Another week and we’re finally in June!
First off, thank you for your thoughts last week about my son having Covid. Unfortunately, we all ended up with it (I am very glad I wrote last week’s post on Saturday!) but we’ve come through to the other side. While I never want to go through that again, I am thankful that no one was so sick that we needed to consider an emergency room visit. I was able to get the anti-viral, which I think helped quite a bit. My son was probably the one who came through this all the easiest–of course, that’s how it goes. He was able to go back to school this past Friday and Lillie will go back tomorrow.
I have no other news for this week since most of it was just us all being sick, so onto the books…
As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.
Last week, I finished reading:
Life as a Unicorn: A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything in Between by Amrou Al-Kadhi
Date finished: May 30, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars
I thought I would like this book, but I didn’t know that it would be as powerful as it was.
Amrou Al-Kadhi gives us an unflinchingly honest look at their life from an Arab-Muslim boy struggling with his place in the world to an established non-binary Drag Queen taking London by storm. While Al-Kadhi and I are as different as night and day, I felt like they invited me into their life and showed me all the dusty corners. I had never thought much about why someone would decide to do drag, but Al-Kadhi explains it in such a way that it seems like a natural choice for some. I’ve always accepted that some people are non-binary, Al-Kadhi is the first person to describe what it truly feels like to not identify as male or female.
Al-Kadhi states in the book that they have been in therapy, and that shows in their writing. I only say this because I know that some people don’t gel with this sort of writing. Personally, I appreciated it because I think that is why Al-Kadhi doesn’t shy away from the dark parts of their life.
There are a couple of places where Al-Kadhi goes off on some tangents. For example, there is a section devoted to Quantum Physics. I kind of get what they were trying to say with this, but I did have a hard time following it (however, I was also dealing with Covid, so that may have muddled my mind a bit). Another nitpicky thing that became an annoyance for me was that whenever someone was introduced, Al-Kadhi would say, “Let’s call them….”. It would have been a much more effective and smoother read if they had just included a disclaimer at the beginning of the book that names had been changed.
All in all, this was a powerful book that has truly changed the way I look at some things in our world. Highly recommended!
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
Date finished: June 3, 2022
Star rating: 3.5 stars
Are some places happier than others? Is there a secret to happiness? Can we improve our own happiness? These are the questions Eric Weiner asks in this book and he travels the world looking for answers.
Despite how it sounds, this is not a self-help book. Weiner does not give us the top ten steps for being happier. Instead, it is more a work of travel journalism where Weiner talks about each location on its own merits, or lack thereof (looking at you, Qatar and Moldova).
There were things about this book that I liked. Generally, I enjoy travel tourism and this book visits some places that interest me–Iceland and Britain–and some that I know very little about, such as Bhutan. Weiner has a readable style and injects a good amount of dry humor into his narrative.
But, I felt that this book didn’t really come together at the end. Weiner isn’t able to ultimately bring the various narratives into one stream and he seems to lack any grand conclusion–even if Weiner’s conclusion is that there are no grand conclusions, it isn’t clear.
Also, this book is a good 15 years old and it shows. It may not show for everyone, but I think the American viewpoint (temperament? experience? I’m not sure of the right word), has shifted so drastically in the last 6 years that the view that Weiner takes on other countries seems…off. This, of course, is not any fault of the book or Weiner’s writing, but it does impact the experience.
I’m not sure if I can say I recommend this–I think if you go into it knowing what to expect, it’s worth it.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry (narrated by Julia Whelan)
Date finished: June 5, 2022
Star rating: 3 stars
I feel like people with pitchforks are going to come for me, but I found this book to be…okay, I guess? There were definitely some great things about it–Emily Henry does an excellent job with dialogue and building suspense where needed. I did, at points, laugh.
But, here’s the thing, I was just annoyed at this book. There was a little bit of the needless miscommunication issues that I felt were too prevalent in her previous book. However, that was a minor issue next to the fact that I was just fed up with the characters. I don’t have a lot of patience with martyrs–and I feel that is an apt description of both main characters. Nora was crippled with codependency, to a point that it should have been evident to everyone involved. There are times when it is appropriate for a book to stir up feelings of anger, but a romantic comedy is not one of those times.
I concede that I may be alone in this, that this book pushed some button within me that no one else has. Given the number of glowing reviews, that may very well be the case.
Last week, I started reading:
- The Fountains of Silence by Ruth Sepetys
- Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci (narrated by Stanley Tucci)