“Difficult Women” Review: not what I expected

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. Grove Press, 2017.

Difficult WomenLook at me cranking out blog posts! It’s time for another review of a book I read for the Resist Readathon I’m running as part of an online book club I co-manage. This was our feminist pick. Difficult Women is a collection of short stories by Roxane Gay, a well-known author whose work I had never read before. We decided to go with this book because it’s a different genre than the others in the readathon, and I knew Gay was a feminist writer who is well-respected.

Cutting to the chase here, this book was not what I expected. It was simply way more literary than I thought it was going to be. I feel a bit foolish and embarrassed for not knowing this beforehand. I guess I thought it was going to be lighter than it was, in more ways than one. But looking back, I have no idea why I expected lighter fare from a book of short stories called Difficult Women by a literary author…

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“In the Country We Love” Review: It’s about the journey, not the writing

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. Henry Holt and Co: 2016.

In the Country We LoveI read In the Country We Love for the online book club I run through the Harry Potter Alliance as part of our Resist Readathon. We chose four books on various topics relevant to the resistance, and this was our choice for immigration.

Diane Guerrero is an actress from Orange is the New Black (which I haven’t watched but plan to) and Jane the Virgin (which I have watched and it’s fantastic). Her parents came to the United States from Colombia before she was born and struggled for years to gain citizenship. Diane’s parents were deported when she was 14 years old, coming home from school one day to find an empty home. No one from the government contacted her or checked in on her; it was like she didn’t even exist.

The book is a memoir about her struggles through adolescence and early adulthood without her parents, staying at various friends’ homes and going to a high school for the arts in Boston, occasionally visiting her parents in Colombia but feeling their relationships deteriorating with space and lost time. She then recounts her college days and beyond, her struggles with depression and self-harm, and finally, her decision to pursue acting that led to her great success. It was a captivating read with a lot of emotional punch.

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“The Hate U Give” Review: What is there to say, really?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray: 2017.

The Hate U GiveOk. I honestly don’t know how to even write this review.

Usually I have at least a little bit of insight to share during a book review, and if I don’t, I don’t write a review. So. Why am I reviewing this book, then? TBH, because everyone else is, and I want to make sure people know that I’m in the know. Peer pressure at its finest.

I read this as part of a book club that I run on Goodreads – the Apparating Library Book Club, part of the Harry Potter Alliance. We are in the midst of a readathon right now called the Resist Readathon, and this was our first book. I knew before it came out that this would be the book to choose, and no surprises, I was right.

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Review: Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015.

milk and honeyI picked up Milk and Honey because I kept seeing it everywhere and didn’t know much about it. I didn’t even know it was a book of poetry, so that was a nice surprise which led me to actually read it right away instead of putting it on my endless TBR. I would like to read more poetry in general, so I’m glad I picked this up. Ultimately though, I have mixed feelings about this collection, and I was largely unimpressed.

Milk and Honey is split into different themed sections as the poems progress through the life of a writer dealing with sexual abuse, love, relationships, and healing. Many of the poems are accompanied by illustrations that add to the poems’ meanings. The illustrations are styled in a black-and-white, scribble-y way that mimics the rawness of the poems themselves. These additions were well-placed and gave the collection a distinct and unified tone throughout.

As a collection, the book is best read from front to back in order. You certainly can pick it up, turn to any page, and read the poem there, but the biggest impact comes from seeing the progression of poems as they are ordered. The design of the book is extremely well done, and as a physical object, I can see how it appeals to people in the age when having a distinct look/brand makes a difference in sales. This book has an effective brand with it’s raw, simple, black-and-white, minimalist layout.

But the poems kinda sucked.

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Review: Their Fractured Light

Their Fractured Light by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

their fractured lightI finally finished the Starbound Trilogy! And what a trilogy it was!

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire series and recommend you check out my reviews of the first and second books if you are interested. Many of you know Aimee Kaufman from the popular Illuminae Files, and I daresay I prefer these books to the Illuminae series (though I’m probably in the minority in that opinion). The world was rich, the characters engaging, and the plot well-crafted. Let’s talk about book 3.

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Review: Maybe a Fox

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. Atheneum, 2016.

maybe-a-foxI picked up this book because I needed a bit of lighter reading after finishing The Circle by Dave Eggers. I was also hankering for some middle grade. My pick was Maybe a Fox, which I picked up because it seemed like a good winter read, and I was so glad I did.

Maybe a Fox is set in small-town Vermont, where the snowy forest plays a big role in people’s lives, and therefore, the story. This in itself makes it the perfect book to read during the wintertime. The setting is such a core aspect of this book, it’s almost a character itself. Though the book takes place in modern times, it is seeped in the American folklore of the north, giving it an old-world, mythological atmosphere.

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Review: The Circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers. McSweeney’s, 2013.

the_circle_dave_eggers_novelSo I read The Circle.

The Circle is about an early-20-something named Mae who gets hired at the biggest, baddest tech company in Silicon Valley: the Circle. Imagine that Google and Facebook had a baby and basically owned all the information on the internet. That’s the Circle. As you might imagine, this becomes a bit of a dystopian novel.

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