happy and sad

This afternoon I stopped by the Escondido Library to pick up two books I had on hold. One that I had my eye on came by way of People magazine–a guilty pleasure for sure–and the other was just voted the featured selection for “One Book-One San Diego 2019.” I’m excited to dive into both and feel a touch of melancholy as I know these two books will be the final installments of a summer reading binge that was quite satisfying.

Here are a few of the books I read this Summer–many hits and a few misses.

Two books that are still knocking around in my head–

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby.

Both books helped me better understand the immigrant experience in America as well as white privilege, patriarchy and Christianity’s role in fostering oppressive systems. The readings left me wanting to do better–to ask questions of my friends from different cultures, to extend a helping hand that goes beyond the easy and simple fix. Tisby’s book includes some action items that bring new knowledge into practice.

Funny and Poignant

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Well written and very funny. Noah has the ability to transport the reader right into his South African neighborhoods. His mother is someone I’d like to have influencing my kids today.

Not worth my time (but I get it..you LOVED it)

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Having lived in North Carolina, I found this story preposterous and contrived. An easy beach read so you can feel like you’re a reader after all.

Out of my wheelhouse

The Targeter by Nada Bakos. The sub title says it all…My life in the CIA, hunting terrorists and challenging the White House. An inside look at gathering information during the time of Bin Laden.

Best Book for a Midlife Crisis

The Second Mountain by David Brooks. Not necessarily a follow up to his earlier best seller, The Road to Character, but this book captivated me. I’m done with the first mountain of power, prestige and position. I want to climb the second mountain…even though it involves suffering. I think I have some experience with that.

A Boring Best Seller

Becoming by Michelle Obama. I feel just awful that I didn’t like this book more. I love Michelle and I wanted this to be a book to keep in my stash. Instead, I felt the writing was stilted–like she was trying not to offend–which left me lukewarm about her early years and academic achievements. I wasn’t looking for controversy but I did want to see a fully embodied powerful American woman.

Best line or paragraph from a book:

She was slim and straight, and raised both hands to push her thick golden hair away from her face, as though one hand could not possibly tame all that hair. Americanah

Made me want to be a librarian

The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I’ve always loved libraries–big and small, well-funded and those struggling to survive. This book recounts the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library and efforts to build a stellar collection after the books were destroyed.

Best Guilty Read

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani. Twisted and calculating, every mother’s nightmare.