Mindy's March 2017 Reading Report

I think this is the best month yet this year for reading widely and outside of my usual. The two best books I read this month were Posted by John David Anderson and Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, both of which will be published in May. More below....

For kids...

Two fantasies (Furthermore and Joplin, Wishing), one dystopian (A Single Stone), one graphic novel (Nightlights), one historical novel (The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming), and two realistic novels (Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel and Posted). Not bad as far as genre diversity, but only one book with any racial/cultural diversity (Nightlights is a beautiful and creepy graphic novel by a Colombian author).

I liked all of these books and would recommend them to certain kids--Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming to kids who liked Little House on the Prairie for example. But of all of these, Posted was my favorite. There are so many books about bullying for kids that sometimes it feels like we can't possibly need any more. But this one is worth reading.

For teens...

Here's something unusual for me: a page-turner of a science fiction novel that I couldn't put down (The Diabolic) followed by a historical novel that I almost didn't finish because I didn't really care for it (Duels and Deception). The One Memory of Flora Banks is for all those YA fiction readers who liked We Were Liars--I wasn't one of them. The Go-Between and I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl both explore various stereotypes, but only The Go-Between is really worth reading as it presents a view of Mexican-Americans that isn't often portrayed in teen fiction.

As noted at the outset, Eliza and her Monsters was a favorite this month. Eliza is a weird, introverted, anxious teen with a secret Internet identity. Perhaps that doesn't sound so unusual, but her Internet identity is LadyConstellation, creator of a wildly famous webcomic. This novel explores anxiety/depression, fandom, identities, and more in a way that never gets too heavy.

For adults...

Not a great month as far as grown-up books are concerned. I'm still not sure what to make of Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. It was mostly entertaining, but the plot twist toward the end kind of threw me for a loop. I wrote about The Other Typist in this blog post about unreliable narrators. The book was okay, but I really wanted a historical novel about the 1920's not a suspenseful thriller with a twist ending. No more "plot twist" type stories for a while, I think.

I read Reclaiming Conversation for a book club, and I really appreciated the reminder to set my phone down once in a while and really connect with people (especially my family). I'm not sure I agree with everything the author says, but it was worth the read and made for a fun discussion at the book club.

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