan of Harry Potter, I could relate to the essay, Harry Plot Hole, and boy did Lindy West bring up things I never even thought about! Things that should have been more than obvious and that drove my crazy just like they do West. The essay on Forrest Gump, Dude, You Gotta Stop Listening To Your Mom, was also good and I appreciate the way West refers to Jenny as Jennay throughout.
I love Lindy West and her books are always a favorite to listen to on audiobook. As mentioned above, if you’re into movies at all, you’ll enjoy her take on them! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
*** Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
Here it is, folks! THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK OF 2020! I’m breathless after finishing this one and I am so very grateful for the work Wilkerson has done to be able to present us with this masterpiece.
I have yet to read The Warmth of Other Suns (let me assure you – it’s now shot up to the top of my TBR!), but I’m looking forward to immersing into Wilkerson’s writing again. Her writing is compelling – offering her readers information in digestible bites that jump off the page because of it’s relatability. I could hand this book to my teenage children and they would also be able to comprehend the importance of her words.
In fact, this book was a wonderful conversation starter with my kids! On the way to school, I would bring up something I’d just read from the book and we’d have some important dialogue. History class hasn’t changed much since I went to school, and so I know it’s on me to teach my children about the racial injustices of this country – past and present.
Heading into this book, I thought I had a good understanding of the racial issues so prevalent right now. But Wilkerson quickly humbled me, showing me that I only have a surface level understanding and that I have a long, long ways to go to reach the depths of this issue.
This book was a paradigm shift for me. I now see racial injustice, systemic racism, and the work ahead of us differently. This book took it from a general concept and made it personal. Maybe it’s the cumulative effect – from watching the last horrifying 8:46 seconds of George Floyd’s life on tv to the riots all over the country on television – but it hit me in my heart and I am grateful. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Don’t forget to listen to Oprah and Isabel Wilkerson on Oprah’s Book Club Podcast, where they discuss the Eight Pillars of Caste.
*** Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan
Omg…the first 8% of this book have already destroyed me. Talusan’s writing is poetic and lyrical and absolutely sucks you right in. I’m here for this story about a “Filipino boy with albinism whose story travels from an immigrant childhood to Harvard to a gender transition and illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender”.
*** A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
Just when I was ready to throw in the towel, I get to the essay titled, “I Love My Mom”, about Jost’s mother’s experience on 9/11 and it was incredible. I have to keep going now in hopes of finding more of this!