This July shaped out to be one of my better reading months in 2018. All five books I read were varied in genre and background and I genuinely enjoyed all of the books I read.
Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book Award and it is rightfully deserving of it. The story follows a dysfunctional black family in Mississippi. To me, this book was both melancholy and entrancing and the ever present sadness in this story literally leaped off the pages. Or in this case, the narrator’s voices. The audio book includes a full cast which only enhanced the reading experience. My one critique was the magical realism aspect which didn’t quite make sense to me. To me, it seemed less like magical realism and more like a figment of the character’s imagination. The ending of the book was also confusing and fuzzy and I personally think the book would be better off without the magical realism. Rating: 4.25/5
We Were Eight Years in Power offered an analytical perspective on the eight years Barack Obama was in power as the POTUS. Coates also covers stories from other black figures across history and their struggle through injustice even through Obama’s presidency. Ta-Nehisi Coates is exceptionally talented at writing and this book wasn’t anything short of captivating. Although I still love Between the World and Me, Coates offered a nuanced perspective on race across history. Rating: 4/5
It took me a while to finish this book due to my ever present reading slump, but I ended up really loving this story. Shanthi Sekaran combines the pains of infertility with the struggles with immigration laws in America and crafted a bittersweet story on parenthood and family. While reading this book, it was like I was holding my breath the entire time because the intensity of the story. This book is also very similar to Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng and both have relevant themes so if you LFE which is obviously more well known, I would highly recommend Lucky Boy. Rating: 4.5/5
The Surrender Tree is a collection of poems that spans across Cuba’s long and treacherous journey to freedom through their three wars starting from 1896. From concentration camps to healing caves, it’s a story that’s rarely ever discussed in history classes. While it is historical fiction, Rosa was an actual historical figure who was a powerful healer that took in wounded soldiers and plague. Reading her story was absolutely incredible and even more so knowing it was real. The audio book is also about 2 hours long, so if you’re looking for a short but impactful story, I would recommend The Surrender Tree. Rating: 4/5
The Belles reminded me of the addicting fantasies I used to binge read when I was younger. I don’t typically reach for fantasy anymore, but this story made me want to get back into the genre. The world building does need some work and the writing tended to be excessively flowery. Though the book did feel like that “first book in a series,” I’m still intrigued on what’s going to happen in the sequel. Rating: 3.25/5