Shelved: What I've Been Reading February (Part 1)

I've still been reading a lot

It seems to be a theme for this year. Pasha and I just started going to storytime at the library, so our book exposure is only increasing.

Because of this and because it took me so long to write up my book list from January I'm going to try sharing my reading more frequently. Ok? Ok. Let's dive in.

The Trespasser, Tana French

I discovered Tana French while in my thriller / dark mystery phase during my pregnancy. I guess you could say I'm still in that phase a little, but I plowed through all five of the books that had been published and then promptly forgot to pre-order book six when it came out in October. In a way I am really glad because this means I only have a year and a half until the next one rather than a full two (provided she sticks to the same schedule. This book was a return to form after the narrative departure of the last book and I enjoyed French's continued ability to tease things out in such a way that I feel I am chasing the narrative. All of her books give me a sense of claustrophobia and frustration, which I'm pretty sure is totally intended. Also it may be my own personal bias, but I think her writing is strongest when featuring a female protagonist. I gave this one four stars instead of five but that was more out of irritation with the featured detective than any actual writing (Sorry, Tana).

Girl Meets God, Lauren F. Winner

I read this one on my phone, mostly in the middle of the night while nursing Pasha because, surprise, he has stopped sleeping through the night again. I was hesitant to pick this one up but it was a dollar on the Kindle at some point so I grabbed it as an alternative to the creepier books I read that really don't make for a calm 3am feeding. At some point I started just reading this all the time because I found Winner's discussion of marrying her Orthodox Jewish understanding of the Bible with that of Protestant America. I grew up in a church that encourages understanding the Jewish roots of our faith and I took a Jewish studies course in graduate school, so I appreciated gaining another perspective on Jewish culture. Some parts were a little odd, but I did love her story about an ill-advised hip tattoo as I too have a tattoo in that same location and I can attest to the problematic placement in relation to pregnancy and/or weight gain. Overall I found it a little frustrating, like she was not being as completely open as one expects from a memoir. This could just be the nature of reading an ebook on my phone or the fact that she combined and altered the people in her story rather than just renaming or changing their description.

The Posessions, Sara Flannery Murphy

So remember a few years ago when Girl on the Train came out and everyone was like "this is the next Gone Girl!" and then it wasn't quite as good as you'd hoped and you geniunely hated everyone? This is a book that should be getting that kind of hype. The longer I think about it the more it does fill that Gone Girl space in my life without being anything at all like it. I loved The Posessions so much I don't want to tell you anything for fear of spoiling the magic. It's not quite a thriller, not quite sci-fi, not quite dystopian, not quite romance. I described it to someone as alt-sci-fi and I think that's where I'll leave things.

Ghettoside, Jill Levoy

Before I can discuss Ghettoside I have something to get off my chest. I listened to the audio and while it was masterfully narrated, it was done by the same woman who narrates all the Rainbow Rowell books which I found rather disorienting. Ok, now on to the actual book. I really enjoyed this in as much as you can enjoy a book that does a deep dive into the problems surrounding homicide investigation in the South side of LA. Which is to say I found it very educational. I am a middle-class white girl, so the life of a young urban black man is not something I'm intimately familiar with. But I want to own my own privilege and be more informed about the lives of others so that I can do what I can to help. If you have any interest at all in learning more about this I highly recommend giving it a read.