February and March Book Log

It’s been a hard couple of months for reading. Not pictured: The Piano Lesson

Well, you try to get a website going again and then all of a sudden you have to return to school in person and there are a million meetings and tons of planning to do and things just get pushed to the side. And you barely even get to read, it feels like.

So here we are. A pretty light two months of reading, but such is life. April is looking pretty good so far.

  1. Mermaid in Chelsea Creek by Michelle Tea (4/5) – This is the first book of a series I got Simone for Christmas. She declared them the greatest thing she’d ever read and begged me to read them to. So I am. Even reading it from an adult perspective, they’re pretty enjoyable so far. And great books for adolescent girls. All the themes and messages you’d want, while also not shying away from the way the world really is. And also, you know, magic and stuff.
  2. The Ancestry of Object by Tatiana Rickman (2/5) – Blah. The first book from Deep Vellum press I’d ever not liked. It reads like something that was finished, but only at novella length, and then padded out to make it publishable as a stand alone. It would have been great if it was only 80-100 pages. Alas.
  3. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson (5/5) – I FINALLY got to teach this (I was about to last year when COVID happened). It’s a genius work. This part of Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, which chronicle’s the black experience in the 20th century. This one is set in the 1920s and looks at the generational effects of trauma. I really need to read everything he’s ever written, I think.
  4. My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee (3/5) – Man, I love Chang-rae Lee, but he wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders here, sadly. There are two parallel narratives that only barely intersect. Both of the narratives are interesting and compelling, but they don’t quite come together, and there are a few too many strings left hanging. This feels like it should have been two shorter novels instead of one long novel.
  5. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (4/5) – I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this story collection, which really does largely focus on the lives of church ladies (who really do have some secrets). There are perspectives here that are very different from what I’m used to reading and all the stories were interesting. My only quibble – and it is minor – is that, like many story collections, some of the later stories felt just a tad repetitive. Still, it’s excellent writing and worth checking out.