Books Read: April 2021
Much of my reading this month has been guided by what’s available right away at the library, either digitally or physical books. I’ve worked my way through my list that way because I’ve used up all my digital holds waiting for some books that will take a long time for me to get but that I really want to read. (I belong to a small system so I only get six holds at a time.) So this month is an eclectic mix, but it’s turned out that I’m reading the right books at the right time.
Jenny Offill’s second short novel captivated me from the start. There is something about the clipped way she writes, moving quickly from scene to scene that draws me in quickly and makes it hard for me to put the book down. This time her main character is a married woman with a young child who’s also trying very hard to take care of her brother who struggles with addiction. The thoughts on marriage, family, and work are abundant in this short read and I loved it.
I spot my favorite shirt, my least depressing underwear. I go into the bedroom and change into them. Now I am a brand-new person. (p 13)
Young person worry: What if nothing I do matters? Old person worry: What if everything I do does? (p 21)
“These people long for immortality but can’t wait ten minutes for a cup of coffee,” she says. (p 39)
Funny how when you’re married all you want is to be anonymous to each other again, but when you’re anonymous all you want is to be married and reading together in bed. (p 167)
A Desolation Called Peace
The sequal to A Memory Called Empire finds Dzmare back at her station and trying to make sense of what she experienced in the previous book. She’s also trying to navigate the politics of the station and keep herself safe from the Councilor for Heritage. At the same time Teixcalaan is waging war with an enemy that doesn’t seem to speak and can make itself invisible. Martine continues with the themes of memory in this book but she also gets into collectivism, what makes a human, and how do we all live together and maintain some sense of our cultures. It’s fascinating and the last third was very hard to put down.
The Power of Ritual
I’m fairly certain I found out about this book because Anne Helen Peterson interviewed Casper ter Kuile in one of her newsletters and I was intrigued. The subtitle of the book is Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices and ter Kuile goes about talking about how we find connection and the sacred today, especially since so many aren’t affiliated with any religious instituation or organization. This book made me a think a lot about how I spend my days and, more importantly, how I want to spend my days. It’s a quick read, but there is a lot of depth about how we form community that I’m still chewing on. I’ve found it hard to become part of a community of folks where I live for years now and this book has given me ideas on ways to possibly change that.
Sam Anderson weaves the story of the 2012-2013 Oklahoma City Thunder NBA season with the history of Oklahoma City in a really funny, delightful book. I know, I know, sports! I’m not a huge NBA person, but this book was so well written, so funny, and incorporated so many interesting details that it sucked me right in. Anderson finds a way to take that NBA season and keep it suspenseful, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen. I learned a ton about the land run and the founding of the city, and more. I highly recommend this one, it’s great.
The Monogram Murders
Sophie Hannah got permission from Agatha Christie’s estate to write a new Hercule Poirot mystery! I had to read it. I went into this wondering if Hannah could pull it off, but I’ve gotta say, she did a great job. The same quirks were there and, on top of that, it was a great mystery.
This is the second Jasmine Guillory romance that I’ve read and it was a bit disappointing. I’m not sure why I finished it other than thae fact that I’m a finisher. It wasn’t nearly as well written as the first book and I think this will be my last of hers.