I closed out January and started February with another fantastic week of reading. Because of the nature of my job (I work as a landscaper for money), I always have a ton of time to read in the winter, my off-season. It’s a satisfying way to start the year. I know that my reading time will start to diminish come spring, so right now I’m savoring every moment of afternoon reading while I still can.
Highlights from this week include Sing, Unburied, Sing, which exceeded even my very high expectations, and a joyful hour on Saturday morning spent listening to Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk, which was just about the most funny and delightful audiobook I’ve ever read.
BOOKS I FINISHED
The books I finished reading this week. Links go to my full reviews.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
4/5: I recommend it with abandon!
Revolutionary Mothering edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, Mai’a Williams
3/5: I recommend it, but I’m not going to shove it into your hands saying, “read! read!”
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
3.5/5: I highly recommend it if romance is your thing.
I love Santino Hassell, so I was pretty pumped when this hold finally came it (ten weeks later!) It’s an adorable little football romance between a suspend player on house arrest and the man he hires as his personal assistant. I am not into football, but I loved this book. I am pretty always going to love romances involving gay athletes.
Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
3/5: I recommend it, even though it wasn’t my favorite Santino Hassell novel ever.
The second book in Hassell’s Barons series, this one focuses on two football stars from opposing teams who are forced to work together at an after-school sports program after they’re both suspend for fighting (with each other, because they hate each other). Obviously, that changes fast…because romance! I didn’t like this one quite as much as Illegal Contact, but it was still a delightful little romp.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (audio reread)
Trying to rate this book feels dishonest–it’s too important to me, and my experiences reading as a child and an adult were too different to quantify.
It breaks my heart to say it, but this one did not live up to my memory of it. The audio was great and I enjoyed listening to it. But it did not leave me with the feeling it left me with when I was a kid. This is one of the books that made me fall in love with reading. I loved the Wrinkle in Time series so much that I proceeded to then read everything Madeleine L’Engle had ever written, even the adult stuff I was definitely too young to understand. I have such vivid memories of certain scenes from this book; these characters felt as close and real to me as my own friends.
After I finished listening to it, I felt bereft. It was not as incredible as I remembered! But upon reflection, I’ve realized I’m okay with it. Children experience the world differently from adults. It seems right that there are some magics only children can know, and that as adults, we just have to live with the memory. Nothing can ever change the way this book moved me as a child. In some ways, that’s even more magical.
Just Kids by Patti Smith (audio)
3.5/5 I highly recommend it, especially the audio. I didn’t love it, but I’ve been thinking about it for a few days, and it’s been growing on me. Overall, the bits that soared outweighed the bits that dragged.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
5/5: I recommend it with abandon!
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (audio)
4/5: I recommend it with so much abandon!
Please do yourself a favor and listen to this audiobook. It is only an hour–an hour of utter, utter delight. The premise: while their mother is out of town presenting scientific research at a conference (awesome!), her two kids wake up to discover they’re run out of milk. So their dad runs down to the corner store to get more. When he gets back, they demand to know what took him so long. What follows is a hilarious, creative, good-natured and very silly romp through time featuring a dinosaur inventor and aliens with seriously bad taste. I could not stop laughing; at moments I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying. Neil Gaiman is an absolutely fantastic narrator. This book is beautiful whimsy at its best–the perfect balm for any minor ailment.
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
4/5: I recommend it with abandon! It’s a short book (you can easily read it in one sitting), but it packs a punch.
BOOKS I’M IN THE MIDST OF
The books I’m reading right at this very moment.
What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Sovereign by April Daniels
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
WHAT I’M READING NEXT
Next up in the never-ending cycle of too many books and too little time.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Why I’m reading it: Because it’s been on my TBR since it came out and all the people everywhere keep telling me it’s amazing and I loved her first novel.
Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie
Why I’m reading it: It fulfills a task for Read Harder 2018: a sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author. Also, it’s been on my TBR forever and comes recommended by many friends.
Books published this week that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins
Why I’m excited about it: The subtitle says it all. I actively seek out the voices of black women (and other women of color) across all my reading, but recently I’ve been especially trying to read more nonfiction that illuminates and helps me engage with the ugly truth of American racism. I’ve heard so many good things about this one, and Roxane Gay gave it five stars on Goodreads. So that’s an automatic “yes, please!”
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Why I’m excited about it: It’s a dark YA fantasy about fairy tales and I’ve heard lovely things about it, and I can never have too much fantasy in my life.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Why I’m excited about it: It’s a romance that begins when a woman decides to accompany a man she’s just met to his ex’s wedding. I gotta say, I love a fake relationship romance. Plus, there’s been a lot of love for this one around Book Riot and once again, it got five stars from Roxane Gay, so I’m in.
OVER AT BOOK RIOT…
I wrote about some queer sequels coming out in 2018 that I can’t wait to read, and my latest strategy for tackling the never-ending project of reading the books I own.
- Pretend Your House is a Library: A Strategy for Actually Reading the Books You Own
- 7 Fantastic Queer Sequels Coming in 2018
MEANWHILE, THE OCEAN:
That’s it for me. How was your week of reading?
I read Anna Karenina a few years ago, and have my daughter Aanya named after the protagonist. I would like to know your review once you are through reading it.
I’ll post one for sure! So far I’m enjoying it but it may take me a while to finish as I read about 20 pages a day 😊
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