What I've Been Reading Lately, Vol. XI | Alyssa J Cori: What I've Been Reading Lately, Vol. XI

March 10, 2021

What I've Been Reading Lately, Vol. XI

Last time I wrote I said that it may be a while before I was ready to do another roundup because I am working on a huge 1,000+ pager at the moment. Progress is slow and steady over there (I added a book about the Met to my current reads), but I did end up reading six books since I last posted! Let's jump right in. 
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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’d seen this book recommended quite a few places and it lived up to the hype. The story follows a high school boy who is sent to a reformatory school in Florida in the ‘60s. Elwood is a bright, idealistic person before he is wrongfully accused of stealing a car and his life changes. The “school” he is sent to is segregated and the students are abused and mistreated. Throughout this Elwood maintains his strong moral center, but he is tested as he builds new relationships. I don’t want to spoil too much, so let’s just say it’s a poignant look at race, privilege, and the power of staying true to yourself.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa ⭐️⭐️

This book follows a young woman on an island where things disappear without reason. From ribbons, to emeralds, to books, the residents of the island lose their memories and understanding of things that disappear and Memory Police ensure that nothing remains. The young woman hides a man who is able to remember all of the disappeared things, with the help of an old family friend. I gave this novel two stars because I found it hard to get invested in the story. No motivation for the disappearances is revealed and, while the book explores what your “self” actually is, there isn’t a strong resolution there either. There were interesting and beautiful passages, but it didn’t really go anywhere for me.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was a wild ride! It follows the curiosity of a young man in Barcelona in the first half of the 20th century while he explores the life of a mysterious author. The tale unfolds through time with multiple love stories and friendships. I got some good laughs, enjoyed beautiful imagery, and found this to be a captivating and surprising read.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley ⭐️⭐️

This murder mystery, set on an island during a wedding is a fast paced, suspenseful read. I was able to figure out quite a few of the twists; not because I’m was a clever reader, but because there were so many convenient coincidences. This wasn’t a great read for me and I wouldn’t buy into the hype surrounding it as a Reese book club pick.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved this historical fiction novel! It was hard to get into at first because of the older style language, but once I got in a flow I was hooked. The novel follows the real life story of Eliza Lucas who as a young girl in South Carolina took over running her father’s plantations when he was away on military duty. She realizes that her family needs to find a new source of revenue if they are to keep their properties and emerge from debt, so she sets out to produce indigo. Her relationships with her slaves, her ambition and brains, and her rejection of a traditional path of marriage all make for an interesting and exhilarating story. Highly recommend this if you are interested in business in the pre-Revolution colonies, the role of women in early American society, and the complicated relationship between slaves and owners.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle ⭐️⭐️

I had mildly high hopes for this book because it has such good reviews and was part of Reese’s book club. While there are some passages that shared strong messages, it felt like the author was trying to hit on every social justice issue and emotion out there. Reading it felt a bit disjointed and I don’t have clear takeaways of how to reframe my thinking or appreciate what the author has been through.

What have you been reading lately? Follow me on Goodreads to get ratings and reviews in real time, and check out previous posts here

-Alyssa J

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