what I have been reading (we had a lot of snow days edition).

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa Harris-Perry (via the public library)

Goodreads suggested this to me after I read How to Be Black last year. I put it on hold over winter break and then all that stuff happened with the Romney picture and then the book came in at the library the week after. Other than that misstep, I have loved the interviews I have seen with Melissa Harris-Perry and this book was so methodical as it spelled out the ways that black women are stereotyped and shamed by our culture. My only complaint is that it is an academic book (she is one of our foremost public intellectuals, if not the foremost public intellectual) and I wish for something a little more casual to give to all my friends. Recommended for: fans of Michelle Obama (there’s a chapter on her), people who have noticed that black women in our culture don’t get a fair shake, people who think that black women in our culture do get a fair shake (you are wrong and should read this so you know why).

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (via the public library)

This is a story told in the form of documents explaining the disappearance of Bernadette Fox compiled by her daughter Bee. Is Bernadette foolish and unwise or is she flat-out crazy? The book itself is funny and sharp, but I have to say that I am a big fan of character and these characters are not easy to love. The chaos that Bernadette allows in her life was kind of stressful for me to read, so some of the things that other people found hilarious were less so to me. The book is a page-turner for sure, and I finished it quickly. Recommended for: people who like Arrested Development (the author worked on that show).

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (via the public library)

Everyone I know was watching Orange is the New Black over the summer. My friends, my coworkers, random people on the internet. So we finally watched it, too, and I loved it and had to read the book. I put myself on hold and I was number seventy something. It took four months for it to finally get to me. Worth the wait, though! It was a great read and very different from the show. Recommended for: fans of the show, people who are interested in what prison is like, people who enjoy fish out of water stories.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (via Netgalley)

I read this a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about it. The main character is a girl named Cadence who spends every summer with two cousins and a friend on her family’s island. They call themselves The Liars. One summer something terrible happens and nothing is ever the same again. I was hesitant to read a book about a bunch of spoiled rich kids (plus their obligatory poor friend) that sounds like seventeen things I have read before but I saw so many raves about it that I decided to give it a try. It’s more than just a book about privileged kids, and even though it wasn’t completely my cup of tea, it was definitely memorable. Recommended for: the thing is that you really should go into this book without much of an idea about it, so I don’t think I can say more than that. I predict it will be a big YA smash when it comes out in May.

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick (via the public library)

I am doing a project on Matthew Quick for my YA literature seminar, so I am working my way through his books. This one is about Amber Appleton, a girl who lives with her mom on a bus because her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out. Amber’s driving force is optimism. She and her misfit friends want to do good in the world, but she is stuck in some difficult circumstances that might be too hard to overcome. I enjoyed the passage (seen below) where she talked about Jesus being a rock star and how she wanted to be like him. Overall, I thought this book was weird. I liked the group of misfits and the way that religion was treated as a serious part of a teenager’s life. But it seemed like too many things happened for one story, and after the big turn that the plot takes, the book really dragged. Recommended for: people who like Sara Zarr, fans of realistic fiction.

rock star

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (via the public library)

I probably don’t need to summarize this one because chances are you saw the movie or at least a commercial for the movie or at least you saw Jennifer Lawrence win an Oscar for her role in this movie. I did not love the movie unreservedly, and the book bugged me in some of the same ways. Recommended for: if you liked the movie you will like the book.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick (via a high school library)

This was my favorite of Quick’s books so far (I have one more to go), although it was a little bit strange. It’s about a basketball player named Finley who is trying to escape his small town by getting a basketball scholarship. His coach asks him to look out for a new kid who is decidedly weird and calls himself Boy 21. Turns out that Finley and Boy 21 have more in common than they might have thought at first glance, and those things help them both make it through their last year of high school. Recommended for: people who like books about guy friendship, people who like books about basketball, people who remember that feeling of being trapped in high school.


The Vinedresser’s Notebook: Spiritual Lessons in Pruning, Waiting, Harvesting & Abundance by Judith Sutera (via Netgalley)

This was a sweet book about what Judith Sutera has learned about life from being a vinedresser. I liked the way that it referred to vine and vineyard imagery in Christian theology in ways that felt welcoming instead of exclusive, and the ideas she was explaining were applicable in many areas of life such as creativity and discipline. Plus, I learned a little bit about growing grapes! Recommended for: people who drink wine, people who like reading books about art, people with green thumbs.

If you made it this far, congratulations. I blame the snow days for all the reading. (Some of these books came from Netgalley but my opinions are my own.)

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *