This month we went on vacation to Cancun, which gave me some time to catch up on my summer reading (in between playing Animal Crossing)!
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
There were some essays in here that really struck a chord with me, one of them on The Angry Black Woman. That was my favorite one. But other essays fell flat for me…like the long list of black people with iconic hair. I guess I listened to this in audiobook form, so a visual would’ve been helpful there. There were times when Phoebe’s voice also GRATED on my ears and I wish she’s stop with the annoying voice. Some poignant essays; others meh - an all-resounding average book about a black woman’s life experiences.
Oh Pachinko! This easily goes onto my favorite books list. I loved the storytelling. Previously I knew very little about Japan’s takeover of Korea but this story gave that history a life. As I read about this Korean family’s immigrant experience in Japan, I began to care about every single character throughout the generations. The story made me hopeful and cry. It was a beautiful (though fictional!) story that sticks with me even today. I started watching the show on Apple TV and it brings the story to life in another fantastic way.
Spin the Dawn
This is the first book in The Blood of Stars series. A tale as old as time, a girl goes undercover as a boy (her brother) to fulfill her dream job as the emperor’s tailor, which is only permitted for men. Plus the cover looks awesome. But the entire story just fell flat for me. The main character just felt too juvenile. I didn’t like the character development (or lack thereof), so I didn’t like any of the characters except for the love interest. As for the romance…it was very sudden and immediately went from “enemies” to lovers. How fantastical. The later plot could’ve been very interesting with the Chinese mythology woven in but it was too much “tell, not show.” The entire book read like a bad teen fiction/fanfic.
Unravel the Dusk
You’re probably wondering why I read the second book when I did’t even really like the first one. The answer is because that’s all I had on my Kindle when I went on vacation! So I gave it a try to see if it’d be any better. Nope, in fact it was worse. I got through 75% and stopped reading it because I lost interest. The plot worsened. The war scenes were just…boring to read. I just didn’t care what happened to this girl and her curse in the end.
Bookends: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Literature
To sum it up, this is the memoir of a rich, white, Jewish lady from New York City. I kind of wish she leaned more into the rich part and delivered us a Crazy Rich Asians version of growing up in the NYC Jewish elite. But instead, her story focuses more on how her love of writing and books propelled her through the ups and downs of her life. Ultimately, that ended with her launching a successful podcast interviewing authors about their books. Secretly, I am more interested in hearing about how the other half lives! There’s a lot of white privilege in her life, so I wish she would’ve explored some of that because it definitely gave her a leg up to be where she is today.