Book Reviews: April and May 2022

I have been living in the moment more than anything these last few month which often doesn’t find me sitting in front of the computer, but I have read and listened to some really great books. As usual these are less of a review and more how the books made me feel or influenced my thoughts. You can read any old book blurb for the plot, I suppose. Here are the books that graced my eyeballs in April and May.

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

I was leery about picking up this book based on the title as I felt it might have too many religious overtones for me and I wasn’t in the mood. But this came highly recommended at my local book store and they don’t tend to steer people wrong. This book was a beautiful rendering of the dichotomy of the teenage mind that is half filled with apathy and the other half curiosity. Though not isolated from the modern world, this book gave me the deep feels for a re-imagining of Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” which was a book I loved as a young person. It was a super fast read because the writing was very good and the subject interesting.

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

In my Seattle days, I took some botany classes so any book that sheds a cultural light on the subject is very interesting to me. I have been a lover of botany for a long time and always interested in how plants influence our lives medicinally as well as emotionally. This book takes a deep dive on four different plants: apples, potatoes, tulips, and marijuana. The author is able to link the desirability of these plants to history and how these plants changed the way we do things. Non fiction in general takes me longer to read and absorb due to facts that I’d like to remember, but this was quite an interesting book.

Actress by Anne Enright

This book was on a list of 2020 books that were a must read. I know, it’s 2022, but I had printed a list in early 2021 to help me branch out and read authors that I’ve never heard of before. This can be daunting without some sort of guide and generally expensive, especially if you don’t like the book. I listened to this as a free checkout from the library and I was not disappointed. It chronicles the life of a daughter of an actress. I liked the perspective of a more real look at a person stuck in the limelight for work and then later for ego. The book also looks at the struggle women in the spotlight have to go through to continue to be accepted by men and the masses. It looks at the toll this takes on someone’s mental health.

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

I chose this book based on the title and an intriguing cover. I am a little bit over the color blocking/splotching/tell-me-nothing-about-the-books sort of covers that have been going on for the last few years. I haven’t read a single one of those books. I love an inventive cover or one that intrigues. I am a very visual reader in the sense that I create my own movies while reading and it starts with a good cover. I digress. Dark Roads is a thriller/murder mystery set in Canada along a road that has been infamous for having young women go missing, especially indigenous women. The author wanted to bring light to this problem, to make it more known as people like to forget tragedy when it doesn’t pertain to them. It has strong female characters and a super good plot twist. I was totally surprised at the end.

Music is History by Questlove

I went on an audiobook tear in these months and this was a fun book to listen to as it was read by Questlove. The book takes a look at the interconnected nature of music and cultural/social history while also weaving in how the music personally affected the author. There were cool facts I had never heard before while tripping down memory lane. Music marks time in our lives and has a unique ability to bring us back to a long forgotten time as if we never left. I’m currently binging Stranger Things with my boyfriend and the soundtrack to each episode really grounds me into the time along with the amazing costuming. If the soundtrack didn’t exist, I think it would have detracted from this deep connection I have with my era of time being displayed. Fun book. I would listen to it rather than read it.

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut

There is a portion of my brain that is hyper intrigued with science, especially physics. I have never studied the subject but I am drawn to this science in books, documentaries, and even sports. This book takes a look at the persistence that is needed to solve what we feel are unanswerable questions about he universe, but it is also about the mental toll it takes on these genius minds. It distorts reality over time because they become so singularly focused on finding the answer to their questions. The book dove into some famous scientists lives and looked at their unraveling.

Thanks for reading. I hope you check some of these titles out. I wasn’t disappointed with any of them.