Month Count: 6 texts, 3 audiobook, 9 total
Year to Date: 18 texts, 5 audiobooks, 23 total
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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Viviana Mazza is a novel based on actual events and family interviews of the 276 “missing girls” stolen, kidnapped, hoarded, and abused by Boko Haram in 2014. Some of these girls, probably now young women, are still missing. It reads as if you’re reading the main character’s diary or journal. I felt so connected to her, although looking back, I realize she was never named outside of the nickname her mother called her, and the Arabic name the terrorists give her. I think that makes it even more powerful, seeing as how this isn’t one person’s story, it’s representative of 276 girls (or more) and it could have been any of their story.
It’s a fast read, but so powerful. And the fact that this was just so few years ago is horrifying. There is violence; however, it’s never gory or graphic… it’s implied which might make it worse. Please read this… I’m motivated to learn more as a result.
Wolfpack by Abby Wambach was a relisten on Audible and I think I enjoyed it more this time around than my first listen 2 years ago or so. Abby is a retired professional soccer player who fights for equal rights and inclusion on a number of fronts. The book is her dialog from being asked to deliver the commencement speech at Barnard College in NYC – thoughts leading up to the speech, her thoughts on doubt as a retired athlete, as a female, as a female leader, as an activist and – perhaps my favorite, as a parent.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides has been on my TBR list for way too long! I finally just got my first library card and found this on my way out under staff picks and my local branch. My mother in law just finished it and a couple of friends have recommended it for so long that I was glad to dive in.
It’s a thriller – I would say it surprised me, but it was also hyped up so much that I might have expected more. It was still enjoyable and entertaining. It follows two stories, one about a male doctor and one about a female artist who has been accused of murdering her husband. I did like how these two stories came together and how creepy it got to think about the possibilities that weren’t written about. I’m very creative so I took the story farther off page in my head.
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson was an impulse buy. I didn’t mind it, but I don’t know that I would feel compelled to recommend it. The main character is a book store owner who loves true crime and fictional crime novels. Years before, he had written a blog inspired by fictional crime novels about which stories created the perfect murders. You guessed it… there are eight of them.
One day while he’s working the bookstore, an FBI agent finds him and believes there may be a serial killer who is trying to replicate the murders from the books in his blog. It then becomes a bit of a game to identify the victims, predict the other potential murders and victims, and then catch the killer.
While I was never fully enthralled by the book, it was good. That being said, I thought they name dropped way too many book titles and that got confusing.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid was one of my library finds and I was so excited to finally knock it off my list! How relevant this is. I’m ashamed to have identified with some of the behaviors that the white characters exhibited, whether I thought I was doing it for good or whatever, it hit hard. I loved the perspective, and Kiley Reid’s writing is easily a favorite find of the year.
I think this needs to be on everyone’s list, and if it’s been sitting there a while, move it to the top asap and spend the money to support an amazing author.
What were your thoughts on this? I’d love to have a discussion and learn!
Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum has been on my Audible wish list for a while, as one of April recommendations last year. I thought it was a great fit for Women’s History Month!
Annapurna is a relentless mountain in the Himalaya range. This book was written in 1980 following the 1978 first female ascent of Annapurna I. I’d love to say it’s eye opening to hear about their account, the sexism they went through, the doubt and disrespect blatantly because of their sex, but none of this was surprising.
It’s a mostly well written account. A little frustrating to spend 1/3 of the book listening to them complain about food or budget issues. I get that it’s a large part of the expeditions, but that really consumed a lot of the book.
I loved Arlene’s conflicting accounts with leadership. Her resolve between the sherpas and the climbers. The give and take of risk, challenge, reward, and tragedy. I’d recommend it, and the narrator, Eileen Steven’s, is great… but I kind of nodded through the first bit.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan was a really nice, fun break from the heavy stuff I had been reading. It’s an adorable story, I can totally see why they picked it up for a movie (and I’m dying over the cast!). I feel like this series is a bit out of my preference, but I love that it fits really well as a “palate cleanser” when I need them… and I love Kevin Kwan’s writing!
Are the next books as good??
If you’re not familiar here’s the synopsis: When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones was an impulse buy last month and seemed interesting. It’s not a genre I typically dabble in: horror, but it wasn’t as gory and graphic as it could have been. It was mostly well written, though some parts I felt like the writing just got lost, and then I felt lost – like I missed something. I’d try to backtrack, and realize that I didn’t miss anything, I think perhaps it’s just hard to follow this author’s train of thought at times.
Anyway, it’s about four Native American teenagers who break reservation rules and hunt on land reserved for the elders. When the come across a herd of elk, they shoot more than they can take or use, which is also kind of breaking the rules. As they’re butchering the elk for meat and to carry out easier, Lewis discovers one of the cows is pregnant.
Fast forward 10-years and the dead mother elk is returning to haunt and torture the now-grown men who hunted her herd, and robbed her of her offspring. One by one she picks them off and exacts her vengeance to avenge her calf.
While it’s not gory, I have a wild imagination and can only guess where someone like Quentin Tarantino, Danny Trejo or Eli Roth would take this. The answer is: likely too far.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was recommended as one of a friend’s new all-time favorite Audible listens. Since she’s given me a handful of amazing recommendations, I didn’t hesitate once my credit rolled in and jumped right on it.
Guys, it’s narrated by Tom Hanks. And I’m pretty sure that he has officially ruined audiobooks for me going forward because he was incredible. He performed each character with perfect inflection and added so much character to the book that I wonder if I would have enjoyed the novel without his voice?
Simply put, it follows Danny’s childhood and relationships – mostly with his sister and their immediate family – from childhood to adulthood. The Dutch House was their childhood home, and maintains almost as much as one of the characters in their lives as anyone else.
That wraps it up for the month! I’m proud of knocking off some oldies from the TBR list, but I’m excited to keep adding to the list! Also – if you’re into Kindle, there are a few amazing deals (today only??):
Recommended by Carrieann: The Pull of the Stars
Can’t vouch for this novel, but LOOOVE the author: Invisible Girl
Same, haven’t read but love the author: Ugly Love
Recommended by Denise, and easily a 2020 fave: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle