Monday, May 04, 2020

Reading Update

I haven't written a Reading Update since February, so although my lack of focus has slowed down my reading considerably, I still have plenty of books to report.

Book #15 of 2020 was White Rose, by Kip Wilson, a verse novel about a teenager who joins the Resistance against the Nazis during World War II.

Book #16 was a gift from my son for my birthday, 363 Days of Tea, by Ruby Silvious. I loved this book, which consists of photos of a year-long art project in which the author repurposed used tea bags as tiny canvases for her creations. For a look at some of the amazing and beautiful results, check out this gorgeous blog post at Jama's Alphabet Soup. This is where I first learned about the book, and put it on my wishlist, back in 2011.

Book #17 was I'll Be Your Blue Sky, by Maria de los Santos. I remember enjoying this book, but honestly, I don't remember much more than that about it.

Book #18 was Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano. This is about Edward, who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. It's the story of how he recovers from this terrible experience.

Book #19 was Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer with extensive experience of the racial injustice inherent in the US system. In this book, Stevenson shows us case after case of people he worked with who ended up on death row. Recommended.

Book #20 was Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney. An author's note tells us that Lillian Boxfish is based on a real person, Margaret Fishback, and her career in advertising beginning in the 30s. I really enjoyed all the details of the time period. The frame of the story is a walk Lillian Boxfish is taking in New York City on New Year's Eve, 1984.

Book #21 was The Second Sleep, by Robert Harris. There's not much I can tell you about the story without giving away the big surprise, so I'll just say I liked this book. I can imagine it getting made into a movie at some point.

Book #22 was The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng. While reading this I learned a lot about Japanese gardens, tea plantations, and the Japanese occupation of Malaysia during the second World War. I found it an absorbing book.

Book #23 was Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell. I am not sure if I bought this for my Kindle because it was on sale at a really low price, or if it was because my daughter, a huge Mary Doria Russell fan, recommended it. Either way, I didn't know what it was about, and almost stopped reading once I realized - would you believe, it begins with the 1918 flu pandemic! In spite of the topic, the book pulled me in, and I ended up enjoying it very much. It includes a trip to Egypt and a chance to get to know T. E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia. But, fair warning, it also includes this passage and others like it: "Without literature as a guide, I expect you think of the flu as a homey, familiar kind of illness, not a horrifying scourge like the black plague or smallpox. You may believe you know what the flu epidemic was like for us. Pray, now, that you never learn how wrong you are."

Book #24 was In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle. I was totally wrong about this book; I thought at first it was a rom-com, due to the beautifully set up premise at the beginning, and what a relief that would be! But no, it's full of grief and trauma, just like all the other books I've been reading lately. In the meantime, there were way more descriptions of what people were wearing than I'm used to.

Book #25 was Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah. Yup, more grief and trauma. I loved that this one was about a long friendship, which I think in many ways is a lot harder to write about than romance.

Book #26 was Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid. Everyone is reading this right now, so I was amazed that it became available so quickly from the library. This book is so full of uncomfortable situations, leaving you feeling off-balance in the very best way. It explores race, prejudice, dating, and childcare, all issues that can lead to rage very quickly. This would be a great book club read. Check out this interview with the author.

I'm in the middle of several other books, so I hope my next reading update will appear a lot more quickly than this one did! 

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