It has been quite some time since I last posted. Shaking out the cobwebs with a list of what I’ve been reading.
I use Goodreads (follow me!) to track my reading, and for 2014 set myself a challenge of 52 books, or 1 book per week. I am apparently crushing it: even if I take out the 4 comic trade paperbacks I’ve read this year, I’m still 8 books ahead of schedule. I am a reading machine these days.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is at the top of this year’s list for me. It was hard to put down. Her book follows Ifemelu, a Nigerian immigrant in the States, through her early years growing up in Nigeria, her move to the US for college, and her decision to return and what that might mean for her relationship with her high school boyfriend, Obinze. Ifemelu becomes a well-known blogger during her time in the US, writing about race in this country from the perspective of a non-American black person. All her other books are going on my list after reading this one (which was just optioned by Lupita Nyong’o!)
Into Thin Air was terrifying. Seriously, I had nightmares of being lost in a blizzard every night while reading this. That explains why I read it so quickly: I’m not a fan of blizzards. It’s disaster porn, that’s for sure: a trainwreck I couldn’t look away from and wanted to know as much as possible about. The initial read was engrossing, as was falling down the internet rabbit hole tracking the controversy that stemmed from the original release of this book. This book makes me want to read more of Krakauer’s work, even though he writes about mostly horrible things happening.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I was uncomfortable with how women are treated in John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things. It had been on my to-read list for years, and when I finally picked it up, I was disappointed. The main character is fine, but in my opinion it takes too long for the story (the young protagonist’s trip into another world while in his world, 1940s England, bombs fall around him) to really get going and when it does, he meets only treacherous women on his journey. Seriously, not a single woman in this story has a single redeeming quality.
Other standalone books (more on series later) I’ve read this year: Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (Interesting!), Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black (Educational!), James Joyce’s The Dead (ok, this one’s a novella), Nancy Jo Sales’s The Bling Ring (meh), Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me (Criminal!), Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child (Fantastical!), Edna Ferber’s So Big (Historical!), Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (Also criminal! But fiction this time!), James Robert Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County (Awful! But the musical was beautiful!), Tara Conklin’s The House Girl (also historical!), J.T. Ellison’s A Deeper Darkness (Like CSI but for reading!), N.K. Jemison’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Also fantastical!), and twelve other books. Phew.