Monday, April 06, 2020

Reading Roundup - First Quarter 2020

I know some of these came up in my Books for These Times post.  But this time just looking at 2020 reads.  

Akwaeke Emezi - Pet - As I mentioned before I read this is paper.  In a world where monsters have been defeated the child makes a monster and then has to reckon with the monster who says it has a job to do, and what the existence of monsters really means.  

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong - This was a really interesting book of essays looking at the Asian American experience and how the push for model minority status created a situation where a generation of Asian Americans were encouraged to not discuss any racism they felt.  For me personally, the opening story was tough to get through, but once I did the rest was interesting enough, that I may well wish to revisit it.  

Mikki Kendall's Hood Feminism - Also a book of essays, in particular looking at how the focus of mainstream feminism on upper and middle class white women leaves a lot of gaps in issues that affect women harder.  

Jessica Kim's Stand Up, Yumi Chung! - Yumi Chung wants to go to comedy camp this summer and not study camp.  But her parent's restaurant has hit a bad patch and they need her to get a scholarship to keep going to the fancy school they expect to bring her success.  Except she wanders into comedy camp and they all assume she's a student with an Asian sounding name who had signed up.  I don't read a lot of MG, and this book was delightful until it reached a big reveal moment, and oh my god, if you suffer from second hand embarrassment, it is really tough.  It was still delightful and I was glad I read it.  

Tehler Kay Mejia's We Unleash the Merciless Storm - In a fantastical world where the fancy folk have two highly trained wives, and the rabble are kept out with a wall, a high ranking wife has just been killed by her son's segunda wife who was revealed to be a spy for the rebellion.   Except Carmen - said spy - had to leave behind the primera wife who she had maybe been falling in love with.  She discovers the La Voz organization has changed since she was sent on her mission, and they perhaps do not believe her when she tells them Dani, the primera is on their side.  So she's going to have to take fixing things into her own hands.  This is the second in the duology.  I mentioned elsewhere that I haven't quite figured out how much my enjoyment of the second was due to the POV shift, or just more getting to the part where things start happening.  None of this is to say I hated the first book, I would never have tried the second if I had.  But if you thought the first was enjoyable but quiet, this might be to your liking. 

Mia Sosa's The Worst Best Man - Read about Brasilian food and wedding planning, and lots of things we cannot be doing right now.  Okay, but seriously, Carolina got left at the altar and to get a new job she has to team up with either her ex-fiance or the brother who convinced her to dump him.  The brother seems like the lesser of two evils.  But maybe he is even more than that?   

Jayci Lee's Temporary Wife Temptation -  It's super tropey.  He needs a wife to avoid a matchmaking grannie.  She needs a husband to prove she's stable (and rich, rich doesn't hurt either) enough to adopt her sister's kid that the grandparents want to adopt.  So they get married.  And hang out with a baby a lot.  And it's great.  Until someone ruins it and then has to try to fix it.  

Camryn Garrett's Full Disclosure - This is a story about a teen who is HIV positive, who had to leave her old school after word got out about her status and folks did not handle it well.  So now she's at a new school, and working as the student director on a production of "Rent" and there's a cute someone and she has questions about how to best handle it.  Content warning:  Her status does get outed at the new school.  

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado - I got this book out of the library in e, and when the library emailed me I looked at it and thought, hmm, did I really ask for this?  But I downloaded it, read the first chapter, and went, oh yes, I need this.  It is a story of an abusive realtionship told in pieces.  It is not an easy read.  But it looks at how people get to a place where the realtionship they are in matches some but not all of the things they have been warned about, what it's like to have been told your lifestyle will lead you astray and then need help.  It ends well, as the author is now not in that relationship.  I don't often get super excited about the way a story is told, but for me this one was interesting and not gimmicky.  

Suleika Snyder's Tikka Chance on Me - A grad student who has moved home to re-figure out her life and work at her family's restaurant finds herself noticing one of the bikers in the biker gang that comes for dinner every week.  They run into each other elsewhere and things move fast but there are secrets and things to be sorted out.  

Rebekah Weatherspoon's A Cowboy to Remember - Amnesia, so you know I was in.  A TV chef gets pushed down the stairs soap opera style and then her team decides the best place for her to recover is the small town where she grew up which also contains her first love.