Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Review: Brood

Brood Brood by Jackie Polzin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

CW: Before the book begins, the narrator had a miscarriage, and it doesn't get mentioned right away so I don't want anyone to be surprised. (I knew from other discussion I'd seen.)

Small, internal, pondering books are my salvation in the last year.

This one reads like lyric essay or memoir, like Annie Dillard. It combines observation and real life with a few memorable characters, and like Moby Dick (facts about whales!) it is about chickens, but it also isn't.

I felt the weird sense of disconnect to humans and clinging to these chickens as something that makes sense, a weird sense of surreality in trying to make sense of what life will be now, what does living mean, a deep unknowing of the self (but wanting to.) Sometimes connecting to chickens is the one thing you have, so then what happens if they don't survive? The author uses the word brood about her chickens, her absent child, but also I think the way we use that word to mean agonizing contemplation - or as Google wants to define it, "to think deeply about something that makes one unhappy."

This won't be for everyone, but it was for me.

I had a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley; it came out March 9th.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Review: The Ensemble

ETA: Apologies if you ever encounter what looks like a review without content in it. Goodreads seems to post content sporadically and I don't always remember to check.

The Ensemble The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my reading goals this year is to get through more of the books on my shelves with music as a theme. When I realized I had yet to do that and it's the 4th month of the year, I decided to start with the cheeriest cover.

Along the lines of An Equal Music or even Daisy Jones & The Six, The Ensemble is a very readable story of a string quartet that got together during graduate pursuit of music and how their relationships change over the years while still in the quartet. I loved that the author included specific works for each section, because obviously it's more enjoyable to listen to those pieces while reading. I felt some resonance with some of the ways musicians can be highly tuned in to one another and not be in a romantic relationship, but to people outside the group it has the same kind of vibe (I spent my undergraduate years in practice rooms by myself or accompanying others.)

Overall, the writing is straightforward but it leans on some overdone sentiments and it's too obvious when the author stops to try to say something poetic. But I would read her next book.


View all my reviews

Review: Nightwood

Nightwood

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overwhelmingly, I read recent literature, usually the current and previous year. It’s not that I am not interested in older books, I just need more prompting. I found a challenge hosted by Simon from Stuck in a Book and Karen from Kaggy’s Bookish Ramblings where twice a year they select a year and the book bloggers who participate all read one book originally published in that year; some go crazy and read a bunch. (See their blogs for a roundup list!)

 


This week is 1936. I already had Nightwood on my Kindle, and it’s supposed to be “one of the first lesbian novels,” so I thought it might be interesting.

"Robin’s love and mine was always impossible, and loving each other, we no longer love. Yet we love each other like death."
The book originally had an intro by T.S. Eliot, who was its champion to be published. My edition also had an intro by Jeanette Winterson. Eliot focused on the language (poetry, he says) and Winterson focused on the precedent.
"The sleeper is the proprietor of an unknown land."
It’s short but doesn’t feel short because the writing is so dense and hardly straightforward. I would need to read it a few more times. The cast of characters is quirky and while there are a few women who love women in here, they are mostly offstage as one woman has run off with another and left Nora behind to wallow. The central character really seems to be this doctor who feels he should have been a woman so he sometimes wears a flannel nightgown while he waxes poetic about the people of the night. It’s a time period and place I usually like - Berlin in the time between the wars. There is also quite a bit of language and sentiment I would consider racist in 2021, including at least one use of the N- word.
"Though some go into the night as a spoon breaks easy water, others go head foremost against a new connivance; their horns make a dry crying, like the wings of the locust, late come to their shedding."
Side note - it has one of the few Jenny’s I’ve encountered in literature. I might have to make a shelf. I have a songlist in Spotify of songs with the name Jenny too.
"The places Jenny moults in are her only distinction, a Christian with a wanderer’s rump."
I'm not really sure what that says about Jenny.

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Review: The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga

The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first saw this book was coming out sometime last year and knew I hadn't read anything for Mauritania, and jumped at the chance. The author is the son of a Mauritian camel herder, but also the author of a memoir about his time held at Guantanamo Bay without being charged, until 2016 (Guantánamo Diary: Restored Edition.)

This tale feels more like a fable or parable. Ahmed goes after a missing camel that may have been stolen or just gotten lost. Along the way the reader learns a lot about Bedouin culture - the difference family groups, hospitality practices, how Islamic beliefs are wrapped into their traditions, and the ins and outs of camels. Ahmed talks about the camels by name so I got confused a few times, confusing camels with people.

Also in a weird pattern I've found in my 2021 reading - this is the third book I've read with random cannibalism. Not central to the story.

This book has connections to another book I've read recently - although I'm a different continent I felt some striking similarities between the difficulty of life in a hot desert to the Winter Pasture: One Woman's Journey with China's Kazakh Herders book with herding families in Kazakhstan. One of the threats to both ways of life is modernization of the world around them, whether that results in fewer people to trade with or climate change. Sometimes you really need that oasis in the desert.

I had a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. It came out February 23, 2021.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: We Trade Our Night for Someone Else's Day

We Trade Our Night for Someone Else's Day We Trade Our Night for Someone Else's Day by Ivana Bodrožić
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the embedded goals inside my Europe 2021 reading project is to better understand the conflicts between groups in the Balkans. That requires some reading in translation from authors with different backgrounds.

Ivana Bodrožić sets this novel in Vukovar, Croatia, and it is known but never named in the novel. Vukovar was the location of some of the first massacres during the Balkan wars, and only began it's reintegration in 1998. Now Croats and Croatian Serbs (aka Serbians) live tentative and segregated lives with a lot of violent history beneath the surface.

There are multiple characters in this novel dealing with violence in the recent past. Nora is a journalist sent to write a lighter piece about a teacher's relationship with a student and murder of her husband (ha, I know I said lighter, but it's the context that makes it so) - then there is the taxi driver, the school principal and mayor desperate to maintain control, and more. It took a while to keep the stories straight but only because of how many places and ways they connect, and how much of the context I'm missing as someone who didn't live through it. (I lived during but not through.)

The translator's note in the back is incredibly useful..she explains that when the book came out in 2016, people were very angry because of how it goes below the surface of things people don't want to acknowledge or deal with. This isn't a "good people on both sides" tale, it's rather the opposite, and it's hard to grasp the why's behind it. I've spent time searching for clarification - what is the difference between Serbian and Croatian? (Even in the realm of cooking, the YouTube comments to different versions of the same recipe are often territorial.) What took place in the 1990s? What is existed before Yugoslavia? It could take a lifetime to grasp it.

One thing that's becoming clear in some of the recent books I've read is that whether or not the differences "exist," many of the countries formerly known as Yugoslavia are working hard to create differences, whether that's linguistic (alphabet choice or even some interesting changes in pronunciation that are emerging), religious, and more.

I think it's important to note the author was born in Vukovar in 1982 and her family was displaced by the war, so it is personal and her point of view is necessarily from what I imagine is a trauma perspective. At the very least I don't believe she can be objective. Not that she needs to be for a novel, and she does allow for nuance even in the Serbian characters.

Also important to note that the English translation comes from an unapologetically political and dare I say left-leaning independent publisher, which certainly centers some stories more than others. I don't expect one book to hold all points of view but I personally don't know enough about it yet to weigh in on if she "got it right."

I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss, and it comes out April 20th, 2021.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Reading Envy 217: Lesson Plan with Kim

Jenny sits down with Kim, another new guest, who describes herself as having the opposite reading life from her host. From history to baseball, debut novels to space, we discuss books we've read and liked recently.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 217: Lesson Plan.

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Book covers for featured titles.



Books discussed: 

Anthem by Deborah Wiles
If or When I Call by Will Johnson
Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell
The Chicken Runs at Midnight by Tom Friend

Other mentions:

Countdown by Deborah Wiles
Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Nomadland (film)
Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly
Blueberries by Ellena Savage
Currently Reading Podcast
Lori & Julia Radio Show
The Popcast
Sarah's Bookshelves Podcast
What Should I Read Next? Podcast

Related episodes:


Stalk us online:

Kim at Goodreads
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Kim is @buckeyereaderbookclub on Instagram and @kboltz on Litsy
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through Bookshop.org, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Act Your Age, Eve Brown Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Highly anticipated, after loving the first two Brown sisters, and this one did not disappoint. I will always love a story that starts with a woman fleeing to a small town and immediately finding work at a bakery, or in this case, at a Bed & Breakfast. Bonus points here for clashing with the super hot owner - it's kind of an enemies to lovers trope but with a few spins that keep it more interesting. Autism is included in multiple ways and never as a problem to be dealt with.

I like how the other two sisters show up, but I also would like single volume romance novels about the grandmother Gigi, Jacob's friend Mort, his twin sisters, etc.

Like with the previous Brown sisters books, I laughed a lot while reading this one. I'm going to say Dani is my favorite; Eve is pretty chaotic as many youngest sisters are, but she is finding her own way.

I had a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss, and was looking forward to it so much I put it off. It actually came out in March.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Review: The Girl from the Channel Islands

The Girl from the Channel Islands The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would not have typically read this novel, as I don't read many World War II novels (and I've already read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is a similar story during the same German occupation of British islands) but there are a few reasons this surfaced:

-I'm trying to finish reading a book from every country in Europe this year. I realize Jersey is not exactly a country but it's also not exactly a part of the UK. (The internet says it is part of the "British Islands."
-The author was actually born on Jersey and her parents lived on Jersey during the occupation, so she has more direct experience to speak of. I think this comes across in the novel, both from the research and the placeness of it.
-The four central characters are all based on real people, and so this issue of an Austrian (Jewish) woman escaping to an island that ends up occupied by Germans is a frightening and true story.
-While the very famous book club book I mentioned above is about resistance, this novel looks more at the people who collaborated/were forced to collaborate/were seen as collaborators. One woman works for the Germans because she is fluent in German and English. One woman marries a man living on the island who fled the mainland but ends up conscripted into the German army, and suddenly she's a collaborator and her family won't speak to her. And this is only the beginning of the complicated and difficult situations the islanders find themselves in, not to mention Churchill's resistance to sending them much needed food and supplies.

Jersey is a place I'll probably never get to visit, so I spent an hour last night poking around on Google maps and looking around. Apparently most tourists that go there these days are interested in the war history so they've really emphasized those locations on the island. When you see the British Islands on a map, Jersey is practically enfolded in a French bay, so it makes visual sense that the Germans would have seen it as an easy defenseless place to conquer.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. It came out February 2nd but I came across it after that somehow.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Books Read March 2021: 54-81

This month was heavily influenced by one person in Instagram who ran the #tackleyourratio challenge to read as many NetGalley books as possible. That helped me get through some of my backlog, including 11 of the books from March, and I tried but DNF'd four more. A gentle reminder that all reviews can still be seen on my Goodreads profile (the review will be with the book; the format will be specified unless it's in print.)


54. Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
55. Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better by Pema Chodron ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
56. The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler; narrated byNatalie Naudus ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
57. The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell et al ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
58. Elatsoe by Darcy Little Badger; narrated by Kinsale Hueston ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
59. On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
60. Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
61. The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott ⭐️⭐️⭐️
62. My Heart by Semezdin Mehmedinović, translated by Celia Hawkesworth ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
63. Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
64. The Removed by Brandon Hobson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
65. The Possession by Annie Ernaux; translated by Anna Moschovakis ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
66. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey ⭐️⭐️⭐️
67. It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
68. Nobody Ever Talks About Anything but the End by Liz Levine ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
69. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe; narrated by Matthew Blaney ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
70. Loser Takes All by Graham Greene ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
71. If or When I Call by  Will Johnson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
72. Noopiming by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
73. Blueberries by Ellena Savage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
74. Gilgamesh by  Joan London ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
75. The Mission House by Carys Davies ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
76. Shelter by Jung Yun; narrated by Raymond Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
77. In the Quick by Kate Hope Day ⭐️⭐️⭐️
78. Winter Pasture by Li Juan; translated by Jack Hargreaves ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
79. The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
80. A Durable Fire May Sarton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
81. Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon; narrated by Hollie Jackson and Mason Lloyd ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Books Read: 28

Tournament of Books - 1

TFBWL - 1

Readtheworld21 - 4

Around the World - 11
Europe 2021 - 3

Audiobook - 5
eBook - 18
Print - 5

Borrowed not from library - 0
Library - 8
Review Copy - 15
TBR - Purchased 2021 - 3
TBR - Already owned - 2
TBR - Subscriptions - 0

Apocalypse and Dystopia - 2
Fantasy - 3
Memoir - 2
Mystery - 0
Romance - 2
Science Fiction - 5
Thriller - 1

Translated - 4
Women in Translation - 3

Children’s - 1
YA - 2
Adult - 25

 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Review: Shelter

Shelter Shelter by Jung Yun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A random act of criminal violence to an older Korean American couple quickly reveals cracks in the larger family system - financial and emotional, violence and secrets - I remember when this first came out and everyone insisted it was unputdownable and I have to agree! It's been sitting in my Audible library for a while.

One theme that interested me is looking at how people build community, who is there for you when bad things happen? Who are you beholden to? Whose feelings come first? Do you overlook past grievances when family is in crisis?

The Korean immigrant community is definitely an important force in this book, as well as how different generations of that community experience America.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Reading Envy 216 - Eloquent and Elegant with Kala

Kala and Jenny meet again about a year after our previous conversation to chat about books we've read lately, from presidential memoirs to romance to books that haven't had enough attention. We tackle backlogs and bookstacks along the way.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 216: Eloquent and Elegant.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Or listen via Stitcher
Or listen through Spotify 
Or listen through Google Podcasts


Books discussed: 


 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard
Telephone by Percival Everett
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Other mentions:

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Untraceable by Sergei Lebedev, translated by Antonina W. Bouis

Related episodes:

Episode 096 - Not Without Hope with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 143
- Reading the Pain with Kala
Episode 151 - The Stories They Tell with Karen
Episode 184 - Theme Night at Book Club with Kala
Episode 213 - Funicular Reads with Bianca

Stalk us online:

Kala on Twitter
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Kala on Facebook
Kala's blog, Reader then Blogger
Kala is @ReaderthenBlogger on Instagram
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through Bookshop.org, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Review: Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was first introduced to this author at AWP a few years ago, and enjoyed her collection, This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories.

From the publisher summary:
"Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing — healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together."
I would like to invite the reader into a work that may not feel like it's for them, unless they come from the Anishinaabe tradition or something similar. You may not understand all the concepts at first. You can read it like poetry, let the words flow over you and then go back in. Try to put yourself in the place where the spirits/beings/presences of the natural world are present and play an active role in how you see yourself and your community.

I don't believe you have to have an ancestral understanding of this tradition to appreciate the beauty of the work. I probably spent as much time reading reviews and looking up terms as I did reading the work because I want to grasp it. I get closest when I think back to the Erdrich novels I've read, since she writes from a shared tradition, their patterns through the natural world and with each other. It's like another facet of that place, and was worth the journey.

This book came out last year in Canada but only in February 2021 in the USA. I had a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.

View all my reviews

Review: If or When I Call

If or When I Call If or When I Call by Will Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have long been a fan of novels set in rural places when they capture the people and places very well - think John Irving, Richard Russo, David Joy, Kent Haruf - and I think Will Johnson is an author who should join those ranks. Many will know him as a musician from Monsters of Folk to Centro-matic. I had some familiarity with groups adjacent to these two (Bright Eyes, She & Him) so I slid into the playlists of his bands while reading this book, a natural fit.

Knowing Will Johnson is a musician will not be a surprise for anyone reading this book - the rotating points of view of a handful of characters sometimes drifts into an inner narrative that feels more like verse. This is used judiciously and adds texture to the story. Some of the characters also stop and notice a song on the radio in the car or other places, and so I felt compelled to stop and also listen to the song as the reader. (Experience recommended.)

At times in the beginning, I felt there was too much detail about what is on the shelves at the gas station, what the characters are wearing, etc. I felt a bit bogged down. But I think the author wants you to slow down, to understand the pace of a town that might have had some industry at one point, but no longer has much to offer. And then to ask the question of what do people do all day when this is their reality? There are characters linked together by a child and nothing else, but since the town is small, still end up in the same circles. The people they used to drink or do drugs with are still there as well, which isn't always helpful.

And then suddenly, I was in this place where I knew the characters, I understood their emotions, and I was crying while Melinda eats chicken in a gas station. I felt the panic of a teenager left alone to deal with his father's illness which shows up without warning. There are family members who do the wrong thing and strangers who do the right thing, and a very satisfying ending.

I received a copy of this book in advance from the publicist, and actually am acquainted with the editor, and this is my honest review. The book came out March 15, 2021.

View all my reviews

Review: Loser Takes All

Loser Takes All Loser Takes All by Graham Greene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My ongoing quest to read a book from every country left me with very few options for Monaco, but Graham Greene wrote a novella that manages to be about a brand new marriage with a big age difference and gambling, set of course in Monte Carlo.

I always find Graham Greene to have a lot to say about relationships and life; here are a few quotations:

"It would be so terrible if we became a couple. You know what I mean. You with your paper. Me with my knitting."

"'Why bother? Our marriage was going to be unlucky - you've read the omens, haven't you?'
'I don't care,' she said. 'I'd rather be unlucky with you than lucky with anyone else.'"

"I like being somewhere without footprints."

This novel was originally published in the mid 1950s. If you Google Monte Carlo now, there are a lot of articles about if/why Monte Carlo is "so over" and the rich have found new playgrounds. But Loser Takes All shows it in its height.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Review: Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir

Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir by Liz Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It might sound crazy, but I find books on grief comforting. Liz Levine is so experienced with it that people know to go to her for obituaries, memorial speeches, and more (joke, maybe.) But the two dearest losses in her life are her childhood best friend (to cancer) and her sister (to mental illness leading to suicide.) She takes an alphabetical journey through concepts surrounding grief and death that allow her to approach them in a gentle way.

For more grief book recommendations, check out the 63rd episode of the Reading Envy Podcast. I also have a "grief-and-death" shelf in Goodreads because when you know, you know!

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Review: My Heart

My Heart My Heart by Semezdin Mehmedinović
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Heart is a work of autobiographical fiction told in three sections - one about his heart attack, one in the form of an illustrated travel diary to his son, and one to his wife as she battles an illness. Themes include aging, PTSD from living through the siege in Sarajevo, displacement, memory, etc. It reminds me most of To Be a Man by Nicole Kraus and the Deborah Levy/ Rachel Cusk style of writing, and yes it's interesting to me that the authors he reminds me of are all female.

This is my first experience with this author but I understand him to be well loved across the former Yugoslavia. I will count the book for Bosnia in my Europe2021 project although all of it takes place after and away from there. It has clearly had an impact on all of them, especially in his son, who seems to have blocked memories of the war - "When I remind you of an event from the war, your memory becomes unreliable and vague. You suppress the war into oblivion."

"Books are lonelier than people."

There is a random section about the makadam (in his language), then he riffs on John Loudon McAdam, who just happens to be one of my ancestors, somewhat bizarre to encounter him here.

"Over the course of the last twenty years that I've lived here [in the USA], I've been able to monitor the way America has been closing up, screening itself from the outside world. It used not to be like this. When people heard a foreign language on the subway, at the airport, or like this, in a restaurant, it would arouse their curiosity, not aversion, certainly not fear. Twenty years is a long time, people pass on and worlds change. Foreigners are no longer welcome here."

This has recently been translated into English by Celia Hawkesworth and came out from Catapult on Tuesday, March 9th; the publisher was lovely to send me the book for my perusal.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Readalong Announcement - joint readalong with the Book Cougars

Book Cougars - Reading Envy
Joint Readalong





Reading Envy Readalong hosts:

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry edited by Joy Harjo
Bonus read: A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

Ongoing weekly discussion in the Reading Envy Readers group, starts April 4
Listeners discussion of When the Light of the World - hosted by Jenny/Reading Envy, 5/8/21, time TBD
Jenny/Reading Envy and Book Cougars discussion of When the Light of the World plus just poetry in general, 5/12/21
Recorded discussion with Book Cougars posted 6/1/2021
Recorded group discussion of WtLofW posted 6/8/2021, tentative

If you'd like a schedule for suggest reading to keep pace, please scroll down.

Book Cougars will host:

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

| Link to Book Cougars GoodReads group for discussion |

Listeners discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass - hosted by Book Cougars, 5/30/21
Book Cougars and Jenny/Reading Envy discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass, 6/2/21
Recorded discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass will take place on Episode 131, dropping 6/8 

***

Suggested Reading Schedule for When the Light....

Blessing, Intro, Northeast and Midwest
1-98
April 4-10

Plains and Mountains
99-170
April 11-17

Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Pacific Islands
171-265
April 18-24

Southwest and West
267-355
April 25-May 1

Southeast, Outro, Acknowledgements
357-423
May 2-8

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Reading Envy 215: Lovely Pile with Lola

I hope you have been enjoying our string of new guests, four out of the last five. Lola talks about her life as a "serial book clubber" and shares books she's read and loved lately.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 215: Lovely Pile.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Or listen via Stitcher
Or listen through Spotify 
Or listen through Google Podcasts


Books discussed: 


The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Days in the Caucasus by Banine, translated by Anne Thompson-Ahmadova
Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Other mentions:

Elizabeth Acevedo
Make Me a World imprint
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson (memoir mentioned)
Normal People by Sally Rooney
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Lisa Dillman
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
We the Animals by Justin Torres
Santino Fontana
Armie Hammer
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene; read by Colin Firth
Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
The January Children by Safia Elhillo
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Bahni Turpin
Rosamund Pike
Thandi Newton
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell
Rich & Pretty by Rumaan Alam
The Need by Helen Philips
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
The Push by Ashley Audrain
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen

Related episodes:

Episode 051 - Dreaming in Books with Karen
Episode 067
- Rain and Readability with Ruth(iella)
Episode 147
- Bonus Poetry Recommendations with Lauren
Episode 202
- Jacket Flap with Chris and Emily

Stalk us online:

Lola at Goodreads
Lola is @ferociousreader on Instagram and @Lola on Litsy
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through Bookshop.org, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Review: Home Is Not a Country

Home Is Not a Country Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Safia Elhillo is one of my absolutely favorite poets (check out her earlier collection, The January Children, and then watch her perform her work on YouTube!)

This is a YA novel in verse about a Sudanese (pre)teen named Nima who has moved with her mother to the United States after the death of her father (and rising conflict in her country.) Themes include a tumultuous friendship with her friend Haitham, the alternate girl with the alternate name (Yasmeen) whose life she imagines (the one who she might have been if her father hadn't died,) and the difficulties of finding friendship and community in a place that doesn't feel quite like home. Safia includes themes familiar to her earlier work about language, homeland, music, and belonging.

This comes from the Make Me a World imprint from Random House, alongside Pet by Akwaeke Emezi among others. It comes out today (March 2) and I had a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, who blurbed the book!


View all my reviews

Monday, March 1, 2021

Books Read February 2021: 33-53

This might be my smallest reading month in a long time but that's okay. A gentle reminder that all reviews can still be seen on my Goodreads profile (the review will be with the book; the format will be specified unless it's in print.)

I really had a month where I read books I felt were highly anticipated, or I had been told were highly anticipated, but weren't a great fit for my reading style or mood. Anything I rated 5 stars is outlined in green in the image and listed below.

33. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
34. Everything Lost is Found Again by Will McGrath ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
35. The Divines by Ellie Eaton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
36. My Grandmother's Braid by Alina Bronsky; translated by Tim Mohr ⭐️⭐️⭐️
37. The Survivors by Jane Harper ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
38. Milk Fed by Melissa Broder ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
39. Telephone by Percival Everett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
40. The Expats by Chris Pavone ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
41. Rosie's Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
42. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, read by Bahni Turpin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
43. Trapped in a Video Game by Dustin Brady, art by Brady Jesse ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
44. The Fold by Peter Clines ⭐️⭐️⭐️
45. The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada; translated by David Boyd ⭐️⭐️⭐️
46. Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg ⭐️⭐️⭐️
47. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood; narrated by Kristen Sieh ⭐️⭐️⭐️
48. Untraceable by Sergei Lebedev; translated by Antonina W. Bouis ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
49. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid ⭐️⭐️⭐️
50. Everyone's Happy by Rufi Thorpe; narrated by Lauren Fortgang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
51. We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida ⭐️⭐️⭐️
52. Kink: Stories edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell ⭐️⭐️
53. Days in the Caucasus by Banine; translated by  Anne Thompson-Ahmadova ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Books Read: 21

Tournament of Books - 2
(Shortlist - 1)

TFBWL - 2

Readtheworld21 - 2

Around the World - 8
Europe 2021 - 2

Audiobook - 3
eBook - 11
Print - 7

Borrowed not from library - 2
Library - 3
Review Copy - 10
TBR - Purchased 2021 - 4
TBR - Already owned - 0
TBR - Subscriptions - 1

Apocalypse and Dystopia - 1
Fantasy - 0
Memoir - 2
Mystery - 1
Romance - 2
Science Fiction - 4
Thriller - 1

Translated - 4
Women in Translation - 3

Children’s - 2
YA - 0
Adult - 19

Review: Days in the Caucasus

Days in the Caucasus Days in the Caucasus by Banine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Umm-El-Banine Assadoulaeff was a French writer of Azeri descent - a granddaughter of two famous Azeri millionaire Musa Nagiyev and Shamsi Assadullaev, a daughter of Azerbaijani businessman and politician Mirza Asadullayev. This is her memoir of her childhood in Azerbaijan, in the early decades of the 20th century. Fascinating stuff, and an interesting way to look at some of the history of a region I know very little about.

I'm also interested in the translation history - Banine wrote this in French and published it in Paris in 1945. And guess who "blurbed" or reviewed it - Teffi! If you loved Teffi, you will probably enjoy this. It was only translated into the English much more recently, and was published in the UK in 2019 and only March 2021 in the United States.

From a 21st century perspective, there are some unsurprising problematic elements, from fatphobia to transphobia, anti-Christian and anti-western sentiments, jokes about the Armenian genocide (and a bit of apologist defense since the Azeri view is that the Armenians killed a bunch of Azeris....) The depiction of Islamic practice may also be seen by some to be insulting - Banine converted to Christianity before publishing this book, and she is very critical of her family's observances (or lack there of, or ways they wiggled around the rules.) Still I found it interesting to see a child's eye view of Islam in a very wealthy but not too conservative country.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Reading Envy 214: Extreme Hiking with Mina

New guest Mina speaks with Jenny about her 2021 reading goals, a book club with an amazing life of its own, and books we've read and liked recently.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 214: Extreme Hiking.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Or listen via Stitcher
Or listen through Spotify 
Or listen through Google Podcasts


Books discussed: 

Cover images for all books discussed.

Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce
The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderesch
32 Yolks by Eric Ripert
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Other mentions:

Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
Family Ingredients (PBS show)
Example of extreme hiking - Waipio Valley
A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Article mentioned about Piranesi and quarantine
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Pop Sugar Reading Challenge
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
Scrawl Books
KCRW Bookworm - Douglas Stuart
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Telephone by Percival Everett

Related episodes:

Episode 084 - A Worthy Tangent with Bryan Alexander
Episode 102 - The Reading Women Reading Envy Crossover Episode
Episode 183 - Birthing Rabbits with Jessica
Episode 192 - Sly Milieu with Thomas
Episode 211 - Rereads and Romance with Kim

Stalk us online:

Mina at Goodreads
Mina is @minamina0907 on Instagram
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through Bookshop.org, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Review: Laugh with the Moon

Laugh with the Moon Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For the Read the World 21 challenge, this month focusing on South and East Africa, I have focused on countries I had not read books from yet. I came across this middle reader novel set in Malawi. It is more of an outsider view as the main character, Clare, is a white American who travels with her father who is in Malawi to work as a doctor for nine weeks. He has a history there and friends in the village. Clare has recently lost her mother and is struggling.

I prefer ownvoices reads but the benefit of an outsider view novel for kids can be the bridge between two cultures. The author had two readers in Malawi checking for cultural accuracy, and visited herself to study the education system, which figures pretty heavily into the novel.

It took me back to my childhood in a sideways way, when my mom coordinated missions at the church I grew up in and I had a very good friend and penpal who lived in Kenya with her missionary parents. Much of the day to day stuff including the food sounds similar to her experience, although she did attend a boarding school as she got older.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Review: So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'll continue discussing this book with a group in Instagram through the end of the month but I went ahead and finished listening to it. The author has as her audience people who have confronted: the fact that there is both individual and systemic racism, that they themselves are probably sometimes racist or beneficiaries of racism, and are wanting to improve on their knowledge, yes, but more importantly their ability to talk about it more openly. It is a combination of background and contextual information on various topics and then strategies for dealing with difficult conversations about them.

Chapters are specific to subtopics and the entire book is USA-centric. The basic ideas and strategies are applicable to everyone but I think the nuance is focused on American history and context (except one memorable run-in with a Canadian internet troll.) It was published in 2018 so there are a few topics that have changed some since she wrote it - Oluo states, for example, that blatant racism is only found on the sidelines. If only. She also mentions that an Asian American has never held high office and that is no longer the case! I would not let these tiny changes interfere with the usefulness of the book.

For me personally, the topics that kept me thinking most included privilege (the conversation tips for this one were very helpful,) police brutality (a deepening of understanding it from another perspective,) micro-aggressions especially in the workplace, and picking and choosing who gets to be involved in anti-racism.

A few books this connects to -

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (love or hate DiAngelo, I think this book is often read prior to the Oluo, so many are reading it in pairs. Please don't stop there. And if you haven't read WF, it might be useful for better identifying ways white people refuse to acknowledge their privilege. I would pair it most directly with Oluo's privilege chapter.)
Just Us: An American Conversation - Claudia Rankine demonstrates some of her own tough conversations around race, most directly connected to Oluo's chapters on microaggressions and affirmative action.
Between the World and Me - because Oluo's mother is white, there are some conversations the author relates that made me think of this book, although of course Coates has his own lived experiences to pass down and a broader historical context than Oluo's mother did.
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts - I'd connect Menakem's work to a lot of this but it comes from a completely different perspective. He is working inside the communities of color to move towards healing; Oluo is helping people outside the communities understand that trauma exists in the first place. But wouldn't it be nice for more people to develop empathy and humility about these differences in experience.

Also I haven't read all the books, nor do I feel even close to having all the knowledge. Some books I want to read soon that speak more specifically about the Black American experience include:
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
A Black Women's History of the United States

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Review: The Expats

The Expats The Expats by Chris Pavone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was looking for a book set in Luxembourg and was recommended this one! A woman who has kept her job a secret from friends and family has to move to Luxembourg suddenly when her husband takes a job there. They adjust to this new world where everyone is connected to banking in some way, many people don't seem to be who they say they are, and Kate is getting suspicious.
.
I was all in at the beginning of this story but I'm not sure I'm satisfied by the end. I'm still thinking about it. Sometimes our former CIA operative has some pretty dumb blind spots. I wish the publisher had made different font choices because those used to differentiate the present-day timeline really hurt my head!

But I feel I learned about Luxembourg as a place, and then went to YouTube to watch people speaking Luxembourgish which some describe as sounding like a mix between German and Flemish. In a country smaller than Rhode Island, you can experience the second most wealthy nation in the world, so there are plenty of questionable financial dealings and political intrigue to make a great setting for a novel.

I see this is supposed to be the first in a series so I'm curious about book 2.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Review: Milk Fed

Milk Fed Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm still trying to gather my thoughts on this book. First of all, if you have any sensitivity around eating disorders, this is not the book for you. Just don't do it.

The novel starts with Rachel, who has controlled every calorie in her life to where that's all her life is. Her therapist is trying to help her see the connection between this control and the relationship with her mother but she doesn't want to see it.

Rachel is also Jewish and befriends Miriam, an Orthodox Jew who works at the froyo place. It goes far past friendship (and it all starts with Miriam insisting on giving Rachel a topping, a yogurt topping, it is really hard to talk about this book without a lot of accidental double entendre.)

There is a lot here about choice and control, identity and happiness. Much of it is explicit from the obsessive calorie counting to the 24 food binges to the surprisingly detailed sexual encounters. But I struggled because Rachel treats others the way she treats her own body, and I really feel if the narrator were male we would be calling the novel "problematic" with "consent." Even as a reader I felt some sense of the author/narrator forcing me into how she experiences every detail of an event whether that is eating froyo or a sexual encounter. I imagine the ability to bring the reader so far into that experience is also a skill in the writing but it was not always a positive.

Some of her decision making comes from dreams where magical Rabbis tell her what to do, and there is a golem/maker dialogue in her head at times.

The last novel I read by this author, The Pisces, had some weird and wonderful moments, but the narrators of both books lack the ability to see beyond what she wants to how her actions effect others. Rachel even does things people have specifically asked her not to do. I couldn't tell if this is selfishness, a lack of empathy, recklessness, a little of all of it maybe. 

Can I give a book 4 stars that I didn't particularly enjoy but feel the author has skill to make me feel that way? There we are, for now.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: The Survivors

The Survivors The Survivors by Jane Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A standalone from Australian crime writer Jane Harper, set in a coastal small town in Tasmania with a history of loss, and then a young woman dies mysteriously and old grudges come to the surface.

One thing I continue to appreciate and enjoy in Harper's writing is the importance of the landscape. Previously that has been the sparse, dry climates; this is a cold weather island, specifically on the coast where there are caves that are underwater only during high tide. What a perfect place to be full of danger and foreboding! I wish I could go there.

View all my reviews

Reading Envy 213: Funicular Reads with Bianca

Bianca returns to talk about last year's reading, new goals, and comfort reads like found families and historical romance. There are a lot of geeky and nerdy characters in this episode as well.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 213: Funicular Reads.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Or listen via Stitcher
Or listen through Spotify 
Or listen through Google Podcasts


Books discussed: 

Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
The Chain by Adrian McKinty
White Ivy by Susie Yang
One by One by Ruth Ware

Other mentions:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
#readwhatyouown
Pop Sugar Reading Challenge
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV
The Backstagers by James Tynion IV
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop by Kelly Thompson
Comixology
The Guild (tv show)
Magic the Gathering
Read or Dead podcast
Article about Spotify
It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Related episodes:

Episode 094 - House Arrest with Libby Young
Episode 127
- The Sadness Between Books with Bianca Escalante
Episode 145 - Things Get Dark with Bianca Escalante

Stalk us online:

Bianca is @bianca on Litsy
Bianca at Goodreads
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through Bookshop.org, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Review: Everything Lost Is Found Again: Four Seasons in Lesotho

Everything Lost Is Found Again: Four Seasons in Lesotho Everything Lost Is Found Again: Four Seasons in Lesotho by Will McGrath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I look for books set in other countries, I always try to find ownvoices reads first. In a rare case I will read a memoir of an outsider's experience in the country, like I have done in this case.

Will McGrath spends his initial year in Lesotho (pronounced Leh-soo-too) because his wife is a cultural anthropologist focused on AIDs and resulting orphans. Lesotho's adult population is 25% HIV positive, with a lot of grandparents caring for grandchildren, so it was the right place for her to go. Will worked at a school.

Unlike some outsider writings where they seem to mock people living in a place (J. Maarten Troost comes to mind,) Will is curious about language nuances and how people think, without taking any of it too seriously. Both he and Ellen build relationships with people and seem good at going with the flow. I wish he knew that granadilla was passion fruit though. That's going to bug me forever.

I learned a lot about the country landlocked by South Africa, while also being entirely different from South Africa. This will count for the Read the World 21 challenge for this month, focusing on South and East Africa, and crosses another country off my world list.


View all my reviews

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Books Read January 2021: 1-32

This year I'll continue posting a monthly roundup of the books I've read, but I'm trying to simplify somewhat, so I am not going to add the format or links to reviews after each item. That information can still be seen on my Goodreads profile (the review will be with the book; the format will be specified unless it's in print.) I always enjoy a new year with reading because even if it could be considered arbitrary, I use that time to start new reading goals, which always invigorates me. I also read a lot of the Tournament of Books long and shortlisted books in January, along with finally finishing my eARCs from 2020. I know there are a lot of books here but the rest of my year will be a lot busier and it might be the last time I hit 30.

Grid of books matches list below.
Five-star books in green rectangles
  1. Network Effect by Martha Wells, narrated by Kevin R. Free ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  2. An Onion in My Pocket by Deborah Madison ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  3. Catherine the Great and the Small by Olja Knezevic, translated by Sharon Gordon and Ellen Elias-Bursać ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  4. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, narrated by Ryan Gesell and Tara Sands ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  5. Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto, translated by Ann Sherif ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  6. Chlorine Sky written and narrated by Mahogany L. Browne ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  7. The Story So Far by Jane Eklund ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  8. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  9. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  10. Include Me Out by María Sonia Cristoff, translated by Katherine Silver ⭐️⭐️ 
  11. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  12. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  13. Well-Read Black Girl Glory Edim, ed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  14. Blonde Indian by Ernestine Hayes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  15. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  16. Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  17. This Telling by Cheryl Strayed, read by Kristen Bell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  18. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  19. Ring Shout  by P. Djèlí Clark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  20. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deeshaw Philyaw, read by Janina Edwards ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  21. Deacon King Kong by James McBride ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  22. Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  23. How to Carry Water by Lucille Clifton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  24. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  25. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  26. Echo on the Bay by Masatsugu Ono, translated by Angus Turvill ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  27. Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  28. A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet, read by Xe Sands ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  29. White Ivy by Susie Yang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  30. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  31. The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
  32. 32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line Eric Ripert with Veronica Chambers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (quite amazing this was my 32nd read!)

Total: 32

Tournament of Books - 9
(Shortlist - 5)

TFBWL - 7

Readtheworld21 - 3

Around the World - 7
Europe 2021 - 2

Audiobook - 8
eBook - 16
Print - 8

Borrowed not from library - 1
Library - 15
Review Copy - 11
TBR - Purchased 2021 - 1
TBR - Already owned - 3
TBR - Subscriptions - 1

Apocalypse and Dystopia - 3(!)
Fantasy - 5
Memoir - 1
Mystery - 1
Romance - 3
Science Fiction - 1
Thriller - 1

Translated - 5
Women in Translation - 4

Children’s - 1

YA - 5
Adult - 27