Let’s take a moment to look over what I read during the month of January
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“This is the tragedy of slavery. These are the grains of power. There isn’t a true innocence for children whose parents are shackled.”
An engrossing and encompassing story of one family’s roots, stolen land, the brutality of slavery, and the racism of modern day America, this is a masterpiece of a book. It’s long but never drags, the characters are real and wonderful, it made me angry and it made me cry and it gave me hope. Highly recommend.
Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you’re ready to burn diet culture to the ground, if you’re done being sold a false promise of losing weight if you just follow the rules and spend money on a new and improved program, if you’re ready to let go of all the rules you have about food … this book will be invaluable as you navigate your journey.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Frankly, I don’t understand the hype over this book. It’s a captivating story, in some ways, but it’s predictable and it’s been done before and with better writing. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s a fast read. I’m glad I read it so that I can give my honest opinion … don’t bother with this one.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When are you ever done with the story of someone you love? You turn the most precious of your memories over and over, wearing their edges smooth, warming them again with your heat. You touch the curves and hollows of every detail you have, memorizing them, reciting them once more though you already know them in your bones. Who ever thinks, recalling the face of the one they loved who is gone: yes, I looked at you enough, I loved you enough, we had enough time, any of this was enough?
I found this book to be engrossing and could sadly picture our world going in this dystopian and disturbing direction. While I think it lacked some of the passion and ethos of Ng’s other works (the writing is actually eerily calm considering the subject matter), I still found it to be thought-provoking and appreciated the criticism of capitalism and culture of white America.
Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Marra’s latest book is both a portrait of the elegance of Old Hollywood and also a wonderful study of human nature. His prose is sharp and often witty, the characters are believable and flawed, and it all comes together in a sweeping WWII historical setting. I loved the back and forth storyline, the long delves into a character’s past to explain their present behavior, and the ultimate triumph of movies. Definitely recommended.
I’m not sure how anything else I read this year can top that first 5 star book and yet, somehow, I shall carry on!
You know I always love your book reviews. I keep seeing Mercury Pictures pop up in various places, so I may look for that one. Also Love Songs. Sounds amazing!
I adored Love Songs and I thought Mercury Pictures Presents was great, too. I haven’t even heard of Verity, though . . . and definitely won’t seek it out. 😉 Thanks for your great reviews, Carole.
I thought Love Songs was so so good and I just finished Marra’s debut novel. His writing was so good and I appreciate your review on Mercury Pictures Presents… I think I need to find that and read it soon!
I still need to read Love Songs — it’s been sitting on my nightstand for more than a year! I really enjoyed Mercury Pictures Presents, and I’m reading The Tsar of Love and Techno right now. His writing is so good!
Thanks for making me glad that I skipped Verity. Colleen Hoover is not my cup of tea. I’m still waiting for my hold on Love Songs!
Bless you for your honesty. I too did not see what all the hype for Verity was about. I thought it was one of the worst books I’d ever had the misfortune to read. I’m debating whether I should try another of her books (Verity was my first). You can bet if I do try again I’ll go to my library rather than buy.
Love Songs is my latest pick for the Great American Novel (and I was disappointed that it didn’t get the prize recognition it so deserved). …and Colleen Hoover mystifies me. apparently she’s all over TikTok – can you confirm? Anne Bogel did a patreon episode last week to explain how she’d gotten so popular and I’m still not sure I get it!