Quarantine Reads (aka What I’ve Been Reading in April)

I’ve been reading up a storm here in self-isolation. Part of it obviously is just having more time by myself at home. Instead of going out to a restaurant or a bar with friends, I curl up on my couch with my cat and a book every night. I’ve also been listening to audiobooks during my solo-runs, and I’ve been running more frequently since it’s the only exercise I can really do right now (the online classes are, sadly, not doing it for me). So here are the books I’ve read this month: 

SOURDOUGH by Robin Sloan, fiction

Everyone is baking sourdough bread these days. Meanwhile, I read a book about someone baking sourdough bread ūüėČ That someone here is Lois, a software engineer in San Francisco whose boring existence is transformed when she is given a quirky, magical sourdough starter. The book is very whimsical but unfortunately since I’m not a magical realism fan I lost interest in the story in the second half.

THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang, fiction 

UNCANNY VALLEY by Anna Wiener, memoir (audiobook/kindle)

I managed to get that book both on audio and for my kindle from the library at the same time, so I read a few chapters and listened to some others. Like Sourdough, this was a bit of an uneven book for me. In Uncanny Valley, first time author Anna Wiener retraces her experience leaving New York and her job as an assistant in the publishing industry to move to Silicon Valley and work in customer support and analytics for start-ups. The first half of the book is insightful and funny as she makes the transition. The second was a boring and repetitive collection of random observations about the author’s conflicted feeling about the tech industry and the place of women in it. It’s too bad. The first half was really good.

DOMINICANA by Angie Cruz, fiction

I’ve really enjoyed reading about the immigrant experience lately and this was a great one. It reminded me a little bit of a Woman is no Man, except a little happier. In Dominicana, Ana Cancion is a pretty 15 years old from the Dominican Republic who is married off to an older man so she can strive for a better life for her family. She is isolated, in a loveless marriage, in a city where she doesn’t speak the language and constantly reminded that she needs to send money home and help her family join her. But she definitely fares better than Isra. I devoured that book in less than 36 hours.¬†

SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid, fiction (audiobook)

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid’s debut novel, kicks off in an upscale Philadelphia grocery store where Emira, a 26 years old African American woman, gets accused of kidnapping the (white) child she is babysitting. The story goes back and forth between Emira and the woman she works for, Alix, a blogger-influencer currently writing her first book, to offer a witty but light-hearted commentary on race and class relations in America. ¬†I really enjoyed this one.

WINE GIRL by Victoria James, memoir (audiobook) 
I didn’t love this one…. The author’s story had the potential to make this book another The Glass Castle or Educated but instead just feels like an enumeration of Victoria’s successes (I mean, she mentions that she was the youngest sommelier at a Michelin rated restaurant to overkill!) I guess I had a hard time connecting with Victoria though I did appreciate her openness about the difficulty of being a woman in a man dominated industry and her frankness about what goes on behind the scenes at some of New York’s fanciest restaurants.
 

THE ADDRESS BOOK: WHAT STREET ADDRESSES REVEAL ABOUT IDENTITY, RACE, WEALTH AND POWER by Deirdre Mask, non-fiction (audiobook)

Fascinating deep dive into what addresses ¬†(or lack of one…) reveals about politics, race, class, and identity. I loved how each chapter focused on a different city (and yes, there were quite a few mentions of Paris bien sur!)

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman, fiction 

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned upside down when a boisterous young family moves in next door. A Man Called One came highly recommended by my friend Patty and I’m so glad I picked it up. It’s such a sweet and¬†heartwarming about the people who change your life and make it better and those that recognize your shortcomings but love you nonetheless.

Reading has been such a comfort and escape these days. I have so many books I’m excited to read in May. And let’s be honest, there’s not a ton to be excited about these days….¬†

ps: did you know I have a #bookstagram account? I’d love to connect on Instagram, you can find me and my reads at Read and Ros√©. << click to follow!

 

 

 

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