Reading Lately: July 2019



Peter Heller

Celine: what a woman! I adored Celine, an experienced private investigator who spent her career reuniting separated families. She was quirky and smart, confident and matter-of-fact, and always one step ahead. Not only was she an incredible and rich leading character, the plot was mysterious and exciting, without being scary or cruel. I stayed up late and woke up early wanting to know what would happen next, but didn't have nightmares about it. Honestly I'd recommend "Celine" to just about everyone, especially if you like a good mystery.

Southern Lady Code

Helen Ellis

There was a cultural disconnect between me and "Southern Lady Code". It didn't help that I went in with high expectations, and have never even visited the south. The book felt of another era to me - hilarious and rebellious if you're a 50's housewife and have all the expectations therein placed on you. The chapter on deciding not to have kids read as revolutionary, and while it's sad and terrifying to think that for a lot of women that is revolutionary and courageous for isn't. Shrug. I think southern ladies will get a kick out of this book, but for me it was a miss.

Save Me the Plums

Ruth Reichl

I might be the only person on earth that had never heard of Ruth Reichl or Gourmet before picking up this book, and I loved it. Ruth is a natural storyteller, describing people and experiences in technicolor detail. It feels like you're there, in Paris enjoying dizzyingly good food, or in the cramped elevator with Anna Wintour wondering what she's thinking. The book is so warm, and Ruth's love for Gourmet is in every word of this memoir. I can't wait to read her other writing - in the meantime this must be on your TBR.

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Linda Holmes

This was a solidly ok romantic read. I like the gentle and realistic way that Evvie and Dean's relationship evolves, and that their conflicts didn't feel constructed or fake. I liked that they weren't your typical perfect hero-and-herione, and that there wasn't a fairytale ending where everything ~ magically ~ works out. At the same time there wasn't a lot that stood out about the book - it was a cute summer read, nothing more.

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

What an incredible read. Like much of Coates' work it's poetic and profound, and for a white girl like me eye-opening. The book is about race in America, and Coates' personal history with experiences and explorations of it. From his rough, impoverished Baltimore childhood to studying at Howard University to visiting a Civil War memorial with his family, Coates' lyrically describes his own realizations about being a black man in America. This was one of my favorite passages:

Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific
enslaved woman whose mind is as active as your own, whose range of feelings
as vast as your own, who prefers the way the light falls in one particular
spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddys in the nearby
stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister
talks to loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dress
making, and knows inside herself that she is as intelligent and capable as

Slavery is the same woman born in a world that loudly proclaims its love of
freedom and describes this world in essential texts. A world in which these
same professors hold this woman a slave. Hold her mother a slave, her father
a slave, her daughter a slave

Gravity is the Thing

Jaclyn Moriarty

This was initially interesting book, but got long towards the end. It's the story of Abbigail, a single-mom who's brother has been missing for 20 years. There are many interesting mysteries that slowly come to light, but one is revealed way too fast (if you ask me) and the other way too slow. I thought it was a sweet read, but was ready to move on to other books about 3/4 of the way through.