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MOST RECENT

• 🙋🏻‍♀️ recommended! •
This isn’t a new one, but I know a lot of y’all have goals to read more books with diverse characters, and this sci fi adventure fits the bill! There’s a variety of different “cultures” at play, and relationships that challenge the status quo relationships (including a sweet one between a human and AI that explores whether AIs can be “alive”!). The Rosemary’s mysterious past storyline is extremely disappointing BUT Chambers tongue-in-cheek has Rosemary admit she’s anticlimactic so just bear through it. The rest of the book more than makes up for it. I love that for once humans are NOT the saviors of the universe - they barely make it into the civilized species group. Lastly, be prepared for mostly world building - all the action’s in the last few chapters. But it is some good action, and it gets you excited for the next one!
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Have you already read this? What’d you think?
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The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

• 🙋🏻‍♀️ recommended! •
This memoir is a great personal look at the death of Beau, Biden’s son, and how it impacted Biden’s decision not to run for president in 2016. It’s concise and moving, although the narrative jumps around a bit. It also has a political agenda - I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden runs next election, because there’s a lot on his policies and what his campaign would have been (aka what it will be). Regardless, Biden comes across as a thoroughly decent guy, and I was okay with the way the book focused on his work because his grief and recovery are wrapped up in a life purpose he shared with Beau - to make the world a better place. I wanted more on the whole Beau/Hunter/Hallie drama, but Biden was too too tasteful to mention it at all.
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Want to read this? Already read it? Let me know what you think!

• 🙋🏻‍♀️ recommended! •
This is a unique collection of essays - there’s one selected from each year of Obama’s presidency, all prefaced with a new blog-like intro of Coates reflections and current thoughts about the topic. I love the insight Coates gives about his own life and some commonly held myths about poverty, racism, and the history of the US in general. Even if you don’t agree with him 100%, he’s given so much passionate thought to these topics it’s worth reading his perspective. It gets a little repetitive by the end, so I’d recommend spacing out the essays over a few weeks, or even months. There’s definitely enough material to last you!
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You’ll like this if you enjoyed The New Jim Crow, and possibly The Hate U Give (just as enlightening but this is definitely not a YA!)

• 🤙 meh •
I know it got nominated for the Man Booker this year, but History of Wolves was a huge disappointment to me. The first chapter was AMAZING and it turns out that was published separately in a magazine and won a lot of rightful recognition. Everything after that kind of goes downhill; if you’ve read The Girls, it’s the same kind of melancholic adult revisits her naivety about a larger crime and subsequent coming of age. There’s some beautiful, poetic language about the surrounding Minnesota scenery, but as a whole the novel is repetitive and doesn’t do the “big reveal” any justice. I’d recommend the first chapter whole-heartedly, and then it’s up to you whether you find it worth finishing or reading the spoiler.
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🍓🍓🍓/5
Paul Yoon’s collection of short stories are achingly distant. Even though the characters and settings change, there’s a strong thread connecting each story to this unending search for something that is at once unknowable and painfully present. It’s a perfect embodiment of the German word sehnsucht. That being said, it’s not unique in its usage of longing and uncertainty, and I failed to connect with any character. There were several times where I had to really push myself to keep reading. Yoon’s sparse writing style is the kind you’ll either love or feel blasé about. It’s certainly skilled though, so I’d give this collection a try and abandon if uninterested after the first story. •
🌿 You might like this if you enjoyed The Buried Giant, The Vegetarian, War and Turpentine, or Moonglow.

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The Mountain by Paul Yoon
@simonandschuster

✈️ At the airport yet again! If you’re traveling this holiday season, check out The Clockwork Dynasty. If you enjoy automatons and conspiracy theories, it has enough adventure to distract you from long lines and safety videos. •
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🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓/5
What a beaut of a book! The cover represents the book perfectly - striking, beautiful, and raw. It’s subtle, like poetry. Several stories are intertwined - the main one about a black woman and her two children, traveling to pick up the children’s white father from jail. But along the way, they receive an unwelcome guest, who is on a journey of his own, to settle a matter with the children’s grandfather. Meanwhile, their grandmother is dying, and the woman is struggling to come to terms with all the death in her life. There’s no “happy ending” or complete resolution to these storylines. In this book, violence is a stain, visceral, physical, and rips the fabric of the universe. Places and souls are stained with this violence, the burden of memory a physical entity that is pitiful and abhorrent, and transferred down with each generation. •
I think this book shows the quandary of remembering enough to honor those who have suffered without letting it haunt us or keep their souls tied to the violence. Jojo’s sister Kayla manages to do it - can we?

🌿 You’ll like this if you enjoyed Human Acts, poetry by Jeong Ho-seung, or Homegoing.
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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
@scribnerbooks @jesmimi

🍓🍓/5
What a disappointment! I adore Tom Hanks, so when I heard he was putting out a collection of short stories I jumped on it immediately. I wasn’t expecting brilliance, but I couldn’t have imagined such subpar writing! The weakest story is also the first - it’s romcom-esque and full of absolutely cringe-worthy sex innuendos. The rest of the stories aren’t as bad as that train wreck, but they’re not strong enough to recover the collection. Mostly they just bored me. I do appreciate how many different writing styles Hanks tries, and the idea behind each story is actually very solid. It seems to me like with a better editor, this collection could have been pretty decent. As it is, it’s a solid pass.
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An excerpt: “We kissed a lot and touched each other in our wonderful places.” 🤦🏻‍♀️

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Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Enjoying Danez Smith's newest collection on this grey Tuesday afternoon. I love how the parallel lines of police shootings and his own HIV diagnosis come together over the course of the book. So much in these poems is genius, and heart wrenching. Highly recommend to any fellow poetry readers out there!
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🍓🍓/5
While there's no doubt Rushdie is intelligent and highly educated, this book is a meandering bore. The premise is very sexy - a wealthy family clan moves to Manhattan, where dark secrets come to light, and the clan deteriorates with the switchover from the Obama to Trump administration. But the end result is a train wreck of over-hyped, overly foreshadowed events sandwiched between lists of obscure film and literature references, and almost vitriol rumination on the current political/cultural situation. The central question, can a person be good and evil, is unoriginal and gains no ground in this book. Most characters are reduced to caricatures, and the main character/narrator is unbearably annoying, which detracts from any moments of brilliance. The thing is, Rushdie's not stupid, or completely wrong. I likely would have enjoyed the political opinion in a cohesive essay form, regardless of whether I agree with it all - and that's what saved this from a one star. But in its current form, the writing comes off as a brainstorm exercise to help the author process his own emotions. Had it been severely edited, it might have been a masterpiece. As it is, it's simply painful.
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You might like this if you liked Ulysses (Joyce), 4321 (Auster), or This Side of Paradise (Fitzgerald).
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Did you love it? Hate it? Let me know what you thought!
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The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

You guys. This book 🙊
I've been seeing this one around on Instagram a lot so I thought I'd give it a try - I was not expecting it to be SO. DAMN. GOOD. I've been in a bit of a slump and this totally restored my faith that there are still great books being written. •
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For those of you who haven't read this yet, Starr witnesses her childhood friend (black) get shot by a cop (white). She lives in the ghetto, but attends a prestigious white school. There's a lot of race complexity and some amazing take-downs of racist comments (seriously it's a goldmine), but there's also the general challenges of growing up and standing up for yourself and others. I love this one because it's completely stripped of pretension, and it's one of the closest looks I've seen of what it's like to grow up in the ghetto. Since Starr fully straddles two worlds, she has her own biases to work through, and provides a unique, no-nonsense, identifiable entry into understanding the hate we give.
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What's the best book you've read recently?

🍓🍓🍓/5 +💡
This is one of those books that I'm very happy to have read, but wouldn't recommend without some major caveats. Roy's latest book isn't a pure story - it's an exploration of what the current political climate in India has done to its inhabitants, especially those on the margins. The book follows individual stories of people variously affected by the Kashmir conflict, and delves into the cyclicality of violence and suffering, the almost predictable oppression of certain groups throughout history. Roy is an amazing, beautiful prose writer, but it does take a long time for the narrative to get going. I also recommend checking out the basics of the Kashmir conflict on wikipedia if you aren't familiar with it - it'll add a lot more to your reading since the book has an extremely strong political agenda. The pace doesn't really pick up, so if you aren't enjoying it after about 100 pages you're probably better off switching to something else.
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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Have you read it yet? What'd you think?

I'm trying a more traditional way of ranking books - do you like this way of ranking out of five stars, or the old way of thumbs up/thumbs down better?

👍🏻💡
I loved every minute of this fast-paced, beautiful story that follows Ginny, an autistic teenager, as she ties up the loose ends from her life in an abusive home before being "rescued" by the police, and her adjustment to the changing dynamic in her Forever home as her foster parents welcome a new, biological baby. The story's drawn from Ludwig's real experiences raising a foster, autistic daughter, and his conversations with other parents. It's a great entry into discussing topics like adoption, disability, abuse, intervention, motherhood, family. Because Ginny is the narrator, even the most painful and frustrating scenes as a reader are full of hope, and you can't help but root for the unlikely protagonist as she rises above everything life has handed her.
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Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
@harlequinbooks

🤙🏻
What a disappointment! I picked this novel up in hopes of a thrilling, psychologically disturbing tale, and it turned out to be anything but. Most of the book is a plodding description of Quincy's (a massacre survivor) now perfectly humdrum life, complete with a boring boyfriend, getting shaken up again. The writing is repetitive - almost every page mentions her taking some pill (ALWAYS WITH GRAPE SODA) or drinking way too much wine - okay Sager I understand from the get go she's not really adjusted. The only action's in the flashback of the night of the murders (which is very interesting) and the last few chapters of the book. Thrillers usually don't have the best writing so I mostly found the overdone bits amusing, but I'm the easiest person to scare and had no problem with this novel, which is a terrible sign. There's some promise, but you have to sludge through a lot of mediocre parts. Would only recommend if you really love thrillers and have the time.
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May wrap up! This month began a little rough but I eventually found my way to quite a few good reads!

Favorite read: Attending by Ronald Epstein (a close second was Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chien)

What was your favorite read in May?

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April wrap up! I didn't get to as many books as I had hoped to this month (didn't help that I ended up starting and not liking three books 🙄), but the ones that I did finish were all good reads! 😃

Favorite read: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by @hannahtinti (review to come soon!)

What was your favorite read in April?

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June wrap up! I think I'm going through a reading slump right now - I wasn't super impressed with this month's reads, and it's been hard to focus on any one book. I just keep reading the first chapter of every book and then setting them aside. 😪Any tips for getting out of the slump?

Favorite read: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Not pictured: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

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July wrap up 💁🏻☀️
This month I celebrated my birthday (!!!) and tried to soak up as much sun as possible. I found myself really going for beach reads and thrillers - but don't you worry, I have some nice and depressing material on the docket as the weather starts to cool down 😂

Favorite read: too close to choose between A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. They're really different but both excellent reads 😊

What was your favorite read in July? What's next on your list for August?

Check out #sendapagereviews for reviews of the books pictured!

👍🏻💡
Anyone who knows me has already had me (sometimes literally) push this novel into their hands. I can't say enough good things about it - it's a fun read with a surprisingly deep take on different kinds of love and relationships. The narrator is a recently divorced, twenty-something writer at a magazine, who gets a tap out of the blue to write an exclusive interview of one Hollywood's most timeless and infamous stars, Evelyn Hugo. As the story progresses - with each section devoted to one of Hugo's husbands - you get drawn into the mystery of the connection between Hugo and the narrator. This book will appeal to anyone who's in love with behind-the-scenes looks into the glamour of Hollywood, who's interested in reading more about diversity (with all that Hollywood of course there's LGBTQ representation!), or who's looking for a simply entertaining, solidly good read. Can't recommend this one enough.
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Read it already? Can't wait to read it? Let me know!
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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
@tjenkinsreid @atriabooks

🤙🏻💡
The Leavers left me very conflicted, because it was full of good content and gave voice to two often unheard voices in literature, but the story itself was meandering and fell apart by the end. Ko starts out strongly with a focus on a merged immigrant family, and the hardships they face daily. She also does a stellar job at covering benevolent racism, the trying complexity of adoption for both the adoptive parents and powerless child, the isolating feeling of growing up foreign in a completely white neighborhood. The writing is beautiful in parts, especially all the love letters to music. Problematically though, the story kept shifting around in time without clear transitions, and while I enjoyed the two narratives, they didn't flow together well. The story plodded along, building up to the mother's reveal at the end, but the characters' supposed growth journey at the end wasn't believable. And most problematically, I simply didn't care. It's hard to say if I recommend this, because I do recommend it for the adoption/racism content, but I really wouldn't recommend it for the story - so I leave this one up to your discretion. 🤷🏻‍♀️
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The Leavers by Lisa Ko
@algonquinbooks

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