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  • Writer's pictureJenna Wilson

Book Drought Optimism | Winter Reads



Once upon a time, I followed a popular blogger in posting monthly little reviews of what I'd read. This is great when you're reading swiftly, when you're at least topping three titles a month, but for a very long time now, I have not. I think I can safely call 2020 & 2021 a reading drought for me.


But it's early March and I've actually read 7 books this year. I'm on track for my arbitrarily chosen goal of 40 books this year, and almost on track for the secret goal of upping that to 50.


That's nothing spectacular compared to some bloggers I follow, or even held up to the year I read 100 books (2017, and yes I counted graphic novels and novellas!). But this isn't 2017 nor do I get paid for reading books: it's 2022 and I am proud of my seven.


Now, while I'm in an optimistic mood about reading, I thought I might try micro reviews again: but not monthly. Let's shoot for seasonally and see where that takes us, eh?


So here's a few of the books I've read so far in 2022.


 

While I was placing book covers into this post to get it started, I realized there was about to be two very common refrains: "I started this a long time ago," and "This took me a long time to get into."


Do these sound like the same thing? Oh, no. I promise they are not. I've managed to feel both in totally different ways. Maybe, just maybe, that's a sign of a reading drought coming to a close.



I warned you, so here it is: I started this a long time ago (last may).

Seeing as this novella is only 126 pages and, if I recall right, wasn't even difficult to get into, that's a long, long break before I finally picked it back up in January to finish the last, oh, 20 pages.

My reviewing chops feel dusty, so I'll ease in by leaning on the blurb here:

Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in hip San Francisco. On the cusp of seventy-five, she is in good health and makes the most of it, enjoying road trips in her vintage Porsche, chatting to strangers, and recollecting characters from her favourite novels. Then she has a fall and her independence crumbles. (Goodreads blurb)

Despite what it might look like from how long this little book stayed on my currently reading, I liked it. It felt like it might go much, much longer: little dips into side characters felt more like they belonged in a longer novel that would eventually return to those voices. But it was just a slice, a peek into half-a-moment of Morayo's full life.



Here, I know exactly why this novel took me time to get into. The initial chapter is first person, almost poetic, and from the POV of a character we don't actually see again for quite a bit. After that, we switch to third person story from the rest of our cast and --- this was where I lost a few months.

The structure is absolutely necessary to the story here, and I don't see it as any sort of failing now, but it did sideline me at the time. Yet by the third or so POV, I was hooked.

This book is breathtaking in its scope. It's small and local and grounds you in New York and all the little bits and details that make the city what it is. But it's also enormous, worlds spanning, a lesson in possibilities and quantum physics and ideas that make you go, how on earth does an author even come up with this, much less follow through and pull it off to become this book in my hands?

In conclusion, my TBR list's knees are buckling because all of Jemisin's other books just became must-reads.



I went to college with Emily Joy and it was a privilege to my hands on her debut book. I read this slowly, as it's not what you would call a delight to read. But it's thoughtful and meaningful and worthwhile for those of us still inside church culture in any way.

"When Emily Joy Allison outed her abuser on Twitter, she launched #ChurchToo, a movement to expose the culture of sexual abuse and assault utterly rampant in Christian churches in America. Not a single denomination is unaffected. ... #ChurchToo turns over the rocks of the church's sexual dysfunction, revealing just what makes sexualized violence in religious contexts both ubiquitous and uniquely traumatizing. It also lays the groundwork for not one but many paths of healing from a religious culture of sexual shame, secrecy, and control, and for victims of assault to live full, free, healthy lives." (from Goodreads)





"A narrative-driven book on the surprising history and current revival of spritz cocktails (a wine-based drink served as an aperitif), with 50 recipes, including both historical classics and modern updates."


Obviously my lighter read of the season! This is a fun little book, and the cover art is what drew me in at first (and an affection for a good Aperol spritz). But let's just say I probably did not actually ever need to know that much about the history of spritzes.




"an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman."


World's shortest review: Took forever to get into it, but liked it a lot by the end. Can't remember much of anything. Loved the cover art.


 

Maybe the rest of my 2022 reads won't be almost entirely influenced by cover art, but I wouldn't bet on it. See ya then!





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