Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recent Reads | July

I don't know where all my free time in July went, but I certainly didn't have a handle on it. Between the long work weeks, the attempts to make some semblance of a social life, and the lack of inspiring material, reading was not a priority in my life this month and it shows by the short number of books covered this month. Most of the books I read were quite good, but I wasn't in the right mood for them and it shows in my less than enthusiastic responses to what I read this month.

Naked As We Came by Arden Moore
I gave Naked As We Came a full review earlier in the month which you can find here, but as a short recap: Naked As We Came is a poetry anthology written by Arden Moore, a fellow blogger. The collection is, as Arden puts it, a "timeline of thoughts," a chronological collection of journaling and notes and poems from the last four years that cover her hardships, emotional struggles, memories from growing up, relationships, and general thoughts about life. Arden's writing has always felt very raw and honest to me, and one of my favorite pieces in the anthology, "Unknown," displays this; it's a longer piece uncovering the layers of contradictions we all have inside of us, as the things we do fail to match up to the ways we think.

Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen*
Grenzland Press, Publish date: 24 January 2017
I read this based on the description on NetGalley, which said it was a book for fans of The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See, both of which I loved. Lane of Hidden Fires is the short tale of a downed WWII pilot and the teenage girl who saves him, and their trek across Norway to reach the free border of Sweden. Its short length makes the story seem more urgent as the pace builds quickly, and I enjoyed the awkward interactions between the main characters. The book world is flooded with WWII stories, but The Land of Hidden Fires still manages to leave a favorable impression.

Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
Ordinarily I enjoy Christie's mysteries, but this was one of her worst ones. The first half read like a soap opera, with the characters running around in a frenzy and Poirot nowhere to be seen. Furthermore, all of the character work that had been laid down in the first half seemed to be utterly betrayed by the book's ending which was highly disappointing. The story was entertaining, but if you're not dedicated to reading all of her works I would skip this one.

Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
After the disappointment of Taken at the Flood, I was much more impressed with this earlier Poirot installation about a girl who finds herself the target of attempted murder. I found it compulsively readable and though I was - for once - able to figure out who the criminal was before the big reveal at the end, I was still on the figurative edge of my seat reading it.

Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State by Susan Goodier*
Three Hills, Publish date: 15 September 2017
Women Will Vote celebrates 100 years since white women in New York gained suffrage. Goodier highlights the details of the movements that had been fighting since the mid-1800s for voting rights for women and the roles that African American, immigrant, rural, and urban groups played in promoting suffrage. Women Will Vote also shows how seriously women took suffrage as an entry point to other measures of equality, such as positions on school boards, better hours for factory workers, and racial equality. By giving a full picture of who fought for women's suffrage, Women Will Vote addresses how modern issues of racial and gender inequality can continue to be fought.

* I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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