May Reading

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste [MG Fantasy]
This was lovely and magical and so strongly grounded with a vivid voice and sense of place. The story of Corinne, a fearless girl who loves her home, inspired by Caribbean fairy tales from the author’s own childhood.

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens [MG Mystery]
Just as charming, cozy and perilous as the previous books in the series. I love how Stevens has been exploring friendship over the course of this series. In this, the girl detectives Wells and Wong confront a murder on the sporting field of their 1930s British boarding school.

Allegedly by Tiffany D.Jackson [YA Contemporary]
Addictive and disturbing. This is one of those books I could not stop reading and that I’m very glad to have read, but which was not necessarily a pleasant experience to read, because of the horrible truths it contains about systemic racism. Mary killed a baby when she was only a child herself– allegedly. Now she’s pregnant herself and is ready to fight to clear her name. I am honestly not sure what I think about the ending, but I can’t say anything without spoilers. If you’ve read it I would love to hear your thoughts!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han [YA Contemporary]
More baking, more romance, more heartache, more lovely, complicated, adorable family relationships. I love Lara Jean and am so sad that this was my last chance to hang out with her, but it ended in a completely satisfying fashion so that’s really all I can ask! This entire series is like the book equivalent of my favorite teen movies.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas [New Adult Fantasy]
I was in the mood for magical fantasy romance with faeries and danger and banter, and this delivered. I really loved Feyre as a character as well– seeing her pushing down her impulses to pursue and appreciate beauty in favor of survival, then slowly allowing herself to open up was lovely. More mature content than Maas’s YA books though!

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild [Adult NF]
An account by a sociologist who is trying to understand the “empathy wall” that she sees as splitting conservatives and liberals in the US. I read this with my book club and it was really compelling and very readable. The author focused mostly on the issue of the environment and in particular the effect of the oil/gas/chemical industries on a number of communities in Louisiana. It was sickening to read about what people have endured due to unregulated pollution and similar. But it was also also incredibly frustrating to me that those same people voted again and again for candidates who opposed regulations and were unwilling to hold companies accountable, because I really just could not understand the reasons (I could intellectually comprehend them, I just could not emotionally understand or excuse them).

It became very clear reading this that what matters more than anything to many of us are the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, and the emotional reactions we have to things. I have to admit I was hoping this book would give me hope, but in many ways it only made it more clear just how deep the divide is between my worldview and that of “the other side,” and how little facts and logic can do to change it. I felt sad for those interviewed who had suffered, but at the same time I cannot condone or understand some of the other viewpoints they hold. Reading this book only made it more clear to me how very, very differently I feel (compared to the folks interviewed) on environmental regulations, civil rights, social services, and more.

That said, it was a really thought-provoking book and I would recommend it to folks who feel like it would be useful to try to understand the nature of the divide. If you’ve read it and have thoughts I would love to hear them! I would be especially curious what my conservative friends feel about this account, if any of you have read it.


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