What I Read: August 2015

I read 9 books in August: 4 non-fiction, 5 fiction. 3 were on the Kindle, 4 were in print, 2 were in audiobook. 3 were by writers of color.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (2013).

I actually listened to this on audiobook on my phone. It was really interesting to hear about Sotomayor’s life and her path to the Supreme Court, but it wasn’t the most engaging read ever. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t think I’ll be pushing it on other folks.

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (2014).

This was sort of the opposite audiobook experience. I had heard good things about this romance novel, and though I don’t read a ton of romance, this seemed like one I might like (see NPR’s recommendation here). It was so good, you guys. Totally hooked me from the start, full of the really luscious descriptive language that romance is known for. Would recommend.

Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table by Graham Holliday (2015).

This was a combination of my two favorite types of memoirs: travel and food. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and yet, still have no desire to travel to Vietnam/eat truly authentic Vietnamese food. If you like travel or food, you might like this one as well.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (2014).

The new Ms. Marvel is a Muslim, Pakistani-American teenager (Kamala Khan) living in Jersey City. If that’s not enough to peak your interested, the series is written by G. Willow Wilson, who is one of my favorite graphic novelists. I was so excited to find this in my local bookstore.

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok (2014).

I got this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. It took me a while to pick, but I’m glad I did. It was a delightful tale of growing up and becoming your own person, mixed with a healthy dose of ballroom dancing. Charlie Wong is a thoroughly enjoyable protagonist. I’ve read Kwok’s first book, Girl in Translation, and I like her sophomore effort even more.

Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson (2015).

I liked the first volume so much, that I went back two days later and bought the second! You may like it as well.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman (2014).

I forget where I first read about this, but as soon as I heard the description (children’s chapter book about a 6th Grade food critic), I knew I wanted to read it. It did not disappoint. Gladys Gatsby *loves* food, but after an unfortunately creme brûlée incident, she is banned from the kitchen by her non-culinary parents. When an essay she wrote for a newspaper contest is mistaken for an actual job application, Gladys finds herself reviewing a restaurant for the New York Standard. Charming and fun.

Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck (1983).

Erma Bombeck is a national treasure. A often funny, sometimes sentimental take on motherhood.

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle by Kristen Green (2015).

This was such an interesting and important read for me. Prince Edward County closed its public schools (for years) rather than integrate after the Brown v. Board of Education (in which black residents of Prince Edward County were a party). Growing up in Virginia, just a few hours away, I was aware of this. My dad had pointed out Prince Edward Academy (the private school for white student founded in the wake of the schools closing) and told me the bare outline of what had happened. I did not realize just how long the schools were closed though and had not considered fully the effect that the school closure had on the lives of those individuals who were denied an education as a result. I would really recommend this for anyone interested in civil rights or American history (especially all the Virginians I know).

What I Read: August 2015

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