January/February In Review

Hello out there!  I’m back briefly!  I’m in the midst of final projects and job hunting, so I’m not sure how regular I’ll be still, but I wanted to pop back in here to catch up with my reading.

So, 16 books in 2 months.  Most of them were for school, on multicultural children’s literature, but I’ve had a couple of good ones that I read just for me.

Everyday by David Levithan

3 cups of tea.  An interesting idea about a character who wakes up in a new body everyday so is not male or female, or any of the other things we think of as defining a person.  Interesting idea, but I seriously don’t want to read about high school.

A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich by Alice Childress

3 cups of tea.  A good book, an important read, but not my taste.  I did like the ambiguous ending.

14061955Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

3 cups of tea.  Fine, meh.  I can see the appeal, I can see how Bardugo grew as a writer to create the Six of Crows books.  But, I find these ones a little predictable, a little slow, and I don’t particularly like Alina.  But I do like Sturmhond.  However, I will read the 3rd book at some point to finish off the story, and I’ve heard that it’s the strongest of this trilogy. (audiobook)

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

5 cups of tea.  Lovely.  The story of a boy whose family has been homeless before, and they are now again facing the prospect of becoming homeless.  He starts seeing his imaginary friend again, a giant fluffy talking cat with attitude, as he processes the impending instability and reflects on their previous homeless experience.  It was heartbreaking, but in a good way.  I cried a couple of times, but I loved it.  Will get my own copy for sure.  Katherine Applegate, I remember you when you were K.A., and I’m glad you’re back on my radar.

The Last True Hero by Bec McMaster

3.5 cups of tea.  This was ok.  The post-apocalyptic setting isn’t my favorite (especially now that she’s said it’s supposed to be American Southwest, which I find a little bit iffy for some reason.  Maybe it’s the magic talismans from a shaman that feels too indigenous tropey).  The characters were fine, the plot was fine.  It had all the elements of a romance novel, motorcycles, bartending women, rapey bad guys.  It was very middle of the road for me, and I don’t think I’ll buy it in physical copy, but I will buy the next book in the series when it comes out.

1041257A Scholar of Magics by Caroline Stevermer

2 cups of tea.  DNF.  Just too slow and a little too dull.  The dialog was very good, but the in-betweens just weren’t holding my attention.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams

5 cups of tea.  The story of three sisters going to stay with their estranged mother in Oakland in the 1960’s and her connections with the Black Panthers.  I really liked this story, the way the characters were built, and Delphine’s very conflicted feelings about being the mother-figure of her two little sisters, even though she’s only 11.  And, I enjoyed learning about the Black Panthers from a perspective that wasn’t essentially ‘scary black people with guns.’  We had an interesting conversation in class about if Delphine’s mother should be described as mentally ill because she wasn’t a maternal mother.  I maintain no, that she is merely not a maternal person, and that describing women who don’t fit expectation as mentally ill is a pretty dangerous direction to go.

The Liberal Redneck Manifesto by Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, Drew Morgan

5 cups of tea.  This was a fun audiobook talking about the upsides and downsides of life and culture in the South.  I love these guys for their work tearing down stereotypes about what people with Southern accents are like, and what liberal-minded people are like.  Bought it for my brother. 🙂 (audiobook)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

5 cups of tea.  AMAZING.  My work is doing a campus-wide read for this book, which has been really cool.  I loved listening to Coates read the audiobook, and I feel like my eyes are being opened, over and over about the realities of black lives in America. (audiobook)

8909152Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

4 cups of tea.  This book has been on my Kindle for 2 1/2 years, so it was time to read.  A friend was reading Carry On, which gave me the push I needed to get started with Attachments.  I liked it.  Rowell is a good writer.  The characters were relatable, the romance was sweet though it could have been creepy.  I’m not sure how realistic Lincoln is as a man (like I’m actually not sure, is he overly ideal, aka written by a woman?), and I was a pre-teen when this book was set, so I couldn’t directly relate to the cultural references, but it was a nice read.

Where the Mountains Meet the Moon by Grace Lin

4 cups of tea.  I didn’t realize this was a parallel to The Wizard of Oz in some ways before reading it, but I totally loved it.  I definitely want my own copy. (audiobook)

Bird by Zetta Elliott

3.5 cups of tea.  A picture book about a young boy dealing with the loss of his brother to drug addiction and overdose.  An important story, if a little bit thin for me.  I do think that kids need to see their own lives and struggles in books, even if their struggles are serious and their reading level is young.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

3.5 cups of tea.  A fun return to the Lunar Chronicles world.  It felt a little incomplete, partly because of the medium, so I’ll have to see how it really stacks up once we get going a little more.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

2 cups of tea.  Basically all of my least favorite parts of being a teenager in a graphic novel.  The art was good, this just wasn’t my kind of story.

Layout 1My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

2 cups of tea. DNF.  The writing is good, but I am not up for rapey, abusive, mean people stories about desperation and struggle.  Just not up for it right now.  Maybe I’ll return to it someday.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

3.5 cups of tea.  A prose poetry novel about the experiences being a refugee to America after fleeing the Vietnam War.  There is some wonderful insight here into the feelings and struggles of refugees resettling in a new country, and I definitely think it is worth a read.

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