Friday, April 1, 2016

What I Read in March


I blew threw a bunch of books at the start of the month, & then read absolutely nothing during the second half. OK, that part's not true; I've actually read half of two books, I just haven't finished either of them yet. Moving is hard work!

Anyway, here's what I did finish in March, bringing my grand total for 2016 so far to 18 books. That puts me at 60% of the way through my goal of reading 30 books this year. I thiiiink I'm gonna make it. Wanna be friends on Goodreads?

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

This memoir tells the harrowing story of one woman's escape from the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a polygamist cult. The author was the third wife of Merril Jessop, a powerful & respected member of the FLDS, & mother to eight of his kids. The book chronicles the unspeakable mental & emotional abuse she endured, as well as the physical abuse of her sister wives & their children. I'm intrigued by religious cults (in an "I want to everything about them" way, not an "I want to join one" way), so I found this book both fascinating & deeply disturbing. Against great odds, Carolyn Jessop escaped with all of her children in tow, the first FLDS woman to successfully do so. She's one of the strongest women I've ever heard of, & this is one of the more interesting memoirs I've read. ★★★★★

Orchids and Stone by Lisa Preston 

This book came free from the Kindle First program, & I read it in one sitting on a lazy Saturday night. Daphne, a 31-year-old roofer - yes, roofer - has had pretty bad luck, family-wise: Her sister was murdered & her dad committed suicide. She's haunted by both of their deaths, especially the idea that things could've gone differently if someone had intervened to save her sister. This family history is intertwined with with a weird current occurrence: An old woman approaches Daphne in the park, insisting she's being kidnapped, & though Daphne initially chalks it up to dementia, she becomes consumed with trying to help the woman. I didn't find the book's intro at all compelling & almost gave up on it, but it turned out to be a worthwhile, interesting & fast-paced read about the difference that getting involved in the lives of others can really make. ★★★☆☆

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu 

This is another book that I read in one sitting. It was well-written & interesting - riveting, even - but plot-wise, it was also absolutely ridiculous. The main character, Lucy, lives with, well, a dirty little secret, literally: Her mother is a full-fledged hoarder, & their house is disgusting. I liked the idea of this topic, as hoarding is something the general public finds both fascinating & horrifying, & the idea of a teen living with this family secret was compelling. Unfortunately, the plot-line itself was just too much, unrealistic to the point of irresponsible. By the final page, I was infuriated. ★★☆☆☆

You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent

I saw Alida, a.k.a. The Frenemy, speak a few years ago in D.C. at an event hosted by Twenties Unscripted, which marked the first time I ever felt like maybe someday I could be a person who writes a real, tangible, held-in-your-hands book, too. Though I loved this book's title, I worried that "essays on feminism" could be a pretty dry topic - but I was wrong. Alida writes with humor, grace, & wisdom, digging into the everyday elements of life as a twentysomething American woman, & this book is an objectively enjoyable one whether you consider yourself a feminist or not. (But, hey, you should.) ★★★★☆

The Laramie Project by Mois├ęs Kaufman  

This play about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man in Laramie, WY, is a fascinating look at how one of the most famous hate crimes in recent memory affected the small community where it happened. The Tectonic Theater Company visited Laramie multiple times & interviewed real people connected to Shepard & his killers, incorporating their words into a stage play that has since been performed all over the world. In it, just eight actors play more than 60 characters, which makes it a bit tough to follow on paper - but it's absolutely worth the quick read to delve into this painful & important moment in LGBT history. ★★★★★

I'm currently reading two books I'm really enjoying, both of which should make an appearance here next month, & reading other bloggers' monthly roundups has me adding tons of new books to my want-to-read list. So tell me: What's the last great book you read?

Please note that my "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but please also don't judge me for including them. 
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