Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January 2024 Books #MyLifeInBooks


New year, new books to read! 

The Island of the Missing Trees by Elif Shafak - Okay, I'll admit it, I get a little cranky about a book with a non-human narrator. This one was saved by that narrator only having periodic chapters. But this particular bias aside, this was a good book with an interesting story about Cyprus - I knew almost nothing about the history of this island! And the universal story about how we determine our identities and what is the meaning of home was really lovely.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson - This book was ...quirky.... The jist of the story is that there are these two kids who burst into flames. And a woman is hired to care for them, but becomes a loving parent to them.'ll have to read this one for yourself to see if you like it.

Don't Forget to Write by Sara Goodman Confino - really loved this story about a young woman who gets caught kissing the rabbi's son (!) and it turns her whole life upside what turns out to be a great way. It was sweet and light, but also heartwarming. 

The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman - This was like two totally different books - the first part and the weird second part. I enjoyed the first part, and the powerful message that reading can help you to find personal freedom was appreciated. But the second part? So confused. And somewhat annoyed. I usually enjoy magical realism but this one threw me for a loop.

Kunstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine - Similar to Sara Confino's book above, a young person ends up in the home of an older one, only to learn deep secrets from the older person. (I'm sensing a trope here.) I look forward to discussing this one with our book group in February, if only to ask the question of whether we are ready for Covid19 Pandemic Novels. 

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre - found family, casual magic, somewhat sweet romance...this was a little like eating a candy bar. Turns out it's part of a series, but I probably won't read the others. 

The Society of Shame by Jane Roper - Really liked this look at how "15 minutes of infamy" and the speedy news cycle in our crazy world lead to some ridiculousness. 

Can We Talk About Israel by Daniel Sokatch - I'm leading a discussion about this one next month, and there's a lot to unpack here. Readable, good background material, interesting perspectives. 

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang - Oh my. This book dealt with some major issues regarding race and appropriation - who gets to tell certain stories? whose stories get told? how do books get published and who decides what hits the zeitgeist and what doesn't? And truthiness certainly plays in. A powerful book, I couldn't put it down. (But it was a little like watching a slo-mo trainwreck. I knew it was going to crash...I just didn't quite know how.)

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan - This felt like a classic Picoult, with a family drama/murder mystery/courtroom story all tied up with Issue Of The Day. Still, it was a good read and I was guessing until the end. (Also, my guessing was wrong, which means I should stick to my day job!)

Lots of good reading ahead in the rest of 2024, stick around! :-)