It’s Monday! And I’m doing a monthly reading wrap-up!

December 12, 2022

What does everyone think of the little prompts that WordPress has been so generously giving when you open the editor to write a new blog post? Today’s for me is “What’s your favorite cartoon?”

I had a good weekend which made this a good week. On Friday, I went to a for your consideration screening of Abbott Elementary with a friend of mine that included a Q&A with the cast and crew and that was followed up by a reception that turned into a dance party. On Saturday, I won the lottery so got two $25 tickets to see the touring production of The Book of Mormon, which was amazing. I didn’t know much about the show so didn’t know what to expect (except that it would include irreverent humor), and I loved it so much. Lots of great social commentary and it made fun of systems without making fun of people, if that makes any sense.

Anywheedle, as the blog post title says, it is Monday and instead of what I read last week, I’m telling you about what I read this past month since, you know, I only read three books and also posted the review of the book I finished this week in the underrated books post.


Last week, I posted:

Last month, I read:

Thank You for ListeningThank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you didn’t listen to the audiobook of this, did you even read it? I mean, honestly.

I liked this a lot, but I would have liked it even more if just ONE TIME someone in Sewanee’s circle had called her out for being a liar. I’m sorry, but laughing at her ridiculousness definitely was not enough. Just once! That’s all I ask.

This is almost set up to be a parody of a romance novel because it is very meta in that Whelan calls out and names many of the tropes she employs. However, it most certainly is not a parody, and Whelan of course treats romance novels seriously. I did appreciate the exploration of “why an HEA?” and what happily ever after even means as well as the differences between women’s fiction and romance.

Also, Stu is truly the real MVP of this novel, which I never would have guessed when it started and, honestly, big ups to Whelan for that.

4.5 stars

View all my reviews

Texas Gothic (Goodnight Family, #1)Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this one up for spooky season because I knew it would be about the right speed for me based on the Prom Dates from Hell and the other books in the series.

I loved the characters. I would read 100 books about the Goodnight girls/women–or two, since there’s a sequel, so I know what I’ll be reading next–because I was super fascinated by all of their different abilities and the world they inhabited.

The reason this is only three stars is that I found the resolution to the ghost and the mystery both kind of anticlimactic. I mean I like that there wasn’t a huge showdown/fight and I appreciate that it still felt very grounded in reality, but I also wanted a little more, especially as it related to Amy and her particular kind of magic.

There was a running joke about Nancy Drew in here that I found delightful, if you’re into that sort of thing.

View all my reviews

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to AmericaHigh on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As this is a history book, I think it’s important to point out that I found the writing in this very accessible. I liked the through line of history by food as it made me think of things I hadn’t considered and, of course, I learned things I didn’t know. The beginning was the hardest part of the book to get through because it includes (necessary) details about the Middle Passage and then slavery. Once those parts were over, the reading got easier, though this was never a book that I would just pick up to read for fun/leisure. Since this was a book club pick, I read about ten minutes per day throughout the course of the month, which was the right amount of time to spend with the book, I think.

My feelings on the information in the book can pretty much be summed up by something Harris quotes her mother saying in one of the opening chapters: “What artistry. What beauty they created for people who thought we were nothing but goods, not even human beings!”

Things I learned that I didn’t know before:
– Hunger strikes were common on slave ships
– Feeding time was also the most common time for revolts to happen
– Catering as a profession was invented by a Black man (no surprise, really, but I still didn’t know it)
– Robert Roberts wrote one of the first books by an African American to be issued by a commercial press
– The cook on cattle drives also often acted as doctor and dentist
– The first woman to have a cooking show was a Black woman named Lena Richard
– Chicago was founded by a Black man (I definitely should have known this already)

Also let’s not forget that Black people aren’t magic because we want to be but because we’ve had to be. To whit:

Thomas Ruffin, a former North Carolina slave who was interviewed by the Works Progress Administration, remembered “We used to dig up dirt in the smokehouse and boil it dry and sift it to get the salt to season our food with. We used to go out and get old bones that had been throwed away and crack them open and get the marrow and use them to season the greens with.”

Honestly, the whole book was just a reminder that the only thing we know for sure that white people of that time invented was chattel slavery and race.

This was an interesting way to learn history, and I would recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in food, culinary history, or Black history (aka American history).

I did find that there was a shift in the writing style near the end that didn’t sit well with me, which is why I’m giving it 4.5 stars, rounding down.

View all my reviews

Currently, I’m reading:

And now I’m almost done with The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which I anticipate finishing either before or on my flight Wednesday.

the inheritance games by jennifer lynn barnes

Have a great week, everyone!

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