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Bookshelf

The books I’ve been reading and what I think about them.

 

books I’ve been reading

(and the two-second version of what i think about them)

The Dearly BelovedThe Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So deeply moved by this book. Rarely do you read something that honestly captures the lifelong wrestle of faith, the darkness of suffering, and the relief of not being alone. These four characters, who come from opposite backgrounds and beliefs, all undergo deep change throughout decades of real, hard, good, sad life. They try to do it alone and end up doing it together. Each person is deeply flawed, but getting to know them helps me have compassion and empathy for people I don’t understand. In the end, God and people are not easy, but wrestling with belief is worth it.

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Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s so much. I have no words. This is beautiful and deep and has more layers than I even know.

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Black Light (paperback)Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons


I love short story collections like this: weird and off-beat but beautifully and painfully written. The characters are, for the most part, unlikable, but I think that's the point. After all, we are all unlikable to some extent.

These are stories of mothers and daughters, childhood friendships, teenage relationships, and the intoxicating hope and disappointment embedded in each one. Everyone is trying their best and giving up at the same time; living and dying, rebelling and awakening. Each story illuminates the dark side of humanity, but in a way that elicits compassion -- as if these sorry children, teenagers, and parents can't help it.

A mashup of grief and celebration and inescapable discomfort, this collection tells the story of what it means to be human. It's the cry for help that we all need, to escape what traps us. What a terrific, real picture of humanness.

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The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Equal parts investigative journalism on the LA Public Library fire of 1986 and a lovely tribute to libraries everywhere, this book was a delight to read for hours at a time. Research and storytelling blend in a space as open and nonjudgmental as a public library. Plus, this book is the perfect space an author to wax eloquent about books and for it to completely work.

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Notes from a Young Black ChefNotes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A badass tribute to food, culture, and not apologizing for who you are. In this striking memoir, Chef Kwame tells his life story through the food of south Louisiana, Nigeria, the Bronx, and Jamaica. He takes full responsibility for the successes and failures in his career, all while defining and defending who he is and what he stands for.

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The Other AmericansThe Other Americans by Laila Lalami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful and heartbreaking. A hard look at the different perspectives that make up human experiences in America. Similar structure to THERE THERE by Tommy Orange. Good for readers of immigrant experiences and small town/family stories, and appreciators of how grief leads to mercy and love.

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WarlightWarlight by Michael Ondaatje
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you don’t like literary novels, this book isn’t for you. If you do, you may find yourself staring at the wall when it’s over, pleasantly tormented by perfection. It's a slow burn, a story that's most gripping when it's over. I finished and immediately wanted to read it all over again. The writing is exquisite. I am undone.

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