What A (Couple) Week(s): April 16th-29th

As predicted, with spring slowly but surely making its way to the island, I’ve been neglecting blogging. Between turning over my new community garden plot, actually reading books, taking long dog walks, writing fiction, and work getting steadily busier every week, I’ve had a lot less time to devote to posting reviews.

Updates are going to continue to be sporadic, but I’m not planning on stopping altogether. Since I (re)started this blog, I’ve reviewed close to one hundred books! This is a huge accomplishment, as I’ve been trying to get myself to write about what I’m reading for the past several years. It’s been so good for my reading life, mostly because writing about a book once I finish it solidifies it in my mind. It’s so satisfying to be able to actually remember why I loved (or didn’t love) a book.

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted any romance reviews in a while. It’s not because I haven’t been reading any romance–I’m a firm believer in always having some kind of beautiful fluff going! Since I read queer romance almost exclusively, I decided early on that I’d always post reviews in pairs, alternating between reading f/f and m/m (and stories about nonbinary and gender non-conforming people whenever I can find them). But I’m currently doing research for a piece about m/m romance novels written by queer men, so my romance reading at the moment is a bit one-sided. I’ll get back to including romance in my weekly review round-ups once it balances back out.

Despite sporadic blog updates, I’ve read some excellent books in the past two weeks. Surprisingly, it’s nonfiction that’s stood out the most. I was blown away by three wildly different nonfiction books: Tracy K. Smith’s latest poetry collection, Rebecca Solnit’s creative and beautiful atlas of New York City, and Maggie O’Farrell’s haunting and gorgeous memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am.

Predictably, I returned all my library books before taking a photo of them, so instead of the typical book haul shot, I’m including photo of the most important event of the last two weeks: my first swim of the season! It was less than a minute, but the sun was shining and the water was freezing and perfect.

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BOOKS I FINISHED
The books I finished reading this week. Links go to my full reviews.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
3/5: Eh. I enjoyed it, but overall it didn’t wow me.

Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
4/5: I highly, highly recommend it.

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
4/5: I highly recommend it.

Song of A Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik
4/5: I recommend it. This was a book that really grew on me after I finished it. It was quiet, but I’m still thinking about it.

Nonstop Metropolis by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
4/5: I highly recommend it. I loved Solnit’s San Francisco atlas, and this was was just as beautiful and illuminating.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (audio)
3/5: I loved this book but hated the ending. I still recommend it, though.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (audio)
3/5: I loved this book but hated the ending. Is this a pattern? I still recommend it if you’re in the mood for some campy fun.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (audio)
3/5: I enjoyed this middle grade novel, but it didn’t wow me. The audio was stellar, though.

BOOKS I’M IN THE MIDST OF
The books I’m reading right at this very moment.

The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

WHAT I’M READING NEXT
Next up in the never-ending cycle of too many books and too little time.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Why I’m reading it: It’s been on my TBR for a while, and my little town is hosting a community conversation about it this week, which I’m excited to attend.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee
Why I’m reading it: Despite the fact that I kind of hate the title (because I hate the idea of/obsession with autobiographical fiction), I’m excited to read this essay collection, which I’ve heard fantastic things about. I’m also really into essays this year, something totally new for me.

JUST OUT!
Books published this week that I cannot wait to get my hands on.

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin
Why I’m excited about it: From the Goodreads description: “A dazzling epic that follows two very different families in Cleveland across generations, beginning with their patriarchs, who become irrevocably intertwined one fateful night.” Remember my obsession with multigenerational family epics? Yeah, say no more.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya
Why I’m excited about it: This memoir about fleeing the Rwanda massacre as a girl, and eventually making her way to America, along with her fifteen year old sister, promises to be a brutal but worthwhile. I’m especially excited about the audio, narrated by Robin Miles, who is always brilliant.

OVER AT BOOK RIOT…

A whole mess of reading-related thoughts:

MEANWHILE, THE OCEAN:

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That’s it for me this week. How was your week of reading?

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