I finished another 5 books in July, three of which I loved. Two were ok, but left a little bit to be desired for me. Read on to find out why.
Yes we (still) can by Dan Pfeiffer (★★★★★)
I really enjoyed this book and Dan’s perspective on what happened in the political arena over the last few years. This book probably won’t hold much weight over time, but reading it just now in the aftermath of the 2016 election, it shed a lot of light on the Obama years (I miss him), how government works, how tedious the jobs of staffs and advisors can be and how critical it is to have a stable person in the White House.
The Garden of Small Beginnings by Amy Waxman (★★★★☆)
This was a really neat book and I enjoyed Amy’s humor. It’s hard to write a book about grief that is also laugh-out-loud funny without it coming off as “trying too hard”. But this story was so well written. This book deals with Lilian’s loss of her husband, her struggle to keep her life and the lives of her two daughters afloat. In her job as a textbook illustrator, she’s asked to attend a gardening class for an upcoming book about flowers and vegetables, and it is there where Lilian makes new friends and meets the handsome class instructor and for the first time allows herself to imagine a new future for herself. The story conveys hope and the notion that there might always be something good waiting for you around the corner. I also enjoyed the gardening tips at the beginning of each chapter.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (★★★☆☆)
I know that this is a classic young adult novel and I was looking forward to reading this book, but unfortunately for a first-time adult reader, this books fell flat for me. I felt that it was lacking depth, narrative, and some sort of context. The resolution of the story was ‘too simple’ and too abrupt. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed this more as a kid, but especially because I am not a big fan of science fiction to begin with, this needed a little more of a punch to make an impression on me.
Educated by Tara Westover (★★★★☆)
I really wanted to give this book 5 stars, because Tara’s story is hard to read and hard to wrap your head around in this day and age. The odds she overcame are incredible. How can you “judge” a memoir by anything less than by the story itself? However, even though the content is intriguing and her writing is fantastic, it still didn’t pull me in enough to stay engaged the whole time. Why I feel everything Tara wrote about was important to fully understand her story, I felt that Part I and II could have been shortened. I also felt that there was some information that didn’t quite add up in my mind (but I am sure that despite all the details in her story, there was still a lot she didn’t share in more detail). I really enjoyed Part III (where she connects and comes to terms with her upbringing) the best.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (★★★☆☆)
I wanted to love this book more. I think it’s a very relevant book in this day and age and it touched on some very important issues surrounding the global refugee crisis. While the book explores the trauma and desperation felt by people who leave their home country behind to find a better future somewhere else, I felt detached from Saeed’s and Nadia’s experience. The most excruciating part, the journey from A to B, was completely omitted (replaced simply by “doors” that the migrants walk through) and even though the experience of refugees in detention camps was described, I could not really warm up to Saeed’s and Nadia’s plight. The trauma they experienced and the subsequent shift in their relationship, the way they cling to each other and push each other away at the same time, was comprehensible, and yet, fell emotionally flat for me. I think this was a missed opportunity on the author’s part, as it would have been so critically important for the subject matter of this book to create an emotional connection between their story and the reader. Also, what’s with the run-on sentences?
Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book last month? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.