It’s turning into a Maryland summer, which means it’s humid and hotter than hell, but I’m currently at 45/60 books, so I guess that’s something. I’m not in a lighthearted mood at the moment because it doesn’t seem right to be lighthearted with everything that’s going on in the U.S., so today’s reading summary is going to be pretty short.
May Reading Stats
- Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China – Jung Chang
- To Helvetica and Back – Paige Shelton
- The Secret, Book & Scone Society – Ellery Adams
- Brownies and Broomsticks – Bailey Cates
- The Map of Salt and Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar
Total Pages Read: 1,664
I was going to read more serious things, but then I got sidetracked into cozy mysteries, which were reviewed in obsessive detail three weeks ago and don’t need to be re-reviewed here. I rounded out the month by finishing Brownies and Broomsticks, whose author may or may not have openly mocked depression and the people who have it.
Leaving aside that one blemish, Brownies and Broomsticks was fine. The biggest problem is that Katie is fucking annoying, particularly when she’s butting heads with Detective Quinn. I hate being that person saying “You should’ve done that differently,” but if she’d been more tactful and less eager to tell him that he wasn’t doing his job properly maybe he would’ve been more receptive to her input. The author tries to play him off as condescending, and he is, but this isn’t enough to override the fact that in the real world Katie would be a real liability. She makes multiple mistakes and shoots off her mouth a lot during the course of her amateur sleuthing, and then is somehow still “stunned” when people call her out on her tactless blunders. The book also features a love triangle and I hate love triangles even though in this case I really hope she ends up with Declan because he seems like a really nice guy and Steve is too sneaky and too pushy BUT THAT’S JUST ME. If this is a fair representation of the average cozy mystery, I don’t think I need to read any more of them, but we’ll see how I feel in a month.
On the other end of the quality spectrum, The Map of Salt and Stars was hands down the best book I’ve read this month. It took a little while to get off the ground, but it was beautifully written and the women were badass, and I really can’t ask for anything more. I’ll write up my full thoughts later, but in the meantime I’ve bought the audiobook (mostly to find out how all the names are pronounced), and it’s been wonderful so far. Don’t even wait for my review, just go read it. (And also make sure you’re not hungry when you’re reading it, because I made that mistake and I sorely regretted it.)
If you’ve been following my book posts, you know I’ve been working on diversifying my reading list this year. This wasn’t just a passing whim, I’ve actually made a spreadsheet tracking my 2020 reads and the diversity of the authors on the list.
Call me what you want, but it works. I’ve read 19 books this year that weren’t mangas and eight of them were by writers of color, which isn’t a bad ratio when you realize my 2019 reading list was whiter than marshmallow fluff.
I was originally going for a diverse list comprising works by writers from all over the world, and that’s still the overall goal, but as part of my work to educate myself I’m going to start focusing on books by Black and Indigenous writers for the foreseeable future. Is this going to fix the world? Absolutely not, but it’s a start. The best thing we can do is learn and improve ourselves, and I intend to do just that.
Okay, I get that this doesn’t look good diversity-wise, but I have to finish the Dune series this year so I can watch the movie that’s coming out in December because Jason Momoa is in it and this isn’t the worst Jason Momoa-based decision I’ve ever made.
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
- The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Daré
- The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
- Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson
- Heart Berries – Terese Marie Mailhot
These may or may not be read in this particular order because I currently own Homegoing and Monkey Beach but only just ordered The Girl with the Louding Voice and Heart Berries today, and it’s anyone’s guess when they’ll arrive. Fingers crossed for a speedy delivery!
Miscellaneous Reading News
I am so done with buddy reads.