mini reviews #5: recent literary releases & classic nonfiction

I’ve decided to start swapping these over from Goodreads in chunks of 4 rather than 5.  Big changes around here, clearly.  See all my previous mini reviews here, and feel free to add me on Goodreads to see all of my reviews as soon as I post them.

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WAITING FOR EDEN by Elliot Ackerman
★★★★☆
date read: December 25, 2018
Knopf, 2018

For being so sparse, Waiting for Eden manages to pack a powerful punch. Ackerman meditates with surprising insight (aided by potent religious symbolism) on the very nature of life and the impossible decisions we have to make when our loved ones are suffering. This was succinct and chilling.  Pick up a copy of Waiting for Eden here on Book Depository.

 

 

38819868MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite
★★★★☆
date read: January 15, 2019
Doubleday Books, 2018

This was tremendous fun from start to finish. Sure, certain elements could have withstood a bit more depth and detail, and it’s destined to disappoint anyone expecting a proper thriller, but for a quick and pacy character study it was extremely satisfying. Braithwaite toes the line between satire and realism so deftly that you manage to get properly invested in these sisters even as their actions shock and horrify.  Pick up a copy of My Sister, The Serial Killer here on Book Depository.

35487749CENSUS by Jesse Ball
★★☆☆☆
date read: January 31, 2018
Ecco, 2018

I had trouble engaging with this book emotionally or intellectually, which isn’t to say that it isn’t intelligent or emotional, just that I personally did not find it particularly accessible. There is a very real possibility that a lot of this just went over my head, I will admit that, but so much of this book just felt wanting; the relationship between the father and son seemed generic, the experimental narrative came across as underdeveloped, the speculative element and the characters’ journeys felt dissonant. I have no doubt that this was an intensely personal project for Ball based on the novel’s introduction, and I’m sure it will be feel intensely personal to a lot of readers, but something about it just didn’t click for me.  Pick up a copy of Census here on Book Depository.

730745SISTER OUTSIDER by Audre Lorde
★★★★☆
date read: February 19, 2019
Crossing Press, 2007
originally published 1984

Sister Outsider was a really fantastic introduction to Audre Lorde for me, though its episodic nature isn’t my favorite way to digest nonfiction and I think I would have preferred to stay on track with any one of these essays for a hundred pages rather than to bounce around from topic to topic the way this collection is structured (though all pieces are obviously interconnected to an extent). But still, this is a sharp and insightful and seminal work that I’d recommend.  Pick up a copy of Sister Outsider here on Book Depository.

Have you guys read any of these, and what did you think? Feel free to comment if you’d like to discuss anything in more detail.

7 thoughts on “mini reviews #5: recent literary releases & classic nonfiction

    • I don’t know why I struggled so much with that one! It’s very experimental and I could never quite get on the same page as the author. Definitely one to pick up when you’re in the mood for something strange and melancholy.

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