Recent Reads

 This felt like a pretty great month for reading. I did get a little distracted in the middle of the month with too much TV, but I still read some really good books that have stuck with me. I also have some great books on my next up list that I’m excited to read. One of the things that I am looking forward to in the fall is being wrapped up in a cozy blanket, sitting by the electric fireplace, and reading!

Here’s what I’ve read over the past month.


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
This book was beautiful, and I breezed through it in a day because I kept wanting to read more. It’s a collection of nine short stories, each told by a different Black “church lady,” though who exactly is a church lady is a bit broad in some of the cases. Each of the different stories is so real and heartfelt, and there are definitely some secrets in their lives, just like the title implies. I would have happily read a whole novel about the characters from each and every one of the stories. The author is also currently living here in Pittsburgh, and I love reading books by local authors!

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
I couldn’t put down this book – I snuck in some early morning reading before work a few days because I just wanted to read a little bit more. It focuses on the story of a Pakistani playwright, and the story is all about fitting in and identity, largely in a post-9/11 world. It’s a bit of a mind-twist to read at times because it mixes fact with fiction – references to things that happened, but then combining those storylines with things that are pure fiction. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t reading a memoir! But I really, really enjoyed it.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This is going to sound kind of strange, but this book is SO deliciously creepy. It’s definitely magical realism (which I love), and I was so drawn into the world and trying to figure out what, exactly, was going on. The main character gets called to her newly-married cousin’s estate after the cousin has mysteriously gotten sick. I had lots of theories about what was happening while I was reading… and they were all wrong.

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Joujoun Kim
This is a really touching story about mothers and daughters, and about we may have more in common with our parents than we think we do. After a young woman finds out that her mother died, she realizes how much she didn’t know about her mother, and tries to follow some clues to figure out what happened and find out more about her mother’s life. The book is split in two viewpoints – it goes between the daughter in present day to her mother, when she was the daughter’s age. This was another pick from Reese Witherspoon’s book club that I really enjoyed.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This book is so beautifully written, and tells such an incredible story, but it’s not always the easiest read. It crosses many generations of Black families, starting back with the slave trade and ending years and years later. It’s clearly an important story, but it’s tough to read, because of the really horrific things that happen. I definitely recommend it, but it’s still tough to accept.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Okay this one was so fun to imagine – it’s the story of what Hillary Clinton’s life could have been like if she had never married Bill Clinton. It’s a little bittersweet at times, to imagine what could have been instead of what’s going on in real life right now, but it’s such a fun read overall. It made me wonder how much of it is based on real life, and how much was pure fiction.

Majesty by Katharine McGee
Another super fun read – this is the sequel to American Royals, which looks at what the US would look like if George Washington had become King rather than President (apparently I like fictional takes on real events, based on these last two, ha). The first book left off on a cliffhanger, and everything that happened in the sequel is basically the opposite of what I expected! I’m not sure if there are plans to write more of this story, but I’d definitely read more!

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