Welcome to Quick Lit, where bloggers link up with Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy and share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. My reading pace is still pretty slow post-surgery, so I’ve been reading more YA and kid lit, especially books in verse. Here’s a sampling of the books I read in February and so far in March:
The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan tells the story of four Chinese American women who immigrate to San Francisco in 1949 and band together as the Joy Luck Club. The group meets to play mah jong, eat fabulous Chinese food, and chat about their lives. Alongside the stories of this older generation of women, we also hear from their daughters. Their experiences as second-generation immigrants are wildly different, yet poignantly similar in some ways to their mothers.
I read The Joy Luck Club in high school, but wanted to revisit it after deciding to throw a Joy-Luck-Club-themed dinner & movie party with my sister later in March. She’s reading it too, so we can compare notes. Seeing as the book was was published in 1989, I found some of the “present-day” portions of the story told by the American-born daughters a bit dated, but Tan’s treatment of the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships is timeless. Also, as an Asian-American myself, I have to say that Tan nails her depiction of older Asian women perfectly!
Rebound, by Kwame Alexander
Rebound is a prequel to Kwame Alexander’s Newbery-medal winning book, The Crossover, and tells the story of The Crossover’s main characters’ father, Chuck Bell. The book is in verse and follows Chuck, a comic-book-loving teen, who gets sent to live with his grandparents after school lets out for the year. At first he thinks it’s going to be a complete drag, but over the summer months he learns the beauty of jazz, the thrill of basketball, and how to live with the consequences of his decisions.
I was over the moon when I got an advanced reader copy of this book at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting last month. It doesn’t come out until April 2, but you should pre-order it from your favorite bookstore or get yourself on the hold list at the library ASAP because it is fantastic.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink
In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel Pink explores how when you do something might just be the most important factor in determining outcomes. It’s quite data-driven, which I appreciated (as a librarian, I’m quite the fact fiend 🙂 ), but I liked the self-help side of the book even more. After each chapter, Pink includes a section of what he calls “The Time-Hackers Handbook,” which gives actionable steps to improve the timing in your life based on the data he’s collected. One of my major takeaways: don’t ever hold important meetings in the afternoon!
If you’re looking for a well-researched and helpful non-fiction book, you’ll want to give When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing a read.
The Power, by Naomi Alderman
Set in an alternative present-day, The Power puts forth the question: what would happen if women held all the power? And we’re not talking about power figuratively. This is electrical power; painful, potentially life-ending, electrical power that emanates from women’s bodies into the vessel of their choosing. When traditional gender roles are switched, how will women handle themselves? How will the men react? The stage is set for major drama.
I’m not done with The Power yet, but the premise drew me in from the beginning, and Alderman does a good job throwing moral quandaries at the reader throughout the book. It seems a bit longer than it needs to be, but I might change my mind about that once I finish it.
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
I read Long Way Down as part of my Worth the Read? series. Actually, I listened to it as an audiobook. Jason Reynolds narrated and did a wonderful job. Since the story is told in verse, it was especially meaningful to hear the author read it. Check out the rest of my thoughts here.
What have you been reading lately? Please share in the comments below!