Thursday, December 30, 2021

December 2021 Books #MyLifeInBooks

Oops, I didn't really read The Guncle this month. I read indeterminate number of months ago and I forgot to record it. So it never got a review but I loved it.

The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin - I loved this sweet story of an unlikely friendship between three total strangers with an environmental storythread. I was fascinated by the beekeeping and happy with the loveliness of the overall story. (And then I saw a beekeeper on TikTok and it was so cool to watch...but I'm still staying far away from the bees myself.)

Israel: A Simple Guide to the World's Most Misunderstood Country by Noa Tishby -  This book has been fairly controversial in that people of all stripes have said it's "biased" or "propaganda" and therefore I'm pretty sure that means it's probably not. That said, it is clearly written by an Israeli who loves Israel. Full of facts and history, it's written clearly and in a light tone. A great place to start if you want to understand more about what's going on in that little strip of land in the Middle East. *note that Goodreads only had a link to the audiobook, which is not how I read this book

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner - This book has made so many best-of-the-year lists! It's certainly a love letter to Korean food, and it made me hungry each time I picked it up - even when I didn't even know what a particular food was, I wanted to try it. It's a very personal story of coming-of-age, and grieving, and family dynamics - and I'm not sure that I loved it as much as so many others. I did feel like it was a really powerful read, however. 

Linked by Gordon Korman - A middle grade novel about a small town with a swastika problem. It was readable and interesting, and the twist at the end made it really powerful. It felt a little like the middle-grade equivalent of The Assignment, which I read in July. I highly recommend for all my young friends!

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante - I know people LOVE the Neopolitan books but I could NOT get into them and I found the writing style too vague for me. This one's coming out in a movie and I decided to give it a shot. Totally disliked it entirely. Maybe I just didn't get it? Also, I can't even imagine how this is going to make a movie. But it has a great cast. So....?

We Are Not Like Them by Christina Pride and Jo Piazza - I liked it. It was interesting, emotional, and powerful. I was pretty sure where things were going and I did find it a little bit preachy. A worthwhile read but not at the top of my list.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - I liked this YA book that flirts with the allegorical idea that children who are "different" are in some way really from other worlds, in other dimensions. Interesting, a little creepy....I liked the world-building but thought the mystery was wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. 

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff - I loved this ghost-story-coming-of-age-grief story. Yep, it's all that and it wasn't confusing and it was really lovely. This is a middle-grade novel and perfect for a thoughtful young person or a grownup who works with young people. 

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi - wow, I loved this beautiful and simple book about time travel with a little twist. We can't change the past, we can't change the present, but we can change ourselves....

The Lost Things Club by J.S. Puller - This was a heartbreakingly sad book about a child healing from a terrible trauma, and also a reminder to adults that our language matters. Telling a child that a loved one who died is "lost" can be a euphemism that leads to tremendous pain. (Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.) I love the relationships in this book, though, and overall was a good and powerful read.

Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden - Four kids and a ripple-effect healing/kindness movement made this a wonderful and fulfilling read. Beautifully written and a strong look at different kinds of kids and how they really will heal our world. 

The Keeper of Lost Things - A sweet story, with a somewhat predictable ending. I liked seeing it all come together...

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling - when you ask your young friends for their favorites, and then you read them. This is a story about a girl born without arms, and how she makes her way in the world. Maybe a little heavy-handed (it is middle-grade, though) but really delightful and creative book!

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