Greenlights

Matthew McConaughey

★★

I listened to this book which allowed me to get through it in only 5 hours or so on 1.5x speed–Greenlight. In short, meh. It was entertaining enough to listen to while I worked in the garden but I would not have finished it as a primary task.

Hood Feminism

Mikki Kendall

★★★★

Kendall presents a ferocious challenge to the tropes of white feminism that is timely and necessary. At times the book is uncomfortable, but never cruel or dismissive so long as the (white, female) reader is open to expanding their lens of what a successful feminist movement looks like. This book deserves to be included alongside Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists and Bell Hook’s Ain’t I a Woman as a foundational text for rethinking the feminism movement for the 21st century.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

In progress

Anxious People

Fredrik Backman

★★★★★

Sometimes I read a book and I know that I’m enjoying it but I can’t explain why until the very end. That was the case with this book. I spent the first 80% unsure, the last 20% convinced it was one of the best books I have ever read, and then immediately sent copies to three people because I wanted to share it so badly. Backman purely captures the melancholy beauty of existing in our modern world. I’ve described the book as reading like a Neil Simon play, and the text is hyper quotable so keep a notepad near. And tissues–I happy-ugly-cried through the last 30 pages.

More notes here

Why We’re Polarized

Ezra Klein

★★★★

Klein presents a thoughtful and well argued framework for considering how we became so, well, polarized, backed up by sociology, psychology, and a bit of projection. I appreciated the lengths he went to frame his argument objectively, and you can decide for yourself if the fact he ended up exactly where you might expect is bias or not; on the one hand it holds together for me, but the book itself then causes you to double check whether that is your unconscious working against you. I removed a star because he doesn’t lead the reader through that reckoning but this won’t stop me from recommending the book full throatedly.

Outlawed

Anna North

★★★

I saw someone refer to this as the new Lonesome Dove (which, for any fan of Western American literature, is quite the compliment). Suffice it to say, it’s not that, but it is a fun narrative and easy read. The author borrows from American folklore to spin a new tale, which is great until that structure gets in the way of the story itself towards the back half of the book.

Good And Mad

Rebecca Traister

★★★★

I always enjoy when Rebecca Traister pops up in a podcast or show I tune into, so her book was a total guilty pleasure. There’s something healthy and cathartic to being given the permission to just FEEL angry, to wield it or to set it aside, but to admit that it exists. If you don’t go into this book sharing her opinions then I doubt you will leave with them. That wasn’t an issue for me for I devoured this like a rich slice of cake.

The Color of Law

Richard Rothstein

★★★★

I love a good Wonky book that reads like a narrative. Rothstein doesn’t disappoint. The content of the book is laid out in a highly structured way that brings the reader back to his core thesis instead of getting lost in factual details, and his argument is well presented. One thing I wasn’t prepared for: how often I recognize examples of the continuance of the policies and biases presented in the book (and the lingering sense of anger).

Where The Water Goes

David Owen

★★★

I really wanted to like this book. I’m immensely curious about ways local policy and regional development affect water use and infrastructure in the west. Besides for some interesting anecdotes, the author does not present anything new to the discourse. I managed to finish the book, but I don’t imagine returning to it for a re-read the way I have Cadillac Desert.