First Five of 2020

Does anyone else have a complete meltdown every so often over the state of the world? Nope? Just me? Ok.

Yesterday morning I received some news I didn’t want and after a long day of working with troubled youth and trying desperately to hide my emotional strife, I went to see Just Mercy, a movie recounting the true story of Walter McMillian, a man wrongly convicted of murder. And it broke me. It was the wave pushed onto shore and I was the sand pebble taken away.  On my ride home, I prayed about my life and the upsetting things in the world.  And I cried.  A lot. I got home and continued to cry for an hour about literally everything from racism to Koalas.  I think I scared my husband, because he didn’t know what to do, but he was a champ and eventually the tears stopped. 

I’ve been reading a lot of heavy books lately and seeing a lot of heavy movies.  What we consume can tarnish the way we view the world, or clear the lens a little too much.  Sometimes it does both.  Either way, it can really get you down if you’re not careful.  I think my first 5 books of 2020 were a little heavy. 

I started with A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum.  This novel told by three women exposes the truth behind what it means to be a middle eastern woman.  I feel like this topic has been explored before, but never has it been felt so deeply.  The characters were beautifully built and fully realized. This book was 4/5 stars for me. 

Next up was Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey, which I would highly not recommend.  Oh man.  Never have I hated a book more.  The premise of this book is that each chapter is a little vignette with feminist lure.  The premise I was fine with, but the writing style, not so much.  Popkey writes almost entirely in run-on sentences and then randomly follows it up with fragments.  The whole thing is pretentious and easily forgettable.  What gets me the most is that critics are applauding this work with special notice of her writing style.  However, most non-critic people who have read it, favor my opinion.  Don’t waste your time.  1/5

After that terrible read, I listened to Watching You by Lisa Jewell, my second audio book ever.  I had just recently decided to try out audio books and the first one I listened to was in first person.  This one, however, was in third. I feel that audio books work best with first person novels and nonfiction books.  Regardless, Watching You was an interesting enough thriller, but was also fairly predictable and I felt like something was missing.  I’ve read that if I want to experience Jewell at her best, I should check out The Family Upstairs. This one gets 3/5 stars for me.

My fourth read was This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.  I really enjoyed this one and something about it stayed with me long after.  This novel reminded me of Huck Finn.  It’s an adventure with heart.  The thing I really enjoyed about this book was that the main character has this ever ending search for who God is and I think it’s lovely that this motif found it’s way in a mainstream book published in 2019.  The pacing, however, was slower than I would have preferred. 3.5/5.

Just last night I finished book number 5, Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.  This nonfiction book follows three women in different stages of life, but also explores female desire and sexuality.  I found this book to be very gripping and it read quickly. The writing was fluid with moments of poetic lyric, but sometimes it tried too hard.  There was also a little too much gratuitous sexual descriptions, that I eventually felt was overkill and would pass over.  3.5/5

I just started The Night Circus and am excited to finish it! I’m hopeful that it won’t be as heavy as my first 5 reads, and if it is, I’m going for the fluffiest, predictable chick-lit book next!

Happy reading and remember that life always happens between the binding!


Writer, reader, traveler, singer, painter, life-long learner, chef, foodie, and lover of all things good in life. My husband and two dogs bring me joy. So does red wine and good coffee. My works have been published in HelloGiggles, Thought Catalogue, Elite Daily, and most notably, Atticus Review

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