A (big) week in my reading life.

It’s Sunday again already! At least for another hour…

I’ve had a big week for reading. I see that I was so busy reading I didn’t blog. At all. Whoops again. Someday I will get more consistent with this!

What I read this week:

The Blackhouse by Peter May Goodreads

Have you ever heard of ‘tartan noir?’ I hadn’t, until I needed a book to fit that description for a challenge. A little research brought me to this book, and I’m so glad it did, as I probably never would have read it on my own. I loved it. The murder is gruesome (ickiest postmortem I’ve read for years), the detective character is very well developed, the backstory is rich, the mystery and secrets are perfectly laid out, the descriptions of the Scottish Isle of Lewis are vivid—the writing overall is fantastic. It’s dark, brutal and lovely, and I will read the others in the series. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang Goodreads

It’s hard to read about war atrocities, and even more difficult to look at images like those in this book, but it’s important to know. In 1937, over a period of 6 weeks, Imperial Japanese forces systematically tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilian men, women, and children. Anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 people were brutally raped. Horrifying subject matter; well-researched and written book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo Goodreads

Lots of people are reading this book lately, and I think that is wonderful. I can’t say it better than Oluo: ‘How many lives have been ground up by racial prejudice and hate? How many opportunities have we already lost? Act and talk and learn and fuck up and learn some more and act again and do better. We have to do this all at once. We have to learn and fight at the same time. Because people have been waiting far too long for their chance to live as equals in this society.’ Everyone needs to read this book, or, like me, listen to the audiobook, read by the fabulous Bahni Turpin. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Trial by Franz Kafka Goodreads

I read this book for a couple of reasons: it’s on the #1001Books list that I’m still slowly working through, and I needed a book related to the Czech Republic for a reading Europe challenge. I get what the book is about, and I understand what the point of it is. Kafka was clearly an excellent writer. I just didn’t like this story much… I didn’t like Josef or any of the other characters, and I really didn’t care what happened by the end. The book seemed to start very strong, but just sort of fizzled out and then ended abruptly. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak Goodreads

This was a quick, fun read that made me laugh out loud more than once. It’s 1987, and 14-year-old Billy and his two friends are determined to get their hands on the new Playboy with Vanna White. Ridiculous caper, computer geeking, some petty crime, teenage romance, and a multitude of 80s pop culture references ensue. In some ways this book was predictable, but it still managed to surprise me near the end. The teenage kids are a bunch of jerks, but that sort of makes it more realistic. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

The Dry by Jane Harper Goodreads

I read this series backwards… I actually had an ARC of Force of Nature from BOTM Readers Committee back in the day and loved it. This first book in the Aaron Falk series has been on my tbr ever since, and I loved it just as much. Falk is a great police detective hero: flawed but brilliant, not ridiculously Rambo, but still tough. Jane Harper is a fantastic mystery writer, and this is a thrilling book. I listened to the audiobook in one day, so there’s that. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman Goodreads

This was such an amazing reading experience for me. First, the book is fantastic and has quickly become one of my favorites of the year. Heartbreaking, funny, beautiful, and weird. Hoffman’s writing is so good. I cried and I laughed and I didn’t want it to end. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Second, this book came to me as part of a postal book club, and the sender enhanced my reading by carefully preparing and numbering a bunch of perfectly themed gifts for me to open as I went through the book. I read about flies in Florida and opened a flyswatter, I read about oranges and opened some orange tea… so much fun!

All of my fun book-themed goodies!

Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz Goodreads

If you need more toxic internet drama in your life, pop over to Goodreads for the nasty reviews of this book by people who never read it, but are self-appointed defenders of the canon and Alcott’s intentions. I’m in the minority: I didn’t like the way things shook out in Little Women, and I read it as an adult. This book is well-written and feels very much like reading Alcott, to the point that I was annoyed by some of the same stuff as when I read LW. It lagged a bit in the middle, and I wanted to shake Jo and Laurie at times, just like in the original. The difference? This sweet retelling has the ending I wanted, and I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

So that was my week in living bookishly. Not too shabby!

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