Reading Lately & Quitting a Beloved Book

Looking for something to read? Try one of these six books, all by female authors and a variety of voices. Some I just finished and others I’ll read shortly, but they’re all on my “reading lately” list.

Early in the year, I set a personal goal to read 24 books in 2019. Halfway through the year, and I’ve crushed that goal already. I finished my forty-second book of 2019 last week, a dozen of which I listened to as audiobooks. 

Not until this year have I read so steadily. I attribute it to one thing: I stopped scrolling. As part of my reading goal, I committed to picking up a book every time I thought to pick up my phone and scroll Instagram. 

I have been carrying a book with me almost everywhere I go. Even if I trade only 5 minutes of scrolling for 5 minutes of reading, the time adds up immensely. I haven’t ignored Instagram entirely, but I’ve spent far less time perusing posts.

I know it’s not a revelation to trade screen time for books, and it’s of little surprise that my switch resulted in so much more quality reading time. 

Needless to say, my library card has earned its keep. Here are a few books I’ve read lately as well as a handful on my ‘to be read’ shelf into which I can’t wait to wiggle my nose. 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

I cracked this book open on the plane on the way to Zion National Park and finished it before we landed. The realist fiction story follows a teenage girl who wears a hijab every day. She receives a rash of racist macro- and micro-aggressions from her peers at school as a result of her headscarf.

She finds a few friends in her new school, including a boy who becomes more than a friend, but even she couldn’t predict how the hate would escalate as a result of her relationship with one of the most popular boys in school. I definitely recommend this book.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m only a few pages into this book, so I don’t have too many thoughts on it just yet. It has received 4.15 stars on Goodreads. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love. While not a memoir, I expect it reflects in some ways her own story of finding herself and her current partner through and after Eat Pray Love.

Eleanor and Hicks: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn

As a tribute to Pride Month, the Skimm recommended this read. I know next to nothing about Eleanor Roosevelt and absolutely zero about Hicks. I can’t wait to read this book and anticipate it will be fascinating. 

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

I received this book through my quarterly subscription to My Lit Box, a book subscription box focused on female and minority authors. I haven’t read it yet but plan to pick it up very soon.

The story is a suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge. It sounds like a perfect read for summer.

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke

This sweet memoir was such a pleasure to read despite its emotional tenor. Locke lost her husband, and father to their seven-year-old daughter, to cancer. She reveals in her book many personal reflections this brought about for her as well as how it impacted her relationship with his and her own families.

This was the first book in the My American Meltingpot Book Club. My American Meltingpot is one of my favorite podcasts; it celebrates diversity in all aspects of the word. Lori Tharps, a self-proclaimed Diversity Diva, hosts the podcast, and I can’t wait to read the next book she chooses. 

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

This book received 4.07 stars and rave reviews on Goodreads. It was featured at my local bookstore, where they had signed copies. The hold list at the library was deep. Despite all the positive critiques, I didn’t love it. I read 200 of the 500 pages before pulling out my bookmark and returning it to the library. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. 

Here’s an excerpt from Goodreads:

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.” 

I guess I just didn’t love reading about all the marred years and how they were tumultuous. I also couldn’t relate to how Jonah’s mother handled her adopted son showing up in her life. She seemed so selfish about it all. 

I haven’t quit a book in a while, but this one just didn’t do it for me. If you loved it, please tell me why. Did I miss something amazing in the last 300 pages that would have changed my tune? Should I check it out again and finish it?!

What have you been reading lately?

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