If this weekend’s record temperatures mean anything for our upcoming days, it’s going to be a H O T summer…and I am not here for it. I H A T E heat and wish I could live in a spot where’s it’s perpetually 70-80 degrees…all day every day. As I get older, I hate the extremes of the weather spectrum – the intense heat and the figid cold. What’s your ideal temperature?
Before we get into the quick reviews, look at the covers of my finished books this week! 😍😍😍 Luckily, the books lived up to them…though only one was a standout read for me!
What did you read this week and love?
The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood
The Bad Muslim Discount is a funny and insightful story of the Muslim-American experience. If you can’t tell from the title, it also weaves in witty humor that I just adored. I wouldn’t have picked this one up based on the cover alone (I’m sorry! I know most love it, but it felt too rom-comish for me!), but I kept seeing stellar reviews of it! I’m so happy I read it because it is a clear frontrunner for my Halfway Top 10 list (coming in July!)
The story follows two different Muslim families that immigrate to the United States – one from Pakistan and one from Iraq. Their reasons for coming to the U.S. are vastly different, and Masood explores the nuances of family, love, immigration, and religion expertly and with some great humor! I loved his writing style and despite dealing with some heavy themes, he was able to also relay the complications of every day life – some parts are sad and hard, but there are also times where there is snark and humor and laughing too.
Also, I highly recommend Sarah’s wonderful podcast interview with the author, Syed Masood! You can find it here.
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
“And I am sorry I had nothing else to offer, Ana. That there are no real rules to govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It’s all lottery, Ana, all chance. It’s the flick of a coin, and we are born.“Of Women and Salt, Gabriela Garcia
As one of my most highly anticipated reads of Spring 2021, I preordered this one and screamed when I saw its gorgeous cover in person!
There’s a lot happening in this story – a story of five generations of Cuban women which spans from 1866 in Camagüey to present-day Miami, a Salvadorian immigrant and her daughter, Ana, who are deported to Mexico, and lots of characters and timeline jumps. Honestly, it sounds more confusing than it truly is (and the physical book provides a family tree which really helped me keep things straight), but for all that’s happening it shocked me that this book was only around 200 pages!
I loved Garcia’s writing and there were particular parts of the book that I liked more than others. Each chapter almost felt like a short story, and while the stories are all connected, it also made the overall impression feel disjointed and clunky. I was hoping for more, but this was an impressive debut and I’ll be curious how Garcia’s craft develops.
*** Oak Flat: A Fight For Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss
This is an incredible visual nonfiction book that educated me on the fight for Oak Flat, a sacred mesa located in Arizona that belongs to the Apache. The land is rich with copper, an important and expensive supply used in nearly everything (buildings, cars, etc). Once the American government found out about its supply, the battle was on. But the Apache, like so many other tribes in the United States (the Souix at Standing Rock in South Dakota is the first that comes to mind) are fighting to preserve these lands that they respect and call home.
The book not only lays out the value of the land, it also gave me so much cultural information. The Apache are a culture that value women and it was beautiful to read about the coming-of-age ceremony that the young women go through. There is so much respect for each person and their role within the tribe and I greatly appreciated reading about some of it.
The artwork throughout the book emphasized the points Redniss was trying to make and they are truly beautiful. The colors are so vibrant and they jump off the page!
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)