I promise you (and myself) that I plan to write monthly book recaps in the future. Because I read over 20 books this quarter, and that’s too many for one post. Fortunately for all of us, several were re-reads and I’m leaving them out for now. The rest I separated by fiction and non-fiction, and roughly ranked each section according to my preference.
I have affiliate links below, but please support your local library and/or bookstore if you can!
The Sparrow and Children of God, Mary Doria Russell
The Sparrow is one of my favorite books of all time, and it had attained that status before I was halfway through. You should read it ASAP. Children of God, while excellent, couldn’t live up to its prequel for me. But apparently some people think it’s even better.
Embassytown, China Mieville
When I read this book, I thought it would hands down be my favorite of the quarter. Don’t be put off by the sci-fi weird summary – it’s about the nature of language and how words affect perception and more.
Hannah Coulter, Wendell Berry
The description of this book sounds mundane compared to the previous ones, but it’s like having a conversation with your grandma (or, depending on who you are, possibly your great-grandma). If that sounds boring to you I don’t know what to tell you.
The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. LeGuin
LeGuin is one of my favorite authors, so the position of this book gives you an idea of how much I liked the previous four. That said, this book is good but not my favorite. I wouldn’t start with it if you haven’t read anything by LeGuin – I recommend the Wizard of Earthsea series for that.
Flex(‘Mancer), Ferrett Steinmetz
A lot of the hype for this book focused on its unique system of magic, which is certainly fascinating. But…I think you have to be a fan of urban fantasy. The plot kept me reading, but I just can’t stomach the genre in large doses (like, say, a trilogy, which this book is part of).
Three Moments of an Explosion, China Mieville
As I often find to be the case for short story collections, some of the stories are good, others not so much. One thing nearly all of these stories have, though, is an open-ended ending. The lack of closure started to grate after a while.
The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie
I suspect I would have liked this book better if it had been titled accurately. From the description: “The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess the powers of enchantment and sorcery, attempting to command her own destiny in a man’s world.” Just. No. The story is actually about several men to whom “the enchantress” is relevant in one way or another. She herself appears in probably less than 1/3 of the book, and a vanishingly small amount of that is actually from her perspective. The plot was interesting, but you know what would have made it a lot better? Actually being about a foreign enchantress in medieval Florence.
So….I got tired of reviewing, and I think the Amazon descriptions can tell you most of what you might want to know about the non-fiction reads. In brief: the first four books I think might or should be good reads for almost anyone. For the remaining three, if the description doesn’t grab your interest you probably won’t get much out of it.
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris
Lab Girl, Hope Jahren
What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Ever?