So far I have finished 10 books in May (strong emphasis on the finished). Still this is a rather ludicrous number of books to have finished in one month, especially considering that it is almost double the rest of the books that I have read this year.
So, I wanted to pause for a moment and reflect on at least a few of the books that I have finished, some good, some bad, and some ugly. To keep the ending vibes positive, we will work from the bad to the good.
First up are two books which I ultimately did not like: Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers and Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. Rupi Kaur’s book stank of modern pseudo-feminist Instagram poetry, which appears to be empowering and liberated but is merely overly sexual. I did not finish it, since it only appeared to get worse as the book went on. Ultimate rating: 1 star (because I can’t do 0 stars on Goodreads).
Ninth House was better than this; it was a good romp and I enjoyed reading it. This book is about a girl named Alex (aka Galaxy) who gets caught up in some magical secret societies at Yale; also there are ghosts. I knocked off one star for the profane content (aka trigger warning material, of which there was a great deal), another star off for choppy pacing, and a final star off for the mystery part having one too many plot twists. I can appreciate a few good twists and turns in a dark mystery novel (in fact, they are compelling), but after a certain point, they just cease to be believable. Ultimate rating: 2 stars.
Next up is a spur of the moment read which I picked up via Kindle through my library’s Libby app. (Stay at home/ quarantine has given me a newfound and very deep appreciation for this app; if you have a Kindle and aren’t using the app, you need to. Like right now.) This book was Tara Westover’s memoir Educated, which took me a single night to read because I found it so compelling (and was dealing with some infrequent insomnia). This memoir chronicles her leaving her fundamentalist Mormon family and the implications of that throughout her life, which was really interesting to see since she wrote about how the separation kept dragging on and on because the ties of familial love are (naturally) so strong. Her work resonated with me a great deal, and in some places made me cry. Ultimate rating: 5 stars (mostly for emotional reasons, and if I’m going to rate someone’s actual life it sure isn’t going to be any less than 4 stars).
Finally are two pop sociology books, Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World. Cal Newport’s book examines the dichotomy between following your passion and designing your career to suit a niche and thus profitable audience. I honestly suffered through thus book, since I thought it was merely an extention and more “grown up” version of his philosophy developed in How to Be a High School Superstar. However, I finally finished it, and all I can say is he really harps on that whole “don’t follow your passion” thing. Which gets more irritating when you realize that it’s a false dichotomy, and all the people whose careers he examines picked something they liked and just followed it through to its natural extent. (Now there’s a controversial topic….) Ultimate rating: 3 stars.
Amanda Ripley’s book was one I started four years ago when I was an secondary education English major at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and I read about half of it on the train to and from school. I found it in my bedroom and decided to finish I remembered it being good. Ripley essentially examines the factors that go into getting a “good” education, from quality of teachers to money spent per student to socioeconomic background of the student (and more). She then compares these aspects across several countries with some of the highest-performing students, and with these in mind looks at what the USA is doing right and wrong. It is a fascinating book, and I highly recommend reading it. Ultimate rating: 5 stars.
So, there are some of the books I finished during the month of May! Obviously there were more, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the post, so maybe I’ll do another one! I really love writing book reviews like this, and if you like reading them go ahead and like this post or comment or something so I know I should do them more frequently.
Blessings to all,