Reading Weekly Roundup: July 12 2019
I’m back! Long time, no see in the Reading section of The Joyful Pen. One of the books I read this week pointed out the cyclical nature of life. That like trees that experience all four seasons, there is value in the time spent in quiet, growing quietly and internally so that we can blossom again in the spring. In my case, I needed to wait until summer.
Each Friday (or at least most Fridays- nothing like a “must” or “should” on my schedule to make me want to avoid it) I’ll have a brief recap of what books I’ve read, including a link to longer individual reviews on Goodreads, other things I may have read like articles or stories that captured my eye, and what I’m reading at the moment- and who knows, maybe you’ll decide to join me on that current read.
This week I’m recapping my reads from Saturday, July 6th, through today Friday, July 12.
Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
This was a book where the villain was doing the Absolute Most. But, at every turn Cavanagh showed exactly how things were happening in way that made me think “Sure, this guy could definitely rig the system to end up on the jury for the trial of the person he’s framing.” If you’re worried that’s a spoiler, it’s not- the front cover tag line is “The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.” Going in knowing how crazy the stakes are for the story make teasing out what exactly is going on all the more fun. My goodreads review doesn’t say much more than that. It’s fun to just hop on for the wild ride.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth
Realistically, this is a 4.5 star read, but I was both charmed and inspired by the book, so I’m willing to round up to five and overlook the minor details that didn’t work for me personally- especially as it may speak to others. I’m an agnostic atheist, so I’m wary of stories of success that are presented as being a part of God’s work, but I respect Welteroth’s beliefs and what that faith has done for her. Mostly, I appreciated celebrating that a woman like Welteroth worked so hard to carve out a space for herself in the media world and all the work she did to bring the experiences of marginalized communities into the lime light. Her voice is friendly, sometimes funny, and extremely relatable. To get all my feelings about the read (including my biggest caveat to the messaging) my Goodreads review is available here.
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
It seems like I’m handing out 5 stars left and right this week, but sometimes I’m just that lucky in my reading. I enjoyed this book more than Steal Like An Artist, which I enjoyed a lot. This book felt more appropriate for both where I am in my life personally (full of great projects but struggling on execution) and where the world is in general- you know, full of terrible news on an endless news cycle. Making art doesn’t have to be mysterious nor something untouchably ethereal, but it does come with its own unique challenges that don’t apply across the board to other fields of work, so it’s helpful to have some insight in how to do what you need to do without ruining all the best parts of it. If you’re a writer or creator of any kind who could use a reminder about the value of not monetizing all that you’re passionate about making, and stepping away from your phone for awhile, this is the book for you.
Both More Than Enough and Keep Going referenced James Baldwin. Baldwin has popped up on my radar hundreds of times in my life, but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of his work. Thanks to these two books I’ve finally picked up my first Baldwin publication and will be reading “The Fire Next Time” this week.
I also read about 100ish pages of Mona Awad’s “Bunny” and found that I ultimately did not want to carry on. For reasons known (the death of rabbits and stale writing dreams) and unknown, the book provoked a lot of anxiety in me and I felt like there wasn’t anything about the story that was worth continuing to engage that anxiety and that it would be better for me to just stop. It’s definitely a case of just not the right book for this particular reader, and nothing against the book in and of itself.
I’m still making my way slowly through a couple of nonfiction books, and am halfway through The Sentence is Death, so that mystery will be included in my recap next week.
Have you read any of these books? Are any of them languishing on your TBR?